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Small Beginnings

Sometimes God whispers.   Perhaps He always whispers?

His voice is gentle and full of hope.

Lately, the phrase “don’t despise small beginnings” has been playing on repeat in my heart.

“Don’t despise small beginnings.”  Gentle and hopeful…

Starting in June of 2009, a series of events occurred in my life that totally derailed everything.

For three and a half years, I was living in survival mode, tending only to the most important things.  Things like budgets and exercise programs felt unattainable.   Things like  feeding and loving my kids and maintaining my marriage took priority.

Honestly, I could not handle any more than that.

I could barely handle that.

The rest of my emotional energy was spent just trying to keep from plummeting into the depths of depression

Thankfully, things are much better now!

I can breathe again…

However, there is a lot to catch up on.  I still haven’t lost the baby weight.  Our finances need to be better managed.  Our house needs to be more organized.  I want to be a better and more consistent writer.

I feel overwhelmed…  ALL. THE. FREAKING.TIME.

Then I hear “don’t despise small beginnings.” Gentle and hopeful…

So, I exercise 15 minutes a day and keep a food journal.  That is ALL I am going to do.

We wrote a budget (again)and we are keeping better track of our money. However,  we are NOT going all Dave Ramsey crazy.

I devote one afternoon a week to writing.  It’s practice and it’s therapy.

Small beginnings… Very small beginnings.

Do you feel overwhelmed?

It’s ok.  I do too.  I think God would speak the same thing to you.

“Don’t despise small beginnings.” Gentle and hopeful…

Do what you can.  If you are in a season where you are doing all that you can, be at peace.

The season will end.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1

Confessions of a Less Than Perfect Mom

So, this whole “mom” thing is kind of hard for me.  I keep waiting for the “I was made for this” epiphany to take place.

Still waiting…

Sure, I have those wonderful moments.  You know the ones.  They are rare and last about 2 seconds. The house is clean, the bills are paid, dinner is in the crock-pot, and the kids are contently playing with each other.  Then, just when I am about to congratulate myself, Asha screams from the other room.  I run towards her.  Clearly, someone is murdering her…

As it turns out, the house is no longer clean… they dumped ALL the toys and squished ALL the goldfish deep into the carpet.  Asha will now scream for at least 30 minutes because Josiah took just ONE of her many necklaces.  Of course, he needs it to rescue Batman from the water…

Most of the time I feel like one of those Greyhound dogs at the race track.  They run hard after that rabbit but they never catch it.  My “rabbit” is contentment.

Such an elusive little rabbit.

Here is my big secret…. I wasn’t made for this. 

Were you?  

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I love my kids and would give my life for them. If I could go back in time and choose again, I would choose them a million times.

That said, being a mother means laying down almost everything that makes me feel like myself… the very things I do feel like I was made to do.

I know I am not the only mom that feels out of her element when it comes to motherhood.

Right?

Not many talk about it because of ugly “mom guilt.”

Here’s the thing, admitting that you don’t fit the mom mold doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids!

Admitting that being a mother does not fulfill your every desire does not make you a bad mom.

So, here I am admitting all those things.

My journey as a mother has not been all cupcakes and rainbows but one thing is for sure…

THEY ARE WORTH IT!

Picture Perfect

My life is not picture perfect.  I’m guessing yours isn’t either. However, social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest can give the impression that EVERYBODY else’s life is picture perfect, while mine or yours is kinda messy.

I wonder sometimes, how many people spend their lives pursuing a commercialized or social media driven perception of happiness? All the while, taking their potentially fulfilling real lives for granted.

I’ve used Facebook for a few years and I have watched everyday snapshots become more and more professional looking and commercialized.   It makes me wonder if we are subconsciously (or consciously) using social media to “market” a certain perception of ourselves rather than to share our reality?

If you could see a snapshot of my life at this very moment, you would see me sitting on the couch in a sweatshirt with no make-up.  The mess from lunch is still all over the kitchen.  There are toys everywhere.  Asha’s crazy curly hair is starting to dread because I haven’t washed it for a few days and she has snot on her face because I can’t keep her from wiping it straight up into her hair.  Yuck!  I probably won’t post our picture on Facebook today!

We post the highlights and occasionally the rants but not the “ugly” stuff.  Nobody puts “I forgot to pay my credit card last month and Citibank called me 75 times today and keeps calling even after I paid it” on their status.

Yep, that happened to me!  Why didn’t I post it? Because it’s kind of embarrassing ..what will people think of me?  They might think I’m so disorganized, I can’t even pay my bills on time. They would be a little bit right and I would rather hide that fact.

So, instead I/we post things like… “My husband is so awesome, he did such and such”  OR “My kid got 120% on everything and reads 200 books everyday…” it becomes easy to believe that everyone is perfect and happy when we only see their highlights and when they only see ours.  Then we compare our reality to other people’s highlights and we feel like a huge mess.

I do that all the time.

Perhaps I am the only one?  Probably not!

The truth is- Nobody’s life is perfect.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  We post our strengths on Facebook and feel bad when someone else’s strength reminds us of our weakness.

The last few years, Jaison and I have been kind of just holding on.  Desperately trying not to fall into the grips of rejection, grief, anxiety and depression.  It’s much better now and there is starting to be “room” for more in our lives.  However, for a long season we just did what was necessary to stay afloat.  We kept it simple.  No elaborate projects or traditions. Just the basics.

Soooooooo, no fancy pictures of our house, yard, baby nursery, Christmas traditions, vacations, etc…

I’ll admit, I often have felt bad when I have seen other people’s pictures of their projects and traditions.  I have felt like I was somehow cheating my kids because they don’t have chandeliers and murals in their rooms or mischievous elves stalking them.

Here’s the truth- IT DOESN’T MATTER! 

We made it through a horrible season of life while maintaining a simple but happy life for our children and a growing marriage. Our kids are happy, we have made some great memories and we have learned some awesome lessons.

There is no way to take a picture of that.

If there was, it probably wouldn’t be pretty. It would be all messy, blurry, totally unprofessional and I would love it.  I would love it even more than a professional picture that made me look really skinny!  I would love it because it’s my REAL life. Someone else might look at it and think “ugh, what a terrible picture”  but I will always know the beauty of it.

What would your real life picture look like?

A Little Story and A Product Review

Fair warning-this post is about “girl stuff” but is not graphic or offensive!  

Just for the record (in case someone fails to read to the end) I am NOT pregnant!!!!

A week or so ago, I suspected there may be a Samuel baby #3 in the works.  So, I went to Target to pick up a test.  I was feeling a little thrifty that day, so I opted for the Up & Up brand (Target)  box of three, instead of going with my usual preference for First Response Early Result.

I took my tests home and did what was necessary.  Despite being quite experienced in using these tests, I actually read the directions and followed them to the letter, since this was my first time using this brand.  Sure enough, after a minute or so, there was a blue line!  I am sure all of my blood drained into my feet and I almost passed out.  After all, positive is positive… Right?  Right?

I used all three tests and all three were clearly positive!  Jaison and I were bracing ourselves for all that would come with another pregnancy and baby… Then I decided to buy a box of my preferred brand of test, just to confirm.  The first one was negative.  What??  So was the second one as well as the third one.  What the heck?? All of this was happening over the course of several days. 

I was quite confused because I know that the First Response tests are MORE sensitive than the Up & Up tests, so they should have been showing a positive result.  I decided to google Up & Up brand tests and found that there are TONS of people online complaining about false positives!

As it turns out, I am not pregnant!  I have always believed that false positives are VERY rare, but I had three of them in a couple of days!  I am not sharing this because I enjoy sharing the intimate details of my life on the internet.  I’m sharing because a false positive could be devastating to a couple struggling with infertility.  A false positive could also have a devastating effect on someone trying not to conceive.  Everyone who reads this should pass this info on to their friends.  I plan on contacting Target but they already know about the problem and are still selling the tests.

The good thing is this gave Jaison and I a glimpse into our own hearts.  We have been going back and forth about having a third baby for some time now.   When we thought I was pregnant, we were both excited about the “baby” but disappointed with the timing.  When we found out that I am not pregnant, we were disappointed that there is no baby but relieved about the timing.  So, I guess we can all expect that there will be a Samuel baby #3 in the works sometime soon (ish)!

Moral of the story? NEVER, EVER buy an Up & Up (Target) brand pregnancy test!