January 21, 2015

Finding PEACE in 2015

Come to me 
Walk with me 
Learn the rhythms of my grace 
Come to me 
I have all you need 
Learn to rest even while you are awake 

Are you tired? 
Are you worried? 
Worn out from the day? 
Have you been in a hurry? 
I will slow the pace.

- Sandra McCracken, Come to Me | Rain for Roots

I LOVE this song. The first time I heard it I pulled over on the side of the road and cried. I was weary, I was worried, I was tired, and I needed God's grace. My kids thought I had lost my mind. Bradley came home and told Jeremy, "Something is wrong with Mommy. I think she is hurt. She cried a lot today." 

We live in a moving world. A world that is moving so fast. Deliveries take 2 days and any longer we call to complain. We are bombarded with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a number of other cool apps I decided I was too old to add to my already crazy long list. We feel the pressure to respond to e-mails within a couple hours and to return phone calls or texts faster. We are also told, especially us women, that we can do it all... at once! It's multitasking: an art form we perfected. 

This is crazy!! In actuality, multitasking isn't really possible. When you attempt to multitask, you are actually LESS productive and using LESS of your brain potential. You are also probably way more stressed than those who work on one thing at a time. 

taken from an amazing presentation given by Stephanie Howard, a fellow Junior League of Macon member

And this is where I lived 2014. Working from home was really, really hard. I was trying to balance a husband, a house, kids, and two jobs. I would get breaks, but would quickly fill that time with something else I thought I needed to do. 

Then, at the end of the year when contracts were being drawn and discussed, Jeremy was asking me questions about the kids and I was being asked questions about my future plans, I realized that this isn't what I wanted my life to look like. I enjoyed everything I was doing, but not the way I was doing it. So I began making changes. 

I started by saying "no" a lot. Even to stuff that I wanted to do or knew I'd enjoy. I said no to things that I "should" be doing, but would have to sacrifice time with my family when I already hadn't had much that week. Saying no is so hard for me. I question myself each time the word comes out. I want to do it all. But this past year taught me that I just can't. I have to set priorities and stick with them. 

I began doing more yoga and enjoying the quiet mind. I like doing it at night to refocus myself away from the stress of the day and on to a good night of sleep. This meant no more late night work sessions. 

I re-negotiated contracts that gave me more time away from set work schedules. I delegated more responsibility onto those around me where it made sense. 

I reorganized my e-mail so that I can quickly skim through the important ones and decide if they needed to be responded to now or if they could wait. If it can wait, I move it to a different folder and forget about it until I really do have the time to sit and only do e-mail. 

On the same note, I revamped the way I looked at my to do list and made it more manageable and realistic. One that would not produce stress, but encourage me to focus on one task at a time. 

I created an environment where I could thrive by taking away the need to multitask as much (I am a mom! Some multitasking is just necessary.) and one where I could find time to spend doing the things that really matter. 

PEACE. That's my word for 2015. I want to live more simply, more focused, and less worried. What about you? What do you hope to achieve in 2015?

December 23, 2014

The Year Was 2014....

And the year went undocumented. Ha! What an insane year it was. I blogged 5 times between January 15 and February 21 and then said, "Screw it. Life is hard right now" and stopped.

Raising a three-year-old is hand work! At two, they have tantrums, they scream and cry, but then they recover oddly fast. But as a three-year-old, they think "if I just keep doing this longer. If I add in all these new words I'm learning. And, on top of that, if I start to reason, but in a way that confuses the parent, the parent will have no option but to give in to my demands." The three-year-old also begins to understand the term "in charge" to mean whoever is making the demands. So, if he is stating he wants to watch TV, then he is in charge and should watch tv. And if you, by chance, try to say no, then he will proceed to scream and cry and argue for as long as you will hold out.

 This, unfortunately, is where my three-year-old failed. He is only just now realizing (at just four-years-old) that I have amazing willpower and I like to be in charge. Always have. So these performances are lost on me. And while listening to crying and screaming    a-l-l    d-a-y    l-o-n-g    have slowly made me want to admit myself into the nearest psych ward, I stand firm and tall in my decisions... until my husband comes home. And then I run as far away as possible grasping for solitude.

I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine that I think kids are making me an introvert. Like I got overwhelmed the other day at an event introvert. Like I will sit in my car for 30 minutes and stare into the wall of my garage just to be alone introvert. I am now one step away from wearing a black trench coat and caring a weird duffel bag.

On top of being screamed at all day, my one year old had her own issues. She is demanding, hungry 24/7, and has a personality that is loud. She wants to be held all the time and dreams of dreaming in our bed for all naps and nighttime sleep. She also has been sick for approximately 2 months, 10 days, 3 hours, and 10 minutes. Seriously, I love this girl so much and we have a crazy bond that cracks me up, but she also drives me nuts with her demanding ways. It makes it impossible to discipline well, impossible to teach, and with the lack of sleep going on over here, impossible to function.

One day, it dawned on her that she could take off her clothes. So we now go without clothes.... and I'm kinda nutty about my kids wearing clothes. I just think it needs to be done. So it's 50 degrees outside, she's eating ice cream cake, she's shivering from being so cold, and she's naked. Does she want to put on clothes?? No, she does not. Reason doesn't seem to play a role in her little mind.

So on top of the kids, I joined a friend in a great small business venture called Greener Grass. It is a great business. Melissa is so talented in teaching and creating beautiful things. She teaches sewing classes, craft events, makes amazing products, and I handle the business side. We worked our butts off this year and are so broke it's sad. Welcome to Small Business America! It's totally worth it and, hopefully, soon we'll start seeing a profit. We are just so fortunate to have the support of so many great people. It makes each day exiting!! Seriously. It's such a neat thing to hear praise about something you put your heart and soul into. It's a high for real.

This year, I also began writing grants for a non-profit. I miss the non-profit world and was so grateful for an opportunity to reenter on my timetable. But, man, has it been hard. Balancing deadlines with littles who have no concept took great practice in patience and the support of an amazing husband.

Speaking of the husband, Jeremy struggled through this year right with me. We grew a lot. We had to learn to communicate better,  handle each other's stresses, and laugh as much as possible.

Over the summer my car was having some issues that were disturbing me greatly. My car is not old at all and has a ridiculously low number of miles on it. Issues should not be happening with my car. Jeremy decided at this point that he was going to learn all about my car and how to fix these things himself. So he did research and decided the issue had to be X. So late one night, he went outside, to fix X on my car. After about two hours, I got a little worried. By that time, it was dark and from how he explained it to me, the issue was a quick fix. So I casually went outside to see the entire insides of my car on our lawn. I, then, asked, "So was the problem with X??" To which he replied, "Oh... so that was what I was supposed to be checking!" No lie. I couldn't make that up. He had been out there for two hours taking apart my car trying to remember what he was supposed to be fixing. I laughed for days about that. Heck, I still chuckle thinking about it. Obviously, we are sleep deprived and enjoy not being around others at this point in our life. Life with toddlers.....

It's funny looking back at the year. It was so hard, but we made it. The year is over and it ended fast. I quite often tell my friends who are just starting to have kids "your days are going to be so long, but your weeks are going to fly by." It's just so true.

In my first post of the year, I quoted the following from Streams in the Desert:
Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health; at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea; in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation—“hitherto hath the Lord helped!”
But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark, and writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end; there are still distances to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is more yet—awakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Oh, be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy “Ebenezer,” for,“He who hath helped thee hitherto Will help thee all thy journey through.” -C. H. Spurgeon
How appropriate was this? If you follow me on Instagram, you know that 10 weeks ago, Jeremy and I lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy; it was our second pregnancy loss in two years and just really hard. Moments since then have been equally hard. I have cried randomly and needed more time alone to think. But, oh, am I grateful. I am grateful because we have hope in Christ that these moments of suffering do not compare to the moments that await us in heaven.

"No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found"
- Joy to the World

As you begin celebrating Christmas with your family, may you remember that the story didn't end with Jesus being born in a manger and it didn't end with him dying for us. The ending is still to come.

Merry Christmas!

February 21, 2014

Playing catch up: Madelyn's Nursery

I love nurseries. They are so calming and peaceful and full of joy. Don't you think?

For Madelyn's, I decided I wanted to have a semi-Mary Poppins thing going on. I knew I needed to incorporate some of B's colors from his nursery (we definitely reused his bumper, chair, and skirt!) and would have to be creative with some furniture we already had.

Of course, I had to make a sign similar to Bradley's for our hospital room door. Funny story, though. The hospital was so over packed when I gave birth that they stuck us in the last room available. It was the size of a closet and had no hook on the door. Ha!

I found some great poster prints on Etsy. The one on the right says, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".

Don't you just love these wires for kid's artwork?? We have four of them in our house. This is all B's artwork from school this past Fall. He decided he wanted Baby to look at it all.

The penguin is awesome. It's Melissa and Doug. Every child who comes into my house will inevitably find the penguin and take it with them to play elsewhere. It's uncanny. The rug is pretty great too. It's an IKEA.

PS See how tall Miss M is?? This was taken this morning and this crib goes no lower. She better get her walking together because I'm afraid she's going to need to be moved to toddler bed sooner than B.

This mobile is sweet. We actually got it as a gift from Jeremy's aunt for Bradley. However, we couldn't really use it in any of his spaces. It goes wonderfully with Madelyn's nursery. Feed the birds is one of those eerie, but beautiful songs from Mary Poppins, right?

That print is my favorite from the posters I got on Etsy. The curtains are IKEA and I actually hacked them. It was a fun little afternoon project. :)

The dresser is my childhood dresser. It's so heavy and large and well made; we are never moving it from this spot.

The carousel scene in Mary Poppins is my favorite. It was always so colorful and fun. It also reminded me of the ones at my Grandmother's house that I would admire every visit. My Grandmother passed away two years ago and I knew that when I chose this theme I wanted to add one of her carousel's to the decor. I was beyond touched and excited when my Grandpa surprised me and mailed this one plus two more of hers for me to use. These bring back many great memories. I feel so honored to have them displayed in my home.

This print is fun. I had to show it. Let's go fly a kite!!

A friend of mine is a great graphic designer and an even better person to know. She's so sweet. She did the artwork above for me as a baby gift. My prayer is that Madelyn always knows who she is in Christ. I pray struggles over her view of self are so small compared to her constant reminders of the promises of who she truly is in the eyes of her Creator.

Remember the chest my dad did for Bradley?  Check out Madelyn's! It's gorgeous. The lid has a device that prevents it from being slammed on small fingers. This has been extremely useful with a big brother around. :)

Speaking of which - there he is! :)