Dear Kara, Here Goes Nothing

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So if you haven’t heard of her already, Kara Tippets from her Mundane Faithfulness blog, is an incredible woman going through incredible hard. And I’ll be honest, most of the time I don’t read it. Because I’m too fearful. Too scared that her story could be my story one day. But that is not how we are called to live. That is living in fear. And we are meant to go out and live each day that God has given us and live it well. And I think that is something Kara would want us to take away from her story. To love our people well and live in Grace.

So here I am, scared of cancer and being given an opportunity to live in Grace in a new and unique way. As many of you know, I am a nurse and my hubby and I have recently moved to California. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but California is expensive. Really, really expensive. So I needed a job.

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Well, God has a funny way of working things His way, and not ours. When I was in nursing school, I didn’t really know specifically what areas I DID want to work in, but I did know the areas I DIDN’T want to work in. Geriatrics and Pediatrics. My first nursing job right out of school was working Inpatient Rehab. And I worked with mostly geriatric patients. I gained a whole new appreciation for the geriatric population, and learned how to love them better. And here I am, having recently accepted a job in pediatrics.

But what does Kara’s story have to do with all of this, you ask? The job I have accepted is in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. And I’m terrified of it. (Shh, don’t tell my new managers!) But there have been several things and people that have really encouraged me about taking this job and I want to share them with you.

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First of all, I found out about this job and basically got it, because of a friend I have met at our new church. She is a great woman and has such a sweet family. We have really enjoyed getting to know them. Well, this friend had an interesting point. I had mentioned that I would be willing to work in a pediatric ICU or work Medsurge, or the Recovery room; pretty much anything but Hem/Onc. Her response has kind of stuck with me. She said that when working Hem/Onc, it isn’t anybody’s fault. In the ER, a kid will come in that got into their parent’s drug stash, or an abusive victim, etc. But on this unit, no one is to blame. And then I noticed her passion for her job, and how much she loves getting to work in this field. That says a lot, if you ask me.

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I also spoke with my Aunt Mary Ann, who I talked about in this post, and she had a great perspective as well. She told me that regardless of whether I am working there or not, these kids are going through this. Those kids have cancer. Or a blood disorder, like Sickle Cell Anemia. Hard, heavy stuff. And they are going to be dealing with that story. So I have an opportunity to be a part of their story and to have a huge impact on their lives. And on the lives of their families. Because, as Kara knows, it isn’t just her story. It is her kids story too, and her husband’s story, and her friends’ stories. So I can either sit idly by, and feel sorry for them at a distance, or I can be a part of their story in a very real way. And I can love on them in a unique way that not many other people will have an opportunity of doing.

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I have also talked with my cousin Sarah about all of this. Because I know that working with these kids will be hard. But that’s okay. And Sarah knows about this hard. Her dear friend Shannon passed away this past year after a long fight with cancer. Here is a little bit about her story. So Sarah has much to say about nurses on a cancer unit. About being able to listen. And just be present. About how if you don’t know what to say, to just ask. Because we don’t always know what is to say, or the right thing to say. But we can ask. And when we ask, we love that person in our sincerity. I can love the kids, and the families, and the friends that surround them in their journey. And I can love them well and without fear, because I know that God has brought me to this place, and to this job for a reason.

I think I have a lot to learn about cancer. And a lot to learn about my faith in the Creator. The Loving God. And that He holds our story in His hands, and isn’t about to drop us, or let go, or forget about our story.

And in the midst of all of this, I am going to live. Not in fear of cancer, or sickness. But fully. Loving my little girl that I have been blessed with. Loving my man. Going on hikes, and adventures, and camping (!!) with those I cherish. Fearlessly loving those around me. Because that is what I have really been called to.

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How are you living and loving big today?

Moving gives you insight…

About how crazy you are. 

(This post was written right after Easter. I have no idea why I haven’t put it up yet, but I still wanted to share these thoughts with you.)

IMG_2533 Food intolerances. They change your life. They change the way you always ate and thought about food. They make you paranoid. I was the mom putting gummy bears and apple juice in her kid’s Easter basket, and just one thing of chocolate (peanut butter cups from WholeFoods). And when you move to a new place, it just gets worse.

I annoy my husband fairly frequently about food allergies. Especially when I do things like try to find out about gluten-free options at a food truck. It was laughable really… But after spending my entire life as far back as I can remember being sick all the time, and finally starting to actually feel better (not to mention Eden’s story) excuse me if I’m a bit paranoid.

How we eat breakfast when we have no furniture yet...

How we eat breakfast when we have no furniture yet…

In Colorado though, it had become normal. All of our friends knew about our issues, and while I did talk about it far more than necessary, they all understood. They lovingly protected my daughter, making sure their kids didn’t share their snacks, or checking that she had the right sippy cup. We were shown such love in such an unlooked for place through the community we were surrounded by. Our friends went out of their way to cook things we could eat, and make treats just for us. And I cannot possibly explain to all of you how much that has meant to me over the past year and a half, as we have learned about the food intolerances Eden and I have. We knew what restaurants to go to, and what to order, without having to ask and check ingredients or ask for allergy pamphlets. No, we aren’t going to die if we eat the wrong thing (I feel truly blessed that we don’t suffer from anaphylactic reactions!) but it definitely won’t be pleasant, and I would really like to just avoid that all together.

Not to mention the fact that some things we are still trying to figure out. Just how bad is my intolerance to gluten? Milk? Will Eden ever grow out of this? There is still a lot of learning we have to do concerning all of this. But it had at least become normal. And then, obviously, we moved. Just to help me realize exactly how crazy I can be about all of this. I already felt like I was a bit of a drama queen about food insensitivities, talking about it all of the time. And frequently apologizing because I was afraid I was coming on too strong about it, all of the time…

Ha! I didn’t really grasp the fact that we were going to have to start at square one once we moved. Now we are finding new restaurants and people we have just met are graciously inviting us into their homes for an Easter get-together and dinner (!!!) and this is what I am obligated to bring up very early on. Every time. I mean, my gracious, I was just in line with a lady chatting as we ordered our breakfast from this adorable little diner, and it came up. She asked such a simple question, if we had tried their cookies yet (which were out as samples). And then she heard probably more than she bargained for about having a kid with milk allergies. But then we swapped information and last week we went to a local farmers market to visit with her family and some of their friends.

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So in this weird way, it is definitely opening our lives up to others, and we are once again being shown love in unlooked for places. As I mentioned, we were invited to an Easter celebration at someone’s house after visiting a church for the first time here. And we were so welcomed and so well loved. But since there was food being served, I had to perform my typical paranoid ingredient checking to find out if there was anything for Eden to eat (I had brought back up snacks, just in case). And they had an Easter egg hunt for the kids, which was so fun! Eden was adorable :) and she had her own special eggs haha!

But this is a very humbling realization. Because relationships are so frequently built around a meal. You open up your home to show people love and to welcome them to a new community. You feed them a meal to show that you care when they are sick, have a new baby, or have lost a loved one. This is so often how cultures across the world and throughout history have shown others love. Through food. And I have felt more loved by people caring enough for our family to help us through this and just listen to our story. Just last night we had dinner with a couple that we met at church on Sunday. They were so sweet and so welcoming! But when she invited us to dinner the other night, I explained to her our food issues, and asked if it would be easier to do something different, maybe just coffee. Instead, she told me about a recipe she just made last week for a gluten free family and said asked if we could bring a salad :)

Outfit she picked out to wear, including the shoes. I added the bow :)

 

Okay, I know I’m rambling a little bit here, so I’ll wrap this up. I just want to tell all of you thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for how you have loved our family. I never in a million years would have pictured me being this crazy mom, but here I am. And for making us dinner. Or for simply listening to me whine. This certainly hasn’t been the easiest thing but you have made it a little easier. If you know someone who has food allergies in their family, don’t be afraid to try to love them in this way. Invite them over for dinner, and welcome them into your home. Even just the invitation will be welcome. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their story, you will only get to know them a little better!

Potty Training: I think she’s ready?!

So after having two women who I greatly respect as caregivers (one of our nursery workers who has known Eden for months, and one from BCB) told me that they think my tiny tot is ready to potty train, I really started wondering. But I knew kids regress with big changes (i.e. moves…) so didn’t want to start and then just backslide immediately. But now we are here. Moved.

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And I’m wondering even more.

As far as I can tell (and let’s face it, it’s really mostly guess work) she seems pretty ready. She holds it for hours at a time, and then we have a flood. She loves throwing the diaper away after getting changed. And she explains to me in no uncertain terms when she is poopy and must be changed right this instant!

So, yeah…

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This morning I ordered some of Allen’s naturally laundry detergent from BCB which is what I use on our cloth diapers. Best Bottom diapers have training pants that actually incorporate the small inserts we already own. Score. So I bought just one pair of training pants, to see if she is interested in that. Now we just need a potty. She definitely doesn’t seem very keen to hang over the big potty pants-less, but I wouldn’t be either so I can’t really blame her there. She definitely likes playing in the toilet, which up until now I have been discouraging (but maybe shouldn’t be??) And has even started picking out what she wants to wear in the mornings which is super adorable, in case you were wondering…

Outfit she picked out to wear, including the shoes. I added the bow :)

Outfit she picked out to wear, including the shoes. I added the bow :)

I think a trip to Ikea is in order for one of their $5 potties. And since the closest one is only 20-30 min away, I think I’ll make that trip tomorrow! Get my big (tiny) girl a potty! Any potty training tips? Being a nurse, and mostly a rehab nurse at that, I’ve potty trained quite a few adults. I feel like this should be a similar process…

What is your favorite potty for your little ones? Any favorite training pant? How about best potty training tips? And go.

My crazy monkey

My crazy monkey

Please Excuse the Hiatus, Blame the Moving!

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Well, we did it! We moved to California! And in the craziest way possible… We tend to like to do moves as quickly and cheaply as possible. And when I say quick, I mean Jd accepted the job on a Friday, and we had movers come the following Friday!!! Not only that, but we moved out here without a place to live, and parked the moving van in the hotel parking lot while we found an apartment. But that’s how we do it, yo.

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Three days after arriving, we had ourselves an apartment. And let me tell you, its pretty great… It’s a third floor walk-up, but we actually volunteered to live on the third floor. We thought about it a lot and realized that one of the main complaints about apartment living is the noisy upstairs neighbors. So we decided to mitigate this by actually being the noisy upstairs neighbors. It has a great layout too, nice and open. And coming in at 1052 sqft of space, we are actually living pretty large! We definitely downsized from the house we had in Colorado, but it was refreshing to get rid of all of that stuff!

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(How we eat breakfast on move-in day!)

We gave away multiple carloads of random stuff before we ever left Colorado, and even got rid of a decent amount of furniture, namely our couch (which was huge and would have dominated any apartment livingroom). That’s how to do a move for sure, purge purge purge. And we still have some stuff to get rid of here… Most of what we gave up in moving to a smaller space is storage, so I’m having to get pretty creative with where everything is going. I didn’t want to move across the country to an “itty bitty living space” (bonus points if you can name that movie!) just to fill our new apartment with loads of stuff and be cluttered from day one!

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One of the saddest things we had to get rid of was Jd’s charcoal grill. I gave it to him for a wedding/Christmas gift right after we got married, but CA doesn’t allow charcoal grills at apartment complexes. So that got tossed on move-in day. :(

After moving in (with the help of movers) the first order of business was couch shopping! And I love what we came home with. I had done lots of prior research knowing that we would be getting rid of our couch and saw lots of great reviews of the Ikea Karlstad couch. My favorite bloggers over at YHL brought home “Karl” a few years ago, and it has held up quite nicely to a munchkin and a chihuahua so we thought we would give it a try.

that just might be amazing… Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share all the details!

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After some debate, we decided to go with the Karlstad in Isunda Gray. It is a very light gray color, that almost looks like a pale denim. But it looks fantastic in our new place! I love how light it feels instead of being dark and heavy. Now to decorate the rest of the room… I have visions of a large navy all-natural fiber rug with some type of geometric pattern. And for the curtains, I have an idea that would be super awesome…. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share all of the details! Your clue is: stencils.

Thumbelina, My New Sewing Machine!

I did it! As I told you here, I have been wanting to learn how to sew. So my sister helped me out by finding a 10 year old Brother sewing machine on craigslist, and I got it for a whopping $40!! I was pretty thrilled to get sewing and started pretty much as soon as I bought it.

My friend Nancy turned me onto this Youtube tutorial about making pinwheels. It seemed pretty straightforward and only involved straight stiches. So I cut myself some fabric squares to make into pinwheels. The cuts were pretty terrible since I was only using an exacto knife and scissors and didn’t have a ruler. But it gave me an idea for how to make a basic pinwheel, and here is my result! Not bad for a first ever try!

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So last weekend I decided to try a couple more projects. I hear that one of the easiest beginner projects is pillow covers, so I thought I would make a few for our bed. I used this tutorial to make two different pillow covers. I got the fabric on sale at Joann’s for $10/yard and I only needed 1/2 yard per pillow cover (not even that much, really). I planned on making them both with the front made out of my nice fabric but the back made out of a cheaper cotton that I paid $5/yard (I bought a whole yard). I already had some pillows at home that I wanted to use as inserts, so I just had to use their measurements. One was 18×18″ and the other 12×18″. When I looked at my pillows, I decided to make one with a pillow front and the other as a wrap-around cover.

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What do you think?? I’m pretty proud!!

My total for the pillow project was $18 and that included 1/2 yard each of two quality home decorative fabrics, one yard of grey cotton, and some quality thread for my sewing machine.

Next up, making a quilt!

How I Became a Granola Mama: Discovering Food Allergies

So I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t written this post yet. If you have talked with me for just five minutes (sometimes less, ha!) you are probably aware that our daughter Eden has a milk allergy. It’s something that I have become very passionate about and sometimes a bit vigilante about, because its such a big part of our lives now. So I thought I would share a bit with you about the journey that has brought us here. Fair warning, it is impossible for this to not be a bit long winded or talk about baby poo.

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To help you with a little bit of background, I’ll tell you a little about myself first. When I was a baby, I had three sets of ear tubes for ear infections (dairy allergies can cause an increase in fluid/mucous buildup). When I was little they tried to diagnose me as lactose intolerant, but it didn’t help. Growing up, they said it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I just had to deal with all of the GI issues. I also had iron-deficiency anemia. And then I got pregnant. I was one of those pregnant women that, instead of glowing, hated being pregnant because I was always miserable. I was nauseous pretty much the entire nine months. I ended up getting a prescription of Zofran. This quickly became my best friend. If I didn’t take it before I went to work in the morning, I would throw up once I got there.

So I ate dairy. Lots of dairy. They say that milk is supposed to help settle your stomach, right? Well, I tested that theory for sure. Milk, cheese, ice cream, mashed potatoes, milk shakes, and more cheese. It was just about the only thing I was interested in eating. And I was so incredibly sick…

Enter Eden.

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My tiny little baby was born just as beautiful as she could be. For the first few checkups I would take her to the doctor, take off her diaper for the naked weight and ask if her poos were normal. They just didn’t seem right, but I was a first time mom and they kept telling me it was fine. (Looking back, I now realize they were filled with mucous.) Then she started having reflux symptoms. She was always fussy, would only sleep on my chest or in her swing (never flat), crying after eating and a big time spit up baby. Then everything got worse. She started projectile vomiting. And then I started noticing black flecks in her poo. As a exclusively breast fed baby, her poo should be seedy yellow-green. No black flecks. I realized that was actually blood. My baby was having upper GI bleeds. She also got horrible diaper rash… So bad her skin would break open and not want to heal for weeks.

So I started doing research. What could cause all of these symptoms? I took her to the doctor after the worst vomiting episode, and she was put on Zantac for her reflux symptoms. So now she was starting to get better with the fussy, and the vomiting, but the weird poo and black flecks were still there. I started talking to friends and started wondering about a milk allergy. Not lactose intolerant, that is a bit different.

Milk is broken down into a sugar (lactose) and two proteins (casein and whey). And my kid is allergic to the proteins. Maybe lactose also, I’m not entirely sure… But the only way to actually figure this out is to cut it out of your diet. 100%. For a minimum of three weeks. Well, in December of 2012 I started cutting out dairy, but only the obvious stuff. I was still eating butter cooked into stuff and little things like that. But Eden wasn’t getting better. So I went completely dairy free in January. No cheating. No hidden butter or cream. Nothing. Three weeks later, my little girl started getting better. Her reflux symptoms decreased (they were still there and she was on medicine for it until she was about 7 months old), her poos stopped having mucous and blood in them, and her diaper rash was finally clearing up. I was thrilled!! Now don’t get me wrong, breast feeding and being dairy free is no walk in the park. It is truly a challenge…

Once she started eating solid foods, things got a bit more complicated. Now I was having to police my diet as well as hers (if you are nursing and your baby has an allergy, you can’t have *any* dairy, and Eden is especially intolerant). Every now and then, I would mess up and Eden would get sick again. Yucky diapers, horrible diaper rash. It was not a fun cycle. Not only that, but Eden’s reactions last a minimum of seven days. They could be up to three weeks long.

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I finally gave up breast feeding. It was just too much to worry about my diet making my baby so sick for so long. I stopped breastfeeding her when she turned one so that we could avoid putting her on specialty dairy-free formula (which is very expensive) and she finally got completely better! No more mommy mess-ups! No more diaper rash and yucky reactions! Oh happy day! It was the best decision. My little girl was finally healthy and not getting reaction cycles. But I wasn’t actually feeling better. While JD said that he had so much more energy, felt years younger and had lost 20lb, I still wasn’t feeling awesome GI-wise. And I started wondering if maybe I had another food intolerance. All of the signs were there. I was anemic again. My stomach bothered me a lot. Maybe I was missing something…

Well the next most common food intolerance is gluten. JD decided he wanted to go gluten-light (he doesn’t do 100% diets) which would make my gluten elimination a lot easier. So this past January we went gluten-free. And I can finally say that for the first time in 25 years, I am starting to feel better. Saturday night we did a gluten challenge. I’ll explain that a little bit later in an elimination diet post. And the result? Yep, I’m gluten intolerant. But I feel better!!! It has been a crazy journey up to this point, but JD and I feel loads healthier. We both have more energy, JD has lost 30lb in one year and is the healthiest he has been in years. Now that I am gluten-free, I am not having GI issues all the time and feel like a normal person. I’m taking iron supplements and hope to have my iron stores back to normal soon. And Eden hasn’t had a diaper rash in months.

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If all of this sounds familiar to you, you or someone in your family could be dealing with food allergies. I will have a post (hopefully soon) talking about symptom, elimination diets and resources. As well as discussing what it is that we actually eat now. Trust me, it’s a lot easier than you think it is! Also, feel free to contact me if you want to know more. Like I said, it’s something that I am very passionate about, and I know I’m not the only one that has dealt with this!

Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear Aunt Mary Ann

The incredible Kara Tippets, from Mundane Faithfulness, is hosting her weekly Tuesday Grace Letters. This week our assignment is to write a letter to someone who has made a difference in our story. Someone who has changed our tomorrows, loved us well and taught us about life. I am very blessed to be able to say that I have many of these people in my life. I have said this before, and I’m quite sure it won’t be the last time. I have been given several “mommies” in my life. In each season of my life, God has provided someone to be there for me and to be my “mommy”. This has meant more to me than I can ever say. Ladies, thank you. I sincerely hope you know who you are. But there is one very special and dear lady that stands out.

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My dearest Aunt Mary Ann,

Over the past several years, you have taught me so much. You have loved me so very well. I cannot possibly begin to say how much it has meant to me. You have given me the gift of a godly example for motherhood. Entering into motherhood is a challenge under any normal circumstance. It is just hard. And in the midst of that hard, you have supported me, challenged me, and shown me how to give grace to myself and my family.

When I was a senior in college, we had a professor talk to us about our futures and where our lives were heading. She told us about this nurse she had admired when she was younger and that woman directed the path she decided to take in life. She then instructed us to think of someone we admired, who inspired us. Someone we wanted to aspire to be like.

My first thought was you, Aunt Mary Ann. I didn’t think of a nurse, professor, professional, athlete, doctor or any other “inspiring” professional. I thought of you. Married young (like me), nurse (like me), and mother of seven. Seven!!! You gave up your nursing careeer early in life to be a mother to your children and wife to your husband. To be one of the most loving and selfless women and mothers I have ever met. This is what I wanted for my life. I was a senior, supposed to be focused on my amazing nursing career I would have, the 20 years in the workforce taking care of others and being a nurse for the rest of my life.

And all I could think of was you. The way you cared for your family. The mother you are. The way you love your husband well. The godly woman you are. The example of stability you provide. And that is what I want for myself. For my husband. For my children. To be able to love my children as you have. To be able to learn more from you in the years to come. To call you and cry to you when I’m hurting and don’t know where God is taking our lives. And to hear once again how God is providing for my family, how much He loves us, and that I can do this.

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You have supported me and loved me well through so much hard. Motherhood has made me face some of my deepest insecurites. I think that is the real challenge of motherhood. It’s not the sleepless nights, or the crying babies. It’s not the time management (or lack thereof) or the cooking and cleaning. It’s not the diapers and the laundry. It’s facing the insecurities you thought were locked deep inside but have suddenly come to light.

One of my deepest insecurities was wrapped up in the name “mama”. As you know, my relationship with my own mom is pretty broken right now. I truly pray that God will one day restore this, but for now it is broken. And for a long time the words “mom”, “mama” and especiallly “mother” put a bad taste in my mouth.

For Christmas right after Eden was born (she was only two months old) my sweet sister-in-law gave Eden and I beautiful, matching engraved jewelry boxes. Hers was inscribed with “Eden” on the top, and mine “mamma”. And I didn’t like mine. (Whitney, if you are reading this, don’t stop yet!!) This is hard, even now, to write and admit. But I didn’t like that mine said “mamma”. Because I had this bad taste in my mouth. Aunt Mary Ann, I remember crying to you at some point about how I just couldn’t handle being called “mama”. I liked “mommy” because it was endearing and sweet. But not “mama”. It is a remarkably difficult thing to be faced with something like this. Babies can’t pronounce “mommy” very early. They start with “mama” because it is easier to say. And I cried about that very idea and not wanting my precious baby to call me that.

And then a few things happened over a little bit of time. I heard your girls, my cousins, just calling you “mama”. It wasn’t negative or anything like that. It just was. And then I heard my hubby calling his mom “mother” (in my mind, the worst). But it wasn’t bad or insulting. He said it endearingly. And this helped to soften my heart. Soften me towards my own mom as well as myself. The first time I heard Eden utter the word “mama” I was elated! I now love to hear her call to “mama”!! And the jewelry box makes me smile at what a sweet gift it is. I love being Mama. What a relief! What a gift of grace and love!

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Mary Ann, you have also taught me how to show myself grace and my family love in my home. The whole reason I started this blog was to journal my misadventures in mommyhood. To share my struggle with cleaning and maintaining a home with others. And you have held my hand, hugged me, and cried with me as I have struggled with this. Just the other day I found myself asking you how you fold laundry! Haha, such a basic skill in life but I need pointers! And you graciously invited me to your home for a laundry lesson. (Seriously, let’s schedule that…)

You have helped me to understand how to better take care of and love Jd. How to pray for him and support him. How to be a godly wife and mother. How to raise my children to think and focus on Christ. How to keep my focus on God when I’m stressed about the dishes in the sink and the pile(s) of laundry on my floor. And you have taught me that I honor God by loving my family well. By providing them with a stable and (relatively) organized home. You have shown me what it means to even have stability in a home. That isn’t something I ever really understood, and never would have understood without my mommies.

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So thank you. Thank you for loving me so well. For loving my family so well. For teaching me what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. For teaching me how to shepherd my family. For teaching me to respect and love my husband well. For showing me grace and teaching me how to give myself grace when I fall flat on my face.

I love you more than I can ever say. I thank God for the relationship we have built. And I can’t wait for my laundry lesson!

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Mundane Faithfulness

So ya’ want to sew?

Okay, so those of you who follow me on Facebook may have noticed my recent desire to learn how to sew. I even signed up for a free Craftsy online sewing class! There’s just one problem.

I don’t own a sewing machine…

Well, my very helpful and thrifty seester went on Craigslist for me today and found a basic 10 stitch Brother sewing machine! And it looks perfect. And, even better, within my price range! In fact, I’m “sew” excited about it, that I’m already writing this post (see what I did there?!) And I have no idea if I will even end up with it, haha!

But before I get too ahead of myself, I’m wondering what have been some of your favorite basic sewing projects? (Psst, this is where reader participation comes in!) So, I’m calling all seamstresses! You know who you are! What is your favorite basic sewing project? And just for fun, what is your most impressive to date? I would love for you to send in pictures!

Any favorite inspiration websites or bloggers? My favorite Sherry from YHL made her daughter a fun looking quilt! How fun does that look?! Maybe I should make Eden a quilt… If we weren’t moving soon, I would consider curtains… Maybe some placemats, or a table runner?

What is your favorite beginner machine? What did you start on? Was it your grandmothers vintage Singer? Or a new basic Brother? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not I actually score a sewing machine, and if I do, the projects I embark on.

Be honest, did you name your sewing machine? I need to come up with a good one…

Dear Future Christy

So to preface this post, I want to say that I am joining Kara Tippets from Mundane Faithfulness in her Tuesday Grace Letters link party. (And if you don’t already read her blog, you need to start. We all have so much to learn from her story and her heart for God.) Her first assignment for us is to write a letter of grace to ourselves 10 years from now. So if you couldn’t tell already, this is definitely going to be a more serious post. Thinking about writing this post, I have mostly questions. I’m not entirely sure where to begin, but here goes…

Dear Future Christy,

So where are we now anyways? I think that is the biggest question I have for you (me?). I can’t even begin to imagine where God has taken us in 10 years time. This is where I am now:

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Toddler tantrums and blackberry covered faces.

So where are we now? Where do we live? Do I have more kids? I sure hope so… I love this little booger, but man can she drive me nuts. Everyone seems to say that the hardest years are now. And in this moment, they are hard. This life can be so overwhelming, and yet wonderful. I wouldn’t skip this for anything.

But have I learned to give myself grace yet? Grace to be a mom and a wife without fear? If I’m honest, right now I don’t do that well. I fear failure. Failure as a mom, and especially as a wife. I have seen so many marriages fail. Fail because they “fell out of love”. And I fear this. I fear not keeping the marriage our priority, and God our first focus. Jd and I have said for a long time that if you focus on God first, and your marriage second, the kids will naturally be blessed by a trickle-down philosophy. I hope that that has remained true.

I think that is what I want most for you, future me. That you don’t let the sports and the school and the day-to-day-mundane bog you down and forget to keep your focus on Christ. I hope that the day-to-day hasn’t over-run your marriage and romance. Do you still remember these times?

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When all we cared about was being able to sit down at our wedding, by ourselves, to grab a quick bite to eat before mingling? And a little ways down the road life got a bit more complicated. Graduating and moving across the country with nowhere to live and not a lot of money. But God provided for us.

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That is one thing I am still trying to learn. How much God cares for our little family and provides for us at every turn. Right now, that is hard to remember. We are in the midst of so much uncertainty today. In two weeks, we don’t know where we will be living, or where the money will come from to feed our family. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic with that statement, but that is definitely all I can see and that’s only looking two weeks in the future. Do you see why I can’t imagine where I am 10 YEARS from now?? I can’t imagine two weeks. One month. I have no idea where God is taking us.

But I need to rest. Rest in Him. And remember most importantly that HE is in control.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying ‘What will we eat’ or ‘What will we drink’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows, that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“ - Matthew 6: 25-34 (emphasis mine)

I know that God is trying to teach me this right now. To rest in Him. I pray this lesson is not forgotten, it has been hard learned.

What about this?

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When we met our daughter? And Jd held Eden for the first time? God blessed us with this precious daughter to love. She would be 11 years old now! That is so crazy to think about. I hope and pray that she loves God. I have prayed for her since before she was born that she would understand the love that God has for her. I hope she knows that. I hope all of my children know that. The children I have not met yet; but you, future me, you have. You have seen their faces and watched them grow.

Is it sad that pregnancy still scares me? The fear of loss. Once again, not resting in Him. Not resting in He who’s “eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Ps. 139:16) I hope God has blessed you with more children. And what of adoption? Adoption has been such an amazing part of my life, and I dream of one day adopting a little child who needs a forever home. Has that happened yet? Or maybe you are in the midst of an adoption journey?

See? All these questions. I have so many questions, future me.

But I hope you have found grace. I hope you give yourself grace daily. Grace to live in freedom and without doubts and fears. That you are resting in the Lord and in His love for you. I hope you are seeking to understand “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” – 2 Cor. 12:9

 

P.S. Have you figured out a laundry system that works yet? If not, well this letter is supposed to be about grace, right? But maybe find someone who can help you out with that one…

P.P.S. Did the beach house ever happen? Does Jd own a company? Or should I be asking how many companies?

P.P.P.S. Do you have an annual Masquerade Ball? If not, you should revisit that idea, its solid.

 

Mundane Faithfulness

Operatastic Mommy Break

This weekend the Opera Theatre of the Rockies performed the French opera, “Lakme”, and my friend Karin, was one of the singers. I have been wanting to go see her perform for a while now, and this seemed like a great opportunity!

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It’s been so long since I have been able to add anything to my Playbill binder!!! Yes, I have a Playbill binder. Isn’t it great?!

My hubby was nice enough yesterday to, instead of coming with me to the opera, and yawning the whole time, stay home to watch Eden. Opera really isn’t his thing… but it was right up my alley, and I was wanting a mommy break.

So yesterday afternoon, I went solo to the Opera. This was actually my first opera, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that subtitles have become pretty standard at the performances (which helps tremendously, seeing as the entire performance is sung… in French.) Also, it is rather helpful to read the synopsis before the production to understand what is actually happening.

The singing was fantastic! The lead soprano, Brittany, had an incredible voice. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance of the famous aria, “The Bell Song” as well as the “Flower duet”.

And for being my first opera, it was really fun! Again, the subtitles (well, supertitles; they were projected onto a dropdown screen) helped a lot. The music was wonderful, the orchestra fantastic, and of course Karin was pretty amazing! Karin had a very fun role in this opera, and she was fantastic! It was really neat to get to see a friend perform something like this, and she has an incredible singing voice. I truly enjoyed getting to see her.

And one of the truly fun parts of the production was the dancers from the Natyasangam Dance Academy. It is a dance academy that teaches traditional Indian dances. They did an amazing job bringing the authentic dancing and attire to life.

IMG_2818Doesn’t everyone wear fancy hats to the Opera? Oh, no, apparently not. We should definitely bring that back! Who doesn’t love an excuse to look fancy and wear a great hat?!

All in all, it was a great time away from the baby, and a fun cultural experience. Have you been to any plays or operas lately? What is your favorite? I wonder what I will go see next. the Opera Theatre of the Rockies is performing “The King and I” in July. How fun would that be??