Friday, December 14, 2012


I'm going to try and make as much sense as possible here right now.
 My heart is heavy and my mind is swirling with a lot of thoughts. 
And to top it off, as if I needed one more distraction,
my husband is sitting next to me watching Men in Black III, with the volume up way to high.
So here I go...

Today I was at the Children's Museum with Maximo, Gabriel, Eli, and the little girl that I care for each day, Tya. It took a lot of courage to bring four kids, all by myself. My father-in-law was supposed to come with, but he had to cancel. I had already told the kids the day before that we were going, and had used the "if you don't [fill in the blank] then we are NOT going to the museum tomorrow!" too many times. So I felt obligated to get those excited children to the stinkin' museum.

I was still mad today, about something DUMB from the night before, and had to vent to my BFFE about it. So I texted her to call me asap. She called me and I told her all the DUMB things I was still mad about. And she says "oh. This is why you are calling me? I thought you were calling me about what happened in Connecticut." What happened in Connecticut?!  "The mass shooting." Again, the what?! She goes on to explain in little detail about what had happened. My silly anger from the day before quickly dissipated as my world felt like is was at a surreal stand-still. I glanced at my four sweet children and I saw them in a different light.

My job as a parent is to protect my kids, and I take that so seriously. But it is not all up to me. It is not only up to me (and Matt, too, of course) to protect our three boys. We are not in this alone. God's got us covered. And that is such a relief. I trust God's ways are higher than mine. And I believe that in the moments that I am not with my boys, that God is there with them.

All of these shootings are filling people with so much anger and fear. I get it. I totally get it. Unfortunately we live in a messed up world that is filled with awful, evil people and horrific tragedies that take place daily. But during these times, I don't need to figure out all the why's and  what-if's. I need to not try and find the answers on my own. I need to not be fearful, and I need to not allow my head to be filled with the multiple scenarios that could some day touch my babies. Right now I need to turn to my Almighty God for peace and  hope. I need to raise my babes the best I know how, teach them to make good choices, discipline in a way that is aligned with the desires of God's heart, and stand firm in the belief that I am not in this alone. My children's well-being is not up to me. And that is a good thing, because I am completely incapable of doing this parenting thing perfectly.

My heart goes out to the families that have been affected by what has happened today. I am praying for those in Connecticut. I am loving on my boys. I am thanking God that they are all under our roof tonight: healthy, happy, resting in warm beds, and untouched by the ugliness that lingers in the world right outside of our doors.

  “For He has said, 
“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” 
So that we may boldly say, 
“The Lord is my Helper,” 
and I will not fear what man shall do to me.”
Hebrew 13:5b,6

Thursday, December 6, 2012

...that it only hurts as much as it has to...

When I was days away from having Max (one of the most amazing, and also one of the most terrifying, experiences of my life) a friend of mine told me "I will pray that it only hurts as much as it has to." I remember  walking away from him thinking, "wow, that is really wise..." And as I was going through the traumatic experience that brought my amazing boy in to the world, I remember thinking, "wow. this really, really hurts. How am I not DYING RIGHT NOW!?!?!?!" My labor exceeded 26 hours, and after a failed epidural and the inability to dilate 2 more centimeters, I was rushed in to a c-section. Don't worry, This post is not all about failed birth plans and c-section controversies. Whatever. I'm over all that now. This post is about that simple blessing. That is only hurts as much as it has to.

Since then, I have prayed that over many mamas that I love in the moments that they are having babies. And I have encouraged moms by telling them that little piece of wisdom when they ask what labor is like and how much it hurts. Until now, I've only used those wise words in the context of births. But starting now, I am using it to get me through this season I am walking through right now.

This is a hard season. It's a season I feel kind of alone in, because not a lot of people no one can relate. No one has walked through this, under the same circumstances as me. Sierra.

Christmas is supposed to be happy and cheery. It's supposed to be filled with new memories and old traditions. It's supposed to be beautiful and memorable. Especially in our case since it's the first Christmas in our new house! And we have three excited boys that melt with pure joy the minute we just even turn on the Christmas lights. Holy cow. And they look at each and every ornament as if it is the most amazing treasure to be found on this earth. Then they use them to shoot at each other. Or as balls to be thrown.

When we all moved from our big multi-family house (where we lived with my parents from right before Max was born to December 6th the year after dad died) we inherited most of the Christmas ornaments. There are ornaments in there that are as old as I am. Each and every one tells a story and has history. I'm not even super sentimental (at least I don't think I am...) As Matt unpacked the little ornaments and the kids started hanging them on the tree, this great sadness came over me. As I saw the names and dates written on the backs of some of them, I just started to ache. Wow, I remember what had happened that year, and how that sibling was impacted, and how they must have felt at that Christmas. I remember how I loved the doll one, or how mom always told that story about that one, or how we got dad the stupid chef dog one. Or the meaning behind the trout one. Or how creative our mom was when she sewed a bunch of cute home-made birds and little ladies...

And now life looks different. Dad is gone. Gil is in Chicago. I have my own family now. Mom has a new husband. And it hurts. A lot. I ache for the good ol' days. But I am so grateful for what these days right now hold. It's a crazy mix of emotions. We are trying to find the new "norm" and we're seeking out new traditions, and a new way of doing things. Change is good, but it's never easy, right? As my mom and I were processing through how this all has such a different impact on each of us experiencing it, I really felt like the Lord brought that idea back to me. That it only hurts as much as it has to.

It's going to hurt, because we are still dealing with loss and grief. But I can choose to allow God to strengthen me and comfort me through it. I can choose to not let my emotions run wild. I can choose to only let it hurt as much as it has too, and not any more than that.

So, today is a new day. Yesterday was hard, but His grace is sufficient. One day at a time. I want to enjoy these days with my family, and not suffer through them....and not feel guilty that I don't have a super happy smile the whole time, or a beautiful advent calendar, and an elf on a shelf, and a million gifts for my kids and a perfect Christmas tree and all the pintrest yadda yadda yadda like the perfect moms... :)

If you are one of those perfect moms, not judging you, just kinda jealous. just kinda.

I have high hopes that this Christmas is going to turn out just fine. My kids are going to be happy no matter what. And that is all that matters.

Christmas morning last year. Can't wait to post pics this year in our new house!