Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

In the midst of what can often be a very monotonious job, I often find myself looking and searching for things to bring me joy and happiness. It's a terrible cycle that I think many stay at home mother's find themselves facing...we start feeling like the job of caring for children and our families is not enough. We feel like we should be doing more to contribute to the "status quo" if you will. My husband often teases me as I often come up with these grandiose ideas of something I am going to do...knowing good and well that my follow through is usually lacking. I've said it before and I'll say it again, being a college educated and career person and then becoming a stay at home mom has been humbling for me and a hard transition. My children were obviously very wanted and very planned, but I realized how much of my self esteem came from my career. So, the question is, how do I completely embrace and soak in this time with my do I find complete satisfaction with feeding, diapering, and wiping away tears?

That joy is right here. It is right in front of my face but I am constantly looking else where to fill that loneliness that I often have. It's my own internal battle of feeling like being a mom is not enough...that simply feeding, diapering, holding, and comforting my children is not enough. When did we, as women, start feeling like unless we are doing a daily craft and drilling the ABC's, that we are not doing enough?

But, this weekend, I had a sort of epiphany. It came at a completely unexpected time. It came when I took my children over to my parents house one afternoon for a visit and then took them outside for a little photo shoot. My parents have a large, woodsy outdoor space...perfect for little people to run around and explore. I grabbed my camera and decided just to follow them around catching the funny things they do. And they played. And I watched...partly through a little view finder window, but nevertheless, I watched.

I watched as they tumbled down an over grown grassy hill...laughing hysterically as they flipped and rolled...completely covered in grass. I watched as they took two pumpkins and used them as bowling pins...giggling as they watched them crash into a tree. I watched them throw leaves, fight over a tricycle, and dig in the dirt with a fallen tree branch. 

I found joy for a moment because I stopped trying so hard to be super mom and just let me kids be kids. I didn't have laundry or dishes to do because I wasn't at my house. And it dawned on me that every time my kids are playing well, that is when I seize the opportunity to clean and "be productive" know, so I can earn my keep for the day.

I realized that in my pursuit of happiness, that happiness is already here. It's right in front of me. But, I'm so busy proving to world how awesome of a mom and housekeeper I am that I don't even enjoy the gifts God has given me.

As 2012 comes to a close and I reflect on my desires for 2013, I am simply desiring to find happiness in my life right now...not in life once my kids are potty trained, not in the hope that things will get easier, but happiness in right now. It means that Thomas trains and Barbies will be everywhere and that's ok. It's ok because it means I wasn't constantly running behind them picking up messes...instead I was laughing with them while they made the mess. It means when my girls are dancing to the Nutcracker, I'm going to stop and watch...not use that time to empty the dishwasher.

I don't need to pursue happiness...happiness is already here. So when you come to see me in 2013, you'll have to excuse the mess. We're making memories...and I don't want to miss them.

*Editors note: Could these kids be any cuter? I am so, so blessed. What did I do to deserve such goodness? I so don't deserve so much goodness....but, thank you Jesus for it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'll never stop saying thank you

How easy it is to feel overwhelmed with the day to day life and get in the habit of pity parties. How easy it is to forget all that God has given us. How quickly we forget how much He has done when we get caught up in the American attitude of "we deserve."

But our Jesus is so merciful and forgiving. He knows our hearts can be filthy, but He still sees beauty. He created us for a purpose. He designed us before we were ever even conceived in our mother's womb. Sometimes I wonder what He was thinking...wanting us.

There are days where my heart is so full of self-pity...days where I feel the overwhelming frustration of having a house on the market for almost 2 years...days where I feel tired and exhausted because my husband is gone 12 hours a day, 5 days a week to provide for our family...days where I feel ungrateful that that money he makes is stretched so thin.

And then I look at these pictures of my kids. Two short years ago, we did not even know if they would live. One year ago, we didn't know if Audrey would ever walk very well. Two years ago, we saw God's mercy in the greatest way.

So, every year on Thanksgiving, I reflect on how this time in 2008, I held two tiny bodies in my arms and prayed for God's mercy. And now I see them running, talking, laughing...thriving!!! And my heart begs for forgiveness for my ungratefulness.

How many times can I say thank you?

Looking at these pictures, I'd say I can never say thank you God and to all who prayed for us and these children. 

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. Thank you for loving me despite my ugliness and filth. Thank you for loving me through the good and the bad. Thank you for listening to my heart and not judging me. Thank you for helping me to continue to grow closer to Christ and for being patient and compassionate when I mess up. Thank you for being Jesus to me. May you have a day filled with Thankfulness. May you reflect and see all that God has truly done for us. And despite our challenges and struggles, that He continues to be faithful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dallas Cow Girl

Besides taking pictures of one of my nearest and dearest friends in Dallas last weekend, I also ate really, really well. You have not had real tex-mex unless you've been to the heart of Texas. We also ate at this fun and fabulous place called "Breadwinners"...oh my gosh...Eggs Benedict on a french croissant...I inhaled that dish!  I'd have to start exercising if I lived in friend fed me well!

Although I did not partake in any shopping on this trip, let me tell you...if you want to shop, Dallas has it all...and by all, I mean on every street corner there is a fancy schmansy mall.

Of course, you also find random fields with barrels of hay amidst this fabulous town:

What do you think? Do I look the part?

Yes, that is a piece of hay in my mouth. I like to embarrass myself as often as possible.

I'm officially adding Dallas to my "maybe live in the future" places.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Texas Beauty

My husband recently gave me the greatest gift ever...a plane ticket to go visit one of my absolute dearest friends in the world. I was totally blown away when he told me the news. The added bonus is that my friend is 35 weeks pregnant, so I got to give her a gift as well: a maternity photo shoot.

It was the greatest weekend I've had in a long time. She is a dear sister in Christ and we stayed up late all 3 nights just gabbing away. I love that I got to see her during a very special time in her life. This baby girl has been covered in prayer and her name sums it up: Grace.

Here are a few shots from our weekend together. She is seriously one of the most beautiful pregnant women ever.

Spending time with a friend in deep fellowship...sharing our deepest fears, our passions, our like therapy for the soul. It is a taste of Heaven. I am so thankful for those that have seen me at my worst and continue to love me anyway. Thank you Lord for the women you put in my life!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day dreaming of Paris

Back to your regularly scheduled program. A little eye candy. This is how I found Ella yesterday when I went to check on her during her "quiet time".

I showed her this picture when she woke up and she said "I wanted to look at the Sacré-Cœur while I was dreaming."

Yes, I've totally brain washed her.

And then I asked her if she knew how to read any of the words in the book and she said "well, I don't speak French." (The book is in English)

Funny girl.

She also told me when she grows up she's going to be a mommy and have a razor and shave her legs.

Oh dear. She is all girl I tell ya!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

London in a Bag

Doesn't every child need one of these?


And by every child, I really mean me.

I love having kids who have no idea what to ask for for Christmas so that I can buy them toys that I want to play with. 


I know. I'm ridiculous. It's the little things...literally.