Saturday, August 31, 2013

If my husband were to say to me right this second, "I think I'd like to try for a fourth baby."  ...I'd be ALL for it!  Before, I always said I was d-o-n-e, but lately, as I care for Evan, my heart just feels so full of love, I just know I have room to love more.

But then I really think about it.  Is my heart telling me to have more because I truly want more children?  Or is my heart FINALLY at peace, and I am FINALLY allowing myself to just enjoy what I have?  I have always been the type of person to think there is something more out there.  Something better.  Everything I had?  It's good, but I could have BETTER.  I could have MORE.  That's not necessarily a bad thing to be like.  You should always chase your dreams.  I'm not really talking about it like that, though.  For me, it was just never been satisfied with what I had.  And that is a shame.

I can try to break it down:  My family of 5 and 2 dogs live in a home that is less than 1000 square feet.  We have always driven new, fancy cars, but now we have one leased car and one used car.  Okay, van.  A used van.  No features.  Our house is small and our bedrooms are tiny.  So tiny, in fact, that now that we have three children, my husband and I had to retreat to the stinky basement to sleep so the kids could have their own rooms.  It's not a luxury that they have their own rooms, it's a necessity.  There is no room for more than one child per room.  We don't have carpet in our living room because after one of our dogs got violently ill on the area rug, we literally had no choice but to get rid of it.  It's not in the budget to replace it, so we have hardwood floors that are less than perfect.  Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs and our kids need new bedroom furniture in the worst way.  We could certainly use new paint jobs in several rooms and I am pretty certain we don't have matching window treatments in any of our rooms.  There is dog hair under the couch and finger prints on the windows.  The front door sticks when you close it and the side door creaks in the worst way.  We desperately need a plummer to check out our bathroom sink, since the hot tap water doesn't work and the drain is constantly clogged.  Shall I go on?

On the flip-side?  We have a home.  And it's a nice home.  On cold days we are warmed by heat and on hot days we are cooled by air conditioner.  Our kids have their own spaces with their own toys.  Nice toys.  We have Internet and a laptop.  We have cell phones, DVR, and a big screen TV.  We have two dogs that live like royalty.  One dog has stomach issues and we are able to provide him with a special dog food that is pricey.  He was a rescue, and it would be easier to give him back, but instead we do what he needs to be comfortable.  We never go to bed hungry and we have two reliable vehicles.  We have supportive families that would walk to the ends of the earth for us.  We have reliable jobs and health insurance.  We have love.  A LOT of love.  Our kids have a great education and are involved in extra curriculars of their choosing.  We have a church we call home and the knowledge that God will provide.

All my life I wanted more, more, more.  Looking at Evan, I appreciate the things I can give him.  I love seeing him snuggled in bed, warm and comfortable.  I love giving him a bottle, knowing his belly is full.  I love seeing his smile, knowing he is happy.  He is ALWAYS happy.  I can take these feelings and say, "I love this so much, I want to do it with another child!"  ...or I can take these feelings as, "I am finally at peace."  I have all I want, I have all I need.  There will always be bigger and better, but it's not a requirement to live.

With God's grace, I will learn to simplify and appreciate.  Because I have so, so much to be appreciative of.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dear Allison,

Tomorrow you turn 4.  FOUR!  I can't believe four years has gone by.  I remember the exact morning the digital pregnancy test said "pregnant".  It was Christmas morning, 2008.  I cried, and whispered to myself, "I know it's a girl."

When you were born, you were so amazingly perfect.  The first thing I said was, "Look at those cheeks!"  You were my biggest baby out of your siblings:  8 pounds, 3 ounces, and you were born 5 days before your due date.  You were so gorgeous, I couldn't get over how PRETTY you were!

You were a good baby, but you loved to be held all the time.  While your older brother, Ethan, could entertain himself for hours, you just wanted to be with someone all the time.  You loved to nap on me.  I'd sit you on my lap, facing out, and gently rub your belly as you'd sleep.  You loved that.

Now those baby days are long gone, and you have grown into a sweet, vibrant, amazing little girl.  I know how badly you would love to have sister, but I selfishly love that you are my only girl.  My only princess.

You challenge me, in good ways and bad.  You have so much fire inside of you.  You are passionate about life and you aren't afraid to show it. You are so smart, clever, and full of silliness.  You make me laugh all the time.  You are independent and you like to do things your own way, yet at the same time, you are so attached to your daddy and I, and you don't like to be apart from us long.  You have been crawling into our bed now for well over a year and as much as daddy complains, I think we have ALL grown to like the extra cuddle time with you.  I love when you sleep with me, you sleep so close to me, we share a pillow.  I call you my little sleep ninja, because you are so active in your sleep, but I love having you so close to me.

While I  hate how fast time has passed, you make me so excited to see what life will offer you.  Scratch that.  I am so excited to see what you offer life.  I know with your strong personality, you are going to go so far in life, and I am so proud of that.

Happy birthday, little petunia.  I love you so deeply.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I consider myself a bandwagon Christian.  By this, I mean on Sunday I am all, "Wooo!  Jesus!  I love you, Lord!  Praise God!"  Then Monday-Saturday I get on with my life that is being a mom, wife, and nurse.  No Bible reading, hardly any prayer, everything is on the back burner.  I'm busy, ya'll!  I don't have time to add more to my already busy schedule.

Several weeks ago, though, my Pastor did a sermon about how do you know when God is speaking to you.  One of the things he said that really struck me is how often I open God's word to hear his message.  Well, I don't.  My Bible is neatly tucked away on my bookshelf, in a nice protective Bible carrying case.  I don't know WHY it's in a case, because it certainly isn't going to get harmed if I never move it off the shelf.  But the case sure looks nice!  God speaks to us through the Bible and I never allow his message to get to me because I never READ it.  How simple is that?

The other thing I learned is that when we have a feeling, or something nagging at our hearts and our minds to do something, we need to do it, as it might be God telling us to do it.  I am EXCELLENT and shush-ing God, though.  I can put his directions for my life right out of my head and never think twice about it.

Coincidentally (or maybe not?) I have had two instances where I think God is realizing I am not getting it.  I am not listening but choice.  The first was when we had a very sad death on my floor at work.  A lot of people were pretty upset so the hospital chaplain came to speak to us.  Not knowing anyone's religious affiliations, she didn't preach to us, but simply reminded us of how much of an impact we have on our patient's lives and if we ever need someone to talk to, they are there for us 24/7.  Then she passed around a little bag and explained that the cards in the bag were all different, and we were to reach into it and pull out a card and that was our message for the day.  I was the first to reach in and could feel a whole stack of cards.  I jumbled them around and when I pulled one out, it said "Silence" on one side.  The other side read, "I give you the gift of SILENCE so that you may hear My voice inside yourself."  I'll be honest, I was disappointed.  I wanted something more uplifting.  Silence?  Do I talk to much or something?  I tucked amongst my pocket full of stuff and went on with my day.

Just this past weekend, I had an in depth conversation with another Christian and co-worker, and she talked about how much peace she achieves by stopping and meditating.  Really LISTENING to what God wants her to know.  She kept telling me, over and over, how important this was.  This was when I finally noticed the trend.  Stop.  Listen.  There are messages for me, I just need to receive them.

Two times throughout all of this, I had these moments where I had a strong urge to do something for someone, totally out of the blue.  I tried to push the idea out of my head, but the desire to follow through was so insanely strong, I had to do it.  One instance occurred at Meijer.  I had to explain to the cashier, "I can't explain why, but I need you to ring my order up REALLY FAST.  I know this sounds strange, but please hurry."  This was so out of character to me, but what I was about to do was so strong, I absolutely HAD to do it.   On my drive home, I called my mom to tell her about it, but left out any mention of it being a "God moment" because I don't know how people feel about stuff like that and I don't like to be preachy to people without knowing if they want to hear it.  Want to hear something even better?  My mom, after hearing my story, said, "I have a God moment story for you, too!" she heard my story, realized it was God speaking, and followed up with her own moment.  Never once did I mention I felt it was God telling me to do something.

I hear you, God.  And I will try harder to listen.  REALLY listen.