A Light on a Dark Street

Claire shivers. She has stood on her front step long enough now that the damp, morning air has settled on her shoulders. She doesn’t even remember how to dress for a run in this cool weather. She considers going back inside to get a hat, but when remembering the chaos within, decides against it. Despite the guilt for leaving her husband to tend to their five children, Claire knows she must somehow force herself off her front steps and onto the sidewalk.

Taking a deep breath, she tries to resurrect her old self, the woman that used to run 100 miles a week with no problem. Now it’s been over three years since she’s run after anything other than a defiant, squealing toddler. Trying to get her out the door this morning, her husband told her she has nothing to lose. He was wrong—If she discovers there is no longer a runner inside her, that she has officially become just a mom, she would lose plenty.

running-573762_1280Setting off down the sidewalk, she feels sluggish and considers turning back with each step, but once she reaches the first avenue intersecting her street, she starts to gain momentum—her breathing evens out, establishes a familiar rhythm, and she starts to smile. Her lungs welcome the clean, cold air as her eyes flit to the right and to the left. There isn’t much to see other than the houses lined up on both sides, and she wonders what’s going on inside.

As she enjoys a perfectly timed deep breath, she thinks of how her husband is doing at home.

***

The bacon has come to life as Brad frantically searches for the lid to the frying pan, while one kid hangs on his leg and the other screams in his arms. His third born stands at attention and repeats a word Brad should have substituted with crap as the grease spots stain his church clothes. He should have known better than to get dressed before he cooked breakfast. He is just desperate to cook a meal that will impress his wife when she comes home from her run. She deserves to jump one less hurdle to get all five kids out the door in time for church. Brad is beginning to think that perhaps helping with breakfast was not a wise choice.

Within minutes, the kids are seated and eating. Feeling accomplished like he has just summited Mount Everest, Brad swipes a piece of bacon from Number 4’s plate. The feeling of triumph quickly shifts to trepidation as he turns around to see what he’s done to the kitchen—there’s that word again, slipping out rebelliously between his lips. He immediately pictures Claire in her church clothes on her hands and knees anxiously cleaning up this mess and shouting out orders for the kids to get their shoes on. It seems all he did was add one more hurdle for his wife to deal with.

He sighs and gazes across the street to Allen’s immaculately shoveled driveway.

***

houses-691586_1280Allen woke up looking for a fight. He can’t believe it’s Sunday already. Even though the days seem to pass slower than his days recovering in a Vietnam medic tent, Sunday always sneaks up on him, waiting to break his heart all over again.

Each Sunday, he rises at 5:30. He’d give anything to sleep until noon, wasting his life with pointless sleep is his only aim. Too bad his damn wife made him wake up before the sun on their first day of marriage, and sixty years later, he can’t even manage to sleep until 5:31—another reason his life is the epitome of misery.

He slogs out to the living room and lowers himself into his chair, careful not to look at the ostentatious floral ottoman sitting next to it. He stares at the floor for a few minutes before he musters up the resolve to look outside. The street is always so quiet on a Sunday morning—no doubt due to all the Heathens that Allen was sure surrounded his home. There’s that Claire running by, or was it Clara or Carla or Mary? He didn’t care. It’s no wonder her kids are always running wild: she shouldn’t have the time to go for a run when she’s got a zoo to feed at home. It’s so typical of a mother nowadays to avoid housework—all those women care about is how they look and how much money they can spend. Allen’s wife was never like that. She cared about everyone’s happiness but her own. He shudders at the idea that perhaps this is why she is not with him anymore.

If she was still here, sitting on that God-awful ottoman she just had to have, he would most certainly already be in his church clothes, eating one of her famous omelets. She would be eating her toast as they discussed the kids and grandkids. She would laugh and roll her eyes when he dropped a forkful on his tie, and then she’d scold him for swearing. He’d grunt–and take her for granted, like he always did. Then they’d go to church, hand in hand. She would smile and greet everyone in the building, as he found their spot in the pew—the same every Sunday. She was there for God and his people. He was there for her. That’s just the way it was.

Allen sighs, trying to deny that he misses church, and gazes over at the house of that lowlife, Tom.

***

Yep. It’s official. Jordan has been yelling all morning. She yelled at David when he woke up too early. She yelled at Charlie when he spilled Cheerios, and just to make things fair, she yelled at Sara when she emptied all her toys onto the floor.

womanShe walks over to the window to breathe and refocus just as Claire runs by. She would give anything to have a little time to herself—even if that time was spent running. She hates running—of course—probably because Tom did. She used to be friends with Claire, but now she can’t help but hate her…and her family. They are happy and it disgusts Jordan. Every Sunday, they flit off in their minivan, perfect clothes and perfect hair, to worship a God that seems to have completely disowned Jordan.

She quickly busies herself with the dishes to get Tom out of her mind, as her three children wreak havoc on the living room she just picked up. She ignores it all and escapes into her head, repeating her mantra, You can’t break. You can’t break. You can’t break. This has been her mantra for the past 10 months—the longest 10 months of her life. She finds it disgusting that after nearly a year she still expects Tom to walk through the door, as if he might miss them or something.

Her hand is warm and wet with blood as she bends down to sweep up the glass. Her daughter is crying and the boys are simply staring at her, with worry and fear in their eyes. She doesn’t know what triggered her to throw the plate at the wall. She must have learned that from Tom, too.

Sensing their judgment, she screams at her kids to get out of the way, shaking and wracked with hatred for her life.

She finally broke—10 months was all she had in her.

***

Claire practically skips into the house, feeling reborn. She barely made it thirty minutes—her legs, chest, and arms burning, and yet she knows it is the start of something great. Her skip slows, however, as she is welcomed by a thick, reeking fog inside her home. Bacon. Unmistakable.

Her firstborn crawls to greet her, still in her pajamas. Claire tries desperately to stay upbeat as she glances at the clock—one hour until they need to leave.

“Brad!” she calls out.

Coming around the corner, Brad explains, “Honey, I’m so sorry. Breakfast took longer than I thought it would and the kids are just wild this morning.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I was only gone thirty minutes,” Claire mumbles as she picks up the youngest and hustles upstairs to get her dressed.

***

“Mom, maybe we just shouldn’t go to church. Amy isn’t even dressed yet.”

“We are absolutely going to church! Get your shoes on!” Claire glances around hurriedly, counting her children, “Everyone get your shoes on; we have five minutes!”

Knowing he can’t be of any help, Brad has been sheepish since Claire returned from her run. He has learned through the years that once his wife becomes more efficient than an Olympic speed skater, it is best to just stay out of her way rather than try to help.

“Brad! Are you even going to help me?”

Brad tries to be the calm one, “Yes, of course. What do you want me to help with?”

“Obviously put Sam’s shoes on!”

***

No one is more surprised than Claire when they manage to back out of the driveway at 10:08 which should put them in the church parking lot at 10:28.

traffic-light-876055_1280With the kids chatting and smacking one another in the backseat, Claire sighs heavily, already mentally repenting for getting so frazzled and angry at Brad.

She glances over at him, so focused and intent upon the road, but she doesn’t know how to make the first move. She is so good at acting like a complete basket case sometimes–She wonders how annoyed Brad is, since she manages to drive herself crazy. He probably would rather I not talk for a bit, she thinks. As this thought crosses her mind, she sees Brad’s mouth twitch ever so slightly when he pulls up to a stoplight.

She pretends not to notice and intently watches the red glow in front of them, but when she feels Brad’s hand in her own, she knows that all is forgiven and settles a little more comfortably in her seat.

***

As Claire sighs at 10:08 and glances over at her husband, she is too distracted to notice Jordan peering from her living room window. Jordan will never know that her name is on a post-it by Claire’s bed, reminding her to pray for Jordan and her children every night. Claire will never know that as she rushes off to church every Sunday, drowning in stress and sin and family tumult, Jordan grows in curiosity about her God and what he might have to offer a single mom with three misbehaved children.

***

Brad is busy trying to convince himself to forgive his wife and himself for a fight that has become too common. As he drives by house number 1204, he does not even consider that past Allen’s freshly shoveled driveway is a man who desperately misses his wife, and his wife’s faith, which always kept him going. Brad does not know that underneath Allen’s constant irritable comments about him and his family, is a man who enjoys watching them pile into their van every Sunday, because it reminds him so much of a time past, when he was happier. Brad will never consider that perhaps his family’s imperfections will lead a grieving old man back into a church, where he will find peace and joy once again.

***

couple-1845334_1280Instead in their humble faith, Brad and Claire enjoy a quiet moment with their fingers entwined, despite the ruckus stemming from the backseat, as they press on in raising five more lights in a dark world.

***

You are a light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:14-16

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A Mutating Perspective

I knew the second I snuggled into my couch to write this blog, my infant would wake up, as if babies have some sort of sonar for a mother relaxing. I would then stare deep into his screaming face, begging him to stop screaming, for lately, it seems as though my infant is always screaming.

 

I visited with my mom about my frustrations this morning.

 

“It’s like they are doing it on purpose. As soon as one is quiet, the other has a problem. I am so tired. I just want to take a 10-minute nap.”

 

Perhaps she was using her infinite wisdom, or maybe just her brutal honesty, when she responded, “They’re just kids. It’s what they do.”

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Wow. Um… Thanks for the sympathy?

 

I think back to my conversations at church last night, while I ranted and raved about my little non-sleeper.

 

I joked, “My husband and I just don’t make babies who sleep.”

 

I complained, “I just want to sleep in my bed for once.”

 

I bartered, “I would do anything to get this baby to sleep.”

 

I think what I was really doing was searching for someone, anyone who would understand.

 

Because with this second baby I feel as though I am facing yet another year of lonely, dark, long nights, my frustration has been building, as my patience has been dwindling.

 

20170213_102153I think back to last night, up every 20 minutes with my little one. This was of course after making sure my husband felt as guilty as possible for leaving me to tend to our child alone while he got a restful night sleep, as if it is his fault our baby has colic.

 

I pleaded with God constantly throughout the night, “Please, please, please just give me one kid who sleeps. Show me what I need to do to make him sleep. Why me? Why me? Why me?”

 

And now, even as I write this, God has given me His answer. He has convicted me, and He’s not holding back.

 

I am not a victim.

 

I am a mother.

 

I am not a martyr.

 

I am a mother.

 

I am not alone.

 

I am amongst many who have lived it and many who are living it.

 

Wow. Um… Thanks for the sympathy?

 

Perspective is an important thing to maintain in motherhood. It is so easy to lose sight of what matters when we are sleep deprived and our nerves are raw. It is so easy to begin to look at our little miracles as if they are a curse, rather than a blessing.

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However, there is one thing that is truly beautiful about all this: God’s forgiveness and grace. When I fail and become a selfish woman rather than a selfless mother, my Father (He may even use my mom) will never fail to scoop me back up, show me the beauty that is in my children’s faces, and remind me that it is not about me. It is about Him and His children, who He has entrusted to me and my husband.

 

With a Godly perspective like that one, I think I can get through a few more sleepless nights.

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Some See Super-Mom. Others See Super-Fail.

Motherhood is a wily creature. She’s tough to pin down, and can be awfully sneaky about how she brings you down. Although sleep deprivation seems to be her weapon of choice, I have also seen her utilize tantrums, lots and lots and lots of germs, and food fights (and I don’t mean the fun kind).

The thing is that Motherhood often involves tasks that require more than two hands, and most women were, unfortunately, only given the two.

If Motherhood were a person, I doubt it would ever take responsibility for the many, many, many young women who have lost all sense of time, space, and overall sanity due to her countless intolerable demands.

For instance, I am always in a hurry.

No. That is not an exaggeration. I really mean it. I am literally never not in a hurry.

This is how Motherhood has chosen to pluck away at my sanity…

I am either running around like a lunatic, trying to get one single chore complete before my son decides to find me and torture me with one of his numerous and unrealistic requests.

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I often find myself racing up and down the stairs in a vain attempt to accomplish even a small load of laundry before my infant’s grunts and snorts evolve into full blown wails, as if in the two minutes I have not been at his beckon call, I have completely abandoned him.

Or even worse yet, I can never even pay a bill online at a normal pace since it takes my toddler 2.3 seconds to see that I have the computer open and everything goes right to the crapper once he is aware of this.

When it is finally quiet in my home and I have achieved the impossible: both children asleep simultaneously, I must frantically choose, wasting as little time as possible, how I will spend these precious minutes. Do I choose to clean my home, therefore reestablishing my sanity? Do I choose to sleep, therefore reestablishing my sanity? Do I choose to eat, therefore reestablishing my sanity? Since each of these things is impossible to get done during the few minutes of peace I get each day, it is a safe bet that insanity is a much more common facet of my personality.

Today, I actually got to grocery shop in the absence of the two mini humans I created. I thought it would be peaceful, but alas I still found myself rushing through the aisles and scurrying to my car, thinking that if I hurried, I might still be able to clean the basement before my oldest awoke from his nap.

Many veteran mothers will recognize this as an amateur mistake.

Unfortunately, in my two years of motherhood, I have still yet to learn that one should never, ever, not even if all the stars have aligned, make plans when children are involved in any capacity. My plans for my afternoon came to a screeching halt, when I flew out of my parking spot, suburban loaded down with 3 weeks’ worth of groceries, and slammed into a Buick Equinox…Oops.

I hope you all noticed that I still managed to blame Motherhood for an event that happened in the total absence of my kiddos. I am confident I have a strong case against her.

Now, veteran and amateur mothers everywhere know that Motherhood is extremely two-faced. In the many moments that she makes you feel like a total failure, like you can’t possibly carry on in such a frazzled state, she busts out one of those moments where you manage to arise triumphant, from the tears, vomit, and broken toys, with your held high knowing that you just defeated an impending catastrophe with your rapid thinking and cat-like reflexes.

20170114_093318I had such a moment recently. I had been supermom-ing it all day, cleaning my house like a maniac and dealing with each son’s needs effortlessly. However, at 6 pm my boys and I found ourselves surrounded by an immaculate home, yet completely without supper. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to load my starving toddler and crabby infant into the car to drive ten minutes to get a Little Caesar’s pizza, but even the best moms make bad judgment calls occasionally.

So, there I stood: in the middle of an extremely crowded pizza joint, holding my son’s hand and my other son’s car seat. I was completely aware that most eyes were on me as I ordered, and attempted to keep my toddler from running into the street, since this particular pizza joint decided to leave their door wide open in the middle of January.

I managed to maintain control of my situation until I was handed a box of pizza, a bag of breadsticks, and a 2-liter of Pepsi… Yep… I didn’t think this through. As my eyes wandered over the pile of food, the car seat, and my oldest son, I tried to fake an air of complete confidence, as if I had suddenly sprouted two additional hands and would just seamlessly whisk up everything in front of me and float to my car.

I continued this facade as I somehow managed to shove all my belongings out the door and toward my car, but I most certainly did not float; I lugged, hauled, and balanced, but I did not float. As I strapped my last son into his seat and climbed into the driver’s seat, I released a victorious sigh.20170130_174141

Take that, Motherhood. I, a mere mortal, managed to avoid a complete disaster brought on entirely by the bewilderment and woes of one of your impossible demands. My house got cleaned; my family got fed; And I avoided a panic attack.

Some of you may be asking what I learned from this experience: Sometimes you’ve just got to smile, or grit your teeth, and come at Motherhood with both fists swinging, and remember that tomorrow is another day and it is all a tremendous gift—even the real bad days.

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Five Lessons for my Sons

To my Sons:

  1. Life is Funny. Let God romance you throughout your life. Take advantage of every moment you find yourself smiling at the irony of life, always remembering that God’s hand played a role. He blesses you with many surprises each day—keep your eyes open for them, never letting one pass you by. The unpredictable twists and turns of life are what keeps you from getting bored.
  2. Ask and you Shall Receive. Don’t treat God like a vending machine—giving you anything you ask for as long as you insert the appropriate good deeds. However, treat Him like your Father, your Savior, and your Friend, always keeping in mind that Jesus Christ died so you may approach your Father with confidence, sins washed away and as white as snow. Ask Him anything, but be prepared to receive an answer you were not expecting, an answer that perhaps at the time seems like the wrong one. God has had an incredible plan for you since your conception, so never hesitate to tell Him what you need, want, fear, and doubt. He’s listening.
  3. You are Exactly Who You Are Supposed to Be. Your purpose in this life will not always be clear to you. You may often find yourself doubting your abilities, as well as your identity. The only thing you must never forget is that your only purpose is to love and serve the Lord. If you fail at everything else, but accomplish this, you have succeeded. Your identity is not found in others or in your accomplishments, but is and always has been in Christ. You are His child and He created you in His image. If everything else grows foggy and dim, let this fact be always on your heart.
  4. Laugh. Laugh until your eyes fill with tears and your sides ache. As you grow older, it will become harder and harder to remember to laugh, but life is not supposed to be taken so seriously. It’s short, it’s fast, and it’s full of perfect moments, even in the midst of imperfect hours. Remember each day that everything will be fine, no matter how disastrous things may seem. Take a deep breath, hand your worries to the Lord, and find something that still makes you smile.
  5. The Truth is Usually Harder than a Lie. Your Dad and I plan to raise you to speak God’s truth amid a constant eddy of attractive and plausible lies. God encourages us to speak His truth despite its unpopularity because we are not of this world; we are called to something bigger, something better. You will feel like the minority most of your life, often yearning to fall into step with everyone else, to blend in. Don’t. When the world becomes too much and your fight to be heard becomes too much, run back to God, to me, and to your Dad. We will be there speaking the truth right along with you.

Love, Mom

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His Will. My Will.

My lips so often say, “Lord, Your will be done.”

It is my heart, however, that rebels and screams, “My will. My time. My plan.”

I struggle to synchronize my lips and my heart. I know what I should want and I know what I should say, “Lord, Your will be done.”

beach-1868772_1280As I say this, and try to mean it, my plan is still burning in my thoughts and seems so much better than His.

Tonight as I sit in the quiet of my living room, having a few minutes of peace while my husband runs errands with my son, it becomes blindingly clear to me that my current situation is less than ideal.

I am 39 weeks pregnant.

Christmas is 5 days away, and we are completely without a definite plan because of the baby.

I am recovering from a severe kidney infection, a harrowing experience indeed.

My family is 200 miles away; that is possibly 200 miles of extremely icy, unpredictable North Dakota roads.

My baby has been teasing me for weeks, acting like he or she would be here by now, but instead, has decided to permanently take up residence inside me.

As it is in the last weeks of pregnancy, everything is an unknown.

Today, God brought me to Luke 1:26-38. This is when the angel, Gabriel, appears to Mary and reveals to her that she will bear the Son of God.christmas-crib-figures-1060059_1280

Um…. Let’s talk about uneasiness and a less than ideal situation.

She’s a virgin. She’s engaged. She’s a teenager. Now, she carries the Savior of the world. Yikes!

In verse 28 it says that Mary was “deeply troubled” when Gabriel greeted her. Later, in verse 34 she asks him, “How can this be?”

Mary’s immediate response was not to trust God, but to doubt His plan and wonder at what it could mean. I resonate with Mary here since my first impulse is nearly always doubt, fear, anxiety, panic…then… in time… I settle upon trusting my Heavenly Father.

Mary does finally settle on blind trust when she says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Even 2,000 years ago, these words are like magic to this sick, pregnant, anxious woman.

I have no doubt throughout her 9 months of pregnancy Mary regularly wanted to scream, “My will. My time. My plan.” However, her trust in God carried her through nine months, and mine has and will carry me through these uncertain weeks.

Each time my heart screams, “My will. My time. My plan.” God will answer back and remind me to be still, give Him the glory, and let Him work in my life.

And besides, nothing would be more incredible than my little one sharing a birthday with the Savior of the world.

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To my First-Born

We have had 20 months together.

Just me and you… and sometimes dad, of course.

In the short 20 months you have been my son, you have taught me more than I learned in the 25 years I had before you.

You taught me what real fear looks like–fear that something might happen to you or fear that I may fail you somehow.

Of course, you also taught me what real faith looks like—a faith that weathers all the woes that parenting brings.

God has seen us through a lot in 20 months. He has seen us through sickness, surgery, tantrums, impatience, frustration, many many sleepless nights, hard falls, road trips, incessant and seemingly unnecessary tears, and He has most certainly given me grace during the many moments that I have reached my wit’s end.

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In 20 months, I have begun to grasp that God has given me an incredibly gifted and special boy. There have been many moments when I’ve looked at you and thought, nope I can’t do this. You are a daredevil and a troublemaker. You have a glint in your eye that seems to say, “Catch me if you can, mom.” You have worn me out and worn me thin with your nonstop energy and your ceaseless and unmistakable personality.

You are feisty. You are opinionated. You are strong-willed. You are a fighter. These are the reasons it has been challenging to be your mom for the past 20 months, but these are also the reasons it is extraordinary and thrilling to be your mom every single day.

I became a mom on the day you were born. I know this may seem rather obvious to you, but becoming a mom actually has quite a learning curve. I knew very early on in your existence, when you were still inside me, that my main purpose in life was to just be your mom. This is why I don’t teach anymore and I spend my days raising you. It is and always will be the greatest joy of my life.

And as your dad often says, you are such an awesome little dude.

For a long time, we thought your dog, Remi, might be your favorite. If Remi was around, no one else really mattered, especially your parents. Although, now you and Remi resemble siblings more than you do friends, constantly badgering one another and picking fights. I often feel like I already have two children. Remi is better at taking your toys than any of your human friends.img_20160312_162218

You and your daddy are two peas in a pod. You look like him. You even walk like him. You love everything he loves, and you most definitely make just as much of a mess of mom’s clean house as he does. You shout his name constantly throughout the day, even though you have understood for some time that daddy has to go to work. It is so obvious to me, already, that you want to be just like him. I see you watching him, imitating him, and attempting to be a man, just like he is. Each time I see this, I ask God to slow time down, to let you be a little boy a little longer. You will be a man soon, so for now, you can just be my little boy.

You get your eyes and your sense of humor from me. You laugh a lot, just like your mom. Your laughter reaches up into every corner of the room, consuming everything in its path, so that even when it dies away you can still feel it and know that it was there. The way you look at me and laugh with me heals my every worry and fear. No matter how imperfect the world may seem, when you laugh, everything falls right into place.20150807_110023

You are one of the most social children I have ever known. You definitely get this from your mom. You love everyone and you truly believe that everyone loves you. You want nothing to do with your parents when there are other people, even complete strangers, around. Sometimes, I already feel like I am raising a teenager and that I am just not cool enough to keep up with you. It’s really not a great confidence boost, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love to watch you come alive in the midst of others, and I love the smiles you bring to all their faces.

Just like your mom, it is imperative that you get out of the house and see other people every day. You have been like this from the very beginning. Even at a few weeks old, I would bundle you up and whisk you out of the house when I had no other answers to stop your crying. Once you had other things to see and hear, you were happy and so was I. You are still this way—always on the go. If I need to keep you cooped up for an entire day, we are both hurting by the end of it. Our favorite time of day is in the morning when we go to the library, run errands, go to a park, go to playgroup, or just go wander the mall. It’s all the same to you, as long as you aren’t stuck at the house. This is the part of you that drives your daddy nuts. It’s the part of me that drives him nuts too.

Your sibling has been on the way for about 9 months now, and many times throughout the 9 months, I have wanted to warn you, to get you to understand, that things are about to change. I have caught myself wanting to apologize to you—wondering if we should have given you more time to be an only child. I worry about the guilt I may feel when you lift up your little arms toward me to be picked up, and I already have your sibling in my arms. I worry about the confusion you may feel when you miss story time at the library or playgroup because your baby sibling is causing all sorts of trouble. I worry that I may not get to sit with you for 45 minutes at a time, just reading stories, with no other care in the world.

I never have to worry about these things for long, however, before you show me how incredible you will be as a big brother. You point at the infant car seat, which is a new addition to the backseat of our suburban, and say, “Mom! Baby!” You point at my tummy and say, “Baby!” You always move blankets away from a baby’s face so you can have a better look, and never fail to reposition his or her pacifier. You are so young, yet seem to understand exactly what’s about to happen. You were born to be a big brother, and I was born to be your mom.

img_20160305_081257In a few short weeks, you won’t be my baby anymore, but my oldest born. I will constantly be asking you to be a big boy and take care of your sibling. However, the memories we have made together over the past 20 months will be a treasure in my heart for the rest of my life. I will always remember when it was just you and me, and I will cherish it.

This is far from the last change we will experience.

Someday another sibling may come along, making you the oldest of three.

Someday you will go to school and discover a whole new world outside your parents.

Someday you will be a teenager, and those looks you give me– like I am your everything– will be rare and fleeting.

Someday you will become a man and discover a faith of your own, a life of your own.

You and I will change along with each of these life changes, but one thing will remain the same: I will always be your mom and you will always be my boy. I will pray for you each day of your life, no matter where you are or what kind of incredible human you grow into.

Soon, you will have a sibling and things will be different, but my love for you, just like God’s love for you, will endure and never falter.

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No Applause Necessary…

Happy Anniversary to Pursue Peace Blog!

Hmm…. For those of you who are wondering how I feel about writing just one year into blogging. The only thing I can really say is the following:

I love writing.

I love writing.

I love writing.

And sometimes I hate writing just a little bit.

When I started this blog a year ago, I had an incredible and, dare I say, unrealistic vision for it. I dreamt of being the next famed blogger, getting paid bucket loads of cash just for jotting down my ideas. I dreamt of people from all over the world drooling over my syntactically dazzling sentence structure and my even more exceptional and superlative word choice. In fact, I often considered that perhaps so many people would be begging me to write for them that my husband would retire from his job roughly 30 years early and we could buy ourselves a 10-bedroom house and raise 9 to 12 babies in it. I would write and parent and my husband would build things out of wood and parent. Life would be grand!

That’s just living the dream and I assumed it would be easy enough to achieve.

20161122_132536Alas, after 365 days of pure writing bliss, I have achieved not 1 million or even 10 million followers but a whopping 100. After I publish a post that I truly believe will change the world, only for it to be read by about 10 people, I am baffled. However, after I publish a post that was painstaking and served no real purpose other than just to publish a post, I don’t blame one soul for ignoring, or even avoiding, my artistic endeavor.

Blogging is full of ups and downs. I often wish more people would spend time reading my posts. In fact, my most frequent daydream involves the publisher of Focus on the Family giving me a phone call and begging me to write more short stories for their magazine. I promise I’m not the most arrogant person around—I just have enormously unrealistic expectations.

All I want is to be the next Flannery O’Connor, and for those of you who have not read her brilliant words: DO IT NOW. She is top-notch.

I do not even come close to taking pride in every one of my posts. There is nothing I hate more than publishing a post that I just could not perfect. I know it is not up to par, but I have no idea how to get it where I want it to be. So, eventually I just give in, hope for the best, and publish it anyway.

I often lie awake at night thinking of past posts and how they could have been made better: I should have said this, this word would have been better, I can’t believe I actually said that, etc.

All joking aside, I regularly pray that I will not forget all of our gifts are given to us by our Father and we should use them to glorify Him—this, of course, includes my writing. I have prayed countless times in the past 365 days that my blog would become as popular as the Lord wills, and that its main purpose be to encourage people in their faith. Whether God allows one million people to read my posts or just one, I know I can trust His plan for my writing and I can rest in knowing that I am doing it to serve Him, despite my desire to be the next Flannery O’Connor. It is so important to remember that we do nothing for our own glory, but for His.

Countless frustration abounds in writing a blog. A lack of motivation or inspiration is a constant battle. Negative comments must always be dodged. Frequent disappointment after receiving less than stellar feedback.  The list goes on…

Many have asked me in the past year why I write. More specifically, they have asked me why I write the things I do. I write because it is a gift I am trying to cultivate. I write because it is therapeutic. I write because it strengthens my faith. I write because I love it. I write because I just can’t stop.pencil-147130_1280

And there you have it: One year of blogging and my 60th post. Here’s to many more… J Thank you to all who have supported me!

Maybe Focus on the Family will call me during year two…

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