Gratitude | Day 2 | This Life

My Life

I have a crazy life.

I have a messy life.

I have a beautiful life.

Anytime I describe what it’s like being a stay at home mom, and a full-time wife…those words echo in my head. Crazy. Messy. Beautiful.

Most days, everyday, I feel like I fail. I feel like I can’t live up to this expectation that I see on social media of all of these other moms and their perfectly-spotless homes. Their beautiful faces and clean hair. Their kids who take these pictures that really are magazine worthy.

Today is one of those days where I didn’t even want to write my gratitude piece- and people- it’s only Day Two! I have screamed, stomped, and dealt with two stubborn boys. All. Day. I was sitting in Wild One’s rocker, surveying the mess of his room and I just felt a slight tug on my heart.

I love my life. Mr. and me decided to do this life together. We chose for me to raise these crazy, stubborn, 100% American made boys. I am done with this day. I am done with parenting today. I am ready to put this day to bed like these little people running around me; ignoring the fact that I’m not even concerned with them running around in a diaper and macaroni clad shirt.

My life is hard. It can be lonely. It can be maddening…but it also has tender moments of love. Cuddles, and snotty kisses.

I am blessed to have this crazy, messy, beautiful life. I am grateful.

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Gratitude | Day 1 | Grace

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I cannot believe that we have already flipped the calendar over…again! Here we are. Staring at the month of November…just two months away from staring a whole new year. I don’t know about you, but it feels like time is just getting faster and faster.

Maybe I feel that way because I’m always running around. Maybe I feel that way because my boys keep me on my toes. Maybe I feel that way because I’m getting older- and can recognize the fact that time is precious, and fleeting.

I do love the month of November. I always see my friends on social media completing these gratitude challenges. I love seeing what my friends are thankful for. I love that people start to reevaluate what’s important.

I’m hoping on the gratitude train, too. I didn’t find a challenge or anything to follow; I figured I’d just blog about what’s on my heart, and what I feel lead to share that day.

Today I wanted to share with you how thankful I am for G R A C E. I didn’t really totally understand grace until I extended it. Isn’t it funny that you don’t really gain understanding about something until you put it into practice?

Long story short, I ran into someone who was very dear to my Monster in the past. They were someone who was amazing to my young Monster. Someone who would play with him, acknowledge his needs, and honestly- just showed him love.

Things happened and I’m not going to go into details, but this someone is no longer apart of or involved in our lives. If I can speak honestly (and you know I do) we were all hurt by this someone in some way. I had to personally grieve the fact that this someone was no longer going to be apart of my Monster’s life, no matter how much they wanted to be.

So back to present day…I ran into them. In public. And I was shocked. It had been years since I had seen this person, let alone acknowledged them. I could have spoke unkindly. I could have given them a piece of my mind. I could have gone off the deep-end, cussed them out and punched them in the face.

I didn’t.

Why?

G R A C E

I knew there would be a time when I would see this someone again. I knew that I had no idea what it was that I would say to them. Honestly, I can’t remember what all was said. All I know is…I was kind. I wasn’t mean. I showed compassion. I gained closure.

The Lord works in ways to help you understand Him and His love. How many times have I shown love- then thrown shade? How many times have I shown affection- then ignored others needs? See a pattern?

I learned from this simple encounter: no matter how much I deserve to be cussed out, ignored, or even punched in the face by God. He won’t do it. Even though I deserve it, and fail Him every single day. He won’t do it because He has extended G R A C E. To me…and to you.

Who knows? Maybe I looked too deep into this encounter. Maybe I didn’t. I like to think the latter. I believe with my whole heart God wanted to show me how He extends G R A C E. We see someone who is hateful, cruel, and just down right mean. God sees us covered by His Son’s blood. He sees us and shows compassion, love, and yes- G R A C E. We know how good it feels when someone is kind to us when we don’t deserve it.

That’s what God’s G R A C E looks like to me. I see God as someone who loves me despite all of my mess, and is kind to me- even when I do not deserve it. God wanted to physically show me G R A C E…He wanted me to learn from this encounter and share it. I’m just following His lead.

F O U R

img_4197I still can’t believe that I get to call this sweet boy mine! I am beyond grateful that The Lord picked me, of all people, to train this boy up. I am a blessed momma!

The journey that we are on is incredible. I couldn’t ask for a better partner or Daddy to Monster than Mr. This guy gave us the title of “Daddy and Momma” F O U R years ago.

Monster is charming, confident, and charismatic. He’s eveything I never knew I needed or wanted. He tests me and teaches me. He loves me for me and there hasn’t been a day over the last F O U R years where I haven’t been cuddled, hugged, or kissed.

My first born, over this next year I hope you grow into a deeper friendship with Jesus. That you learn how to lead those around you. Lastly, I pray that you can continue to show kindness to those you don’t know. You’re my Monster…and I love you! Forever and ever, amen!

Love, Momma

My Sweet Monster

My Monster is growing up.

photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)
photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)

He’s growing everyday, and honestly I hate it. He no longer has a “baby voice.” He’s slimming down and losing the baby fat. He can hold a real conversation with me- and can ask these questions that really make me think. He’s an unbelievable human, and will be such an assets to this world. Some days I feel like I’m barely holding my head above water; and then this sweet boy walks up, kisses my forehead and says, “I love you” completely, and totally unprompted.

My Monster is growing up.

photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)
photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)

He started preschool in early August. PRESCHOOL. My heart aches at the fact that he’s old enough to even be in a schoolhouse setting. Granted, I feel that he’s at the best school for him. He’s had a great couple of weeks there. But- man oh man- I hate knowing that this sweet little boy, who was just growing in my belly four years ago, is growing up and I just don’t feel like my heart can keep up.

I don’t really know where this post will take me…but I have so many feelings going on in my heart and head that I needed to get them out. I don’t even know if I can articulate the feelings I have. I just needed to put my fingers on the keyboard and try to sort out the feelings of watching this gift I’ve been given slowly begin to move away from me. You know the goal of any parent, is to have children and mold and shape them into humans who will be productive members of society. I just had no idea how fast this journey was going to be. People say, “Oh it goes by so fast!” Well, until you’re actually in it- you have no idea how fast it actually goes.

photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)
photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)

I see so much potential in my little Monster. I am seeing how our tough love has shaped him into a boy who listens and respects adults. I am seeing fewer tantrums and seeing someone who actually cares about others. I am seeing a boy who will apologize without being told to when he’s in the wrong. Now…I’m not saying that he’s perfect by any means. He’s three-and-a-half. He still has meltdowns. He’s still egocentric; he still needs Momma.

photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)

He still needs his Momma.

I am so thankful that The Lord saw fit to grant my prayer and give me a baby boy in 2013. I will be forever grateful that we’ve been entrusted to help guide him in this crazy world. I am forever in love with a brown-eyed boy who helped mend a broken heart after the heartbreak of losing his sister, and the heartache of losing my Mamaw 28 days before his arrival. He is the most precious thing…and I am so, so thankful that Monster is mine.

photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)
photo by: Rebekah T Photography (www.rebekahtphotography.blogspot.com)

 

(I also wanted to give a special thank you to Rebekah Travis, with Rebekah T Photography.  She offered a Back to School session through Monster’s Preschool.  I love getting pictures taken of my little family, they’re such an investment, and I can’t pass up any chance to have photos taken.)

Thanks so much for sticking around and for always letting me share my thoughts and heart with y’all.  You reading this and leaving comments means so much, I am forever grateful for your love and support!

III

As I left the hospital, I drove home in a daze. I didn’t listen to any music, or roll the windows down to enjoy a beautiful September afternoon. I just wanted to be home. I didn’t care that I would be alone; I just wanted to be as far away as possible from the hospital. Once I got home, I crawled into bed and stayed. What else could I do? The ultrasound tech had said everything. I was empty.

If you’re not familiar with the effects of miscarrying, the aftermath on your body is agonizing. For me, it felt like my stomach had been ripped out and put back in the wrong way. There is also the added element that your mind goes through. I think the mind games I played with myself were more excruciating than the actual physical pain my body was undergoing.

In a matter of 48 hours I had gone from the highest high to the lowest of lows. I was pregnant on Saturday, and without child on Monday. In this time frame I had become someone I didn’t know. Someone I didn’t like. I remember vividly coming home from running errands with Mr. in town on Thursday evening and talking about having to work with ladies who were expecting. How was I going to be able to face them? How was I supposed to be excited for them? I was JEALOUS of them.

Mr. tried his best to support me, but I would say things and he wouldn’t know what to say back. On this specific ride home, he was being as supportive as he could be and said, “I love you.” My response was, “How can you love me when my body destroyed our baby?”

Oh, he got so mad at me for saying that! But, that’s where my mind was…not in a good place. Mr. did his best to try and be normal. Normal was gone; we would never be the same again.

As the weekend approached, Mr. asked if I was planning on going to church. My reply, “Um, no!” He didn’t push the issue until Saturday evening. He told me we were going to church. I’m thinking, ‘no way.’ He said I needed to be up and ready to go Sunday morning. He wasn’t going to leave without me.

I woke up that Sunday morning and reluctantly threw my hair up in a ponytail and put on some black sweat pants. I didn’t want to be at church, and I certainly didn’t care what I looked like. I had no one to impress. I wasn’t going there to worship. I wasn’t going there because God wants His people to hear His word. I was going because Mr. made me.

All week I had been questioning God. I was as mad at Him as I had ever been in my life. What would God have to say to me when I got to church? Nothing! We weren’t speaking. He had failed me, after I had done everything right for Him my entire life. I was ready to walk away. God, He had other plans…

Becoming Me

April 27th is a day that is just a normal day for many people.  For me, it is a day where for the past four years, I tend to get a bit weepy and emotional.  April 27th should have been our little girl’s birthday.  Today- she would have been four!  Many people, who are close to me, know that I suffered a miscarriage in September 2012. This experience is apart of me now, and I feel that the more I share it, the more I am able to honor my sweet little girl, Kimble, that I lost.  If you would like, come along with me over the next few days, as I feel it is the appropriate time to share my experience through this devastating loss.

This event has changed me forever, and for the better I think.

Here is Part 1:

Mr. and I decided in May 2012 that it would be a great time to expand our family of two (and our two kitties) to three. We never imagined how easy it would be to get pregnant. It took only two months for it to happen. I took a pregnancy test in August, and the results proved to be what we wanted…we were on our way to becoming parents.

I had already planned everything out in my head. I knew what I was going to do to tell our folks that they were being promoted to grandparents. I knew how I was going to publicize it on Facebook. I even knew how I was going to announce my pregnancy to my coworkers. Every detail was planned. I was elated!

August tuned into September, and I was looking forward to Labor Day weekend. (When you’re a teacher, you look forward to your weekends; they are valuable.) I was ready to say goodbye to summer “officially”, eat some of my in-laws famous turkey burgers, and my Dad’s amazing hamburgers. Nothing was going to ruin this weekend, nothing.

Mr. and I celebrated with our families and headed back home. I was feeling great, but was ready to get in bed. As I was getting ready, I noticed that I had some spotting. Which, I dismissed after I read on the Internet that was normal in the first few weeks of pregnancy. I went to bed, woke up the next morning and knew something wasn’t right. I told Mr. he needed to take me to the emergency room.

I silently prayed on the way to the hospital that God would save my baby. That He would spare me, and give me what I wanted. I walked into the ER and said, “I’m 6 weeks pregnant, and I’m bleeding.”

About half an hour later, after some blood work and a couple of other tests, the doctor confirmed my worst fear. I had lost the baby. I sobbed. I have no other way of describing what I did. I was livid. I was absolutely devastated.

I took the rest of the week off from work, and followed the doctor’s order of resting. I was pretty much in a fog. I mean- who miscarries? Am I the only person who has experienced this? I didn’t know of anyone else who had lost a baby.

Certainly this was a nightmare and I would wake up at some point. I mean, I had done everything right my entire life and was shocked and OUTRAGED that God allowed this to happen. I mean- after all- I am His child.

Why would He let this transpire? I have gone to church my entire life, read my Bible and done devotionals, I even waited until marriage. This was how God was going to repay me for being so faithful to Him?   I didn’t know what to do. All I knew was I didn’t want anything to do with God.

What’s Your Favorite Pie?

Sweets. I love them. I often say that I don’t have a sweet tooth; all of my teeth are vying for that coveted title. What can I say? Dessert is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world.  *That can attest to the fact that I am still working on getting rid of the extra 30 pounds of baby weight I am still carrying around.*  (We’ll just save that for another blog.)

Have you ever noticed that on a menu- pie is always an option? I don’t understand. Pie is one dessert I can pass up. I won’t even give it a second glance- but there is one pie out there that lingers long after you eat it. It may not even be that satisfying. I know, you’re thinking- what? No way. There is though…

Humble Pie.

I got served a big piece of it yesterday from Monster. So let me catch you up to speed. Yesterday was a day where I didn’t get a shower until Noon and I didn’t get to brush my teeth until two. I was over-worked. I was over-tired. I was out right mean to my three-year-old.

Wild Thing had gone for his six-month checkup, on Tuesday, and received his shots. He was fine…until it was time for the house to sleep that night. In total Mr. and I got about four hours of sleep Tuesday night into Wednesday. Monster woke up early (and he’s one that once he’s up- he’s up. He takes that after his Daddy.) Wild Thing was up just a little after I got Monster settled and eating breakfast.

I won’t give you all the details, but once I served Monster, Wild Thing cried for two hours straight. TWO HOURS. This is totally and completely out of his character. I knew it was all because of his shots. He didn’t want to be worn. He didn’t want to be naked. All he wanted was for Momma to hold him- which I did. For the millisecond that he wasn’t in my arms, Monster grabbed him and Wild Thing started his crying fit all over again…

That. Was. It.

I yelled. I completely took my fatigue out on him. He got upset that I was upset, and left me alone with crying Wild Thing. I thought, ‘I don’t even care. He can stay in his room all day. I don’t even care.’ I walked Wild Thing to his room to rock him. Thankfully he fell asleep quickly. Monster comes in as soon as Wild Thing drifts off and asks me if I’d like for him to turn the light off.

Cue tears.  Cue Momma-guilt.

I felt like a failure as a mother. I cannot describe what it is like to be needed by both of your boys and you have to pick one over the other; because at that moment one needs you more than the other. I know Monster didn’t see this- or even feel like I was picking his brother over him. He selflessly came in and asked if he could do something so simple to help out his Momma, you know- this one, the one that just ripped him a new one not 7 minutes earlier. Yea, he was ready and willing to help me out even though I acted like a monster towards him.

Cut the pie. Place it on the serving tray. Place in front of Momma.

Wild Thing finally went down for a 4.5-hour nap and I was able to walk up to Monster and apologize.   I told him I was sorry for yelling at him. That I was tired, and just like when he gets tired- and he gets mean…that’s what happened to Momma.

He just looked at me and said, “It’s OK. I love you just the way you are.” (WHAT?! Who is this kid and where did he hear Bruno?) Then hugged me. Talk about seeing grace! I hate that these roles were reversed and I was the one who acted like the three-year-old, and he the parent.

I’m thankful that each day is new, and that my little Monster is so forgiving of me- when I can hold onto things, and continually make myself feel like an inadequate mother. I am thankful that Monster has seen over his little span of life how easy it is to say you’re sorry and ask for someone to forgive you. I’m thankful that he has seen love everyday.

So to all of the Mommas (and Daddies) out there- one thing I hope you take away from this rambling story from my life, is to always admit your wrongs to your kiddos. Never be afraid to tell them you’re sorry when YOU have crossed a line. Always remember to show them love- no matter how much of a jerk you think you are for acting the way you did…they think you hung the moon.

So until next time, I’ll be sitting alone eating my Humble Pie- wishing it were a piece of chocolate cake- watching my Monster and Wild Thing grow with this everyday love.