A Reflection

Hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas! This year was my first Christmas as a parent, and it was wonderful. Most of the time, I sit back in anticipation of relaxing and putting little work into Christmas and the events that ensue, but this year, my husband and I were the ones who got to shop for and anticipate the reactions to new toys, books, and family traditions that we shared and created for the first time together. Christmas as a mom is the best.

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As for the next holiday, I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve done it once or twice and they always end up broken or untouched.  Plus, I think, what’s the point in waiting until the New Year to change something or start something new? Just do it now! Though I do feel that as the end of the year approaches, it is a great time to reflect on what has happened and what there is to look forward to in the future. A lot has changed for me this year, the most obvious and best being that I became a mother.

Along with this huge, life altering and incredible change, there has been one other that really stands out. It wasn’t as instantaneous as giving birth, going from two to three in a matter of hours. This change has been growing and building for the last two years and I have finally seen it for what it is most recently. Over this last year, my relationship with my husband has grown leaps and bounds. We have a new respect for one another and a much better grasp on what a good and Godly marriage takes and how to continue to build and grow our love for one another and our family.

Kyle and I had many hard talks with God over the last two years. We were expecting to be somewhere totally different from where we are now and giving up your plans for His perfect ones isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Over the last two years, we had been disappointed with many things. We experienced disappointment with jobs, family, church, friends, and community. However, looking back now, I believe we were disappointed because we were looking for what God was showing us in all the wrong places.

I always considered Kyle and I to have a good marriage. We had a few rough spots in our first year, adjusting to life with one another and figuring out what marriage looked like for us. We dated, were engaged, and married all within a year. Because of this, we had to figure out how to fight with one another, learn how to communicate, and how to live with one another. Once we figured all this out, it’s been pretty smooth sailing. I never would have expected that God would be showing us things in our marriage at this point, when we were so comfortable with each another.

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Things have always worked out for Kyle and I right in the knick of time. For example, we didn’t get our first apartment until the day before our wedding rehearsal. For the last three years, things like this have been following a similar pattern, and we definitely figured that the same “knick of time” deal would happen with Kyle’s search for a job upon completing his masters. He had several promising interviews and with each no that was received, a new and promising opportunity opened up. When we reached the end of the hiring season for his particular job interest, we were at a complete loss. What were we going to do with our lives? Everything we had planned for, everything Kyle had worked so hard for wasn’t working out. And above all, what was the lesson in this?

It was very difficult for us to be joyful in this season of life, to say the least. We felt we had been let down so many times and we often took on the “woe is me” attitude. However, looking back, I’m convinced that we have gone through this journey to truly appreciate one another and our marriage together.

Throughout these trials, there has been one constant outcome- we have come out of each disappointment, each victory, and each trial, closer. I’m not one for “mushy gushy” declarations about your significant other via the Internet, but I’m bending my distaste for such things a bit in this post and for those likeminded individuals, I apologize. I will say, I have communicated these things to my husband personally, face to face, with words…not just via a wall post, Instagram photo, clever hashtag, or Facebook status. (End rant).

I can honestly say, the man that I am married to today is not the same man that I married three years ago- he is better. Because of the hardships we faced, Kyle now leads our family with confidence, compassion, love, and wisdom. We have had countless discussions about what our marriage should look like and how to keep our love for one another growing. We have a new level of respect for each other and though we have faced a rough season of disappointment, it was not without growth.

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I’m pleased to look back on the last two years and see where we were and the lessons we have learned that bring us to where we are now. In the moment of struggle, we may not always handle things graciously and it definitely wasn’t without some angry talks with God, but that’s the beauty of my faith. It’s okay to express things openly, to question and wrestle, but in the end, knowing that whatever is happening is ultimately for the best because it is God’s perfect plan for our life.

At the end of this year, I can look back and say that I am so thankful for my family. I’m blessed because of the struggles we have gone through, and know that we will face many more in the future. I have a wonderful husband that I am pleased to be living and doing life with and I cannot wait to see what this year brings us.

I wish you the happiest New Year and can’t wait to see what 2013 brings!!

December 14, 2012.

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. The names of the children and adults who had their lives so unjustly taken from them in Newtown, Connecticut have been posted. The children were ages six and seven. Yes, six and seven.

I have been affected by these tragedies such as the shootings at Columbine, movie premieres, political gatherings, and so many more. It never ceases to amaze and bewilder me the type of evil and hurting that is present in our world. These tragedies have made me stop and watch the news, say a quiet prayer for the victims and their families, but eventually, the news fades, and I move on. I say, “oh yes, that was horrible,” when the media reminds us of the day with an anniversary feature on the event, but honestly, I’ve become jaded.

Last night, I watched the news, holding my son tight, kissing him repeatedly throughout the report. Last night, I watched the news and cried. Yesterday, 20 children lost their lives. Yesterday, too many families received the news that they need to bury their babies.

I’m not a kid person, never have been. Yes, I wanted a family and children of my own, but I’m not much for other people’s kids. I’m introverted and self-conscious, so I’m definitely not one to jump up and volunteer to sit at the kid’s table. I would much rather observe others running around playing games, letting their inner child shine. I babysat twice in high school and hated it both times. I never volunteered to work in the nursery at my church, and was never one to purposely put myself in situations in which lots of children were present. Because of this, I don’t think I could have ever understood the gravity of this tragedy if I was not a parent myself. Of course I would have thought it was horrible, anything involving the harm of innocent life is deeply unsettling. But to be a mother, to know the love that a parent has for their child, and to imagine what it must be like to know that your baby is gone, it’s unbearable. Not only was it unbearable to hear that 20 children and 7 adults lost their lives so unfairly, but to know that the innocence of the other children that were fortunate enough to return home that evening, has been forever altered, it’s unspeakable.

I understand that these events lead to many discussions on political issues like gun control, help for the mentally ill, security in schools, homeschooling versus public education, etc., etc. These discussions are important and crucial toward making our country a safer place, especially for the innocent. I am not politically driven and usually keep my opinions to myself. However, the one thing I do want to express is the importance and power of prayer. We must pray for our country, for it’s leaders (whether or not you voted them in). We must pray that the discussions to follow this devastating event are productive. But most importantly, we must pray that Christ would bring peace, and remind us all of the hope that we have in Him. Without this, we have nothing.

Please do not forget December 14, 2012. Please. If you have children, hug them tight. Not just today or tomorrow, but every day. Tell you love them, repeatedly. Do not take the small things for granted. Do this for the mothers and fathers who no longer have that privilege. Do this for the parents that will be facing this holiday season with one less at their table this year. Do this for Charlotte. For Daniel. For Olivia and Josephine. For Ana, Dylan, Rachel, and Dawn. For Madeline, Catherine, Chase, and Jesse. For James. For Grace, Nancy, Anne, and Emilie. For Jack, Noah, Caroline, and Jessica. For Avielle. For Lauren, Mary, Victoria, and Benjamin, and for Allison.

Past and Present

Today, due to a difference in seasons of life, I had to turn down an invitation to spend some time with friends I don’t often get to see. It was disappointing, but also fuel for this post. I was standing in the kitchen tonight, listening to my husband play with our son and I started to laugh. My husband was singing and dancing to Judah’s musical toy and it made me realize how much has changed for us in the last five months.

The song lyrics that are in our heads now are not of the latest band we’ve discovered, but instead are from singing toys. We cannot get little riddles of the alphabet and counting to ten out of our minds. The music we dance to isn’t on Billboard’s top 100 list, it’s coming out of a plastic toy with smiley faces that light up when you push it’s oversized piano keys.

Other areas of life have drastically changed as well, as one can imagine. As I stated in my previous post, we have recently moved. We are currently renting the upper level of a duplex while we search for the perfect house to buy for our family. Sharing a home with someone else means that you can hear the other occupants. Our neighbors are not bad, except for the occasional shouting of the F-bomb every now and again when they do something stupid on their racing video game (which is awesome to hear the computerized engine sounds over and over and over again…). However, I have found myself easily annoyed when 8:00 pm rolls around and they are just starting their night. For us upstairs with a baby, we are in full on bedtime mode. I cringe every time I hear a loud noise from downstairs, just hoping it doesn’t wake our light sleeper.

Before Kyle and I had Judah, we were just like our neighbors. The night was young at 8:00 pm, our plans were always just beginning at that time. We were night owls and enjoyed sleeping in well past ten on most Saturday mornings. Sunday afternoons were prime time for naps and watching movies at our leisure. We could go out at the drop of a dime, spontaneously, without any additional thought. I used to love shopping and keeping up with all the latest styles. Now, I get in and out of a store as quickly as I can before my little man pitches a fit. I wear things for function rather than fashion, and I make sure my hair is up as quickly as possible before somebody’s quick little fingers grab and pull a fistful of it. Sure, we still go out from time to time, but it must be strategically planned and if Judah is in a bad mood, forget about it. Yes, these are all the obvious things that you have to adjust to when welcoming a baby into your life, but it’s crazy to think about it. I mean, really think about what your life was like before your baby.

ImageImagePersonally, I miss it sometimes and I think that’s okay. No, that doesn’t make me a bad mother; in fact I think it helps me keep some perspective. To me, it’s important to remember the things I enjoyed for me, before Judah came. Like how I love clothes or date nights with my husband, or curling up and watching a good movie. No, it’s not practical for me to run around cleaning up spit up, wiping poopy diapers, and getting drooled on in some glamorous ensemble. Instead, I live my love of shopping through things like Pinterest when I get a free moment.  Date nights are few and far between, but Kyle and I still try to find the time to check in with one another and take care of our relationship. And watching a movie isn’t always practical or desirable, especially when running on little amounts of sleep, so I’ve found relaxation in going through TV shows on Netflix here and there. It’s important to remember what I enjoy and to not get so caught up in “mommy mode” that I forget who I really am, what my passions are, and what I enjoy out of life. Knowing what makes you tick is important, and it’s important to me to get away to do those things, for my sanity if nothing else. Yes, these things take a back seat most of the time during this season of life, but I am keeping them on the shelf and will definitely pull them out more frequently in the future as I am able.

For now, we sing and dance to silly alphabet songs, we’re beat by 10:00 at night, and 7:30 is as good as we get for sleeping in. The only time I’m awake past 11:00 pm these days is for a late night feeding. It’s kind of funny to look back and compare what I was up to just a few months ago to what now consumes a majority of my time.

Change is good, especially this one, alphabet songs and all.

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