Archive for ‘spiritual stuff’

January 12, 2011

enter title here.

so, i’m back.

it’s been 2 months.
not alot has changed.
i’ve read my Bible twice. one of the main reasons i took a blog break was because i thought that posting on my blog was taking up time that i should be using to spend with God. i’ve realized during my break that if time with Him wasn’t a priority before, i can easily find something else to fill my blog time with. so, i’m still working on making that time with Him a priority. i guess it’s one of those things (like so many others in my life…i.e. my hair) that i feel like i can’t do at all if i don’t do it well.
i thought for a long time about whether or not to come back to my blog. it’s not something i want to do halfway…like i don’t want to post once a week or a week straight and then not again for a month. my main purpose in keeping this blog is to keep a record of my life, and to do that, i need to write regularly.
i also thought about starting a whole new blog. i’d like something that combines my photography and art and things with my daily life posts, but i knew that if i started a new blog that my old one would be sad and alone and untouched and it sounds stupid, but there’s just too much of my history here. i couldn’t leave. maybe later…i’ve heard there are blog-builders that can move your old posts to your new blog. we’ll see.
as of this morning, i still hadn’t decided if i was going to come back, but something convinced me i should. an author/blog “friend” of mine (i wish. actually she’s more of a mentor who has no idea she’s mentoring), joanne, apparently suffered a very serious stroke in her home yesterday. she is in a fight for her life and very well may be for a long time to come. she is 38 (THIRTY-EIGHT) years old and has two tween-aged daughters and a loving husband. i cried today when i read what her sweet husband had posted on her blog because 12 hours before i’d just read a totally normal post from her about building a fire and homeschool and coffee. life here is so unbelievably fragile and we are truly not guaranteed 5 more minutes.
anyway, i decided to come back because of the thing with joanne. i was thinking that if anything were to ever happen to me, i would want there to be something that my kids could read to give them some sort of idea as to what kind of person i was. i’d want them to have a clue to just how much i love them and laugh at them and how much i hate to clean the highchair.
in trying to decide whether or not to come back, i figured out that i haven’t missed the writing part of the blog. i’ve missed the knowing people are reading it and the comments and the attention i get from it. i know that there are alot of people who’ve still been checking it every day after 2 months! and that means ALOT to me (thank you guys so much!), but i’m going to try really hard not to look at how many visitors i have. i’m going to vent and tell stories about my kids and sometimes post crappy pictures and not care about being a blog celebrity. so there, selfish self.
it’s 11 pm. Maitland slept all the way through the night last night for the first time in his life and i’m really hoping tonight will be a repeat, so i want to get to bed….rephrase: i can’t wait to get to bed when i know i won’t be woken up at 3 AM. at least not by him. 4 year olds get thirsty in the middle of the night too. at least mine does. and tonight i will be glad to get her a drink if she asks for it…i’ll just be thankful that i’m capable of doing so.

thank you Lord for reminding us over and over how YOU are in control of our lives and how nothing is promised but YOU.  i love you for reminding us how precious each day is on this earth.  AMEN.

October 29, 2010

balance

so…i’ve been thinking for a long time that a healthy happy life is all about balance.  some quick examples:

rest vs. being active  (laziness vs. not being able to relax)

living a life of spiritual discipline vs. our faith becoming a burden of ritual

as a full-time homemaker, i constantly struggle with this one:  maintaining my home (i.e. cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc) vs. spending time with my kids

pining for Heaven while still finding much joy in this life

being totally honest vs. hurting feelings or scaring your kids

the two Bible studies i’m in right now have both gotten me thinking about this.  especially the last chapter we read in “Raising Your Children Without Regret” by Catherine Hickem.  she talked quite a bit about how our job in parents is NOT to be our child’s friend.  it is NOT to make them happy.  it is our job to teach them respect and responsibilty and how to be a good steward of the life God has given them.  when comparing those thoughts to ones of our relationship with our Heavenly Father: i do believe that God wants us to have happiness, but i think mostly He just demands our worship.  He wants us to be holy so that we will bring honor to Him, and basically He doesn’t care if we have a good time doing it.  being a parent, i know that the Lord must love to see us happy, but i know that He even moreso likes to see us obey and brag about what an awesome Dad He is.

forgive me.  i’m thinking “on paper”.  a short glimpse into the endless chaos that is Katie’s Brain.

September 22, 2010

7:12 AM

i should probably be waking up the girls right now, but i just wanted to check in quickly.

so, we are moving this week.  literally.  every time ryan or i goes over to the new place we take a box or two or a basket of toys or a metal star from the wall (harper was upset by that one and promptly told me that the wall wasn’t pretty anymore).  our current house is a WRECK and i’ve given up on trying to have it not be.  i’m keeping it clean (wiping the counters, sweeping the floors), but not neat.  reinforcements arrive on thursday night so starting friday morning we should be getting quite a bit done.  hoping that by monday i’ll be almost unpacked and that by the end of next week i’ll be somewhat organized. 

the whole concept of the girls living in a HOUSE for the first time is cool.  yesterday evening i did a little painting and ryan met us over there and brought pizza.  we had a picnic on a dropcloth.  i was so annoyed i didn’t have my camera because it was one of those moments when i thought, “i want this image burned on my brain.”  super special family picture.  anyway, as we were leaving, harper ran out to the mailbox, opened it and said, “no mail today!”  i was thinking how exciting that must be for her….for her entire life we’ve gotten our mail out of a little silver hole with a door.

this whole process is very exciting to me (i swear i have a huge smile on my face every time i’m packing a box), so i’m not in a rush to have it overwith, but there are alot of things that i’m looking forward to in the next 6 months or so, so i won’t mind when the moving in part is done:

  • starting up tuesday night Bible study again with some of my favorite women (and we’re reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, which is a book i’ve been dying to get through)
  • assisting my talented friend Kat Braman at several weddings
  • shooting one of my own next month
  • cooler weather (which feels like it’s already started, although i’m sure i’m being deceived somehow)
  • Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (we’ll get to have lights outside this year!)
  • Harper learning to read…i’m expecting to see her doing some probably before Christmas…she is flying through everything she’s being taught right now
  • so so so excited to start painting for the Homespun Chic Marketplace i’m participating in in April.  it’s always been a dream of mine to take part in a “craft fair/art show”, and this one seems like it’ll be really good.  i have big plans and in the new house i have an actual workspace.  SO STOKED to get some things on canvas.  (if you want to see some of my past works, you can go to my other blog, scroll to the bottom and click on “paintings”.)  several of my friends who have Etsy shops are doing it too, so that makes it extra fun and exciting.
  • watching Maitland learn to sit up and crawl….okay let’s be honest: i’m only excited about the sitting up part.  he can stay on his bottom for 6 months for all i care.  haha

it’s now 7:30 and my girls really need to be up!  gotta run.

the new place

July 27, 2010

a brick in the face.

so it’s late and i should get to bed, but i wanted to post this before i forget what i’m thinking/feeling:

i never knew i had a temper until i had kids. layne’s not there yet (not really old enough), but harper can make me madder than i ever knew i could get at anyone. sometimes i am utterly shocked at how seething mad a 35 pound little curly-haired ballerina can make me. i don’t know if it’s normal, but i’m assuming it is (feel free to leave comments affirming this fact).
bedtime at our house is almost a nightly battle. we spank, we take away toys/privileges/etc, we turn off lullabies. nothing seems to matter to harper…she will think of any excuse to stay awake, even if it involves a negative consequence. tonight was pretty typical, but ryan was at a function for work, so i was on my own. i lost it on her. i got extremely angry in a matter of about 10 seconds and said and did some things that i am regretting. that’s all i’m going to say about what happened…no need to call CPS or anything, i just wish i’d reacted differently.

when i came out of the girls’ room, heart-beating, tears streaming, i went on a cleaning rampage. it helped me clear my head a little and also gave me something to do with my hands, which is always a plus for me when i’m upset. one of the thoughts that kept going through my head was this: “i do so much for her. i give her so much. i teach her so much. why does she turn around and treat me this way?!” now, i understand that these issues we’re having with harper are more about her than they are about us. she is testing boundaries and learning how to express herself just like any other 4 year old does. she wants to stay up a little later and she knows that if i’m angry, she’s getting attention and doesn’t have to go to sleep. she’s not logically thinking through things, remembering everything i did for her today, but not caring. however, when i was super ticked off and had that thought for the 5th or 6th time (about how much i do for her), it hit me like a ton of bricks in the face that that has to be EXACTLY how God thinks about us. oh man, the floodgates opened when i had this realization. it’s a simple truth: God loves us. He invented love, so i know He feels it far deeper than we do. He does amazing things for us every day, provides us with not only the things we need, but with the things that make us super happy, and how do we repay Him? We sin. He arranged and re-arranged and sacrificed so much for us just to keep us close to Him and how do we show our appreciation? We choose not to spend time with Him. We are only passionate when we need something. We keep His amazing gifts and truths to ourselves.

maybe you don’t treat the Lord this way, but i realized tonight that i do. and i am so thankful that my kid was a brat for 10 minutes so i could get the slap in the face that i deserve.

Lord, i don’t ususally pray to you via my blog, but i just wanted to tell you tonight that i do realize how blessed i am and that every second i have on this earth is a gift and an opportunity to give you praise. i am so ashamed that i don’t do more to show you my love and appreciation. i am so sorry for my anger tonight, but i thank you for using it to teach me more about your infinite mercy and grace. thank you for never reacting to us in anger. amen.

July 24, 2010

life.

sometimes i get audio books for harper at the library.  she likes to listen to them during her rest time in the afternoon (rest time is code for: “get-away-from-mommy-for-an-hour” time).  when i was getting ready to drive to orlando to get the girls the other night, i saw “on the banks of plum creek” sitting on the dresser.  i grabbed it and decided i would listen to it on my way up…something other than the radio or my un-synched iPod.  the “Little House” books were some of my favorites growing up and it has been so fun to enjoy them all over again with harper (even before she can read!).  anyway, i think i got through 4 of the CD’s on my way up.  i was riveted.  one of the things that stuck in my mind after i got out of the car…and even until today, 2 days later was this:  anytime Wilder gives a description of the creek, she says that it was “always changing, but always the same”. 

i love that.

i started thinking about how many areas that little phrase can apply to.  that is life for most of us:  “always changing, but always the same”.  spent time yesterday with some dear friends and i was just thinking about all that’s changed during the 6 years that we have been making special efforts to see one another…marriages, new jobs, babies, degrees, more babies, big moves, haircuts, etc, etc.  and yet, through all that, our friendships are the same.  never awkward, never really strained.  always, ALWAYS a blessing.

i feel that way about my marriage, too.  sometimes i take a step back and think, “is it really possible that this is my life?”  i have 3 kids and loads of happiness with this man, the boy that i started loving so many years ago.  i know it sounds corny and simple, but it’s true.  when we got our van, i felt like a total nerd for the first few days driving it around.  but then i thought to myself, “what if someone had told me in college that i would be driving a mini-van full of OUR 3 kids?!  i would’ve passed out from pure glee.”

every generation of kids has about 3 memorable fads (i.e. Silly Bands).  “always changing, but always the same.”

my dad’s cousin Cliff died last week.  he’d very recently been diagnosed with advanced brain cancer, but the doctors thought he’d have a least a few months left to live.  the morning after he died, i woke up and thought about his sweet wife.  i thought about what it must be like to wake up on that first day when your spouse is gone.  i can’t imagine.  but i guess, that life really is just like the creek…”always changing, but always the same”.  even when the love of your life is no longer on this earth, you still wake up, you still eat, you still (try to) sleep, babies are still born, eventually you laugh again (especially thinking about someone as funny as Cliff).  i think i’ve talked about Steel Magnolias before…pretty much my favorite movie.  i love the very last scene when Malynn (played by Sally Field), the previously grief-stricken mother, is pushing her grandson in a swing and says so simply: “Life goes on.”

this post has taken a turn that i didn’t intend, but i don’t think that matters.

the most prevalent theme in my thinking the past few days was about our God.  He is the only thing that NEVER changes.  it is almost unfathomable to me.  but i like it.  i’m incredibly thankful for it.  that’s really all there is to say about that.

April 25, 2010

calm before the perfect storm.

i’m back.

it’s 6:50 AM on Sunday, April 25th.  i’m scheduled to deliver our third child, a boy, via c-section tomorrow afternoon around 1:00.  we’re pretty sure this is our last kid.  so, there is a very good chance that today is my last day to ever be pregnant.  don’t know if it’s the hormones or just simple reflection, but i’ve found myself doing alot of thinking lately…been very sentimental.

the reason i titled this blog “blessed” is simple:  because i am.  very.  this pregnancy has been no exception (all praise and thanks be to God for that).  yeah, i’m tired.  yeah, i’m uncomfortable.  but i’ve gone 10 months without throwing up, without high blood pressure or diabetees, and honestly, without getting fat (i don’t particularly enjoy looking at myself naked right now…35 pounds heavier, but i can’t complain).  i have so many friends who have rough pregnancies, or who aren’t able to get pregnant at all.  like so many other things in my life, it happened easily for me, but i don’t (and hopefully never will) take it for granted.  actually, with this pregnancy, it happened even sooner than we might’ve liked…i’d say that’s a nice problem to have.  all of that being said, certainly the biggest blessing of this and any full-term pregnancy is just that – that the baby has been carried to full-term and is (as anyone can tell so far) totally healthy and growing just as he should.  incredible in itself when you consider all the thousands of things that can (and do, many times) go wrong.

even without comparing my life or my body or my situation to other people, the blessings of pregnancy are extremely obvious.  the idea of another person exploding out of microscopic cells, taking root inside my body, and growing rapidly for 10 months still absolutely blows my mind.  the fact that it is a person that is half me, half my best friend makes it even more amazing.  the biggest blessing to me during pregnancy, though, is just plain quickening – feeling the baby move.  it never gets old.  i’m sure ryan’s been annoyed many times because i’ll lay on the couch and grab his hand and hold it on my belly…just want him to feel what i feel…how big and strong this little person is getting.  the idea of me, the mother, being able to feel the baby move for so many months was a smart one that God came up with.  it’s a very special, bonding experience…very personal.

i’m not at all looking forward to having a c-section, but that’s the hand i’ve been dealt so i’m trying to look at the positive.  just focusing on that moment when i’m staring at that blue sheet and i hear that little voice…mad at everyone in the room for violently pulling him out of…well, wherever that was that was all he’d ever known.  can’t wait to hear and see and touch him. 

i am thankful for all the examples of tragedy that i’ve heard about, read about, or witnessed.  they have taught me that life does literally hang by a thread.  babies die every day…in the womb, in the hospital the day they’re born, and sometimes months after they’re born when they’re wrapped in a sweet little blanket.  they’ve taught me never to take one second of my children for granted…every day is truly a gift.  i really hope i’m not just saying that…that i’ve learned that, i mean.  still, if the rest of my life is any indication, i am confident that the Lord would bless me even through tragedy.  i pray that if i was ever put through one of the situations that i’ve heard/read about with tears streaming down my face, that i could look ahead to what the Lord would teach me…that i would focus only on the many blessings i’ve experienced.

harper is up and asking for her juice.  i’m glad to get it for her while i can still stand up and walk across the room without needed a pain pill.  ryan got me a new laptop this week (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), so hopefully i’ll be able to be a pretty regular blogger again.  i’ve dedicated the next few months SOLELY to being Mommy and wife…hoping to maintain my sanity and not get too overwhelmed or distracted.  i’d like to try and document that maintenance on this blog.  we’ll see.

July 28, 2009

“train up a child in the way they should go…”

circle_praying“…and when they are old they will not depart from it.”

this is one of my favorite verses from proverbs. i believe it with all my heart. i’ve always had this plan for myself when it was my turn to do some training. however, i’m struggling. i realize my struggle has just begun. my kids are 3 and 1 and un-conceived.

at Bible study tonight, the girls and i were discussing raising children with “wisdom and faithful instruction”. i started to talk about how i’m really struggling with what that means. it is really scary to think that the basis of what my kids’ thoughts about who God is is in my hands. yes, i do believe that the Lord created us with a hole in our hearts. He created us with a curiosity…a longing to seek out our Creator. still, it’s scary because sometimes when i’m explaining things to harper, things that are fundamental parts of my faith, i know that it sounds no different to her than when i’m reading “alice in wonderland”. last week she was singing “this little light of mine” and got to the part about “don’t let satan blow it out”. i was trying to explain to her who satan is. as the words were coming out of my mouth, i was thinking how stupid it sounded and how much it sounded like i was talking about the easter bunny or something. (Satan’s also tricky because you don’t want to make him sound TOO scary because then she’ll have nightmares every night.)

there’ve been several instances like that lately, and it is really causing me to question my faith. not in a “i feel like i’m going to leave the church and realize i never had a relationship with God” kind of way; more like just causing me to think about which aspects of my faith and my relationship with Christ are really important to share with my kids while they’re young. i feel like alot of the Christian relationship (not religion) is understanding the entire picture (sin, Christ’s death, forgiveness, mercy) at once, and i just don’t think kids can grasp that. they’ll believe anything you tell them. they don’t believe it because the Holy Spirit convicts them of it, they believe it because you say it’s true. this makes me feel like i’m brainwashing her or something.

i also feel like kids learn by example. i’m counting on it, actually. i pray that the way that my husband and i live and love each other and our children will make it more than apparent to them that we have a “higher motivation”. i am not very good with words, so i’m banking on the fact that harper overhears a conversation between a friend and i about prayer or she suddenly understands that saying grace before a meal isn’t something that is just tradition, it’s a genuine “THANK YOU” to God that He is allowing us to eat today.

i’m rambling. i don’t know if i’m making any sense at all, but it’s sort-of jumbled in my head too, so…oh well.

March 30, 2009

truth be told

i’ve been thinking alot lately about honesty.

i pride myself on being honest…sometimes to a fault.  i just feel that if you care about someone, you should respect them enough to tell them the truth even if it might be awkward sometimes.  i don’t follow the rule religiously…i’m not a rude person, so if i’ve just met someone, or if it’s someone i know is in a fragile state, i’m careful.  i cannot stand it when people are fake or “polite” just for the sake of avoiding tension.  

i’ve had two different situations come up recently where i had good reason to lie, but i didn’t.  did i hurt feelings?  maybe initially, but i’m confident that in each situation my friend was appreciative of my being up front with them.  in both situations it was hard to tell them how i was really feeling, and i thought hard about doing it, but i still feel like it’s what i should’ve done.

i’m halfway through “The Year of Biblical Living” by A.J. Jacobs.  it’s a GREAT book but i’s taking me forever to read.  anyway, in the middle of one of my dilemmas, i read this passage about his wife running into an old friend while they were at a restaurant:

“Julie Schoenberg?” says the ponytailed woman. 

It’s an acquaintance Julie hasn’t seen since college.  Hugs are exchanged, compliments toward babies are extended, spouses introduced, mutual friends discussed. 

At the end of the meal, we get our check, and Julie’s friend says: “We should all get together and have a playdate sometime.”

“Absolutely,” says Julie.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I say.

Julie’s friend laughs nervously, not sure what to make of that.

Julie glares at me.

“You guys seem nice,” I say.  “But I don’t really want new friends right now.  So I think I’ll take a pass.” 

A few weeks ago, I read a book called Radical Honesty, which was about telling the truth in all situations.  It talks about the scary thrill of total candor, the Six Flags-worthy adrenaline rush.  I felt that.  I heard myself saying the words, but they seemed unreal, like I was in an off-Broadway production.

Julie is not glaring at me anymore.  She’s too angry to look in my direction.

“It’s just that I don’t have enough time to see our old friends, so I don’t want to overcommit,” I say, shrugging.  Hoping to take the edge off, I add: “Just being honest.”

“Well, I’d love to see you,” says Julie.  “A.J. can stay home.” 

i dont’ know that i can go this far, but it sure makes me think about how life would be if i were totally honest all the time.

so, how about you, kind post reader?  how honest are you?  also, would you prefer someone be totally honest with you or would you just like them to be “nice”?  have you ever been non-appreciative of someone’s honesty?

“In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.”  Proverbs 28:23

March 9, 2009

love, peace, and hair grease

as i was rushing through a 5 minute shower yesterday morning, in hopes of barely making it to church on time, i had a thought. it seems to me that church has turned into yet another place to get attention. i’m sure i don’t speak for everyone, but i am always very much concerned about what i look like when i walk through that door on sunday mornings. i was washing my greasy hair, thinking that i would probably be much more humble and sincere during worship if i wasn’t worried about the way i looked, or if i knew i looked terrible. my first thought walking into the sanctuary shouldn’t be, “oh i love her skirt.” all of a sudden, it hit me why nuns all dress the same.

how can we discount appearances at church – both our own and other people’s??? anyone?

November 21, 2008

call me a tealight.

i am very burdened for the unsaved of the world.  i know that sounds weird to just say it right out like that, but that’s how i’ve been feeling lately.  i am sad for people who don’t know Jesus and sad for people who don’t understand that it is possible to have true JOY.  it is possible to have real HOPE.  my problem is that i don’t know how to go about telling people about my hope and joy…about my relationship with the One who gives us those things….the One who created those things.  i don’t believe that split-second evangelism does the trick.  i don’t think it does any harm to hand out tracks or say bold things like, “do you know jesus?”.  of course there are people out there who can be reached that way.  but, for me, the whole point of the Christian life is to glorify God through the way we live our lives.  if we are striving to be holy, we will stand out in the world.  even if we’re a tiny candle in a dark room, we’ll be noticed.  to me, THAT is what really witnesses to the sad unbelievers of the world.  asking someone where they’d go if they died today doesn’t help them in this life and that’s where people’s minds are.  my problem is this:  how can you show a stranger the differences in your lives if you’re only around them for, say, an hour a week?  or less?  there are simple things like not using profanity or you could always try to put God into your conversation, using cliche’ Christian phrases like “i’m very blessed”.  non-Christians never say things like that.  people are constantly saying to me, “wow, you’ve got your hands full.”  my sister told me once that a girl she knew would say “thank the Lord for that”.  so, that’s what i’ve started saying.  i’m very thankful for the blessings the Lord has given me and when i’m trying to get into my building holding a screaming baby and dragging a tantrum-throwing toddler, that’s what i want people to know.  i’ve been racking my brain trying to think of small ways i can demonstrate my faith without putting a fish on my car or wearing a steven curtis chapman t-shirt.  this thought-process started when my car was towed a few weeks ago (man, those people are heart-breakingly bitter and cold) and then continued during my monday night soccer game this past week.  i’ve led a VERY sheltered life (christian school, christian college, christian career, and now most of my friends are from church or the christian college) and i’m thankful for the unmistakeable blessing of community, but when i get out in “the real world” it feels very dark and i feel a weight on my chest for those who don’t know what true Happiness is.  this is going nowhere.