31 May 2015

My Birthday Truth

Older and Hopefully a Bit Wiser...

I have been married to my best friend for 12 years now.

I have spent the past 8 years being pregnant and raising little ones.

I have come to the conclusion that I am smart and that I do have some wisdom to share with others.  Whether it be a type A person that needs all their ducks in a row, a hard working single with their career on their mind, a new mom just starting to figure out how hard/lonely it can be to be a mom, or a wife who really wants to bless the man she has chosen to be her forever love.  Hopefully you will find something here that may help/encourage/tickle your funny bone.

Put Others First

I have realized that even though Physical touch is not my Love Language, however, my husband, my boys, and my daughters crave lots of hugs, kisses, and cuddles and I need to step out of my own comfort zone and meet their needs.  It's not my primary way of showing love.  I'd much rather make an elaborate dinner or plan a party, or buy a heartfelt gift, or read a book each night and spend time together, but I am learning that sometimes love comes in many different fashions and showing people love in their love language is actually very sacrificial and really an honor.  It has changed me and it's very freeing to just love on people instead of doing just what is more convenient or easier for you.

Pregnant last July with Amelia our 4th and final baby
Celebrate the Stage of Life you are currently in!

I have been bare foot and pregnant since 2007...and I can honestly say... I am loving NOT being pregnant!  I am loving that I can start passing on our baby clothes, baby books, etc. and start sharing with others.  I am loving that I can wear my regular clothes!  I love that I no longer need elastic in my pants.  I can wear something other than a blousy top and stretch pants.  It has been so great to give away all my maternity clothes.  Being pregnant was a miracle all 4 times. I am so thankful for our 4 healthy children.  I am also done.  And I am thankful for the stage of life we are in.  I feel very settled and finally feel "back to normal".  It took 9 months for me to feel this way.  With my other kids it took maybe 6 weeks or 2-3 months.   But this last baby it took 9 months.  I think with each birth it just took longer to get used to another little person.  I'm proud of the mom that I am and I am proud to say I am done having kids.  I don't feel like a bad person to say that the way some people want to make me feel.  I feel God has blessed us with 4 amazing kids and I have really reached my limit.  It's very true that when you are done having kids you know it.

Cherish the Little Things

God has taught me to enjoy every single moment with my kids.  He has taught me that every moment is a gift.  And if a new head band makes us smile and laugh and take a selfie in the mirror, then by golly enjoy that moment.  My children and their personalities have shaped me into the mom and woman that I am today and I love discovering new things about them.  I love asking them questions and seeing how they answer them.  I love being with them.  I love having breaks from them.  I know my limits and I thoroughly enjoy each of them.  

Make Each Moment Count

I will forever date my husband.  I will make time for us.  I will enjoy our quality time no matter how infrequent or plentiful.  The times that we get away and are just the two of us together I will cherish.  I may take a million pics so that I will remember each moment but I will also take time to hold his hand, put my head on his shoulder, give him my full attention, and laugh the time away.  We may talk about the kids the whole time we are away, but we won't be interrupted and we won't hear, "EWWWW!" every time we hug or kiss.  Date nights will always be sacred and I love John for always taking time to be with me.

Build People Up!

I am very critical and I tend to have a negative tone with my older daughter.  God has convicted me on more than one occasion that I need to stop being a manager sometimes and remember to tell her what she needs to hear, things like..." I love you." "I'm so proud of you." and "You are beautiful." need to be a part of my daily vocabulary.  I need to hear those things from my husband and I need to remember to build up my children with my words while they are young.  So this is something I am still working on, but I have to say I do remember to tell Julia almost every day, "I couldn't do this without you."  She helps me so much each day.  Things like taking a shower and washing the dishes or prepping dinner wouldn't happen without her help in watching Amelia and Micah.  She is such a big help to me.  

Take A Break

My friend Katie from church taught me something this past year.  Moms need a break.  We need time to ourselves.  We need time to recharge.  We need time to think.  We need quiet.  We need to feel like a person and not a machine or a nascar pitstop (as my husband refers to me).  Every Monday her husband would watch the kids when he got home from work and she took time out of the home to just be alone.  She might grab a coffee.  She might visit a friend.  She might sit in her car and read a book!  But she takes time for herself and it really helps her.  So, I talked to John and he agreed that I needed the same thing.  Each Thursday my sister Sara and I go out and it is my mom's night out.  We grab a coffee, we sit and talk in her car, sometimes we catch a movie.  Sometimes we just walk through the mall and laugh and talk.  It has been the highlight of my week.  I come home smiling.  I feel more relaxed.  I feel like a human being!  And I get to spend quality time with my sister.  We have gotten even closer than we already were and it has helped me to get out of the house and recharge.  

Fully Rely On God (F.R.O.G.)

 God has my back.  Last summer I thought I lost my faith.  I was so afraid we would be homeless with Amelia.  I struggled so much in trusting God through it all.  I couldn't control the bank, the mortgage approval, the buyers, the sellers. I had to trust that God's perfect timing would protect and provide for us.  The house I felt was our home fell through and I was so hurt and angry.  Even in that moment of frustration I knew, God had something even better for us.  And He did.  And He provided.  And all the while He had our back.  It brought me to my knees again.  It made me pray hard again.  It made me realize I have nothing in control.  It made me love Him all the more.  It's those moments of God testing our faith that we realize how faithful He is and how fickle we can be.  I am so thankful that He runs our relationship.  I am so thankful that He is reliable.  I am so thankful that He doesn't always reveal what will lay ahead.  

Don't Expect Perfection. Period.

Life will be a hot mess.  But if you believe that miracles happen.  If you believe that God is able.  If you trust God with your life and put your life in His hands...it will be alright.  It won't be perfect.  There will be good days and bad days.  There will be panic attacks. there will be gray hairs.  Their will be disagreements.  There will be messes.  But God will be faithful.  He will always be there.  He loves you.  And He wants what is best for you even if you don't see what He is doing, He is working.  I like neat rows.  I like my kids lined up.  I like shoes tied, belts buckled, and all hairs neatly behind a bow.  But life isn't like that.  My birthday truth is simple.  I am a mess.  God is perfect.  I am not patient.  God is patient.  I fail.  He is victorious.  I freak out when things don't go my way, and God loves me through it all and never leaves me.  Basically, I serve an awesome God.  I'm glad for this life He has given me.

27 May 2015

Goodbye, five...Hello, six!

My Red-haired boy.

Dear Mark,

I really liked you being five.  It was such a great year for you.  You grew taller.  The dentist said you are starting to get some loose teeth.  And you completed every single book I had you do for school time.

This was a year of change for you.  You moved out of Joyce street into a new home on Sherwood.  You gained a new Murphy bed and a new roommate.  (P.S. thanks for putting up with Micah's not so great sleeping habits.  Especially at 5 a.m. in the morning when he asks for Daniel Tiger.) And you became a big brother all over again and even though you wanted another super hero sibling, you and Amelia get along really well.

Mark you did so well in Classical Conversations this year.  We were really proud of you.  Not only did you handle being in an older class very well, but you did fabulous on all of your oral presentations!

Buddy, I love all of your silly faces and poses when I ask you to smile for the camera.  There is never a dull moment with you.  You are awesome, and so funny!

Happy Birthday Marky.  We love you!  Five was fun.  Six will be spectacular!


16 May 2015

Dear Mother: A Mother's Day Blessing

Dear Mother,

You are beautiful.  You are clothed with strength and dignity, and yet you possess the quiet gentleness and compassion to comfort your child.  Whether it's a midnight feeding, rubbing a back during nap time, helping a child find their way at school, preparing a meal, or cheering your child on during their soccer game, you do it because you love deeply.

You capture our hearts with all the ways you meet our needs.  You know just what we need when we need it.  So much of what you do is behind the scenes.  So often there are no thank yous.  So many times you are out of the picture because you are taking the picture!  You live to make life wonderful for us.

Do you know that you were chosen to be just the right fit for the children in your home?  God knew just which child you needed to shape you into the woman you were meant to be. He also knew which child needed you to help shape them into the son or daughter they were meant to be.

Every meal you cook, load of laundry you fold, and book report you help edit does not go unnoticed.  You are the apple of God's eye.  He knows how many hairs are on your head (and which ones have turned gray).  He has loved you with an everlasting love and will continue to guide you as you walk (and sometimes run) on this motherhood journey.  You are not alone.  You are amazing dear Mother.  Don't lose heart.  Don't give up.  We thank you.  You capture our hearts in so many ways.  We love you.

Written by: Kristi McInerney

**This poem/letter was presented to each mom at Jacob's Well on Mother's Day along with a portrait of the mom with her children!  I was so excited to be a part of the team of people who sought to bless and encourage all the moms on their special day!


03 May 2015

Sharing My Life With You

Happy Birthday!

John, I never would have thought we'd be the parents of four crazy (wonderful) kids, living in the house of our dreams, and enjoying the messes, minutes, and moments together for the past 12 years.

But God continues to shower His goodness over us in ways we didn't think possible.

I didn't think it would be possible for me to be a stay at home mom for 7 years but God has provided.

I didn't think it would be possible for you to start a brand new career at the age of 31 but God did!  And you passed your CFP last year, and this year you became VP!!!

I didn't think we'd ever leave our home on Joyce Street (especially with such a difficult housing market) but God not only sold our home in under 6 weeks, but provided a brand new home in less than 30 days time, perfectly allowing us to have our baby on a Wednesday and move into our home with our baby on a Friday.

I didn't think you'd ever finish your seminary degree, especially not after having so many kids back to back, but with God's help, within the next few weeks (after all your hard work over the past few years) you will finally get your Masters of Divinity.

I didn't think it possible that I could love you even more than I did on our wedding day, but each day my love for you grows and I feel so lucky that I married not only my best friend but the man of my dreams.  I love sharing my life with you and I am so grateful for the man you are.

I love you.

Happy Birthday!

I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished this year.

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