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The Journey to Trust

March 10, 2017

God, the one and only — I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, 

An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. 

My help and glory are in God — granite-strength and safe-harbor-God — So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. {Psalm 62:5-8}

My word for 2016 was JOY, but to be honest much of it felt anything but joyful. The year started off on the heels of the miscarriage of our much-longed for twins and I spent months wrestling with God over His plans for my family. And His voice echoed in my head:

Do you trust me?

Of course, I trust you God, I’d reason. But the truth was, it was hard to trust. I knew that trusting God wouldn’t create an immunity from the yucky stuff of life. But when life is difficult, trusting God is what has gotten me through, and I’m reminded that God is my strength and safe-harbor, the solid rock on which I am stable {Psalm 62}.

Do you trust me?

Throughout the year, I tried by my own might to achieve the dream of my heart – a larger family. But by December, J and I had concluded that it was time to fully surrender that dream to God and pray about what was next. And so we began 2017 feeling a peace that could only come from trusting Him, even in the unknown.

Do you trust me?

Through prayer and tears, conversations with family and friends, the next has become abundantly clear. We know what He is calling us to trust Him in and with.

As so, with excitement and trusting God with our anxieties, J and I are beginning the journey to become licensed FOSTER PARENTS and to welcome children temporarily {and maybe forever} into our home and family. There is a lot of training ahead and paperwork galore {not to mention physicals, background checks, etc}, but we believe that this is where He wants us. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be good? We sure hope so! And we would love your prayers and encouragement as we begin this new journey.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

{Oceans by Hillsong United)

Home Sweet Home

October 14, 2014

Home Sweet Home

“We need to move.” I texted my husband. Our home was unfit for human occupancy as wild vermin had taken up residence. The outbreak was widespread and blatantly vicious. “We need to move,” I texted a second time to emphasis the urgency.

The specimen of my concern was a foot-long, slithering garter snake. I hate snakes. After snapping its sharp little fangs at the dogs, it slipped into a hole in the cement at the base of our garage door and out of sight.

“They live under the garage floor,” the reptile-honoring-man-I-married texted me back.

They? He had discovered the snakes three days earlier while mowing and had decided to withhold the information. I can’t imagine why.

“I need to move. Possibly without you.”

Marriage is a delicate dance with emotions and feelings that ebb and flow. Although I wouldn’t truly leave my husband over a harmless – or so he tries to convince me – snake, it does point out yet another difference of opinion between J and I. He sees the snakes as a helpful part of the local ecology, eating up bugs and causing no harm. While I feel the goose bumps race up my back just thinking of snakes living mere feet from where I cook and eat, and, in my mind, ready to strike at any moment. Finding ways to overcome our differences is what makes a marriage, and really any relationship, work. In our case, that involves talking it out. Here are a couple helpful tips when having this kind of conversation:

  1. Set aside time to talk when you can both focus on the issue. Talking via text during the work day is probably not going to resolve things in the best manner possible. It can also be hard to focus on a difficult discussion when actively caring for young children. Find time (after bedtime?) to really focus on each other and the issue.
  2. Table an issue if it becomes too heated. Some decisions may need to be decided upon quickly, but taking even 10 minutes to calm down can help get the conversation back to a good place and keep you moving forward.
  3. Be willing to give in. You can’t win everything, all the time. And part of a healthy relationship is – at times – conceding. Because you love your spouse, sometimes you have to let them have the final say. And because they love you, sometimes they will let you have the final say.

While we’re still negotiating how to handle the snake situation (moving is by far the best option, clearly), many issues we’ve faced, and will face again, aren’t as lighthearted, and stretch and strain our marriage. Having healthy boundaries in our disagreements help us move forward together and united.

What’s your best tip for handling conflict in marriage?

Why dating is bad for my marriage

June 26, 2014

And I don’t mean dating someone outside of my marriage. That seems pretty self-explanatory. No, I’m talking about dating my mate – the same handsome dude I promised to love, honor and obey. The one I really do love spending time with.

If you look online for “date your spouse” you’ll find all sorts of articles on why it’s important to make time for your marriage and even how to date your wife/husband. So who am I to contradict the wisdom of the interwebs?

Creative Commons  — photo by Robert Flake

Creative Commons — photo by Robert Flake

And yet, every time we prepare to go out for a date night, I end up more angry and frustrated with this man of mine than I would have been had we just ordered a pizza and picked up Redbox. I’d like to say it’s all his fault {because really, when is it not} but in this case, I blame the babysitter.

After all, she is the one I am thinking of as I tear through the house picking up GoGo Squeez containers, Little People and loveys. She is the one I’m concerned about as I glare at my husband and nag him to “stop folding the laundry and just hide it in the guest room.” And it’s her fault that 10 minutes before she is to arrive I’m just hoping in the shower to make myself completely beautiful for my magical-evening-now-turned-ugly.

Or perhaps I’m the problem.

And while I’m at it, I should probably claim fault for most of the things I blame on my husband. Instead of focusing on the fun of a night out, I focus on making my house spotless. While I should be happy to have time alone with my love, I’m criticize him for not cleaning the “right” way. And when it’s time to get ready – the part that used to be so much fun – I’m just frazzled and annoyed, and ready to call the whole thing off {the date, not the marriage}.

It’s time to reclaim the joy in date night. To that end I promise:

  1. To pick up the clutter and spot-clean my house before date night but not stress about every possible mess.
  2. To stop cleaning at least one hour before departure time so I am not frazzled when we leave.
  3. To spend more time shaving my legs, doing my hair and makeup, and choosing a cute outfit for a great night out.
  4. To think about my man as I prep for date night and not the babysitter and her judgy-judgy ways {which I’m sure is really only happening in my head, because she’s a total sweetie}.
  5. To love date night. Even if my husband doesn’t make any plans and we end up at the same place again {okay, so some things really are his fault}.

What about you? What keeps you from dating your spouse or enjoying date nights?

Making Time for Me

April 21, 2014

As a mom, most of my waking hours – and some of my sleeping hours – are spent working or taking care of those I love. Working in an office or cooking and cleaning at home, sending emails and wiping dirty bottoms and runny noses, my days are not my own.

And I love it.

I love being a wife and mom. I love the messy joy, the sticky hugs and the wet kisses. I love planning meals and birthday parties. I don’t love the dishes and laundry, so if you know anyone who’d like to volunteer for those tasks, I’m all ears.

And yet, even with all the joy and fulfillment being a mom brings, I have needs to be met. Making time to care for oneself can seem impossible or selfish but in reality the value of “me time” is immeasurable. Because when I am in a healthy place – physically, emotionally and spiritually – I am best able to care for my family.

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Here are five ways I’ve found for keeping the “me” in Mommeeee happy and healthy:

  • Get dressed. Even on days I’m not going to the office, I try to get showered and dressed before my husband leaves for work. Starting my day off with a tiny bit of privacy – while he watches Reagan – and a lot of hot water sets the tone for a better day.
  • Take a break. When possible, do something that you enjoy during nap time. For me this might include a short dance-workout via video, reading a good book or my Bible, taking a nap, trying out a new recipe or watching one of my favorite reality shows with a bowl of fresh popcorn (embarrassing confession – I’m a sucker for all things reality-tv).
  • Make a plan. Schedule a weekly or monthly activity that gets you out of the house for some fun with other adults. Maybe a weekly Bible study, a monthly Bunco group, a Saturday hiking club or an every-other-week MOPS meeting. Whatever you find, commit to it.
  • Set a date. No really, time away from the kids with your man on a regular basis is crucial to a great relationship and a happier, healthier you. So find a trusted family member or friend who can watch the kids for a couple hours while you and your guy reconnect.
  • Invest in yourself. Even in the midst of parenting, you can continue to grow and develop  the person God has created you to be. As your schedule allows, take an art class or dance lessons. Go to a writers’ conference or a weekend women’s retreat. Take an online class and work on your degree. Not only will you be growing but you’ll be modeling to your children a love for life-long learning.

And before you think I’ve got this me time thing down, let me reassure you: these are things I try to do. Some days I do well, other days it’s all I can manage to drag my weary body to bed at night. And that’s okay because I will have another chance to do better tomorrow.

How about you – what do you do to best care for yourself? How does taking care of your needs affect the way you are able to care for your family?

Mommy and Reagan’s First Road Trip

June 21, 2013

Before I was a mom {or wife even}, I determined to keep my independent spirit. When I would hear of moms who wouldn’t travel without their husbands, my skin would prickle just a bit. Fine for them, but not for me. Fast forward one husband and a 3-month-old daughter later and here was my turn to practice what I have long valued.

My husband only gets a few weeks’ vacation a year while I work part time and get 5 weeks off {plus he was just starting to earn back his PTO after taking time off for Reagan’s birth}, so taking off without him for a few days to visit my family seemed like a no-brainer. I would meet my parents at my grandmother’s house in Montana so I’d have plenty of help once I arrived.

It’s typically an 8-hour drive, so I estimated 10 with extra stops to feed and change Reagan. I was up early the morning of our departure but immediately felt ill.

Why am I doing this? Why isn’t James coming with us? This is Reagan’s first road trip, she needs him. I need him.

Thankfully, I have a great husband who continued to support me as I prepped to go.

“Is this a bad idea?” I asked.

“No,” assured me. Adding that he was proud of me and that we would have a great time on the trip.

As much as I wanted him to tell me to stay home in that moment, looking back I appreciate his support and belief in me. I wanted to give up and stay home, it would have been so much easier.

We were on the road by 7:15. I cried for the next hour, calling James on my cell every 20 minutes or so. I know, so much for my independent spirit! Once we hit the Wyoming border, I started to feel better. Maybe I could do this.  When we stopped for lunch in Douglas, I knew we could make it.

RoadTrip1

I won’t say the trip was easy but thankfully, Reagan was a champ on the way out and only begin to really hate her car seat about 15 minutes from my Grandma’s house. We’ll save the story of the return trip for another post … one about patience, perhaps.

Our time with family was precious. Reagan was ooh’d and ahh’d over by her grandmother {Oma} and great-grandmother {Grandma-ma}, while my dad {Papa} assured her he would making her a bow and arrow soon {his new hobby}.

RoadTrip2

What is quality you value in yourself? How do you feed it up in spite of life circumstances? Is it easy or difficult?