beautiful words

As you probably figured out by now, I’m a reader.

And because I just can’t help but share the things I love to read, apparently, today I am sharing a couple blog posts by someone else that I have just adored.

Why Your Kids Don’t Need a Super Mama – Ann Voskamp
“My kids don’t need a Super Mama. They need to see a Mama who needs a Super God.”

What To Do When You May or May Not Be a Control Freak – Ann Voskamp
In which Mark Buchanan says “Here’s what I’ve learned: Every impulse to seize control — is the Holy Spirit’s invitation to practice self-control.”

Ahh!! I so loved and needed both of those posts! And they were so timely. But then again, when doesn’t a mama need to hear that their kids don’t need a Super Mama?

And of course that second post popped up the day after I started reading Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. So ironic, because I think Cline and Fay’s words are all about control vs. self-control.

Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

Yes, I added an another book to the list of four (now five) am already reading or about to be reading. Crazy? Nooo. I love it :)

If you want to see more links to blog posts about mama-hood that I enjoy, see my Pinterest board, Breathing Space for the Mama Soul. I try to only pin things that are encouraging to me. Nothing that induces a sense of shame, nothing about a specific parenting-style topic. Only words abounding with grace and the invitation to breathe deep and lean into a God who knows. The real words coming from the real hearts of real mamas.

 

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what I’m reading

A little more than a year ago I wrote this post about the books I was reading (and going to be reading) at the time.

This stage of life doesn’t always allow me to read like I would love to be able to. Lately it has been one book at a time, and a lot of times I haven’t gotten a chance to finish the book! I read most books these days as eBooks borrowed from the library, and sadly it usually takes me much longer than three weeks to finish a book. By that time, the book has expired off of my nook and then I either forget to re-borrow it, or there is such a long wait list that I decide not to place another hold on it. Bah.

I love holding a real book in my hands. But these days those books are in real danger of getting peanut butter and blueberry juice all over them. And I am in real danger of forgetting to return them and having more late fees added to my account (which already has $9 on it. Oops). I am very thankful that my husband thoughtfully bought me a Nook around the time we started having kids :)

Somehow, and I have no idea how since life hasn’t really changed too much, I’ve found myself reading more than one book again, though! And I’ve also found myself being able to read at least one chapter everyday, which is so amazing for this mom of two crazy boys!

But I love reading books this way. Sometimes you need a little bit of silly… to not think too much. And sometimes a book that causes thinking and introspection is a very good thing. I have three (soon to be four) very different types of books that I am reading at the time and I love it.

Like I said in my last post, I recently discovered that I love memoirs! Some of them, anyway. The honest ones… the ones where the author has been graciously brave enough to be deeply honest. Humor and look-you-in-the-eyes vulnerable sincerity can be a tough balance. So far I have read Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle and Paris, In Love by Eloisa James and absolutely loved both. Melanie talks about the first eight years of motherhood and Eloisa about living in Paris for a year with her husband and two kids.

So far Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist has both of those characteristics that I loved about Melanie and Eloisa’s books – humor and vulnerability. It is so so good. I can not do the book justice by talking about it here. Just go read about it.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

The second book I am reading is one that will probably take me a while. It’s just the kind that my mind can’t really digest quickly. I love what I have read so far, though.

Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

The third book is one I am reading just for fun. It is one that my husband picked out for me (he’s good at that… he once picked a book from the library that ended up being one of my favorite series!). Fiction is easier for me to read before falling asleep because my mind is usually on overdrive already, and fiction seems to help me let all of those crazy thoughts settle.

Crown Thief

In the spirit of supporting another mama with young children, I bought this next book with an Amazon gift card from Christmas that I’d forgotten about. I am waiting for it to arrive. It is a collection of poems by Sarah Dunning Park. I can’t wait :)

Happy reading, friends :) please feel free to share what you’re reading in the comments!!

how to not write a fifty-first draft…

The boys are both napping.

I have a cup of green tea.

I have fifty posts in “drafts”.

And I have no idea whether this one will be published or if it will become draft number fifty-one!

How do you start a post after not writing publishing one for almost two months?

So how about some books, something new, and a few swirling thoughts?

You ready? Great :)

Books.

I’ve discovered I love memoirs. Or at least two of them. Click on the pictures to go to B&N and read about them!!

Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn.      Paris in Love

Something new.

Theme days! Last week Eli and I watched The Tigger Movie with his sock tiger, read a book from the library about Tigger, and I drew a picture of Tigger for him to color. It was fun. But I think I had more fun than him :) We will be doing themed days again! I think it is a good precursor to starting Before Five In a Row with him in the fall.

Also…. Stitch Fix! If you have never heard of it, click here (I get $25 in credit if you use that link and sign up for your first fix ;) I probably can not afford to do it again unless I get credits, ha!

Basically Stitch Fix is a fun way to shop for clothes. It is also perfect for a stay-at-home mom who has precious little free time and also happens to hate the process of shopping (ahem…. me). The clothes are pricier than what I usually spend, but that doesn’t mean it would be out of your budget… I am an Old Navy clearance kind of girl. You fill out a style profile online, pick a day for them to send 5 items to you (you can ask for specific things or choose what kind of items – tops, bottoms, outer layers, jewelry, dresses) and then you choose what to keep. You pay for what you want and send the rest back for free within 3 business days. You pay a $20 styling fee, but if you buy even just one item that $20 goes towards your purchase! Basically free then ;) I kept two items – a lovely paisley maxi dress and a necklace. No, I don’t have pictures, sorry.

Swirling thoughts.

A Chinese proverb that has been on my mind for a while … “a woman has three hearts… one she shares with the world… one she shares with family..  and one she shares only with herself.”

And because Isaac just woke up I am hitting publish. No draft number fifty-one! At least not today ;)

Have a lovely Tuesday, friends.

metrinome

The day itself may be kept to the time of seconds ticking away on a clock, but your life doesn’t have to.

You belong to a God who is outside of time, in control of it, the Maker of it.

And so when the baby falls asleep in your arms, if you don’t have to pee and you find yourself wanting to just stare at him for a minute and feel the soft, heavy-with-sleep warmth of him, admire those long lashes and natural pouty lip that always seems to appear when he enters dreamland, do it.

Every thing else will keep.

You don’t need to rush, dear one. No, time might not stop, though you might want it to sometimes (and you might want it to rush ahead sometimes, too, and that’s okay). But you can slow the metronome that you set your life’s pace at. Ignore that ticking second hand. Choose instead to dance to the song that the days bring you, tempo changing as it does.

princes and princesses

Some monsters on Sesame Street we’re pretending to be princesses today. Prince Charming kept trying to come to their rescue when they had a problem, and the princess monsters kept telling him they didn’t need him (until they needed another player for basketball).

Parents of daughters, my sons are being taught by example (my husband is amazing) to hold doors for your girls, to treat them with care and gentleness, to “come to the rescue” even if that just means to bring them to God and pray for them.

My sons might someday try to do this for your daughter… not because your daughter is weak, inferior, or incapable… but because they are precious and loved by the King.

Please, don’t teach your daughters to squash my sons’ protective servant hearts. And if I may… please don’t teach your daughters that it isn’t okay to need help sometimes… please don’t teach them that accepting help is a sign of weakness… please don’t teach them that if they can do it on their own or without a man, they should. That is not strength.

I do understand that some of you may have had very negative experiences with men who do not view you with the value that is truly yours. I have personally been very blessed, and my confidence and sense of self-worth has been solidified by men in my life who have held open doors, paid for a meal, threatened a guy with a bat for me, and so much more. Godly men don’t want to help and rescue because it makes them feel superior – they do it simply because in God’s eyes and theirs, she is worth it, and he wants her to know.

Let them be princes.

_ _ _

I don’t normally talk about stuff like this in a very public setting because, honestly, I do not like confrontation and this can be a very confrontational subject. So I am going to ask that unless you are in my closest circle of trusted friends that you not judge, criticize, or correct my thoughts on how I parent my sons or how I view this very tender subject. And if you are one of those people you will do so in person or privately :) Thank you!

the truth

When I first heard this song on the radio the artist was talking about when he and his wife had two small children and they were just so tired. I know that there are other people who are so worn out by babies waking in the middle of the night or whatnot… but for some reason when he said it my heart sighed with relief and said you too??? So it is okay that I am this tired??? Okay. What he said then meant more to me than this song.

If you are worn… listen and sigh in relief with me?

 


 

And this song… oh this song is what has been in my heart… and it has been stuck in my head since my husband made me listen to it.

letting go

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Photo03071021We lost an hour last night… or this morning, or whatever.

It was the easiest daylight savings transition with the kids. Ever.

Want to know what we did? Nothing. For the first time in Eli’s life, we did nothing to prepare.

We didn’t slowly move Eli’s bedtime by 15 minutes every few nights. We didn’t agonize over his nap. He got up (rather early, but he’s been doing that), played at church, and when it was 1pm and we told him it was time for a nap for the first time in weeks he got up and walked to his bedroom! No asking to watch Timmy Time. No tears. No fighting. And the same just happened at 7pm.. the same bedtime he has had almost his whole life (after we survived the first frantic colicky months).

We did nothing. I didn’t try so hard to control the situation.

And it turned out fine!

Better than fine… it was one of the better days in a month.

I believe in a God who can and does take wonderful care of my life and who doesn’t want me to try to hold my life together on my own on my small, wobbly hands. But for some reason when it comes to certain things, especially those involving my children, I begin to doubt that He really means that. He gave my children to me to love and care for, and children need to eat somewhat healthily and get the sleep they need, and I often tend to take on those tasks on my own. I ask for help, I beg for it, I pray… but I still hold myself responsible for their non-napping days and poor eating habits, despite my best efforts. Today I felt as if God took over the parenting… He intervened, maybe setting the day up just right in ways I couldn’t do or maybe He was just God. Maybe He knew I was exhausted and saw me lying on the kitchen floor sobbing yesterday before my husband sent me downstairs for a nap… or maybe He really does love me and care about my kids more than I realize or admit.

I don’t know. I just know my Jesus is awesome and today am feeling abundantly loved and that my kids have slept without any intervention from me…. besides just lying them in their beds. Isaac even slept in the bright church nursery even though this was the first time I told them he likely didn’t need to nap.

So I don’t need to control my life, huh, God?

Okay. I think I can learn to deal with that 😉

stopping the rush

I was folding some of the way-too-huge pile of laundry yesterday, scrambling to find the man-sized stuff hidden under tons and tons of baby stuff, because I realized one day not too long ago that if I wash one person’s clothes at a time that means a lot less sorting after and so less time doing my least favorite chore. But my plan to shrink my time doing laundry failed me this time because kids just keep getting sick and laundry didn’t get folded eve though it was sorted BEFORE going in the washing machine and so the room that was supposed to be our bedroom quickly became laundry-land.

So there I was… flinging shirts and underwear into the empty laundry basket (empty only because I had just dumped it’s mod-podge of contents into laundry land) and I abruptly stopped and sat back on my heels and this thought rushed at me:

Why am I rushing??

There are certain things these days that I do rush through out of necessity. Going to the bathroom. Taking a shower while two boys watch Veggie Tales. Eating lunch. Because if I don’t, my mama’s boy will realize I have left his sight for more than 3 seconds and begin to cry, and then I will be doing the cross-legged dance and I end up either snacking all day or (more likely) eating way too much at dinner because oh my gosh my stomach just realized it has been empty all day and it doesn’t know when it will eat next!

But laundry? Like I said, I hate it already. Least favorite chore. It’s never done. I am sure you feel me here. But rushing? Oh I hate rushing even more, even though I do it like my life (or bladder) depends on it! Somewhere in my laundry hating mind I at some point decided that if I rushed through it would be done faster and so I would spend less time doing something I hate. But do you know what happened instead? I began to hate laundry even more, because I had trained myself to rush through… and I did say, didn’t I that I hate rushing? It makes me anxious and stressed and overwhelmed, even though I usually am rushing to not feel those things.

So I slowed down. I slowed my movements. I sorted through the pile calmly. I told myself that it didn’t matter if all the laundry got folded today. There will still be laundry to do tomorrow. And isn’t a calm, peaceful me with a slightly smaller pile of laundry better than a frantic one with a clean bedroom floor? Isn’t a me who is content with what she felt she could do at the time better than one who is proud of herself for doing it all in one night?

I only folded 2 basketfuls of laundry last night. All of my husband’s things (minus socks… sorry honey!) and all of the baby and toddler clothes. I still haven’t put the boys things’ away. Then I dried my hair, and washed bottles, and played a game on my kid’s kindle while Chris finished taxes. I asked if I could help with that, I promise! And he said no and he didn’t make me feel a bit guilty about being lazy for a bit. There is still a pile of my stuff, blankets towels and socks and random things that got missed on the bedroom floor. But I am okay with that.

smashed

What do you think when your kid misbehaves?

Are you like me – tempted to look at his behavior as spiteful, because our relationship isn’t “good”, or… proof that you’re not doing this mommy (or daddy) thing right?

When he pulls the crockpot off the counter while trying to turn the nob, and suddenly shards and raw meat are everywhere, and it was the new crockpot that was supposed to replace the one that broke… just as accidentally… well, I cry…

And I call my husband. And I clean up the shards and raw meat as the crockpot-smasher stands near and says “what happened?” and other soft things in a very concerned voice… and I say “you broke it,” and I manage to match his soft voice…

And after I’ve picked everything up and wiped it all down, he grabs the broom and begins to sweep the already clean floor, and then he asks for a paper towel and wipes it down.

He didn’t need to clean the floor. I cleaned his mess already. Because I love him.

I don’t need to clean up my mess … He did it already… because He loves me…

was mad. The morning already wasn’t going well. And more things happened right in the middle of all of this. I mis-texted a friend when I meant to text my husband… but it ended up being one of the best things that happened this morning because she is awesome and encouraged me instead of shaming me. But after a while I realized… I didn’t know what I was doing when I spoke the soft words and cleaned the messy floor… but God spoke into it afterwards and now I know… I’d gladly let any material possession be smashed for the opportunity to (even unknowingly) teach my baby – and myself – about grace…

Also… he read books to his baby brother this morning :)

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coffee spilled

I spilled my coffee.

Really good, really hot Tim Horton’s coffee.

On our new area rug. On my only pair of jeans that were fitting comfortably that day.

I just completely missed the coffee table, staring at my cute toddler as I tried to set my cup down.

I spilled it and I cried. Sobbed.

And my husband. He ran out of the bedroom to find out what was wrong and I felt silly and stupid and ridiculous and hormonal and I kept apologizing and shaming myself and he said…

He said “I’ll buy you more.”

And I refused, ashamed of my spilled coffee and my tears.

But we get in the car to go to his parents and, with me protesting, he pulled through Tim Horton’s drive through.

And I cried a little more but deep down… deep down I felt loved and beautiful.

And just a few miles later I turn to help a boy in the backseat and next thing I know my cup is no longer in my hand and coffee is on the other leg of my jeans (that I did not change earlier) and on my seat and all over, and the coffee cup is currently emptying itself on my husband’s new Window’s phone, which he just picks up calmly, and he even smiles at me when apologies come tumbling out of my mouth again.

I’m sobbing again.

And he says… “I’ll buy you more.”

That is just a small way that I’ve been shown grace lately. The thought that when I do something wrong, even a mistake, all I have to do is apologize {and even ask God “can You fix it?”… and let Him} and not have to dwell on it or make sure I feel bad enough for what I did is so foreign to me…

Chris made our small group listen to this song last night… so glad that even though my sign would say “ashamed” that both my husband and God see “beloved”