hey.

i’m trying out this new thing called blogging.  

ha.

i keep saying i’m going to do this and then i never do.  but finally i decided to hell with it.  i’ll write when i want to write about what i want to write.

so.

currently…

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listening  to justin bieber’s new album  because, why not?

watching The Good Wife because i cannot get enough

eating nachos!  specifically the pioneer woman’s recipe.

drinking orange selzer with a splash of fruit punch.  hopefully it will curb my caffeine addiction.

wearing old navy sweat pants all day errday.

feeling tired.  maybe because i ran for the first time in forever this morning?  maybe because i have tiny children?  maybe because it’s the end of the year?

wanting hot chocolate. but my recipe is so rich that i gain a bazillion pounds with each mug full. so i guess i’ll wait until christmas eve.

needing a nap. but it’s almost school pick up time, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. or the next day. or the next…

thinking about all the goods and bads of 2015 and how i’m almost too tired to even begin to prepare for 2016.

enjoying time alone with the little’s nap time and the oldest’s school time.

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Obedience is the Most Important

There are some mornings when I’m reading my Bible, that I get a glimpse of a peacefully calm life where everything is peachy keen and I’m floating around wearing rose colored glasses with a dopey smile on my face.  Because that’s what God can do for you.  Let you know that everything is A-OK.  That time with him can be calming and peace-giving to your hectic soul.

But then there are mornings when I’m reading my Bible that God takes the ideas I’ve formed over the last 27 years and blows them up in my face.  I can see these ideals laying in a pile before me, and I see a grenade careening to the air hitting the pile with a thud the second before the mushroom cloud ascends and everything is obliterated to dust.  Because that’s what God can do for you.  He opens your eyes to see that while you didn’t necessarily have His Word wrong, you also didn’t see the bigger picture until that moment when he destroyed the old to make way for the new.

Like today.

Hebrews 5 talks all about how Jesus was called by God to be a High Priest; to die on the cross for my eternal salvation.  I’ve heard this a bazillion and one times every time I sit in a straight-backed church pew.

But what no one has ever told me before was that Jesus was in agony over his role in the Gospel.

I knew that He prayed to God the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane that He would be delivered from the cross.  Obviously that didn’t happen.  I really thought that’s all it was. A simple, “Do I have to?  Really?  Okay then, I’ll do it.”  I had no idea that he cried, he pleaded, he sent up prayers of agony that His Father would release him from His calling.  And God heard him.  And instead of releasing Jesus from death, He allowed Jesus to learn true obedience through His suffering.

That’s when it hit me.  Discipline, Suffering, and Obedience are not neat little ideas wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string to be given as presents.  No.  Instead they are abstract and complicated thoughts that have been put into a blender with the setting on high and have been pulsed so hard you can’t extract one without also pulling out the others.  I can’t have suffering without also learning obedience and discipline.  I can’t learn obedience without going through suffering and using discipline.  I will never be disciplined until I go through suffering and learn true obedience.

For Jesus, in this particular example, it was obedience to His ultimate calling.  He wanted out of what He had been preparing for for 33 years.  He didn’t want to suffer humiliation or death.

I hear a lot about this calling Jesus has placed on all our lives.  That we must obey the calling.  That we must go forth and do it.  That we must not be scared or use excuses but to know that He has called us for a reason.

And I believe it all.  But I also think that we’ve started captializing it and putting it on a pedestal and shrouded it with fog machines and stuck a spotlight on it and preached it so many times that the Calling gets all the focus and all the attention.

But what about the day-to-day?  What am I to do when God has Called me to His plan, but right now I still have to clean poop off the floor.  What do I do about my Calling when I spend 40+ hours a week in a classroom teaching students–a calling unto its own, but perhaps not The Calling.  What about those times when I’m being called but I literally don’t have a single dish, utensil, or pan that is clean in my house?  Do I pursue my Calling then?  Or do I pursue my latex gloves and a sponge?

obedience

It might sound a little crazy, comparing suffering through my daughter’s potty training to the suffering Jesus felt when He was told to go die for the world, but that’s what it is.  Suffering.  And perhaps spending three hours cleaning things that are just going to get dirty again isn’t going to save the world, but it is being obedient to my Jesus, who has called me to be a wife and mother alongside my other Calling.  And you might scoff at the bags under my eyes formed from getting up early every morning, because who isn’t tired, but to me I’m suffering from lack of sleep.  But I’m gaining discipline every time I obey God’s call to read my Bible.

I think this is something worthwhile to keep unpacking:  Obedience in the form of Suffering and Discipline.  And I’m starting to think all this talk about intentionality, discipline, and thriving in the midst of toddlerhood is overshadowing and belittling what is Most Important. Obedience in the day-to-day mundane.

 

The Art of Practicing Discipline

One thing that I’ve been praying for lately is discipline.

This may sound way too over dramatic, but there are some days where I feel as if the day has run me over and I am left sprawled on the pavement, my limbs spread out and bent at weird angles, blood coming out of my ear and pooling on the ground, and all I can do is wonder How the hell do I get up from here?

As I’m lying there on the rough concrete and let my mind do a quick flashback review of how I got to that point and I can almost always point it back to a lack of discipline.

discipine

I’ve always thought of discipline as “not cool.”  Like, if I want to fit in and be popular, discipline is not the attribute that I want to possess.  But now that I’m an adult, I see it being more terrifying than anything else.  It’s an attribute I so desperately want to attain, and yet it encompasses so many parts of my day–the big ideas and the minutiae–that I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to have even a smidgen of it.  It’s too hard to fail at it, ergo, I shouldn’t even try.

But I know now that this is not true.  As I search my soul and my heart to determine what the most important things in my life are, I’m realizing that discipline is an absolute necessity if I want to be intentional in the areas that call for my present state of mind.

Here’s the thing, though, the Thing That Keeps Me From Getting Up:  What exactly is discipline and how can I attain it?

Because I recognize that I am a failure.  I will massively fail at discipline when I attempt to do it on my own.

But God.

But God lifts me up and gives me grace and shows me that spiritual discipline is merely forming a habit that will repeatedly point me back to Him.  Spiritual discipline involves having God–not me–in control of everything, and that all of my actions should continuously point me (and others) back to Him.  And with God, I literally can’t fail.  Because perfection can’t ever be attained.

I’m learning that everything can’t be important, and I’m finding that in the area of discipline the same holds true.  I have a list of a zillion different areas I crave to be disciplined in.  But I can’t do it all at once.  Being disciplined in some areas is more important {right now} than being disciplined in others.

For example, not making my lunch the night before means I’m rushing the next morning and I’m spending time doing a menial task instead of eating breakfast with my family.  It’s not the absence of a lunch I miss in the morning when I’m driving to work.  It’s the absence of spending time with my family, which is one of my Most Important Things.

And when I figure out what’s most important to my soul, {Family} and then I figure out what’s preventing me from making it actively important in my life {not making a lunch the night before}, that’s when I figure out the Most Important Disciplines I need to have right now.

So I’m practicing.  I’m practicing discipline every time I make a lunch after my daughters are in bed.  I’m practicing discipline every morning when I wake up before 5:45 in order to spend time with God.  I’m practicing discipline every Saturday when I make it a goal to do all errands and all cleaning so that I can relax with my family on Sunday.  I’m practicing discipline every night I get everything on my to-do list accomplished so that the hour before we go to bed I can spend that time intentionally talking to my husband.

And knowing that not everything is important is what gives me the courage to slowly get up off that pavement and start again.

Us in August

It’s getting harder and harder to post these without including a real picture of us.  Because our family is getting cuter and cuter as the days go on.  Really.  We’re probably the most adorable little family ever.

But I digress.

So here’s a picture of Little on her big wheel at my parents’ house in Texas.

DSCN9694Told ya.  She’s totes adorbs.

In August:

We went to our favorite beach and spent the day lounging on the sand and wading through the tide pools.  Then hung out with the brother and sister-in-law who lives close by.

We went to the Boston Children’s Museum.  So fun.  I think I took about 100 pictures of the first five minutes because everything was so cute, and then nothing because we were busy playing.  We rode our first “train” (re: subway) and Little was extremely disappointed that we couldn’t meet the conductor or have breakfast like the dinosaurs on Dinosaur Train. The highlight of her trip was our very short taxi ride during which she didn’t have to sit in a carseat.  She made sure to buckle up though.

We listed our condo.  Woohoo!  

I started selling essential oils, mostly because I want the discount, but srsly though they’re freaking amazing.  I’m sure a #shamelessplug post is coming soon about it, but I can’t stress enough about how they’ve changed our household.  Sleep!! It really does exist!!

We saw The Wizard of Oz at our local theater.  Both the movie and our theater were celebrating 75 years.  Not only was the showing free (and awesome) but we got to meet the wicked witch and the scarecrow after a free pizza lunch.  Not to shabby this little town of mine.

We had our yard sale and sold a bunch of our crap and gave away the last of it.  And got so much money.

We went on our third date as parents.  We were going to go to a batting cage/mini golf, but it was pouring rain.  So we decided to hit up the arcade instead.  It was sooooo lame.  As in, I saw a couple of my middle school students there lame.  We hit up Chinese food after and came home early.  Why is dating so hard?

FIL turned 60 and we surprised him with a party and family pictures.

Little went to her first VBS and loved every single minute of it.

Littlest got really sick and ended up in the emergency room two nights before our trip to Texas.  Nothing that extra cuddles and a double dose of Motrin couldn’t fix though.

We spent 5 days in Texas.  Both girls did great on the plane ride until the very last hour and fifteen minutes.  Then they were so over it.  But we made it.  Littlest was sickish most of the time, but she did great.  And Little got ant bites the size of welts all over her. So I guess we have that to look forward to in our move.

We ended the month in Maine over Labor Day having a lobster boil and hanging out with Grammy and Papa.  It was fun, but oh so tiring.

And lastly, August 29th marks one year since we sent off for our adoption papers! One year ago we decided to adopt and this month will mark three months with our two little girls.  What a whirlwind it’s been.

I’m hoping next month will be less of catch-up and more of getting up these posts in time…

Cheers, September

September

Oh September, I have waited and waited so long for you.

I’m continuing working on Fall’s Bold Intentions, which is great because my August goals didn’t go over so well.  1 Corinthians didn’t get finished (almost there!), glider cover and pillows never got sewn (in my defense, I lost that piece on the machine that keeps my thread in place), and I think I woke up all of 15 minutes earlier than kids (barely enough time to finish a shower).

So of course, all those things are rolling over into September, with the goal of getting them done THIS WEEK, so the rest of September I can focus on other things.

Like MOVING.

We’re officially counting down over here, and we’re at 21 days.  Exactly three weeks from now, I’ll be boarding a plane with a one-way ticket, jetting off to the last place I ever wanted to move (back) to and staying for an indeterminate length of time.  As excited as I am for this new adventure and that God has allowed us this fresh start after such a long, long year, I can’t help but wishing that God would allow us to stay, or to move us somewhere different–bushes of Africa perhaps??  But instead of whining and moaning and throwing a self-pity party, I’m sucking it up, because I know with all my heart our little family will be much better off because of this move, and it’ll be easier on all of us if I get in on the fun, too.

I’ve already made contact with a Thrive Local group in my area and I’m looking forward to attending my first meeting.  I’m trying to reconnect with some high school friends to help ward off any feelings of alone-ness that might happen.  And I’m stocking up on essential oils to help us transition environments and to keep my hormones balanced and mood lifted.  Because when you’re 26 and moving back to your hometown to live with your mother, you’re both going to need lots of help keeping those emotions in check.

So September around here is full of to-do lists and appointments and address changing and service canceling.  Though I’m not looking forward to going to the dentist or getting my haircut, I’m making myself not add anything else on my plate, besides what I didn’t accomplish in August.  I’m just trying to keep the semblance of a schedule, keep a semblance of paleo eating happening, and a semblance of normalcy in the midst of boxes, lists, and movers.

Because 21 days.

Awkward and Awesome //

The Awkward

–Having a yard sale.  I mean, there’s nothing more awkward than having people barter with you for your own stuff.  Especially when you’re selling it for cheap and they want to pay cheaper.  Makes you wonder about your state of mind during your original purchase.

–Cleaning your house so that strangers can come and look at it.  Will they open the fridge and see all the food with mold on it?  Will they open the cabinets and see all the dirty dishes I didn’t have time to wash so I just hid them instead?  Will they look under the couch and see all the crap that I just swept under it?

–Sitting in the waiting room at gymnastics with two other parents while our girls are in class and having Littlest stop and scream, “I POTTY!” while she’s bending in the pooping stance.

The Awesome

–Selling enough stuff at the yard sale that we can pay off an entire credit card.  Sure, it was a card we probably should’ve never opened in the first place, but still.  Baby steps.

–Hearing Little call me “Mama” more than she calls me “Caitlin.”

–Putting Little in VBS this week at a church down the road from us.  She loves it so much at night she stays awake talking to her doll about all she learned and we stay awake listening to her on the baby monitor.  (Which is good, because she doesn’t tell us.)  And then this morning she wanted to look up her memory verse in my Bible and underline it so she wouldn’t forget.  We ended up reading the whole chapter (Psalm 54) and talked about what it meant verse by verse.

Weekending — A very intense craving for Fall

In an effort to practice more writing and less blogging (and to try to work up to that 1000 words a day goal that I wrote about and subsequently ignored) I’m going to start posting a writer’s style weekend recap on Mondays.  A post where I talk about my weekend at great length with lots of details on specific feelings and such, and less of a bulleted run-down with pictures in-between.  So, you’ll either love it or hate it.  But at the very least, I hope you appreciate it.

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Walking along the hot sand yesterday, a bag of beach toys in one hand, the hand of a daughter in the other, I couldn’t help but wish so suddenly for fall.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was just 80 degrees–which up here could mean a hot, summer’s day or a cool, crisp fall afternoon–and I just wanted to be out of shorts and into jeans with a soft scarf wrapped around my neck. 

I’ve never craved fall before.  I anxiously await the heat.  I sit around enjoying the throes of summer.  I relish each bead of sweat the falls down my forehead.

But now?
Now I want fall. 

We drove an hour north to Wingaersheek beach yesterday, the only beach we’ve found with white sand, tidepools, and miles of cool water that’s barely waist deep.  The only beach with sand that will make a proper castle because of its lack of rocks.  We climbed all over the big rocks close to the shoreline.  We waded with the minnows.  We packed our buckets full of sand and turned them upside down.  Littlest just kept pouring sand from one bucket into another.  Little clutched Daddy’s hand and waded out in the waters for hours.

DSCN9669

I would be lying if I said that I’m enjoying this season to the fullest.  I would be lying if I said that each time I look into my daughters’ faces I feel this quick tug on my heart.  I would be lying if I said that I was prepared to be right where I am.

I can truthfully say that I’m so glad I have these exact two daughters.  And that it makes me so happy to see them smile, to say a kind “Hello!” to strangers we pass, to hear them call me “Mom” or “Mama” or “Mommy.”  It makes me content to know they’re not leaving and that we’re done with this one part of the journey (even if legal guardianship is still to come). 

But I think I’m beginning to crave that moment all moms say they have of looking at their child for the first time and becoming instantly overwhelmed with joy and love.  I still have to practice that one.  In the midst of being angry or impatient I often have to remind myself that these are actually my children, no one is coming through that door to relieve me of my babysitting duties, and that if I want the rest of the afternoon to go well perhaps it’s my attitude I should change.

I’m beginning to crave that next season in motherhood when my brain automatically realizes that I am a mom and sees these two as my own children, instead of me having to work to get there.  I’m beginning to crave that next season in our marriage when we become more of a team rather than two people that live together.  I’m beginning to crave new beginnings–new move, new home, new family, new friendships. 

I’m craving an almost fresh start, where people stop asking me How’s it going? because they’ve assumed that I was the one who birthed these children 4 and 2 years ago, and why would they want to know how I’m doing?

I need that crisp air to dig itself in and encircle all of us and carry us away into a new season of parenting, marriage, and living.

Perhaps I’m giving too much credit to fall.  After all, it’s done little for me before except bring a work week.  I don’t like pumpkin flavored anything, I don’t care for hot chocolate or hot coffee, and I don’t routine pop in to Starbucks to see a changing menu.  But there’s something different about this fall.  I smell cooler air and new promises on the horizon.  Things I’m going to soak in as much as I would a beating hot sun.

And even if this fall brings more of the same pain, struggles, frustrations, and long-suffering as the rest of the year has, I’m going to trust that it’s for my own good.