I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking over the past few months, and I’m just now starting to wake up. I mean, I’ve been here, going through the motions, feeding the girls and changing diapers and playing outside, but at the same time, I haven’t been here. I’ve been missing out on the wonder of everyday life.
The other day, I was reading through the first chapter of Margaret Feinberg’s Wonderstruck again, and her words resonated with me. They fit me like a glove – I very well could have written them myself.
“Faith invites us into an enchanting journey—one marked by mysteries of divine beauty, holy courage, irrepressible hope, unending love. But in my life, any sense of the splendor of God had faded. I knew I needed a fresh encounter with God to awaken me from my sleep, to disturb me from my slumber.
And so I prayed for wonder.”
I know I’m not alone here. As I played outside with the girls yesterday, Kendall was absolutely mesmerized by these bubbles. Something so simple and commonplace – and yet they were nothing of the sort to her. She was wonderstruck…and I was convicted. I’m afraid that I’ve stopped allowing myself to be wonderstruck, not just by God, but by anything at all.
I have stopped expecting to meet God in this everyday life. Instead of straining to hear His voice, I’ve all but tuned Him out. And that, my friends, has got to change. These days, I’m praying for wonder. I desperately need a fresh dose of it in my life. As a stay at home mom, it’s entirely too easy to get sucked into the monotony of wiping snotty noses and fixing peanut butter sandwiches…again.
It doesn’t have to be that way, y’all. We can choose to be awestruck instead of rundown, filled with wonder instead of running on empty. It’s a matter of perspective.
I don’t want to miss out on amazing things simply because I was too groggy to see them. I’m waking up and praying for wonder.
What are you praying for?
Until next time, grace and peace.
Newsflash: Mother’s Day is coming up soon and will be here before you know it – May 12th, to be exact. This year, I’ve designed a freebie for you that’s directly drawn from something my little girl tells me every day, at least 37 times a day.
Over the past several months, Micah has dubbed all girls amazing and all boys awesome. She routinely calls out to me while she’s playing just to remind me that I’m amazing.
This is how the conversation goes:
Micah: “Hey Mama!”
Me: “What is it, baby?”
Micah: “You’re amazing!”
Me: “You’re amazing too, Micah.”
Micah: “I know.”
As you can imagine, it’s pretty amazing for my self esteem.
In honor of my self-assured little girl, I’ve created a free printable Mother’s Day card for all of you who have mothers as amazing as me :)
Until next time, grace and peace.
THE SMALL PRINT: You may not accept credit for the design of this card or sell it to anyone. Felicity Paper retains the copyright. If you wish to share the digital file with others, please direct them to this post. Do not e-mail the file all over the world. Please don’t link directly to the download file. Click to download your Free Printable Amazing Mama Card!Pin It
A few months ago (nearly four, to be exact), my family and I packed up, left our home in Iuka, drove five hours, and moved in with Dennis’ parents on the farm. It was a move that we had been planning for quite some time, but that somehow came all of a sudden. For years we had been talking about moving “back home,” but we didn’t think it would become a reality so soon. And then a job opportunity opened up, and before we knew it, we were packing boxes and putting a sign up in our yard.
Life changes fast, y’all.
I haven’t said much, or anything really, about it because it took me a while to process. In case you don’t know, I don’t handle change very gracefully. It takes time for new things to sink in with me and for me to adjust to the newness of it all.
That said, I’m so glad that we moved. Of course, I miss our friends. Very much, in fact. I miss being a short three hours away from my parents. I miss having lunch with my two best friends and their little girls. I miss spending afternoons at the park watching Micah play with her best friends. I miss pouring into “my girls” at church. I miss our home. I miss our church family. I miss all sorts of things about Iuka. It’s never easy to leave behind people and places that you love. Our life in Iuka changed me. The people there are very dear to me, even still. They won’t be forgotten.
But I’m very excited to be here. Micah and Kendall have been loved and doted on excessively since we moved here – both from Dennis’ parents and from my aunts and uncles. I’ve enjoyed spending time with family that I only got to see once or twice a year when we were in Iuka. It’s fun to know that my girls are making memories with some of my very favorite people in the world.
It’s also fun to know that my girls will grow up in the same place that I did. Interesting tidbit about Dennis and me: we grew up right down the road from each other and only met when we were in college. Our lives criscrossed more than once when we were kids. We have mutual friends and acquaintances. We participated in the same countywide quiz bowl tournaments. He went to prom with one of my softball teammates. Our world, it seems, is very small indeed. We moved to Franklin just before I started eighth grade, and I thought that was the end of my life in Brandon. I never would have guessed that I would move back 17 years later. And yet, here I am :)
This week, I’m (hopefully) going to lunch with one of my friends from middle school. We will (maybe) go look at a house. We have a (tentative) playdate with a little girl from church. Micah is signed up for preschool in the fall, and Dennis is really happy at his new job. In short, we’re moving on.
At least, we’re trying :)
Until next time, grace and peace.
When Dennis and I first moved into our house in Iuka, we were excited to be out of our cramped little apartment and have a little bit of space to move around. Then we started walking through the yard and noticed that where there should have been grass, there was a thick layer of dandelions. And, in case you didn’t know, dandelions are like the black plague of landscaping. They’re tough little boogers to get rid of.
Right now, I’m realizing that pride has taken root in my heart like a yard full of dandelions. It’s a sneaky thing, really, because you don’t realize how dangerous it is and how deeply its roots have burrowed until you start trying to rip them out.
My most recent battle with pride has to do with my girls. When others gush over my girls’ gorgeous blue eyes (they are stunning, if I do say so myself) and praise Micah’s smarts (because she’s a child genius, y’all) or Kendall’s laid-back personality (who doesn’t love an easy-going baby?), I swell with pride. And not just a little bit of pride. It’s a lot of it.
If it were just those things that I’m prideful over, it might not be so bad, but it goes deeper than that.
For three and a half years I’ve gloated over the relatively good health of my kids. As if I had anything to do with it. Seriously. Micah NEVER got an ear infection as a baby. She was rarely sick, and when she did come down with a cold, she bounced back quickly. Other people’s children suffered from chronic ear infections and were always sick, but not mine. My kids were perfect, and I was proud of it.
Until now. When Micah came home from preschool in early December with a nagging cough, I never dreamed that we would still be battling its lingering effects two months later. And yet, here we are. First it was Micah. Then it was me. We both hacked and sniffled for nearly a month before the antibiotics finally did their work and we got better.
But then Kendall started coughing. And then she got her first little ear infection and took her first round of antibiotics. Ever. And then the ear infection came back, so we stepped it up to the next level of antibiotics. Ten days of that, and I thought she’d be better (because my kids ALWAYS bounce back), but over the weekend, she started going downhill AGAIN, so I took her back to the doctor yesterday morning.
Guess what? The infection is back and worse than ever before. Her poor little eardrum is so swollen that it’s on the verge of rupture.
And I nearly cried. Especially when I realized that I was taking these ear infections personally. I’m ashamed to admit that they have seriously wounded my pride. Yes, I’m concerned about my daughter and her health, but I’m also concerned about my track record as a parent, and that’s shameful.
The crazy thing is, I know how ridiculous this all sounds. It’s stupid for me to be prideful of my daughters’ health because the truth is that their wellness has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the grace of God. The only reason that we have enjoyed three and a half years without any major issues is because the Lord has willed it so. Period.
As a mom, it’s far too easy to take credit for how great my kids are, even if I have nothing to do with whatever it is that people are praising. My greatest temptation is to pass off the work of the Lord as my own – to accept all the credit when really, all the glory is due to Him alone.
It’s no secret that the baby years are hard for me. When I see other mothers floating through the early months of their kids’ lives on a fluffy pink cloud of bliss, I want to gag. I always assume that they’re just pretending. The reason that I assume that? Well, in my experience, God has used both marriage and motherhood as chisels, chipping away at my character and removing anything that doesn’t reflect His likeness.
Apparently, there was a lot of junk that needed to be cleared away, and, in case you’re wondering, it’s not exactly fun. It’s painful. But hey, I’ve heard that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So this is my confession. My name is Leslie Ann Jones, and I’m a recovering pride-a-holic.
When stuff like this happens, I am reminded that God is still working on me. Right now He’s helping me realize that the pride that I have tolerated for so long has taken root in my heart, and it’s time to do something about it. Thankfully, He’s pretty good at wrenching out things that don’t belong.
Until next time, grace and peace.
Sometimes I feel like my entire life is tied up in whether or not my children get enough sleep. Any mom out there will know what I’m talking about. Or maybe it’s just me.
Kendall is generally easy enough to get to sleep. She’s taking three naps a day and goes to sleep on her own at night. Her problem isn’t going to sleep. It’s staying asleep. She routinely wakes up 45 minutes into her nap, wide awake and ready to play. Then she’s exhausted just 30 minutes later, but unable to settle down. She wakes in the middle of the night and early in the morning with no intention of going back to sleep without intense cajoling. One night last week it lasted for two and a half hours. Let that sink in. For two and a half hours, she was wide awake, either screaming or thinking about screaming. It was not fun. For the past week she’s been stirring between 4 and 5 a.m. wide awake and raring to go. That’s just a bit earlier than I’m willing to get up in the mornings.
Micah, on the other hand, sleeps like a rock. Her problem is going to sleep. I can feel the dread of naptime approaching when it’s still hours away. I know what will happen. I’ll give her a five-minute warning. I’ll set the timer and tell her that when it goes off, it’s time for a nap. Sometimes, she instantly complies, cleaning up her toys and docilely following me to her room, where we’ll read a story, and I’ll gently tuck her in. She’ll give me a hug and kiss, I’ll give her a pat and leave the room. Only to come back five minutes later to discover her surrounded by a pile of books on her bed, quietly resisting a nap. Other times, she flat out refuses to get ready for a nap and throws herself into a rage before we even head to the bedroom. I end up taking away all of her favorite baby dolls, her blankies, and her dream lite every single day before she finally gives it up and goes to sleep. The same thing usually happens at bedtime.
A few nights ago, Dennis and I were sitting in the den, preparing to go to bed ourselves. It was 10:03 when Micah came bebopping into the room. She was wearing a princess gown over her pajamas. She had a crown on her head, a string of Mardi Gras beads around her neck, and one cheap plastic clip-on earring dangling from her right ear. She stuck out her bottom lip as she handed me the other earring and said, “Mama, my eaw-wing bwoke. Can you fix it?”
I just looked at her in shock. Seriously, kid? She had been playing silently in her room for TWO ENTIRE HOURS, and she really expected me to fix the blasted earring? At that moment, I decided that her dress-up clothes probably shouldn’t live in her closet anymore. You can imagine how well that went over.
I’m not really sure how I became this sleep-obsessed mom – I only know that if my kids don’t get enough of it, then it’s all over. I will fiercely protect naps and sequester my girls in the house if something threatens their rest. I’m sure that some people think I’m crazy, but I also know that my sweet little girls turn into raging little monsters if they don’t get enough sleep. I suppose they get that from me.
At any rate, we’ve been going through a rough patch lately. Neither of my girls are sleeping particularly well, and it’s starting to wear on me. As I mentioned before, sleep and I are really good friends. I don’t respond well when our time together is interrupted.
Sigh. I know many of you can commiserate with me. I’m looking forward to the days when they’re a bit older and I can stop worrying so much about the amount of time that their eyes are closed each day. Of course, I’m sure there will be something else to worry about then. It’s just one of the many joys of motherhood. We’ve gotta have something to worry about. And right now, it’s sleep.
Anyone else dealing with sleep issues with their kiddos? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section.
Until next time, grace and peace.
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