29

motherhood, Uncategorized

I wake up to “ba-ba” sounds coming from across the hall. 6:50am. Grace slept in… yes! It’s still dark outside and it’s chilly in our house. I roll over. Corey whispers, “Happy birthday” and gives me a kiss. I smile and make my way out of bed. I open Grace’s door and even though the sun hasn’t risen and her room is still dark, I can see her sleepy eyes and two-toothed smile. She’s bouncing up and down in her crib without lifting her feet, anxiously waiting for me to come scoop her up. I do, and she starts whispering ma-ma’s as we make our way back into our bedroom. I lay her down in our bed and climb in myself. The three of us are cozy for a moment, until Grace crawls over us both like we’re a playground. My favorite 15 minutes of the day.

Corey and I throw on jeans, get the baby dressed, and the three of us are out the door. He drives us into the city to pick up coffee. The man behind us in line at the cafe is holding one of those small foil balloons that belong in a vase of flowers and Grace cannot stop staring at it. I fall in love with how new everything is to her. I make a mental note to pick one up for her next time we’re at the grocery store.

We stop to pick out donuts on the way home. I order one with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Corey tells the cashier I’ll also have the pumpkin streusel flavor. It is my birthday, after all. I make big eyes and act like that’s just crazy, but I eat both, happily. Corey has Grace sitting on his knee and I let her try some icing, but she is more concerned about her next banana puff. We finish and leave, a sugar haze around us.

Corey holds my hand the entire drive back in the car. Grace goes down for a nap when we get home and I collapse on the couch, closing my eyes in thankfulness. I open them and ask Corey to come sit next to me. We talk, look at home furnishing ideas for the investment property, and just exist next to each other. Never mind the dishes, the toys on the floor that we so often trip over, or the half-completed first birthday invitations and envelopes I have strewn across the ottoman. The mess can stay today.

Maybe this isn’t a birthday morning that some would call extraordinary. To me, it is magic. I want to soak in and remember every detail. When I turned 27, I was heartbroken. When I turned 28, I dreamt of this day.

How grateful am I that no matter how much I change year to year, God NEVER does. He is with me today just as much as he was in years past, and not any less than he will be in the future. 27 was a time to lose, a time to embrace. 28 was a time to heal, a time to plant. I don’t know what 29 will bring, but he does. Maybe it will be a great year by definition; maybe it will be the most heartbreaking yet. Regardless, I trust him and am thankful for this season of peace.

For everything there is a season, and a tie for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The Game of LIFE

Uncategorized

One night last week, I walked into my house, looked at my kitchen table and I noticed something different than usual. I saw two brand new board games and a card. My husband walked into the room and said something along the lines of…

“I know that things get crazy and hectic, and we get distracted by our phones and tv, but we need to remember what’s important.” 

Then he asked me if we could have a game night. No electronics (except a little bit of music, of course) – just us, Yahtzee, and the Game of LIFE. After hugging him lots in appreciation of the effort, I happily obliged. We laid a blanket down on the living room floor and we played games for over 2 hours. And you know what? It was the highlight of my week. What I initially thought was an adorable and romantic gesture, quickly showed itself to be an invaluable lesson.

While I sat across from him, pouting about my less than fortunate luck in the game of LIFE, then basking in my Yahtzee win glory, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed. Days before, we had played Words with Friends and Trivia Crack for hours on end on our phones. We were with each other, sitting next to each other, talking occasionally, playing a game with each other, but our eyes never left our screens. We were completely wrapped up – except when the occasional work email distracted us, or something interesting (or just plain loud) occurred on TV in the background.

When I would daydream about being married to Corey, I never once thought about how much fun it would be to sit next to each other during the week without talking about anything of importance, playing on devices, scanning social media waiting for likes and tweets and favorites – I thought about how I couldn’t wait to spend time with him after work, sharing the highs and lows of our days, being silly together.

When I make plans to grab coffee with a friend, I don’t anxiously look forward to sitting across from each other texting other people on our phones – I look forward to drinking a warm cup of coffee and catching up.

I don’t go to my favorite restaurant with family so I can take pictures of my plate – I go because the company is great and the food is delicious.

It all seems obvious, right? What’s the point of another person’s company if we are focused on everything except the person we’re next to? Are we too blind to see the consequences of our mindless actions?

Most importantly, how many more hours would I spend with God during the week, if I replaced online “shopping” with scripture and prayer? My heart breaks at this realization.

Every week, I spend 50+ hours on my laptop, phone, and iPad for work – this does not count browsing social media, playing games, searching for music, hunting down recipes on Pinterest, scoping out furniture for the house, looking at clothes to (put in the imaginary shopping cart and not) buy, asking Google pointless questions, logging calories, checking the weather… It all adds up, doesn’t it?

I love my devices. Without these beautiful things, I wouldn’t have my career! The possibilities are truly endless. They do a lot of good for a lot of people, but like most things, it’s all about moderation. Notice the repeated word? THINGS.

This week, I read a post from Lysa TerKeurst, that was shared on Proverbs 31. It sums it up perfectly and has left me feeling challenged:

“Most of us spend years chasing things in this world that we think will make us feel loved. But everything this world has to offer is temporary. Everything. The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.”

a leap of faith.

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What would it take for you to walk away from a sure thing, to pursue a passion that has been burning inside you?

Today my husband officially began his career in real estate. For the longest time, he has been talking about joining his dad’s team. He had an excellent job, especially for being his first professional one after graduating college. He was by no means unhappy in his career, but he felt called to help others buy and sell homes.

When he passed his realtor’s exams, I was so incredibly, genuinely happy for him – I saw the excitement in his eyes. I felt the motivation. I knew this was what he wanted to do, and truthfully, what he was meant to do.

But I had fears. I am a planner and love routine. I am predictable. I loved the idea and potential of this career, and even more so, I loved that it would fulfill him professionally.

That said, the idea of him leaving a job with a sure income scared me half to death.

I quickly spiraled down the dark hole of what if’s until I had to share all of these concerns welling up inside of me. When I talked to him about it, he reminded me about a little thing called faith.

What I have always admired about my husband is his eternal optimism. We joke about it from time to time – how happy-go-lucky he is and how critical and analytical I am. But having that conversation with him made me realize that is not the trait of optimism that I admire, but instead, the faith that in God that is instilled in his heart.

When he says he knows it will be okay, he truly believes it. He knows it. When I start to lose sight, he brings me back. And it is because of that faith that he [we] can venture into the unknown – to jump.