Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Many thanks.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and Branden and I will be surrendering our electronics to our kid-decorated box that is electronics jail (okay, this is more my struggle than Branden's, but he's a good sport), so I thought I'd write my thankful post today.

Firstly, I'm thankful for Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for a joy that doesn't lie in my circumstances, because my, how those change. I'm thankful for the heart God gives me for others, and the chastisement I need more often than I even get it. I'm thankful for grace and mercy and that there is no such thing as a lost cause. I'm thankful to worship the ultimate Hope.

I'm thankful for my marriage. Branden is my best friend in the world. We play hard and laugh hard and sometimes fight hard and love hard. I cannot imagine doing life with anyone else, I'd never want to. I'm thankful for silly texts and forehead kisses when he gets in at 3 am from working so, so hard for our family. I'm thankful that he can magically cook all the things I fail hard at making. I'm thankful for the freckle right below his eye and his hilarious grouchy face (sorry babe). I'm thankful to love big and be loved big back.

I'm thankful to be a mother. I'm thankful for Bay, who I will always share the bond of ridiculous humor with, who still shows affection and is just the most incredible big brother. I'm thankful that my sweet Jo has a knack for curling into me in such a way that she always just fits perfectly. I love that despite her inner skeptic, she finds good in the most unlikely places and shines light on it. I'm thankful for my wild little E, who makes sure my days are exciting, who makes sure I know how needed I am. Who falls asleep with both arms around me and our noses touching. I'm thankful for Bay teaching his little sister to skateboard, for Jo letting E give her a "chup up" (check up. Doc McStuffins is kind of a big deal in this house). I'm thankful that they all three still snuggle up together when we watch movies or say night time prayers.

I'm thankful for family- all "sides". They keep me in check, call me out, and love me unconditionally. They remind me of who I am and who I want to grow to be. They are my past, present, and future. I'm thankful to be back with them full time soon.

I'm thankful for my girlfriends. I genuinely do not know what I would do without them, and I pray that my kiddos are blessed with the kinds of friends I've been blessed with. They challenge me, laugh and cry with me, and have wine with me.

There is so much more I could say, but I want to really leave this with one more thing: I am glad that many years ago, I made the intentional decision to be practice gratitude not just during the holidays, but every day. It has changed everything, even though everything was still much the same. I became aware of just how rich and full my life really is. I wish the same for you, sweet friends.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

1 Thessalonians: In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why I hesitated, and why I won't again.

I couldn't help but stare at her.

Standing there in the dollar spot of Target, a mama carrying/murmuring to what I assume was a brand new baby all criss-crossed and swaddled close to her chest, a tiny head barely peeking out. At her side, a little boy, probably around 4, happily checking out each bin (I feel you so hard, kid. This section is joy.) and running his hands over things with all the self control that a child that age old can possess while she chatted with him.

It wasn't anything special, necessarily, but it was just a sweet moment to catch.

I was close by and trying to decide how many votive candle holders one person needs (all of them), I wanted to give her a smile, tell her that her babies were precious, comment on her patience, maybe? Just something. Just an, "I see you, fellow mom, and you rock."

But I didn't. I grabbed 400 candle holders and left. Why? Maybe she could have used an encouraging word.

I think sometimes we hesitate to compliment fellow moms for one reason: we don't feel like we can. I know that isn't always the case, but occasionally the voice in my head says, "Who are you to tell anyone they're a good mom? What are you, some expert? Aren't you the one who only just a minute ago noticed that your toddler was nibbling on some random metal object?"

Yes, that was me, and heavens/hahahaha NO I am not an expert. What I do know, though, is that I need to quiet that voice, because we all recognize good when we see it, whether we perfectly apply it each day or not. I don't need to let my personal hang-ups prevent me from lifting up other mothers that I encounter through my day. In theory, I believe God puts people in our paths for a reason. In practice, I'm failing.

So this holiday season, I'm going to take a spin on the incredible RACK (random acts of kindness) that so many big-hearted people do, and I'm going to practice random acts of mom encouragement. If I see a mom holdin' it down, I'm going to tell her so. If her kids' manners are awesome, I'm complimenting them both SO HARD. I'm telling y'all this so I'm accountable, so I can't back out when I'm feeling unworthy of noting the good. We can always note the good. Also, please don't let me buy anything else for candles, because this is getting stupid.

Anyone with me, or am I going to be the only crazy lady talking to strangers at Target?