Thursday, January 30, 2014 things were supposed to be

A friend of mine posted this today on Facebook and it struck me.

I don't really agree that our perfect pictures are what screw us up the most. But. They can screw us up pretty bad.

I was talking to a new friend last night about a season I was in a few years ago. 

With toddlers and a brand new baby.
All I did was nurse. Peel wrappers off of string cheese. Fill sippy cups. Change diapers. Cut crusts off sandwiches. Wash dishes. All while husband was getting to go out and work, have a ministry life, having contact with adults and getting to leave the house everyday.

There were many days that I was mad (or maybe just jealous?) That wasn’t what I had signed up for. When we got married I was in school to fulfill my dream of being a marriage and family therapist. I wanted to change lives and help people. I was going to pick my babes up from daycare and bring home a paycheck. I didn't have plans to be a stay-at-home-mom. I had done my time as a nanny. I did my time raising kids as big sister in a big family and then for a year as a volunteer in Mexico mothering 14 little girls. I couldn't wait to be a working mama.

So I was pissed. 'Cause this was not how it was supposed to be.

And a couple years before that... marriage. Mine was not how marriage was supposed to be. I had a husband that suffered severely from depression, anxiety and years of heavy baggage. He found every way possible to escape the hardships of our marriage. Video games, internet... etc. etc. 

We were a mess. We almost called it quits. This was not how it was supposed to be.

I feel like so many things in life 
disappoint us because they contradict the ideas and expectations that we still hold from childhood: pictures of what our lives were supposed to look like when we grew up. 

Luckily, it is deeply embedded in my utmost being that I am a long suffering and merciful fighter. 

So I persevered - got through those early years of being lonely, at home, and stuck 25 minutes outside of the city. But now? My world has opened up and it is expanding as my children get older and my husband continues to encourage my personal growth and new opportunities. I'm doing things now that I never would have imagined I'd be doing. 

I fought hard for my marriage and for my husband. Thank God I did. Our marriage is so strong now. And we have three amazing kids that would never have entered into the world had we not worked through the messiness and muck of hard marital circumstances. 

So. Bottom line (if you are asking me) ?
Get rid of the pictures in your head of how things were supposed to be. 

Work with what you got. 

So. Just wanted to share what was on my mind today. What are your thoughts?

A guest post.

It's funny. This week two of my friends have contacted me with the desire to share on my blog. I'm generous (and have been too busy to blog out my thoughts lately) so I said "YES PLEASE!"

One of my friends is Steph. She just texted me yesterday and said "I got a post for you." and I agreed to post it. She e-mailed it to me. Then I read it. Then I cried. She told me that I could change it. She told me that I could edit it and take out the swear word.

This is hard for me to post, because when I said "yes" I had no idea what it was going to be about. As I read it my heart burst with love. My friend loves me. And she knows that I love her. I have never read anything like this before. No one has ever typed out these descriptions of me, especially for me to read. 

I'm deciding to post it because she is forcing me to because I want to show you that when you make the effort to pour in to friends and loved ones, it makes a huge impact, and if you are lucky, they will pour back in to you... which Steph has done on so many occasions. 

She really is the octopus that stays stuck on my face. 

The “Friend” everyone should have…
It all started with a couple of little boys who have been friends for over 30 years. Matt and Mike are our husbands, and it just so happens that nothing will ever bust them apart. They’re brothers. They’ve been through the good, the bad, and the ugly…just as real brothers should. So it goes that as their wives, we (me and Sierra) are expected to get along and hang out.
the husbands
the wives
So we did. We got together and hung out. We went to the movies, we grilled out in their backyard, we even went camping together. Though when we would talk about each other it was always, “Matt’s best friend’s wife…” or “Mike’s wifey” and so our friendship began. You know, one of those, friendship by marriage kind of things. Except that it wasn’t. When I moved to the Twin Cities, she was pretty much my ONLY friend here, and was she really my friend, or was she simply “Matt’s wife”?
So she has this thing with all her friends where they all have a special name. There’s her BFF, who from I can tell is her best friend. But then there’s her LP (Life Partner) and from what I can tell, she’s her best friend. And then there’s her Seester, which you guessed it, is probably her best friend. Let’s just put it this way: SO many women think Sierra is her best friend, that there are probably a dozen half-heart necklaces in her jewelry box, if you know what I mean. The girl gets around. 

I could never figure out how I fit into the friend equation. She knows some of the deepest, darkest shit stuff that I have ever been through, and she makes me feel like her only friend in the world (that’s how her light shines on you).  Yet, I have met so many of her friends and she is not possessive in the slightest.
So what DO you call a friend like this??
A friend that will make YOU dinner even though she has 3 of her own kids and watches 2 more during the day, and oh yeah, "I just painted my living room while I was making you soup."
A friend that just calls and says, “I have Ben and Jerry’s in my freezer and you can come whenever you want.”
A friend that will spend a year praying with you faithfully every Sunday that you will have the baby of your dreams…
A friend that hosts a legit cocktail party at her house and then proceeds to make you hot, doing your hair and makeup, before other guests arrive…cause did I tell you that she could do hair professionally? She’s that good. And she wants YOU to look hot.

A friend that shows up at the hospital at 10 o’clock at night to be with you after you just gave birth. Then breaks the news that your mom was just in a car accident leaving the hospital….but don’t worry, it’ll be fine, just a fender bender, your husband’s taking care of her. Oh, and did I mention she convinced the nurse to give me a mixed drink and then proceeded to teach me how to breastfeed until 1 am when my husband got back. Yes. That kind of a friend.

A friend that listens when you call her hysterically crying about your dumb awesome husband, family drama, or how much breastfeeding REALLY FRICKIN' hurts.
A friend that if you don’t call her for a month, she’s not secretly holding a grudge against you (ain't nobody got time for that and she knows it).
A friend that is now the godmother of my sweet baby boy…

A friend that stands strong for her brothers and sister after her dad died and they lost their house.
A friend that loves Jesus, loves her kids, loves her husband, and will love on you- no matter what.

She’s Sierra. She’s my friend, and really, the friend that everyone should have.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A few findings in my cozy little casita

Well we are just about done with the unbelievably chilly cold front that just swept through the good ol' MN. 
I feel so fortunate to have a warm house.
Just before it hit we spent an afternoon sledding near our house with some of our favorite neighbors. While Eli slept and daddy cleaned the basement at home, Maximo, Gabriel and I walked through the snowy streets to the park near our house. See kids? I am a fun and nice mom sometimes.

Over the last few weeks with holidays and numerous gatherings of friends and family at our house, I enjoyed making my house feel warm and welcoming for my loved ones. 

I spend most of my time on our main level. So that is where I spend the most time decorating and cleaning. I love changing up the decor when the season's change. Recently my friend did a class about finding her decor style. I don't know what mine is, but I know that everything that I display is meaningful, has a purpose or just makes me feel happy. Here are a few updates of the findings in my cozy casita.

This is a tea cup and saucer from my friend, Halie's wedding last year.
The beehive candle is from my neighbor Amy.
The greenery is from my mama.

I sure love little plants.
The cider jug is an antique my MIL found among abandoned items in an elderly neighbor's home.
Dipped pine cones from a Christmas season project.
Our neighbor got us the wooden manikin for Christmas. Reminds me of the one my parents had.

More and more... 

And more greenery.

I still need to get pictures in my empty frames.

I just hung this mirror in the entry way.
A little floral wreath adorns the top.

And in the wreath is an awesome sign my friend made with her
wood burning kit. "Dude... slow your roll" is a frequent saying coming from my mouth. 
I simplified our entry way dresser.
We decided to keep hats/gloves/mittens/scarves
in here this year. It's worked out super well.
I love having a chalk board sign in my porch. 

There are two rooms in our house that have not been formally decorated. Our bathroom and our bedroom. 
Someday our bedroom will be painted and pretty when Matt let's me take over and decorate the way that I want to, but until then I decided that I could at least decorate my corner the way I want to.

My corner is the furthest from the closet. It is always a mess, always has a pile of clothes that I need to put away and never looks pretty or organized. 

So I pintrested the heck out of it transformed it and now it is so cute to look at. It's also functional and makes me less likely to fill with clothing that will never make it to the closet. And how much did I spend? (I'm making a 'zero' with my fingers and looking through it) ZERO DOLLARS!

My mama got me these sweet bird cage hooks last year. (Thanks ma!)  I had no where to hang them
until NOW! How cute are they? And I still have another one that is a pretty vintage blue
that I'll be able to use somewhere else.
This frame thingy I made when my friend brought over  some
left over chicken wire (thanks Andrea!)
I had the empty frame from when my friend left me treasures
when she moved to Florida (thanks Cindy!)
And  here it is! TAAAAH DAH!!!!
Husband hung up a third rack for my scarves and so now they all fit! (Thanks babe!)
Next project on my to-do list.... 
tackling that mess that is
 the top of my dresser. Yikes.

Still need to hang a few more dangly earrings.
And then figure out how to display my studs for easy access.
And figure out what to do with all the other little
mis-matched things.
So, there's that. A light and airy little post about the little things and simple tasks that make my heart happy these days. Hope you all are finding little ways to make your days go by just a little bit smoother and brighter.

Also I thought I'd add a little picture from Christmas. Our Christmas was simple and sweet. 

Our little boys on Christmas morning right before they got to open their presents.
They couldn't have been happier.
Good night!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

be brave.

So interesting. 

I needed a break away and my wonderful husband let me escape to our favorite hang out (Groundswell of course) to get a break.

I'm dinking around on my laptop and sippin' my tea, catching bits and pieces from all the conversations around me. 

The nice older ladies at the table beside me are talking about their goals for the year. Their goals sound like all of our goals: Important yet redundant. 

Then there are three 20-something dudes. They are sitting a little further away but a few of their words trail over to me and my ears perk up when I hear "sex trafficking.... strip clubs... healing and restoration... God's love.... righteous anger..." and then I start to get that tingly feeling that I get when I know God's about to have me do something crazy. So I text my friend Kjersti. One of my fellow fighting-the-good-fight girls and tell her. She's the one I mentioned recently that also has a heart for women in the sex industry. My text ended with "pray that if this is a divine appointment that God makes it happen!" 

I was sorta hoping maybe she would get the text later and not make me go talk to them. But she yelled at me over text to TALK TO THEM!!! 

I have talked about it before that I am struggling with what my role is supposed to be in connection with the women and children being affected by sex trafficking and the sex industry. Lately I feel like God's revealing to me that it is simple. That I am just supposed to raise awareness. Start conversations. Make connections. Point people in the direction of my friends who are getting to be the hands and feet. Pray. Educate myself. Know resources. Be a voice for the voiceless. 

So I did it. I risked looking dumb. I risked sounding nosy. I walked up and said "Sooooo.... this is gonna sound weird, but, I was kinda hearing parts of your conversation and was wondering...." 

And guess what? These guys are broken hearted over this issue too. They were so willing to open their hearts and share their thoughts. They were from Mill City Church in NE Minneapolis. Their church has missional communities and one of them is dedicated to loving and serving victims of sex trafficking. One of the guys has felt lead to go to Moldova to work with children being rescued out of sex trafficking. What a cool connection! I got to share with them what my friends are doing in their ministries, I got to encourage these guys and thank them for being strong men willing to stand up for the millions of victims out there. 

I tried not to cry as we talked. Dudes never know what to do with girls that cry. So I kept my cool :)

Then I went back to my chair, sat back down at my laptop and erased how this blog post had originally started (new year, new goals, yadda yadda yadda...) 

Yep, I will try to work on the list of things my lady neighbors are working on: take better care of myself, more rest, eat better etc. etc. 

But I think the biggest thing 
I want to work on this year 
is being brave.

Even if I look dumb sometimes. I want to be brave, I want to respond to the tingly feeling that comes when I know I am supposed to speak up or do something crazy.

Other things I am working on this year:
-being a voice for the voiceless
-growing my Trades of Hope business (I have my first three parties booked this month!)
-more dates with my man
-being a more patient mama
-learning to play the ukulele!

Happy New Year! What are you working on this year?