Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mommy Destiny

Some of you know that this was a tough winter for me. It really started in October and I was buried in self-pity and discontentment along with a couple of feet of snow! It really came to a big fat eye opening lecture from my mom to help turn it all around for me. She didn't say much, but she did remind me of why I chose to put off a career and stay home with my kids and she pointed out that my attitude needed major adjusting if I was going to get through this motherhood thing with any kind of grace.
As I look back on it, I realize my longing to head to Texas over Christmas break, wasn't just homesickness, but God's prodding to get me to sit on that couch with my mom, that particular day, and knock some sense into me!
Hopefully, I will not be back under that heap of junk next winter...especially now that I can be considered an Iowa Winter veteran... I will certainly guard my heart a bit more as the wintry season approaches and maybe prepare myself better for the hibernation of my social life.
Today, it all became completed in a chiastic structure, just as the Scriptures illustrate. This is a new fancy term I learned from Beth Moore in my Bible study of Esther. She pointed out some very powerful uses of the mirroring effect, that I can't go into detail now (I wouldn't even know how to explain it), but OH MY...can I just say her words re-confirmed my belief the Christ and what He came to do, and will do in the future...through a literary lesson on words!!! To be brief, the chiastic structure is a crisscross of wording...for example, "I live to eat or I eat to live." It parallels the same terms in a mirrored way to show a specific truth. Anyway, I won't bore you with anymore of it, but I am excited to live by a new term now as I have made up a chiastic structure for myself:
      "Because I am fulfilled I am the best mom I can be....Because I am the best mom I can be I am fulfilled!"
I have struggled with finding my value in things of this world...becoming a writer, a coordinator of a ministry, a socialite (ha), finding a possible path to higher education...but I have pushed aside the most fulfilling thing of all, Motherhood. My ability to throw myself down into a perfect little fit, is what my flesh desires most when it comes to doing what I want to do to make myself known. But over these past few months, I have discovered that my focus was all wrong, and although I still need the "me" time in my life to refuel, it's not to refuel my value, just my SANITY! I kept grasping for fulfillment elsewhere to then give my kids a good mom, but I really need to focus on becoming a good mom to find fulfillment in just that. Of course, I ultimately find my value in Christ, but the greatest challenge He has bestowed upon me is growing up young boys into Godly men...and that is and will be the most fulfilling task I have ever taken on.
So, how will I choose to live my life now? Not waiting for the next stage where I need to figure out what Angie's going to do with herself...but living in this moment at this time when a lesson pops up in the daily monotony, one maybe for my kids but also for me as their guide, and fulfillment is really becomes a choice of mindset- not a selfish coveted thing of self-worth. I might not be making much sense, but it's a great thing for me to realize this while my kids are young and I have time to be the best mom I can be!

Monday, March 29, 2010

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile!

My 3 year old took this picture! I have a photographer in the making! It's sunny and absolutely gorgeous here! The boys are playing and the dog is sunbathing. Hope it's sunny where you are!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Keeping up with the Skinnys No More!

So, I am going on two weeks of my exercise wean. It really wasn't voluntary, but life has been so crazy and wonderful, that I just haven't prioritized that extra time to workout. I am settling back into my old self, not really gaining or losing, just living without denying myself a good ol' chocolate fix every once in a while. I have heard it said a few times the past few days, "eating is one of the great pleasures of life" and I am definitely one who partakes with great joy in this philosophy! Have you ever looked back on a vacation or night out with friends where food or drink wasn't involved??? I remember the best of times through food. Many travels in Europe are marked by the trattorias, cafes, crepe stands, and ristorantes that we visited...my trips to the great cities of Boston and San Diego, are vivid through the authentic Italian food from Little Italy, and Rubio's Fish Tacos, respectively...My favorite dates with Cody are branded with a good glass of wine or a delectable chocolate dessert. Food is simply the best.
Now this being said, I have learned to "watch it" so that I can afford the two weeks of no scheduled exercise (walking up and down the stairs 50 times a day, chasing kids around the neighborhood, and being walked BY the dog must count for some calorie loss, right?). I will hop on that elliptical next week and try and get my butt in gear so that I can still have guiltless chocolate fixes...and also because exercise makes me feel good...but my past obsession with keeping up with the "Skinnys" is dying, and I am happy to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, with a little exercise on the side.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My sweet personal baker-- notice the cocoa and floury shirt :)

Birthday Blessings on my Twenty Thirteenth!

So, it's the big 3-3 for me. Oh my. I can't believe I am truly thirty something! Wow! I remember looking at my parents' friends and thinking thirty was old...ahem, I am now eating my words. I am not old, but I am hopefully wiser?? I am also extremely blessed. I have had so many birthday wishes today from friends and family, I really can't even return them all with a thank you because they were so abundant! I guess if any of you are reading this-- Thank You!
The day started out very dreary and gray. I smashed in my new Tahoe's bumper yesterday into our neighbor's van, as I pulled out of the driveway, and was brutally reminded of the incident this morning as I rushed my second grader to school. Nothing Birthday-esque about this day. My sweet friend that I had a playdate with remembered, so that helped remind that it was indeed a special day...but when Cody walked in the door with Walmart sacks full of cake ingredients, I began to feel a bit special. And spending time with my favorite Texans (Cody and my boys) at Texas Roadhouse, helped a bunch.
So now, Cody is baking Chocolate Sheath Cake in the kitchen, the boys are playing outside since it is still daylight at 7pm (WAHOO!) and I am writing you all a quick note to let you know how this birthday girl is coping on the 24th day in March.
Tomorrow will be a fun morning with my MOPS girls, and tomorrow evening will be Margaritas and Salsa with my neighbors. Overall, I am blessed beyond measure with family and friends. Thanks again!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Patience Found

I always called myself an impatient person. Clinging to the school of Instant Gratification, I was always striving to get what I wanted when I wanted it, and throwing a perfect little fit when things didn't go my way. I remember in school, always coming up with my grand idea for a project so quickly and executing it regardless of the kinks that could have been smoothed out with some thought and time. I laugh when I think about how impatient I was for Cody's proposal when we had been dating for two years and I was facing a three month study abroad program that would leave us thousands of miles apart. If only I could have breathed a deep breath and known that God's timing is perfect, a concept I truly didn't know back then. How God must have wanted to take me by the shoulders when he looked down on Cody on his knee in a Venetian gondola, and say, "Aren't you glad he waited??"
Fast forward to the waiting for job offers- mine and Cody's, tedious waiting for my belly to finally protrude with pregnancy, the pacing back and forth waiting for colic to leave my poor baby, waiting for new friends to confide in, and several hundreds of other times that I have waited.
Maybe it's maturity- or more likely, maturity in my walk with Christ- revealing that the waiting hasn't been such an irritating thorn in my side like it used to be. Just looking back on this past year, I have waited with a little more grace and peace, living during the wait, and not just pacing and striving the whole time. Right now, I find myself in the long wait of desiring to be published, and coming to dead ends, teasing doors that swing shut just as quickly as they were pushed open, and the gnawing thought that I am wasting a whole bunch of time. But, in the wait, I am slowly finding that the weight I used to put on the outcome is not as heavy, for my yolk is carried by greater shoulders, shoulders that I can put my head on and know that at least one wait will end in an outcome of ecstatic joy and reward. I write this, I guess, to keep me a little accountable, because I am not saying it's easy to wait, it's just nice to know there is a way to do it differently than I did before.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sex Ed 100.5

ref=sib_dp_pt.jpgDaddy read the first book in a series (this was for 4-6 yr olds), to the boys during family time. It was very sweet and brief about the different body parts and how babies come out of the mom's tummy. The whole reading session made me realize that this will be a long road but I am glad we are opening up the topic now that they are young. My seven year old's mouth dropped open and he looked at me as if waiting for me to reprimand him for saying the "word" for a girl's part (I will spare you the word) and my five year old was full of giggles (no surprise) thanks to the crude use of the terms learned from more versed friends.
I finally lost my straight face when he said remorsefully, "those poor babies have to come out of the bagina." It was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be! Oh there will be many, MANY conversations ahead, for sure! Hopefully by the time they are preteens we will be able to have open discussion about this topic like dental hygiene...doubtful! But at least we can say, that we have laid the first VERY rudimentary layer of a safe open family foundation!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Unlikely Outcome in Radiology

The dreaded MRI was last night. I really didn't know what to expect, but as everyone kept asking "are you claustrophobic?" I began to answer, "I could be." Being a slight hypochondriac, it's very easy to talk myself into phobias and symptoms of dreaded diseases. Really, I shouldn't read so much. Anyway, the MRI wasn't that bad. I was barely halfway in the tube, and could see the room if I shifted my eyes down a bit. The tech also gave me earphones and piped in my favorite Christian station, 101.9. The worse part was having to have my arm with the injured wrist directly above my head. My shoulder was killing me after the 25 minutes was over, and if I didn't know any better, I would have believed it may needed to be scanned too!
    I did leave that enclosure slightly enlightened though. As I said before, this past weekend's conference answered many prayers and convicted my heart for new directions...but this led me to a focus on God as my "magic 8 ball", giving him demands and anxiously waiting for him to work his magic. While I was lying in the MRI machine, the songs that played were all praise songs-- songs that were about HIM and His glory, not mine. What?? The songs didn't want to give me a word? They only focused on the God of the Universe? What's that about?? And as the song that came on that has been playing in my head these past months, "You Never Let Go", I realized that it is about Him and His all saving Grace. I could rush forward and say I am doing things because He "told" me, but it doesn't affect God's Sovereignty or Plan if I don't get to them in my timing. He will always be with me through the calms and through the storms, and I need to find my peace in just that, not in the outcome that I so frantically plow towards with anxiety.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Hearts At Home!


The three gals I rode 8 hrs with, shared a room with the two nights of the conference, and became sisters of the heart for sure! Please disregard my big Greek nose!
The whole group from PLC MOPS! We had so much fun!

Here's a link to some inspiring words we heard at the conference. All you Mommies will appreciate it!

Answered Prayers

Several prayers were answered abundantly this past weekend. I went to a Hearts at Home Conference with seven other women from my MOPS group. Although some prayers were boldly answered at the many life-giving sessions I attended, some were also answered just within our group.
First, I have been begging God for the right words to help mine and Cody's relationship with the boys remain open and safe-- especially when it comes to the tough issues that are so blatantly thrust into the eyes of children--sex. Caleb is seven and he has definitely shown a curiosity towards the images, words, and sexually oriented commercials that he accidently may come across. It has been a huge burden on me as a mother. I attended a session on our children's sexuality, and finally feel prepared, passionate, and anxious to sit down with each of the boys and talk about genders, how babies are made, and let Caleb know God's beautiful design for sex in Marriage. Oh my, but Oh yes, it is absolutely necessary to give them the foundation of Truth about sex, before they are bombarded with the shameful, dirty, perverted images of sex that they will most definitely be presented with in the near future. I know I was when I was young, and fortunately my parents had given me clear boundaries.
Other prayers were answered, some of which I am not ready to elaborate on, but something that I would like to shout off the rooftops is the awesome friendships I made...not just having fun, but being able to deeply discuss our hearts, laugh at and with each other, cry with each other (oh my, I would never call myself a "crier" until now). My cup overflows with this blessing, as I thrive off of this deep relationships. And the best part is each of those women's hearts for God resonated with mine and we were able to love each other with the Grace of Christ. We lived the verse, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15.  
I will post pictures soon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Neck of the Woods

The sun is streaming in, the snow is almost completely gone in the backyard, and the tinkling of the wind chimes fills the house. I am full of reminiscent joy from last Spring as I think about the perfect plan God had for us when we moved here- to live in this wonderful neighborhood with the excited energy of neighbors who want to socialize in our common green space after being cooped up all winter behind their walls! I haven't yet had 2010's first impromptu social gathering in the backyard, but the anticipation shines brighter as the light at the end of the dreary winter tunnel beams along the muddied lawn. Oh Spring! Our middle America experience has definitely given stronger importance to this transitional season, what with the snow disappearing and the hearts of all around gripped in social cheerfulness. Cody and I certainly are social beings to the core, and although God's plan is much more extensive than filling our social calendars, we are certainly blessed beyond measure in our "neck of the woods".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Seasons

   The fog is thick. I could only see my turn off from the highway right when I was up on it. But that is fine by me. Better than snow! We can see almost all of our grass in the backyard right now. It's funny how quickly two feet of snow can melt away. I am not complaining in the least though! Thank you, LORD that Spring is actually in existence! I was beginning to wonder if the snow would ever melt. I know that we weren't finished with the snow until mid-April last year, but to have a little bit of green to rest our eyes on for a couple weeks is enough to brighten any foggy day! 
   A new season is upon us in more ways than one. I am having my first coffee date with a friend that has nothing to do with a playdate for our kids. Actually, our kids aren't even here because her son is in my second grader's class. My three year old is at preschool, and my five year old is upstairs watching Noggin. Can't believe my schedule is actually opening up a bit to have social time in the morning! It's funny how quickly life happens. It seems like only yesterday I was nursing one child while screwing the lid on a sippy cup and talking with a friend on the phone, all at the same time. Now, the house is tidy, quiet, and smells of cinnamon crumb cake. I will enjoy the beginning of Spring and the beginning of a new mommy season today, but I know I will be ready for boisterous, playful, energetic noise soon enough! Ah, the grass is always greener, huh?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Keeping It Real.

So, I enjoyed blogging so much on the "family" blog, that I decided to use this blog as a journal of sorts. Mainly because some of my relatives didn't quite understand my ramblings about life but would love to see updates and pics of the kiddos- which the other blog was started for that reason anyway. So this is my fun little corner to write, elaborate, think, and create! Hope you enjoy!