Tag Archives: lifestyle

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You are beautiful, magnificent really.

February 17, 2017

I see you. You are beautiful, magnificent really.
        You were shaped first inside, then out; formed in your mother’s womb.

You shrug it off. You hear but don’t listen. Truth can be slow to penetrate.
        Body and soul, you are marvelously made!

“But I’ve got 10/15/50 pounds to lose,” you reason. “Then maybe.”
        Your weight doesn’t define you.

“And these wrinkles/pimples/cellulite. That’s all people see – that’s all I see.” You tell me.
        There is so much more to you than your skin.

“But I’m too tall/short/light/dark. My hair is too straight/curly/thick/thin. If I could just be different…” you argue.
        You were made, bit by bit, sculpted from nothing into something with meaning and purpose.

When I see you, I see the hand of God.

I see the glorious work He has created in you and am reminded that He is still at work in each of us. When I look at you, I don’t see your weight, or your skin tone. I don’t care about how tall you are or the color of your skin. What your hair is like makes no difference to me. Uniquely you by design, I see your kindness and your generosity, your love and your sense of humor. I see the way you offer a helping hand to a mom struggling with a wayward toddler and an overflowing stroller, the gentle way you wipe your child’s tears and kiss his owies. I see the way you pitch in to help a new mom in need, and comfort a hurting friend. I see someone beautiful inside and out. And I hope you begin to see it, too.

You are beautiful, magnificent really.

I see you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Psalms 119:13-16  from The Message

You are beautiful, magnificent really.

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Choosing to be brave in a scary world

December 6, 2015

“Careful, be careful,” I hear her tell her imaginary friend through the bedroom door. And I wince. Those words are exactly the opposite of the brave spirit I want to instill in her.

Before Reagan was born I determined I wanted to raise her to be brave and adventurous with a curiosity to see and learn without fear. I wanted to give her the opportunity to try things, to succeed and to fail. And within reason, the space to get hurt. Rather than telling her to be careful I would be more descriptive in helping her learn to be wise and observant to what’s around her, or so I planned. Now I find myself telling her to be careful regularly – when she jumps off the ottoman or carries her stool in to the kitchen. “Be careful, Reagan,” as she scales her changing table.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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Girlfriending

November 23, 2015

Friendships in my 20s were easy. We were mostly single and, although money may have been tight, we had the time and creativity to turn the most mundane activity into a party (like grocery shopping at 11pm!). It didn’t hurt that I lived with a plethora of awesome girls during those years. I always had a buddy at home to blab to about boys and work, or to get fashion and style advice from.

Fast forward a decade, and life looks a little different. For starters, my housemate still hasn’t mastered the fine art of answering, “Does this make me look fat?” Poor guy.

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.

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?

The day I caught the vomit … twice

January 5, 2014

The first time was at the lunch. Reagan is eating solids but has a tendency to stuff too much into her mouth at one time and choke herself. She had been given a few oyster crackers and, while I was talking to friends, she stuffed about 6 into her mouth and began to choke. As I started to pick her up out of the chair, she coughed up the culprits. As quickly as they came up, I put her back down and caught the mushy crackers in my hand.  I think I’m done with lunch.

The second time was right before bed. I think she just ate too much. Right after story time as we finished bedtime prayers, she spit the formula right back up … and right into my open hand.

But that really isn’t the point of this post. I really want to talk about decisions. Decisions we make as moms and dads; Decisions to jump forward with open hands to catch vomit, and decisions about working and childcare and heartstrings.

It’s been an emotional weekend in my house. Okay, it’s been an emotional weekend for me in my house. Our previous work schedule which allowed for Reagan to be home with James or me throughout the week worked well for a while but as she nears her first birthday, we knew something had to change. A choice had to be made – a parenting decision. And at this time, the best decision for our family is for me to increase my work hours {although still part-time} and return to working in the office two days a week while Little Miss goes to a friend’s house – an amazing, sweet mom who will care for Reagan as if she were her own. But that doesn’t change the fact that two days a week, Reagan will be away from Mommy and Daddy. And Mommy will be away from Reagan.

My sweet baby girl

My sweet baby girl

Tears caress my cheeks and dampen my spit-up-soiled blouse as I think about it. “It’s only for a season,” I tell myself and I know it’s true but I worry that Reagan will take her first steps or say her first real word while I am away. I enjoy working and I’m good at what I do, but I don’t know that it’s what I want to do right now. But for this season I am heading back to work and we will evaluate the next season in due time. If you see me in the office, be sure to say hello; and please ignore my puffy, red eyes and stained blouse.

Decisions we make as parents aren’t always easy {in fact, they rarely seem to be!}. What tough parenting decisions have you had to make or are you making now?

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.

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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}.

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