Monday, February 24, 2014

Full February

This month has been FULL! Whew! I'm ready for March but we have a few more days of Feb. to freeze through…

Well, did you celebrate Valentine's Day? This year we actually did! Now don't get me wrong, JW and I tell one another how much we love each other all the time but we're not big "Hallmark Holiday" types. We don't often exchange cards, even on birthdays, and we're not big flowers and presents types of people. Don't misunderstand me though, we just like to express our gratitude in other ways. For example, we will typically make a point to create a special date for their birthday and enjoy quality time together doing something that the other person enjoys doing; so if I know JW LOVES to hunt and fish I might cook a homemade meal with venison or fresh walleye and something from the garden. We might top off the night with a walk in the woods (to check the trail cam of course!) or a trip out to a lake with the canoe for one last catch of the season (his b-day is in Sep.) This year JW went all out at Christmas and surprised me with tickets to the George Strait "Cowboy Rides Away" concert in Auburn Hills. This is supposedly his last tour, although at the concert he did suggest that he's still not quite sure he can really be done. :) I guess if you've been doing something for 30 years it would be difficult to quit. We really enjoyed Little Big Town too. They were the opener and didn't disappoint at all. I would go to another concert just to see them. George played a total of 33 songs for the night! Pretty impressive for a 61 year old. His band, Ace In The Hole, was equally amazing. 12 person band and many of them have been with George since the beginning. They were so classy and fun all at the same time. I love old talent!

In other news...

The kids and I have had one sickness after another the whole month; stringing coughing and fevers, and stuffy noses, and runny noses together at various times this month to make up for quite a miserable time. We've missed almost all of our normal opportunities to get out of the house because we don't like to subject others to our sickness just for the sake of 'getting out' but that has had its toll on us too. We've had a few windows of clarity where we were in-between colds for a day or two and thankfully were able to get out and oh how good that feels! We're so thankful for good friends who come to our rescue to take us to Bible Study/play group and other general outings.

This month I had the pleasure of teaming up with another mommy to sing in our church's worship band and while we both were struggling with coughing fits and recovering from colds it was so nice to worship together and get out of the house for something out of the norm.

I also had the chance to get my hands dirty at my sister and brother in-law's house re-model! They are doing some awesome things to their old house and I have not been able to get over there too much so it was fun to help her paint the kitchen this past weekend. Check out her awesome blog here for all the great progress pics!

This week…

I'm escaping the cold for a few days to sunny California with my parents to visit my 94 year old great aunt. We are so excited to see her again and so glad she lives in a warmer climate! Well, truth be told, we wish she lived here but if she has to live somewhere else we're thankful it's warm. JW is gearing up for a week of Daddy duty and he and I are so thankful for the helpers we have coming in to assist him when they can. He really amazes me though; we've come a long way in 15 months! He can handle a lot, feed them, give them baths at the same time by himself and get everyone tucked into bed without a hitch…born to have twins that guy!

So may the end of February bring healing to your bodies and refreshment to your souls as I hope it will ours!


Thursday, February 06, 2014

What Did You Do Today??

To be honest with you I hate that question. There has been a lot of hype lately on the internet about stay at home moms and moms who work and women who choose not to have children. As I write I can name off women in all 3 categories that I love, that I would call friends, that I admire, and that are doing beautiful work with their lives.
*Photo Credit: StaciebPhotography 

Personally, I have been in all three of these categories at one point or another in my short lifetime. I was married young. Engaged at 19 and married at 20, now, almost 7 years later we have experienced a lot of life together already. When we were first married I was in my Sophmore year of college and, right or wrong, we choose to 'hold off' on starting a family. There is a whole story behind this too but I will save you the details. Bottom line is I am a Christian, and I believe that life begins at conception so the idea of 'holding off' on starting a family was one that I struggled with…. was it right, how should we go about doing that in a godly way, etc. Eventually, I read a lot, prayed all the time and informed myself on types of contraception other than 'the pill' that wouldn't prevent a pregnancy from progressing if it happened. So we weren't 'trying' but we weren't stopping it either if it happened. I found this book particularly helpful.

Some called me ridiculous, paranoid, going over the top… but the bottom line for me was that if life starts at conception, which I believe it does, then nothing I do must interfere with what God has made good. After a couple years of this I found myself still in the category of women without children but now I was not there in my heart. I wanted to have children and why wasn't it happening? I wanted to be in the category of women who had children and also have a work life. By this time I was done with college, I was working and caring for my house and my husband but we had nothing to fill our home with, no mini me's riding bikes up and down the street for me to worry about. Some women never get to this point, they are completely satisfied with their childless life and they don't feel an ounce of loss at the fact that there will never be little feet running around them driving them crazy and crazy happy all at the same time. I was not one of them. I ached for children, though when I was in high school and very newly married that thought scared me half to death and I thought, 'no way!'

After four years of this in-between stage of wanting children but never having them I was worn out. I had experienced every conceivable emotion under the sun during these 4 years; depression, anger, hopelessness, hope, fulfillment, rejection, freedom, worthlessness, independence, absolute dependence… you name it I probably felt it. This time of wanting but never having showed me one thing very clear and certain. This idea that 'choosing' to have children is something that as Americans we think we have a right to. We think it's our right and our freedom to choose when we get what we want and we'll decide the time and place and circumstances surrounding that thing that we want. The fact is that just isn't how it happens. So many people just said to us 'Oh just adopt', 'just relax', or 'I know a teenage girl who is pregnant I can't believe she can be pregnant and you have to be going through this…' All of this was said for comfort or to some how give us clarity but ultimately it wasn't what we needed. What was needed was the reminder that the birthmother making the brave choice to give her son up for adoption is going through a loss regardless of how she got pregnant, that my inability to get pregnant had nothing to do with relaxation technique but that it was God's goodness and His timing because He knows the plan, and that the teenage girl down the street who got pregnant with the first boy she laid eyes on needs to experience this world altering event for her good, for the good of her child, and for those around her watching her walk through this delicate experience if she is willing to let it be used for good.

So now, as I sit at my dining table watching my 14 month old twins climb on the furniture and wrestle together and stare out our window at the birds and go 'tweet, tweet' at them, I am in the category of stay at home mom. I do not work outside the home. Right now, it is a choice. I want to be home with my little ones in these first years as they develop and grow and get ready to head out into the world. I know that not every mom has that choice and they have to work. I am grateful to have this privilege to stay home. I am grateful too for Grandmas, honest women who run loving day care out of their homes, and certified and friendly daycare facilities who hire loving people for friends of mine who have to work or go to school so their children can be well taken care of while they are away. We are all in our own ways doing what we can with what we have to build these little beings up for good things. We cannot do it all and we certainly should not pretend that we can. This camp is great at encouragement and helping where we can when we can, we set boundaries on our time because we know that 8 ish is bedtime and the next day will start like a rocket and we have to be ready for it. We know that there are seasons to life and that if right now we have all school age kids, in the blink of an eye we will soon be empty nesters so we cherish the little things.

There are women in my circle of friends who have been where I was in wanting children but never receiving but now have come to a place where they realize the gift that God gave them by allowing them to have a childless life. These women are movers and shakers. They have the freedom and ability to go anywhere and do anything whenever because they are not bound by schedules or school activities   and 'mom' responsibilities. I also have friends that are married and are unsure about whether or not they want children. This is a journey that only they can walk with God and their husband. I cannot tell anyone that they are supposed to be a mom because the truth is, I cannot tell anyone what the plan for their life is; only that God knows the plan and as we read in Proverbs 3:5-6 if we commit our ways to the Lord He will make our path straight. So maybe you find yourself in this camp. Talk to God and your husband about it. be honest with yourself and them about why you don't want kids and consider what it might look like if you open your life up to the possibility and let God say 'yes' or 'no' in His own way and His own time, trusting that He knows you best. Either answer might bring change and sacrifice and that is the hard part but it's in those moments that we are made stronger.
2 Corinthians 12:10 "For Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (emphasis mine)

The point is that we all have value and we all carry with us purpose and a plan that only God writes and we join him in the journey. We can choose to belittle other camps to make ourselves feel as if our camp is the better choice but we know that isn't the truth. There is an epidemic in all of us called sin causing us to constantly doubt the goodness of what we've been given and envy others; forgetting to be thankful. We need each other-to learn and lean on one another's strengths to fill in the gaps where we are weak. If we would stop looking over our shoulders at what everyone else has and start being thankful for what we do and do not have maybe, just maybe we can live content.