Friday, November 04, 2011

It helps being thankful when you look super cute. :)









Have I told you how thankful I am for Dayspring? Every quarter I get the chance to review one of their wonderful products, just for letting you know my honest opinion about it. This quarter I chose the super cute Ever Grateful Apron (It's on sale now!).
Ever Grateful - Full Adult Apron

Seriously, people, isn't this apron adorable? It has RUFFLES! Ever Grateful - Full Adult Apron


The best part - the embroidered reminder "ever blessed, ever grateful". What a wonderful truth to reflect on this Thanksgiving season.

It seems that God continues to shape me into a woman of genuine gratitude and this is especially true right now. Several of the most wonderful ladies I know are joining me in reading Ann's awesome book, One Thousand Gifts. I have read it once already, but find that the second time through, it is changing my heart even more. This apron was just one more little thing to remind me that "all is grace".

It is hard to be crabby when you are thankful for food to prepare. It is hard to take the blessing for granted when you are thanking the Blesser. It shapes who I am and how I treat others to seek gratitude in even the most mundane (laundry), disgusting (potty training), and thankless (emptying the trash) tasks that fill my day. Somehow by being thankful that we have clothes to wear, that our house will one day be diaper free, and that the foul smell will leave with this bag of garbage - my heart opens a little wider to feel the love of God and give that same love to others.

What things remind you to be thankful this time of year?

If you are looking for a visual reminder, stop by Dayspring  and check out their current thanksgiving line. They are a wonderful company who freely blesses mom bloggers, like me, with fun things to brighten our days. Plus, they have the best encouragement cards! Take the time to tell someone, this week, how thankful you are for them!

Enjoy your holiday season.
-Jes

P.S. If someone really wants to buy me a Thanksgiving present - I really like this caddy. :)

Give Thanks - Wooden Caddy

P.P.S - Check out the inspired deals page at (In)courage. All us reviewers are linking up and some are offering giveaways. Join the (In)courage community!

P.P.P.S -  I'll post a picture of me and my apron when I get a chance to have the hubster take one of me. :)


P.P.P.P.S - In the name of full discloser, I received the apron free of charge, in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are true and all mine. :) 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Replaced...

Sorry blog, you've been replaced by this...




And

Pinterest


I hope you will forgive me. It's probably only a temporary separation.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

One of those weeks...

This week, okay month, has been CRAZY busy which may be why I am still laughing about this video.



Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

What you may have heard ...

at the Swanson house....

As I wrapped Isley up after bath.
Boden: Did Isley grow boy parts yet?
Me: No, honey. Isley is a girl, she has girl parts.
Boden: Oh, and you have fuzzy girl parts?
Me: ...

I am not sure I should have shared that, but it was pretty hilarious.

Me: Norse, does my hair look okay today? ( I tried a new updo, pinning all my hair in little twists)
Norse: Uh, yeah, it looks okay.
Me: You don't really like it, do you?
Norse: Honestly, it's not my favorite.
I will never wear my hair like that again. But, it is summer and I am DYING with this mop of long hair. 


And my favorite of the week...
We were watching our guilty pleasure Friday Night Lights (and we probably should have put Boden to bed before we watched it, but oops). The scene involved an angry Tim Riggins brawling at the Landing Strip with another customer and his brother. There was yelling, breaking glass, and punching.

Boden: What's wrong?
Me: They are fighting.
Boden: Why?
Me: He has a broken heart, it makes him feel sad and do naughty things.
Boden: Awww, we should pray for him mom?
Me: Sure. Would you like to pray for him?
Boden: (eyes shut tightly) God, we just pray for him. That his heart would get better and he wouldn't be sad anymore. Bless him. Thank you, God. Amen.

I LOVE THAT KID. And, I love that God has given him a compassionate heart for people - even if they are fictional. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Fun on the 4th!









No offense, but we may be the best looking family ever. ;)

I hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as we enjoyed ours.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Can't I Just Be Okay with Me?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about me. Is that selfish? I like to think it is honest self reflection in light of what I tell myself I believe . I believe that God created me, uniquely for His perfect purposes and plan. In fact I love seeing the beauty of others and find myself rejoicing in how wonderfully perfect they are, even in our own imperfections. So, tell me why can't I do that in my own life?

I look at other women and I admire their beauty. Perhaps they are creative or earthy or trendy. Maybe they are silly or great homemakers or highly educated. They could be women who are young and carefree or women my age with calm confidence as they play with their children. Why do my thoughts immediately go to how I wish I were more like ____________. You can fill in the blank.

I like to think I am alone in this mindset, but I am pretty sure I'm not. If I truly believe that God knew best when he made me, me - why should I be ashamed of my strengths? Why should I shy away from a compliment? Why do I doubt when my husband sings my praises? The answer is plain and simple. I shouldn't.

Now, this isn't a reason to become egocentric and start believing the world revolves around you or me, because we know that isn't true. But, I want to challenge you - think of one GREAT thing about yourself and leave it in a comment. Don't shy away - do it. In fact, I think you should make a top five (I'm still working on getting up to 10) list of the things that make you wonderful. Stop believing the lie that you are not good enough. You are perfectly you and the world needs what you have to offer. I will start and please if you make a top five list, leave it in the comments so I can come read all about awesome you. Make today the day you begin living and not wishing. Be you!

My Top Five:

1. I have a great smile. "I smile all the time. Smiling is my favorite!"
2. I am a loyal friend
3. I tell my family I love them and they know I do.
4. I have "Snuffy" eyelashes. They are long and straight.
5. I am compassionate


Your turn!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Swimwear...

I am hoping that my yard sale earnings will buy me a new bathing suit for my post baby bod. I just discovered Hapari! I'm going back to dreaming now.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Have you met ...

...the amazing family behind Give Every Day? They are traveling the country with one main purpose, to give every single day! Check out their site and share how you give to others. Hopefully their story will inspire you like it inspires me!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another winner...

Well, guess what? I won a Dayspring giveaway over at Becca's and she won mine!

I am guessing that most of you are just like me and don't have much for the "extra's" in life, so I decided to draw another name from my list of comments and let you have the $20 in Dayspring bucks!  So, Lori, my dear "real-life" friend - you won! I know it isn't a Beloved session, but maybe you can find something fun!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Perception...

I stole this in a round about way from Jeff Bridges. He probably heard about it in 2007 when the Washington Post ran the Pulitzer Prize winning story. Things travel a little slower here in Montana, right?





"Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
 
4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly..
45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.
The questions raised:
*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*Do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.
How many other things are we missing?  "




Interesting, wasn't it? Granted, in a different area the results may have been different, but it still makes me want to stop and smell the roses.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To Be Perfectly Honest....

To Be Perfectly Honest - Phil Callaway    When I was picking out my latest book for review at the BfB site I was excited to see To Be Perfectly Honest, by Phil Callaway. When I was in Bible college a few years ago, Phil,  was the friend of one of our professors, or maybe we heard him speak at a conference we attended, either way, he seemed like a long lost friend with whom I was hoping to reconnect. Phil is a humorist and while To Be Perfectly Honest is funny, it is also challenging.

The book chronicles Phil's year long experiment in truth telling. He provides us, in diary form, the struggles and successes of living each day without letting a little lie slip off the tongue. Sure, we all think we are above the fib, but most of us are guilty of an almost daily failure. At the end of each chapter, Phil provides an "Honest Confession" about how God is working on him through the truth telling process. To Be Perfectly Honest  includes discussion questions for each chapter, at the end of the book.

I admit, this book left me in tears, because of laughter and also sorrow. Each chapter led me to my knees seeking the grace that only Christ can offer. Perhaps, Callaway and I are two peas in a pod. Often, I found myself agreeing to his confessions. As I read his daily log, I could see my reflection. But, then again, aren't we all in need of the Truth that is found in one Savior, alone?

Pick up this easy read if you get the chance. You can read the first chapter here. I would offer to pass my copy along, but it is sitting on my husbands nightstand.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to continue to hear of new releases, please take the time to rate my review here. You can also find my review of other books here and here.

*** I was provided a free copy of To Be Perfectly Honest from Waterbrook/Multnomah and the Blogging for Books program. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beauty...

Have I clogged up everyone's newsfeeds yet?

Before you block me, ladies, take the time to read this ...

Wasn't it worth it? Do you know that you are beautiful?

Thanks, Heidi, for sharing it with me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dairy...

Go to fullsize imageI just spent three days at my grandparents house which included three meals a day infused with dairy products. I am paying the price as Isley has yet to nap for longer than 20 minutes and thinks that yelling all. day. long. is the answer to her discomfort.  My current prayer is this:

"Please, Lord, help Isley to poop so she can be comfortable again. And, Lord, in your mercy, may her yelling not wake up her incredibly crabby brother."

I may not be a spiritual dynamo, but at least He knows I'm honest.

Did any of you have a baby with a dairy sensitivity? When did your little one outgrow it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Beloved and a Giveaway!

Yesterday was one of the best Monday's I have had in a while (minus the fact that Boden seems to have acquired another cold and cough!). The FedEx man, while throwing biscuits out the window to pacify my horribly mannered dog, dropped off the latest awesome product from Dayspring and the people at (In)courage! Every month they showcase beautiful products, for every budget, that reinforce their monthly theme. This month's theme comes from Joshua 24:15 "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord". I love having little items throughout my home to help remind me to stand firm and rely on the grace of my God. I do not like giant items that scream random Bible quotes to litter my home. That is why,  the wonderful "My Beloved" frame is a perfect fit for us.






The picture does not do this frame justice.(click on it to see the picture in its entirety - I am apparently computer illiterate this morning!) It is really cool. It fits a 4x6 picture, so the entire frame, at 12x12 is big enough to make a statement. I can't wait to put it in a gallery wall grouping in our bedroom. What am I even more excited about? It is a perfect frame for an upcoming Beloved session with our favorite photographer, Alicia Brown!

Since we welcomed Isley into our lives things have been a little crazy and it has turned Norse and I into people who are just trying to survive with not much time for connecting. However, as we seek to "follow the Lord" we know that we need to make an effort to put our marriage back in a top spot on our priority lists. I can't wait to fill this frame with a tender portrait of us, from this special photo session, to remind us daily that we are loved beyond measure and certainly the best of friends through all seasons.

Dayspring & (In)courage are so cool that they are offering you a chance at $20 to purchase something from the shop (You will have to pay your own shipping charges)! And for the month of May you can use the code MAY20 for an additional 20% off! How sweet is that?

To enter to win:
1. Leave me a comment, any comment. (This is mandatory) 
2. Follow me with Google Friend Connect or subscribe to my RSS feed and leave another comment letting me know. 
3. Facebook, blog, or tweet this giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did. 

The contest will run until May 17 and I will pick a winner. Be sure to leave an e-mail so I can contact you if you don't have a blog or I don't already know you!

 Would you spend your $20 on the Beloved frame? If I could win, I would use it towards these super cool wall decor that were also designed by one of my favorite businesses - Red Letter Words, but are a little easier on the pocket book!


Well, gotta run, the kids are calling. Have fun browsing and I hope you win!

Disclaimer: I received the My Beloved frame for free in return for my honest review. 


Comments now closed... Congrats to: Becca for her win! I will contact you today! 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Catching up...


Life. Doesn't it pass like a roller coaster ride? Sometimes I feel like I am slowly clink, clink, clinking my way up the rail when suddenly we crest over the top and things are flying at me like a whirlwind! We have had great times with friends and family as spring finally begins to arrive in northwest Montana. I am hoping that we will have our first 70 degree day of the year this week, but I won't hold my breath since I am still seeing frozen patches of snow in some places.

Between birthdays and graduations all around we have spent the last month celebrating! My sweet daughter has finally met all of her relative's on Norse's side of the family.



I haven't had time to weigh in on the other hot topics in the blogoshpere (Is there really a Hell? How should we feel about the death of Osama Bin Laden?) and I am totally okay with that. I figure there are a whole bunch more people, with significantly more time than I have, to address those weighty issues.

I did however have time to open my most awesome gift EVER from my hubby and kiddo's. They got me this great Molded heart bracelet from Lisa Leonard. I love getting things designed and crafted by wonderful people.

I also won a super sweet giveaway at Mommy Long Legs. It was this beautiful nightgown.

 I've got my fingers crossed that I can fit into it. If not it will just give me a little more motivation to tame the tush size and start working out regularly (or I'll give it away to one of you). Also, the owner of Mommy Long Legs grew up in Montana and even lived in the same small town that half my in-laws reside in. Small world isn't it? Check out their blog because they are giving away MORE Cake lingerie items this week! 

This weekend also brought another opportunity into my life - will you pray that I have clarity in discerning God's will for me in this area? I have really stepped away from too many obligations to commit myself to my family, but I know I would have fun if I said "yes" to this cause. I also feel that I need to get myself back on track with my relationship with God before I can be effective in the prospective role. While I have increased my prayer life with lots of "Lord, help me know how to handle this crazy kid" and "Please, let us make it home before someone needs to eat or pee", pleas to God, my time in quiet meditation and Bible reading have significantly decreased! 

Finally, be watching for another little giveaway from Incourage & Dayspring. I just received another awesome product and can't wait to share what it is and offer you the chance to get one yourself! Check back this week! 

I'm off to tackle the mound of laundry that awaits! Weekend trips mean Monday madness at my house, but at least the kids are napping! 





Friday, April 29, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

Oh, there are so many things I want to share, but it is 9:30 and I want to sleep! So, here are a few pictures of life in our parts. We'll catch up later! 








Friday, April 15, 2011

Full heart!

It is so fun to see my kiddo's interact with each other. The fourth trimester is almost over and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can already tell that the next season is gonna be full of smiles.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

God Gave Us You

God Gave Us You  -     
        By: Lisa Tawn Bergren
    
    
        Illustrated By: Laura J. Bryant
    God Gave Us You is a sweet story that answers the question “Where did I come from?". This book by Lisa Tawn Bergren is my favorite of the “God Gave Us” series. As Mama Bear tucks in Little Cub the story of her beginning is shared. This book reflects a mother’s heart. With an almost three year old and a three month old, I adore the story and how it reinforces to the child that they are precious and wonderful. In a society that seems to lean further to the view that children are more of a burden than a blessing, it is important that my wee ones know that God gave them to me and that they are loved and cherished. This book has been a good reminder to my son, who may feel a little misplaced now that little sister is here, that he is still a wonderful blessing to us. The illustrations by Laura Bryant are terrific. Every time I read this book and the last page is turned, it leads naturally into cuddling with my little cub!

You can purchase the book from your local Christian retailer or at Amazon & CBD

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book God Gave Us You in return for blogging my honest review.

If you want to help me win fabulous prizes from the Blogging for Books program, please rate my review here. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

I should be sleeping...

But, instead I write. Weary from being up at midnight, 3, 4:30, 5:30, and awake  for the day at 7. I don't think I knew what I was getting into when we decided that we should try for another wee one. I am not sure I knew the toll it would take. I feel so ridiculous for complaining. It makes me seem weak. It makes me seem like a crybaby. People have kids all the time. There are lots of families that have 2+ children who are doing just fine. But, here as I confess to my computer screen, I am struggling. It could be that sweet Isley is a crabby girl. Not always, but she has/had colic, and is very sensitive to the food I eat. It could be the guilt that Boden has to take second place to a needy 13 week old. It could be the guilt I carry for not being able to accomplish it all, for not being the fun mom I used to be, for feeling angry instead of compassionate when my little girl won't just give in and fall asleep. Why do I feel so...empty?

Perhaps this is a bad day. Perhaps since I have been reading Ann's book, I have come face to face with my ungrateful heart. It could be the extra weight around the thighs that mocks me from the mirror. Perhaps, mama just needs a vacation. Perhaps it is because winter seems unending and I have cabin fever. Mostly, I think it is because I feel as though no one understands. I think in some ways I feel abandoned. I am quite competent in my life. I don't often need help and even when I do I usually don't ask. I don't like being needy. And now, when I do need help - the people that I would want to help me have chosen to turn away instead of stepping up to the plate. I am praying that this season ends soon, that God will begin to heal the brokenness in my heart. I ask that I don't screw up my kids.  I pray that the old Jesica would come back and scoot this grouchy Jesica out the door. Mostly I hope that the one who is merciful and abundant in loving kindness will help and comfort me.


I always feel that when I write a post like this I need to have a disclaimer, so here it is: 


I adore my husband & children. I am not a horrid mother. We laugh, play and smile together. I have amazing friends, who fill the gaps for me in amazing ways. Without you I would be a wreck. I am not having a breakdown, though sometimes I wonder. And, most of all - I am incredibly thankful for the life I live. It is amazing. I have so much and feel so awful that I would have any reason to complain, because I really don't. I know several sweet friends that would trade almost all for one more day with their wee ones, so please know that I try not to take my precious babies for granted. But, sometimes a mama just has to let her heart feel those things, lay them before the cross, and ask for His perspective, grace, and healing. This is one of those times. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

God Gave Us So Much by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Thanks to Blogging for Books - I recently received Lisa Tawn Bergren's, 3 story collection, God Gave Us So Much. The book is wonderfully illustrated by Laura J. Bryant.

The first story : God Gave us the World takes this young polar bear family through the local museum and helps answer questions about the creative nature of God, why we are different, and why we are here on the Earth.

The second story: God Gave us Love lets us tag along as Grampa and Little Cub go fishing. This story focuses on God's gift of love to us and how He desires we love others even when we might not "like" them. My favorite part of the story is when Grampa explains how God show's us His love through the unconditional love of Jesus.

The final story: God Gave us Heaven focuses on answering those difficult questions little ones may ask. The beauty and freedom found in heaven are expressed. The author also explains why  some go to heaven sooner than others. This book ends with a beautiful picture of salvation, using the bridge illustration.

We really enjoyed these stories and while some of the concepts are a little difficult for my not quite three year old, he loved the illustrations. I am confident that as we re-read the stories and he matures they will be a great resource. These are adorable books with a strong biblical message of creation and stewardship, love and grace, and the ultimate gift of eternal life with God would be a perfect addition to any child's library.


P.S. - If you want to help me win an Amazon gift card go rate my review!

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for free in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Winner!

Congratulations to From Snowflakes to Hotcakes on winning the $20 Dayspring giveaway!

Check your inbox for my email!

Jes

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Dayspring Giveaway and Review!


I love getting mail. Not junk mail or bills, but real mail. The mail that shows up with the familiar handwriting of  a long distance friend or my closest Bible Study gals. I am also a card fanatic. I have been known to spend hours in the card aisle (this was before I had children) and spend much of my meager earnings on special greetings for special friends. This is why I was ecstatic when the  Hope and Encouragement 2011 card pack from Dayspring arrived at my door.
Hope and Encouragement 2011 - 10 Premium Greeting Card Assortment


Encouragement - Life Is Hard Sometimes- 6 Premium Greeting Cards
Praying For You - When Words Are Hard to Find - 6 Premium Greeting CardsI know, I too have been disappointed with packaged or boxed cards. You get one or two good ones and the rest become scratch paper because you can not think of a time or person whom you would send that sentiment. Friends, these are not your lame-o cards. These cards are premium card stock, not that flimsy stuff. They have beautiful designs and heartfelt words. Some even have embellishments and embossing. The best thing about them - I know that I will use each one of them to spread a little Jesica love across the miles (or even just across the street). I have already addressed half of them while the remaining five will be sent to sweet friends at a retreat next month.


In the interest of full disclosure I got these cards for free in exchange for my honest review. Free is the best price, but right now you can purchase these same cards for only $19.99 (or $12.99 if you are a Heart Connection Card Club member).   I guarantee that you will spend at least $35 for the same quality of cards at your local retailer.


Maybe you would like a chance to win twenty bucks to use at Dayspring? The only catch is you will have to pay the S&H charges.
For your chance to win:
1. Leave me a comment telling me what you would buy, along with your e-mail address (so I can contact you if you win!)
Want a second entry?
2. Become a follower or subscribe to my RSS feed - and leave me a comment telling me about it! 

Now, hop on over to their site and browse around at all the goodies! I don't think you will be disappointed and if you have time and a warm drink settle in at (in)courage for some good reading.

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 9:00 PM, MST. Comments now closed!  

Gotta run. I am off the check the mail.

Friday, March 04, 2011

When I look in the mirror ...

...I see a woman with bed head and spit up stained sweats. I see the little girl my heart longed for, nestled in the crook of my arm. I see hips widened by the miracle of childbirth and thighs quite a bit bigger than any magazine cover model would be sporting. I see a weary smile as I weather through this harder than I imagined season of newborn neediness and two year old troubles. I see the woman I never thought I would be. A woman who even though she bares obvious scars (stretch marks) and not so obvious scars (heartache) - she is whole. Whole in the love of a God who redeems and sustains. Whole in the love of a man whose dirty work clothes are piled behind her mirrored reflection. Whole in the fullness of being a mom. Whole because nothing can take away the deep joy of knowing that above all things this life I have been given is pretty amazing!

This 5 minute post, with no editing, was written to participate in Gypsy Mama's 5 minute Friday. Link up and see what other ladies had to see when they looked in the mirror!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Practical Mom Advice - California Baby

So my sweet, beautiful, flawless, little princess had the WORST case of baby acne I have ever seen! It was on her face, ears, shoulders, even her scalp. The poor little doll even had swollen acne riddled eyelids!  It was really sad. I felt so sorry for my sweet girl. Thankfully I was reminded of THE best product for all things baby rash like. If you ever need something for those "mystery" rashes or severe baby acne try California Baby Calendula Cream. It is AMAZING. Now I can take my little sweetheart out and not scare people with her crazy bad rash. It works great on cold winter chapped 2 year old cheeks, too! Plus, California Baby is a great company with safe, natural, organic products. I love them so much you would think that they would send me some free products (hint, hint), but I found them on my own, recieved no compensation for this positive endorsement, and only wish that my local Target carried more of their products! You can check them out here.

California Baby Calendula Cream - click to enlarge

P.S. - Their bug spray and sunscreen work great too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What I needed to hear...

If you haven't read this post on perfection, by Single Dad Laughing - you probably need to hop over and read it.  Even if you don't usually read the things I link to, this is worth the time.

Then you will understand why I am laying it all out for you, today.

I am not perfect - even though I want everyone to think I am.

I have gone weeks and months without opening the Bible - even though I want everyone to think I am a Bible scholar.

I fail at being a mom all the time. I yell at my kids, I am impatient with them. Sometimes I act like I have to go "number two", just so I can shut the door to the bathroom and be all by myself.

I am a crappy wife. My husband is amazing and sometimes I treat him like crap. I am too self absorbed to be the woman he needs on many occasions.

I am a sucky friend. I would rather keep my perfect persona than let people in. I am afraid to reach out because of what it will cost me.

I am too embarrassed to invite people over because 85% of the time my house is a disaster.

Granted, there are many times when I do get it right. I am supermom, sexy wife and loyal friend. But, those days are not every day. Somedays I don't get out of my Pj's, my husband has to do everything himself, and my friends think I am missing in action.

I want to live in His grace and the freedom that being NOT perfect can allow, but this idea of perfection has so infiltrated my being that it will only be by the freeing power of an all powerful God to not only change my heart, but my mind, too! It is my prayer that He can do what I can not - that He will help me be the woman He desires me to be, flaws and all. That by His Spirit I can help someone else move passed the lie of perfection into the joy of imperfection by letting my rough edges show. And, can I just give a hearty thank you to those who have seen me at my worst and love me anyway. You are the ones who give me courage to face the mirror and see the potential, not the failure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Transition...

I am usually thankful for change, but sometimes the transition is a little painful...

This sweet boy had a bad day about 10 days after Isley arrived.

It involved pooping in the middle of his floor while he was supposed to be napping, having a huge crying, screaming outburst in the middle of church - during the sermon, peeing his bed intentionally, and telling us he would rather be spanked than put is arms in his sleeves so he could go to town with Papa. It was pretty much our worst day of parenthood to date. At the end of the day we just hung our heads and laughed. What do you do? Somedays you just feel like a failure as a parent and hope that the next day is better! 

For me the transition seems to be heading for the darker season of losing my personal identity. I remember these feelings from the early days with B. It is a little easier this time, understanding that with a precious new one it requires a real dying of self. I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing, but it is difficult. I find that at 4 weeks postpartum reality sets in and I am faced with long days and nights. I find myself wishing that family lived closer or I had endless funds to fly them to me. I envy those who have their moms close. I begin to realize that in my effort to be super mom I have worn myself out. I take out my weariness on my handsome guys and the guilt is sometimes overwhelming. I am all at once needing alone time and feeling lonely, simultaneously. For now I lay it down at the foot of the cross. I give it to the one who is more than able - the one who can strengthen me and shower me with His endless grace. I ask for help. Help me to give more and need less. Help me to treasure these moments and not forget the blessings of my little family. They truly are a heavenly gift. 



And they keep me smiling. :) 

The new normal...

We welcomed a sweet baby girl into our family! Sweet Isley (pronounced Eyes-lee) came just before the new year and we are so thankful for this beautiful tax deduction baby. She is amazing!

Often people are interested in birth stories - so I will fill you in. If you didn't want to know all the details, just skip to the end. I was the last in our family to succumb to the awful stomach bug. So, the evening before I delivered I spent moaning on the bathroom floor between bouts of vomiting and...well, you know. By the next morning I was exhausted and asked Norse to stay home so B would have a present parent. I laid on the couch and by afternoon I was annoyed that I was still having stomach cramps....by 4 I was pretty sure they weren't stomach cramps, but contractions. Can I admit now that I was a wreck. I was so afraid. My goal has always been to have a drug free birth experiences, but after spending the previous night hugging the porcelain throne, I just didn't think I could do it without some help!  It didn't help that when I told my husband that I needed to go to the hospital he asked if he could shower. My contractions were about 7 minutes apart - so I said " I guess so".  I was pretty irritated with him. I found out later that he thought I said my contractions were 35-45 minutes apart - or else he wouldn't have asked. It is funny in hindsight. :) We made it to the hospital around 5ish and after an hour they told me I could stay. They struggled to insert the IV since I was so dehydrated. It didn't really help my anxiety.  I was dilated to a 5 and decided I better take a dip in the tub. An hour and a half later I needed to get out or pass out. Here is where it gets real exciting. I got out of the tub and back into my luxuriously tacky hospital gown and had a killer contraction. I leaned onto the bed and when it was over asked if I could kneel on the floor and I had another contraction - A contraction where my water broke and babies head was crowning. NO JOKE! I was pretty sure that we were gonna deliver on the floor, but after telling my FIRMLY that I needed to launch my giant bod onto the table - I had another contraction and baby was out! The doctor hadn't even arrived yet! CRAZY. I am so glad we went to the hospital, since I am not real comfy with a home birth. It was only about 3 hours from entering the door of the hospital to delivery. God was so good to give me a quick labor so I could do it drug free! Woo hoo! I called all the fam to tell them "IT WAS A GIRL!!!!"

Okay - the gory details are over - welcome back to those of you who skipped to the end.






Now we are transitioning into the new normal ..... stay tuned for more on our life as a family of 2 kiddos!