Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hope Realized.

Hope.                                                                                *photo by the amazing Kara Stewart

It presses and pushes us to go farther, live deeper, see the dreams become reality.  It keeps us from folding in tough situations and gives us the strength to walk faster, go longer.

For years I have wanted a third baby.  I've seen their face and felt as if I was missing something, someone.  I tried to push it aside, but it stayed and often had me in tears, that this person, I felt so strongly, wouldn't get to be.  They would be an idea, a dream, a hope, but never realized.   I wrote about yearning for a baby and many of you responded.  I was encouraged, but also not hopeful.  I had resigned to the realization that we would always be a family of four.

What a wonderful, delightful, fabulous family it has become.  My children are full of joy, love, and adventure.  They are wild and always ready to go for the next journey.  They've dealt well with their gypsy parents and we have enjoyed every moment with them.

Then, when it was way past the time of longing or hope.  When everything was settled and we had reached the rhythm of living, we found that our family of four would really be a family of five.   My first thought was absolute excitement that this person would get to be!  I knew they were supposed to exist and now they are.

Then fear has followed swiftly, threatening at times to rob me of my joy.  Are we really ready.  Oh my goodness, we're going to have another baby.  It feels crazy and scary and wonderful all at once.

We are so far from the stage of having little people.  Our kids are practically adults.  Okay, they're going to be five and seven, but they need so little from me.  They have become my best friends and now we are not just rocking the boat, we are throwing a bomb right into the middle.

I don't know how it is going to look to be a family of five, but I know that it is going to be awesome.  I know that our children will all be loved, adored, valued, and wanted.

I can't believe I'm carrying my third and definitely my last baby, but I am so excited to them to be here.  To welcome them and to see the dynamic joy
they bring to our lives.

Hope, it whispers in our ear.  It murmurs secrets and then, it keeps it's promise and makes all things good.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Loving Our Babies.

Do you ever have those moments where you've lost it with your kids?  Of course you have.  We all have.  We've all stumbled and fallen flat on our faces in front of our most precious gifts.  I hope you apologized.  I hope you scooped them up and stared in their eyes and said, 'I'm sorry mommy lost it, sometimes mommy's mess up, too'.   I hope you then tried really hard to not do it again.

Very often I see posts that talk about the absolute failures we experience as moms.  I just don't always hear the recovery process.  I know that I have messed up a million times.  I am absolutely not perfect.  Sometimes I yell, sometimes I punish when I shouldn't, sometimes I don't listen, sometimes I'm so angry I need a timeout.  Simply because these are my sometimes, doesn't mean I can just let them slide, brush them off as having a rough day or that time of the month.  I have to build myself up so that I can do better next time.  I am constantly reminding my kids to learn from their mistakes.  I love natural consequences, because often I can point to them as clear punishment for my children rather than having to mete out any formal training.  But, how am I doing?  Am I learning from my mistakes?

A few things I've learned from messing up.

Say you're sorry.  Just as we want to train our kids to be quick to apologize, it is just as important to model this behavior.  I've found that we have precious times when I go to my babies, wrap my arms around them and tell them how sorry I am for hurting their hearts, for not being in better control of myself.  They are so quick to forgive, to love, and reconnect.

Try to stop.  It's one thing to apologize, but if you don't try to change your behavior or the situations that cause it, you're kids aren't going to believe you.  We tell them to learn from their mistakes, we have to be just as quick to learn from ours.

Know what triggers you.  It drives me crazy when we're in a hurry and my kids move sooooo slowly. The more I encourage them to get moving, the more they can't help but stop and stare at the butterflies.  I know this drives me crazy.  So rather than grab their arm and drag them behind me, I take a couple really big deep breaths.  Then I go to them, get down on eye level - I first marvel at what their seeing.  Yes that is the most beautiful worm in the world, definitely the biggest.  Thank you for showing me.  Now, we are going to be late, and that's okay if that is your choice, but I don't like to be late, do you?  Okay great, do you think we could run to class, then?

Whisper.  Seriously, the more angry you are the better it is.  When I'm absolutely about to lose it I go and get down on eye level and communicate with my kids.  Very, very quietly.  It's unnerving and terrifying.  They're usually pretty quick to obey after.

Change what you can.  Since everything breaks down when we are running behind, I've found that it is incredibly helpful for me to get up a lot earlier and have everything organized and ready to go, before waking my kids.  I schedule extra time, because I don't like being late and I know I react when we are.

Sometimes there are just rough days.  We all have them, even our best planning can't stop them.  Do your best to go with the flow, breathe deep, remember this season is so short, it is literally flying by, and you will miss it when it's over.  These are our fabulous and fond memories that shape our tomorrows.

I want to model my best to my kids and I am the first to admit my guilt and modeling my worst.  I am so grateful for their sweet forgiving hearts.  I adore their gentleness and I hope I can learn from them to forgive quick, love more than I should, and always believe in the best.

It's okay mama, wherever you are in your seasons of life.  You're doing your best, and that's awesome.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Quest For Authentic Joy.

I want to start a series about joy.  Probably because I've realized how much I lack true, authentic, deep, well springs of joy.  I know that it is there and available.  I know verses that say the 'joy of the Lord is our strength'.  I believe that it is ready and available for every believer.  Therefore if I don't see it as readily present in my life than I feel as if I am missing a key component to life in Christ.  And I want it, deeply, and desperately.

I'm not talking about happiness, the lightheartedness that comes with an easy life.  Rather a deep rooted joy that springs regardless of mood, circumstances, or people.

We have had amazing seasons of life, we've had difficult times, there have been moments that life has felt perfect, and others that it has seemed to tear us apart.  Life is full of ups and downs, but as I weather the peaceful and wild seas I want my heart to be set in a place of joy.  A knowing that no matter what comes my security is in a complete and total trust in Jesus.

Lately the theme that has come to me is to not trouble myself with our circumstances, whether we are where we want to be or not.  There are always things to change and adjust, I tend to be a person who lives hell bent on the future.  What am I going to do, who am I going to be, how big will my kids be, how wonderful life will be when. . .   I miss the dramatic and amazing beauty that sits before us.  I can't always see the good that is at hand when I am desperately living for tomorrow.

I have been taking care to be present in our lives.  To see the fun in the stages that my kids are in.  They are learning and growing so much.  They are already so different than their two year old selves. While I'm not worried about an entire roll of toilet paper being decoratively placed in the toilet then strewn around the house, I don't have the baby wonder at every new thing.  There is not a lot of quiet holding and wet kisses just because.  And that's okay, because now it's fun, conversations, competitive games, and time spent together.  Before I know it they'll be asking for the keys and wanting time away.  Each stage and moment is beautiful.  For now I'm a mama.  I'll be doing the quiet live in stage for a while as we expect our next one.  Life is moving at its own sweet pace.  At times painstakingly slow and at others so quick I can't catch my breath or freeze the blur.

Regardless of life and what we have or don't.  We are all somewhere on our journey.  I encourage you to revel in this time, whether of ease or struggle.  Nothing lasts forever.  But, we can find such extreme and overwhelming good in all of it, if we take the time to look.

A first step in truly living a life of joy.  To exist in the moment.

If you are struggling with joy, my heart is with you.  While there have been huge places of triumph in my life, I am still on a quest to live with a heart fully rooted in joy.  I hope that my journey inspires and strengthens you.

Blessings.  Cherylyn