Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Confessions (I love who God made me)

"February Thoughts...Valentine's Day Confessions..." February seems to be a month of introspection!

Ah, the day of love. The day of 30+ Spiderman or Minion valentine's cards from the Dollar Store. The boys actually did super well sitting and carefully writing their classmates and teacher's names on each card. Patrick did at one point throw a pen across the room because "S" is hard to write. I feel ya, bro.

Behn and I have never been big on Valentine's Day. When we were dating, we had a tradition where we got Chinese for dinner and called it a cheap date. We don't even do that anymore (it's Taco Tuesday up in here. Thanks for the budget, Dave Ramsay). Every year, I think, 'Next year we will do cute cards! I'll make pink heart shaped pancakes for breakfast! The kids will send cards to all cousins and grandparents!"

Oops. Forgot again. Honestly, I only remembered classroom cards because I got multiple reminders with kids names on lists. I barely remembered the red jello (ew) for Patrick's class party. Graham's home sick again, so he's missing his party.  I need to clean the bathroom because of all the pee on the toilet seat. The day is kind of a dud. Or, it's actually just a normal day, a day that's a gift like any other. Thank goodness my Mom made little Valentine's bags for my kids, so they got something :)

Ok, so I turned 33 recently and I am owning it. That is, I'm saying out loud all the things I'm not good at and am good at and calling it cool. I like who God made me. I'm proud of myself and done with thinking I have to do everything better. I'm not into holidays. Or birthdays. They stress me out and make us poor. I'm not going to run a half marathon because I don't like running longer than 30 minutes. I don't want to become a vegan or do Whole30. I am not artsy and don't want to try to be. I tried being crunchy and it became a chore, for the most part.

I do like to go outside, especially to the woods. I love that woodsy smell, the all-alone-but-not-alone feeling. I like to dig in the dirt, even though I seem to give up on my garden every year around mid-July. I like to talk about orphan care and I know a lot about it. I'm a good horseback rider. I'm kind a tomboy and never intend to have a mani/pedi for the rest of my life, ever. I like to read. I love bluegrass music and someday when we can afford it, I'd like to take fiddle lessons. And I still want a farm (dogs, horses, chickens, and sheep) and always will. I like to make comfort food like chicken pot pie and chocolate chip cookies.

So, as I look at Instagram and panic because I didn't make this day very special for my family (no special food, no handmade cards, no flowers), I'm remembering who I am and that I'm ok, as is. What a happy, joyful relief!

And you have gifts that are different than mine and that is awesome, too! Create, make great food, exercise well, reach for your goals.  Love who God made YOU!

We did talk about love this morning. I asked the boys to recite Romans 5:8, which they memorized a while ago.

"But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

What wondrous love is this!

Bonus pic of adorable 4-year old hands carefully writing his friends' names. So cute.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

February Thoughts

In just 5 weeks or so, the spring peepers will be singing from the creek beds. The past few days reminded me of that, with the warm breezes and open windows. Today it is winter again, and I'm sipping tea, reading, and embracing quiet.

Last week, we traveled to Delaware to celebrate the life of Behn's grandmother, Ruth. She was a lovely lady. I'm glad I was able to know her these years that I've known Behn, and that all 3 boys knew her, too. I'm glad we are within driving distance so that we could be with family.

The house is 'decorated' with Lego toys and Star Wars ships. The boys have played well lately. Samuel is pulling himself up to stand. It won't be long now, before he's walking and the baby year is over. I'm sad about that, but I do love to see him crawl quickly around the house, trying to keep up with his brothers. This band of boys is a gift. You can't help but live life when life pulls you out of bed each day, life has constant needs to be met, life makes noise and laughs and makes itself always evident.

I'm reading a lot these days, tea drinking, thinking, praying, listening to podcasts, and watching BBC shows. What else to do in winter? I was well-loved for my birthday in January. Sometimes my world feels small, but when people tell you they love and appreciate you, you know you're loved big.

The wind is howling today. It's still winter. But soon we will hear the spring peepers.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Happy January!

Happy new year!

The year is already 2 weeks old. After a dark (for me, personally) December and a lot of sickness in our home, I'm finally feeling myself again.

In the quiet of the dark mormings, God has been waking me, meeting me. I treasure these mornings. Fresh cup of coffee, the crocheted blanket given to me by ladies from our church in Lexington (a prayer shawl), the hum of the heater. And His word, freely given. A good friend sent me the She Reads Truth book as an early birthday gift and so these past weeks, I've been in John. These mornings have been a saving grace.

A new year before us, the details unknown. But, of course, not unknown to our God. I feel humbly brave - today at least.

The boys, other than having had colds, are doing great. Graham's pretty much reading now; I love practicing with him in the evenings. He skips into school each day. The 2 week break was both good and hard for our structure-craving boy. We are still growing together. Patrick is also doing great, enjoying preschool, saying cute and hilarious things, growing tall. He's so special to me, we are similar in personality and his tender heart is a gift. Don't even get me started on Samuel. Best baby ever. We all adore him. He cut his first tooth thus week, is crawling (fast!), clapping, babbling. Last night he slept from 6:30- 6:30 (not always the case). Basically awesome.

January is one of my favorite months as Behn and I continue our tradition of watching Lord of the Rings in the evenings. This is something I look forward to every year and this year Behn found the extended version marked down like 70%. Yes, we are nerds. Perfect for each other nerds. Marriage is great.

We are also reading all about Dave Ramsay and are getting tough about our budget. We've been frugal for years, IMO, but there's yet work to do here. We find it fascinating and even energizing (ask me again in 6 months if I find it energizing 😋).

I'm hoping to be back in this writing space more often. Until then, cheers to the new year!

Happy baby:

Star of Bethlehem at the school play:

Graham on his 6th birthday:

We had our first winter snow last weekend:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

He's My Bart

When I was a horse-crazed teenager, I was given the opportunity to free lease a horse named Bart for a year. I had been a rider for years, and confident in my ability. I could gallop around, jump, handle the occasional buck. I'd ridden dozens of horses, had countless lessons. I thought I was a good rider.

And then I got Bart. He was a stocky, strong, dark bay (brown) quarter horse, stubborn and strong willed. It didn't take long for him to establish who was in charge. He was sweet on the ground, but once I was riding, I couldn't control him very well. We'd be doing great, and then he'd whip around, get the bit in his teeth, and pull my skinny 16 year old self back to the barn. I created lesson plans and exercises, trotted him in circles for hours (until he got bored and pulled me back to the barn), and read articles about how to train a stubborn horse. He'd buck out of no where (as I'm typing this, I'm wondering if his saddle fit right...maybe there was a reason for this nonsense). One particular time, we were out on a trail ride and out of the blue, he bucked me off and into a tree. I have the scar on my chin to prove it, and I'm lucky that was all the injury I had. In the end, I wasn't too sad to see the year end and put his tail on a trailer back to the barn he'd come from.

After that year, I got on a mare- Firelight, a petite chestnut Arabian- that I'd used to ride. She was challenging to me before Bart. And then I rode her after my year with Bart and she was golden. The easiest thing. Where she'd refused jumps before, now she'd glided over them. She hadn't had any extra training in that year- but I had. Bart had made me a strong rider. I had the tools and muscle I needed to communicate. Riding her was awesome.

Graham is my Bart. I told him that recently, and after giggling that Bart rhymes with fart, he enjoyed hearing the story. Of course, there are major differences in the plot line. Parenting is not for a year, and I'd never want to get rid of Graham. I'm not trying to 'conquer' him, like I'd tried to do with Bart. That's not the roll a mother plays. What I mean is that God saw fit to give me a strong-willed, smart, capable first boy and that loving boy has stretched me, grown me, humbled me, and at times brought me to my knees in tears. And how much more dependent on God- and strong in the Lord's strength- am I from this! My greatest sanctification has been motherhood. This strong boy has helped turn me into a stronger woman, just like riding a tough horse made me a better rider. How I thought I'd have a compliant, easy first-born, and how that expectation was shattered. God breaks us down to made us whole, in Him.

We're nearly 6 years in now. The other morning he tiptoed out of bed and came to hug me. "I was extra quiet because Patrick was still sleeping..." he said, and my heart brimmed with love for him and his thoughtfulness. Yes, we do still have many a battle, hard moments, and outbursts. And as I tame my tongue and heart to hold every thought captive to Christ, I'm thankful for that stubborn horse and what he taught me, and this strong boy and who he is becoming in God's grace.

{This is Bart and I...must have been 1999 or 2000?  Hello, you little innocent dove, Megan. You'd better wear a helmet, mmmk? Because that horse is about to throw you into a tree. It'll all work out to make you a stronger person and better mother. Hang tight, you horse geek, you :)}

Friday, November 11, 2016

One, Two, Three

Baby Sweet Samuel is now almost 7 months old. When Graham was our one and only, we documented so much. I made these little monthly updates with his weight and all the things he could do and pictures. Poor Sammy has had little of those, though he does make his way onto Instagram fairly often.

Anyway, we've had 3 kids for about 7 months and we are not only surviving, I'd say we are generally thriving (don't remind me that all three were up at 5:30 this morning. Stupid Daylight Savings Time). The summer was hard- all day, every day, three kids on not enough sleep, very little community, and not much to do in our area. But this fall has brought a sweetness and change with the school year and refreshing season. Behn and I love having a baby again. He is growing so fast, sitting now, babbling, and thinking about crawling. The big boys are also maturing and are more independent...sometimes. They can set the table, get themselves dressed, help in small ways. This isn't without some complaining at times, of course, but they are getting better. If nothing else, they sure do love Samuel. We've had those moments of the baby being woken from his nap by the noise of brothers, I've felt overwhelmed and needed to call on Jesus more than ever, but I really love the way our family fits right now. Another thing is that when I have to run into the store and only have to take 1 or 2 kids, it's so much easier than with 3.  I used to dread running errands with Graham and Patrick, but now with three kids, if I only have to take two, it's a treat. Perspective, friends.

Overall, I think it's been such a great year. I love being 32. I feel much more sure and confident in who God made me. I've been softened, humbled, and repentant this year- and I'm aware this needs to continue! God has been doing a lot of work in my heart, and I'm so grateful. Grateful He tenderly grows us, grateful for this family I have. We still have so many dreams...for some land, for possibly adding to our family through adoption or serving in other ways. All in His time.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Off The Bookshelf

I have not been reading as much as I'd like to lately. I fill my days with busyness around the house, trying to sneak in some exercise, and running around. But in the evenings, especially at this time of year, it has been nice to make a cup of tea and snuggle up. I've read a few things in the past months, but am eager for a new read.

First off, a classic.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I loved reading this Jane Austen novel. I've seen the movie lots of times, which helped, as there are a lot of characters. I also got the homes/estates confused at times, since they all have names as well. The book had a lot more detail than the film (as books do) and I really enjoyed it. I loved the romance and sisterhood in the book. Now I'm thinking of re-reading Pride and Prejudice since I haven't read it in years.

Book attempt and fail: I tried to read The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. I got about 1/3 into it, but eventually got kind of bored. Behn and I are not hoarders, and though I always think we have too much stuff, I also don't recognize at this point that we need a major purge as the book suggests. Maybe I'm wrong, but for now I did not think the book necessary (denial?).

Next I read:

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker

I read this book just a few weeks before Jen and her husband Brandon became Christian headline news because they believe in homosexual marriage. While I do disagree with their stance in this, I would still read the book. Even before her notorious interview, I disagreed with some of her viewpoints. I think it's wise to read and think through worldviews other than our own. The book was funny, poignant and I found myself nodding along to many of her thoughts on motherhood and laughing at her hilarity.

Finally, I read this aloud to Graham:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Ah, a childhood classic. I read this because I felt convicted in not reading enough out loud to the boys, or reading books that were too childish for him. Took us a month or so, but I think we both enjoyed it. There were times I'm not sure he was paying attention (he was often building with Legos while I read), but I know it's so good for his brain to hear the vocabulary. I personally loved the descriptions of farm life, the smells, the sounds, and the changing seasons.  And yes, I choked up when Charlotte died.

I have a long list of books I want to read. A few are on hold at the library and I have a few on my Christmas list. What have you been reading?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

These October Days

These October days are filled with baby smiles. Samuel can sit up now, and his tiny tuft of hair stands on his head and he's so beautiful my heart explodes. God is good.

These October days we 4 -Graham, Patrick, Samuel, and I- walk home slowly from the bus stop at the end of the road. Everyone else drives to get their kids, but we walk and breathe in fresh (warm, this week) air. We check on the trees as they change color. Sometimes we detour into the woods. Yes, some days, there is whining, but it is always worth it to walk if you can. God is good.

These October days, the house smells like pumpkin spice granola. I'm bagging it up to send to each of the hard-working teachers who have made my boys' transitions to school so seamless. Graham especially is thriving in the structure and all day learning. God is good.

These October days I cherish my parents. I love that Dad is here with us this fall, and hearing what God has placed on his heart. I love calling my Mom, just to say hi, and remembering that I come from hard-working stock- a woman who teaches 5 year olds 40 hours a week and still offers to watch our boys so that Behn and I can sneak away to the mountains. God is good.

These October days, the mountains call. Behn and I have hours to talk on the drive there, on the hike up the mountain. We laugh and dream and reminisce and breathe it all in. God is good.

These October days the cosmos finally bloom in the weed patch. God is good.

These October days, I sneak into the boys rooms after they sleep. Graham, lanky and strong, still has his hand on his beloved baby blanket. I capture this in my heart, because he's still young and I have him with me now. He's been talking openly and freely about his faith in Jesus and we rejoice. I kiss Patrick's cheek; he still has a baby face and I love every bit of him and all the things he says at age 4. I tiptoe into Sammy's room. He's sleeping in his crib now and this baby means the world to me. These three sons are prayed over. God is good.

And no, life isn't perfect this side of heaven and there are moments of exhaustion, anger, impatience and worry. Repentance and forgiveness. But God is so very good.