Saturday, November 17, 2012

Two Years and Ten Months, Respectively

This is Everett before it turned cold and drizzly out. The longer I am a parent the less pictures I take so forgive the less than current picture, but you get the idea. He is two years and 3 months old. He is, how do you say, the freakin' most awesome kid I've ever met. I was so scared that he would wake up on his second birthday and be the "terrible two" tornado you are always warned (aka threatened) about. But he has continued to be even keeled and friendly. Of course he has his moments of irrational anger and there are times he wakes up from his nap and there is someone over that he usually loves and he will refuse to look at them or acknowledge there existence. But who doesn't have moments like these, even in adult life. His favorite things right now are Curious George, my iPhone, and popcorn. He could eat popcorn for every meal if we let him. He is sweet and accommodating, and if his brother is crying he will say "brother OK mama?" in a concerned and caring voice that just kills me. The last few nights when I put him to bed he will pat his little pillow and say, "lay with me mama?" and I just dare someone to turn down that adorable request.

Our chubby little baby boy is slowly turning into a little boy and everyday it seems like a little more baby fat has disappeared of his little frame, which makes me sad, but excited to see what kind of boy he will turn into. He truly is a joy.

 This is Graham. He will be ten months in ten days. Our little skinny baby is now a full on fatty. He eats everything in sight. You can't put something in your mouth around him without him crying and looking at you like you haven't fed him in weeks. I can't seem to feed him often enough. I think as sweet as Everett is will be how strong willed Graham is. He knows exactly what he wants and will let you know it. Usually what he wants is for me to pick him up and hold him. He will be contentedly playing in the living room and if he hears my voice in the kitchen he will immediately start crying for me to come get him. Everett was a complete daddy's boy at this age and Graham doesn't care about anyone but me. Sometimes it feels a little suffocating, but I know one day soon I will miss this sweet time when I was his whole universe. He is getting more and more steady on his feet and has recently started being able to walk while holding on to the couch. He is strong and sweet and loves to be held upside-down and tickled. He also REALLY loves bottles and can drink them faster than any baby I have ever seen. He loves when Everett talks to him or plays with him and can now clap when you ask him to and will "dance" if there is music on, which looks a lot like baby pelvic thrusting which is hilarious and a little disturbing. 

I am so in love with my boys. I am starting to see the beginning stages of the two of them playing together and discovering how to be brothers and it is so much fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Worlds Collide

I just realized today why being a stay at home mom feels so hard. Right now I am listening with one ear to the monitor for signs that my nephew is awake from his nap while feeding my 10 month old a disgusting meal of gummed down biscuit that he consumes like a pack of wild dogs going after a bone, all while my two year old sleeps peacefully downstairs. While doing all these things it came to me that I have just never worked this hard in my entire life. The days I spend with my children are relentless, unending marathons of picking up messes, making meals, playing with cars and trucks and too many things that make too many noises, and of course changing an infinite number of diapers.  Too many of which, by the way, require a change of clothes for all of us after the deed is done.

It should go without saying that I love it and LOVE my children. Even when it's hard and overwhelming, one little smile from my baby or funny comment from my toddler and my heart is so  full that I think it might burst. I wouldn't trade it for a day job. (Unfortunately i feel obligated to say that because mommy guilt kicks in and I worry that I will be judged for complaining about my children, or taking the blessing of being with them everyday for granted. For the record, I am an awesome mom and my kids are super awesome, and yes sometimes I want to hide in my room while they fight it out Hunger Games style). But every job I have worked up until now, no matter how busy or fast-paced I thought it was, did not hold a candle to this. The jobs I've had outside the home have been at least somewhat self-paced...meaning I could pick how hard I chose to work or how much I would try to get done in a shift. There might be a demanding boss, and sometimes customers or clients, but if I wanted to be crappy at my job, I could be. Or, I might have worked my butt off, but at least there was a break or a lunch on the horizon, or the joy of joys, the end of the work day.  But being a stay at home mom has absolutely nothing to do with me  and there is no pause button or stop button, and definitely no mute button (which would sometimes be the button of choice, let's be honest). I can't choose how hard I work because children have to be fed and changed and entertained and especially in this phase of life, there is no way that they can rely on themselves for any of these things. They need me for absolutely everything in their lives and the work isn't done until they decide it is by finally going to sleep at which time I usually fall into the couch and stay in that position until I get the energy to go to bed. 

Yesterday I spent a few too many hours dwelling and wallowing on this fact. "Just one minute to do what I want," I thought to myself, while angrily washing one more dish and soothing another crying child. I went to a dark place of bitterness and jealousy and selfishness that I'm not really proud of. But eventually kids do go to sleep and there is a moment to take a breath, after putting away the ocean of toys I spent the day tripping over and cleaning up the remnants of the days meals from the kitchen. And when I had a second of rational thought I realized something. This is exactly what my life is supposed to look like right now. It is no accident that God has been working through my issues with idolatry of self that I wrote about in my last post while I am in a stage of life that is the perfect place to let that work happen. What better way to cut away the love of self than to be in a place where I have almost no time to think about/worry about/even acknowledge myself? What better way to kill the demon of want and consumerism and vanity than being stuck in the house with three kids and only the energy to throw on some sweat pants and my hair in a ponytail?

A funny thing happens when you ask God to move. He does. And you want it to be this magical experience where you wake up and all of a sudden you don't care about the dumb things you used to and you feel this supernatural love and joy and peace and your children's crying all of the sudden sounds like angels singing and you could care less how much money is in your bank account or how many pairs of jeans you own. But it doesn't really happen that way. It happens in the way it's happening right now. You capture what is vile in you and offer it up to Christ in repentance, and then he starts working on you and in you, and it is usually hard and painful and stretching in ways you didn't really sign up for, if you are honest. But it is also pure JOY, because you realize how pure, how TRUE the gospel is. How petty the things of this world truly are when held up next to Jesus and his infinite power and how beautiful it is when you feel that power inside of you.

When I made this connection I could do nothing else but worship, to thank God for loving me enough to want me to be better, to be changed.  Colossians 3:1-4 says 

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at teh right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

My life is hidden with Christ in God, what?? My gross, jealous, bitter, selfish life is hidden behind His perfect one? If that doesn't make you WANT to be better, to kill those things in you as an act of worship and thanks for that being true I don't know what will. Because that is the truly beautiful thing about this whole thing. It is already done. All these things are already hidden in Him and my perfection is complete because it is HIS perfection that God sees in me. But he still chooses to work in us because he knows we need it, that life is better when are attentions and desires are towards Him and not the things of this world. Thank you Jesus, for loving me more than I even can comprehend.

Being a mom to little ones is hard, really hard. The knowledge that it is supposed to be hard doesn't change that, but it does give me something to cling to in those moments when the dishes are piling up and the baby is crying. My prayer is that my children see this struggle, somehow see and remember this time when there mom is learning how to cling to Jesus amid the biscuit crumbs and toy cars. And that they will learn to cling to him, too.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

A New Normal

Right now the wind is blowing in fierce gusts against our house, shaking the trees last desperately clinging leaves and sending them falling and swirling to the waiting earth below. It is overwhelming and beautiful that the same Creator that makes that wind and created those leaves is doing the same thing inside of me, something I have not allowed to happen for what feels like forever. I feel Him there, in the deepest corners and the most forgotten crevices of my heart and it feels scary and painful and SO necessary.

Jesus love me. He LOVES me. He loves ME? It’s a sentence that I write but still do not understand, a concept I don’t think I ever will. Yet as amazing as it is that God loves and forgives me, my idols rob me of the joy that this knowledge should bring. How is it that temporal things can seem bigger or more important than that which is eternal? Especially such small things, even by the world’s standards. Specifically body image, comparison, and insecurity.

In the 11 years I have been a Christian these issues have come up and been “worked through” time and time again. They have never gone away and I have had varying degrees of denial or acceptance of the role that these things play in my life. But they are always there. Lately, the ugliness of these sins have been truly disgusting to me. I am SICK to death of talking about things I have bought, or want to buy, or wish I could buy. I am sick of worrying about what the clothes I am wearing say about me, what people will think of my hair, makeup, nails, shoes, the existence of baby weight or the loss of baby weight, if strangers would look at me and think I was wealthy (yes I have actually had that thought, more often than I would care to admit), if I’m prettier than insert name here, if I’m skinnier that insert name here, if I’m more fashionable than her, I could just go on and on. How often these thoughts captivate my mind I don’t even want to admit to myself. They are a constant dialogue of flesh and sin that plays in my head and I just can’t take it anymore.

I feel like for the first time I understand the consequences of idols. I have always understood the definition of what an idol is but this is different. The Spirit has been talking to me despite the clutter that all this sin has caused in my heart. He has been shouting, actually. For the first time I have a picture of what I have been missing out on because of my constant unrepentant sin. Joy! Joy in the spirit that is real and tangible and isn’t based on circumstances. Joy in serving Him, in seeing the transformation of other’s souls, of having a relationship with Him and feeling his working in life. I am so filled up with other things I have suffocated the joy right out of me. Such a tragic way to spend a life.

The thing is, I do not have the power to change the desires of my heart to the things that matter. I can’t just will myself to not care about my appearance no more than I can will myself to go to sleep and wake up looking like a Victoria Secret model (let’s be honest, I’ve had that wish a time or two). Repentance in this area will be a complete transformation of my mind, my daily activities, the way I spend my money, and even my relationships with the people I care most about. I don’t even really know where to start. Actually I do know,  its also where I finish and where I continually return to day after day as I fight this battle. Jesus. Praying to Him, reading His Word, crying out to him as I struggle to change the way my mind has always worked. Praying that he captures my heart in a way that I fear I have never let Him.

*As I process through all this I already know that I will regret putting this on the internet and that is exactly why I am. Even if no one reads it I will know it s here and transparency is essential to the death of this sin*

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Late night mama ramblings

Being a parent is weird. Right now I am sitting in a dark, quiet, peaceful living room while my husband sleeps down the hall and my children sleep across town at my mom’s house. When they are here I find myself sometimes wishing they weren’t. Wanting one minute, one hour, one day of no one asking me for anything, or crying because they want me to hold them, or asking me to play in the dirt with them.

Now, here I am, in the middle of exactly that thing that I wish for so often, and I am completely lost in thoughts of them. Everett’s sweet voice saying, “Ok mama,” which is how he says yes to any question I ask him, even if “Ok” doesn’t quite work. Or his little, chubby arms connected to his little, chubby hands reaching up and up and up to me, his fingers moving back and forth as if he is trying to pull me closer to him by sheer will. To say that I love that boy is such a cheapening of my emotions that it is almost not worth saying. He makes every day of my life better. He is joyful and funny and silly and brilliant and has been pretty much every day of his two years on this earth.

Oh he is a little tester of my patience, too, don't get me wrong. He has recently discovered his bottom lip, which he can stick out farther than should be possible. He knows exactly what he wants and will make you go through every option until you arrive at what that thing is. But even in those moments when he is crying and running through the house screaming and shaking his arms and hands at me in anger, I am struck, practically floored at how much I love him, how visceral love is sometimes...that you can actually feel it in the pit of your stomach.

And then there is my charming little Graham. The past 4 months of his life have been such a challenge. We recently discovered that my breast milk was just not working for him and that he didn’t grow from four months to six months old. The guilt was overwhelming. Pretty much the one thing I was really in charge of by myself, keeping him nourished, I was failing at. He was such a fussy baby for that time, and we now realize it was simple hunger. Now that he is eating bottles and fattening up, he has become an entirely different baby. Once fussy and clingy, now mild and flirty and so loving and joyful. He still clings to me, but it isn’t the desperate, suffocating kind of cling. Now it feels like “hey mama, I just like to be close to you if that’s OK.” And trust me, it is more than OK. He is trying to crawl and you should just see him try to reach for his big brother, with so much pride in his eyes already. He is downright proud to be Everett’s little brother and I know that sounds crazy but it really seems true. And when he looks into your eyes and then smiles and looks away with his little tongue poking out from between his gums I swear your can hear the drippings of your melted heart on the floor.

I think I’m writing this because I need to get it all out, to say the things about my boys that are constantly swirling around in my head. And maybe a little bit to give me things to remember when I’m having a moment where the frustrations of the day overshadow all of this love. Also, I know that this time, this precious, exhausting, intense time when my children are young and each day is filled with hugs and tears and kisses and chubby cheeks are going to be over so quickly, already I feel them slipping away, and I want to be able to remember. To not just have pictures of this time, but words that explain how I was feeling and remind me of all the blessing my life has held, and I’m sure I will realize then that none were more blessed than these days I’m living right now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Six Years Later

Cory and I did not have the easiest dating relationship. Someday I might share the whole saga in hopes that our story might help someone else to avoid it, but let’s just say we broke each others hearts, and drove our friends crazy, over and over again before we finally got married. The other day I found an old journal from that time and as I was reading over it that now extinct but unforgettable feeling of sadness swept over me. Reading the words of my then 22 year old self, I could feel and remember the nights of anguish that I spent writing them, wondering why I had such strong feelings for a boy that I could not make it work with. Why we could not just let each other go when it was obvious the only thing we did was hurt each other time and again.

It is bittersweet to look back at that time. Hard, because back then the hurt was so tangible and all-encompassing. But sweet too, because now, six incredible years of marriage and two kids later, I can see clearly that God was not working in the obvious parts of our dating relationship, he was working in the unseen ways that God so often does. And what he was doing was redeeming something that our sinful flesh tried again and again to destroy. God KNEW who he was making us into as individuals, and the couple he wanted us to become for his glory. So no matter how many times one of us tried to screw it up, he was gently (and sometimes not so gently) trying to make our crooked line straight.

So now, on the eve of our sixth anniversary, I can’t help but reflect on this life we have created. Cory is exactly the husband I would have prayed for if my single self would have had any idea what was good for her. He is a man that is fiercely devoted to Christ and to his family. He gives, serves, and loves in endless measure. Last night I had the pleasure of watching him marry two friends of ours. As he was preaching the gospel and instructing the groom on how he is called to love his wife, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God that he has given me the husband that was not only speaking those words, but living them out each and every day by his love and devotion to me.

Happy anniversary my love, my best friend. Thank you for fighting for us back then, and continuing to fight for us (all four of us!) now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tuesdays with Sara but not on Tuesday

 It’s not Tuesday, but I’m doing a special edition post about this book because it it currently knocking my freakin’ socks off and I just have to share it with someone.

Have you ever been reading a book and come across a particular quote that you thought you might want to share with a friend, or post on Facebook, or write in your journal? While reading this book I have felt the desire to do this many times, but I can’t. If I started copying something down I would literally have to write the entire book into my journal and there just isn’t time for that in my days.

I did not expect to feel this way about a book. Confession time. I am a passionate lover of books, a passionate lover of Jesus, yet I don’t think I have finished a “Christian book” all the way through in years and years. Non fiction just kind of bugs me as a general rule, and more often than not I get bored or distracted and trail off reading in chapter 3 or so. But this book has been a game-changer. It is speaking to me exactly where I am right now. I am mom of young children who spends her days providing for other people’s needs, desperately (and most of the time sinfully) clinging to any moment in the day where I have a “free” second to spend for myself. I spend those times just staring at Facebook, looking for things on the Internet to buy, daydreaming about trips to the ocean alone with my husband, and very often catatonic in front of some mindless TV show.

Rest is not bad, and please don’t hear me saying that. Also, I love being home with my children and being able to serve my husband. But I have been finding my rest, my strength, in the wrong places. But worse that that, I think, is that I have been looking for God in the wrong places too. it’s RELIGION, and it is gross. I have compartmentalized God into this unattainable free hour in the day where I can go summon him up by reading the bible or writing in my journal. Like he is sitting on my nightstand waiting for me to let him into my life. I have created my life and my relationship with God in such a way that whether I’m seeking him or not seeking him, I’m not really seeking him. Does that make sense? The thing that I am looking for is not real. It is not the God of the bible, it is not Jesus Christ and his grace and love for me, it is this false sense of duty I have made for myself that never satisfies and never works.

God isn’t just here while I read his Word, or here when I am doing something “good,” or going to church, or serving in some specific arena at church. No, Jesus Christ is real and he is here and everywhere every second. Gospel wakefulness is not about paying God back in some way for the work that was accomplished on the cross, or trying to replace what has already been done for me by some work of my own. It’s about acknowledging what has already been done and living in the freedom that comes with it.  So when I’m washing the dishes, or changing a diaper, or watching a movie with my husband, or resting by myself during the day I am doing these things to the glory of God. As someone who knows they are forgiven and seldom gets things right but doesn’t have to, as someone who knows that she is loved and wants to serve and love and give and worship in response to that knowledge.

As I read over this the funniest part is that nothing about it is a huge epiphany. I have known all of these truths for some time. But I didn’t know them deep in my heart and I did not live my life as though I believed them. Truthfully, I’m not quite sure how to live my life as though I know these things. But I feel encouraged that there is not one way to do it, and it is not my job to do things “right,” which always seems to be my first inclination.

Jared Wilson puts it this way.
"Gospel wakefulness is an experience of such power- of such awakening - that it persists and endures, settling deep into the heart and the conscience of a believer, that is carried through all emotional highs and lows."  
That is how I want to live my life, with a deep and enduring knowledge and dependence on the gospel and its power and truth in my own life.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Graham's Birth Story

I can't promise this will be the most well-written post, but I wanted to get as much down as I could before I forgot.

Since Everett was ten days late, I spent the last weeks of my pregnancy trying to embrace the idea that my due date was just going to be one more day of pregnancy and that I was probably going to be in for the long haul. My goal was to keep working until I went into labor and would have visions of walking down the hall and seeing a gush of water much to the horror of my male coworkers. I just couldn’t make it though and the last week of January I decided to start working part time so I could try and rest up while we still had the luxury of daycare for Everett. I knew soon enough it was going to be just me and the boys all day everyday and I wouldn’t have the ability of calling in to my new “job.” At about 3 o’clock in the morning on January 25th the familiar feeling of a contraction woke me from a deep sleep. It wasn’t painful it was just very obvious, enough to cause me to take notice and look at my phone to start timing them in case another one came. I continued to have somewhat normal contractions up until about 6:30 when I finally felt Cory waking up beside me. “I think I might be in labor.” I said, almost apologetically. I knew that I just COULDN’T be in labor. It was 7 days before my due date and that I was just not that lucky. I felt bad even saying the words out loud because I knew I was just getting him excited for something that probably wasn’t happening.

We decided to have him go into work to finish up a few things in case this was “it” and that he would take Everett to daycare just in case, and if I was in labor one of our parents could pick him up later.  Cory left in that frantic panic/excitement that dads have when they think they are about to start the crazy journey of labor that will end in meeting their child. I stayed home and tried to relax as the contractions continued to come. I had yet to feel any pain, just tightening/pressure/cramps that were about 10 minutes apart. As the hours passed they grew farther and farther apart and I found myself getting more and more disappointed. It ended up being a really nice day, however, because Cory came home and we went on a walk around the neighborhood and then took a long walk around Target and then out to dinner at P.F. Chang's in an effort to distract me from the reality that this was not going to happen tonight. At dinner I had a few contractions that stopped me in my tracks but I stopped timing them or trying to anticipate them as i decided that I would know when this was real without having to look at a timer.

At around 3 a.m the next morning I woke up to more contractions that felt a little more intense than the morning before, but still nothing painful, just pressure in my back and a little discomfort. They continued for a few hours and then AGAIN just stopped. At that point I started feeling like I was taking crazy pills. I worried that I would have these stop and go contractions for the next 7 plus days and I was dreading it. At my last midwife appointment I was only a centimeter dilated so I rationalized to myself that maybe all these baby contractions were getting me farther along so I would have less work to do later. Cory and I decided to call our midwife Lynn and let her know what was happening and see what she had to say about what had been going on the last two days. She told me I should just come in and get checked so I would know if something had changed so I wouldn’t feel discouraged. I was more than willing to do that because at that point I was pretty frustrated. Cory and I decided to put my hospital bag in the truck just in case even though there was NO way we were going to use it.

When we got to our appointment Lynn checked me and I will never forget the look of surprise she had on her face when she looked up at me and said, “Sara, you are at a 6 and fully effaced!” Cory and I looked at each other with shock and glee and fear and excitement. I think I didn’t fully understand what that meant because I asked Lynn if it was possible I could stay a 6 until my due date which was still 6 days away. She laughed joyfully and said, “Um Sara, no, you are having this baby today!” Never have sweeter more terrifying words been spoken. I can’t tell you how surreal it is to not be feeling any pain, or even any contractions and to be told you are actually in labor. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. She told us that it was pretty much up to us. We could either go to the hospital right then and she would call ahead for them to admit us, or we could go home and wait for things to get going and then go when we we ready.

We decided to go out to breakfast and decide what we wanted to do next. As we sat waiting for our food I felt like I was going to faint. I think the reality of what was about to happen was sinking in and I choked down a bagel and some water and tried to steady my nerves. Towards the end of breakfast I started having some more painful contractions, the ones that make you grip the table or the chair next to you. At one point I put my head down on the table and I think our poor waiter must have thought we were in a huge fight because he kept coming over to check on us and I finally told him that I was in labor and apologized for acting strangely. At that point I decided I wanted to go to the hospital. I am one of the few people in the world who actually feels comfortable in the hospital and I like the feeling of security I get there. It helps that I know that being Lynn’s patient means I am given a lot more freedoms than the usual labor patient which I think makes a big difference.

We got to the hospital and got settled in our room. At that point i was definitely having regular contractions but nothing that was particularly painful, just constant. They put the monitor on to check the baby’s heartbeat and that is when things got tricky. My initial plan was to only have intermittent monitoring so I would be able to move around as needed, but during the first hour when they kept me hooked up the Graham’s heart rate was dropping with each contraction and not picking up again the way it is supposed to after each one was finished. This was scary, obviously, because I wanted my baby healthy, but it was also frustrating because I had to let go of my desire to have full movement and accept the fact that I was going to have that thing strapped around my belly for the rest of the day.

About the same time we got all settled in Kelly came. Kelly is my best friend and I knew that I wanted her in the room for my second child’s birth.

I hate to say it, but the rest of the day was kind Yes, my contractions were uncomfortable, but not super painful. And it was definitely scary that Graham’s heart rate kept dropping with each contraction. But I trusted Lynn (my midwife) and knew that she was staying on top of things and would keep us both as safe as she was able. So we all chatted with the nurses and waited for Lynn to come back at 5 o”clock to check my progress.

At about 6:30 she came back and checked my dilation. I was still about a 6 or a 7 which meant that the contractions I had throughout the day weren’t painful because they weren’t really doing much. My water still had not broken and we were all kind of at a stand still. Lynn decided to let me have some dinner before she manually broke my water so they brought in a bagel and some yogurt for me to eat. Throughout the day I had tried a million different birthing positions to try and find where I was most comfortable. I had tried on the birthing ball, in a rocking chair, hanging over the back of the bed while up on my knees, and my favorite, the shower! Unfortunately I couldn’t stay in the shower long because they needed to keep the heart monitor on because of Graham’s tricky little heart rate, but it definitely made me realize how awesome water births probably are for pain management. When my dinner came I had found myself on my knees backwards on a chair with my face buried into my Boppy pillow which was sitting on the windowsill, with the air conditioning blowing directly on my face. This was my favorite and most comfortable spot I had discovered all day and I happily ate my bagel in between contractions and chatting with my husband, my best friend, and our very sweet and beautiful nurse who by the end of the night became a friend. She even stayed past her shift so she could be there to help deliver my baby.

After dinner and a few more contractions Lynn came in to break my water. I knew once that happened things would speed up and get more painful so I prepared myself as I felt the familiar gush of water between my legs. It felt like it was about 30 seconds later that a  guttural  bellow of “pressssurrrrrrrrreeee” escaped from my mouth. Things got real, and really painful, almost immediately. Before I knew it I was in that out of control, in pain, can’t stay on top of things part of labor that I hadn’t yet experienced with this child. Each contraction was more intense and I became much more vocal. Everyone around me kept saying, “you’re almost done,” and “you’re going to meet him soon,” and it was making me really angry because I was only a six or a seven at that point and I didn’t want them giving me false hope that this part was going to be over soon. Before I knew it all of this stuff was coming down from the ceiling and out of the walls and the baby warmer was moved closer to me. “Give me a break,” I remember thinking, convinced everyone was jumping the gun. Lynn checked me and to my surprise and relief I was a ten and was ready to start pushing. Pushing was fast and hectic and painful. Much like my labor with Everett it was hard to figure out when a contraction was happening so I never knew when to push.

Pushing is the hardest part of labor for me. All of the hours of contractions are hard but it is the kind of pain that just happens to you, there is nothing you can really do to avoid the pain but you just have to ride it out. Pushing, however, requires you to actively engage and choose the pain. It’s up to you and no one else to find strength within yourself and push your baby out of you. It is a feeling of pride and joy and pain and fear like nothing else in this life.. I spent most of it picturing Everett’s perfect cute little face, and even found myself chanting his name. I knew that if I kept him in my mind I would remember why all of this was so worth it. At one point Cory laughed and said, “Um, don’t you mean Graham.” I was in my own private moment at that point and didn’t even realize other people could hear me, and tried to explain that I knew who was coming out of me, thankyouverymuch. :)

It only took about half an hour of pushing and Graham was in my arms. I just kept telling him I’m sorry that it was so awful and that I promise we never have to do it again. Him, of course, but me either. I knew in that one moment that our family was complete and he was the perfect period on a beautiful sentence that was waiting for him to be finished. I can’t explain what an amazing feeling it was to look around at the people in the room with us and I laid there with my brand new baby. Lynn, the woman that delivered both of my babies with such grace, kindness, and skill. My husband, who I can not imagine being a better partner to share this life with. Kelly, my best friend who I’ve known since 8th grade, who truly knows me and I her. And my mom, who stood there in shocked silence and admiration at the daughter she created creating life of her own.

I am so grateful that I got to deliver two healthy babies naturally and in such company. I am so grateful that I now get to be their mother for the rest of my life. God has truly blessed me with more in this world than I deserve, and at the end of all of this, that is the utmost gift. Him. Who gave us Himself in order that we might know and be with God. That gift being more than we could ever hope for, He also gives us the blessing of family here in this world along with the promise of eternity with Him in the next. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


This week we took a short drive up to Virginia City, NV so that Everett could take a ride on what he lovingly calls a “choo-choo.” We lucked out that the day we were up there they were running the steam train so it was extra noisy and extra legit. There is no better feeling in this life than watching your child have fun, of that I am convinced. It is an honor to be a parent, to get to sit back and experience moments of something new with your child. To watch Everett’s face light up and his little eyebrows furrow as he tries to figure out a different sound or a strange sight. He is exuberant and thoughtful at the same time, embracing life with complete joy yet very intellectually, wanting to know what things are and how they work. I spent the drive home just thinking about Everett’s short little life, and now Graham’s, much fun the next few years are going to be as they both grow older and begin to experience all the amazing things in this world God has given us for our pleasure.

I can be very frustrated as a parent, I get impatient and I daydream for the time in our lives when I don’t have little ones pulling at me, wanting something from me. When I have the time or energy to, oh I don’t know, start or finish a book again. But it’s days like this when I don’t want to push that fast forward button. I want to press pause and just marvel in where I am and the blessings I have...these two little souls I have been given charge of.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sleep is for Babies

Sometime in the last few weeks Graham (who is six months old by the way) has made the very adult decision that sleep is for babies and he is over it. He went from going to sleep at about seven or eight to fighting sleep until about midnight in the wide eyed, jerky necked, “I absolutely refuse to put my head on your shoulder because I know the minute I do I will fall asleep” kind of way.

Everett has always been such a great sleeper, even as a little baby. Because of this, Graham’s lack of sleep has sent me into a tale spin of emotion, frustration, and despair that has been very unexpected. I want to be the kind of parent that rolls with the punches and is patient and loving and kind. These last few weeks have made me feel like the complete opposite. I feel my fuse growing shorter and shorter throughout the day and the closer it gets to night time the more my anxiety grows and I have found myself yelling, actually YELLING at my baby...who can’t help himself and just wants me to hold him and soothe him and cuddle him. How dare he. Nothing will make you feel crazier than trying to discipline an infant, I promise you that.

Today at church I walked in feeling desperate for the Word of God. Desperate to be reminded of His promises. And I left feeling exactly that. But more importantly, I was reminded that there is only one Promise that matters and is sure and that is the promise found in the Gospel. He has already fulfilled the only thing I truly need and that is the forgiveness of my sins through Jesus Christ, something that happened way before me and that nothing that I do or don’t do can change.

I think that if I’m honest I believe there are all these “bonus promises” that I deserve because I am a Child of God, like a happy life, or a comfortable one, or more specifically-a child who sleeps and give me time by myself at night so I don’t absolutely lose my marbles. These “bonuses” I expect are not outside the realm of possibility. God does bless us beyond measure and merit all the time. He has given me many things, including grandparents who take my aforementioned baby for the night so I get one night of peace. But these things are not promised to me and are not things I deserve, should expect, or even need. The ONLY thing I need is the one thing that can’t be taken from me.

Being reminded of this truth has made me realize that I think far to highly of myself and this plays out time and time again in me trying to do things in my own strength. I am a good parent, but I absolutely can not raise these two boys God has entrusted me with by myself. I need His patience, His mercy, and above all else, His word poured over me again and again because I so often lost sight of these things.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Burn out

I have felt Gods leading in my life more and more lately. I don’t mean in the big picture, “this is what you are supposed to be doing for the next 5 years, Sara” kind of way, but in the “Sara, read my Word.” “Sara, pray with Everett,” kind of way. It is amazing to me that the God of the universe speaks to us in such small places, in such simple things. That He cares whether or not I know his Word, that He is paying attention to my little family in our little town.

Even more surprising, however, is that I KNOW that it is God, the God that created all things who is speaking to me and there are times when I actively and intentionally ignore it. Just today, I finished cleaning the house (a feat in itself with two children under 2) and I was sitting down to watch the next episode of Dawson’s Creek when I heard that voice speaking to me, telling me I should use this time that the boys are still sleeping to spend some time with Him. I wish that I could say that I immediately grabbed my bible and sat down to read, but I actually continued on my path towards the couch, the remote, and the mental off button I so thought I needed. It took five minutes of actively debating with myself before I turned off the TV and starting reading.

That five minutes speaks volumes about the state of my heart. About where I find my rest and where I put my energies. Lately I find myself spending most of the  day just surviving until I am able to have my next break. As I play with, feed, or tickle my boys I am thinking two hours ahead when I can have some time to myself. I think this says two things. 1. I am in need of rest and solitude and that 2. When I do have time for these things I am not finding them in the right places.

Motherhood is no joke. There is no clock to punch at the end of the day and there is no drive home from the workplace to give you distance from the work that is left undone. At any moment of any day I am surrounded by something, often many things, that need to get done. Even in moments when I try to relax I find myself not enjoying it because I’m thinking about the five more “productive” things I could be doing during that time and hounded by the knowledge that there won’t be time later. Because of this I need to pray about and seek wisdom into ways that I can get true Rest. Do I need to wake up earlier so that I know I will have uninterrupted time with God before my children wake up? I have never been good at that so I know it would be a struggle and fear I am just setting myself up to have one more thing I get frustrated that I can’t get done? Do I need to find a way to give up my own picture of what I think my home is supposed to look like in order to spend more nap times engaged in prayer, reading, writing?

I know that I am blessed to be home with my children everyday, that I will look back at this time with joy and pleasure. The worst thing I could do is not engage with my children and husband while I have this time because I feel burnt out and tired. THIS is my calling, THIS is my mission field and I need to remember that just like any other it is not something I can do in my own strength.