Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Warning: Pity Party Commenced

Do you ever feel like you are just not cut out for real life? It's too hard. You look at those who you may have once accused of being coddled and think, Man, they have it made! And your friends who have it even tougher than you and think, How do they do it?? You may dream of beaches, warm sand, the sound of a never ending tide that washes back and forth, tuning out the struggles that weigh so heavily on your frail heart. And then wake up and realize you are still here. In the real world. And boy does it suck.

Too often in life I am caught between the act of dreaming and doing in this awkward and rather claustrophobic spot of surviving. Survival sounds like such a tough word, one used to describe the strong and determined. But if you've ever been there, you know how terribly weak and small it feels. Survival is not on the warm sand by the rhythmic tide, survival is in the midst of the waves. Crashing down on you. Your only job is to keep your head above water, and most of the time that feels like much too much.

Let me clarify... I am in the midst of packing up my house. Again. And to make matters worse, it's the first day of fall. So naturally I am procrastinating by writing a sappy post about how hard life is. It's kind of my thing. I'm sipping my second cup of coffee, complaining about the freezing "fall" weather (it's 61 degrees! It might as well be winter!), grumbling about all the idiots romantics oohing and ahhing about this pumpkin-flavor-filled season, and feeling extra depressed about the fact that my pregnancy/stress-eating weight is still safely attached to my body--meaning I won't be fitting any of my cool weathered clothes any time soon.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty to be thankful for. It's just, it's the first day of fall. And I'm moving again. So I'm going to pout for a bit.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"I Don't Know."

There comes a time in life when you just have to admit it. This is who I am. And the puffing up and self-proclaimed confidence are just coping mechanisms that help you deal with the reality you like to pretend isn't real. Every time I make a life decision, people ask me questions. LOTS of questions. Not just about me, but about my husband, and my kids, and how I am going to make sure they are all doing what they need to do. My assumption is they want to feel like I know what I am doing and that I've got everything under control.

But guess what?

I don't. This is my first life. I'm still figuring things out. It just doesn't come as naturally to me as it seems to come to others. I like to use the generalized, "I'm human" response when explaining how lost I really am. But I am beginning to wonder if that word doesn't mean what I think it means. Because when I admit that I am really insecure, and I don't know what to do, and I actually don't have any real idea what life's answers are, people tend to look at me like, "Oh you poor thing..."

Yes, I know, I am normal. No one really knows what they are doing. We are all figuring it out. But there is an unspoken rule that you can only admit you are lost if you then have a plan to make it right. To figure it out. Because I think the fear is, if your answer is, "I don't know." And you have no plan on how to "know" then the sky might fall and bury you in despair and hopelessness. And there is nothing people like less than someone they can't fix.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


There are few things more fascinating or mesmerizing to this world than boobs. They are everywhere. Billboards advertising anything from sneakers to car parts. Magazines. Movies. Music. Our world loves boobs. Flash 'em for beads! Show them off at the beach! At the pool! At the mall! Show us your boobs! That is, unless you are feeding your baby, then FOR GOD'S SAKE WHERE A COVER!

I've been using my boobs for the sick habit of feeding my babies since 2008. When I first started I thought nothing of it. My baby had to eat. His food came from my boobs, so I used them for what I figured God intended them for. I fed him at coffee shops, in restaurants, on public benches. I didn't even wear a cover (gasp). I was so young and naive I didn't even realize I was doing anything wrong. Some people hinted at the use of a nursing cover, telling me where I could buy them, how useful they were. I would innocently reply that my son wouldn't nurse with anything over his head, not picking up on the hints those people were kindly tossing my way. I wore layers, and my shirt usually covered what my baby's head didn't, so I didn't see the need for a cover anyway.

When I first started noticing that I was making other people uncomfortable was when I was feeding my son at a restaurant when a well intentioned friend mentioned she would never feed her hypothetical child in public. How would you go anywhere or do anything? I asked stupidly. She confidently told me if she had to feed said child in public, she would obviously retreat to the nearest restroom. Ew. I said. Would you sit on those toilets? Most don't even have lids or seat covers! What about the flushing? You'd basically be feeding your baby in toilet water. And how could you bear to sit in a bathroom for 20-45 minutes while your friends finish their meals and have to wait for you? How inconvenient. I ignorantly went on and on about how silly it would be to nurse in a restroom when you can easily sit and nurse comfortably in a chair while you eat and/or talk to your friends. She just shook her head.

I had my first child in Asheville, NC. It's a city known for being weird where public breast-feeding and other barbaric practices are fairly normal, so I lived happily in my ignorance for a year or so. Thinking those who thought I was weird, or disturbing, were the strange ones. But when I left my town I noticed I never saw other mothers feeding their babies the strange way I had somehow come to see as normal. There were moms toting bottles, ignoring their tender swollen breasts until they could get to a private place to pump. And a very few brave ones with small, frequent eaters wearing nursing covers, huddled in private-ish corners. Like Eve after tasting the forbidden fruit, I started to become aware of my nakedness. How had I been so unaware of my inconsiderate flashing of flesh? Suddenly the stares became more and more evident to me. But by this point, my son began only nursing before bed and I didn't have to face nursing in public any longer.

When my second son was born, I was much wiser and more aware of other peoples' needs and concerns. I bought a nursing cover, determined that this child would learn to nurse with his head covered. It wasn't until about the third apology I received for someone talking to me while I was breastfeeding (with a nursing cover) that I realized they were not apologizing to me, but for me. And that when women said comments like, "You are so brave, doing that in public!" they were not really complimenting me. While I was comfortable, they were not, and they needed me to be aware of that. And thus began my journey into a much less familiar territory of uncomfortable feeding in public. Rules I was learning: 1)Yes, please happily enjoy your new large breasts by wearing shirts that display them pleasingly. 2) By no means ever expose them while feeding a child. This portrays unnatural behavior, only acceptable in countries where pumps and nursing covers don't yet exist. 3) Please spend hours pumping to make life more convenient to those around you. No one wants to stop and wait for you to nurse, and heaven forbid we catch a glimpse of your areola! Save that for the nudey magazines! 4) Nursing covers are great alternatives to never feeding in public. But please, even if you are using a cover, please refrain from talking to others while doing the deed. Do not draw attention to yourself, and if at all possible, find a private place away from others to retreat to. Great options include: your car, public restrooms, quiet corners (make sure to keep your head down, do not make eye contact or encourage speaking with others, lest some unsuspecting person feel free to walk by and say hello only to realize what you are doing).

I quickly realized that if I was going to go anywhere or do anything, I could not make everyone happy or even comfortable with my boob-feeding habits. I realized I was going to just have to do it anyway. Now as I nurse my third child, I have long since discarded the nursing cover (I know, I know, but for some reason I just can't train my babies to eat in a hot box with ease!), and I nurse when and where I have to. Does it bother me that I get stares or comments? Yeah. My fear is not that I will lose my freedom to feed my baby in public, my discomfort is what this says about what we believe about women's bodies. My worry is what we might be continuing to teach this next generation to believe about women's bodies. My disgust is that we have so sexualized our bodies that we allow no room to use them in the way they were intended. I am not making a statement when I nurse my daughter in public. I am not "taking a stand" or sticking it to the man. I am not looking for attention, nor am I ashamed. I'm just feeding my baby. It's not always comfortable and I often feel like people think I am doing something strange or wrong. But my daughter is healthy and happy, and I am not confined to my home. Although I must admit, I do take courage in the fact that when other kids see me nursing my daughter and they say something like, "Ew! Why is she doing that?" I hear my son say, "What? She's just feeding my sister."

Friday, July 18, 2014


Marriage is difficult. We all know it. We all see it. And yet for some reason we choose to ignore it. I mean, people will say things like, "Marriage is tough!" But that is always quickly followed by, "But sooo worth it." Or something to that extent. When it comes down to it though, we don't really want to believe that marriage is difficult. When it gets too hard, we decide there is something wrong. Most people choose one of two things: to end it, or to "put up" with it. From what I've seen in my life, few people actually push through and truly change it.

Let me pause here for a second and clarify. This is not a judgment piece. I have only been married a little over 6 years, and while we have been through a lot, I'm not about to pretend my husband and I have conquered all hardships, and I'm not about to pass judgment or pretend I know some generalized answer to all marital issues.

Marriage is difficult. Living with another person day in and day out. As much as you love them, you are different and you're not going to see eye to eye on everything (sometimes it may feel like you don't see eye to eye on anything). You're going to feel like you are right about 98.9% of the time. And your spouse will feel the same. This is difficult.

I think the majority of people have this image of marriage that portrays a perfect relationship. One that completes, enriches, and empowers. One that fills your needs (and so of course you automatically fill your spouses needs as well, of course). That's how human relationships work, right? You may snicker to yourself when you read that, because you know better. But when it comes down to it, and it doesn't look like that, isn't your first instinct that it's not right? That maybe it won't last? That maybe it should end?

Marriage is the perfect example of all that is hard about human relationships. Because you can't just walk away. Even ended marriages are a part of you forever (all relationships are, but an ended marriage, whether "good" or "bad," seems to be particularly scarring). Relationships are binding, and while many have positive aspects that make the negative worthwhile, none are perfect arrangements. No real relationship is easy.

So basically, because we are human (aka freakin' messed up), we're not ever going to find a perfect relationship. I think that's ok. I think we need to change our outlook on marriage (and relationships in general). Instead of viewing it as a tool to achieve self worth, happiness, or purpose, perhaps we should try to view it as what it really is? A partnership. Anyone who has had to work with a partner for any extended period of time knows that at some point or another, one of you is going to be pulling a little extra weight. Encouragement, accountability, and commitment is required to make a partnership work and to accomplish whatever it is you are working for. The best partnerships work because both partners have the same end goal. Whether or not their methods are the same, they are both working toward the same thing. The best partnerships work when each partner uses their particular strengths, admit their weaknesses, and use their differences to work together. We are all headed somewhere with our lives, if we choose to walk with a partner, we have to realize it's not going to be all about ourselves (whether you want to see that as a positive or negative thing is up the individual). A good partnership can make even the hardest task doable. A bad partnership can make even the easiest task impossible.

I'm starting to see that what makes a relationship beautiful is not so much the partners as much as the partnership. And a good partnership takes a lot of hard work. Whether or not it's worth it is entirely up to you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I woke up early to feed my baby girl and couldn't fall back to sleep. My house is in boxes. Again. I really thought we were done moving for awhile. I thought another move might kill me. But here we are. Moving. Figuring it out as we go. Sorting through the stress and mystery of what tomorrow might hold. Oddly enough, I am pretty excited. Pleased even. The funny thing is, this is our 3rd move in a year (and that's just in a year), and we are moving right back to the place we left a year ago! It would be easy to look back now and see where we went wrong, or what we could have done differently, and how we could have spared ourselves the stress and drama of moving house so much. But truthfully, so many life-saving (literally) things happened through these moves, that I can't feel regret.

I won't lie, I am craving stability like a soft warm bed after many sleepless nights. I want to know that in a year I will be in the same house, or even just the same city. I want to know that I'll have a chance to put down some roots, make some family traditions, have friends to grow close with, and a home that really feels like home. I want all that a lot. Like a lot, a lot. And don't get me wrong, I think stability can be good for the soul, healthy, and needed. But I am thankful for the change all the change in our life has brought. The healing, reconciliation, and trust it has developed.

It feels weird to say it, but all the chaos, stress, and change has brought a lot of clarity. Security. And peace. Not to say I didn't bite off all my nails and eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting this weekend in between packing boxes and binge watching Netflix. But hey, I didn't kill anyone, and I still have a full head of hair, so I'd say it was a pretty productive weekend!

On the road again. Hoping for some stability, while trusting God's grace is sufficient in my weakness.

Monday, June 9, 2014

This Mess We Call Life

It's pretty easy to say that the last two years were the worst of my life. The. Worst. Worse than all the other worsts combined. I almost lost my life. I almost lost my marriage. I almost lost my faith. I was so lost. I thought I would never make it out.

I think it's funny when younger girls have asked me for advice. First of all, it's really weird to be the "older" one. Second of all, although I try to patch together some life experience and pass it along, really I just want to laugh and say, "You want to know what to do? Look at my life, and do the opposite!" BOOM baby! Life figured out.

Some days I wake up and I get butterflies. I'm not just happy to be alive. I'm happy I want to be alive. I look at my kids and I'm just overwhelmed with gratefulness and love. I look at my husband and and I fall in love with him all over again. I melt with thankfulness for his love. For some people these feelings are normal. For me they are new and wonderful. Because for so long I was so lost in worry, fear, anxiety, bitterness, and emptiness that I couldn't see what I had. And even when I could, I couldn't feel it. I couldn't feel anything but pain. So now I get butterflies. Because life, no matter how chaotic or unstable or confusing or frightening, is so, so good.

It would have been good enough for me to know I would make it out of that time with my heart still beating. But to not only make it out alive, but with a clearer sense of life, a stronger marriage, and a deeper faith than ever before? I can say I am thankful. Thankful for a God who can use the worst years of my life, and make beautiful things from the dust.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

In the Throes

Most of the time when I look at myself as a mother, I focus on all the negatives. I see all the ways I am failing. All the things I am not doing. All the things I am doing that I said I would never do. As a parent you feel like since you have so much influence on other's lives, you should know what you are doing. And we should right? But we don't. So many of us are floundering in this sea of parenting. It can be terrifying at times. We don't like to admit it though. Just stick a new parent in a group of seasoned moms and watch as the advice pours forth with force. Even in the ways they are admitting they are lost, they have such confidence about it.

I remember when my oldest was still only an infant and not sleeping well at all. I felt like his sleep success was my sole responsibility, and I was failing miserably. I was exhausted and felt like a horrible mom. I talked with my mom friends who had 2 and 3 year olds. I remember thinking, Wow, they have this figured out. They told me what they did, and I tried everything. Nothing worked. I loved my son more than anything in the world, and yet I was really starting to believe I just wasn't cut out for parenting. A lot of people gave me a lot of good advice, but one friend during that time really sticks out to me. I don't remember her exact words, I just remember her telling me she knew how I felt. She had tried everything and nothing had worked. She didn't tell me what to do, in fact she admitted she didn't know. At the time I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do. But now looking back, she's the one I remember giving me hope. That it was ok that I didn't know what to do. That I too would survive the sleepless months.

I was looking at my kids yesterday and I was just overwhelmed with how much I love them. Not because they are perfect kids. I mean they can be down right rude and annoying as crap. In fact, half the time I don't even know the "why" behind why I love them so much. And yet I love them so much that I want to be perfect for them. I want to know exactly what to do, how to raise them, how to teach them to grow up to be the amazing people I know they will be. My biggest fear is that I will ruin them. But the honest truth is, I don't know what I am doing. I'm taking it one day at a time and attempting to rest in the truth that they are in God's hands (in between my freak out moments). Because he's not just taking care of my left overs, picking up in the areas I don't have a hold on. He is probably the only being who loves them more than I do. Who cares more about their wellbeing. Who knows what He is doing. And that's the only thing that quiets my worries and lets me sleep at night. The God of the universe loves my kids. And he promises to take care of them, teach them, and never abandon them. When I think about that, I realize it's ok that I don't have it figured out. It's ok that I'm learning as I go.

Honesty doesn't always make us look good, in fact it rarely does. But it's what allows me to get back up after I fall on my face. And I fall on my face a lot. So here's to not having it figured out. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Facing Facts

The most given advice to me as a mother is to learn to let things go. Don't worry about your house being messy. You can't do it all.

But the only thing I hate more than cleaning? A messy house.

Ok, ok. I get it. I have three kids, five and under. My house is not going to be pristine. Yet I still find myself stuffing down a small panic attack each time I wake up and see the disaster that is my home. I JUST cleaned! I scream in my head. Seriously. How does one function in this kind of chaos? In fact while writing this I had to get up 3 times to stop my two sons from flooding our house. I told them they could play with their water guns outside. So they stood outside and shot the water into the house. "We're shooting the ants!" They say with this sweet enthusiasm that makes it hard to be mad. (Well, not that hard).

I work really hard to keep my house clean, and it's still a health hazard about 95% of the time. Kids are messy. And gross. Right now I have one child in diapers--she's three-months old and solely breast fed, AKA 'Blowoutville'. One potty training, who has decided his new thing is wetting his pants on purpose (simply hilarious). And another still perfecting his butt wiping skills. So yeah, despite my obsession with clorox wipes and hand washing, sanitation levels are not where I'd like to see them.

So what's the moral of the story? Have I learned to call my home "lived in" instead of "messy?" Am I putting aside my desire for cleanliness in order to cherish these years of adolescent chaos? Have I risen above my petty need for organization and sanitation? Um. No, not really. I still run around like a slightly deranged version of Mr. Clean, repeating #cantstopwontstop over and over in my head, screaming obscenities under my breath, and raising my bleached hands to the skies crying, "Why God?! Whyyyy?!"

But no matter my efforts, my tears, my hashtags... chaos prevails. So I'm simply praying for grace, ya'll. Grace to survive these years of poop, never ending urine saturated laundry, and anything but organized living. May the force be with me.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Trusting. 1, 2, 3. Trusting.

My life looks nothing how I planned. For many years I have struggled with this. Battled it. Fought it almost to the death. I didn't think I would be so weak. I definitely didn't think I would be so flawed. I thought that when I "grew up" I would naturally be a woman who had it figured out, had a purpose, a plan, and a life that portrayed these things. 

What I didn't realize was how hard life would be. How much I would need others. How much sadness I would feel. How broken it would all be. I thought if I trusted God, I would have all I need. And all I needed, would be all I wanted. But honestly, it's not easy to trust God. Especially when your life doesn't look how you planned. And you don't feel like you have what you want. And what you need is more. 

I couldn't figure out why God wasn't doing all he promised. The truth is, when trust in God is just a bumper sticker and not a life source, God becomes very small. We stick our beliefs on our back bumpers and drive on searching for something bigger and better. We build sand castles and spend all our time and energy trying to keep them standing.

I gave up recently, and all my sand castles came tumbling down. I was crushed. So despaired. So lost. I thought, If God won't keep my sand castles up, does he even really love me? But when I finally stopped building, my only choice left was to trust. Like really trust. Not, I'll trust you as long as you do what I want... But I'll trust you. Period. And God spoke. And he made things happen. And it wasn't what I thought. It wasn't what I wanted. And then the building started again. I said things like, Ok God, you obviously aren't making this happen, so maybe you want me to handle it. Just give me some water so I can make this sand stick. I mean sometimes I run around gathering sand like it's my job. Acting like if I could just get some water up in here I could turn all this sand into the Taj Mahal. 
Sometimes I remind myself of my son who NEVER trusts my directional skills. No matter how many times we've been somewhere, he always asks, "Mommy, are you sure this is the right way to get there?" As if he could do a better job if I would only strap his booster in the driver's seat. I mean really.

I'm learning not to worry so much about getting it wrong though. My same son who loves to doubt my driving abilities has the hardest time getting himself cereal. I stand there with him and encourage him and say things like, "It's ok if you spill, we can clean it up. This is how you learn." And he kind of freaks out at the idea of spilling and asks me to just do it for him. You see sometimes I run around like a chicken with it's head chopped off because I want something more. And a lot of the time God uses that restlessness to get my attention. To teach me. And to move me in the right direction. But it rarely, if ever, looks how I imagine it will. And I'm realizing that trust doesn't mean sitting back with my feet up letting other people pour my cereal for the rest of my life, but trusting that God will be there even when I make mistakes. That spilled milk doesn't mean the end of the world. Trusting that when it doesn't look how I thought it would, the plan is God's not mine. And that's a good thing. Because no matter how certain they are they can do it, putting a 5 year old in the driver's seat is simply not good parenting. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014


My five year old is with his grandparents for the weekend, my two year old is napping, and my 2 month old is snoring on my chest. So I find myself asking, what can I do now? 

Even when I am completely overwhelmed and want nothing more than a 5 minute break to clear my cluttered mind, I still want to be capable of doing more. What I do is never enough. Never good enough. Never meaningful enough. Never satisfying enough. I am a broken vessel, constantly searching for something to fill me. Something to make me useful. Needed. Important.

Blogging is certainly not going to accomplish any of that. But I am determined to figure out a different way of living. Even if just for a moment here or there. Because we were not born to "do life right." We were born to live. 

Feel free to learn from me, laugh at me, or simply commiserate with me.