After an insanely wakeful night, the only way I didn't lose my mind was to find the humor in the situation. Between a preschooler, a toddler, a pregnancy, a husband in the military, and an old house with baseboard heaters that pop louder than a firework, there's simply no way I'm getting sleep anytime soon. To survive, I often remind myself that this is but a season. A sweet one, but an oh-so weary one! Here is a sample of what my average night of sleep looks like (minus the heater outbursts every 30 minutes). If you're a mom, I bet it's ridiculously similar. All I can say is, God bless us!
I didn't grow up praying daily and now that I'm an adult I struggle to make it a priority. Sure, I pray throughout the day, but I know God wants me to spend dedicated quiet time with Him every day. In an effort to change this for my children, I'm teaching them to begin the morning in prayer. I'm hoping that if my kids learn this routine as toddlers, then they will easily carry it with them into adulthood. In our previous two homes, I had a prayer closet where our then two-year-old joined me every morning. When she turned three, we had yet another prayer closet in yet another home (thank you, Army). Now that our daughter is four and we're in annnoooother place, our current house doesn't have room to create a prayer closet. Hence, the creation of a prayer journal.
On New Year's Eve, I read Joanna Gaines blog post about looking back at 2016. I decided to do that same that night, to reflect on all our family experienced during the last twelve months. To help remind myself, I logged onto my Google Photos account. I pretty much record an image from every day so it was the perfect way to recap. As I began looking through the photos, I started a list of all our trips and major events that took place. In short, 2016 was an incredibly hectic, transient, and trip-filled year. I was exhausted once I reached the last photo from 2016. I can't believe all that we've been through and done, and now all I want to do is stay home in 2017! Below is a slideshow with captions to illustrate the list I compiled that made up the major events for our family in 2016:
Christmas is here! Just as much as I enjoy taking down all the decorations in January, I look so forward to decorating the house in late November--the day after Thanksgiving, to be precise. The holiday additions make our home feel wonderfully special for the short time that we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Christ. As a woman on a budget and one who is keen on simplicity, here are ten ideas you can use to spruce up your home for the holidays.
As usual, God's plans for my life in New York have turned out different than I expected. I thought I would be living on West Point, but instead, I've made our current home in a log cabin off post. I thought I would be volunteering each week at a crisis pregnancy center, but instead, every door on that front has been shut. I thought we were going to wait until after this assignment to possibly try for another child, but instead, I am now four months pregnant with our third baby. And as always, God's vision is more purposeful and beautiful than my own.
The INSTANT a father learns he's having a daughter, he begins wondering how he will protect her. At least that's true in the case of my husband. Tim's very first comment when we learned our first child was a girl came in the form of a question: "What are we going to do about prom?" Ha! I couldn't believe it. There he was worrying about prom when I was only five months pregnant! He immediately went into protector mode, completely skipping over the first 17 years of our daughter's life. If you are a father, it's in those precious 17 years (before prom) that your choices have the opportunity to protect her.
Sometimes I wish I knew why God chooses to heal some people and not others. But, I don't have the capacity to understand His perfect choices, so I just trust Him in the unknowing. Mostly, I think of my father when it comes to this topic. For 20 years he suffered from horrific back pain and despite decades of prayer, God did not provide relief for my father. For the last three years, I've been asking God to heal me, and just like my father, His answer thus far is "No." I honestly trust God's wisdom and the circumstances He can create through my health issues, but I'll keep praying in case He changes His mind!
Last night didn't go as planned. But how many of them do when you have kids? It took me over two hours to get my children to sleep. Our (semi) peaceful, structured 30-minute bedtime routine turned into an 180-minute scream fest. Our one-year-old cried hysterically every time I left his room, with no recovery in sight. I tried rocking him, singing to him, rubbing his back, and even laying in the crib with him. But the second I left, he turned into an active volcano. Tim wasn't home to help with Adeline so I had to factor her in too. She couldn't fall sleep amidst all the screaming and was confused about all the back and forth. When Lincoln finally succumbed to sleep I felt like a failure for all the chaos that I couldn't soothe.
This one is for the gentlemen. Men, what do you do to intentionally turn on your wife? Do you have a plan? Or, do you just wing it? Are you as successful in your sex life as you hope? Let's be honest, most of you probably answered "no" to the last question because if it went your way you'd be intimate with your spouse every. single. day. (multiple times a day!). If you could use a little help to up your percentages of positive results in the bedroom, check out these 20 tips, that actually work!
In under three months, we'll be celebrating Lincoln's second birthday. I'd usually say something like, "I can't believe he's almost two." But, I can believe it. Lincoln's life has been packed full since he arrived, and it does, in fact, feel like it's almost been two years since we brought him home. If he hasn't been at a doctor's appointment, he's been traveling through some state or another, and moving from one house to the next. Thankfully, he is healthy and seems to have adjusted well to all the changes that have come his way since 2014.
On August 23, I celebrated my father's birthday just like I have for 31 years. Except this year, I celebrated without him. On March 10, we were informed by the police department that my father had passed away, making the next 365 days a year of firsts: the first year he wasn't here to honor on Father's Day, the first year I didn't buy him a gift for his birthday, and the first year I won't find him sitting around the Christmas tree. However, just because my father is no longer present with us, does not mean I cannot continue to celebrate his life. A life that was created in God's image, a life that brought forth a son and daughter, a life that loved to the end.
Gazing at the ocean where we spread my father's ashes
Even though it's only for two and half hours, four days a week, my firstborn has left the safety of my nest--and I'm not ready for it! The night before Adeline's first day of preschool, I seriously contemplated keeping her home and foregoing the whole thing. She's only three, well, almost four. Is she really ready for this? Can't I teach her what she needs to know before entering kindergarten next year? What if she comes home with unfavorable new influences? And mostly, she's mine. My little girl. Mine to care for. Mine to love. Mine to guide. Mine to discipline. Mine to influence. Can I willingly give some of this over to a stranger?
On the 15th anniversary of the falling of the towers, I sat next to my husband in church as we listened to our pastor ask these questions:
"Why did God allow this to happen?" "Is there a God?" "Where was God?" "If God is so powerful, why didn't He stop it?"
Actually we can find ourselves asking these exact questions during every trial in our life. They're not specific to 9/11. At the end of the sermon, our pastor concluded that knowing the answers usually doesn't help. It's a matter of courage to trust God. His wisdom is far beyond anything we could ever comprehend. It's up to us to move forward in an attitude of hope. But how do we find hope and trust in God after such tragedy strikes? The answer to that question filled my spirit with such power that it moved me to tears.
I'm a military wife and stay-at-home mama earnestly seeking the Christ-like life. My desire is to help you cultivate a loving relationship with Jesus and encourage you to fulfill His purpose for your life.