What I’m learning – January 2016

  1. I may be smarter than a fifth grader, but I’m not as stubborn as a four-year-old. I’m just not, y’all. I want to be. But it’s so much easier not to fight sometimes. Taking the easy road just seems like what I have to do to survive. It’s definitely not always the way it goes – she still gets told “No” a lot more than she would choose. But does she get away with things that my oldest never would have even tried? Probably.
  2. Ten years is a long time. My oldest hit double-digits this week. He is getting so stinking big. Luckily not literally stinking yet. But he’s getting way too close to junior high for my comfort. But that also means I’ve been doing this stay-at-home-mom gig for a decade. And I still have two littles at home. I can remember one of my best friends and her husband once complaining about how her little sisters get away with doing so much that would have never been allowed when she was younger. Today I realized that her mom had stayed home with littles for 20+ years. So by the time the youngest two were in junior high, of course she was done! I’ve definitely been striving to balance contentment in my current season with prayer and preparation for the next one.
  3. If Disney Junior gets turned on before lunchtime, I always regret it. I usually let Noah watch Thomas while they eat lunch, then Shelby watches her choice while I lay him down for his nap. Then it’s done. But every once in a while, for any number of reasons, the shows get turned on… and it’s just.so.hard to turn it off. It’s always the begging for “just one more” and feeling like I’m more productive. Plus they aren’t making any messes while the television is entertaining them. But I really don’t want to be that mom. So it’s a good day if we all make it to lunchtime.

A Hymn for the Hurting

My beautiful friend Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. We graduated from high school together and have known each other since fourth grade… cancer didn’t seem like a possibility. Two of my closest friends lost their mothers to cancer, but this was my first close contact with someone my own age facing this struggle. This prayer was written for her.

May the God who put on human flesh walk with you today.
May the one who tasted weakness give you strength.
May the faithful Son deliver you from fear and give you grace.
May you rest beneath the shadow of his wings.

May the King who formed the universe remind you of his care.
May the Father keep you safely in his hands.
May you trust his sovereign power over every cross you bear.
May the one who holds the heavens help you stand.

May the Counselor give wisdom, peace, and patience for the fight.
May the Intercessor cry out when you weep.
May the Spirit fill you day by day with heaven’s holy light.
May the Comforter give rest when pain runs deep.

Almighty God who holds us fast
Our Father, Spirit, Son
Embrace us with your presence here
O gracious Three-in-One

Wednesday Whats

What I’m reading:

I just finished Brene’ Brown’s Daring Greatly, which I had seen praised without end from one end of the internet to the other. There were many things that I appreciated in it, and several ideas that will need to simmer for a while. It’s definitely a book that would benefit from a discussion with others.

I also read Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle and wanted to turn right back to the beginning again as soon as I reached the last page. I have difficulty picturing myself as any kind of artist (how much writing do you have to do before you are willing to call yourself a writer?), but this book made me want to create without fear. I loved her voice and tone and passion.

I’m also currently reading The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson: Book Four) and The Mysterious Benedict Society in the effort to keep up with my fourth grader.

What I’m wearing:

I’m absolutely loving this striped cardigan from LOFT. I have it in charcoal and wear it constantly. It’s definitely the perfect weight for Houston winters.

Image of Striped Boyfriend Cardigan

What I’m watching:

I know there is nothing cool about this. But Josh and I are absolutely watching the final season of American Idol. We started watching when we were dating in college and like it more now than ever before. The judges, y’all. They are so pleasant. Harry/J-Lo/Keith makes Nicki/Mariah seem like a bad dream.

What I’m listening to:

So excited about the launch of a new podcast by one of my favorite bloggers! Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy is now podcasting at What Should I Read Next? and has already had some amazing guests. Apparently all her readers are trying to get interviewed, but that is seriously the last thing I need – she has already maxed out my TBR list with recommendations that I can’t wait to get to! Her guests so far have been fantastic choices, and I’m so glad to have subscribed.


Begin at the Beginning

One of my favorite bloggers posted today  on Instagram that she is celebrating her 10th year of writing online – which happens to coincide with my oldest child’s 10th birthday. This immediately filled my mind with so many what-ifs… What if I’d started blogging consistently when I only had the one kid to deal with? What if I’d actually stuck with the blog that I started in 2008 and posted on sporadically for a couple of years? What if I was actually capable of sticking with things that I started when they become difficult?

But then I stopped. And changed the voice in my head to sound more like the one that I would use if I was talking to a friend. Somehow its tone is more understanding. Patient. Gracious.

Jack’s birth, ten years ago today, was both the pinnacle and the depths of every emotion I’d ever felt before. Our first beautiful boy – I remember his eyes gazing into mine so intently, as though he knew exactly who I was from the first moment in my arms. But Jack was born with multiple congenital heart defects. So that first moment was followed by days in the NICU, open-heart surgery, and way too many of my worst fears staring me in the face.

Jack Baby

It wouldn’t have been the ideal time to start a blog.

But today could be different. I can (sort of) let myself imagine that I could still be doing this when Jack is twenty. Though that I can’t actually imagine – Jack away at college. Shaving. With a girlfriend. Taking calculus and playing intramurals. Though I can almost feel it happening, some days… He is becoming his own little person, separate from me and his daddy. With his own thoughts and ideas and purposes and dreams and goals. I think that we get used to them depending on us, looking to us for how to think and what to want, where to go and what to do. But I know that by fourth grade there was a whole universe within me that only intersected with my parents at the margins. My prayer is that we may tend the margins of Jack’s growing universe with care and grace as he learns and loves and (one day) leaves.

At the very least, it should give me something to write about.