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On Magical Fairies, Kitty Cats and Alligators

October 20, 2015

For the last two years I have singularly chosen what my precious babe would be for Halloween: a ladybug and a little chicken respectively.

The costumes were purchased weeks in advance. Who am I kidding? I bought her first Halloween costume the December before while I was still pregnant (I got a good deal!).

Fast forward to this year. Reagan is two and starting to have her own opinions, so in late September I began asking her just what she might like to be for Halloween. We scoured an entire rack of 2T costumes at a consignment sale.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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When Church is the Answer

October 10, 2015

I walked into the new-to-me church feeling a little hesitant. It’s not that I have an issue with church per say, but it’s always a little uncomfortable walking into one where you don’t know anyone (yet).

But this church had something very special going for it. Something that had me falling madly in love with it before even stepping a foot inside the door. You’ll understand why soon.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

 

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When Life Feels like a Wrestling Match

September 30, 2015

“Did you win?” one of the guys from my small group asked me after church on Sunday.

“Did I win?” I replied racking my brain trying to remember what I had competed in. I may talk a big game, but there really isn’t that much competition going on in my life.

“It’s what I always ask people; did you win this week?” he repeated.

“No,” I replied honestly. “I think this last week beat me. But this coming week will be mine!”

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

 

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Gettin’ Real

September 18, 2015

It’s a high priority to me to be authentic with those I care about. It helps that I’m terrible at hiding my emotions. If something is right or something is wrong, you can tell just by being near me, no words required. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a pro at keeping up appearances.

If you were to pop up at my house unannounced, you would likely find dishes in the sink, unfolded clothes piled in my living room and a dirty, cluttered bathroom. Oh, and I might be in my most-favorite “fashionable” sweatpants (thank you Costco!). But give me 10 minutes notice and the clothes would be hidden away, bathroom reasonably straightened with a once-over of the toilet and dishes quietly cycling in the dishwasher. I’m taking the 5th on whether or not I’d still be in my sweatpants! The point being, I’d look much less like the mess I often feel I am…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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How becoming a better boss made me a better person

September 5, 2015

I’ve had a lot of bosses over the years. Good bosses, great people, bad bosses, not-so-great people. In college I had a boss who was having an affair with a contractor for the same company, later I had another who was never-ever-ever available. I’ve had some who had great hearts but couldn’t lead a team to save their lives, and another who was so full of herself I began to dread going to work. But I’ve also had some who were great examples of wisdom and leadership, who encouraged and inspired me. Some of my favorites are those who saw me not only for who I was, but for all that I could become, pouring into me and helping me grow to new heights, both professionally and personally.

And I’ve been the boss too, both the good boss and the bad boss…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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A Change of Focus

August 28, 2015

I had high expectations for this summer. Those hopes haven’t been met and my summer has been all the better for it.

I’ve been pretty open about my husband and I’s struggle with fertility. We’ve been trying for another baby for many months now and have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” which means just that. We have no idea why we aren’t getting pregnant…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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Sticky Friends

August 16, 2015

“Tell me about it,” she invites.

“I don’t have anything new to say,” I reply through big crocodile tears.

“Tell me anyway.”

There are seasons in life where the pain of a hurtful situation seems to go on and on. A messy divorce, a cancer diagnosis, maybe a bit of both, infertility, the loss of a loved one – a situation that doesn’t right itself in a matter of hours, days or even weeks. The pain lingers and after a while you aren’t even sure what you need or what could possibly help. Some of us pull back and try to retreat away from everyone, including our friends and loved ones, because there is nothing to be done and nothing new to say about it…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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To Risk Losing It All, Again

July 14, 2015

As the doctor walked into the ultrasound room, I knew something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. “The baby looks great,” she solemnly shared. “But you’re dilated to 4cm.” My heart stopped. She said other words that I couldn’t fully process: bulging membranes, emergency surgery, hospital now. She left the room so I could get dressed…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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A Change of Potty Plans

July 13, 2015

It just seemed like the right time. My scheduled was wide open and the weather was to be great so we could spend the week outside. People always says how much easier it is to potty train little girls.

In fact, based on what I’d read, I thought staying home and dedicating a few days to this endeavor – just my sweet tot and me – sounded strangely relaxing.

Oh the naivety.

The reality of trying to get a two-year-old to sit on the potty every 10/20/30 minutes is a battle all on its own. Let alone keeping an eye on her every movement in the in-between to catch any accidents before they happen (and then calmly and swiftly extracting said small person from play time to immediately sit –once again – on the potty).

Can I be totally honest? It was overwhelming, all-consuming and exhausting.

After three naked days (her not me) at home with relatively few accidents, we ventured out into the world.  Donning new underpants and a patriotic summer dress, we pulled into the Target parking lot.

“Okay, here we go!” I told her. “Do you need to go potty?”

Head shake “no.”

“Let’s just try going potty before we shop,” I encouraged.

We walked to the public restroom and I carefully positioned her on the toilet. Nothing.

“All done,” she exclaimed.

“Okay,” I tried to keep my tone positive. We washed our hands and proceeded to do a little shopping. Every few minutes I’d ask some version of, “Do you need to go to the potty?” All received a resounding “no.”

Twenty minutes later I pushed the cart back towards my car. As I lifted her out to place her in the car seat, I realized that sometime during our shopping trip, her “no” should have been a “yes, Mommy I do need to go potty.” She was soaked.

Two days and multiple clothed-accidents later, found me sitting on a park bench an hour from the start of the 4th of July parade watching my precious child soil yet another patriotic dress in the middle of a playground.

And that was it. Time to change plans.

As much as my pride tells me to just keep at it (and honestly, I feel a little embarrassed that I couldn’t tackle this thing in one go), wisdom tells me she isn’t ready yet and we need to take a break.

So, I’m leaning into the support and encouragement of moms who’ve gone before me. Trusting my own intuition when it comes to my child, and believing the words of friends who tell me when she’s ready, I’ll know (and that someday – probably fairly soon – she will be ready).

I’m learning to let go, of my time table, my plan, my pride. While potty training may only be a tiny bump when you look at the challenges of a whole life, in this season God is shaping me into a better, more flexible, mom. And that’s nothing to poo-poo!

“The times we find ourselves having to wait on others
may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord.”
(Joni Eareckson Tada)

Welcome to my mess

Welcome to My Mess

December 11, 2014

Some things are too personal to share publically. Too deep, too vulnerable, too hurtful. But if no one shares, then others facing the same hurts – in the same mess – can often feel alone and isolated, as if no one else has ever gone through what they are going through.

That’s how I’m feeling today. Welcome to my mess.

My husband and I have been trying for some months to have another baby. We planned to stay home for the holidays this year because we assumed I’d be pregnant (I’m a high-risk pregnancy so I am not allowed to travel after the first trimester) and yet, here I sit in mid-December with yet another reminder that I am not pregnant. And my heart aches.

At first the teasing of “time for another,” and “Reagan needs a little brother or sister” amused me. “Maybe someday,” I’d joke back. But now, through no fault of my sweet friends, the comments hurt, and my confidence wavers. Self-doubt creeps in. Maybe something is wrong with me. Maybe I’m not a very good mom and wouldn’t be able to handle two kiddos. After all we’ve been through, maybe I should just be content with having one happy and healthy child.

And yet the truth is, my heart longs for more. More children, more special moments, more “firsts.” I long to feel a baby move inside me again, to smell the wonderful fragrance of a newly born infant, to watch my daughter interact with and love a younger sibling.

And whether rational or not, it feels like my dream is out of reach. It’s not happening today and there is no guarantee it will happen tomorrow. And life must go on.

Even in the midst of my sorrow, there is joy in this season. As I watch my daughter experience Christmas with her toddler-like wonder, my heart swells. As I cheer for my newly-engaged friends, I am reminded of all of that with which God has blessed me. As I congratulate the new mamas-to-be in my sphere of influence, my focus takes aim on truth. A truth that doesn’t deny my own hurts and disappointments, but rather takes the feelings and turns them into something deeper and stronger than they ever could have been without the struggles. Transforming them into the very type of deep love that is at the heart of Christmas. And I am reminded of the great love God has showered on each of us through the gift of his tiny son on Christmas Day; even knowing that some thirty-three years later mankind would nail that babe-turned-man to a cross to die for our sins.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

So although I grieve, I am also hopeful. Hopeful that someday – through some means – God will grow my tiny family. But even more strongly, I am hopeful that during this season God’s family will grow, and that more of those I love, and those I hope to one day know and love, will come to understand what a gift that little baby-born-in-a-manger was to each of us and how He can bring hope to our private tears and deepest hurts.

And just in case you’re wondering, there’s no follow-up to this story {yet}. No “and since writing this…” This is where I’m at today – right now – where I uncomfortable sit while God works on my head and my heart. Welcome to my mess.