Friday, December 20, 2013

Clearing Out The Clutter

I am warning you this is a rambling post and basically is for me.... you may or may not get anything out of it. Great opener right? Super stoked to keep reading huh? I thought so.... proceed....

I was talking to a friend a few days ago and during our seemingly mundane, ordinary conversation, she mentioned, "I just don't need one more thing everyday that takes me away from Jesus...". It really started me thinking about my life. Not only do I not need one more thing, I really need to clear out a few things that are already in my life. 

I struggle with lots of things in my life, mostly bad, but some good. I find that the harder ones for me are the good ones. It's good to want to be a great mom; it's good to want to be a great wife or friend or steward or servant.... whatever title you can imagine, it isn't a bad thing to want to do a good job. What is bad however, is letting that pursuit become an idol in your life. 

For me, I struggle hard with this. I want to be a good mom, but I let that run me... a lot. I want to be a good wife, and I let that run me..... a lot. All of these things take turns slowly becoming hue idols in my life. What does an idol do? It keeps my focus all wrapped up on it so that my focus can't be on Jesus.  The farther satan and get my focus from Jesus, the happier he is. Satans goal every single moment of my life is to keep me from Jesus. He can be pretty frank for the most part, but e is also quite sneaky. Using things that seem good in my life to do his dirty work. I am just fed up with it to be quite honest. DONE. 

My home is important to me. It is a huge blessing from God and I want to take care of it and treat it as such. Unfortunately my home has become a huge idol in my life. So I prayed that God would help me to truly understand what it is that He wants me to do and what I need to let go of. I am slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) learning that it is okay to let a few things go. Not forever, but just for a moment. Long enough to steal a few tiny kisses from Jayce. Long enough to hear an interesting fact Lula Mae found in a book. Long enough to have a tea party or build a robot out of legos. Just long enough to give my kids a memory. A keepsake that no fire can destroy, no robber can steal, no moth can eat. A moment they will be able to look back on and say, "I loved that my mom ____________.". 

And so, I needed so system. This is laminated and taped to the refrigerator. 

Having "focus days" has taken lots of pressure off of me. My kids and my husband know what the goal is for the day so that if there is something that hasn't really gotten done they can look and say "Oh, okay. Mom is going to work on that on Wednesday, not today.". Now don't get me wrong, I am not the only one responsible for these tasks, but I am the one who oversees these tasks.

This helps me realize, visually, that all those chores will still be there tomorrow. They aren't going anywhere. While I am not someone who can just do absolutely nothing, I am learning that it is just fine if EVERYTHING does not get done. My home and how it is taken care of should not be an idol. Balance... one of the hardest concepts of all time. Am I right folks?

Every morning the kids and I do a devotional together and read the Bible. I really love this time with them. They are still warm and snuggly from their nice cozy beds. They lay on me as though to say "Mommy here are my burdens, help me give them to Jesus". We read this together just two mornings ago...

Do not be overwhelmed by the clutter in your life. By "clutter" I'm not just talking about all that stuff under your bed. I'm including all those endless little chores that you need to do sometimes, but not necessarily now.

All those little tasks will eat up as much time as you give them. So, instead of trying to do everything at once, choose the chores that really need to be done today. Then let the rest of them slip to the back of your mind, so that I can be in the front of it. 

Remember, your goal in this life is not to check everything off a to-do list. It is to live close to Me. Seek My Face all throughout this day. Let My Presence clear away the clutter in your mind, and flood you with My Peace.   

Folks, take that and really ponder it for a moment.

I love how sometimes the kids devotional hits my struggles perfectly. Is it bad that my adult brain needs it broken down that far sometimes. Sigh.

And so, with all my rambling, I just urge you to just let some stuff go. Trust me, for this OCD chick, that is so hard.... but I am trying. Why? Simply so that I can spend more time every single day seeking His Face and allowing His Presence to clear away the things in my life that keep me from Him. My system is not flawless by any means, but it is helping.

On another similar note, this is what we have posted right underneath our Daily Focus chart....

... our family schedule. I have a stack of laminated, magnetic strips with all sorts of different things on them. A few of them never change (wake up/ alone time with God, breakfast/family Bible time being prime examples) while others can be rearranged to meet our needs for that day. Now I can't lie, sometimes I go days... or even weeks... without changing our schedule. Never the less, it is a great tool and it helps the kids and I stay focused and be productive while still remembering that it is okay to let things wait until another day and really put our focus on God. I still strive to be a good homemaker, I am simply choosing to do it while trying to live close to Him in every way!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

For The Love Of Toys!


I have a love/hate relationship with them, as I am sure lots of parents do. There are just too many toys! I have found that my kids actually play less when there is an over abundance of toys. Not to mention that they don't seem to appreciate their toys, or other things for that matter. Armed with this information, I began searching and praying for what to do.

Then I read this article titled "Why I took all my kids toys away {and why they won't get them back}" It was EXACTLY what I needed! Everything she said made me say, "oh my goodness, EXACTLY!". It was a breath of fresh air and I knew it was what I wanted to do something like this as well.

As soon as I knew I wanted to work up a plan of attack, I started preparing the kids. We have been talking about how we are very blessed and how we are called to help those around us through the blessings God gives us. And so my first step was to ask the kids which toys they wanted to donate. Luckily that step went very smoothy. We donate toys often, but the attitude my children have about it is less than willing and shows just how selfish they can be. When I saw this progress I knew it meant we had to keep up the momentum and go deeper.

Now we are preparing them for the next step, the bigger step. The step that a tiny piece of me is like "Am I crazy? Are the kids going to drive me nuts when I do this? Will it be worth it at all?".

The day after Thanksgiving we are going to bring ALL THE TOYS IN THE HOUSE into the living room. Together we are going to sort every single toy into piles. A donate pile, a pile of "always" toys, and then bin toys.

Always toys are going to be the toys they can have in their toy boxes in their rooms. Lula Mae will get to have her baby doll and accessories. Jayce will get his cars and trucks. They will each get to keep a few more "always" toys, but I will be sure that they are toys that spark imagination and creative play. These piles will be very MINIMAL and will be monitored frequently.

The bin toys will be sorted into 3 plastic bins. We will no longer say "this is his toy" or "this is her toy". The bins are OUR toys, They belong to everyone. I am going to try my hardest to make the bins make since. For example on bin will have the cash register, the play food, the chefs costume, the tea set, etc. so that when a bin is picked they can really play together. 

Each week the kids will pick out a bin TOGETHER that will stay in the playroom. For that week they can play with that bin, along with their "always" toys. They toys from the bins will not be allowed to come to their bedrooms, they must stay in the neutral area of the playroom. I am hopeful that that will help them to realize it isn't "his" or "hers", and instead theirs

This is just my overall vision. I realize there are still many details that need to be sorted out. I am confident, however, that this new system will really help my kids. We live in a "stuff" driven world and I am desperate to help them see that "stuff" is not important. I want them to appreciate things and really thank God for everything He has blessed them with.

I won't lie, this will be very hard for me. One of my love languages for my kids is "giving gifts". Part of the reason I want to do this is to help me realize that my kids don't need  all these things I am buying. I think this is really going to challenge me in a big way, and I am very excited about that. 

My kids will have some adjusting to do as well, I am sure of that. I can't wait to see what this does for our family!

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Brain Has Left The Building

My brain has officially checked out. Yep. It isn't even mid-November yet and I feel like I am ready for the new year.

Life has been so full and busy these days. That is great I guess, except I feel like it has been so busy that I haven't been able to keep up with what's really important.

Jesus is what is really important. End of story.

With how crazy things are these days I am skipping my quiet time, rushing through prayers, squeezing in my devotional. What is that showing my kids??? It is showing them the exact opposite of what I am called to show them!

I need this holiday season to be different than any other. I need it to be low key, and calm, and 100% focused on Jesus. Not just Christmas, but Thanksgiving too! I desperately need things to slow down so I can gain some perspective.

Raising my kids is one of the most important things God has called me to do. I am seeing how difficult this job really is these days. I am also seeing how fleeting my chance to raise my children is as well. I will be my kids Mom until the day I die, but I only really have a small window of opportunity to raise them. The way things are going right now, I am ashamed to say, society is really raising my kids... not me. That is just not acceptable! I am aware that when my kids are adults I can still impact their lives and influence them, but not like when they are young. Not like I can today. Today is where I need to be.

Today is where I need to always be focused. Showing my kids how to live for Jesus today.

When the new year rolls around I want to have a better handle on understanding time. I want to move into 2014 with a feeling of "I can do this".

If I'm lucky, perhaps my brain will join me...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Person I Am On Facebook

Deception. That really is the best way to describe it.

I am not the person you see on Facebook. My life does resemble that person, and the things I post are true life events, but in the grand scheme of things I am not that person. Not even a little bit.

On Facebook I am super woman, I am an amazing Mom, I should win Wife Of The Year, my home is perfect, I am always put together and wearing makeup, my kids are sweet little angles who say the sweetest things, I spend countless hours filling myself with God's Word, I am always filled with joy.... and the list could go on and on. This is the person I let you see. Why? Because the true me is just not good enough to post for the worlds viewing pleasure.

The real me forgets about the same load of laundry all day until I finally have to run the washer again just to be sure nothing got molded.

The real me sprays a little air freshener through the house before my husband comes home to give the illusion that I "cleaned". 

The real me does not show my husband the respect he deserves on a daily basis.

The real me does not submit to my husband the way that God commands, and if I do it is with a bad attitude... which basically means I haven't submitted at all.  

The real me rarely puts on clothes that don't closely resemble pajamas, much less fix my hair or do my make up.

The real me is the Mom I hoped I would never turn into. One who yells and says things to her kids that I regret as soon as they fly out of my mouth.

The real me has kids who disobey and throw fits.

The real me squeezes in quiet time with God and rushes through my Bible time simply to be able to say I have done it that day.

The real me is rarely joyful and has an attitude of  selfishness and ungratefulness.

See what I mean? The real me just would not get a lot of "likes" on Facebook, and who wants that? We all want to be "liked" and so we show the world only what we want them to see... the good stuff. The truth is, there is a whole lot more bad stuff in me than good stuff. I long to be the person I am on Facebook.

Luckily, I don't have to be perfect. I am not expected to be the perfect wife, be the perfect mom, have the perfect house, have the perfect kids and have my life completely together. God knows I can't be these things on my own. His only expectation of me is that I come to him, broken, ready to accept the gift He has bought for me at such a great cost. He wants me to know how broken I am so that I can fully understand how precious His gift is. He expects me to wake up each day and ask for His help to be all the things that He calls me to be. He knows my life is not the picturesque one that I post to Facebook, and He loves me in spite of that. Yet I just struggle with loving myself in spite of all my failures.

I want my life to live up to the one I show the world on Facebook, but instead of focusing on that I want to simply focus on living a life worthy of the Gospel, a life that brings glory to God. I love God with all my heart, soul and mind and I want that to show on more than just Facebook. I want that to show to my children, my husband, the cashier at the store, my small group, my friends, my family, the stranger on the bread aisle with me.... I want it to show each and everyday, to the world! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Softest Painful Things Ever....

So, I am pumping, for technically the very first time.... yeah.... ummmmmmm.....

Two words....


My worst enemies. How can two of the softest things you can think of hurt so bad?

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. 

I will survive this..... but again I say.... ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A New Chapter

On August 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm a chapter of my life came to an end. The sweet baby girl God grew within me was born! 8 lbs 5 oz and 21 1/2 inches long, beautiful child. She is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined, a true masterpiece of God! My labor and delivery was drenched in God's grace and His mercy! Every second of every minute I could feel God working and moving. It is an experience I will never forget as long as I live!

Our surrogacy journey has come to an end and a new chapter in my life has started. There is no longer a baby growing inside of me. Now she is in the arms of her mother and father, being loved beyond measure! They have waited with empty arms for so long, and now they are holding a sweet baby! My arms and womb are empty but my heart is so full! This journey has filled me with more joy than I ever thought possible. God has left me speechless!

While the surrogacy is over, this is not the end. Now I get to enjoy watching my dear friends raise their little girl! It will be a lifelong journey that I am so blessed to be a part of. Still, the chapter of my life is changing. I can't help but wonder what this new chapter will look like? The last one was so distinct, so profound, so amazing! How do you follow that?

I am not sure what the new chapter will look like exactly, but that's okay. I know it will involve being a mommy, a wife, a friend. There will be homeschooling, family trips, activities, adventures, fun times, hard times, times that make me want to pull my hair out.... this chapter will be full of all kinds of things and I am excited to see where it takes me!

To everyone who joined us on our surrogacy journey, thank you. Thank you for your support, encouragement and prayers. I can't fully express how much it meant to me! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did, but I hope even more that God used it in your life somehow.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

32 Weeks And Counting

This was me at 30 weeks actually but hey, what can I say.... I have been a little bit too busy to take a ton of pictures! My goodness having a 5 year old and a 3 year old and being pregnant is crazy! Way different from my last experience for sure! I feel great however and am having a great pregnancy. But when bedtime rolls around I KNOW IT! My body is DONE at the end of the day for sure! Sweet Amelia is still the calmest baby I have every had the pleasure of carrying. She is such a delicate little mover. I can't wait to see if she keeps that up once she enters the world! Which, can you believe we are nearing the end of this journey already? Crazy! If I go early like I did with my two kids I could technically have her in like 4 weeks! WOW! I am not ready (even though I know her Mommy and Daddy are MORE than ready!). I want to enjoy my last little bit of time with her. I adore having this life being formed within me. It is an amazing thing that I just can't explain well enough with words. This little baby is teaching me so much! God is using this experience to grow me in ways I never thought possible. So while I will be excited for delivery... I don't want to rush it at all.  Lula Mae is starting to get excited to see what she will look like. She loves telling people about her surro-sister and is really understanding everything well. I know after she is born we may hit some bumps with the kids, but I am confident that God is ready to handle them! 

Lula Mae and Jayce are just as crazy as ever. Jayce is actually making a lot of progress with his behavior these days, and for that I am thankful! Lula Mae however.... well, no one told me 5 was gonna be such a challenge! WOW! That girls will gets stronger and stronger every day I swear! She is quite difficult these days, but I love her too much to give up on her. I tell her that probably 6 times a day! God has a plan for that girl and I can't wait to see what it is! 

Blog world... I miss you! I miss everything about you! I am ready to quit making excesses and just get back to what I enjoy! I hope all has been well out there in blogland! I am so far behind and will never "catch up" but I will certainly pick back up and enjoy your wonderful blogs! Ahhhh, free therapy... and trust me this momma needs a little therapy these days!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

THE Question

There is one question that I get more than others....

"How are you gonna do that?"

My first reaction, which I bite my tongue and don't say out loud, is "well I am going to push this baby out just like my other kids, hopefully". But that is rude, and I don't say that. Plus I know thats not what they really mean anyway.... or at least I hope that is not what they actually mean....  

I know they really mean "How are you gonna hand over this baby?".

I guess they are expecting some long drawn out answer where I cry and and tell them I don't know. They always look confused by my answer.

I tell them I am not going to do it at all, God is. I tell them I am going to take it one day at a time, and pray every second of the way.

They also look at me crazy when I tell them this pregnancy is different than my others were. I have different feelings, different emotions, different everything. Don't get me wrong, I love her and feel connected to her, but it's so different. I truly believe God prepared me emotionally for this journey long before He even brought the desire to my heart.

I can't wait to deliver this baby. It will be wonderful and amazing and so incredibly special! I am more excited to see Esther and Scott hold their little girl for the first time! It will be a moment I treasure forever!

So how am I gonna do it? Only by the grace of God, joyfully and for God's glory! 

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory. 
 -1 Corinthians 10:31

When that day comes, yes I may have hormonal emotions to sort out, but I know my God is more than capable of dealing with those. I just feel so much peace and so much joy that I can't think to make myself look at delivery day any other way.

By God's grace I met this couple. By God's grace I am carrying this baby. By God's grace He is using me to bring this baby into the world healthy and safe. By God's grace this journey will have a beautiful ending!

Esther and Scott are being blessed with a baby through this journey, but the blessing I am getting is multiplied by a million!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Boy Is Three

Somehow it just does not seem possible that my little guy is three years old today. Where has time gone? This kid has taught us so much, and brings so much excitement to our lives! God really knew what He was doing bringing him into our lives three years ago. As soon as I saw him he seemed so small, even though he was bigger than his sister at birth. I have not stopped feeling that way yet. He is my tiny little man, but his spirit is enormous!

 My oh my, how he has changed.... and yet he is still my tiny little guy! His allergies are still a struggle and his skin has more bad days than good, but he is making improvements and that is wonderful! He is learning how to deal with a lot of these issues too, and that is making it easier on us. He is able to tell us when he needs medicine and things like that. Here are a few stats about Jayce...

Height: 34 inches
Weight: 25.6 lbs 
Favorite foods: bananas, cheese, avocados and anything sweet! 
Favorite books: The Bible, Berenstain Bears books, David and Goliath, Goodnight Moon... and lots more! He is quite a book lover now! 
Favorite toys: His drums (he is a natural people!) cars and trucks, rocks and his "sling" (to play David and Goliath of course) dice, Roger (his space ship... that he named Roger) 
Favorite color: blue and green (he only tells me 800 times a day.... so yeah, I'm sure about this one!) 

He loves to wear his pajamas... and chance he gets he asks to put them back on. 
He loves to watch his David and Goliath DVD.... he would watch it over and over if we let him. 
He loves to sing, mostly worship songs. He sings almost all day long, non stop. He is mu musical child for sure! 
He gets his feelings hurt very easily and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a sensitive little man!
He still has deep eyes, like those of an old man who has seen so much. 
He adores his big sister and always wants to spend more time with her than she does with him. 
He looks up to his Daddy and loves him so much! 
He loves to be outside. 
He is very serious.... but when he is in a silly mood, his laugh and smile are precious! 
He is not a fan of yucky smells.... the chickens and the farm were a no-go in his book. 
He loves to come up and just give you a big hug and say he loves you. 

He is amazing and I just love him so much! I look back at how tough things have been with him, and yet I still fill with joy thinking about it all. God made him PERFECTLY and I am focusing on seeing my kids through His eyes, not mine. I am excited to see Jayce grow and learn more about the Lord. I know God has a great plan for his life! I don't know why God picked me to be the Mommy of this amazing little guy, but I sure am thankful! 

Happy birthday sweet Jayce! You are three, can you believe it? I wonder what adventures this next year has in store for you? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Are You My Mother?

Precious child, I am not your Mother. I am not Mommy. I am not Momma. I am not your Mom. Not because I would not love to be, but because that is just not the job God gave me in your life. I won't be the one who runs to you in the middle of the night when you cry. I won't be the one who rocks you countless hours through growth spurts and teething. I won't be the one who soothes you when you just can't figure out what you want. I won't be the one who sits with out stretched arms as you take your first wobbly steps. I won't be the one who worries over every tiny cough and sniffle you get. I won't be the one who squeals in delight at the first sound of "mama" that comes from your lips. I won't be the one who walks you into your first day of school. I won't be the one who holds you while you cry because life is just so hard. I won't be the one who helps you pick out your prom dress. I won't be the one beaming with pride at your graduation. I won't be the one sitting in the front row at your wedding wondering where time went. I won't be the one you call when you have questions about how to take care of your new baby.

God gave me a very special part in your life, but being your Mother is not it.  I am your vessel. I am your all-you-can-eat-buffet. I am your life raft. I am your incubator. I am your cocoon. I am your cozy nest. I am your babysitter. I am your prayer warrior. I am your oxygen supply. These don't sound as fun, but I assure you, they are. I am proud to be these things for you. I am honored that God chose me for this job. I am thankful that He is using me for such an amazing job and I am not sure I will ever wrap my head around it fully. Don't be confused on who I am, know that I am your surrogate. Your Mother is an amazing woman who you will soon grow so close to that the memory of me will fade like a dream. Don't let that worry you, I should fade. You should go from needing me to needing her. That is exactly what God wants to happen. While God is using me to prepare you for her, she is preparing for you. It is a delicate dance that we are learning, but it is incredibly worth it.

You will hold a special place in my heart forever sweet girl. You will be a constant reminder to my family of what an awesome God we serve! You will be a treasure that we will hold dear, even though you won't be with us. Your journey, your story, your life.... we will cling to those when we miss you. 

I will never be your Mother Amelia, but I will always love you. I will always pray for you. I will always remember our precious time together.  I will always remember your tiny flutters and kicks. I will always feel honored to have been a part of your life.

God has great plans for you little one, I just know it. God has used you to help change me just a little bit more into the image of His son, and for that I can't thank you enough. There are no words to express just how grateful I am to you for how much you have helped me grow and change. Trust in Him Amelia and He will carry you far!    

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don't Shave Your Thighs!

I turned 26 this year. Even though I am still "young"... this year I felt so "old".

I remember my mom finally letting me shave my legs when I made the soccer team in 7th grade. I begged and begged her and she finally let me. However, the deal was I could not shave more than 2 inches above me knee.

WHY???? What in the world is the difference????

The difference is complex verses simplicity.

I miss simplicity. I miss only shaving the bottom portion of my legs.

Now I have the ability to shave my entire leg. I also have bills, appointments, schedules to keep up with, responsibilities, kids to raise, a husband.... and the list goes on and on.

Remember how long a month seemed as a kid? Why is it that a year goes by at the same speed now that we are adults?

Why is it that we insist on growing up so fast? I can remember thinking "I can't wait to be able to shave my thighs!". I remember having my mother make me fake bills to pay. What was the rush?

I tell my kids all the time to enjoy being little. Lula Mae is really taking it a bit to literally (imagine that). She gets very upset when her birthday comes around and she has to move to the next age. I am trying to get her to a healthy balance ;-) I just don't want them to rush through some of the best years of their lives! In the blink of an eye they will be adults with adult problems and the blissful years of innocence will be gone.  I want them to be able to look back and think to themselves that their childhood didn't slip through their fingers like water.

I certainly miss not shaving my thighs. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hello New Year!

The holidays are over! I should not really be "happy" about that, but let me tell you... I am! Once the holidays are over its time to look at "the new year". I am not sharing my resolutions this year because I decided to make a short, very personal list. I want this year to be about growing in my faith and my walk with the Lord more than anything else. One thing I love about the new year is the feeling of "a fresh start" but it's a little ironic since every day is a fresh start when you are a child of God. So why is it that I only get that new start feeling once a year? I want to look into that this year. I want that feeling Another thing the new year does for me is gives me a "lets get clean and organized" attitude. I mean, I feel that way all year round, but for some reason I really like to deep clean and reorganize the house when the new year rolls around.

I haven't updated you all on the kids in a while, so here is a snapshot for you:

My girl is too smart for her own good (in a good way... but sometimes a bad way) and she is growing in the Lord so much! She has changed so much lately and looks so grown up. I feel the need to really slow down with her and enjoy her these days because I feel her tiny years slipping away.

My boy is becoming more and more strong willed (because I strong willed child is not enough in one family). He is hard and I am very mentally and physically exhausted. He is also such a smarty, but he does not like to show it. He is reading more and more words and enjoys the school I have stared with him. He likes to "spell" words... except he spells everything "a,e,i,o,u"... it's pretty adorable. I am overwhelmed that his 3rd birthday is just around the corner. Not ready for that folks.

Oh and I forgot to mention here on my blog that I am pregnant. Yep! That's right, there is a surro-baby in my womb! We have not told the kids much about what is going on yet, but I am excited to get to. I want this experience to be an example of service to my kids. I am a little overwhelmed by the "we love Amy so much we could squish her" people on our amazing facebook group because I just want people to see Jesus through this, but I am feeling as thought it is not happening. So I have backed down from facebook and have just been praying. I want my kids to see the real reason we are doing this. I am excited to have a big belly, but even more excited about labor and delivery! It's an amazing experience and I am praying God blesses me with that joy again!

So there is my randomness for today. You are welcome.