Category Archives: Mommyhood

The bebe switch

There it is. Sitting right beside you…invisible to most, but not to you. It’s the SWITCH. The BABY SWITCH.

Look closely and you’ll see that it’s one of those fancy schmancy dimming switches. At the bottom, you find the setting “NO THANKS!” and the top basically screams “I. NEED. BABY.”

Since a lot of our friends are married and are having kids, we find ourselves in a discussion about future children quite often. We ask each other things like, “How many kids do you think you want?” and “Are you ready for another?” If you are married and you don’t want to be asked questions like that, don’t hang out with people. The questions always come. {If your marriage is in a tough spot or you’re going through infertility/loss…or just if you don’t like people all up in your grill, “the questions” are agonizing, amen?}

What was surreal for me was after three LONG years of my switch being agonizingly crammed into the top of the switch socket, basically begging for multiples…I found myself in the blessed lower register.

It all started in April 2013 when Annabelle popped out and life took an instant turn for chaos.  We adopted Coleton at birth and he was almost 14 months old, but all through his infancy we wanted more kids! Coleton was chill, easy (back then), and our philosophy had always been “the more the merrier!” But there in that delivery room with beautiful little Annabelle sitting (screaming) on my lap and shock waves of pain still reverberating through my…you know…it was like my subconscious reached over and slammed that blessed switch down into the “aaaand I’m good” slot.

I thought for sure in a few months all would settle, I would somehow heal up from the agonizing pain of childbirth and be ready to try for another baby, especially because we had so much trouble prior to Annabelle. But she was a fussy baby, so we chilled out. We waited. Aaaand waited, and waited…and waited.

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READ ME: That urge was NO WHERE to be found. Bless that switch. It stayed in the “I’m good” spot for what felt like forever. I was nursing and mommying and reading books about discipline (AKA freaking out about my parental insecurities) and was literally in shock at my “I’m SO STINKING GOOD” mentality. In fact, I was so positive I wasn’t ready (or if I would ever be ready again) for another child, I basically all-but wore a chastity belt when I was anywhere near ovulation (sorry, babe!) Where was that Mrs. Duggar spirit that used to live so strongly in me?!?!

I guess it didn’t matter where it was, because the desire just wasn’t there! I felt so NORMAL again!

You guys, it felt SO SO SO SO SO SO good to have that switch be off for awhile. I can’t even tell you how many years I have spent wanting babies. My desire to be a mom started  looooong before Kev put a ring on it, so after two years of being married but waiting plus three more years filled with miscarriage and heartbreak…I was grateful to feel like this was plenty. My heart and arms were so full I didn’t even want to think about peeing on sticks. (Hooray!!!)

And then, it happened. About five gosh darn days ago, I have no idea what happened but I could feel that switch creeping up. And I slammed that baby down. (Not our real baby, I’m talking about the switch.) “NO! We’re good! These kids aren’t even in preschool yet. They don’t understand what “OBEY MOMMY!” means! They still speak in a 90% noun-only vocabulary. It’s not time! No thanks,” I said, confident that my inner-self would chill out in a few days.

But the next day…like it had a mind of its own…my switch slid a little further away from the bottom again. Was it that beautiful, angelic newborn I cooed over at the farmers market? That sweet baby who giggled at me last week? The adorable mommy with the Ergo who peacefully shopped as her baby nuzzled into her chest? That 24th friend making her pregnancy announcement this month? The friend who is so chill and excited about her twins on the way, even with two littles at home? Maybe it’s that C and AB are increasingly fun and cute as the days pass.

Maybe it's me looking back at these pictures as I write this blog (making my ovaries hurt...)
Maybe it’s me looking back at these pictures as I write this blog (making my ovaries hurt…)

I’m sure it’s a combination of many things…now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not in the top of the switch range yet (“I NEED A BABY NOW”)—In fact, not even close. But for the first time in sixteen months, the thought of a third child in our tribe no longer sends me running for the guest bedroom. It intrigues me… slightly terrifies me…and excites me. I’m an adventurer and a free spirit after all. Maybe things have “settled” a little and my daring side is feeling neglected.

Has anyone else ever experienced your baby switch changing overnight?! I’m dealing with a little whiplash since I didn’t see it coming…but it’s all good.

Now, don’t hold your breath for a pregnancy announcement…for reals…it’s probably still a wayyyys away. In fact, it may never come. We always remind ourselves that if C and AB are the only kids we have forever and ever, we will be a million times grateful. It was no walk in the park getting to this point, and they’re beautiful and healthy and ENOUGH!

But instead of clinging so tightly to control, I’m believing that God has a sweet plan,  and I’m just along for the ride.

Parting thoughts: I like my baby switch positioned at the bottom…at the “no, thanks….I’m good” spot. Blessed are you guys who hang out down there, for real. You don’t know how good you have it! (or maybe you do) But the middle isn’t so bad either, and that’s where I am today.

Contentment is a beautiful thing.

Where’s yo baby switch sitting?

celebrate…don’t compare

You know those really cute dialogue things people post?

“This is me the parent saying something.”

“Then my kid says something cute back.”

“I ask said kid some clarifying question?”

“She or he responds with some off-the-wall-hilarious response that you couldn’t make up if you tried.”

I love this kind of facebook post. It excites me for the darndest things my kids will someday say. I will write them down in a notebook of “Coleton-isms” and “Annabelle-isms” and cherish them forever!

I’ve actually been waiting for them to start….but it might be a little while cuz Coleton doesn’t talk too much. He has made significant speaking strides, but he’s still on the “I talk very little” end of the spectrum for his age group. This is what I find myself saying to people who (probably) don’t even notice or care how much he is talking:

“It’s a few things I think:

1) He’s the first kid and I’ve probably anticipated his needs a little too much.

2) He’s a boy. Boys usually talk less than their female peers.

3) He’s an introvert and loves spending time alone in his crib or reading.”

Why do I feel the need to explain his language development to my peers? I would love Coleton the same amount if he hadn’t spoken ONE word in his little life, yet I find myself comparing his milestones to other kids his age and getting self conscious about it.

Sometimes it’s in my head, but sometimes it’s aloud on my playdates. I give disclaimers. I express my frustration or stress or fears about him not speaking conceptual thoughts or more than one, two or sometimes three word sentences. I make comments about how chunky Annabelle is. And frankly I’m embarrassed by myself. Why am I comparing my kids to my friend’s kids when I could just be celebrating my kids for who they are?!

You see, I am 100% in love with Annabelle’s kissable, squishable rolls. I love that Coleton isn’t growing up too fast or talking up a storm yet. He’s my sweet snugly boy who is emerging out of his cocoon on his own timing. I’m straight up enamored with my kids.

When I’m alone, I cherish them well. We have fun in the sprinkler, reading, playing, tickling, eating, etc…and I’m constantly amazed at how they’re growing and changing. These little peeps are magnificent.

But the ugly thing about comparison is that it robs me of delighting in who they are today.

I’m calling BS on myself. I’m calling BS on our culture that obsesses over our kids wanting to be doctors at like age 12. I’m challenging myself and anyone else who is convicted of comparing your kids to their peers to STOP. Whether your kid is the next Einstein or 9 years behind developmentally….STOP COMPARING and START CELEBRATING.

Our kids are these wonderful little beings, and there is no human who has ever been or will be exactly like them. God healed my broken mentality of constant comparison to other women, and He has given me so much joy in parenting these kiddos. Therefore, I will not let comparison sneak into my mom life and rob me of any of that joy. Coleton and Annabelle and any future children God wants to give us will be celebrated by their mommy no matter what they do or who they are. They will be free to grow and learn at whatever rate they grow and learn. They will be free to play and be kids as long as they will stay young.

For those of you who do a wonderful job of not comparing your kids, thank you. You inspire me. For the rest of us, let’s celebrate exactly where our kids are. Today.

Someday, I will post a cute and funny convo. But for today, it’s time to go get C and AB out of their cribs and enjoy their jibberish and new words and sweet smiles. And that’s plenty for me.IMG_8202ps. riding the bus at church from the far parking lot to the building is pretty much Coleton’s favorite weekly activity. Therefore, it’s one of mine too. 😉

Do you ever struggle with comparison? Share in the comments how you fight back.

 

releasing anxiety

 

Cast your anxiety
It’s not a suggestion, it’s a commandment.

Sometimes, I feel anxiety creep up around me from out of nowhere. It’s not everyday, but it happens. At least weekly. Tightness in my chest. Restlessness. Uneasiness. To be honest, I don’t know why. I’m not in a desert season like I have been in the past, yet I find myself facing restlessness. Oh, humanity.

Anyone else?

A month ago I was exchanging emails with a friend who recently lost her baby. She had to hold her little one’s lifeless body in her trembling arms and say goodbye. Anxiety taunts her and threatens to suffocate. She is terrified of the future and the pain it might hold. She was asking how I kept on when I felt like I couldn’t face another day.

I remembered back to the days when I felt like God’s plan made no sense. When our children went to heaven…one after another…and I struggled so deeply. I was angry and frustrated. Trusting in the Lord didn’t come easily; I was more like hanging on for dear life.

Looking back, I see that God was holding me secure. I wasn’t overtaken because HE didn’t allow me to be done in by the trials that felt so much bigger than I could handle. I was His daughter and He cared way too much to let me be defeated.

I honestly don’t know how I made it through and I assure you, it wasn’t pretty.  But God brings us through stuff. And we’re changed.

As I was typing a response to my sweet friend, 1 Peter 5:7 flooded my heart with a truth that I, too, needed to hear that day.

Cast your anxiety upon the Lord.

The Bible doesn’t say, “Cast your anxiety on Him if you want to have less stress.” It says “Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Loving, yet authoritative.

 First, the command: “Cast your anxiety upon the Lord.”

It’s not optional. God says to do it. Cast it. Let go of it. Get down on your knees and ask him to help you release the gripping anxiety. If you don’t know what to say, tell him that.

“God, I don’t know what to say, but I know I need to let go of this. Help me. I don’t want it anymore. I know you care because the Bible says you do.”

Breathe in deeply. When you release your breath, release your anxiety to God. Breath has been given to us as a gift. Deep breathing calms. Short breathing stresses. As you continue this deep breathing, imagine yourself inhaling the peace of the Lord that surpasses understanding. Let His love wash over you.

When you feel that anxiety creeping back up (even if it’s 10 minutes later), get down on your knees and cast it off again.

Second, the why: “because he cares for you.”

I am so thankful God isn’t an old bearded dude in the sky! He is a tenderhearted Father who draws near to His children. He knows you by name and cares for you. He doesn’t want your life to be invaded by anxiety or worry even more than you don’t want that. He hates to see things steal your joy and hope.

steady your gaze

Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

God cares. Fill your heart with the truth of His word today. Blast that worship music. Pray. Surrender. Be still. Cast your stuff on Him because He cares way more than you know.

(I’m preaching to myself too.)

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved.”

Do you struggle with anxiety or worry? What is God asking you to lay at his feet today?

**Originally written for Mommies with Hope

Are you still living in winter? Spring is coming…

“As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” -Genesis 8:22


Red, yellow, purple, white, orange…flowers of every color! Walks around the block. Neon clothes. Hilighted hair. Shorts. Playing outside. Green grass. SWEAT!


SPRING (well, more like summer now) FINALLY CAME!! And a glorious, long awaited one it is after one of the longest, coldest winters on record.


{Insert, deep cleansing breath of fresh air!}


We all (at least here in Iowa) whined and moaned to one another, “It’s never going to end. Wah Wah Wah.”


The winter truly felt like it would never end, did it not?! And then one day day, I realized that the wind had blown in a little warmer air, and rain was falling instead of snow. Before I knew it, the grass I thought forever dead burst forth into the truest, most vibrant green I’ve seen in months. Wait…is that snow on the tree? No, it’s buds! Oh, look, there’s a tulip!

Hooray!


Through all of our moaning and groaning, we knew deep down that Spring was eventually coming. Because it always comes. But in the midst of winter, we forget what Spring feels like and it’s so easy to believe the lie that maybe it isn’t coming after all.


I remember one of my winter seasons well. It lasted much longer than four months…it was more like four years. My first three recurrent miscarriages…interspersed with months of struggling to get pregnant. I felt like I was broken. Like I wasn’t a true woman. Would this season of death ever end?


Characteristic of winter, I struggled with depression. God in His mercy gave me enough strength to put one foot in front of the other; He gave me the strength to trust that Spring would eventually come.


We pursued adoption and were chosen by a birth mommy! But then, it fell through. Imagine a blizzard in the dead of winter. We questioned whether there would ever be joy or sunshine again.


The dark and lonely days crept by…but we waited and trusted.


Then came the email..the one God knew was coming…the one he knew about from the very beginning. It was from a beautiful young lady who would become one of the most special people God has ever brought into our lives. She would ask us to adopt the baby boy in her belly; she had been wanting to ask but knew we were set to adopt the other baby.


Through our miscarriages and our failed adoption, God’s plan was being brought to fruition. The season was about to change.


That conversation with our birth momma was the first ray of sunshine peeking through the massive cloud cover. Through those last four months of “winter,” we were sustained.


The most long awaited Spring finally burst forth February 14th, 2012 as I held the hand of our birth-mommy and she delivered Coleton Samuel Ryan into the world. He was a tiny little guy at 6lbs, but you’d never know it by the weight of joy birthed in that hospital room.


Spring. But winter rallied. Three more miscarriages, and with them more deep pain that only God could meet us in. We had always wanted a big family, but this was not what we had in mind.


As we sought hard after the Lord and His plan, we felt just enough courage to try again…not to give up yet in our quest to have a biological child.


The seventh time, God sustained miss Annabelle Hope until her due date. On April 4th, 2013 Spring made another brilliant appearance in our lives.


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Spring always comes, but it doesn’t make the winter feel shorter or easier.


Hear me though: The longest, hardest winters make for the most beautiful Springs.

(Are we not all freaking out about how amazing this weather is after the most snowblower worthy winter ever?!)


Maybe Spring is bursting out like crazy in your life right now. Maybe it’s riiiiight around the corner…just a few more days or weeks. Maybe it’s still a long way away. But it will come.


As long as the Earth endures, the seasons will continue to turn. So hang in there.

(For now, join me in giddyness for heaven, when winter will be only a thing of the past)


“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” -Revelation 21:4


When your spring comes, it will be so worth the wait.



*This post was originally written for Mommies with Hope

Invention Series Part 3: the secret delivery box

It’s built into the wall. Invisible to baby and onlookers, but opens when you need it and works similarly to a bank tubey-shooty-thing…

I would send passies. I would send blankies. I would send a bottle. And maybe the occasional snack.

I’m all for baby snuggles, but you know how sometimes your baby is almost asleep and then she loses her favorite little passie device? But you going in there results in her jumping up and down cribside, excited that you might be getting her out? (even when she is super tired and needs the nap…)

This. happens. all. the. time.

I call this invention the passie/blankie delivery service, aka

secret delivery box

It’s also fun to send books and toys to surprise baby with fun activities if he or she is up way earlier than you would like to get him or her out of the crib. You can also use it for when your kid grows up, like when they’re hardcore grounded. You can send them bread and water, and they can send you their completed essay on why they shouldn’t drink or do whatever they were grounded for.

Yeah. Someone needs to start building this into walls. ❤

Thanks in advance.

Wakey, Wakey

Hear me out: You can become a morning person.

Wah wah wah wah wah. I know you think you can’t, but I promise you can!

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the book “Early to Rise Experience.” It was a great read, and it reinforced lots of things I already knew and believed about waking up early. It also gave me a few good tricks and tips to continue with my early-rising-habit.

After going public with my early morning habits, I’ve gotten lots of feedback from you saying, “I’m just not a morning person.” or “I should read that book and try it.” Followed by confessions a few weeks later that you didn’t follow through. Yes, you, wrinkling your nose and scrunching your lips together…I’m talking to you. You can still do it. Even if you tried and failed.

Here’s a quick break down of why you should do it.

 

how

 

 

 

Disclaimer** Early rising is not advised if you are pregnant or grieving. Both are legitimate physical conditions that really take a toll on your mental and physical need for sleep. No need to feel guilty…just Zzzz. Your days to rise before the sun will come again.

Love, your sappy sappy mommy

Dear Coleton,

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Cutie boy, C Bear, C baby, bubba, brother bear:

I write you this so you can look back and see what little 2 year old you was like, and of course as an excuse to shower my sappy mommy love on you:

Words could never describe how much I love you, but I will wholeheartedly give it a shot anyway.

The level of excitement and joy the moon brings you seems similar to the excitement and joy I feel every single morning when I see your beautiful face and sweet, sleepy eyes.

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The way you love your little sissy, “baby” in your words, makes me melt like a snowman in a tanning bed. I dare not say “AB” or “Annabelle” while she is sleeping, or you will remember that she isn’t playing with you and go BUST into her room with the biggest, sweetest “HI” known to man. :o) It always wakes her up, even from a deep sleep, and she is so excited to see you. She adores you, C bear, and I can’t wait to see you two grow up together. What an amazingly unexpected blessing you both are to your daddy and me.

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It takes all the strength and self control I can muster to say no to you when you ask for a cookie in your adorable little voice. “Cook!” “Peas” as you rub your little hand on your tummy for the sign lanugage of please…usually because I wasn’t careful enough to keep a cookie out of your sight! You won’t understand until you have a little you of your own how much you want to give your little one everything he wants. Everything! I want the world for you, C bear! I pray you will look back someday and see that daddy’s and my discipline or withholding was always for your good.

You have taught me patience in so many ways. Not only have you tested and sssstttrrretttchhheddd my patience with your almost-2-year-old-tantrums (which really aren’t that bad…although I shouldn’t speak too soon..), but you have modeled patience for me! You will play in your crib for hours! If you aren’t tired at naptime, you just play happily or lay down and snuggle with your blankie and bunny. You don’t mind if I get you out of your crib at 6:30am or 8:30am. Your laidback-ness AMAZES ME! It’s such a blessing. Now that we see how high maintenance your princessy sissy can sometimes be, we realize how lucky we were and are to have chill-little-you!

You have taught me how to love Scotchie well. “Scotch” was one of your first 5 words, and it was as clear as day, even though you took your time talking about other things! Seeing the way you cuddle your heart out with and BELLY LAUGH around Scotch makes me love him more, especially so he can be around a long time for you. He is your best buddy and it’s one of the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. As a former pet-hater, I never thought I would hear myself say that.

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Busses are your favorite. I will never look at a city bus or a school bus again without thinking of you! Bus was one of the first words you said regularly, and you say it passionately (sometimes with an adorable lisp.) You also have a crazy good Bus-dar! You can spot a bus from a mile away!

Your second favorite toy is a good ol’ dump truck-the bigger the better, but trains illicit quite a bit of excitement too. Let’s be real, nothing on wheels can squeak past you without you snatching it up and hoarding it around the room. You love to hold things in your hands! Buttons, cars, fruit snacks (which you still don’t care for at all!), toy screws…really anything you can carry around. When sissy tries to play with any of your special toys, you get a little possessive. We’re still working on that. 🙂

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I love the uniqueness that makes you you, buddy. I love how you stand up instead of sit down during your baths. I love the way you still want to be carried down the stairs, even though you’ve been going down them safely since 10 months old. I love how cautious you are, yet how quick you are to run and play when we drop you off at childcare for church, the Y, or a friend’s house. I love the way you suction to us like a starfish when we go swimming together. I love the way you suck your thumb when you see something soft. This goes for a soft blanket, a stranger’s dog, and especially our dog. You’re so good at matching letters and shapes, and you love to see how things work…opening and closing doors constantly. I can’t wait to see what you will do for a career someday!

I love the way you like to help me make your oatmeal every morning, and you eat it the same way every single day. I love how you stick your perfect little forehead out for my kisses.Image

It’s amazing to me how in the last month you have gone from saying maybe 5 words not consistently to saying SO SO MUCH! You are constantly amazing me. I love that YOU are the first child I will see “grow up.” You get to be the big brother! You are going to be such an amazing role model for your little sissy (and hopefully someday more brothers and sisters too!)

Most mommies can’t say they got to watch their child be birthed into the world, and not one SECOND of that experience do I take for granted. Two years ago today I stood in that warm hospital room, holding the hand of your strong, amazing birth mommy as she pushed you out with all the love and strength in the world. I remember your white blonde hair. There you were! The tiniest (6lb 3oz) little munchkin I had ever laid eyes on, and your heart-stopping little scream was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. That room was EXPLODING with love, and not just because it was Valentine’s day. Your birth mommy is an amazing woman, and we thank God every single day that He chose her as the special person to bring you into your family. She loves you so much!

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You know who else loves you more than life itself? Your daddy. The night you were born He was waiting right outside the hospital room so he could hear your first cry! He got to come in and meet you SO SOON after you entered the world! HE IS SO PROUD TO BE YOUR DAD! You should see the way he looks at you after you go to sleep. I hope you grow up to follow Christ and love your wife the way he does. I pray that you would follow in his footsteps, Coleton! 

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C bear, daddy and I have been praying for you long before we even met you! We didn’t know if or when we would ever have a child, but here you are! YOU are our firstborn son, and you are our miracle boy. We praise God everyday for his perfect plan, and pray every night that your little life would be used for His glory and fame. 

Your life verses are 1 Samuel 1:27-28 “For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what me asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord. And [we] worshipped the Lord there.”

Happy 2nd Birthday Coleton Samuel. I love you.
Love ALWAYS,

your sappy sappy Mommy

 

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i SO don’t have it all together

Hi guys. Long time no write.

On Monday I was chatting with my AMAZING INSPIRING WRITER FRIEND, and I had an epiphany. I HAVE LOTS OF IRONS IN THE FIRE.

Maybe you’re like, “DUH! I could have told you that.”

Maybe you don’t know anything other than that I’m training for a marathon (because that’s all I’ve been blogging about lately) but yeah. I am trying to accomplish a lot right now.

And surprisingly, I don’t feel like I’m about to burst into tears or freak out on an innocent bystander/hubby/child. (No promises, though…breakdowns are typically unforseen…)

IMG_8538(Photo by Stephanie Michelle Photography)

But, I’m FAR from PUT TOGETHER and I’m FARRRRRRrrrrrr from PERFECT and I just wanted to put it out there that I SO don’t have it all together. Here are 3 places in my life where corners are being cut and where my guilt is usually festering:

1) Hair. As I was admiring a friend’s curled hair the other day, I realized that it had been weeks since I had blow-dried my hair. WEEKS! (Insert hairdresser cheering for no heat damage!) But seriously, air dried or wet messy bun it was. Where even are my hair dryer/curling iron?! OH, in my bag from our Aruba trip! (That huge suitcase I still haven’t unpacked…3 weeks later!) I probably spend an average of 12 minutes getting ready every day, and that’s on the days I shower. It’s not that I don’t care, but I feel like it’s just something that I don’t have time for. I’m sorry to my amazingly handsome hubby. I will try to style my hair better for you…even though you’re sweet and never mention my nappy locks  😉 We all know the best place to go for hairspiration…PINTEREST!!!

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 3.01.20 PMHow much money would I give to have hair that looks like this? So so so much. Like 5 months worth of my slush fund in a heartbeat if my hair could look like this everyday.

 

2) Dinners. Lately I have really fallen short on dinner prep. That could possibly the understatement of the year. I am embarrassed to count up how many delicious dinners I have cooked in 2014, it’s probably count-able on my fingers. We have eaten many a pizza, frozen Sam’s meal, and hodge podge sandwich/salad/rice+chicken/whateveryoucanfind-type-o-meals. Compared to all of our friends (90% of who eat perfectly Paleo), this makes me feel like a failure. We keep it relatively healthy, but not compared to the people I compare myself to. *sigh*

3) Cleaning. Need I say more? It’s mostly our room that gets the most fallout. I have done a TON better in the rest of the house lately, I think thanks to weekly small group meetings, a SUPER helpful babysitter, and having more energy on the whole. But I’m no Martha Stewart.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 3.09.25 PMThis is very much not my bedroom. 😉

I write this post because I have been comparing myself to lots of people lately: People who blog more often than once every couple weeks…people with beautifully styled hair…people with spic’n’span houses and who feed their family and dogs paleo.

I just want you to encourage you to NEVER compare yourself to me, or anyone else! None of us are perfect.We all fall short and we all feel guilty, and I am at the top of the list. (Currently working on getting my guilt levels more under control and giving myself more grace).

I write to remind myself that it’s okay. Humans weren’t created to be perfect. If we were perfect, we would be God. And clearly, we are not. Have you seen a sunrise lately?!

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So TODAY,  let’s raise our mugs to our humanity…and tomorrow (or sometime soon) I’ll fill you in on the irons I do have in the fire, hopefully inspiring you to reach for your dreams like I am. Remember…I have the crazy hair to prove it.

Marathon Monday: I feel tough. I feel empowered. I run.

“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” -Robert Schuller

I’m going to go ahead and say that I am tough. Why? Well, because two days ago I got up at 6:30 am and ran 10 miles (my longest run yet) outside. It was snowy. The wind howled by at 25 mph. Hardest core of all, the windchill was -14. At least that’s what my phone said…before it froze to death around mile 6. =( (I was sad not only to lose my GPS, but also to be left hanging in the middle of an amazing Matt Chandler sermon). Luckily by that point I had met up with some lovely ladies from the QCMRTT (mom’s run this town) group and they were able to track our distance and pace.

I’ve missed a few weeks of “Marathon Monday” on the blog, but I haven’t missed a week of running! Mile by mile, I am training my way toward the Nashville Rock N’ Roll Marathon on April 26th. (3 months…eeek!)

The weekly 3-5 mile runs vary from feeling easy to feeling like the worst run of my life, but I just keep putting one foot in front of another. Building up my tolerance. Stretching my lung capacity. Training my heart, my legs, my feet.

Even on days like Saturday when I worry about getting frostbite on my toes and nose, and when my 3 layers on top & 2 pairs of pants don’t keep me warm…I can honestly say that RUNNING MAKES ME FEEL ALIVE.

I really missed it, and I’m so glad that I’m on this marathon journey. It’s quite empowering to train for what I used to see as completely unattainable.

It has not been easy, but it has already been so worth it. The habits are slowly forming, making it slightly easier. But seriously, is it ever going to be easy to get out from under warm covers and workout? I think not ;o)

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What are you working toward in your life? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, break it down into baby steps. Make a plan and don’t give up! Tomorrow is a new day.

Overwhelmed anyone?

Sometimes I go from “totally good” to “SUPER OVERWHELMED!” in about 10 seconds. Anyone else?

I have so many goals that I feel like are really important and I want to accomplish them all at once.

The most exciting one for me is writing…but this entails more than just finishing my book. In a perfect world, I would be blogging 3+ times/week, speaking, reading and commenting on agent’s and author’s blogs, submitting proposals, meeting with women to talk through their stories and publishing some articles on the side. Um, how do I decide how those precious 1-2 hours each day will be spent?! How do I even prioritize them?!

I’m excited about running too, but time is precious and I’m nervous about the time commitment getting more intense as the marathon gets closer. It doesn’t help that I am clutzy and I get unexpected injuries when I try to jump hurdles in the house.

Then there’s the babes. I love them SO SO much…so between naptimes, working for Kev/writing (15 hours/wk), youth group, and date nights…I MISS THEM! I’ve heard it said before “I love them so much I could just eat them.” That’s pretty much how I feel. (especially when they’re being sweet….like in this pic 🙂

I always want to be spending more time with the Lord…and I don’t want to see this pushed to the bottom of the priority list either.

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Authors/writers/speakers….I am equally impressed and perplexed by your dedication and accomplishment! HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

Oh, I think I’m also supposed to be Christmas shopping for 25 people?! And cleaning…cooking dinner? HAHAHA.

Just feeling a little overwhelmed by the world today, especially because it’s one of those days where the babes are taking turns waking each other up. NOT. COOL.

I think I need some holy yoga and deeper breathing in my life.

Advice?