Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 13-31 Day of Being New-Proximity

I've found that when I'm feeling down or frustrated one of the quickest ways to get myself out of that funk is to go shopping.

Just kidding!! (Although I do love some shopping!!!)

What I really like to do is make a list of all the things I am thankful for.


This list is short and sweet.  

Proximity.

We are finally within driving distance of both sets of grandparents.  Great grandparents...aunts...uncles...great aunts and uncles...the list goes on.  

I am so thankful.

We are so very blessed to have such loving and supportive families.  And even though they loved visiting us out in the PNW I know they are going to love living closer and really getting to be a part of our lives.

My parents have already been to visit and clearly I did an awesome job of taking pictures while they were here because this is all I got!!

The good part about that?  I'll have the opportunity to get more next week!!  So excited to be able to see my family and Peter's family more often!!!

It's a short list...but it's a good one!

Day 12-31 Days of Being New--Hands Up



We were fortunate to live in a magical spot in Tacoma.  Especially if you were a toddler boy.  About  a year ago I started always taking the long way home.  I figured we wouldn't live in Tacoma forever and I wouldn't regret spending an extra five minutes in the car.  I never did.  

The long way included trains, ships, water, mountains and "our hill".  The boy's loved to go down "our hill" and every time we went down the hill they would yell out...hands up!!!....wheeee...whooohoo.....hands up Mama....hands up Daddy!!!

It was awesome.

I love the way kids always seem to find happiness in simplicity.  Southern Illinois doesn't have very many hills.  Yes somehow the boys have already managed to find a couple (we are talking TINY here) and each and every time we go down the hill I hear "hands up Mama" coming from the back seat.  

It's comforting.  And familiar.  And a little sad right now.

I knew I would miss my home but I wasn't prepared for the way my heart literally aches at night when I go to bed.  The tears that would come when someone posts a picture and I can just see myself in the place.  The frustration that I can't just drive around the corner to have a playdate with someone I know.  Someone who is familiar.  Who knows my heart.  My weaknesses.  

I reminded though that I don't need that playdate.  That familiarity.  That ease.

God has called me here and He didn't send us alone.  He came before us...before me....paving the way.  

 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8

And honestly I kind of just want to ignore knowing that and sulk.  I want to cry a little (or maybe a lot).  I want to complain.  I want to give in to feeling like it's never going to be the same.  To thinking that if I could just go "home" everything would be better.  

So tonight I'm praying and thanking Jesus that he is a friend.  That he has gone before me and is beside me.  That I won't be discouraged.  That I would KNOW that in this time of being new that he hasn't forsaken me.  

There is little I love more musically than old hymns.  This one seems fitting tonight.  I hope it encourages you wherever you are in your journey.  

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.





Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 11-31 Days of Being New--Alone


I remember taking this picture over the summer and thinking how vast the ocean looked next to my tiny little guy.  He didn't seem phased.  Children are fortunate that way.  They are pretty go with the flow.  I can't decide if I want to be more like that or less like that.

I don't really want to go with the flow right now.  What I really want to do is rewind time a bit.  I want to go back and have one last chat on my friend porch.  One last play date at Puget Park.  One last Sunday to sing with the worship team.  One last...pretty much everything.

I feel stuck in this weird place of being grateful that God has provided such a spacious and beautiful home for us to live in and missing the view from my WA bedroom.  Grateful that we live so much closer to our families and desperate for a hug from any one of my dear friends that became my family.  Grateful that the Lord has always provided precious, precious friendships and in tears that I have to start that all over again.

One of my sweet friends from "home" before Tacoma became home told me once that it's ok to be upset.  Even if someone else wouldn't be upset about it.  It's ok to cry.  Even if someone else doesn't think it's worth crying about.  My life isn't about how I should feel it's about how I do feel.

Sometimes what you know to be true and what you feel are in opposition.

And tonight.  I feel alone.

Interview with a 4 Year Old

Last year I asked Stafford these questions on his birthday.  I love seeing how his answer and comprehension have changed over the last year.  Some of them are so funny!


1. What's your favorite color? yellow & green

2. What's your favorite toy? trains, airplanes & buses
3. What's your favorite fruit? blueberries


4. What's your favorite TV show? Mighty Machines
5. What's your favorite thing to each for lunch? PB & Jelly, pickles
6. What's your favorite game? Gogogolaugh (best described as chasing, laughing, wrestling)


7. What's your favorite snack? chocolate chip granola bars
8. What is your favorite animal? shark, walrus, whale


9. What's your favorite song? ABC song and Gac-Goon


10. What's your favorite book? Team Umizoomi
11. Who is your best friend? Vivian, Kaiser, Ethan, Jonathan, Lamar & Sheila
12. What's your favorite thing to do outside? Play with Vivian


13. What's your favorite drink? Lemonade
14. What do you take to bed with you at night? a lot of animals
15. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cheeros


16. What do you like to eat at birthday parties? ice cream cake

17. What do you want to be when you grow up? fireman, construction worker (mountain climber)
18. What would you do if you were invisible? have fun with Vivian & Kaiser


19. I am very proud because...I clean up my mess
20. I am afraid of...monsters.
21. Name one thing you are good at.  Finding crabs & turtles


22. What does it mean to be a good friend? Take turns with toys and share.  Play with each other
23. What's your favorite part of the day? breakfast, lunch & dinner...when we wake up

24. Describe your best day ever.  Vivian coming to my house.  Playing with Reed.  Read books.  Cleaning room


25. Describe your favorite hobby.  I like to have fun!

26. Climbing is...cats and dogs climb.  I do know how to.
27. I wish there were a law that said...Have fun at the Frog & Kiwi.


28. What makes you feel sad?  Pushing.  When Vivian doesn't want to play.
29. What makes you feel happy? Playing with Vivian, Waking up


30. Pretend you could fly.  Where would you go? TN & KY
31. Where do you want to go on vacation? TN & IL & MN


32. If you could pick another name what would it be?  Stafford-bafford


33. What is your favorite thing to do with Mama & Daddy? go for a walk


34. What would you say about Jesus? I love Jesus.  I like to pray and read with him.  He gives us new people when we go new places.

It's very funny to hear what he has to say.  I can definitely tell that his answers reflect what is one his mind when I ask him the questions.  During this time he was very concerned about having a playdate with his friend Vivian before we moved.  So he talks about her a lot.  He always REALLY likes her :)

The only answers I was really surprised about were his favorite book (he said Team Umizoomi which is a search and find book.  He likes that one but I wouldn't have guessed he would say that. I was also surprised he said lemonade was his favorite drink.  We must have had it recently because it isn't something he has often.  I looked back at his answers from last year and he mentioned lemonade in them also!!!  So funny!

I love what he said about Jesus and being a good friend.  And his favorite hobby is definitely having fun!!

Loving life with 4 year old S-man.  Can't wait to see what he says when he is five!








Day 10-31 Days of Being New--Sharing

Sometime being the new girl means you need to share your new life with your old people. 











Friday, October 10, 2014

Kelsey's Five Month Update



Dear Kelsey,

As usually it is so hard to believe that another month has gone by.  Five months old!!!  That just seems so old to me and it just seems like yesterday that you were such a tiny little thing.  I just love watching you grow and learn!  Being your Mama is a joy and a privilege. 

You are still wearing size 1 diapers and are into 3-6 month clothes.  A lot of them are still really big on you.  You seem to be growing a little slower like the boys at this age!  You look much bigger than you are in pictures.  You have the cutest little chubby cheeks but they are deceitful! 

You are still a big talker.  You have started gurgling a lot and you will imitate us if we do the same.  You love your brothers and have started smiling and laughing at them!

We had to move you out of the Rock-N-Play and put away our bouncer.  You kept sitting straight up in them and I was afraid you were going to call out of it!  So we got the Pack-N-Play out to keep you safe!  You are still sleeping around 8:30 or 9 to around 5 or 6 each morning.  After I feed you then you go back down for a couple of hours.

You are rolling over both ways now and can sit up for a few seconds although you are all hunched over!  You'll be sitting up soon!

I bought you a nursing necklace this month and you love it!  You kept pulling my hair while you were nursing and this necklace helps to solve that problem!  It is made of silicone and wood and you love to grab it and also chew on it!

You went to the fair for the first time this month, the zoo, hiking at Mt. Rainier, on a train ride, to a college volleyball game, your first baseball game, the beach, the pool, lots of playgrounds, and camping for the first time!  It was a busy and exhausting month and you loved all of it!

We also had you dedicated at church.  It was really special to be able to share that moment with our family at Journey.  You are so loved by our friends there.  We chose Zephaniah 3:17 as the verse to pray over you.  It's words are so true.  Our God is mighty to save.  He deights in you.  He rejoices over you with singing.  He will quiet you with His love.  

We love  you to pieces Kelsey Jane!

Love,
Mama & Daddy


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 9-31 Days of Being New--The Unknown




I have to say that living in the unknown is a lonely and painful place.  Often I've said that I would chose to know an answer, even if it was the answer I didn't want, over living in the unknown.  It's painful, stretching and feels never ending.

If you are new around here you may not know much about some of the unknown we've encountered in the last few years.  Our biggest challenge was Peter's diagnosis of Crohn's disease and the seemingly endless time of waiting afterward to see if he would be permitted not only to fly but to even stay in the Air Force.

We've also dealt with an untimely six month "overseas assignment" that occurred 6 weeks after we arrived in Washington.  It was a major time of stretching and growth for me in particular since I was pregnant with a 14 month old in a new house, town, state, part of the country, etc!

And because we like to go big or go home we did another bout with the Air Force when Peter came home from Africa and we discovered he had melanoma.  

Earlier this year we were blessed with our third child.  A beautiful blue eyed, joyous, smiling baby girl.  It was THE best day ever.  I look back at this photo and just want to hug myself.  I had no idea what was ahead.  In the grand scheme of life it wasn't the biggest deal.  But it was a big deal to me.  And those three weeks that I sat in my green chair and faithfully pumped every two to three hours to keep my milk supply up left me feeling tired, discouraged and dealing again with the unknown.

Ultimately the unknown is a beautiful thing.  My thoughts on this issue haven't changed and if anything have only grown stronger each time the Lord says to me...

Please Wait.

And often he does.  

I don't always want to be patient.  In fact I rarely want to be patient.  But the Lord says...

Please Wait.

These words by Charles Spurgeon are so poignant, so life giving. (Sorry if you already read this on my previous post!  It was just SO worth re-posting!)

He writes...

"David.....had been envious of the present prosperity of the ungodly, forgetful of the dreadful end awaiting all such.  And are we better than David that we should call ourselves wise!  Do you profess that we have attained perfection or to have been so chastened that the rod has taken all our willfulness out of us?.......Look back, believer; think of your doubting God when he has been SO faithful to you--think of your foolish outcry of "Not so, my Father," when he crossed his hands in affliction to give you the larger blessing; think of the many times when you have read his providences in the dark, misinterpreted his dispensations, and groaned out, "All these things are against me" when they are all working together for your good!"

Does it hit you like it hit me?  We do not know the mind of God.  How often to we say to him that we don't like what he is doing in our lives.  We complain of this or that.  We are frustrated.  We are scared.  We think we can not trust him.

But he is working out our lives for our own good.

My prayer is this.  That on those days when our lives change forever, whether the change is known or unknown, scary or exciting, painful or joyful, I will PRAISE him and continue to choose JOY!

****

Choosing JOY again in this season of being NEW.  



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 7-31 Days of Being New--Expectations

one of our many random stops

Three years ago we traveled across the country with Stafford.  It was fun because we got to see so many beautiful places. We had two weeks together and it was relaxing and refreshing. We thought we knew what we were doing when we planned our two week trek from Washington to Illinois. 

Wrong. 

Three kids is not the same as one. Just in case you were confused.

We quickly learned we should basically have no agenda and no expectations other fuN getting from point A to B each day. We stopped a lot. We played at many a midwest playground. We searched for hotels whenever we had cell phone service. We relaxed and enjoyed being with our kids and making memories.

Now that we are here and unpacked I'm struggling to control my expectations. When will we find a church? Are there any good schools? What will Peter's job be like? How soon can I take a trip to Tacoma??? 


Praying God will calm my worries and keep my focus on Him!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 6-31 Days of Being New-Being Brave



Babies have the right idea. They aren't overly concerned with the thoughts of others. They just want the basics. Eating. Sleeping. Cuddling. Diaper changing. Easy peasy. No drama. 

I could learn a lot from my tiny toe sucker. How often am I way too consumed with how others will perceive me instead of just being me. I edit out parts of my personality in hopes that someone will like me better. I skip a topic or post a certain picture on social media because it will get more likes. More validation. More me. 

I BRAVELY went to MOPS today. It's so unlike me. I had to text a friend beforehand to keep me accountable to going in. I decided I wasn't going to be that awkward shy new girl. I wasn't going to worry if people liked me. I was just going to be me. 

I would love to say that it went well. But honestly it went even better than that. People were so kind. I left thinking.,,what a fun time instead of "should I have said that? Did anyone like me?"

It was unawkward and fun and refreshing. 

I love the theme this year. Be You, Bravely. 

Unapologetically. Authentically. Sometimes ridiculously me. 

Bravely. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 5-31 Days of Being New-Reality Check




When we moved to Tacoma we had six weeks to find a church before Peter deployed. Each Sunday was pressure filled to pick the right one so I would have a church family for the six months he was gone. 

We didn't find one. 

So I went to church with a dear friend from Charleston who lived in the area. It was far away and often I sat by myself. I remember one Sunday being so lonely and desperate for community that I look Stafford into the service with me. He was 18 months. 

When Peter returned we started looking again. No church is perfect but we were thirsty for a good dose of the Word and some fellowship. 

I grew up in the CMA church. Not a lot of people have heard of it. It's focus is Jesus and sharing Him and the majority of their congregations are overseas. I found a local church and we decided to go. 

Ultimately The Lord provided a family for us at our church in Tacoma. Some of the best friends I'll ever make. I'm stumbling over the words in my head because it's so hard to convey the deep emotions that my thoughts about this evoke. 

Simply? A blessing. 

**

Today we try our first church. I woke up with a feeling a dread. I hate being the new girl. My church clothes don't fit because I haven't lost the pregnancy weight. I'm awkward. Super awkward at small talk. Honestly I just want to go "home".

I reflected this morning on God's goodness and faithfulness. And again He said,

It's not about you, Laura. 

Do we need a church? Yes. Do we need fellowship and friends to live life with? Of course. But God brought us here. To this place. In this time. The bigger question is...what can I do for Him here?

So today I'm the new girl with a mission.  Leaving thoughts of myself behind I'm headed out to find what He wants from me. Not what I can get through a church. It's radical for me. It's scary. But it's oh so good. 

Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.-Chronicles of Naria

And to my dear ones at Journey, I love you! Those are the words I was trying so hard to get out!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Day 4-31 Days of Being New--Thoughts on Dirt





The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2 NIV)

Washington is a magical mix of mild weather. Temperate summer days. No humidity. Misty winter mornings..afternoons..nights. Way less rain that people think. Pretty close to perfect. 

The bad part?

It's dark and often overcast. It's a different sort of dark than other places I've lived. Not an oppressive makes you want to curl up with a blanket & book dark, just a "not as light as it could be" dark. And slowly over the last few years what light is has taken on a whole new meaning. 

I struggled a bit with the winter dark after having Reed. Because Tacoma is so far north the sun goes down super early. By 4:45 it's totally dark in the winter. It makes for short days and long nights. 

Last Fall my sweet father-in-law installed a new light in my dining area. It was incredible the difference it made. I could turn that light on and just pretend it was day outside!

Fast forward to moving day this year. It's so fun to start getting your boxes and arranging your furniture. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this but when our stuffed furniture arrived it was gross. I mean so gross. Our new house is full of natural night. And it exposed all the dirt and grime and stains that honestly I couldn't see at our old house. Even my new light that seemed so great didn't give me the whole picture. 

Isn't life like that? We don't realize that we are trapped in darkness because it just becomes our new normal. Sure we aren't living in filth but stuff isn't clean. Washed. Purified. Redeemed. 

I failed at getting up yesterday but when I did read my Bible this is the verse that stuck out. I has been mulling on light all day long. He knew. 

I've got to stop settling for second best and step into the light!! Jesus didn't come for me to love in darkness. Or to try lots of quick fixes to my problems. He came to bring me into the light. To forgive me of my sins. To save me. To make me new. 

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:2, 6 NIV)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 3-31 Days of Being New



I've never been a morning person. I'm not grumpy, I just have a hard time getting going. I've always wanted to be a morning person. Morning people seem to accomplish more before I wake up than I do all day. 

I have a zillion pictures from this spot. I'm kneeling on my pillow. From our bedroom in Tacoma we had this peek a boo view of the Sound. If you looked far enough to the right you could see the mountain too. 

This particular day I happened to wake early. The view was breathtaking and such a worshipful way to start my day. 

And God continued to whisper...

I want you to become a morning person. I want you to meet with me in the morning

And you'd think I would be pretty pumped that one of my besties wanted to meet up with me every single day. But instead I said maybe tomorrow. Maybe after this week. Maybe when we leave Tacoma. Maybe after we get the house in order...

Have you ever been that girl? Hovering between control and the unknown. Desperately wanting to be known but too afraid or tired or unorganized or unwilling to surrender?

This morning when I woke up I read my Bible and I stopped after one verse. Because this. This is what it's about. Being new. Being made new. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1 NIV)

Sacrifice = true and proper worship. I've read that verse a million times. There are some major areas where I know The Lord is saying sacrifice. 

It's early for me but I'm going to bed. I've got a meeting with a dear Friend in the morning. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 2 of 31 Days of Being New--It's Not all About You


One of the biggest things about being the new girl is not having any shared past with the people you are meeting.  Over the years I've become a master at finding bits and pieces of myself that someone can relate to.  Despite my increasing need to have alone time I think of myself as highly relational and I enjoy finding that common ground.  I feel the same way about my readers and my online community as well.

So here is a little back story on me....fast though...because I'm committed to SHORT online times this month and that include the time I spend blogging!

Born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass State

Became a Christian at a young age and truly desired to walk with Christ

Miserable failure at all sports, exceptional pianist and vocalist, aspiring artist & cook

Give me all the books

And the costume jewelry

Lifelong struggle with my weight and self image

Majored in Psychology at Grove City College

Masters at the University of Kentucky in Educational Policy
*making me a legitimate CAT fan!!

Worked for 6 years at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC

Met & Married the man even GREATER than my dreams in 2007

Mama to three kissable children in 2010, 2012 and 2014

Spontaneous, Inconsistent, Loyal

Home business owner with Rodan + Fields

Military Wife

And WAY too often....

The New Girl.

***

We moved into our house today.  We are a long way from being moved in but at least our stuff has arrived.  As I was sitting there checking off boxes the Lord spoke to me and just said...

It's just not all about you, Laura.

And not that I necessarily thought that it was.  But I do hate being the new girl.  I am dreading all of the meeting new people and forming new friendships.  I obviously miss my other friends desperately.  
But it's just not all about me.

It's about HIM.  And He has put us here at this time in this place.  And so for that I am grateful and I will praise Him because I know His will is comfortably uncomfortable.

***

That's all for today!!  I'm please to report that I spent extremely minimal time today online in any capacity because....

surprise!!

I actually had work to do and a plan.  Taking note of this.  I know this doesn't work for everyone but I think I work better and smarter and harder when I have more work to do.

What about you? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of......


I'll be the first to admit that I HATE being the NEW girl.  But I'm determine to make the best of it this time around and I want to push myself to get out there are enjoy this awkward in between stage as much as possible.

Blogging has basically been on the back burner for me for the last year for three reasons.  S-man, Reedster and KJ.  I would love to say that I have devoted all the time I didn't spend blogging to taking fabulous care of them and being a model parent.  If I said that I would have to change my theme to 31 Days of Delusion.  Honestly I have wasted more time in the last year I think than ever before.

So in true Laura fashion I'm coming to this space for accountability.  I find that I work well having spread all my struggles over the internet.  I don't want to let my blog down.  

So....in the next 31 days my goals are to...

-write every day about being the NEW girl
-write everyday about how God is making me NEW
-limit my "screen time" daily
-focus on my REAL life instead of a virtual one

Guys this was hard.  It was hard to admit that I'm a little addicted to being online.  To my phone.  To being constantly entertained.  But it's true.

Also, I don't really want to face the fact that I'm the NEW girl again.  I'm not good at meeting people.  I'm not good at meeting with God. Mostly I just want to crawl online and scroll through pictures of "home" while I drink Diet Dr. Pepper and eat cookies.

However those things are OLD news and we are out with the old and in with the NEW!!!  I'm not really sure how this plays out in real life yet.  But I'll be sure to update you along the way,

So follow along!  Want to make some NEW changed in your life too?  Or maybe you are being forced to like me!?  Would love to hear your thoughts and even pray for you as you tackle NEW!

Here's to 31 Days of Being NEW!

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