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Learn The Language

Rosie and I have really had a battle of it learning to speak each other’s language…which is funny considering my mom says her disposition/personality is exactly like mine at this age. I don’t remember the learning curve being so steep in this way with Nettles (I was totally lost is so many other areas 🤣), but Nettles personality pulls from her daddy’s side more, and therefore is naturally more laid back than I (and Rosie it seems) am inclined to be. There have been times during her short time here on earth thus far, amidst an extensive bout of screaming and crying (as babies do) that I’ve turned to Luke and asked: why does she hate me? Here is a Wisdom Wednesday Newsflash: She doesn’t! All relationships, including mom/dad and newborn ones take a tremendous amount of investment and work. You are literally learning and creating a new language with your little one from scratch! We are finally starting to understand each other consistently, and let me tell you, moments like this are worth every second of work. Speaking a language all our own 😍

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What Does it Mean to be a Stay-At-Home Mom?

Working. We live in a world where a lot of Mom’s work.
I love being at home. I don’t know how women who work outside of the home when they have babies of their own do it.

I consider myself a Stay-at-Home Mom, but being a SAHM I think looks different to different people.

For me, being at home means that the bulk of my time is spent at home with my baby, but in my opinion, a SAHM isn’t limited to just being in her home.

When we look at the Proverbs 31 woman, what do we find?
We find a woman who is not only active in keeping and improving her home, she also actively participates in improving their situation. She pursues growing her sphere in every way, including doing what she can to benefit her family’s financial situation. She is an asset to her family.

The beauty of the world we live in, is that this can look like so many different things. There is no one cookie cutter way to be an asset. Every person, family unit, and situation is dynamically different, and so the solutions to those problems will be different too. I am so thankful for the world we live in that allows for so many unique opportunities for this. For some this may look like working in a traditional sense outside of the home on a part-time basis, others might work from the home as a remote professional, or marketing their specific skills (crafting, marketing, or even furniture refurbishment and repair to think of a few!), and even bulk/sale shopping or couponing. All of these options (and so many more, as there are too many to list!) benefit a family and their situation, but they are completely different.

I was recently told that a “real” stay at home mom did not contribute in any way to the financial aspect of a family situation.

I call bull! As a SAHM, my home and my family are prioritized over a career. If/when we fall on hard times, and I pick up some contract work on the side from my computer or babysit a couple of nights a week (or more!) that doesn’t strip me of my title. To take this a step further, if you are a Mom who has to work full-time outside of your home, you are no less a Mom!

In fact, let’s ditch the titles altogether. Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom or anything else you can come up with… just forget it. You are Mom. You have babies that you love and care for. Live out a Biblical example for those babies (no matter their actual age), and show them what the Proverbs 31 Woman looks like in our day. In your family. Lead by example the grace, humility and selflessness you want them to live out as they grow. Be an asset, not a hinderance or liability to your family because you want to fit some preconceived mold.

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Reflecting on Humble Pie

I’ve alluded to the fact that 2016 was a difficult year for me (and by extension my husband).
There was a lot of change, and even more revelation…
Much of the stress of last year came from the surprise of expecting our baby, but it wasn’t the only cause or factor.

Particular situations are not my story to tell, but while sparing some details, I can certainly share how God has used them to scrape away and renew my faith and way of thinking.

If you asked people who knew me before last year, especially during my high school(ish) years, I think they would probably describe me as self-righteous and harsh (and maybe enthusiastic). They might add well-intentioned, but I’m honestly not so sure about that.

Through God’s leading and the growth coming from our marriage, my heart was being worked in about some things starting around January last year. I wasn’t prepared to deal with these little pricks of conscience I was beginning to experience, but as we all know: God insists upon being heard.

My stubbornness to cling to my old patterns of thinking on *everything* was causing a strain. Luke had always been patient, but the emotional rifts it was causing between me and other people was wearing him thin. He was exhausted from always bearing the brunt of my frustrations and corrections, which were most often aimed at anyone BUT him.

God used some very rough goings-on in 2016 to finally get through to me. I was finally forced to face the question: Was I holding these opinions because they were true and based on my understanding of Biblical principles, or because it was what I had always been taught or thought?

I am ashamed to say that I came to the conclusion that not only was it just because it was what I had always been ‘taught’, but also due to an internal fear of dealing with others reactions or displeasure if I were to change my way of thinking.

After last year, that fear of others opinions that I held over my own head is gone. I am so incredibly thankful that God has removed that shadow from over me, as the freedom that I have felt in Christ has been incredible.
I know I still have a long way to go, as old habits die very… very. Hard.
However, I feel like I already understand God’s grace and mercy better than ever in my life before, because I have a better understanding of what His true forgiveness is.

Luke and I are in love with our church. I am ashamed to say that before allowing God to work in my heart in a particular area, it was one that I railed against wholeheartedly.
I am ashamed of the attitude and opinions I held of it this time 2 years ago. Much to Luke’s credit, he handled me with grace, always being an example of Christ even when I was failing to be one myself. The fact that we are there now, is a visible testament to the work God has chosen to do in my life.

The first Sunday we attended our church body was after we came to the conclusion that where were attending would not be the best location to raise the baby we knew was coming.
We decided that since Luke’s family attended there, we would go one Sunday. Just one, so we(I) could confirm that it was all wrong in every way.
Imagine my surprise when after the service was over and we were on our way home, we turned to each other in the car and said “I loved it.”
It was one of the first times Luke physically saw the change God had been working in me… and I think it almost brought him to tears.

I was worried about how some people would feel about my being there… having known them during younger years, I was worried about having left a bad taste in their mouths.
I am so blessed and thankful by the welcome they gave to us as we began attending, and then pursued church membership.

I treasure the freedom I feel to make decisions with Luke now, as our own individual family unit. Not worrying about the world or anyone else’s opinion, as long as we know we are following the path the Lord is guiding us down.
Sometimes it takes a very hard thing, to break you of habits that need to be broken. Sometimes your heart needs to be broken in order for it to be put back together again.

To me, 2016 is a reminder that God will use even the most difficult situations to make your soul more beautiful. I still have so far to go on this journey… but I am so thankful for the path I am on.

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Spending Sanity

I have a confession to make

I am dealing with some heavy handed spenders guilt over at my house today.

I’m sure that most sane people who think of spenders guilt (and it’s cousin buyer’s remorse), only going hand-in-hand with unnecessary and/or extravagant purchases.

That isn’t the case for everyone…well, okay, it isn’t the case for me. I’m probably not the only person who falls into this category, but I kinda hope that I am, for everyone else’s sake.

This category is weird, and makes absolutely no sense.

People who spend time with Luke and I will undoubtedly hear, at one time or another, Luke described as the spender. I, on the other hand, am the saver (or as I have been mentally referring to myself as lately: the crazy cling-to-the-money-so-hard-it-risks-disintegrating) person.

I don’t feel like I was always this person, but here we are.

Today’s battle started with a well-researched decision that was enacted yesterday: getting our baby a new car seat.

We had a list of reasons (all of them valid) for moving her out of her infant seat, and into a convertible seat that will last her through the majority of her remaining car seat/booster years.

Mama’s out there, I know you must be feeling my pain as you see where this is going.

Car seats are crazy expensive!

I did as much research as my brain could possibly process, and found a seat that would fit our criteria, and was within a reasonable budget.

Even better? When I went to purchase it, it was on sale for almost $40 off!

I also had been wrestling with purchasing a new diaper bag. I really fought over whether it was a want or a need, but the old one was bursting at the seams, and still wasn’t quite holding everything I wanted to take with me. (Big shout-out to Graco’s backpack diaper bag though, it was awesome until I started cloth diapering. They take up a lot more space than ‘sposies’.)

Since I was in the store and could test out some that I’ve been looking at online, we decided it was time to bite the bullet on that too.

A car seat, and a diaper bag (which was 20% off). In one fell swoop I felt horribly uncertain, and started doubting the purchases in line before I had even paid.

I seriously wonder sometimes how Luke puts up with me.

He was sure, and confident in this joint decision we had made.

I was also confident, until it came time to part with the money itself.

I think a time (or times) can come in a person’s life that can, if not kept in check, take an otherwise good quality and begin to corrupt it.

It isn’t that I didn’t want to make these purchases (with money that had actually been purposefully set aside), but that I was afraid of what could or would happen after that extra layer of bank account safety net was gone.

What if “insert realistic worst-case-scenario here”?

What if “insert even worse and completely unrealistic worst-case-scenario here”?

I will never encourage or perpetuate spending money you don’t have, or buying things you can’t afford. It is unwise, and poor stewardship.

However, on the off chance there are others like me, I just want to put out this reminder: some things are okay to spend money on. Some things are items that are just big ticket items. You plan for them, you save for them, and when the time comes to purchase, you rejoice in the fact that God blessed you with the ability to buy them. How ungrateful an attitude do I have that I’m more concerned with the ‘less’ in the bank, than with the ‘bless’-ing that God made sure we had the money for this purchase available when we needed it?

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

– Matthew 6:31-34

Review

Something I Love: A Milk Band Review

What on earth is a ‘Milk Band‘?
I remember asking that question. I also remember hearing about them once oh-so-long ago, LONG before baby, and thought “That is the dumbest name ever”.

The name might be a little odd, but I positively LOVE having my Milk Band!
A Milk Band is a rubber bracelet (think those old ‘Livestrong’ style ones) that is marked specifically to help you keep track of your breastfeeding schedule and pattern.

It is labeled Left on one side, and Right on the other (so you flip it from inside out to right side out depending on which side you began feeding from last), as well as number columns for Minutes and Hours.

The Minutes and Hours are marked off with plastic sliders, and let you either mark the start time of your last feeding OR the total amount of time your baby has eaten for that day.
I personally use the sliders to track the start time of my last feed.

This bracelet was slightly life-saving for Annette and I. In the hospital they make you keep a log of all diaper changes and feedings, and I was trying to continue with that when I got home. With an App. On my iPad.
Now I’ve discussed before how nursing makes me feel like I need an octopus’ limbs;  trying to work the timer on this app with my iPad and keep everything else put together and in place was exhausting, and discouraging.

This Milk Band bracelet enables so much more freedom in tracking feedings.

The sliders are plastic, and depending on how rough you are with them, can break, but replacements can be found and purchased from the manufacturer with relative ease 🙂 This is really the only ‘con’ I see.

In conclusion this particular product is not flawless, but I still love it anyway, because it’s just so darned handy!