A Life Stirred

Life Lately

So, after a nice long weekend, we are kicking off our week with Ben working 18 hours straight.  Grrr.  That’s not fun for anyone.

Normally, I would just sit on the couch and pine for him.  But tonight I decided I’m going to live it up!  I’m making Rice Krispies Treats (and trying not to eat the whole pan before tomorrow).  I mopped and showered.  I’m blogging and crocheting a Christmas stocking (not at the same time).  It’s gonna be a great night.

As a warning, this blog won’t be particularly deep (because being deep takes time, and I’ve got a lot of fun to cram in before I go to bed at 9:30).

1.  Mom’s Night Out and Encouragement

Two weekends ago, I saw “Mom’s Night Out” with a bunch of my mom friends.  It seemed appropriate to have a Mom’s night out to see that movie.  It. was. awesome.  I laughed.  I cried.  I laughed some more.  I highly recommend it.  It was the perfect mix of silly, serious, and touching.  And it got me thinking about the nature of encouragement.  Without ruining much of the plot, Allyson (the main character) was super worn out from motherhood.  She recieves some encouragement from an unlikely source, and then (almost immediately) she is able to pour out encouragement on others.  It was kind of awesome.  That’s the kind of friendship community I want.  Encourage one another so that we can go out an encourage others.  <happy sigh>

2.  I got cocky.

Anyway, the Monday after seeing that movie, I was talking to a friend, and I commented that I just don’t feel as stressed out about motherhood as they did.  Things are genuinely pretty easy for me (my girls are low-key; we’ve got a good routine; I’m able to keep up on house cleaning and laundry).  I wasn’t trying to brag or be obnoxious.  I was mostly just being thankful.

And then Tuesday hit.  Jo was up for 5 hours in the middle of the night and then got up after 2 hours of sleep.  Apparently, she’s cutting her two year molars.  And in case that wasn’t enough (molars suck, by the way), she got a nasty cold, an off-and-0n fever, an earache, and some breathing issues.  Then she passed it on to Claire.  So it’s been a pretty lousy week.

Mmmmm, mmmmm.  Humble pie is tasty.

These moments, however, make up for the hard bits by a lot.

These moments, however, make up for the hard bits by a lot.

3.  My bird friend is back!

Ok, so every year we’ve lived here, there has been this bird that builds a nest in our front door overhang thingy.  And I get totally geeked-out excited.  The nest is like 4 feet away from our door, so I get a front row seat for all the fun baby bird action!  It’s really one of my favorite things.  So today I snagged a picture of the nest.

Whoa, it's gonna be crowded in there.

Whoa, it’s gonna be crowded in there.

4.  My baby is 11 months old.

This just shocks me.  Eleven months old.  That’s like almost a one-year old.  Like my awesome math skills?  You can see why I majored in math, right?  She is bursting with personality these days.  She’s kinda talking.  She says, “Uh-oh” in the most adorable little way.  I laugh every single time.  Aaaand she’s a few good tries away from learning to walk.  Gulp.  That’ll be a game changer.  Either way, her first year is going by waaaaaay too quickly.

11 months.  Whoa.

11 months. Whoa.

 

 

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The Luxury of a Slower Pace

Last week I went walking with my friend, Dawn, at the mall.  (Our mall is pretty lame-o as far as malls go, but as an indoor track, it has potential.)  With the girls strapped into a double stroller, we were able to walk and chat.  It was an ideal set-up.

But after a few laps (mall laps?), Joanna wanted to walk.  Being the awesome mom that I am, I let her.  (And by “awesome mom”, I just mean that I thought, “Hey, if this kid does a few mall laps, she’ll probably take a good nap later.”)

Our pace slowed considerably.  There was more waiting.  There was more wandering (by the two year old…not by the grown-ups).  There was more apologizing to random strangers for the two year old that just bounced off their legs.  There were more interruptions to our conversation.

The elderly people either think a jogging toddler is adorable or annoying.  There’s no middle ground.  (This was a different mall trip, and no, Joanna did not knock that kid over.)

The elderly people either think a jogging toddler is adorable or annoying. There’s no middle ground. 

But then my dear friend said something that has totally changed the way that I view my life with toddlers.

She said with a longing sigh, “I miss the days when I could just go slowly.”

You see, her kiddos are 14, 13, 10, and 7 (and 8 and in Haiti…but he’ll be here soon).  They’re all big kids.  And with big kids comes an exponential increase in the busyness of life.  There’s school and doctor’s appointments and youth group and sports and plays and homework and deadlines and on and on!!  They are rushing and hustling from one activity to another.  [And for the record, her kids are limited in the number activities, but with 4 kids, one activity each is still four different activities!]

Seeing my meandering toddler brought back some sweet memories for my friend—days with her own wandering toddlers and no real schedule or commitments.  She fondly remembers just letting her kids go at their own pace and enjoying their time without any pressure to be somewhere rightthisveryminute!

Um.  Whoa.

It really got me thinking.  Do I fully value this time I have to just go slowly with my girls?  Do I appreciate the fact that we can wander and explore and learn and study and have adventures at a moment’s notice?

Or do I create artificial deadlines and timelines and schedules and force my girls to hustle so that we can stay on my schedule?

Hmm.  I’m not sure I want to answer that.

Because you know what?  My desire to go at my speed is actually pretty selfish.  Sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes it’s because we need to be somewhere at an actual time (doctor’s, playdates, church, etc).  But more often than not, we don’t actually have anywhere to be.  I’m just being selfish with my time.  I’m saying my schedule and my needs are more important.  <Gulp.>

BUT when I let them go at their pace, they learn that they matter to me.  Because, really, isn’t loving my girls and teaching them one of the most important jobs I have?

Another important job I have?  Taking dorky, back-lit selfies.

Another important job I have? Taking dorky, back-lit selfies.

So, this week, when it takes Joanna 5 minutes to go up the stairs, I will take a deep breath, remind myself that we can go slow, and enjoy the process.

When she wants to pick up every. single. rock at the mailbox, I will take a deep breath and let her explore.

When she requests one more song at bedtime, I will take a deep breath and sing “Jesus loves me” one more time.

When the girls want to help sort the laundry, I will take a deep breath and thank my lucky stars that my two year old WANTS to help so much!

When the girls want to help sort the laundry, I will take a deep breath and be thankful that my two year old *wants* to help with laundry!

So, thanks to my very wise friend, I will be slowing down.   I will be taking deep breaths (because I’m actually not very patient).  I will be letting go of my schedule and my plans.  And I will enjoy the luxury of a slower pace.

 

 

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Life Without Facebook

Ok, so have you ever met someone who is super-duper, almost-obnoxiously passionate about something?  And they spend all their time with you trying to convince you that you should be just as passionate about that something?  And they try to convince you that their convictions are (or should be) your convictions too?

Yeah, I’m that person now.  About Facebook.  Seriously, everyone just needs to quit Facebook.  Now.  It’s so much better.  Do it.

I do, however, realize that not everyone is where I am.  I believe there is a way to use Facebook to enhance relationships and interactions.  Maybe.  If you have a lot of self-control and no struggles with your identity in Christ.

But I have talked to so many people in the past week who get frustrated with Facebook and yet can’t imagine life without it.  I’m only one week in, but let me tell you, it is possible to have a life without Facebook.  And so very worth it.

So, I thought I’d share six things I’ve learned so far in this journey.  And perhaps if you are on the Facebook-fence, this might just knock you off that fence onto my side.

1. “Formally” leaving Facebook is very different than just successfully limiting usage.

A lent or two ago, I gave up Facebook, using it only on Sundays.  It was good.  But it was always still there in the back of my mind as an option.  Actually deactivating my account has been really freeing.  As far as my Facebook friends know, I’m gone.  All my pictures, videos, statuses, links are gone.  BUT if I do choose to go back, it’ll all be there waiting for me.  Plus there’s accountability in deactivating my account.  I can’t really just sneak back on and browse for a few minutes.

2.  Some of my issues were heart issues not Facebook issues. 

This isn’t really a shocker, but it turns out I can still use my time poorly and get lost in jealousy and comparison…even without Facebook.  That’s because my issues go deeper than Facebook.  BUT without Facebook, I’m finding it’s harder to avoid dealing with the heart issue.  It’s like I got just one step closer to yanking out the root cause for good.  So that’s a win.

3.  Real life interactions are even more precious.

Remember when we used to hear the big news in person?  Or when someone would invite us to something face-to-face?  Talk about old-timey.  But there has been something very sweet about sharing information in-person!

My friend had a baby this week, and another friend had to tell me when she saw me.  We got to share the excitement together.  We ooooh-ed and aaaaaah-ed the baby together.  It was like a little bit of community…right there, in the real world.  Go figure.

An example of a  baby worth oooh-ing and aaaah-ing with a friend.  (Also, how is Claire almost a year old?!  That is not right.)

An example of a baby worth oooh-ing and aaaah-ing with a friend. (Also, how is Claire almost a year old?! That is not right.)

Also, I love the fact that I’m not always saying, “Yeah, I saw that on facebook.”  Without Facebook, I am able to be more present with those I’m with.  Novel concept, right?

4.  I am forced to be more intentional and deliberate about my friendships.

Because in the real world I can’t actually have 100 good friends.  So, instead of having superficial relationships with lots of people, I have to be deliberate about who I seek out and whose lives I know about. And vice versa.  If you want to be my friend (and know about everything that’s happening in my life), you’re going to have to make some effort.  (But please do!  I’m a lot of fun!)

Friends.  Real life friends.

Friends. Real life friends.

 5.  Facebook affected my heart and mind and attitude waaaaaaay more than I ever realized.

It seemed like mindless scrolling, but it really wasn’t.  Everything I saw, read, heard, and wrote affected my mind and heart and thoughts.  I don’t think it was as harmless as I thought it was.  Because one week in and I feel more peace and less pressure.  Pressure I didn’t even know existed.

Aaaand, I’m realizing that every picture I took, every cute video, every interesting article I read, every adorable thing Joanna said…it was all fodder for my facebook updates.  It’s taken me a bit to reprogram my thinking, but it’s nice to enjoy those moments without writing a clever status in my head.  (Now, I just spend my time writing clever blog posts in my head.  Improvement?  I’m not sure.)

I just enjoyed this sweet moment.  Without feeling like I wanted to upload it rightthisveryminute.

I just enjoyed this sweet moment. Without feeling like I wanted to upload it rightthisveryminute.

6.  Obeying God is always worth it.

I know that the Lord asked me to let go of Facebook for a season.  I was scared and nervous and hesitant to obey.  But I did it.  And it was absolutely worth it!

God has provided what I need.  He has sent friends to fill me in on the newest babies and the upcoming events.  He has given me an awesome group of close friends who have not let me feel left out.  He given me eyes to see the freedom I’ve gained in the last week.  He has truly blessed me in my obedience.

So, while my opinion on whether or not you should leave Facebook doesn’t really matter, God’s opinion does matter.  If you feel like He might be asking you to take a step of obedience*, let me tell you, that it is worth it.  Obeying God is worth it.  It may not be easy or simple, but it really is always worth it.

[*And hey, for you, it might not be Facebook, but something else entirely.  Like TV or excess stuff or excess food.  Whatever He’s asking, you’d be wise to obey.]

So what do you think?  Is God calling you to take a step of obedience?  Are you a little scared?

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Ten on Ten: The Saturday Edition

So, I’ll be honest.  I completely forgot that today was the 10th until the middle of the morning.   Such a bummer because there had been a zillion (give or take a few) awesome moments–early morning “snuggles” with the kiddos, pancake breakfast/feast courtesy of Ben, and reading on the couch with Joanna.  <Sigh>

But better late than never, right?

I tried to recreate the early morning snuggles.  This is what I got--Claire looks skeptical and Joanna has a forced grin.

I tried to recreate the early morning snuggles. This is what I got–Claire looks skeptical and Joanna has a forced grin.  (And my foot is making a cameo.)

In honor of Mother’s Day weekend, Ben hung out with the girls downstairs while I cleaned upstairs.  I’m not totally sure when it became a treat to clean, vacuum, and organize children’s clothes by myself…but I suspect it has something to do with being a mom.

I haven't seen the top of this dresser in...forever?

I haven’t seen the top of this dresser in…forever?

After an hour apart, we missed each other!

After an hour apart, we missed each other!

Bubbles!!!

Bubbles!!!

Oh, naptime.  We've gotten it down to a science now.

Oh, naptime. We’ve gotten it down to a science now.

At 2:00, we all napped.  All of us.  It was glorious.

We all napped. All of us. It was glorious.

Post-nap baby toes!  Don't they look well rested?

Post-nap baby toes! Don’t they look well rested?

She is just so cool.

She is just so cool.

After a rainy day, the sun came out just in time to shine on our seedlings.

After a rainy day, the sun came out just in time to shine on our seedlings.

Off to church with her panda bag.  It makes me laugh every time.

Off to church with her panda bag. It makes me laugh every time.

So, even though I nearly forgot (and had to crunch in the pictures to make it work), this activity never disappoints.  Hopefully, you enjoyed it.

ten on ten button

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Goodbye, Facebook.

So let’s talk about Facebook for a minute.

It’s great, right?  I mean, I really do love what it adds to my life.  I can keep in contact with friends who live thousands of miles away!  I can celebrate all those big life moments like I’m right there with you—engagement, weddings, pregnancy announcements [Seriously, will we ever run out of cute ways to announce that a baby is on the way?!], and birth announcements!  I can link to encouraging, inspiring articles, and read articles that you recommend.  I can share what’s happening in my life with those I care about.  I can encourage you or make you laugh (or both…on a good day).  I can organize an impromptu park trip or invite friends over for a playdate.  I can continue deep discussions with my small group, and we can hold each other accountable.

Where else can I share this with everyone I know?

Where else can I share this with everyone I know?

Facebook is awesome.

In theory.

I’m finding that Facebook falls short for me.  Lately, it has become a place for me to waste time, to compare myself, to measure myself against others (and fall short).  As I spend time (let’s be honest, lots of time) scrolling mindlessly through my newsfeed, I end up feeling jealous, discontent, annoyed, and distracted.  So very distracted.  Distracted from my girls.  Distracted from my husband.  And worst of all, distracted from my God and what He’s asking me to do.  Facebook has been drowning out His voice and sucking up my time.

So yeah, it’s just not working for me anymore.

I’ve tried limiting my time on Facebook.  Apparently, I lack the necessary amount of self-control to make that happen.  So, I’m quitting.  Cold turkey.

I’m not going to lie, I’m scared.  I’m scared of missing out.  I’m scared of being left out.  I’m scared I will be forgotten because I’m not in your newsfeed all. the. time.  Because let’s be real, it’s really hard to connect with people who don’t use Facebook.  I know because I’ve given them a hard time about it.

And as soon as I made my decision to go cold turkey on Facebook-usage, I had a thousand worries and questions assault my mind:  How will I connect with long-distance friends?  How will I have meaningful conversations with my small group?  How will I find anyone to meet me at the park?  How will I know what’s happening in my friends’ lives?  Will I ever be invited to anything ever again?  How will I alert everyone that I just wrote another blog post (and how will I get feedback on what I write)?

Where will I post all the pictures and videos of my adorable children?  Seriously, the world will be missing out.

Where will I post all the pictures and videos of my adorable children?  Seriously, the world will be missing out.

And on and on and on.  Facebook really has quite a grip on me.  It’s not right.  So I’m done.

I haven’t changed.  I still value deep relationships and connecting with others.  I still want to share and be real and encourage others.  But for a season, that’s going to have to happen without Facebook.  <Gulp.>

I will still be around.  We can connect through email, Instagram, Skype, or even this blog (Hey, look!  A place to leave comments!  How convenient!!).  Or we can connect by talking on the phone or texting or snail mail (anyone want to be my old school pen-pal?!).  Or we can connect the old fashioned way, and just bump into each other out in the real world and stop and chat.

This is hard for me.  I really don’t want to do it.  But I’m pretty sure I need to.

[Two last notes:  1.)  I’m deactivating my account tomorrow night.  That should give you ample time to prepare your hearts.  Ha!  2.)  This is one of those things that God has asked me to do, and He may not be asking you to do the same (although He may be…).  So no judgment, ok?]

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