Monday, February 19, 2018

The Meaning of Cold Coffee | Two Peas In the Pod

I was going to apologize for the creepiness of the frizzy hair and expression..but it's just the face of mommyin.

It's tea actually, for me. I love it hot and almost white with cream #confession.

It's not meant to be gulped between dishes and mopping. Or ironing and dusting. It's supposed to be sipped slowly, in a quiet moment, peacefully.


I'm typing with one thumb. My left one actually, which makes the whole "post writing experience" considerably more interesting.

My bed is not made. The floors are not swept. Haven is splashing water all over the bathroom floor. I see dust on the piano, and greasy hand prints on the windows. My hair is not fixed. My list for today is pretty hefty. It's already almost 1:00.

In case you couldn't guess, I drank my hot tea cold - between morning baths and kitchen clean up.

And that's okay.

Life is one large merry go round of hungry babies and diaper changes. (So. Many. Diaper changes.)  I pick up the house all day, change diapers all day, take breaks to feed the newborn all day, make snacks, lunches and dinners all day - and by the end of the day, I'm not done. I still have to clean everything up one more time, change two last diapers, make sure everyone's tummies are full...and get some sleep before we start over again in a few hours.

And that's okay.

I found the most tremendous peace when I finally comprehended that truth. There's nothing really wrong about running around in circles. (In spite of best-laid plans). This stage of life is all about that - long, endless loops of the same thing; every day, all the time. But that's "the Father's business" - today, and tomorrow, and  the day after that; over and over, in the same simple ways. There's meaning here, in the simplicity of peanut butter and jelly and quickly folded onesies. This is His work for me.

Slipping down  from that mental realization to the nitty gritty; I found that I had to give up the idea of "being done". Before, I was always disappointed at how nothing ever stayed finished. Finishing is not the point  - maintaining is. Having adjusted my sights to reality, life makes sense. This is a different kind of "goal orientedness" that's just as noteworthy as checking all the boxes.

Another note: ADJUSTING is key. I like my tea hot. I like my counters cleared. I like good hair days. Sometimes for the common good of everyone, re-warming the mug of tea in an hour is a good compromise, as well as a nursing break before the kitchen gets cleaned up.

But, back to the present: My newborn is snoring on my chest. Haven is still singing in the bathtub - she's probably shriveled into a prune by now. It's time to get up, tuck the baby in her crib and get back at it; fully embrace the 'never ending' of these precious days, while my two girls are still small and dependent.

And, oh - in case your coffee is also cold by the time you get to finish it, let me just say this: Don't lose the vision... warm it back up.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Psalm of Toddlerhood | Haven Grace

                                                     The Psalm of Toddlerhood

1.Entreat me not to leave thee, 
nor bribe me away with gold fish crackers, 
for I seek to know what thou art doing.

2.When thou walkest to the bathroom, 
I am with thee. 

3.I shall not depart whether thou turnest 
to the right hand, or to the left. 

4. My smile shall light all the days of thy life, 
my laugh shall warm thy heart.

5. When thou sweepest up the dust pile, 
behold; I am in the midst.

5. Forget not my love for thee; nor underestimate
my good intentions after emptying the
dirt from thy potted plant. Again. 

6. When thou eatest of the bread of thy table
forget not that I want a bite from thy plate.

7. Withhold thy swift wrath when I listen not to thy 
commandments; for it was in search of wisdom
that I sought to empty the cabinets.

8. Forsake me not when thou art changing the baby, 
for it is at this time that I need you close.

9. When I steepest, thou shalt not forget me;
when thou risest, thou shalt teach me life;
when thou walkest, thou shalt hold my hand;

10. When I shout in church, thou shalt love me anyway;
when I pull out the entire toilet roll while thou 
takest a shower, thou shalt laugh and hug me;
when I am quiet, thou shalt be concerned.

11. Yet still, I mean the world to thee, and nothing shall
ever change that. I am yours, and you are mine.


Monday, February 5, 2018

The Story of | Hope

I stared hard at the white sheets on the bed in front of me. No way was I getting up on that thing. Not now. 

Nothing to hold, no way to run —

It stabbed again, with no hope of release. I felt myself draw inward. Frozen, trembling in the blinding fury of this hurt, yet shrinking slowly into myself. The dark, quiet place where my thoughts were loud and all encompassing. Nothing but the raging pain and those loud, knowing thoughts.

It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do this. Like it or not, do or die, this was happening. Here. Now. I wasn’t doing it - it was doing me. Somehow though, I knew I had to say something to let somebody know; stay out of that quiet torment deep inside. 

“I’m going to die.” 

It helped a little.

“Twenty more minutes and we’ll have a baby.” She was too cheerful. The Doctor seemed like some kind of shrew. I should have been happy. But the idea of this for twenty more minutes was insanity. There were nurses in the room, my sister was with them somewhere…everything blurred again, all but the pain, the thoughts, and Ethan’s quiet hand in mine. 

Please God, don’t let it be much longer..” 

And it wasn’t. 

The quiet, pleading little cry came gently, and my heart melted with the receding tension. Tears choked my throat. There she was, warm and helpless on my chest. The room was still a blur. I saw little, comprehended little except for her and Ethan beside me. It was over. Done. She was here.

Hope Adrielle. Hope of God’s people. 

In all the articles and posts by natural-minded women, there’s a buzzword where it comes to how they feel after labor. “EMPOWERED.” Wrong one. I lay there weakly; completely wrung dry of all strength. The only words that describe what this birth was really like is Hebrews 11:34 “Who out of weakness were made strong.” 

I had made a list of things that I really hoped for in labor - mostly, that it would be fast. Not so fast that we couldn’t make the 45 minute drive to the hospital, but still fast.  All in all, the labor was about four hours, and we were only at the hospital for 45 minutes before she was born. Just a little reminder that you can still “Ask what you will.” 

Today our Hope is one month old. We’re in love with our two little girls and the happiness they bring to every day. Lots of snuggles, kisses, “dikuw-dikuws” (Haven’s interpretation of “tickle-tickle”) and, of course, double the hair bows. Life is sweet. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Once Upon A Realization | A Cute Pic of Haven To Boot | Hick From The Sticks

“You can see my fire is still doing great.”

He looked at me sympathetically. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”

I am no mountain woman. One of my greatest accomplishments in life is that of keeping the fire going until my husband gets home every day. 

Yes. We have a heat pump.
Yes. We use it sometimes.

But for some reason, we like fire. Maybe it’s the caveman in Ethan, or the Indian blood running deep under my pale white skin. It could also be that we’re both pretty cheap and hate spending money. In any case; we heat with a wood stove. 

But like I said; I aint no mountain woman. I’m pretty flexible, and I’ll try just about anything, but given the choice, I’ll take tea rooms and shopping over gutting a deer anytime. Somehow, though, life has a way of taking you places you didn’t expect to go. This morning, I woke up a redneck

It’s really a long story, how I came to this realization, but the fact is pretty bold faced. We meet all the qualifications. (Minus the racist thing...)

  1. THE WOODSTOVE. Already mentioned.
  2. THE DUAL PURPOSE KITCHEN. Ours is also a deer stand and coyote annihilation station.
  3. THE SCRAP PILE. It has accidentally grown to momentous proportions and (TEMPORARILY) sprawls out from behind the shed that’s supposed to hide it from view… I finally understand how those huge hillsides of rusty lawnmowers come exist. Hey - we’re all just waiting for the metal prices to go back up.
  4. WE EAT ROAD KILL. It’s true. Not a typical habit of ours, but still true. Actually, my husband just happened to be at the right place at the right time to witness a deer’s introduction to big trucks pulling large boats. The driver was all too happy to hand over a pesky nuisance to the camo-clad hunter who was just walking out of the woods. Pretty tasty, I must say…although I wouldn’t go so far as to pick up dead opossums off the curb, or anything…
  5. LIVING FAR FROM CIVILIZATION. The GPS always dumps out-of-towners at the end of somebody else’s long driveway.  It’s like the back roads are too confusing. It just gives up. (Not gonna lie…it took me forever to figure out how to get from my house to the nearest town after we got married. Much longer than you would expect.)
  6. VISITS FROM THE NEIGHBORS. It was around 1:00ish in the morning and I was trying to enjoy what little sleep a large pregnant woman can manage to attain. With no warning, the closet began to explode. It sounded like something other-worldly was doing it’s best to unleash itself into our bedroom. Having had many such nightmares as a child, I rolled over and ignored it. Being a little more sensible, Ethan got up to investigate. The sound, as it turns out, was coming from just outside the window, not the closet. Using his cell phone (we do have those, actually) as a flashlight, he ripped open the curtains and we saw… two very large black eyes peering out of a masked face. A raccoon had been chased into the bushes next to our house (as evidenced by the throaty barking of a dog somewhere out in the yard.) He had jumped from the bush to the screen of our window and was thumping and scratching there for dear life. Thank heavens the window was closed…

Reflecting on all this, over an afternoon cup of coffee, the warm realization creeps over me that I wouldn’t have it any other way. This here is home - with beans and cornbread and biscuits and gravy, and road kill and the breeze from our open kitchen windows. (How weird is that?! It’s December.) It’s fun to just relax and see what plans God has for you.

I remember wondering what I was supposed to do after I graduated. I was praying hard, but no direction seemed to come except one: Trust. So I did; and He took me on an adventure more wonderful and rewarding than anything I could have planned out myself. It was hard to wait when people expected a “driven” and “goal-oriented” answer. I wanted to give one - but I knew His plans were more important than mine. I could have barged ahead, taken my free college classes and made a little kingdom of my own. But why? So people would applaud? It’s not about building any kingdom but His. I’m so glad I waited until He told me what step to take, even though it felt like wasting my time. It’s worth it to know He’s with me...all the way out here in Shingle Hollow, North Carolina.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

33 Weeks | Catch My Breath

Thank you for the four outfits that still fit. 
That I didn't have a headache for Thanksgiving dinner. 
For the sunbeam who dances in my dust piles.
That Thing 2 is still inside me, at nearly 34 weeks. 

This doesn't nearly scratch the surface. I'm blessed, in love with my firefighter, and overwhelmed by the grace that holds my little world together. 

My most treasured hope is that of a tomorrow without feeling like a water buffalo, and nearly collapsing from sciatic pain every morning. Soon, very soon, this child will be here. 

Until then, have a cup of coffee with cream and a piece of pumpkin pie...  'Tis the season.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tools For Surviving The Last Trimester | Kinda

This here is real life. #embracefingerprints

The last trimester is no picnic. These notes were sarcastically scribbled during nap time one day. Maybe you'll learn something new - and maybe you could leave me one of your own pregnancy life hacks! Deal? Deal.

M U S T A R D.  You heard me. I don't think I've had leg cramps this bad since I was five. (Secretly, I was terrified that I was growing for the first few days.) I have no idea who came up with it, or why it works, but gagging down a tablespoon (I take two, just to be sure) with water does some seriously amazing things.

T H A   B A T H T U B. I pretty much live there now; I'm surprised my toes haven't grown webs. Hot water dissolves Braxton Hicks. I never had one with my first go-around until a couple days before the baby showed up. Now, they cramp randomly, and with a vengeance. Hopefully I'll be one of those women who walk into the hospital fully dialated with 0 pain because light contractions did all the work.

T H A   S H O W E R. Nope. Bathtubs and showers are two different things.. The tub is great for relaxing crampy muscles, but the shower is a fabulous distraction tool for those aforementioned 'blinding headaches.' Hot water on the back of your neck takes away the burn of the hot water you're already in. (Good luck catching that lame joke...)

P E O P L E.  Between these days of suffering and woe, there are better ones. Those are the ones to stuff full of friends and family. Have somebody over, or go meet them for coffee. Whatever it takes - but get your mind off  of YOU. There's a bigger world out there full of bigger worries and struggles - reach out and be encouraging.

H E A T I N G   P A D.  I don't know what happened to my core muscles between Haven and Thing 2, but apparently they've given up and died. Hence, my back carries the brunt of the load. Hence, it gets pretty exhausted and achey. I was SO excited  when I splurged and brought home an electric heating pad the other day... #littlethingsinlife

P R A Y   B E F O R E   B E D. Really. It felt like I would never sleep again, until I asked Ethan to pray for me. That was the first night that I did - and it's been awesome ever since! There's only been one or two nights that I've woken up briefly.

P R E G N A N C Y   B R A I N. Woman, use it to your advantage. You're going to hear horror stories, and there will be some folks who scare the liver out of you with portraits of "
How tough motherhood will be" -- listen, nod and smile. Then commit yourself to God and DO NOT LET SATAN TAKE THE HAPPINESS RIGHT OUT OF THIS SEASON. It's an adjustment at first, but you were made for this. Happiness is a choice. It's not handed to you on a silver platter.

Well..unless you're in a bakery. I'm still dying for a donut.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

How To Waste A Whole Lot Of Money | BUT PRESENTS

#1. Flowers and Things

#2. The Joy

I mean, like, who WOULDN'T wanna open one of these? (I might hesitate, actually...they're so pretties.)

December is one. busy. month. So many birthdays, events and anniversaries, it's crazy! A lot of people would grimace and think mournfully of their thinning wallets...and I probably should too...but...I ADORE PRESENT GIVING. 


There is no such thing as spending too much time and effort on a present. In my opinion, this busy old world is slam full of short-cut-takers and trying-to-save-timers and ultimately, not meaning to, we end up coming across as "just-don't-carers" too often. 
Thinking about this, as December approaches, I thought I'd do a little planning and poking and see if I couldn't try to make the upcoming events more special for the ones I luv :)

While researching myself into happy-ribboned bliss, I thought I'd share the joy. Just because, well... who doesn't love looking at unopened presents?!

Tell me which one's are your favorite. 


I mean. 

**And yes. I know it's still October. But my baby is due soon and there's nothing like being prepared...

#3 Classico