Lonely

I only have one Iris blooming this year. Last year, I separated and moved some that should bloom next year. Also my chickens like to peck at them since they’re one of the first green things to pop out of the ground.

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks. There has been a lot of “preparations” for various things both on the homestead and in ministry. I find myself feeling like I haven’t had a good adult conversation with any of my dear friends (include Mr Johnson). I feel just a little bit like my lone Iris here; like I’m the only one left in this neighborhood. Everyone else is busy preparing to bloom elsewhere :) Thankfully, if I ask for a date with the Mr, he’ll oblige me. And usually God grants me a run-in turned coffee date with one of the wonderful women He’s blessed me to know.

I hope you’re enjoying the preparations of spring!!

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Another Birthday

 

A celebration…

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A little work…

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A little fun…

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A lot of love…

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A little treat…

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And a little bike ride, that ended in a flat.

A happy birthday for my Micaiah!

10 Reasons Our Marriage Is the Second Best Thing Ever

10.) God uses him to provide for me. I seriously rarely think about money. I just do my best to be a good steward knowing that Nic will always work hard and take care of us.

9.) Sex. It rocks even more because we waited for the honeymoon. The reasons could be a list all of their own.

8.) I like him. And he likes me (insert girlish giggle.) But really, Nic’s work allows us to be together a ton. Like almost all the time. And when we do have to part ways briefly, we still hate it. We truly enjoy each other’s company and this blesses me.

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7.) He listens to me. I took this for granted until recent allergies/ear infections left him hard of hearing for over a month. The poor guy has asked me to repeat myself a bajillion times.

6.) He tells me I’m the best wife ever, even though I know I could be better for him!

5.) He’s the most handsome man in the world. Ever. And the beard is speedily increasing the gap between Nic and the rest of mankind.

4.) He tells me I’m the most beautiful woman alive – even when I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant and look sort of like a beluga whale.

3.) He puts up with my craziness. I’m pretty sure he’s storing up mounds of treasures in heaven for this one.

2.) He serves me. Nic humbly and willingly does SO much for me. Sort of like Jesus does for the church.

1.) Sanctification. Nic’s gentle and gracious leadership is worth more to me than words can say. God has used him to grow me so much in the last 10 years and I can’t think of any way I’d rather be sharpened for the Kingdom.

There it is. Second only to my Savior’s Redeeming work, the best thing that has ever happened to me.

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On Mothering: Part Two

Soaking Cold! As my son would say.

Soaking Cold! As my son would say.

If you missed Part One, you can find it here.

Several months have gone by since I wrote that post. Even after I wrote with such resolution, I still went through huge concerns regarding how I should be doing bed time, nursing and other infancy stage questions. I wanted to share with you some specific things that have come up and how things are turning to be just fine – of course!

The first thing you need to know is that I’m pregnant for the fourth time! This was the root of many of my insecurities. My daughter has pretty much always nursed to sleep. I tried to nurse until I knew she’d be full and then lay her down drowsy. After six or seven times at 3 in the morning, I realized that I was about to become dangerously frustrated with my newborn and I brought her to bed with me.

All along, she could not self-soothe within any reasonable amount of time. I continued to try as she got older, even zonked out she would some times wake up and not go to sleep unless she nursed. I know there are probably some moms (or at least I imagine you’re out there) saying that I just didn’t have the tenacity; she needed to learn to soothe herself and I didn’t give her the chance. Let me help you understand this. It’s the same in the car. If she was tired she would cry scream like she was dying. Sometimes I would stop, but other times we just couldn’t. Knowing that she was fed and changed we would just keep driving. This baby (who fusses for about 3 seconds and goes straight to screaming bloody murder) has screamed for almost an hour and a half. Usually even then she didn’t fall asleep, but when she did she would still be gasping for air as if she was till crying. You know, those quick inhales like she’s sobbing. Talk about heart breaking, not to mention making this very spontaneous, adventurous momma never want to take another road trip again!

I began to wonder if she was ever going to go to sleep without nursing. How was I going to move her from a sidecar-crib to a floor bed of her own. I didn’t mind the idea of tandem nursing, especially for the health benefits. But I did not want her to be so dependent on me with our next blessing comes. Even when I had six months time, I was concerned as to whether everything would work out. I was already a little stressed about the chaos that would be if I didn’t “fix” this.

Our family took a little trip for my husband to take a class at a nearby college (I live in a big state, so nearby is often several hundred miles.) I had the privilege of spending time with a mother whom I respect, possibly more than any other young mom I know. She was complementing me on how “chill” I was with my firstborn. I admitted that I was just to young to know about all the parenting methods and cultural expectations and I just did was I thought was right. Pair that with a super-easy going baby and what’s not to be chill about?! By the time my daughter came around I was aware that there are certain “ways” and she was one of those “high-needs” (oh, how I hate these labels) babies. I admitted to my friend that there were so many things I said I would not do that I caved and did, just because it was what worked. She didn’t know this, but as I used the example of bringing my baby to bed with me, it killed me to admit it to her. She has so much resolve and seems so comfortable in the way her and her husband have chosen to do things. While I know she doesn’t have it all together, I still feared what she thought of me in a number of ways. Even the idea that she may read this and find out that my daughter’s crib is right next to my bed gives me some butterflies in my tummy!

As usual, fear of man led me to stress quite a bit about it all again. My daughter got sick after that trip and so of course then she was waking up several times a night (by that I mean a good six times or more) and nursing. It all seemed kind of hopeless. “If I was only more like her (out of town mommy-buddy), I wouldn’t be in this mess.” I kept telling myself I had done something wrong along the way.

To make a long story shorter, here’s what happened next. My husband and I knew it was time for us to make an adjustment. I tried to ignore how my super-mom friends do things and ask myself what I believe about Biblical parenting. Find the extended version here, but basically I am for healthy independence but I’m all about helping my children make the adjustments at their own pace. Yes, I could sing my son a song and lay him down at one month old and he would sleep all night long. With my daughter, it’s been very different. One day, during my much-needed alone time she got tired early. My husband walked with her until she was pretty much asleep then laid her in the crib and rubbed her back while she fussed herself to sleep. He did this nap and night time for several days and then I took a stab at it. Sometimes with me she still wants to nurse and it takes longer/more fussing than it would for my husband. She has gotten better and better at self-soothing. Very soon we’ll be able to lay her down and leave her with just as little trouble. After our trip I said I would let her cry it out if that’s what she needed to learn, but that it was only fair to try and help her learn. It’s so encouraging to see how far we’ve come!

In the last post I mentioned pleasing the Lord and not being lazy. If I had only followed my own advice. I just need to show my children Christ-like qualities: patience AND discipline, kindness AND healthy boundaries. This Psalm has been so many things in recent months so I’ll share it in closing with you today:

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
 In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.

 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

Psalm 127

On Mothering

Soaking Cold! As my son would say.

Soaking Cold! As my son would say.

My brain is constantly going a million miles an hour. I over-analyze EVERYTHING! Much of this blog is an overflow of what I just can’t keep inside. Well, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood. As I begin to come to conclusions on things such as parenting styles and medicine, I always think of Sarah. As in, the wife of Abraham. The New Testament says to be like her (as a wife), so what tools did she have to raise, nurture, grow her children up? Then I have to remember (or be reminded, thanks husband!) that advancements aren’t bad, just need to be sorted like wheat and chaff.

These days I’ve been over-thinking mothering. Sears, Ferber? Attached, detached? To wear, to stroll? I find that even when something is working great, I often wonder if I should be doing it differently. At the very least, I hate when people ask questions about sleep, nursing etc. I feel like I’m going to be judged on my answer and honestly, I don’t want to lose the respect of women who have my respect. I probably feel this way because I would have judge pretty harshly in the past. My first newborn was so easy, I thought I had it down. Ha! That’s a laugh…

I’ll be more detailed in another post, but here are some things I’ve decided:

  • So far, I don’t believe that residing in either of the parenting “camps” is right for me or my children.
  • Parenting books (especially on infancy) are stupid.
  • Having said this, nothing beats good old fashioned mother-to-mother wisdom. (more on this later too)
  • God has given us His Word, and thereby everything we need to live a life pleasing to Him.
Girl Time - Fishing our home waters

Girl Time – Fishing our home waters

In my over-analyzing, I forget the most important things! If I would not be concerned with what people think, I would just do what comes natural to me. As long as I’m 1.) seeking to do right by the opportunity that God has given me to mold young disciples and 2.) fighting things like laziness and selfishness that might tempt me to take the easy way out, everything should be fine. What better job could I do than one I do to please the Lord?

What are some of your parenting convictions? Do you subscribe to one parenting style or another?

More than Remeniscing: Good Friends Are a Must-Have!

A couple decades (or so) ago I had an argument with a girl by the name of Stephanie. We came to an impasse and I pulled out the kicker, “Fine! I hate yellow! And I’ll always hate yellow!” (Let the reader understand that said Stephanie’s VERY favorite color was yellow.)

We went inside and our third grade teachers (we were in separate classes) shortly realized that something was very wrong and forced us to make up.

Six years ago, Stephanie and our third Musketeer, Danielle, were my best gals in my wedding (in which, I have to admit my colors were blue and yellow)!

Almost exactly two years ago, Stephanie was home visiting family when I gave birth to my son Micaiah. She lives 1800 miles away and was still able to be one of my first visitors.

A few months ago I received a text from Stephanie, (who lives on the opposite side of the country) while I was in the yarn store, “You’re an Auntie! It’s a girl!” It also included all the usual stats we all love to know.

And then, just the other day while Stephanie was home visiting once again, I went to a Meet-and-Greet shower for little Juliette. As I held one of my two oldest friends’ firstborn daughter, I remembered the yellow fight, I recalled the ones we’ve all had since. But most of all, I thought of dreams.

I don’t think we get to just dream up whatever we want and ask God to get on board. But as a little girl, Danielle, Stephanie and I would play dolls and make believe all kinds of things. Inevitably, we would be play out almost every possible future that could be in store. While none of us are doctors, famous photographers, marine biologists or really any of the career women we dreamt of once in a while, we are all doing exactly what we dreamt of most of the time.

We are all lovely ladies who serve the Lord. We are all maturing in discipline and discipleship. We grow gardens, and relationships and children whom we pray will seek the Lord themselves as we raise them as God gives us the ability through His grace.

The one who struggled the most in school, has completed the most education. The most flirtatious one settled down first. The two that dreamt of being doctors (neurologist & pediatric oncologist to be exact) were the first to be full time mommies.

So, what’s my point? Am I just reminiscing on the world wide web? I guess when I sat there holding Juliette, I just felt like…This is it. This is about as good as it gets in this life. Marrying the boys we loved (Stephanie and I both got married pretty young), having the opportunity to raise children, serving the Lord in the local church and around the world, making disciples….these are all of our dreams come true!

None of us need to talk very frequently while we’re apart, but ANYTIME we need ANYTHING: prayer, advice, encouragement and so on, the others come to the aide like super-heroes to the rescue! When it comes to finding and supporting a husband, trying for babies, staying up with crying all night, and serving the Lord, we’re there for each other. And I hate to admit it (being the free-spirited, artsy one), but I need them!

 

When you’re trying your best to honor the Lord with faith, marriage, family and the craziness of life in general, you need support. You need accountability. You need people who will pray for you and encourage you. I am so thankful that I am so blessed as to have two young ladies know have known me for so long!

Who do you rely on for feminine understanding, support and encouragement? Are there ladies who know you well enough to know exactly what you need to hear?

Why Engedi?

Upon visiting The Bella Red, fellow blogger Kate Tietje of Modern Alternative Mama noted that she could tell Biblical living is very important to me. While that is the focus of my first blog, living a healthy and natural life is also very important to me. I know that most Bella Red readers are interested in Theology, not homemade household cleaners, cloth diapers or my real food journey so I knew the day was coming soon: a new blog.

In Song of Solomon 1:14, the writer says this: “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.” I want to make sure that my home is like En Gedi, a peaceful oasis that my husband and children can be happy to come home to.

I married my beloved in 2006. Our journey thus far has been littered with blessings, but it has also included many changes and struggles. From miscarriage to Celiac disease, we have become fully aware that God’s creation is not functioning as it was made to.

So here we are, literally counting the days until our little country home is move-ready. I am excited to share with you my journey to return to some of my roots. From chickens to organizing, here I record my attempt to live where the roads of Biblical living an natural living intersect. Through my successes and failures, I hope you will both laugh and learn as I strive to have a joy-filled home where my husband is happy to lead and my children grow in the Lord.

Welcome to my adventures Finding Engedi.