April 8, 2014


Three years have passed since I began this parenting gig.

March 28 was the big day.  This birthday has been, by far, the most anticipated one yet.  He asked daily if he was three yet, if he was a BIG BOY yet.  Because that's what we told him.

When you turn three, you're going to be a big boy and are going to have to go potty like a big boy.

Yes.  The dreaded potty training that started and stopped and has started again, once an for all.  And darn it, he'll get it one of these days.

Not long after his birthday, Jude says, almost sadly "I'm still little Mommy!"  Yes, you are little, but you are bigger than you were yesterday!  And then he says, "I'm still growing."  Yes, you are.  

"Are you growing, too, Mommy?"

I almost said no.

But the question jerked my heart in a way I didn't expect.  

Yes, Mommy is still growing too.  Every day.  Just like you.

I remember holding Jude in my arms for the very first time.  Afraid in a way, and absolutely captivated by this little person I had NO IDEA I could love so deeply.  Privileged to have the responsibility of raising this little guy into a man.  And truly... clueless.

I had no idea how parenthood would grow me.

How, even more than marriage, I'd see my own selfishness and pride.  How I'd have to, literally, put my life aside for someone else.  And I had no idea about the blessing that comes with sacrifice.  

I think I used to believe that parents knew what they were doing.  That there was a method to the madness and everyone did what they did and were confident in their decisions.  I now know that this isn't true. Because, no matter how many kids I have, I will always be a first-time parent to Jude.  He will always be my guinea pig, and praise the Lord for anything I have done right.  Because there has been a lot of growing and learning and trial and error.  

As I begin this journey of having a three-nager (such a perfectly descriptive word, am I right?), I am still growing as a Mama.  Every day.  Just like Jude.  I pray that my growing involves patience and kindness and all of the other fruits that I daily lack.  I pray that I grow in dependence on God and confidence in Him and the intuition he gave me as a parent.  

I see how Jude has changed me from the person I was three years ago.  For the better.  So much better.  Not because it was easy.  If anything, it has showed me how, at the very core, we all need Jesus.

Happy THIRD Birthday, my sweet boy Jude!  There is no one else I'd want as my first boy.

February 7, 2014

Writing is a gift

I'm out of the practice of writing.  I can barely squeeze this out in 5 minutes.  But if I know one thing.  To be a better writer, just write. Write.  And write some more.  Keep coming back.  And that in itself is rewarding.

Writing has been a part of my life nearly as long as I could form letters and put them in order.  I remember as a 3rd and 4th grader, making books out of blank computer paper and creating story after story.  I started my first diary in 5th grade, and the habit never ended.  I have book after book after book filled with memories, raw emotions, questions, doubts, and answered prayers.  

I had mostly thought of writing as a selfish thing.  Not in a bad, fleshly way, but more as a habit that I do for myself and kept to myself.  I wrote an online journal before I ever read another person's blog.  It was still just for me.  All that changed when blogs entered my life.  I realized that reading others stories was encouraging and healing.  Their vulnerability encouraged me to be vulnerable and bold in my own writing.  

Last week, while visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Jamaica, I had the rare opportunity to start, and finish, a book.  So very rare in this stage of my life.  But I just devoured Anne Lammott's Bird by Bird.  She is hilarious, sarcastic, and so insightful into what it is to reap the rewards as a writer.  One chapter specifically, put a totally new spin on my perspective of writing.

She said, writing is a gift.

She told the story of how she kept record in words of the journey of her father's illness.  A book that he was able to read prior to his death.  She was able to do the same for a friend suffering through cancer.  A published book of their life together honoring her friendship and journey.  She, too, was able to read prior to her death.

I don't know why I never realized it before.  That my words, my stories and memories, could possibly be the most precious gift to my loved ones.

For me to record my journey as a mother, as a wife, as a follower of Christ.  To remember and honor God's goodness throughout my life and pass it along to my family, my kids, and anyone else whose life I may have the blessing of touching.  This is a gift that never fades, goes out of style, or is irrelevant.  What an inspiration!

I am beginning to see this as one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my kids.  And that is motivating.

Five Minute Friday

January 7, 2014

2014 in a word

In the recent months, I've been reading the book Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  [Sidenote: These two ladies have been more of an encouragement to me as a Mama through their books that I can really say.  They understand and communicate the struggle and blessing of motherhood better than any other I've read.  Highly recommend.]

Sarah Mae is honest about her struggle with self-discipline, and this has been a consistent, embarrassing struggle for me.  There are many times I feel like, hey, I'm an adult.  I should just suck it up and do what needs to be done.

But the laundry still piles.  The bathroom goes too long without getting cleaned.  And the to-do list only seems to get longer.

I'm running all day, but sometimes I worry that I must be lazy if I struggle to get some of these basic things done.

I feel like much of my struggle revolves around home-making.  Running the household.  And since I would consider my job title to be Mother and Homemaker for the next 18 plus years, this is an area I really would like to improve in.

Sarah Mae talks about self discipline and in one chapter she just says simply "resolve to do it".  I think she was talking about reading the Word every day, but this phrase "resolve to do it" just stuck with me.

Resolving to do something is being faithful in the things that are hard.  It is saying, "this isn't easy for me, but it is important.  And I'm committed."  It is being steadfast.

And this, my friends, is my word for 2014.

I like the first two definitions especially.  To be fixed in direction.  A steadfast gaze.  My prayer is that my eyes would be on eternal, kingdom things.  I was telling my hubby tonight that I feel like comfort and distraction are two of the enemy's favorite tools on us in this western culture.  I want to engage in the battle for hearts.

And to be firm in purpose, resolution, faith.  There are a lot of areas that I want to be firm in purpose, or intentional, about.  My marriage, my parenting, my scripture study, of course.  Sometimes it is hard to be firm in purpose in these areas.

I want to consider what blesses my husband and be steadfast in those things.  Clean socks.  Dinner served.  Waking up to have breakfast with him.  It's the small things.

In my parenting, I want to resolve to slow down (and not feel guilty when I do).  Read more.  Yell less.  Play often.  Keep on praying for these little people under my roof.

And I want to develop a vision for homemaking and be intentional in what matters (laundry, food, ya know) and not be so hard on myself in the areas that truly can slide.  I want to view it through the lens of blessing my family.  What most blesses them?  And be faithful in that.

Steadfast.  One foot in front of the other.  Small commitments to love and bless with purpose and intention.  All while the gaze is fixed on the eternal.  This is my prayer for 2014.

January 5, 2014

hello, hello again


Well, hello there.  This is awkward.

Do you kind of feel like I stood you up for a coffee date?  Or said I'd meet you at a book club or a yoga class and never showed?

I don't blame you if you do.  And I'm sorry.  I don't have a good excuse for completely cutting out of my 31 days of finding freedom, except to perhaps share the advice to not commit to 31 days of writing spontaneously at 11pm the night before the first post is due, with not much of a plan at all.  And also, realizing that sharing my journey to finding freedom was more intense, and that posting then would have been a bit premature.

In any case.  I'm here.

Hello.  I've missed you.

And Happy New Year.

My journey to finding freedom is far from over.

It is easy to be jealous and discontent.  To wallow in guilt, even.  It is much harder to choose truth and love.  A righteous life doesn't just happen.  It is trusting God, instead of how I feel.  A life fully alive in the Lord begins with faithfulness in the smallest of things.  Choosing thoughts that are pure and lovely.  Words that encourage and edify.  Actions that serve and love.  Doing what is wise and best, instead of what is easy.

There is freedom in this heart work.   An end to our bondage through Christ.  We just have to choose it to receive it.  This is about where I have landed after my finding freedom journey from October.

January is just another month, but there is something inspiring about a fresh number atop the calendar.  An opportunity to make 2014 the year that this or that changed or happened or was dreamed.

Which leads me to my word of the year for 2014....

... which I will share later this week.  Because I need to redeem myself and I have no intention of standing you up once again.

It's good to be back, friends.  Are you living free?
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