Thursday, January 26, 2012

gratitude

Every morning I awaken with my baby, and the feeling that I have been run over by a truck.  At least, I think I might feel the same if I was ever run over by a truck.  Instead, I have been awoken too many times through the night by a baby who has not yet learned that Mommy is nicer when she gets more sleep.  It takes every ounce of energy I have to open my eyes and drag myself out of bed.  And I wonder, will I make it through the day feeling this exhausted?  But every day, God give me the strength I need.  Once I am up (and have had that first cup of coffee) I actually feel pretty good.
For this I am grateful.


I have a 3-year-old.  She is going through a demanding phase.  I imagine I am not the only mom who wants to shout, Are you kidding me, Child?!?  I have devoted my entire day to entertaining you, picking up after you, feeding you, cleaning you, singing to you, reading to you, and driving you around!  I have given up my entire previous life of independence to care for you!!  And YOU are complaining about way I cut up your hot dog?!!  But I don't.  Instead I feel a deep compassion and love for this selfish child who God has entrusted to my care.  I am given patience where I had none.  Gentle words replace ugly ones. It is a genuine mothering miracle.
For this I am grateful.


My time is not my own.  It takes most of the morning to get myself dressed, let alone tidy up the breakfast dishes.  Entropy catches up to me quickly.  The children are incessant.  I can never quite recount what I have done between the hours of 7am and 11am, but I believe the time has vanished into filling the minor needs of my girls - making animals talk, changing a diaper, pulling out toys, feeding someone.  The day proceeds like this.  There is a point in the afternoon, far too brief but existent none-the-same, when both girls are napping (or at least quiet in their rooms.)  I sink into the couch, open my Bible, check email, or simply stare into empty space.  A tiny sliver of peace in a world of chaos.  The moment refreshes me.
For this I am grateful.


I am describing small, daily miracles.  Except that they are not small.  They are stuff life is made out of.  God gives us incredible strength to do what He asks us to do, to be who He asks us to be, to love how He asks us to love.
For this I am grateful.


In the new year I am making a conscious effort to practice the discipline of gratitude.  It is not a question of what I have to be grateful for, but whether I choose to see it.


This post is a follow up from my last post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

new year

It is not something I normally say, but I am relieved to be exiting 2011.  For me, it was a year essentially filled with not feeling good.  And I do truly recognize that I have little to complain about because I am not terminally ill and have the function of all of my limbs, etc.  But it was a selfish year, spent wallowing in the exhaustion of pregnancy, and spent uncomfortably summoning the motivation to do menial tasks.  Eternal hibernation sounded positive to me.  On top of it all, pregnancy hijacked my personality.  If you know me on a daily basis, thanks for not giving up on me.

As I emerge from the fog of a year spent not myself, I almost want to jump for joy as I see glimpses of the "me" I have been missing.  I feel motivated to start projects, to play with my kids, to make jokes, and wonder of all wonders, to make dinner!  (This is the one that really clued me in... for me to feel like making dinner means that I actually have extra energy.)  

The arrival of the new year always prompts my heart to change, and somehow make this next year count for more.  It is the opportunity to grab the map and make sure I know where I am going... and maybe plan out a better route than the one I have been on.

In the wake of this year of self-centeredness, New Year Resolutions seem pretty much expected.  I have nowhere to go but up.  So, taking the prostrate position, I asked God where He wants change in my life.  Then I asked Him to narrow it down a bit because His answers were overwhelming me.  Like I said, nowhere to go but up.

In the end, there are two specific areas I feel God is calling me to focus on this year: Gratitude and Generosity.  Two ways to make the year more about Him, and less about me.  Two attitudes that cannot fail.  Two tools for making me a more unselfish person.  Two steps closer to becoming the woman God wants me to be.

Gratitude - Focusing on God.  Choosing to see the "haves" in my life instead of the "have-nots".  Practicing the art of thankfulness again and again and again until it is not an outward effort, but overflows from a heart that is filled to the brim.

Generosity - Giving to others.  Not financially (why do we always think of generosity as being material?)  Generosity in every other way possible... in time, in effort, in words of affirmation, in thoughts toward others, in giving the benefit of the doubt, in not keeping track of what is fair but generously erring on the side of someone else.  

I would like to give a hearty welcome to this wonderfully new year, and wonderfully better version of myself.

Friday, January 6, 2012

december in review

Yes, I know, December has come and gone.  In most cases I am not quite sure where I find the time to blog, but in December the time literally did not exist.  After a busy month of prepping for Christmas Day, we awoke to find that Santa had left us a nasty cold virus under the Christmas tree.  I have been out of commission ever since, either caring for sick children or attempting to sleep off the cold myself.  Ahhh, precious sleep.  I am dreaming that the year 2012 will hold more sleep for me than the year 2011 did.

A few highlights from December...
Sommer got her first ride on the tractor.


A visit from my brother, and his first ride on the tractor too!

A visit from Oma and Opa.

A baby bunny.

Note: After this picture was taken, Sommer yanked out a fistful of bunny fur... whoops.  That darn clench reflex.  The baby bunny was released and seems to be doing just fine.

Special girl-bonding time.  (We are contemplating the possibility that Sommer may be part Inuit - must be Christian's Norwegian side of the family!)

In addition to the respiratory virus, Santa left us 3 goldfish and a castle for them to play in, per specific request by Annike.  He also left this in my stocking...

It was a good Christmas.

But, here we are in 2012... finally.  Between pregnancy and newbornland, I am not sure that 2011 was one of my finer years.  One year ago on January 1st, I found out I was pregnant with little Sommer.  It was a wonderful New Year's gift... and the rest of the year I didn't feel so great.  But she is worth it!  (At least, I think she will be one day).

I hereby raise a fictitious toast to a new year that holds more sleep and less physical discomfort, more thankfulness and less complaining.  And a toast to my fantastic husband, who really picks up the slack when I am not myself.  Thank you, Lord, for the new beginnings that cycle regularly through our lives.
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