Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Random Wednesday Thoughts

Most of my life lately seems to be consumed by one of only a few things: either thinking about when this baby is coming (and by thinking about, I mean OBSESSING over - reading pregnancy apps on my phone, re-counting days just to be sure I didn't miss one, wondering if every little pain could be a contraction, hoping that I'm in the less than 10% that deliver early, and planning EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of getting ready to go to the hospital) Hmmm...was there something else that I do during the day? Oh yes, work and family life.

Work has been a major bummer lately. Call me crazy, but I don't feel inspired lately to reconcile anyone's checking account, pay bills or make tax payments (If you are one of my clients reading this - I LOVE working on your file - it's the others I am not inspired by ;-). Don't get me wrong, I still do it - I kinda have to - but Adam is doing most of it, and when I do feel motivated, I'm still not loving it. I don't really think that many of us just get the luxury of getting paid to do only what we absolutely love and are passionate about. Sometimes, we just have to make the most of the opportunities that we have, and be thankful for an income. I get that. I also get that I spent 4 years getting an accounting degree and really, it was my choice. Honestly, I feel like I could have any job in the world right now, and there would be some part of it I didn't want to do. So now what? Well, for one thing, I've been learning that every day there are things that don't seem that exciting. Somewhere between when summer break meant running around in the sprinkler and drinking lemonade and turning 30, it has come to my attention that being an adult means responsibility. Responsibility means everything isn't always fun. The cool thing is, as I learned a few months ago while cleaning up barf (see: The Night of Endless Vomit) that I can still CHOOSE to find things to be thankful for in the midst of my not-having-fun AND it can even be an act of worship.

{Speaking of being responsible, I just realized that it's 9:45 and I was having so much fun re-decorating my blog that I sorta forgot to finish tucking the boys in after telling them they could keep reading until 9. Oops. Ha ha.}

Anyway, when I'm not working or thinking about the baby coming, I'm hanging out with my pretty cool family. It's been really exciting to see the boys growing and learning, and even maturing. Just a couple weeks ago, Tyler was facing some peer pressure to toss his dinner and skip to dessert. Not knowing I was in the other room listening, I heard him tell the other kids "That would be lying". I wanted to run in and hand him a badge, but instead, I just treasured the moment. It's exciting to reap the benefit of building up a moral warehouse in your child's heart. On the flip-side of being encouraged by their maturing, we are also battling the new summer schedule that requires a lot more effort to create structure. It's not too hard for two boys to start bouncing off the walls if they don't have enough to do. Man, I can't wait to have a third in the mix! If anyone wants to plan some playdates with us, the weather is looking good and we're ready!

Every day has its challenges, but the bottom line is: I am thankful. I am so thankful for a husband that leads my family, puts his own needs on the back burner a lot of the time to invest in two stepsons, and really cares a lot about other people. I'm thankful for a free country, great neighbors, food in the fridge, and more than anything, for a God who loves me on my good days, and the days I'd like to have a second shot at.

Speaking of days...the countdown is 28 days to my due date. I'll be singing a children's song for the next 4 weeks "Have patience, have patience. Don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember, that God is patient too, and think of all the times when others have to wait for you!"

Come soon July 18th!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pregnancy Blahs & Beautiful Things

Right now, I have acid reflux burning a hole in my esophagus I'm pretty sure, even though I've eaten 14 tums and some Prilosec today. I also feel like someone is stabbing me with a letter opener where my round ligament connects to some bones down south. So....pretty much, I feel awesome.

My pregnancy is on the final more month to go, and as hard as it's been, I've found that it has been one of the most fantastic opportunities for me to grow (not just around the middle either!).

I find myself thinking most of the time that before I sit down and blog, I have to have some fantastic, inspiring story to share that ends in triumph. (I also find that I just don't think very often lately...pregnancy brain!) Then, I remember that some of my favorite times writing come out of laughing at myself in my imperfections and failures. Speaking of failures, I can think of about a hundred that I have tallied over the last few months.

Self on the Shelf. We live in a society that is all about self. Well, shoot, parenting and being self-centered just don't go together very well, and it starts with pregnancy. First of all, I miss my C cups. I miss being able to sleep at night and go for longer than an hour without having to pee. I miss being able to run. I miss pants with buttons. I miss being able to see anything below my belly button. I miss being able to eat Buffalo chicken salad without catching on fire. But, more than I miss all those things, I am thrilled that the miracle of a life is growing inside of me. It's good practice for dying to self, which God has called us to do. I've been getting lots of practice, lots and lots of practice...

Complaining. Just log on to Facebook for a few minutes, and you should get a good dose of how easy it is for our attitudes to slip into the pit of pity. I am no better. I found myself so frustrated with all the side effects of pregnancy until a devotion and a talk with a friend one day woke me up to what I was doing. I was reading from Joyce Meyer's Devotional Content one day when her words struck me: "Truly thankful people don't have time to complain. They are too busy finding things to be thankful for." The sad thing is, it's really not that hard to find things to be thankful for: on any given day, how about being thankful for the fact that we live in a free country, where we don't have to worry about famine, war or being killed for our beliefs? I know so many people that would do just about anything to take some morning sickness and discomfort to get to be pregnant. It's humbling to think that God gave me this gift, and complaining about a gift is not something I ever want to do.

Patience? What is that? My husband told me at some point when we were dating that he was attracted to how patient I was. Hahahahahahahaha. Then, we got married. He has often questioned how I deceived him so well. In my defense, it's not like I get mad over things I can't control, like traffic jams, but send me a Christmas or birthday present early, and there is no way I'm not opening it. Waiting 9 months for a child to arrive while being reminded on a minute-by-minute basis that it is inside of you is, to me, like placing a giant cookie in front of a child for an entire day & telling them not to eat it every 3 seconds. I have had to make a conscious effort to remind myself that God's timing is perfect and that I can trust Him with the timing of my son's arrival.

The good news in all of this is that God never leaves us to struggle through life on our own. He meets us where we are. Sometimes I get overwhelmed at all my imperfections and how short I fall of the person I know God wants me to be, but I know by His grace, that I don't have to stay the same. He makes beautiful things... even out of ashes, oh and pregnant women with heartburn. :-)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Someone Find me a Tent - I want to Wear It!

Just when I think I'm doing okay, God peels back another layer in my heart and reveals something else I need to work on. It's so easy to let days, weeks, months and years pass and just be good enough - after all, I'm faithful to my husband, patient with my kids most of the time, kind to my neighbors, involved at church, run a business with integrity...what else could I need to do?

This pregnancy has been challenging, to say the least, but it has also made me very aware of my shortcomings. Today was one of those days when it's starting to sink in that I don't exactly look like a supermodel. Between pregnancy breakouts and my ever-expanding belly, I'm starting to enter that "I-don't-feel-so-cute" phase. I went to several stores this afternoon looking for something that would help me feel like less of a troll, and only left feeling defeated. If you've ever been pregnant, you know that all of a sudden you are very aware that EVERYONE around you is way skinnier than you (I conveniently DON'T notice the people that aren't so slender).

I wrestled with my feelings this evening - knowing in my head that gaining weight is part of pregnancy, and there is nothing wrong with needed to buy some new clothes - but I knew it was deeper. I sat down with a new devotional book I bought written specifically for pregnant women, and opened to a page titled "Whom Do You Fear?". Now, let's just level with each other for a minute here ladies. We all compare ourselves to each other, and pregnancy is no exception. I love this story from Jenny McCarthy (yes, I am going to quote scripture & the former MTV star in the same blog! stay with me...) about comparing yourself to other pregnant women:

"Finally I found a class with an opening that was held in a church basement. So, off we went, my husband and me, to our first Lamaze class. The first thing I did - and you will too, don't kid yourself - was scope out the other pregnant women and count how many of them had bigger butts than me. Then, I relayed the tally to my husband so he could be proud sitting next to my big-but-not-the-biggest-butt."
[As a side note, if you need a good laugh, I cried and almost peed myself when I read her book. There are great chapters with titles like "Did a Sewer Tank Explode or Did You Just Fart?" It is a little crude at times, and I wouldn't take any life lessons from it, but it is quite hilarious!]

Anyway, I digress...back to the devotional.

As I was reading, it occurred to me that in the same way that we compare ourselves to others physically (sometimes it makes us feel better, sometimes worse), we also compare ourselves to others based on our morals. We often look at people and think "Well, I'm not having an affair like that person" but are we truly serving our spouse? Or how about "I love and provide for my kids while some people abandon and neglect theirs." but are we really investing in their spiritual well-being? My point is this: we aren't to compare ourselves to each other, but to God's standard - and it's pretty high. The Bible says "ALL have sinned and FALL SHORT of the glory of God".

Today, I realized that comparing myself to others was fearing them, not God. I do care what people think about me. I LOVE being complimented. I like being told I look tiny for 24 weeks. I like feeling cute. Don't throw stuff at me - I'm just being honest. So, what does fearing God look like? Proverbs 8:13 defines it as hating evil, hating pride, hating arrogance, hating evil behavior, and hating perverse speech. These are praise-worthy qualities in a woman - not how great she looks.

Ugh. FAIL!

The great thing about God is that He brings us to our failures gently. He points out the better way. Seeking to be a woman of character is something I can achieve, because I know God always wants that for me. As for seeking to be beautiful and charming, it just needs to have it's proper place - without fear behind it. That's actually kind of a relief. It means I can get as big as a house, and still be praised - for my character, not my looks. I really want to get to the place where when people talk about me, they talk about my the kind of person I am, not the cute outfit I wore last week. Good. I'm putting on a nice, comfy tent!