Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Follow Through

Ok so recently I have been pondering what it means to see something through. I have been proud of myself recently for following through on commitments, projects, or resolutions. And I struggle to let others off the hook when they commit to something and simply give up.

To list a few of my recent completed more at home, couponing, certain bible studies, learning to sew and knit, (I'll have to talk about these more at some other time.) And most recently I started a book club.

I am proud to say that I followed through on this idea of starting a book club with some local women and it so far has been a success. We are on our fifth book and going strong. (Again, a topic of it own.)

But as I began to think more and more about following through on the things, I began to question if I do this to almost a fault. For example, when I start a book, I force myself to finish even if it is the WORST book I have read. Or have joined some different groups lately that have turned out to be an unproductive use of my time. But since I have committed I will follow though to the end. Sure I will complain the entire time, have a bad attitude, and be resentful of the time wasted, but I HAVE TO FINISH!!!! I started this project, or made this commitment darn it!

Ok so maybe I am just too stubborn, strong-willed, and even too prideful to admit I have started something that may be wasting my time. Too prideful to say, "this may have been a bad idea". And if you know me at all, I am the queen of grand ideas. But instead of giving up now I will waste even more time, and/or money and continue on making myself and sometimes others around me miserable.

So I guess the question is... How do I find the balance between being a quitter when projects or commitments aren't as fruitful or fun as I desire, and sticking it out to build character, and honor commitment. Food for thought.....

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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Grass is Always Greener

Recently, I have been suffering from a case of "The Grass is Always Greener" symptom. According to The G.A.G I am living in this perpetual world in which everywhere else is better than here. I'm not going to use this blog as a forum for complaining so I won't go into why life here is so not all that it is cracked up to be. But instead, I will explain this odd complex I have developed in trying to find solutions to make myself "happier" or my life "better".

Let me preface by saying that much of what I'm currently believing is untrue and straight from Satan himself. 

Ok so here is the thing... I would change nothing about my currently phase of life (ok, well ALMOST nothing). I love my little man, and being able to stay home with him. I love my hubby and his job is pretty spectacular. What I don't love is the location in which my current phase of life is playing out. 

I look back on the days before moving back to Columbus as "the good ol' days." Days of splendor and joy. I blame some of these fond memories on the newness of being married and on my own. I contribute it to the sense of adventure of moving to a new place every six months and discovering a new world. To a fresh pallet (or apartment) to decorate and organize, new friends to meet, churches to visit. And well lets be honest, in North Carolina the grass is usually greener. 

Lately, I have had the urge to pick up and move. Put the house up for sale, pack up all we own, and move back to the places we loved. I am feeling antsy to find some new scenery, new options, new faces, Everything here seems dirty and gray, my relationships are disappointing, and I still don't feel settled. But then I remind myself that when I lived there I struggled from this same complex and our current residing place was where "the grass was greener." I frequently let my husband know (subtly?) that I wasn't happy where we were living and I wanted to move home. He must have gotten the picture because here we are back where I would be "happy" and "home". 

Which begs the question... Why do we looks so fondly on our histories, our pasts, and see the grass as greener. We do this with people, friendships, relationships, stages of our children's lives, etc. Always wishing we could go back to when times were "easier" or "more fun". We see the women on television that keep going back to abusive relationships over and over and wonder why they would do such a thing. Isn't it just a bad (ok tragic) case of "The Grass is Always Greener"?

So how do I overcome G.A.G? I think the root of this stems back to my primary sin and struggle with...drumroll please...discontentment. How to I find contentment right here? By slowing down, focusing on this moment, and being grateful for the here and now. Remembering... 

"They are like a breath, their days like a fleeting shadow." -Psalm 144:4

I don't have time to waste suffering from G.A.G. Wishing I were someplace else, somewhere greener. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Choices: Motherhood Differentiation

"The choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Since becoming a mother, I have learned a very valuable lesson, a lesson that I believe to my core and am striving to live out daily. Some days I am successful, others I fall short, but always I know it is truth.

That although, we as mothers may do things differently, doesn't mean one is right and one is wrong.

The journey of motherhood starts when the pee stick says it starts and from that moment, for myself, I had to start making decisions. And in many cases, many people will want to help you make these decisions (whether you want their help or not).

The decision to drink caffeinated beverages, if and when announce your pregnancy on Facebook, and whether or not to invest in Belly Band or go straight to the all praise-worthy (but frightening) maternity jeans, are all minor decisions to be made in the early months. But as time progresses the decisions become more difficult, more controversial, the more complex. We face the decision to have an epidural or not, feed your baby breast-milk versus formula, cloth versus disposable diapering, or be a stay-at-home-mom verses "working-mother" (which I believe is a redundant phrase and will have to get into another time). I like all mothers faced these choices as well. And yes, they are choices. I understand that in some situations the choice may be decided for you due to circumstances, but they are choices nonetheless.

What I have sadly come to realize is that with each decision, there will be some applause and support (hopefully), but also a backlash of criticism, judgement, and disapproval. And sadly the result of this causes self-doubt, guilt, and possible resentment for a mother. This played out in my own life In relation to getting an epidural during labor. I won't go in to all of the pros and cons of this, because that is not what it is about. I went into labor "educated" and had what I considered to be resolved about my decision to "go natural". But when labor went awry and most of what we had learned in birthing class had become irrelevant, new decisions had to be made and plans changed. What I wasn't aware of at the time is the host of criticism I would receive, and the amount of guilt and failure I would be made to feel as a result. Each time I hear that woman who do things naturally are stronger, wiser, or more womanly I feel like an inadequate mother or woman. And I have to remind myself that 1.)no one was in my place but me and I made the best decision I could in my circumstances and 2.) my plan wasn't God's plan and it is only by His grace that things played out the way they did.

The greater lesson here, one I learned through this experience among many others is that all mothers have to make decisions. What is best for one mother may or may not be best for the next, that does not make it wrong. Each and every mother makes decisions based upon the knowledge we have, and the circumstances we are in. We try to do what is best for our family, for our children. And what is best for my child might not be what is best for yours. And just because someone else's decision is different does not give us the right to judge them, or think ourselves better. Motherhood should bring about a sense of camaraderie, that we are all in this battle together, trying to raise up the next generation; it is not an excuse to find fault in others. In a world full of choices and options, and in a culture or one-upping each other and fierce competition to the top judgment is too easy. I have felt the conviction to not fall into the trap. After all, we all know about walking in another's shoes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Fresh Start Friday

"Eucharisto- grace, joy, and thanksgiving- always precede the miracle."
- Ann Voskamp

So I haven't blogged for a really long time, but when looking at my goals for this year and what I am really trying to focus on, I think that using this blog as a tool for documentation on my progress or most certain setbacks will prove to be nothing less than helpful. And although, I'm really going to use this blog for my own personal benefit, I welcome others to join the journey and share in my experiences with me...

This year my hearts desire is to find contentment. I have struggled with discontentment for as long as I can remember, and if I am honest with myself I believe that it is not only sinful in itself but the root of most of my sin patterns and life struggles. But along with contentment I hope to find joy.

Although this is not a resolution (I believe that a resolution is something that must be able to be completed and checked off), I do resolve to work on this as well as actively search for it.

While pondering on my search I decided that reading about "joy" and "contentment" might help me gain perspective on what these are truly.
Recently, I picked up the book "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" by Ann Voskamp. Although I am not finished with the book yet, I have found so much truth its pages that I feel like I am getting a jump start on my search for contentment. So far, I believe her message is that the key to joy and contentment is having a heart of gratefulness, and giving thanks to the gracious God for the many gifts and blessings that are placed in our laps, hands, homes, and hearts everyday, will bring about fulfillment unlike anything else.

Along with her book, Voskamp has challenged her readers and followers to partake in a dare to count 1000 blessings and gifts in 2012. She has set up tools and lists to help us be consistent in our thankfulness. I have decided to participate in this challenge (which I am guessing many days it will be). I will be listing some of these gifts on my blog periodically simply to document life...

3 things about yourself you are thankful for
#1- My sense of hopefulness today.
#2- That today I am able to throw my hair in a ponytail and not have to shower.
#3- My body's ability to give birth to a new life.
#4- A gift outside- The first snow (fresh snow, when it is still pure and white)
#5- A gift inside- my warm, snuggly throw blanket on this cold day.
#6- On a plate- (or in a cup)- My morning coffee

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Location:Whites Ct,Orange,United States

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tears for Fears

MOTHERS GUILT! Well today was the first time (of I'm sure many) that I hurt my little man. I recently decided I wanted to try to instill the love of reading in my child by starting to read to him early. While reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" today I accidentally dropped the book on his little face. In a split second he was screaming, not just his normal cry, but all out squealing. It wasn't but a couple seconds later I realized I gave him a bloody lip. And with the recent development of real tears this seemed all the more traumatizing. I then started sobbing as well.

So instead of instilling the love of books, I'm instilling a fear of them. Way to go mom.

The following picture is not from this incident but shows his poor little face nonetheless.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long Weekend

This past weekend went too quickly. It is always sad when a long weekend comes to an end. We did a pretty decent job this weekend of balancing productivity and relaxing. Friday night Matthew and I left Noah with a sitter and were able to go out to dinner and just reconnect and get on the same page. It was great to just check in with each other and laugh together. It is true we still see each other every day, and chat even, but since Noah's arrival I can't count how many times I've thought, "Matt and I should talk about this", or "I want to share this with him, I wonder what he would think." But when it comes down to it and we actually have a few free minutes I am too tired to engage in real discussion. So a night out was refreshing.

Truthfully, I can't even remember what we did Saturday, so probably not much. That night we had movie night with my brother and sister-in-law. Good times.

Sunday Matthew and I actually made it church. Noah was put in the nursery so we could focus on the message. Finally, success. Later that day we took Noah swimming. Actually, Matthew took him swimming with my family. I sat on the side and took pictures. Noah loved it! He is such a water baby. We finished off the day with family dinner at mom's house.

Then Monday the 4th, we started off the holiday going to the local parade to see our church's float. Noah was such a trooper in the rain. He watched the doggies and police lights go by, and eventually fell asleep. After the parade Matthew and I spent a good portion of the day cleaning our house. Very productive of us! And concluded the day visiting friends whose daughter is in the hospital. This holiday was very different from how we usually spend the fourth but was good nonetheless.

Below is a picture of Noah and Daddy enjoying the pool for the first time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Date Night!

Matthew and I decided long before Noah was born that we would continue to have regular date nights. We've had three since his birth eight weeks ago. Not too bad. Well tonight a dear friend offered to watch our little man. We didn't have plans so we went to dinner at a local mediterranean restaurant and followed it up with dessert at a French restaurant close by. The hot chocolate I ordered was enormous. And the cup had no handle so I ate with a spoon like soup. Delicious.