Endings & Beginnings

Ending: Reilly’s love affair with her pacifier.

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Beginning: Life as a “big girl” – though tonight when Josh tucked her in he said, “Reilly, you’re a big girl now, aren’t you?” She replied, “No, I’m a little girl.” I like that answer. šŸ™‚

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I love the magic of the pacifier. But I hate what it takes to break the addiction! If it wasn’t weird for a 5 year old to sleep with a pacifier, or if it didn’t mess with her jaw alignment, I totally would have let her keep it longer. As soon as we bring out the blankie and paci at nap time or bedtime, she is as good as asleep. She could be bouncing off the walls 10 seconds earlier, but put that plug in her mouth and the blankie on my shoulder and she lays her little head down and snuggles me. No nap or bedtime battles for her. The paci is just her signal that it’s time.

I tried getting rid of it back in January. We talked about it, she understood, she agreed that she could sleep without it….that lasted about 5 minutes into nap time. Then the screaming and wailing ensued. For a LONG time. So I finally got her up and went on with our day. I was determined not to give the paci back. Bedtime rolled around and I thought, surely she will be so exhausted from having skipped her nap (which was a first ever) that she will just conk out pretty quickly. Nope. She screamed and cried for….a LONG time. No consoling, no reassurance of special treats for big girls in the morning….nothing would calm her down. So I caved. Gave the paci back and I kid you not, she was instantly happy and fell asleep within minutes.

This time, I worked up my resolve for a couple more months. Ha! Then I sent Halle to spend the night at my parents’ house so she wouldn’t have to endure the crying that was certain to come at bedtime (since they share a room). And rather than starting at nap time, we started at bedtime this go around. We talked about it all evening and *encouraged* (or bribed…?) her with the hope of chocolate chip pancakes and ice cream (actually smoothies but she doesn’t know the difference) for a reward in the morning. We praised her for being such a big girl and told her we were so proud of how brave she was, prayed with her for Jesus to help her sleep well, etc…

After I tucked her in last night, she started crying immediately after I left the room. Josh went in after about 15 minutes and held her for a few minutes, then tucked her back in. She cried for about 25 more minutes, then stopped abruptly and slept soundly for the next 11.5 hours.

She was so proud of herself in the morning and we made pancakes and smoothies and that was that. She hasn’t cried for nap time or bedtime today at all. I am so happy to have that behind us. I knew we needed to do it and it was hanging over my head for the past several months. I admit I will miss the paci-face and the way she talked with it in. šŸ˜¦ We are now officially a paci-free household because Karis never got attached to it and didn’t use one at all past 3 months.

Reilly is such a gift to us. She is so spunky and funny. She makes us laugh all the time and has a smile that is contagious. She is smarter than a whip (what does that actually mean…is a whip smart?) and still seems like my little baby girl. I love watching her grow into a little girl and seeing her personality bloom.

And just for fun, here she is at 2 days old. *Sigh*

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Next up, potty training!

-Brit

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Spring Fever

Like most fellow mid-westerners, we are so ready for Spring here! We had a lovely warm-ish day Ā last week so we all went out for a walk. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood with very little traffic so the girls are free to run and walk alongside us when they want to.

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For the second lap, Halle wanted to ride, and looking at her so big in the jogger made me think back to when we took her for walks as a baby in the same stroller… *sigh.* She’ll be four in May.

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And Karis is going to experience her first ever Spring. šŸ™‚ Possibly first steps, trying to eat grass, cute sun hats, bare toes and chubby legs.

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And LOTS of running around being silly!

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-Brit

A Prayer Answered :: He Bears Our Burdens

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19

I was lying in bed last night when the Lord gave me a gentle, but vivid reminder of His care for me and His desire to carry my burdens. This may sound like a silly illustration – but hey, people in the Bible had some pretty weird dreams and visions too, right? In my mind, I saw a waiter with a serving tray with several dishes on it. I imagined Him handing me one thing at a time – at just the right time – when I needed to have it. A good waiter brings your drink, then your appetizer, then your main dish, then your dessert. He doesn’t just throw it all in your lap at one time.

I believe the Lord was telling me to give all my burdens (see this post from yesterday) to Him, and He would carry them for me. When the time comes for me to deal with a specific need (meal planning, child training, health issues, etc.), He will provide the way to do it and hand it back to me to implement. There is no need for me to carry everything at once. I was not made to bear that weight.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

HeĀ wantsĀ me to give these burdens to Him. And how amazing that He willĀ neverĀ let me fall. Instead of “fall,” other versions use terms like “be shaken,” “be moved,” or “give terror.” What a promise. I used to have a hard time with verses that referred to the ‘righteous’ because I didn’t know who could hold that title. Now I know that since Jesus holds the title, he bestows it upon me because I belong to Him. So there is no fear in failing, falling, being shaken, or given to terror.

As I am writing this all out, I’m remembering an email from my friend Rachel that I read just a few hours ago that speaks to this same idea. She shared some lovely words of encouragement with me. The author of the book she was reading suggested asking yourself two questions throughout the day.

  • What’s important right now?
  • What’s next?

I feel so encouraged when God teaches me and reassures me like this. He gave me a (sort of funny) visual picture of Him carrying my burdens until He gives them to me one at a time – with guidance and provision for handling them gracefully. Then He spoke again through words from a friend – giving me two concrete questions to keep me focused on this truth throughout the day.

So thank you, Jesus, for answered prayer. And thank you, Rachel, for being a messenger today. šŸ™‚

-Brit

This is So Much Harder Than College

…being a wife and mother, that is. Let me be clear that the depth of beauty of motherhood and marriage is unrivaled by any other experience I’ve had in life. But it is so much harder, too.

My mind has never been more stretched. My intellect is being constantly challenged in every facet of a wife and mother’s concerns: health and nutrition, finances, organization, home efficiency, cooking, cleaning, scheduling, planning…oh, yes, and the children! Three kids to feed, dress, bathe, play with, laugh with, discipline, train, teach. Nothing could be more rewarding and it is absolutely where I want to be in life, but it is plain exhausting.

When I first became a mother, I remember feeling like I was getting “dumber.” Playing with one little baby all day and having hours of free time (nap time) that were mostly spent alone made me feel like I wasn’t being challenged. Sure, the early months of sleepless nights and terrible pain of nursing my little girl were hard, but not mentally stimulating. Goo goo-gaa gaa and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star can numb the mind a bit.

It’s three years later and I’m changing my tune. Ā I have never been more intellectually challenged (not to mention physically, emotionally, or spiritually) in my life. The topics that are bouncing around in my brain on any (every) given day are endless. Homeschooling plans, GAPS diet research (recipes, fermenting, food prep techniques), finding new sources for all the new kinds of food we’re eating, figuring out how to budget for it all, weaning Reilly off her pacifier, potty training, cloth diapering (bought them and have used them but not as much as I’d like), nap/night potty training Halle, laundry!, implementing chore time with the girls, scheduling appointments, softball lessons, church involvement, garden planning, starting solids for Karis, reading too many books at once, pondering/praying about a million things related to mothering these three girls, staying *calm* when dealing disobedient or whiny children, showing grace to them, being intentional about loving my husband, how to get back in shape, my aching back, hips, and feet, beginning stages of researching/planning for possibly building a house in the future, visiting family, planning get togethers with friends…..

Bless you if you read all the way through that list. That list was mostly for me. I’m thinking if I write it down, it will settle my mind a bit. have no doubt that I can thrive in this season of life and that the Lord is always working in me and will be faithful to complete the work He has begun. But I can still say it’s hard, right?

When the Hard Choice is the Better Choice

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My last post, “Sometimes Easier is Harder,” centered on the idea that often when we take the path of least resistance we end up having to endure more difficulty in the end. Taking a shortcut and doing the convenient thing is not always the best way or the right way.

Today I want toss around some ideas about choosing the hard thing in order to make life easier and/or better in the end.Ā In God’s upside down economy (no actually His is right side up and the ways of the world are upside down…but you catch my drift), trials are good. Hard things are good. Challenges are good.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Some hard things in life may be absolutely unavoidable: a health problem that is out of your control, a decision made by someone else that directly affects you, or enduring a natural disaster that results in loss of life or home. These are indeed trials, but have nothing to do with your choosing them. That is for another post.

Sometimes we are faced with choices that are entirely within our control. And often times doing the hard thingĀ first will lead to a better or easier outcome.

  1. Like choosing to spend more time in the kitchen on food preparation in order to be healthier and/or be a better steward of your money.
  2. Like teaching, training, and disciplining your toddlers so you can enjoy peace in your home and share a close, loving relationship with them instead of spending all your energy trying to ‘control’ them in their tween and teen years.
  3. Like doing the dishes (or training your kids to!) right after dinner instead of plopping down in front of the TV or computer so you can start your morning with a clean kitchen.
  4. Like being the first one to say you’re sorry after an argument with your husband so you can reconcile quickly and enjoy each other instead of carrying resentment around for hours or days.
  5. Like holding your tongue when it would be so easy to gossip which allows Ā you to have a clear conscience and peaceful relationships with others in the long run.
  6. Like downsizing and simplifying so you can be more available to your children and other ministry opportunities rather than spending so much time taking care of your ‘stuff’ and working more so you can pay for all of it.
  7. Like running the first mile when you’d rather be sleeping so you can be in better physical shape which will allow you to enjoy life and help others more.
  8. Like saying “no” to a good opportunity so that you can say “YES” to the one God has called you to.
  9. Like saying “yes” to a speaking engagement (even though it scares you to death) so you can bless others and glorify God through your message.
  10. Like canceling your cable service so you can build a well for a community in a country you’ve never been to for people you’ve never met.

…because really, when you look at the end results, the hard thing doesn’t seem so hard after all. It just seems worth it.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

And for the sake of clarification, the list above is simply a starting point to get us thinking- not a black and white standard that will fit everyone’s circumstances. Some of your “choices” will no doubt be different than others’ because God has made us all unique and called us to different things. So no, I am not saying you are doing the wrong thing if you ever choose to skip doing the dishes right after dinner. You might be a clean-freak who actually should make the ‘hard’ choice to play with your kids instead of doing the dishes first.Ā Just in case you were wondering. And also, (#7) it has been years since I ran a mile. And I don’t feel too guilty about it. But if it resonates with you, go run a mile. šŸ™‚

-Brit

Sometimes Easier is Harder

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  1. Like having smart phones that supposedly save you money and time, yet cost hundreds each month, steal hours from your day, and give you less real face time with your family.
  2. Like having a television that will mesmerize your children so you can have a break, but having to re-train them for attentiveness and respect and appreciation for true art and beauty that the TV stole from them.
  3. Like blog hopping instead of doing the dishes, but then you end up with a mountain of dishes and no plates to use for dinner and you’re crabby because your kitchen is a mess.
  4. Like buying the big house with the custom cabinets and walk in closets, but then you have children and wish you could stay home to see them grow up but you can’t afford to.
  5. Like financing the new car because it tells the world you’ve arrived, but then you’re fighting with your husband about where all the money’s going and why can’t we just keep up with the Joneses?
  6. Like pushing “send” on a text or email with words you would never say face-to-face, then wishing you could find the “un-send” button.
  7. Like indulging in the extra (dozen) cookies, then stressing about why you just can’t shed those last 10 pounds.
  8. Like staying up late because you’re a “night owl,” but in the morning you pull the covers over your head and feel defeated before the day’s even begun.
  9. Like not taming your tongue and getting in the easy criticism, then having to repent and reconcile what should have never been broken in the first place.
  10. Like dismissing the possibility of adopting an orphan or supporting a missionary, then wondering why you can’t seem to find a useful purpose in God’s work on earth.

A few of these I’ve managed to avoid doing, but most of them I’ve learned (am learning) the hard way. Because sometimes taking the easy road in the beginning turns out to be the hard road in the end. But, praise God, he is full of mercy and grace to hold us on this journey.

-Brit