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365Expressions

Writing these "letters" has helped me to process life as a new mother, remain thankful, and come awake to the little moments that make this pretty challenging season simply wonderful.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 167...little reminders

Sometimes when things are going terribly wrong, we often find a way of comforting and/or distracting ourselves.  Pondering this today, I thought of how comforting and distracting it is to watch you guys, my precious children, playing and enjoying life without a care in the world.  You don't know about the struggles that Daddy and I face.  You only know that you are loved, safe, and life is good!  Then I thought, Now wait a minute.  I don't want my kids to serve my  flesh in this way. But then I also thought, If I were using my kids as a means of escaping the pressures of life, that would be no good.  For me though, God uses your faces, your lives, as reminders to me constantly, of His goodness of Heart, His faithfulness to me, and my role as His child.
To stay like a child.  To trust.  To not labor in vain.  To not worry or stress.  To take each moment as it comes, taking no thought for tomorrow.  I love it!  I have built-in reminders.  I really do believe this is one of God's ways of keeping us centered, one of the many ways He uses His creation to refocus and recenter our perspective back onto Him and His plan.  Does this happen all of the time?  Absolutely not. Today, I was just listening, and this is what I heard.

Dear Sadie.

"For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20

Day 166...just ask

I love the four year-old stage, although I've loved all the other stages as well.

Four year-olds love to question things.  And I get to be there for all of your questions that, in your mind, are truly pressing.

What does brown and white make?

When I get older, am I going to have a different daddy?

Why do we really need grass?

I have questions too.  For most people, the older we get, the more we think we have the answers, and the less searching we do.  For me, I don't want to lose the childlike sense of wonder that I had when I was little. When I was four, I'm sure I asked about things like you, "Did we ever have tails?"  Now that I'm older, I realize how much I need to seek after God, never satisfied with my knowledge or experience with Him, hungering for Him, knowing that there is more to grab hold of.  Keep asking.  Keep seeking.  It will keep you young, humble and innocent for a lot of days.

Dear Sadie.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."  James 1:5

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 165...sibling love

If I could give you any advice about having multiple children, it would this:  more than one is the best!  Nothing against only children, I think you are great!  But when I get to observe the way you and your brother interact and enjoy one another, there are few things in the world that can bring such joy.  My sister always spoke about how much she enjoyed (and still does) watching her children together, and how unique and wonderful it is.  I fully agree!  It is a treasure for sure.  So if there's ever any doubt, take it from me!  Go for two at least!

Today you were helping Titus out of the car and saying, "Here, Titus.  Take me hand."  Then you looked up at me and said. "Aren't I a good big sister?  I just love him."  You will always know each other in a way like no other, so cherish your relationship as long as you walk this earth together.

Dear Sadie.

Day 164...Curious George

For your birthday party, there were a few privileges that made quite an impression on you, the "birthday girl."  (Your brother was too young to even know the difference)  If you thought it was having cake or snow cones, yes, maybe.  But...the next day, it became apparent to me that you were aware of the "birthday girl" rights, and thought you'd continue those as long as possible.  What I mean is, you were first in line at the obstacle course, first to eat cake, you chose the pink balloon and didn't want anyone else to have the pink one cause you were the birthday girl.  I am sure I'm the one to get you started on this concept, I'll admit it!

So the next day we're popping in your new Curious George DVD, and the birthday girl phenomenon comes back to bite me.  I say, "Okay, so you can watch one, maybe two of the episodes on here.  There are six."  But to that you reply, "Okay, maybe all of them." (smiling at me)  "I can watch all of them because I'm the birthday girl!"  I say, "Um, not anymore?  The party is over."  To which you reply, "Nope, the signs are still up!"  We just both laughed together at your wit and humor.  "I better get those down soon!"  As we laughed at how clever you are, I realized I just gave in to your thinking.  No harm done, just a little extended birthday fun.  In the end, you grew tired of watching t.v. after one or two episodes, so Mommy still knows best. :)

Dear Sadie.

Day 163...yes, captain!

So yesterday we were trying to get baths done and go to bed as quickly as possible, as you guys had a fun and active day with no naps over at a friend's house.  So I said rather sweetly, "Okay, Sadie.  Time to go upstairs and get ready for a bath now."  Your reply was, "No, Mommy.  I'm going to stay here and color a little longer."  You didn't say it nastily or anything, just rather matter-of-factly.  So to that I replied, "Okaaay, Sadie that's kind of being bossy with Mommy.  How about you try asking me, 'Mommy, can I stay here just a minute and then come?"  I was trying to show you the difference between your statement and asking for my permission in a respectful manner.  You seemed to get the point rather easily, and then replied, "Okay. When I get older, I will boss my children."  I don't doubt it! :)  I finished with, "Yes, Sadie, we do get to boss our children, but I think of it more like training.  You are in training on what to do, not do, things like that.  So mommy and daddy are helping you learn those behaviors."  You understood, but somehow I think you like the idea of being the "boss."  Future leader in training! :)


Dear Sadie.


"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 162...parties

As fun as birthday parties are, I'm learning the role of a mother giving them for her children.  Although I said I didn't want to, I combined your parties into one this year, with your permission. It made me so proud that you were so willing to share your special day with Titus.  It helps that you have exactly the same friends right now, and that Titus has little to no idea what's going on anyways!

But like I started out saying, as fun as birthdays are, they can get kind of crazy.  And though your mama enjoys parties, hosting, making people feel welcome, leading the activities and all of that...I just wish there were a way to slooooow it all down.  You have to sort of stay within a time frame and keep the flow going, while what I really want to be doing is sitting down and taking it all in...my babies are growing up, and this is "their day," and I want to sit back and have fun with them and watch what they do and how they react.  After all, it only comes around once a year!

It was a fun day, and I don't want to take away from that.  It's just that all the preparing you do, for it all to end in two short hours, it's hard to soak in the moment, as I so often try to do while you both are so young.

Four years into it, and each year, some things keep getting easier.  That is, you kind of know what to expect and what to do and not do, each year adding to the knowledge of the one before.  Scratch that!  That's a tradition!  Fun!  Yikes!

I hope you take one year at a time and learn as you go, like me.  And allow yourself to look like a fool at times, and not get caught up with perfect, keeping up with the Joneses, or doing way more than your kids will ever notice.  Keep it about them, and you're sure to build many memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.

I'll never forget your first (and last?) "joint party."  You two are growing closer by the minute, so of course it suited you well to celebrate you together (not to mention it suited the pocketbook as well!).  My favorite moment was the one depicted by the picture, where you, the big sister, reached over and nonchalantly covered Titus' mouth so he wouldn't prematurely blow out the candles.  I love that he doesn't mind the way you "mother" him, so much.  It's so darn cute.  At least he doesn't mind for now. :)

Dear Sadie.

Day 161...to be posted

sadie's birthday post coming soon

Day 160...Four

Turning four means, according to you, little miss independent...

--I don't need to be carried anymore

--I can swim now

--I can read now

And, "Mommy, I don't feel like I'm four."

Dear Sadie.

Day 159...wonderstruck

more than ever i am inspired to be a great mom for you kids.  why now?  why more now than ever before?  i'm not really sure why.  i guess i just look at you two and see how fast you are growing.  i hear your questions and i see the wonder in your eyes...you and titus.  and it occurs to me, i have the most important job in the world.  i'm wonderstruck by the task at hand, and how God has placed us in families that live and move and breathe together, holding each other, catching each other's falls, sometimes causing them, laughing and crying together.  it's in me, this desire to be heroic, but it is not of me.  God made me the nurturer that I am, and i long to bless Him through it.  He is the One who gives me strength day in and day out to give sacrificially.  i feel dry a lot of times.  i run out of gas, or whatever this thing that propels me, sustains me.  and no, it aint the coffee! (although it feels like that sometimes)  but it comes to me again when i set my mind on Him.

it's a God-given force, motherhood.  a supernatural gift of God that goes overlooked and under-appreciated as such, mostly by mothers themselves, who struggle to find meaning and balance through it all.  i think it takes years to gain your footing and find that your identity isn't lost in your kids after all.  they simply add to you, multiplying the joys and the sorrows.  our identity is first in Christ, thankfully.  and being a parent challenges and accentuates every characteristic, good and bad, and leads you in the sanctification process.
it is a blessing and yet feels like a curse at times!  i am only joking, but in all honesty, staying at home with little ones running around can feel like it, i don't care who you are!  but at the end of the day, there is nothing more powerfully serene as the gift of a child to love.  so with that, i love you my dear, sweet daughter.  and i hope to show you that every day of your life!

Dear Sadie.

Day 158...Steps

I just keep thinking about how very far behind I am, now that the summer vacations have taken their toll.

It's so daunting I can't even think of things to write about like I used to.

But then I keep hearing...just keep going.  Don't give up.  Just take one letter at a time.  Don't think about all the other letters.

It makes it so much lighter of a problem when I think about that...one letter at a time.  One step at a time.

Kind of like life, isn't it?  If you think about the whole journey, a lifetime of this or that, it seems overwhelming.  Even stepping into motherhood, leaving "just the two of us" behind.  Or marriage, leaving the singlehood behind.  Whatever the case may be, one step at a time.  One letter.  One message.  One story.  One.  Two.  Three.

Dear Sadie.

Day 157...Beach Babies

Some pointers on taking a toddler and a preschooler on a beach vacation...

Rule #1...Don't expect to lie on the beach for longer than 60 seconds.

Rule #2...Even though naps take away from time in the sun, they also rejuvenate your kids and you'll be happy they are happy and can make it through the rest of the day without any meltdowns.  So make the sacrifice because it's well worth it.

Rule #3...It takes about 5 days for kids to get settled into their new environment, so make it a 2 week trip!

Rule #4...Plan taking turns to take kids up for naps ahead of time, that way you both (mom and dad) know what to expect.

Rule #5...Sunglasses and hats are a must-have for all...so make sure they've had practice before going and don't take no for an answer.

Rule #6...A little bit of pressure but a whole lot of patience.  Sand and waves are a lot to take in.  They'll get into it eventually, and they'll love it.

Rule #7...Save chairs by a table with an umbrella, beds by the pool, and under a tent at the beach, and you're covered for all the rotating they'll want to do!

Rule #8...Get ready to have some fun with your kids. It's an excellent time to bond.  Don't waste the trip sitting back and watching them explore.  Have a ball and be a kid again!

Rule #9...It's best if you can go with additional family members like we did.  Share the load, and the fun!  Plus extra eyes to watch the kiddos wander off.

Rule #10...Just go for it!

Dear Sadie.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 156...i think i can i think i can

i am so far behind on my commitment to write you every day for a year...do i quit?  do i keep going?  is it too much for me?  part of me wants to say yes.  the other part, my heart, says keep going.  i'm going to follow my heart.

two vacations just made this doubly hard.  i have loved the vacations, but i also love writing.  it's been a source (yet not the source) of peace of and joy for me these last 156 days.  so i will keep going.  praying for the flow to pick up again and not stop!

Dear Sadie.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 156...one word

One word comes to my mind about motherhood today...resilience.

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 155...my special girl

today it is starting to hit me just how old you and your brother are getting...especially you.  titus is turning into well, a boy! :)  and you...you are turning into such a little lady.  a darling girl.  and there's very little I can't at least try and discuss at this age.  you are my best girl.  you are a GOOD girl.  you teach me so much and make me want to be a better person.  i never knew being a parent could be this life-changing.  thank you my special, special girl!

Dear Sadie.

(P.S. just 2 more days of being three!  help!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 154...regrets

They say "never have any regrets."  That's crazy.  I have regrets all of the time.  I don't know what they mean, those people who say that.  Do they mean, be proud of everything you do, even your mistakes?  That's absurd!  Mistakes can be okay, sure.  But never regret anything?  To me, a regret is something you wish you could have done differently.  It's true we get just one life to live before entering eternity.  It's true we should not live stuck in the past.  It's true we should not let our mistakes overwhelm us.  But honestly, you're not being honest with yourself if you can't admit from time to time, I wish I had done that differently.  That's perfectly okay, and dare I say, normal.  I'm not going to make a list of regrets here and now for you. I just wanted you to know, you can list them, and you gotta move on.  Let the Lord lead you; you'll never regret that.

Dear Sadie.

Day 153...fears

Today I was thinking about how fear grips your little heart.  You can get into such a panic sometimes.

It's pretty clear to us now that your biggest fears are loud things...like fireworks, fire engines and automatic-flushing toilets.  These are your worst enemies.

I wonder...when you're all grown up and we're laughing about these silly fears, what will you be afraid of then?  Being alone?  Losing someone you love?  Driving? :)  I pray no fears will ever overtake you.  The Lord is with you, do not be afraid.  He watches over you and is gracious to you.  He is the peace provider.  Fixing your eyes and letting your heart worship Him through everything will guard your heart and your mind.

Dear Sadie.

Day 152...Thrive Not Survive

I came to the realization the other day, that it's not just me, and it's not just your daddy, that is the one in a difficult place, a not-so-appealing-to-us place.  Both of us are in what they call "hard times."  And it's not that I'm not loving being a mother.  And it's not that he doesn't love being a manager.  But for me, if I could just be a mom (as if there were such a thing!), then I would.  Taking care of a "third" child several times a week has not been easy on me.  It sounds like such a minor thing, but it has truly tested me.  And I have to say, I fail on a daily basis.  And your daddy, well he's just hanging in there by the skin of his teeth.  He doesn't like where he's at in his job, and there seems to be no where to go at the moment.  Talk about feeling stuck.  When times like these hit, expect them to really put a strain on your marriage.  Your daddy and I aren't well-trained in putting God at the center of us yet, sad to say.  But I know He is there somewhere, and helping us along the way.  If we were to pray more together, spend time with Him together, I know we'd be out of survival mode for sure.  I hate survival mode (you reminded me today that "hate" is such a bad word--so I should say "dislike" as I did with you earlier).  No one should ever survive, they should thrive, when the Lord is the Lord of them.

Dear Sadie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 151..."Best Friends Forever"

Seeing old friends over my vacation really took me back.  They know a part of me, someone I once was, that only they and a few others will ever know.  They know my adolescent years where I was silly and goofy, emotional and dramatic, active and energetic, and when "friends were friends forever."

There's something about13-15 that is like no other time in your life.  I think it's the rawest time in your life, when you're old enough to know better, and young enough not to care.

We did some crazy things together.  Some things I will love to tell you about someday, some things I may never tell you.  These were the days of crushing on boys and riding our bikes.  Trips to the malls and trips to the beach.  Sleepovers and endless chats on phones.  We were kids and not yet adults.  We were the bearers of each others souls.

Now we are adults and barely know each other in our grown states, but our memories are forever locked away in each other's hearts---the changing years where we were daring and doting.

Make the best of these years, they are unique and fleeting.  Choose your friends well, and let them choose you.

Dear Sadie.

Day 150...stand tall, be brave

When things start to look bad, they'll only get worse if you panic and try to stick your head in a hole and wait for it to pass.  But, if you stand tall and brave and keep your eyes on the One who Goes Before You, no matter how you feel, you will not lose.  He will fight for you, and you find out what it means to rest in Him.

Dear Sadie.

"no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" Romans 8:37

Day 149...late movie night

tonight i let you stay up and watch Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
you are so very tired, but staying up for every minute of it, asking questions, enthralled.  no shut eye here!  that's my girl!

Dear Sadie.

Day 148...my mean day

The other day I was so, so tired.  I was "working" that day (watching baby Emma), and your daddy was off with us, having a day at the pool together.  I didn't have great sleep the night before (and I should head to bed now that I'm thinking of it!), so I was extremely tired all day.  When I get like that, the whole world seems to cave in on me.  I just felt like being mean. I knew it was wrong, so rather than keep saying or doing mean things, I just had to turn everything off.  I tried not to speak.  Tried not to make any eye contact or connect with anyone too much at all.  I felt this was the best damage control I could do.  Later when I was talking to your daddy about it, realizing some stress besides lack of sleep was causing my intense emotions, I just cried in his arms.  We both are missing each other, on top of many other heavy things we are "dealing" with, and it felt could to just cry about it.  But for sure, sleep is so very important.  I'm learning this more and more as I get older, and hope you learn soon as well (my little party animal girl who loves to stay up).

Dear Sadie.

Day 147...Puppy and Pray

Tonight you hobbled into our bedroom after already having been tucked in and you said so drowsily, "I need my puppy and oray."  (something to that effect)  Daddy and I just looked at each other thinking 1) how adorable is that! and 2) how could we have forgotten to do that?  I know I've mentioned it before, but you keep reminding me again and again to pray with my children!  How is that my child is the one to remind me so much to pray with my children! :)  So thank you!

Dear Sadie.