Children, Christianity, Parenthood, Uncategorized

Wake up, You Sleepy Head

sleepI love this picture of Rowan as a tiny baby. He looks so peaceful, asleep in my mom’s living room. Amazing that he could do that with everyone sitting around him, staring at him being adorable just by breathing.

God is always asking me to get out of bed before I feel ready. This has been going on for years, and sometimes I’m very diligent about it, whereas at others I hit snooze or forget to set an alarm in the first place.

But over the last week or so I’ve been getting even more of those messages from Him. At church this week the pastor made a passing comment about rising early, and then later that day I read it somewhere again, not even in connection with God, but with the same message of getting my butt out of the bed before the last possible minute.

Now, I’m an early riser anyway. It’s not as if I’m throwing on a sweatshirt and grabbing the kids a granola bar for the road as we leave for school each morning. I always get up, get ready, put on makeup, make them a good breakfast. Each and every school day. On days off my oldest and I may snuggle a bit, but the little guy generally demands milk, so I’m not sleeping in.

But what does all that sound like? It sounds like me. I get up early so that I can look good. Preparing the kids’ breakfast doesn’t take that long, really. The majority of my morning routine is spent in front of the mirror if I’m really being honest.

So Monday I tried something new. Nothing groundbreaking, but a test-run of sorts. I got up when my husband’s alarm went off at 6am, leaving me about 45 minutes of quiet time before my oldest came running into the room. I didn’t put on makeup or change out of pajamas. In fact, I only brushed my teeth and then got back in bed with my bible and devotional.

But listen, Monday was a GOOD day. I didn’t have any meltdowns or moments of huge stress. I was even able to take the kids to Target, come home and make lunches, and put them down for naps without too much fuss on their part or mine.

Did God give me some kind of epiphany for taking the time to rise and meet him, as I was? Not in any lighting bolt, dramatic fashion. But I think maybe he did in a “gentle whisper” kind of way. This is what your days can be like if you give them to me. This is how you could mother if you allow me to nurture you first.

But guess what? Each day has been more and more of a struggle to grab that time. Monday was easy – I didn’t have to take the kids anywhere. I didn’t have to put on my mask so that humanity wouldn’t freak out over a bare face. But the world tells me I need to cover these dark circles and blonde lashes, so I do it.

Today I read 1 chapter of the bible while nursing my son. Griffin back-talked me after breakfast for one of the very first times, and I didn’t respond as I know I should have.

Would the outcome have looked different if I had gotten up with enough time to start my day with God? I’m not sure. But maybe I need to do more than a 1 day experiment to find out.

 

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Movies, Parenthood, Pregnancy

Life Lately

I will be induced on Thursday morning, arriving at 6am and starting the entire life changing process at 7:00. By the end of this week we will have an addition to the family that will draw us all closer than ever before.

The last two weeks have been a waiting game, to say the least. Every night I take a shower and shave my legs, just in case my water breaks and we need to rush to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Every morning I wake disappointed that the baby didn’t decide to come sooner than our deadline.

But I know that it’s really not the baby – it’s God. He’s up to something and certainly knows more about this child’s timing and birthday than I do.

As we wait for Griffin’s little brother, we are having fun in the process, soaking up the last days of being a family of three. Perhaps the most fun we’ve had was Friday’s Family Movie Night. It was Griffin’s first experience with so many things, and he absolutely adored it! As it was really his first movie experience, it was also his first exposure to Mary Poppins. What a wonderful movie to start with! He loved all the songs, was enraptured by Mary’s magic, and talked about Jane and Michael all weekend.

It was also his first taste of popcorn, and of course he loved that, too! I chose to purchase an heirloom variety they had at Whole Foods. Called Tiny but Mighty Popcorn, it produces smaller kernels and has a thin hull that disintegrates when popped. This meant I didn’t have to worry about anything stuck in Griffin’s teeth, but more importantly, about his choking! It is also much easier to digest. During special occasions will be using this brand from now on!

Family Movie Night

Books, Fairy Tales, Parenthood, Writing

It’s the Wonders I’m After

Three weeks into my class this semester, and I am already feeling hopelessly behind. Not because of the workload my professor has placed on me, though. It’s completely my fault. I simply want to read everything ever written on the subject.

The class is a Folklore and Fairy Tale Survey. As soon as I read the first book, I knew I was done for. Now, after meeting privately with the professor and discussing where I would like to see this class take me, I’ve purchased everything I can find on the subject. Amazon boxes are being shipped to my house in twos and threes each day. I truly cannot get enough – so much so, that I am seriously contemplating a doctorate in this particular field.

Chapter 1There is something about folklore that resonates with me. Perhaps the stories are in my blood, passed down from generation to generation and still echoing as I read them from a book. My ancestors most likely sat around a fire, telling each other these exact same stories. Who am I not to give them the respect they deserve? They will most certainly outlive me.

FairylandAs for the class, we are also reading some modern day fairy tales – current books written for adolescents with a modern day twist. The Sisters Grimm is a great example, with girl detectives as the protagonists. Currently I am tearing through the pages of Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making. A lengthy title, yes, but a deep read, as well. When first opening the cover I had no idea that I would be rereading certain passages just to take in their full meaning:

There must be blood, the girl thought. There must always be blood….It will be hard and bloody, but there will be wonders, too, or else why bring me here at all? And it’s the wonders I’m after, even if I have to bleed for them.

I had to put the book down at this point last night. That passage rocked me to sleep and gave me dreams of the wonders I’m after in my own life. Parenthood is one of those wonders, certainly. And there is blood on a daily basis. My heart bleeds as I love more fiercely than I thought possible. It gets ripped in two when my little boy hurts from bumping his head. I bleed and constantly take a beating, but all the good things in life will cause this.

Fairyland2To live a life that full of passion, people will inevitably wonder what form of crazy you may have. Why you would choose to bleed for a cause, a lifestyle, or a goal most wouldn’t ever think of attaining. That’s what motherhood has been like thus far. That’s what Christianity is supposed to be like, as well.

I am far from where I need to be in either of these aspects of my life, but it’s the wonders I’m after, so I’ll keep striving and fighting.

I have a feeling this course is going to change my path. Perhaps it will lead me to that doctorate. Maybe it will only allow me to see things with fresh eyes. Either way, I am so thankful to be allowed to take this journey, no matter how hard and bloody.

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Baby, Books, Parenthood

The Tradition of Bedtime Stories

Griffin’s room is, primarily, centered around books. We love them, and in turn want him to grow up surrounded by them.

BooksAs parents, there are a few things that we’re very diligent about. Griffin’s bedtime routine is one of them. We always begin by feeding him, followed by a bath with lots of fun bubbles, lotion with a mini massage, and then snuggling into PJs. After this, Jeremy and I both sit on either side of him and take turns reading from one of his many storybooks. A prayer is the last thing we do before tucking him into his crib.

I love this routine. I think Griffin does, as well. It’s our most intimate family time right now – a time when lights are dim and noises are at a minimal. He may not fully understand what’s going on, but he realizes that when all of these elements are present, it’s time to go down for the night. Very rarely does he take more than a few minutes to settle.

But a new survey suggests that we may be one of the few families that do this. The Today Show actually discussed the survey, although I first heard about it from Media Bistro.

Only 33% of parents read bedtime stories to their children. Of those parents, 50% admitted that their children devoted more time to television and video games than to books. These were all children ages 8 and younger.

I was actually really surprised and sad about this. There’s a huge market for children’s books, so when are they being read? Do the parents just wait for kids to reach the age when they can read to themselves? Do they perhaps pick a different time of day to read to them?

Maybe I was just a nerdy kid, but I remember many afternoons as a little girl spent curled up in the window seat in my bedroom, surrounded by stuffed animals as I read Nancy Drew and Baby Sitters Club mysteries. Later I would sneak my mom’s Mary Higgins Clark and Nora Roberts paperbacks. My love of reading was a direct result of my parents’ love for it. They read to me and fostered a desire to explore books on my own.

If not for parents instilling this from the beginning, what hope do books have in the future?