January 31, 2013

Nooks and Crannies

You know those nooks and crannies in your house right?  The ones that you wouldn't want anyone to see, because even though your home is beautifully decorated and mostly cleanish, when you have friends over to visit, they don't see that you have a darker side that often manifests itself in the horror of the hidden nook or cranny.  

And you know what places I'm talking about right?  Where dirt has collected or where you haven't quite gotten around to cleaning or organizing yet, because what's really the point when no one knows it's there but you anyway?  You manage to hide them or disguise them and they go unseen and unknown and you can maintain your awesome reputation of having a well kept home or whatever it is that you want people to assume about you when they come over to your house.   

Probably, if you knew someone were going to see your hidden places of filth, you would do something about it.  The nasty nooks and crannies would get cleaned, because heaven forbid, someone could conclude that if you actually kept something that grimy in your house, what kind of housekeeper/homemaker/domestic-goddess/human being are you?!

But, there are some friendships that transcend the nooks and crannies.  Some friends, the realest and dearest ones, know the nooks and crannies of your heart and your story and still want to grab lunch with you and ask you for recipe ideas and will still sit for hours and talk with you about life.  And knowing that they will actually see the nooks and crannies of your home up close and personal is nothing - you know they won't shudder or even blink an eye at it.

(Real nook and cranny in my house.  Ew.)

Such was the case last night. My oldest and dearest and best of friends came over after I had a very rough day.  I spent most of it crying because reality had finally sunk in that my husband is in freaking North Dakota and I'm about to be done with working full-time and the thought of being a stay-at-home-mom is mildly terrifying.  And then there's the fact that I'm almost 34 weeks pregnant and I'm all alone and I actually need a significant amount of help around the house until I'm no longer carrying a giant boy in my belly.

She did Tommy's laundry and washed my dishes and cleaned my counters and even gave Tommy a bath - all tasks that include the bending over thing that gets my back into a mess every time.
She saw my shameful nook and cranny that I'm sure no other friend has ever seen, and she handled Tommy's dramatics in the bath tub quite well and everything.  She insisted that it was way more fun to clean someone else's home anyway. 

I felt awkward and helpless.  But, I felt blessed and loved on too.  I was reminded that love does things.  It doesn't just offer to pray for you or drop you a line on Facebook. It's more than that.

It gives.  It comes.  It shows up.  It cleans and washes and bends over and gets messy and doesn't tire of any of the doing because the very nature of love is action.  This friend knows how to love well and her love for me over the years has done and given and served endlessly.  She knows that love sees the nooks and crannies and is able to accept them and see past them because we are so much more than the nooks and crannies that we can sometimes allow to define us. 

One of her text messages earlier in the day after I was finally done battling whether or not I wanted her to come over and accept her offer of love and help said, "Yay for you truly allowing others to see you messy and needy!"

I told her she was way more excited about this than I was, and I would have to celebrate that in retrospect.  Because in the moment I felt like a dweeb (my actual word was pathetic) that I needed help with simple tasks around the house. 

But love can only do when we let others in to see our need.  When we let them into our mess and into the filthy nooks and crannies we want to hide and cover up and pretend don't exist.  Only then can we know love and feel loved and be able to really accept it as it was intended to be given.

And last night I did just that.  I let her see my messy tupperware cabinet and the nasty grime that has collected in the washroom where my laundry soap sits.  And she saw my untidy bedroom and the pile of shoes that collect near the front door.  At the end of the night when my counters were sparkling and my boy was bathed clean and I was resting in my recliner, I felt loved.  I felt loved for how she helped me and I felt loved in spite of my nooks and crannies and all of the places where I am currently in need.

It was there that I was able to breathe.  And to rest.

January 30, 2013


It was a rough morning at my house.  Tommy wanted to talk to dad on the computer and not the phone, but Todd doesn't yet have access yet to Skype with us.  He was upset at the sight of my half-packed hospital bag and wanted to take everything out of it.  He wanted the other kind of cereal and the other cup that was dirty in the sink.  And he most definitely did not want me to go to work. 

Everything seemed to upset my little boy and at one point we were both crying at the same time. 

He misses his daddy and he's barely been gone.  I'm already just mentally exhausted being on my own.  Todd is my rock and he calms me down and he helps with so much.  Not having him near is just as hard and lonely as I imagined it would be.  And the discouraging part is knowing that it's only day three.

The biggest battle of the morning was the fact that I had to go to work and take Tommy to his home daycare - again.   He didn't want to go and I think he's burnt out.  He has had to go every day for almost three weeks because Todd's mom has been out of town caring for her sick father.  So instead of going to the daycare place twice a week, it's been every day.  It felt like he was asking for a break today, but I couldn't give it to him.  I have to keep pushing on and so does he and somehow it felt like the cruelest thing in the world.

Naturally, by the time we were finally ready and out the door and I had him dropped off, he seemed to forget that he didn't want me to go to work and was fine.  Kids have a way of bouncing back that is harder for grown-ups maybe.  He went on his merry way, while for me, the tears flowed all the way to work and I'm struggling to focus on the tasks at hand - getting everything organized and in place for the new person they've already hired to replace me.

I know this whole season will come with ups and downs and some days will be harder than others. 

But today is officially the first hard day.

January 28, 2013

A new beginning

In many ways, our weekend was full of normal.  We ran errands and finished projects up around the house.  We ate together and hung out with friends and got groceries.  On Saturday evening we even went to a wedding reception for a friend of mine - where Todd got a little dressed up and may have made me drool.

Seriously ya'll, my man is hot.  Or as I hashtagged that evening, #myhusbandissofreakinghot.  I will never know how I married such a hottie.
But then we had to pack his suitcase and it reminded me that the weekend wasn't really that normal after all.  In the midst of the regular every day conversations, there was also "Don't forget your sunglasses and your phone charger."  And "I printed up your itinerary," and "I don't think you can wear steel-toed boots on airplanes anymore."
Yesterday was the hardest and I was weepy most of the day.  I cried through the songs at church and through the sermon our Pastor gave and during communion too.  We went out to lunch with a big group for pizza where we laughed and talked as we've done on many Sundays together.  There was a time of prayer over Todd and our friends asking specifically what they could help with.  One is bringing me a lasagna when she makes hers and another wants to know when they can come over and take out my trash.  Another asked, "Are you really going to ask for help when you need it?  Please ask, okay?  I'm there for whatever you need help with - seriously."  And I believed her. 

It left us both, and maybe me moreso, feeling very cared for and loved.  We are remembered and surrounded by a community that though are still somewhat new to us, leave us feeling really a part of something special - how church is really intended to be.  They aren't just people I say hi to on Sundays and have conversations about surfacy things with at after-church lunches.  They're real and sincere and open and I've come to love them and being part of them.  That's when it's hard to not let my wander to thoughts of....if we move away, I'll lose this.

Tommy had tears yesterday too.  We had been talking to him all week about Todd's departure and new job and leaving on an airplane, but something sunk in yesterday morning as he wrapped his arms around his daddy and cried big, messy tears.  Oh did this mama cry....when you realize that you can't keep your children from feeling pain... talk about a whole new level of parenthood.
Todd ran out last night to take care of a few things, and when he returned, came back with a beautiful arrangement of colorful flowers.  I was hoping for them and it made me smile when I saw him walk in the door with roses and hydrangeas and lilies yet to bud, in hand. 
After Todd left early this morning, I noticed that the lilies had opened overnight.  They are my favorite color.  Yellow - bright, cheerful, happy.  Reminding me of hope and change.  And promise.  It felt like God was saying to me, "I am doing something beautiful here Jennifer.  See?!"
The time for goodbye has come.  He is gone and is already half way across the country.  All that we are risking became very real this morning as he rolled his suitcase out of our front door and headed off to the airport, leaving us behind in hopes of the more we have prayed and longed for together all these years. 

And though I'm a bit sad, I'm already missing him, and have to consciously lay my fears aside about all that is ahead, I also feel much like the bright yellow lilies that greeted me this morning.

A new beginning, a new chapter, a new adventure....it's here. 

January 25, 2013

Style and Change and Blood Pressure

Several years ago, you would have never caught me wearing yellow gold jewelry.  I basically hated it and swore I would never wear yellow gold anything because it just wasn't my thing.  Interestingly enough though, I've slowly been integrating yellow gold jewelry into my accessory hoard and actually like to wear it now.  I guess taste and style can change just like we do.

The same has been true of how I decorate and arrange my home.  I've simplified quite a bit.  I've grown out of certain things and enjoy a more classic approach with a few touches of things that some might deem as "country" or "rustic."

Getting to make up a nursery for Jacob has been fun, and honestly, I'm a bit more excited about it than I was with Tommy's baby room.  It's evident where my style and tastes have changed in regards to decorating, and where it's still the same too.  I've crafted things, but have also taken a more modern approach to it.  I realized this last night when my Grandparent's semi-gawked at my brightly orange painted dresser and asked if I would be refinishing it.  To their surprise, I let them know that was the refinished and final product.

It's no matter if others don't care for my baby boy's orange dresser - I like how it looks.  It's the pop of color I wanted in the soft baby room I've been creating and dreaming about all these months.  But it's funny to see how my tastes have changed and how an orange dresser is quite reflective of that.

I've slowly been getting the crafty projects complete and things are almost finished and in place.  Now I just need to get the essentials in order - like extra crib sheets and changing pad covers and bottles.  Practicality isn't my forte' - can you tell?  Finish the frivolous nursery before getting the essentials - it's how I roll. 

I added one thing to the nursery yesterday - some special words for our son.  I wanted to have something in his room that represented our hopes for him as a boy and as he grew into a man.  Words that spoke vision and hope and truth.  I created it through this fun website - super easy project.

This entire pregnancy, I've had gold-star worthy doctor visits.  My weight gain has basically been nothing - and Todd and my best friend are the only people who know the real number because I'm afraid any other woman would hate me if they found out how much I haven't gained.  But basically, when you're already overweight, little to no weight gain is a good thing and that's where I've camped out.  However, this morning, my blood pressure was elevated - which could have been because of high emotions and some of the stress I'm under.  And it's hard not to worry and get ramped up about what my body is doing, but it's apparent that the need for rest and relaxation and to calm down is crucial.  I must.

I wish that our internal selves - the parts of us that are inclined to stress and worry and get worked up - could change and evolve like our style or tastes do - with ease.  Behavior and they way that we are wired are the things that are much harder to change because they come from much deeper places in ourselves.

So if you think about me this weekend, would you pray for me?  Pray that I could find some rest and calm in the midst of all that is changing for us to keep my blood pressure levels down and where they need to be.  And that I could continue to take care of my body and the sweet boy I'm carrying.

I'm off to enjoy the weekend with my little family before my husband leaves, which includes a wedding reception tomorrow night and lunch with our church friends on Sunday.

I might even wear my gold jewelry.

January 24, 2013

on cloudy days

The weather suits my mood today.  It's gray, dreary, drizzly and barely cool.  It's melancholy and reminds me of what disappointment feels like.

Todd gets to spend the day with Tommy today.  Having some extra special father-son time before his departure which will include Tommy's requests of playing at McDonalds and going to look at trucks.  And my heart breaks a little bit more each day as we get closer to Monday, because he is only three and a half and there is so much he can't and won't be able to understand.

I keep wondering what caring for his heart is supposed to look like and if we will do it well. 

I'm aware of how I want to keep my son from feeling pain, from causing him damage and hurting his heart and how I only have so much control over that.  God has used pain and my inability to understand things to draw me to His heart, yet I want to shield my son from knowing pain and abandonment and disappointment.  Oh being a parent comes with so much....

I received a text message last night that said "cancer."  It's come for someone I'm close to, a family I dearly love.  And it feels heavy and hard and much like the sad gray that I see when I look out the window this morning.

A sweet girl trusted me with part of her story last night - where she is struggling and feeling evil's assaults on her heart and her body and how she lives.  It reminds me of how God has brought me healing so that I can fight and come along side of others.  It reminds me that evil is relentless - that it comes and it comes and there is always war to be waged.

My body is tired. The end of this pregnancy is feeling difficult and wearing and I'm feeling done.  Yet, I'm growing anxious with wondering how I will be a mother of two.  That role feels so big and I hope I'm ready for it.

It's getting harder and harder to get out of bed every morning and get ready for work.  Partially because I have three weeks until it's quitting time and it feels forever away.  And partially because my body wants more rest than I'm giving it. 

Still resisting rest at every turn.

The clock is ticking.  The days are going by quickly and I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed, emotional at what is all changing and happening in our lives so quickly.  Trying to give my fears to God and lay my worries aside and just do this day that I am in right now.  Yet it feels like our lives are at the end of something and parts of it need grieving as those ends come. 

Grieving and tears and sadness before the spring.  Before the new.

January 23, 2013

The lasts

Todd headed off to work this morning much like he has in the six and a half years I've known him.  His alarm set, and unlike me, able to get right out of bed when it goes off.  He puts on his socks and his watch and then brushes his teeth, gets dressed and he's ready and out the door within fifteen minutes.

As I watched him walk out the door this morning, Tommy's little hand in his own, I was aware that it would be the very last time I would see this.  Todd taking Tommy to his home daycare, and heading off to this job that has drained him, frustrated him and sucked the life out of him for so many years.  While we have been grateful for employment and amazing health insurance and paid vacation time - things that so many don't have or must live without - my heart leapt a little inside as I thought about how much was changing for him.  How his longings are becoming a reality.  And what he is giving up and risking for all of us.

I'm a deep feeler.  So it may come as no surprise to know that I sat with this image, my husband walking out the door of our home and heading off to his last day of this old job probably FOREVER - and let myself feel the weight of it.  How wonderful and sad and amazing and scary it all is.  When I posted our big news yesterday, the consensus on my Facebook wall seemed to be for the most part, "How exciting and scary!"  If it feels both scary and exciting for others, you can imagine how deep I am feeling both of those emotions.

I am in my weeks of lasts as well - and not just with my pregnancy.  I gave my notice at my job yesterday and plan to have my last day of work be February 22nd.  At this time, I have no plans of working full time again, though of course, things could change or fall through and if it's needed, I'll put on my working hat and go back somewhere - whether here or in North Dakota.  While I'm looking forward to the rest and not driving in traffic or being elbow deep in paperwork anymore, I also wonder if I have the SAHM gene in me.  If I can do this well and not go crazy being home with two young children every day.  Perhaps like everything else, I'll have to take that one day at a time too.

So it's Wednesday and I'm soaking in more of the lasts.  Feeling all of this as it comes, day by day and moment by moment.  It's been hard not to let my mind wander to life a week from now, or three weeks from now, or a few months from now.  All of the little details that have yet to fall into place as we are taking this process one wobbly step at a time.

It's a bit scary not to have a complete plan, yet we've been invited to trust and that's what we're doing.  I guess that's why they call it faith.

January 22, 2013

Changing normal

After work yesterday, Todd and I came home and got dinner started. He put some burgers on the grill while I prepared the trimmings.  One of the perks to living in south Texas is that January can sometimes mean spring-like temperatures, which is definitely the case this week.  Burgers sounded like the perfect thing to have on a south Texas "winter's" night.

Tommy kept running back and forth, from inside to outside, wanting to be with both of us at the same time.  Our evening was normal - our normal.  Where we enjoy our little family and talk about our day, eat a simple meal, and check a thing or two off of the baby-is-almost-here list.

But last night felt extra special.  Probably because the normal that we've known for so long is about to change.  It was the very last Monday that will look like having us both home after work, Tommy's energy bounding through the house and the backyard.

This time next week my husband will be in North Dakota and I will more than likely be sitting at my desk at work wiping away tears and trying to think about anything but his departure and how many miles are separating us.

The long-awaited, much anticipated job that we have been hoping for Todd has finally come through.  Only, it's looked different, much different, than we had originally thought it would.  There is much excitement in the air, though I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't just as equally terrified about the whole thing too.

Todd sent me a text message yesterday telling me that he had turned in all of his paperwork at his current job to begin his leave of absence, making this even more real.  I've been absorbing all of this in waves, finding myself feeling excited and at peace one moment, and crying the next.  All of this has come with more tears and aching than I thought it would, considering the timing of it all.  It's the end of my pregnancy and so close to the birth of Jacob....and now my husband, my beloved, has to leave.

This is the thing that has come with tears and tissues and trust and many late night conversations. Todd is taking a new job - leaving the safety and security and the predictability of the work that he has known for TWENTY-SIX years - and taking a huge leap into something new.  An endeavor that could possibly have us packing for northern country by the summer, if not sooner.  But an endeavor that will allow him growth and the challenge he longs for and the ability to provide for us the way he has always wanted to.

In the last week, I've watched my husband come alive.  He has filled with excitement and hope and something new inside.  I see a spark inside of him starting to grow even though I know he has his own share of fears about what we are doing and what is all changing.  I have fiercely prayed for this - for change and a new job and for more for my man.  For years.  Years.  And while it's always amazing to see God an answer a prayer, those answers can come at the oddest times or in ways that you wouldn't expect.  Todd leaving me in the third trimester of pregnancy and on my own with our three year old son, isn't exactly how I would have wanted God to answer this particular prayer.  And yet His ways are mysterious and glorious and somehow all of this will be as it's supposed to.

It's quite risky.  There are pro's and con's on both sides, but at the end of the day we have both felt God's leading in this direction.  Even though this comes at a cost, especially his absence for Tommy and I for a season, we both feel at peace about taking these first steps that are in front of us right now.  Even if it may eventually lead us all the way to North Dakota.  Which is very, very far away from Texas and all that we have known here for our entire lives. 

Todd will be back before Jacob is born.  He is making sure that I am cared for and looked out for in his absence as he has talked to his dad and my dad and friends at church and given them all instructions and asked for their help.  We are hoping that the wonders of technology will allow Tommy to still see Todd even if it is just over a computer screen.  For all of these things, I am grateful.

The last several days have been full of affection.  Of extra long embraces and kisses.  And the next several days are sure to be full of more of the same.  Our lives are about to to completely change and be turned upside down by this new job and a baby and so many other things.

So for now, I'm going to soak in the lasts of the normalcy we've known for six and a half years, cry when the waves of sadness or fear come, and lean on my crazy, wild, surprising God who is leading us into what could be the adventure of a lifetime.

January 17, 2013


Below is a repost from last June.  I thought about this old post last night as Todd and I discussed some big decisions we are currently facing.  Sitting with the weight of what a big jump in life is feeling like and how it is just around the corner - though this time, it's way bigger than any jump off an actual rope and into an actual river.

Today I am reminded of what bravery and guts looked like for us that day.  The words that we spoke to each other - the hope we were both filled with when we looked in the others eyes after we made our wobbly, ungraceful jumps into the water.  And how all of it came after a rocky time in our marriage and when we found ourselves in love all over again because there had been healing and there had been God and grace.

I'm thinking about risk, about fully living, about listening to God's voice and following Him even if it feels stupid or crazy.  I often wonder about the disciples - how when Jesus said, "Come and see.  Leave your nets and follow me" - if people thought they were nuts.  They just walked off their jobs and probably left people they cared about to follow this Rabbi around. 

The word risk has never defined our marriage or life together much - and it seems as though that is changing as we are growing in love and depth with one another.  It feels both exhilarating and absolutely terrifying as we are most definitely taking a risk and making a big jump into the unknown.  The one comfort I have is that we know we are listening to the One who would never lead us into harm or danger. 

We also know that walking by faith and risk-taking isn't for the faint of heart.  That following Jesus is an awfully big adventure when you really let go, and accept His invitation for more.

It doesn't seem though that He thinks us faint of heart.  Apparently, He thinks we're up for this. 

It looked easy.  Grab a hold of the rope, climb to the rock, swing off and jump into the water.
The water full of fish and turtles.  And maybe snakes and large catfish that could swallow me whole because I've heard of that happening before.

It was scarier than I thought it would be.  Both Todd and I were a bit fearful about how we would land.  If we would get hurt and what risking the jump could possibly mean.

"It doesn't matter how you land.  It just matters that you jump."  I said encouragingly to my husband.

Todd made the jump first.  His arm hurt a bit and his hand got torn by the rope and bled.  But he jumped.  He did what mattered.

And then there I was.  Terrified.  Standing on the edge of this rock and looking out onto the river.  It wasn't the swinging part that had me uneasy.  It was what I was jumping into.

If you know me, you know that I'm not really a fan of swimming in water with other living things.  I prefer pools.  Predictable, safe, non-fish inhabited pools.  More than anything, I was afraid I wouldn't swing far enough and land in those lily pads and a water moccasin or some other terrifying creature would either eat me or cause some kind of horrifying bodily harm.  I'm a bit dramatic, I know.

After a few minutes of deciding whether or not I was going to go through with this crazy rope-jumping business, I took off and began my swing.  And when I let go, I landed right in those damn lily pads, just as I had feared that I would.

I may or may not have cried.  Which really just means that I totally did.

Thankfully there were no creatures that came after me and I survived the entire experience, tears and all.  I was mostly disappointed that my landing sucked.  That I planted myself right where I hadn't wanted to.  Part of me wanted to feel like a failure.  And as soon as I began to go there, my own words that I had only spoken moments before to my husband echoed in my heart.

"It doesn't matter how you land.  It just matters that you jump."

Tubing-on-the-river-day, became risk-taking, fear-overcoming day for the both of us.  A day we can point to and remind each other of our guts and bravery next time life comes with something big and terrifying that requires a big jump and a huge river of uncertainty.

We may not always have the best landing.  Things in life can happen as we fear it might.  We will probably get hurt.  Risk is always a gamble.  But only those truly alive, are the ones who are willing to make the jump regardless of the outcome.

Knowing that both Todd and I had it in us to make the jump in the first place, made the blood and tears worth it in the end.

January 16, 2013

Rollercoaster Ride

It's been a series of ups, downs, twists and turns for the last few days in our lives.  My puffy, tired, cried out eyes are proof of this crazy emotional roller coaster we've been on.  I'm ready to get off.  To have some answers, some clarity and direction.  Or I could just say that I want to know what the future holds because the here and the now and the not knowing what's happening is driving me nuts.

I'm ten thousand kinds of exhausted though.  Feeling weary and trying to remember that I put my hope and my trust in God and not any one thing or person or event. 

I've had a few notes from friends and blog-readers wondering what's happening and if everything is okay.  Me and baby are fine.  Me and Todd are fine.  Tommy is well.  It's just life and circumstances and a billion things that are full of uncertainty and all of it has me worn out.

In my discouragement and weariness this morning, I cast aside the fact that I would once again be late for work and made myself a hot breakfast.  I opened up my devotional and let myself cry a little bit more.  I prayed and cried out to the One who goes before me.  The One who stands behind.

January 14, 2013

Trust and Tissues

For months I've been struggling with trust.  With letting go of control and and whether or not I could really believe God's promises.  I've been fighting with where He was asking me to journey with Him because I've been scared.  There has been too much uncertainty, too many unknowns and I've tried to be my own security, my own assurance, and my own peace of mind.

I captured this photo after life came crashing down on Friday night.  I labeled it, "What trusting God looks like."  I let it post on my Instagram and my Facebook accounts.  It was something I wanted to remember.

Several friends called or sent messages, concerned about me and my heart.  Wondering if everything was okay with the baby or if I needed something or someone to talk to.  I felt surrounded by love and encouragement and community who cared enough about me to reach out when they could tell that when you Instagram a pile of wadded up tissues, that it means something is going on.

It seems as though knowing God makes me live a bit foolishly and rash because sometimes I'm convinced He is nuts.  But he has my heart.  This wild, crazy God who woos me and asks me to quit trying to figure things out myself and look only to Him for what I need.

Not all of the fear is gone, there are still waves of uncertainty and many unanswered questions.  But, decisions have been made, tears have been shed, and prayers have been lifted up.  In time, I'll have more to say about all of this.  But in short, I'm beginning to let go of all that I've been holding on to.  I'm fighting less and trusting more.

I've said "yes" to His invitation.

For now though, I only have a pile of tissues to show for it.  But there will be more.  Much more.

January 11, 2013


Barren branches told me this morning that a new season has arrived.  The streets are messy with dead, fallen leaves and the skies are a soft wintry gray.  I noticed this morning the deep brown trunks of leafless trees lining the road as I drove in to work.

Fronts push through one right after another, not leaving us frozen or snowed in, but cold enough that it makes me want to stay inside and make foods rich with warmth and comfort.  It's the time of year when I wear out my crock pot and my large handled mugs and cozy blankets.  We use our heater sparingly and keep warm with woolen socks, cuddles and down comforters.

Winter is the time for quiet.  To be still and rest.  It reminds me of loss and death and how all things need a time to wait, to sit, to die before spring can revive and renew everything all over again.

Including me - my heart, my body, my soul

Every day, my body grows with expectance and I must sit and rest more than I would care to.  Resting means I can't be productive and control the world around me.  I can't manage or be in charge as I'm at the mercy and grace of others to help me with things that need getting done.  I need help shaving my legs and gathering up the laundry because the third trimester for me means excruciating lower back pain.  

I'm forced to ask for help.  I'm forced to rest.

It's not my favorite season.  I hate feeling the sting of biting, cold air once the holidays are over and packed away in storage bins and memory books.  I hate how "needy" I am during my third trimester and fight feelings of being only a burden to others.  Ordinarily, I find myself trying to stay busy through the winter in efforts to make it pass by quickly.  If I pack my schedule tight or make to-do lists miles long full of projects around the house, I can speed through the season and spring will be here before I know it.

Resting often makes me feel restless and I am so prone to resist the resting.  I tend give in to the lies that I'm good for nothing if I can't DO. Yet I see where rest is needed - especially now.  My body is made to slow down in preparation for what is to come.  When spring brings new life and activity and change.  The rest will provide me the energy and strength I need.  When it is once again time for the doing.

I find myself wondering how to embrace my winter, my third trimester - this season I'm in before I become a mother of two.  What it might look like to rest and how this season is made for all things to sleep and wait.  I'm curious what gifts might be found in such a season if I take the time to notice.  And what might happen if I stopped resisting what I need and let things go and just stay warm under my blankets for awhile.  To hold my belly tight and rest until spring gives birth to all things new.

January 8, 2013

Tax Season

It's that time of year again.

The time when I have to use my brain more than usual and fill out tax forms.  Where I have to dot my I's and cross my T's and make sure everything I've done all year is perfectly perfect. 
And this year I have the added pressure of trying to get everything done before baby.  Because I don't want to have to think about a newborn AND filing company income taxes and gobs of end of year paperwork.  

So I'm in a focused hurry to get things done and out the door and filed away and squared away and put away and all the other aways there can possibly be.

This kind of work sucks all the creative out of me.  And until I'm done, my posts are sure to be sporadic!

Happy tax season everyone!  Or something like that.

January 4, 2013

Love Does

"Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving.  It's about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light.  That's what I want my life to be all about - full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.  I want to be engaged to life and with life."

"And when each of us looks back at all the turns and folds God has allowed in our lives, I don't think it looks like a series of folded-over mistakes and do-overs that have shaped our lives.  Instead, I think we'll conclude in the end that maybe we're all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better."

"There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I'm tempted to turn it down all the time.  I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.  It doesn't come in an envelope.  It's ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen.  It's the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day.  Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live."

Excerpts from Love Does - by Bog Goff.

It's a great, great January read.

I had heard a bit about it from a few people and treated myself to a copy for Christmas.   I'm not finished yet, but I keep thinking, "Is this guy for real?  Did he really do that?"  There are stories about farting and getting shot in the belly with a pellet gun and being invited to the homes of world leaders and sneaking on to the set of a movie.  All of it is extraordinary and crazy - but the good kind of crazy.

And I'm curious about the word whimsy and where it has and hasn't shown up in my life.

I'm thinking about love and the doing part of it. I feel both convicted and inspired.

This book.  Just wow.

January 3, 2013

Projects for baby

A few minutes after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, my friend and I (who happens to be due with her little girl a day after Jacob) realized that we were finally in the year that our children would be born.  Not only that, but we only have about sixty-ish something days before they arrive.  For some reason, sixty-ish something days sounds a lot closer than two months.

Either way, I realized I officially needed to get into gear for baby number two because time is definitely running out. 

Jacob's nursery is completely different than what I had done for Tommy over three years ago now.  My style and tastes have changed and I wanted to keep his nursery soft, boyish and simple.  I also have a much smaller budget this time around so I'm having to be extra creative with how I'm putting things together.  Thankfully we were given a crib and I found a changing table and dresser for super cheap online and through a garage sale, seeing as we sold Tommy's set early last year.

The walls have been painted and the furniture has been refinished, but now it's time to put the unique touches on his nursery - which is the fun part of course.  Naturally, I've scoured Pinterest for ideas to hack and came up with a fun idea for his name.

I found the wooden rings you use for cross-stitching and bought some fabric squares that coordinated with my bedding to insert into the rings.  I painted the letters of his name white and glued them to the fabric.

I love how it turned out.  It was a simple, easy and cheap project!  And the circles on the wall mimic the circles in the bedding.
I have a couple of other projects in mind - some kind of curtain or window treatment, a gallery wall of words and sayings, and some kind of shelf full of cuteness.  Not sure what I'll come up with, but I definitely need to get on it!

January 2, 2013


How I love the feeling of a new year.  It feels so fresh and I love how it carries a new hope and promise.  Though we can never be certain what we have in store for us and what the future holds, I feel hopeful about what is to come in 2013.  

We rang in the New Year with a big group of friends from church.  There were fajitas and homemade salsa, smores and pretend wine, sparklers and kissing my hot man at midnight.  All in all, it was a fun night of laughter and closeness.

Do we look tired or what?!
And I don't make resolutions, but I do want to name what I'm hoping for this year....

I'm hoping that I am kind - to myself and to others.  

I'm hoping to hold my sweet baby boy in my arms shortly after he is born because we are both healthy and thriving.  

I'm hoping that this year will bring about the much desired and needed job change for Todd that he has been waiting for and pursuing.

I'm hoping to find some creative avenues to bring in income so I can stay home more with my boys.

I'm hoping to be more honest and vulnerable when it comes to my relationships.

I'm hoping for more fun, purposeful family time together with fun outings where we can create sweet memories for all of us to cherish.

I'm hoping we can stay disciplined with our finances and pay off more debt.

I'm hoping for more community.
I'm hoping to experience more in my marriage and relationship with Todd - that we could continue to grow in love and depth with one another.

I'm hoping to be a woman of more faith rather than of fear and worry.

I'm hoping to stay on a healthy track.  To remain binge-free, to exercise and move and to be more thoughtful and mindful about what foods I put into my body.

I'm hoping that I stay intimately connected to my Savior this year.  That I'm honest and real, that I turn to Him and lean in to Him every day and for all that I'm needing.  That I would continue to grow and soften and be more like Him because I'm spending more of my time near to His heart.

 I'm hoping to experience change.

2012 wasn't a perfect year.  It was full of twists and turns, disappointments, surprises, joys, heartaches and triumphs.  It was indeed a year lived and fought and struggled through well though it also left me aching and longing for more. 

And with that ache and those unmet longings, I start off another new year.  Armed with hope and more joy than I've known, excited about whatever adventure lies ahead.

Happy New Year all!