Category Archives: Reflections

Missing in Action

Every year, the renewal for my blog domain comes up, and every year I have an internal debate about whether to renew it or not.

“I’ve blogged once this year.”

“Do I need Facebook and a blog?”

“It is a really cool domain; I’d hate to lose it.”

“Why don’t I just hide under a rock and pretend the world doesn’t exist?”

“Who really reads this?”

“How will people know to read this since I never tell anyone I have a blog?”

“What? I have a blog?”

“Maybe I’ll blog once there’s no longer 8 lbs of food on my dining room floor (Thanks kids).”

“Eh, I might as well renew it for one more year.”

So then I renew the domain and proceed to forget that I have a blog for the next 12 months.

Here’s my dilemma: I haven’t been able to determine WHY I have a blog.

When we first got married, I set this up and figured that I should put together a whole blog plan just in case I someday became a mommy blogger or something (Right? Because that’s what everyone does! Make money from your blog). But it never really sat well with me. I don’t want millions (or thousands or hundreds) of people knowing what’s happening in our lives. And really, I doubt very many people REALLY care if I moved a package of seeds from the basement to the dining room and back or if Ashley is hiding in curtains (ok, arguably more people are probably interested in Ashley hiding in the curtains…but it’s still a really limited audience!). And do the few people who really read this really care if I post a 1,000 essay on well, anything? (ok, there are a few).

I actually had an epiphany this week on all of these things. The catalyst: Young House Love is taking a break from blogging (boo…and yet I understand!). At some point in their explanations and processing, they said something like: “Why are we chasing something we don’t even want?”

AHHHH!

Why am I stressing out to make this blog into something that I don’t even want?? I don’t want to be a mommy blogger, I don’t want millions of people to know who we are, I don’t want to be president of the United States (yes, friends and family: Vote for me in 2016 has officially met it’s demise). I want a place to record the mundane and highlights of our family, to keep a journal for myself of what we’re doing, and an opportunity to mull around some thoughts and flesh them out on “paper.” It wouldn’t hurt to try to keep my brain in shape a bit too.

And I want a pretty blog to do it all on.

So, somehow this week, I started poking around again on WordPress. The tools have come a long way since I last messed with it and I was able to implement a new design that helps me differentiate a bit more. (Technically, it’s still a slight work in process- I need Mark’s developer brain for the last few bits). But, it has structure and categories and makes me a little less crazy. Let’s see if the rest of the pieces can fall into place now!

 

 

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New Traditions: 2012

As a newish family, Mark and I are still trying to establish routines and traditions. Last year, we added 3 new routines that are working really well for us: Family Breakfast, Together Nights, and Monthly Books.

Before I got pregnant, but after Mark switched jobs last year (so, really, all of 6 weeks!), we were waking up together in the morning, having coffee, quiet time, and a walk together before we both headed off to work. First trimester exhaustion ended that quickly and having a baby meant it hasn’t come back. Instead, we started what we call Family Breakfast a few months ago. On Saturdays, I cook breakfast (Versus our regular cold cereal during the week), we all eat as a family, then we have family devotions together. Mark usually reads Ashley a story from her Bible, then we read a passage together and discuss, and then have a time of prayer. It’s become a highlight of our weeks to spend that time together and it sets a nice tone for the weekend. Plus, we’ve gotten to try out new yummy breakfast recipes!

Our second tradition began in the fall, as an attempt to add some additional structure to life with a baby. We decided that we would set aside 1 to 2 nights a week for “Together nights.” Basically, these at home date nights allow us to have a regular time to spend together (playing board games, watching a movie, cooking together, working on projects, etc) while giving us freedom during the rest of the week to pursue alone time or time with friends, etc. These nights have been a huge help to us! They allow us to plan our week and to anticipate what each evening will bring. With the holidays last month, we’ve gotten off track a bit, but are looking forward to picking these back up again.

Our third tradition started in November. We came up with the idea while we were eating our (delicious, steak) anniversary dinner. We both love to read, but our reading doesn’t cross paths very often…our interests are just too different. So, we decided that once per month, we would each pick a book that we’ve read that we want the other person to read. Ideally, we pick something that the other person will enjoy but also that we enjoyed. We haven’t really discussed the books yet, but that can be our goal for this year! :).  So far, Mark has asked me to read How to Read a Book (ugh!), The Godly Home by Richard Baxter (slow in some parts, but really helpful/thought-provoking in others. I’d like to reread it and take notes!), and L’Abri  by Edith Schaeffer (great book. I know next to nothing about the Schaeffers, but this book gave me a lot of food for thought. another one I’d like to reread with a pencil…but our copy is literally in about 10 sections- the binding fell apart, so I just ripped off sections as I finished them…oops!).

These routines have been a huge benefit to us this year. We have a couple of new goals/traditions to add this year. All in all, it’s helping us be more intentional with our time, prioritize our relationship with each other, and have fun doing the things we love to do!

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Pondering the Incarnation

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak at our church’s annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet. It was encouraging and helpful to spend most of November thinking intentionally about Christ’s birth and what it means.

Here are the thoughts that I shared that night:

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My husband and I welcomed our first child into our family this spring, a little girl named Ashley Joy. Being parents has been a delight to us; it’s amazing to see even now how this little person, who is part of each of us, reflects our traits, features, and personalities. If you’ve met her, you know that she is a carbon copy of her daddy! They even share mannerisms, even though she’s only 8 months old.

In the early days and weeks after Ashley was born, I found myself doing a lot of thinking. Those late night, middle of the night, and early morning wakings and feedings provided the perfect time to process what it meant that we had a daughter. Here she was, the little girl we had waited and prayed for, in my arms. Would I mess her up? How would I respond if something happened to her? Could I love her enough? Would she ever go to sleep? Was she still breathing? How could I teach her to be a responsible person? How could I teach her to love God?

Many nights, in between moments spent wondering if I was up to the task of raising a little girl or calculating how many minutes of sleep I might get before she woke up again, my thoughts would drift to thinking about Mary and baby Jesus, and I would pester Mark the next morning with somewhat silly questions: Do you think Jesus ever had an ear infection? Do you think he ever cried all night? Do you think Mary was ever as overwhelmed as I am? But there were the more serious thoughts too: Did Mary comprehend exactly who her little boy was? Did she understand the prophesies that explained the grief and suffering he would bear?

When the ladies asked me to share with you tonight, I returned to those nighttime thoughts. As I read about Mary’s experience in the Bible, I was reminded that I wasn’t the only mom who mulled over thoughts like these in her head and heart during those early days of a child’s life.

In fact, the Bible tells us that Mary herself spent time contemplating and pondering the birth of her son. Right after his birth, in the midst of visits from shepherds, angels singing, and a star appearing, Luke tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  At the end of the chapter, recounting an experience when Jesus was about 12, Luke reminds us that “Jesus went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. “

I find it notable that Luke repeats himself twice in such a short text, telling us that Mary treasured and pondered the events of Jesus’ birth and childhood. The time that elapses between these two instances tells us that this wasn’t a one-time fleeting thought for her. Instead, it seems to me that this was an ongoing state, that Mary was reflecting often over the years on the events she experienced and what they must mean. As she watched her son grow, she must have been continually in amazement about what God was doing in her family.

Isn’t that the way it is with us too? My late night ponderings about Ashley may have shifted to more normal waking hours, but I still look at her in wonder and amazement as she grows and learns new things.

In the next few minutes, I want to invite you to consider with me what Mary pondered and why it’s important. Let’s consider the story of Jesus’ birth through her eyes and find out what was so important that she devoted years to considering.

Mary’s Son

The Bible tells us in several places about the early days of Jesus’ life. Luke wrote his account of Jesus’ life based in part on interviews with the individuals who witnessed it firsthand. It’s likely that Mary was one of those eyewitnesses, and that she is recounting what she experienced.

When we first meet Mary, she’s probably a young teenager, betrothed to be married. It’s a period similar to our engagement, but is legally binding and can only be ended with a divorce. She lives in a Jewish society and was careful to follow God’s commands.

One day, an angel appears to her and tells her some startling news: She has been favored by God, He is with her, and she is going to give birth to a baby.

If we stop right there and put ourselves in Mary’s shoes, what must be going through her mind? First, an angel is appearing to her and talking to her. He’s telling her that she is highly favored by God Almighty. Luke in fact tells us what Mary is thinking: “She was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.”

Her reaction is a natural one: Throughout the Old Testament, we see God using angels to communicate with his people, and Mary would likely have been familiar with those stories, but this was by no means a common occurrence. If you take a moment and imagine that an angel appeared to you and said, well, anything, we might get an idea of what Mary must have been thinking and feeling. We would have been shaking, confused, perhaps scared, and most of all just wanting to understand, all of the same emotions that Mary recounts to Luke.

Having been given so much to process, is it any wonder that Mary reached out for the most practical objection, the thing that is perhaps easiest to get her mind around? She’s a virgin. Biology says that she can’t have a baby!

But her objection doesn’t have it’s intended effect. The angel repeats his announcement, that she will have a child, and addressing her objection. He tells her that the Holy Spirit will cause her to conceive and she will be the mother. Again, if this happened to you or me, we would scoff, discredit what being said, perhaps argue, or even go see a doctor! Luke tells us that Mary does none of these things though.

In a great act of faith, based on her understanding of who God is, Mary accepts what the angel says to her! Luke tells us that she replied to the angel: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

This is an amazing response! Firstly, in the culture of the time, adultery was a serious offense. To have a baby before she and Joseph were married put her marriage at risk, as well as her reputation. In fact, we read elsewhere in the Gospels that “her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Who would believe her if she told them what had happened?

God in his kindness, though, doesn’t leave her in disgrace. Instead, an angel appeared to Joseph as well and told him that what Mary had said was true. Think of what this means for us. Does God ever ask us to do something and not provide the means for us to do that? Mary’s faith in God’s word and her obedience to his commands is a model that we should imitate. I imagine that God’s care for her was also a source of great comfort to her in the trials we know she experienced later in her life. Without a doubt, this love that God showed her must have been part of her ponderings and treasures as the years went on.

God’s son

Mary’s acceptance of the angel’s news in faith is remarkable for one more reason: The angel tells Mary that, not only is she going to have a son, that baby will be named Jesus; he will be great; he will inherit King David’s throne; and his kingdom will never end. He will be a Savior for his people. He will in fact be the Son of God, the Son of the Most High!

Mary’s mind must have gone to the Scriptures that she knew, of the prophesies of a Messiah that had been made hundreds of years before. For years, God had promised his people a deliverer, a Messiah, a forever king. He promised that he would provide a way to deal with their sin, to restore them to a right relationship with God. As Mary thought about these promises, I wonder if the pronouncement in Isaiah suddenly made more sense to her:  “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,and will call him Immanuel.”

Mary would have known that the name Immanuel means: God with us. She would have understood, at least in part that her son would be the fulfillment of all the promises that God had made.

As she thought about those promises, I wonder if she was amazed and in awe of the length to which God was going to keep his promises. We read elsewhere in the Bible that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, —all things were created through him and for him…For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”

Mary knew that God told the patriarch Moses that no one could see God and live…and here was an angel telling her that she would raise a baby who was the image of God, in whom all of God’s fullness dwelled. Her son, Jesus, would take on flesh, would become a man so that she and the whole world could know God.

How does Mary respond to this news? Again, you or I might be tempted to pull out all sorts of reasons that this wasn’t possible. We would keep the angel for hours trying to understand every last detail. But, Mary doesn’t so this. She accepts it, putting her trust in God that he can bring all things about.

As the news has time to sink in, she sings a song of praise to God, reflecting her joy and amazement at what God is doing in and through her. She sings:

My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

His mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

What rich truths for her to consider in the days and years to come: The fullness of God, dwelling in her son. God with us. Immanuel. God, taking on the body and characteristics of a man in order to fulfill his promises. Centuries of anticipation and eagerness about to be brought to completion through her son.

Mary’s Savior

If you’re here tonight and you’re not a Christian, I wonder how this all sounds to you. Is the idea of a baby being both human and God a foreign idea to you? Something that sounds like it’s out of a fantasy novel or Greek mythology? Why would God empty himself to take on the lowliest of human forms–a baby, incapable of speech, of walking, of caring for himself?

Why did God even need to become a man? Because we desperately needed him to.

We can’t understand Jesus birth, Christmas, apart from understanding the whole storyline of the Bible, really the whole story of mankind.  The Christmas story, Jesus birth, is a high point, a turning point, in all of history.

You see, the Bible tells us that God is a holy and perfect God. There is nothing higher, better, or more perfect than him. He has created all things and rules over all things.

The Bible tells us about ourselves too: Men and women are created in the image of God and are made to worship him, to have a relationship with him. Left on our own, though, we’re not interested in God…we would rather worship and serve ourselves. From Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to you and me today, we rebel against God. Even if we are “good people,” we still fall short of the perfect standard that God has.

Not sure about this? Consider with me my little girl Ashley or any other little child you know: Have I set out, as her mother, to teach her how to disobey, to throw a temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her way, to say NO? Of course not! But if you’ve spent time with any child, you know that these things happen. It’s almost like children learn to do these things naturally…and in a way, they do!

The Bible tells us that our very nature is corrupt; that the minute we’re born, we have a sinful heart, a sinful disposition. We are incapable of pleasing God. Because he is pure and holy, he has to condemn sin in order to be true to himself.

So, is that it? Are we condemned to a life of sin, evil, and pursuing ourselves? Are we to be forever separated from God because we can’t meet his standard? Is a relationship with God forever out of our grasp.

Thanks be to God- NO! The Bible tells us “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “

This is the very crux of what Mary pondered: God sent a child- His son- HER son- to take the punishment that Mary and you and I and baby Ashley deserve.  The Bible tells us that while we were still God’s enemies, while we were still rejecting his laws and his truth, God made a way for us to be restored to himself. That way came to earth in the form of a tiny baby, the very image of God, the savior of the world.

Jesus was born and lived a perfect, sinless life. Unlike you or I, Ashley, or your children, Jesus never lied, disobeyed his parents, or broke any of God’s other laws. And yet, one dark day, Jesus went to the cross in order to take the punishment that you and I deserved. Three days later, he rose from the dead, conquering death and sin. Because of his death, burial, and resurrection, God’s wrath against sin has been satisfied; our sins can be forgiven; there is now a mediator between God and man to restore us to the relationship for which we were created. Even more, God adopts us into his family, calls us his sons and daughters, and gives us an inheritance of eternal life.

The hymnwriter writes: “Because the sinless Savior” –Jesus Christ, who was born fully God and fully man– because He died, “my sinful soul is counted free! For God the just is satisfied to look on him and pardon me.”

This, this is the story of Christmas. Amidst stories of mangers, shepherds, wise men, and angels, or Santa Claus and reindeer, this is what we need to know about Christmas: Jesus Christ, God’s son, came to the earth to take my punishment and yours, to make us God’s children.

Is it any wonder that Mary spent years thinking about these things?  And yet, we know that Mary did more than think;  She realized that she had a decision to make: She needed to turn from her sins and put her trust in God. She responded in faith to the invitation that her Son offered…that she could be reconciled to God, that her sins could be forgiven. Out of all of her precious memories of Jesus’ birth and childhood, this was her treasure: the Son to whom she gave physical life was her path to eternal life.

Jesus offers an amazing gift–forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation with God– to all who turn from their sins and put their faith in Him.  The Bible tells us that if you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth that God raised him from the dead, you too will find the treasure that Mary found.

Will you remain separated from God by your sin for yet another Christmas season? Or will you accept this gift and be adopted as God’s daughter?  I encourage you to talk to the friend who brought you tonight or another Christian to find out more about this great gift.

If you’re here and you are a Christian, have you thought recently of what God has done for you? In the midst of a busy Christmas season, have you let your heart be encouraged by all that is ours in Christ Jesus? Take time in the next days and weeks to turn the Christmas story over in your mind and take new joy in all that this season means for us.

Conclusion

Mary had a great many things to think about: a few minutes with an angel had changed her life forever. She pondered all of these things and treasured them in her heart. This Christmas season, may our hearts and minds be filled with the wonder of what God has done for us. May we understand this great gift that God has to offer for us. And let us respond to his love and make this baby Jesus our Lord and Savior.

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“Real Life”

The 9Marks ejournal this month was about discipleship. In one of the articles, the author encourages us that: This “is our confidence: not that we have the perfect home and well-behaved children, but that in the muck and mire, God’s Spirit is at work.”

I came across a quote on this idea from another friend this week:

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life–the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” -C.S. Lewis

And then it hit me: I can’t wait until our life is “perfect” to live life! This IS my life, the days that God has given me. By waiting until it’s something that it’s not (and won’t ever be!) I’m wasting the opportunities that God is giving me now, today.

We had a friend over for dinner last week. When he came, there was flour all over the kitchen floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and toys spread from one end of the house to the other. Dinner wasn’t ready and my husband was tied up with a problem at work.

Rather than stressing out, though, I decided that I needed to embrace that this is our real life right now and that God has given it to us to steward well. So, when our friend came into the house, the first thing I said was: “Welcome to Real Life!” He looked a little confused at first, but quickly took the baby from us and made himself right at home.

As Mark and I have talked about it, one of the things he has reminded me of is that sometimes a less than perfect home can be more comfortable than a perfect one. He’s right, I think. Our homes should reflect our lives and the people that live in them. While we probably all want to project our perfection through our surroundings (who doesn’t want to be known as the person who’s on top of things, who can manage their home with a flick of the wrist, and have everyone admire them for that?), the reality is something different.

Am I concerned with a clean house, good food, well-behaved family because I’m concerned about the comforts of others or because my pride wants to be built up by people being impressed by me? Sadly, too often it’s the second motivation.

So, this past week, I’ve been repeating the phrase: “this is real life, this is real life,” to myself. It’s silly, but it’s been enough of a reminder to me that I don’t resent the interruptions, the unpredictability of daily life. I can enjoy what’s happening rather than worrying about the next thing on my list. It’s given me the freedom to live.

Welcome to Real Life The dishes may be dirty The beds may not be made The clothes might be a mountain The toys might be awry

But come right in and be at home We’d love to have you stay. We’ve found what is important: Our Savior, family, friends.

 

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Pinterest Challenge

I realized tonight that I’m approaching 1,400 pins on pinterest. Dude.

“Before there was pinterest, it was called clutter.” Yes, my husband just called me a hoarder. At least it’s not a fire hazard…

But, it might be a hazard to my sanity and state of mind. Where is the balance between nice ideas to improve our house, introduce new food, etc versus me pulling my hair out because I don’t know where to start (or stop!)

For instance, Mark told me a few weeks ago that I could paint the mudroom. Have I started? No, because I’m too paralyzed with indecision (and lazy about patching walls…and grossed out by the rotten sardine smell out there the last few days…long story!). Still, I need to stop trying to have the whole thing figured out and just pull out my paintbrush.

I think one consequence of living in Canada is that I don’t shop much outside the grocery story and Canadian Tire. So when I go to a real store (a la Target), my blood pressure rises and I feel like I’m going to fall apart.

I think the same thing is true on Pinterest.

So. where does that leave me?

I could walk away from pinterest, but that’s no fun. Instead, i’m going to start actually using my pins.

The challenge:

In August, I need to do whatever is on my boards- 4 things

1) 1 cooking item (dessert, cooking, yummy breakfast, a knack for snacks, food on a stick, drinks, etc)

2) 1 house project (diy, fabric fun, inside, inside spaces, etc)

3) 1 kid thing (kid’s stuff, for bumblebee)

4) 1 bonus item that Mark gets to pick

check back in September for a report!

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On being a mom

I’ve been a mom for 51 days. (If I were more organized, I would have written this yesterday 50 days is more round than 51!). A friend asked me today how I like it. Here are some initial thoughts:

I love being a mom, but it’s nothing like what I expected.

1) I don’t feel different: When I was single, I thought that being married and having kids would make me feel different. Like passing through those milestones would somehow change who I am. And no doubt over the long-term, they will change me. But I don’t feel it right now. I didn’t feel it when I got married. I really thought that some magic transformation would take place and I would suddenly become and feel like a “Wife” and “Mother” like those are some different categories that get unlocked. And yet. I’m still me, with all of the good and bad. My circumstances and daily activities are different (Sometimes), but the person doing them is changing much more slowly than my “Status.”

2) I see my weakness: Having a newborn is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a wife while having a newborn is taking everything I have. For the first time (maybe ever), I feel like I’ve met a challenge I can’t figure out. It’s like a crazy maze with hidden corridors, turns, and dead ends. I see my physical limitations (i need sleep!), my emotional limitations (if baby cries too much, momma cries!), and most of all, my spiritual limitations. I see afresh how selfish I am, how prideful, and how driven I am by circumstances. I also see (again) how much I fear man (crying baby in the restaurant or store? I will apologize 20 times).

3) I’m dependent: Suddenly, someone is dependent on me for everything: to eat, to sleep, for play. In turn, I’m more dependent on others: my husband, my mom, my mother-in-law, friends. I need help in tangible ways (weeding my garden, cooking dinner) and intangible (how do I get her to take longer naps? i need 5 minutes to myself!). Most of all, I’m finding myself more reliant on God (from the” Lord, please let her sleep/stop crying or help me to stay awake to keep her safe” to the “Lord, I have no idea how to be a mom and to raise my daughter to love and fear you” prayers). The verse “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” has taken on new meaning in the past 7 weeks. I noticed that I was more aware of this weakness in the early days- when things go well, I need to be careful that I don’t forget my weakness.

4) I love my husband even more: someone told me that this would happen, but I didn’t understand it until, well, it happened :). The first few weeks after Ashley was born, I cried every time Mark left. I had this insane need to be with him all the time. i don’t cry as much now; instead, there’s great joy and pleasure in watching him be a dad and watching ashley adore him. Yesterday, he came home from work while she was nursing. As soon as she heard his voice, she stopped eating and whipped her head around until she found him and then just looked and smiled at him until he moved. I love watching/listening to him wake her up in the morning and talking to her throughout the day and teaching her things. I love reading the poems he writes for her and reading her the emails he sends her throughout the day. I’m grateful for the way he helps around the house (doing the dishes so I can have a few minutes to rest, taking care of maggie, changing more than his share of dirty diapers, handling bedtime for me). I love watching them during bath time and the delight they are to each other throughout the day.

6) it’s lonely: I love being alone. There’s nothing quite like silence to make my happy. But motherhood is often lonely, I find. Ashley needs to eat often (every 2.5-3 hours) and that’s time that I’m often alone. I spend the bulk of our time at church alone with her in a quiet room feeding her or putting her to sleep. When we go out to group things, I miss a portion of it to care for her, unless I am able to bring a bottle. i don’t have much time for phone calls or even email with friends/family. Everything is dictated by her needs. We’re not quite at the play date stage yet (I’m still a little afraid of going out with her by myself). This is a season that will pass, but there are days when the inability to connect with others is really hard.

7) I think a lot: I have a ton of time to think/reflect/process (see #6!). I think about parenting, God, our house, our family, books, projects, etc. but I find that while I can have pretty deep ideas when I sit, I’m not able to translate them to paper or conversation. It’s like a private conversation with myself (and God) and when I’m try to capture it, my mind goes blank. (hence the silence on the blog! I have a half dozen posts I want to write to capture what I’ve been thinking about…and I can’t get past the first sentence on any of them).

7) It’s rewarding and joyful (and sometimes even fun!): I have a daughter. When she sees me, she smiles and laughs. When she’s fussy and tired of being passed around to other people, she comes to me and calms right down. She’s growing and learning and changing every day. She snuggles and coos and shrieks with joy. I get to introduce her to the world and teach her what she needs to know. It’s the most intense “job” I’ve ever had, but the joys and rewards are far bigger.

I’m so thankful that Ashley is part of our lives. I can’t imagine not being a mom and not having her. Yet life is different and it’s not without it’s challenges. Thankfully, I know that God is using this to sanctify me and that she is a blessing entrusted to us by him.

(rereading this- motherhood also has apparently removed my ability to count!!)

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