Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Love Well

This past week a little girl  passed away. 

She was not a victim of a hate crime, gun violence, drug abuse, a drunk driver, or any other human action. She was a victim of a broken world. She passed away from a brain aneurysm. She was ten years old.

I do not know her family apart from the fact that I remember watching her dad on stage at our church when he was the worship minister. I only know of her passing because her dad and I have multiple Facebook friends in common. When his daughter was admitted to the hospital he took to Facebook to ask for prayer. He asked friends and family to show support for his daughter by filling the news feed with green hearts, her favorite color. Many of my friends shared his posts and I prayed along with countless others.

As I read his prayer request I could feel his strength and sadness. There were updates following that first post, and finally, the news that she was in the arms of her Heavenly Father. I cried, for a little girl I have never met, and a family I barely know. I wanted to run to my sleeping children, scoop them up, and never let them go.

As someone who has lost a child, I know there is no consolation, no phrase, act, or earthly gift that can heel that pain. Time fades it, but there is no cure until we are reunited in heaven. Because my daughter was stillborn, I know I can not even begin to comprehend the pain of loosing a grown child. 

With full knowledge of no good way to completely console this family, I would still like to say thank you. Thank you for renewing my hatred of my sin and my pursuit of Christ-like love. This little girls passing should have never happened. We live in a world plagued by imperfection as a result of sin. Our only saving grace is our salvation through Christ.

Romans 12:9
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

There are so many opportunities for hate in our world. Hatred of different nationalities, genders, social classes...the list is endless. We fight against the products of sin, but forget the cause. We are fallen and in need of Christ's love. Are guns an issue, or the hearts of their wielders? Would addiction kill so many if they were bathed in love by God's church? Hate crimes?...Inconceivable through the eyes of Christ's love.

1 Corinthians 15:57
"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The next time you find yourself angry about crime, drug abuse, abortion,  and/or the world in general remember the root. Sin. Fight against sin. Fight to love. These are important topics, worthy of action. Take action with a heart of love. Fight knowing the ultimate outcome! God always wins!

1 John 4:19
"We love, because He first loved us."

The little girl no longer needs our prayers. She dances with her King. I on the other hand, will take all the prayer I can get. Pray that I love well. Pray that Christs church loves well. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

One Vs. Two

A friend once told me "Having one kid is like having one kid, and having two is like having twenty."


Last week it happened that Squeaks was at Nana's house and I had Little Dude to myself for a few hours. The boy and I ran errands with ease. I can't believe I ever thought running errands with just Squeaks was difficult. I took my time at Target while LD enjoyed his snack in the stroller and waved at everyone we passed (I love that our stroller can go from a single to a double easily). Then on the car ride home he fell asleep. I decided to do something I haven't been able to do since he was born. I went through a drive through, got a chocolate shake, turned the music down low, and just drove around till he woke up. Soooo relaxing!

They are never in the same mood at the same time. Never both eat well. Never both sleep well (Squeaks sleeps while Little Dude doesn't). One always wants what the other has and they both always want what I'm eating. It's the biggest challenge of my life and I'm loving it!!

From what I've learned so far, being a parent to two small children so close in age is a lot like playing chess. It's a strategy game. Who do you get out of the car seat first? If you give one food the other will want some. Who do you feed first? What do you do with the one year old when he's not tired, but you need to put the two year old down for nap? You have to be one step ahead of them at all times. Add in housework, laundry for four (two of which love dirt), meals for four, three times a day plus snacks, breastfeeding, cloth diapering (ya, we're back at it), and three dogs, my life is never boring. I feel like I have to have a daily plan. My husband walks out the door for work and the game begins.

I don't know how to play chess.

There are days (a lot of days) where nothing goes "according to plan" and they are great days! So I've decided to start the day with a plan, envision my next move, and be as prepared as I can be. Then when it all hits the fan, laugh, and reset the game board. 
When nap times happen to overlap, I don't clean. I sit. And eat chocolate.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Look Good Doin' It...

Is there anyone in the world who hasn't heard of LuLaRoe yet!? Or at least, any women who haven't heard? There might be some Siberia...who haven't been exposed to this awesomeness yet.

LuLaRoe is a clothing company, but to my friend Jessica it's a tool to help grow her family. LuLaRoe, like my beloved Usborne Books & More, is a direct sales company. It allows it's consultants freedom to be with their families and still run their own business. Jessica and her family have chosen LuLaRoe to fund their adoption from China. With four biological children and homeschooling thrown in the mix, I am super happy that Jessica and her family have found such a productive and flexible fundraising tool.

This isn't their first fundraiser either. Jessica is a talented seamstress and raised a good chuck of change making and selling adorable rice heating pads. I was also given the privilege of hosting a Cards For A Cause fundraiser for them. It has always bothered me (actually makes me pretty mad) that adoption is so expensive. I'm so excited to help Jessica and her family in any way I can. It's a big pill to swallow. International adoption is $40-$50k! I'd love it if you would go check out her LuLaRoe Facebook page and/or follow her on Instagram. If you are like many women I know, you are already part of multiple LuLa-groups on Facebook. Wouldn't it be great to support an awesome cause while looking super cute at the same time!? I now own five pairs of LuLaRoe leggings, I live in them, and I've only scratched the surface of the LuLaRoe world.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Sharing A Fun Event

I just registered for this free online conference and I thought I'd share it with you too. I don't get money, gifts, or anything for sharing this. Just the joy of passing on a fun event. One of my favorite mommy bloggers will be speaking (Erin Odom from The Humbled Homemaker). I enjoy her honesty and writing style, plus she gives great money saving tips. Her blog gave me the courage to dive into the cloth diapering world. 
I like that it's all online, so I can watch the presentations when I have time. I hope I can get to them ALL! 

Register HERE.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

3 Reasons to NOT Landscape Your Yard

Aside from the fact that it will save you money, it is my personal opinion that not landscaping your backyard makes total sense.

When Josh and I first moved into our house six years ago (whaaaa!?) we decided to redo the backyard. We had a new sprinkler system put in, had a few raised beds built, and new sod laid down. I was pretty proud of that backyard. One of the raised beds was waist-height, perfect for a vegetable garden. Josh mowed the grass weekly and we spent weekends pruning, pulling weeds, and laying down mulch. It turns out it was a waste of time, money, and energy. We really should have just left it in the state we found it (which really wasn't that bad). The grass is now patchy and best, and the raised beds are more weeds than anything else. Kids have happily consumed our time and resources.

Now, if gardening is your "thing", and you have the time/money to do it, go for it! If you have small children (or are considering having kids in the near future), don't bother. I know that sounds negative and defeatist, but hear me out. Here are three reasons to not landscape:
Yes, this is my yard. Un-mowed for three weeks and counting.
1. Kids love dirt! Nay, they need dirt! 
Especially little boys. I am learning this more and more every day. Not only is it actually healthy (read this), it's just plain good for the soul. Watch a kids face the next time they stick their chubby little hands into a pile of dirt. Pure amazement and joy. Piles of dirt, dirt from under the flower beds, wet dirt around the sprinkler heads. It's all fair game. Kids will dig it up.
Dirty hands, dirty knees, dirty bum. Dirt, dirt, dirt.
2. They will destroy it anyway.
Not in a malicious way. Not in a "Hey, something pretty! Let me step on it!" way. Just in a kids-being-kids way. Squeaks LOVES to pick every flower in the yard the second it blooms and bring me beautiful bouquets. How could I stop her!? And Little Dude gets the biggest thrill out of dumping buckets of rock from our planter beds onto the patio floor. No way I'd kill that joy for him!
A freshly picked bouquet and a patio full of rocks, these are signs of happy kids.
3. It will give you extra time and less stress.
Squeaks loves to blow wishes (dandelions). I almost hope they grow in our yard. She is so cute taking deep breaths and blowing as hard as she can. No pulling weeds! Digging is a favorite past time too. Anywhere the dirt is exposed between the patches of grass (thanks gophers) is fair game. If we had a perfectly manicured lawn and pruned planter beds, it would drive me crazy to see my kids take their shovels and "search for treasure". 

Do yourself a favor. Save your money and go sit in the dirt with your kids. It's so fun!
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