Sunday, June 29, 2014

Playing in the Rain

There are moments in life that feel like pure bliss. The other moments, the ones where the dishes are piled high in the sink, the laundry is unfolded, and the juice is spilled...those moments can wear me down. And then lately I look out our living room windows and in the big Texas sky I can see a storm rolling in. The winds change and the air smells fresh. I kind of want my girls to have a certain memory of me when they are grown up. I want them to say, "My mom would often be in her pajamas painting with us or in the midst of cleaning, and then she would see a storm roll in. Everything would change. She would open the doors and windows and exclaim that I storm was coming."

I hope that they remember this, because this is what I do. Maybe it is our little patio that is covered and that we are on second floor. There isn't much of a few but it doesn't matter. The rain is enough. It is so cooling. I try and hold our watering cans out to catch the rain and give the plants a drink. I say, "Blanche its raining! Its raining." So much of the time she replies, "Let me get my boots!" I have to explain that we can't really take Rosemary out in the rain. But one day, Andrew was home and I was able to say yes. I love saying yes.

Blanche and I were still in our pajamas, Rosemary was napping, and our morning hike with friends had been canceled. I told Andrew I was going to go collect rain water for the garden. Blanche said she wanted to come. Sometimes there is this look in her eyes that I can't say no to. Like when she wanted the ugliest little dog purse at target one time. There was just this look of wonder. I couldn't quench it. So I let her carry up to the check out and Andrew had to say no. But I could say yes to the rain. Even if it was literally pouring buckets. And it was pure bliss. The rain was cold and Blanche sprinted up and down the sidewalk. She laid in the puddles.

A long time ago in high school I wrote a really weird story about a girl who loved puddles so much that she would lay in them. It was in this stage of life where I literally wrote all the time. So I just wrote it because the image was in my head of this girl laying in a puddle. And then, that morning Blanche and I were in the rain, I told her we had to go back inside because the lightening was getting worse. And then Blanche just laid in the puddle. With her whole little body and all that she was. Those are the moments I know I am suppose to be a mother.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lavender Festival

Last weekend our family went to Blanco Texas to their annual Lavender Festival. I love where we are in Texas because it takes no time at all to go from the big city feel of Austin to being in the middle of nowhere. We drove through the city and then the country. Through rolling hills until we came upon the lavender farm outside of Blanco. Imagine Lavender Farm was the farm we went to in the first several pictures. We rolled our windows down entering the farm before we even saw lavender, but the air smelled so sweet and fresh.

The girls rode well all the way to the farm. Andrew's mom and I were in the back together. Sometimes when I get in the car and we start to drive away from our little apartment the difficulties seem to melt away with each mile. I have always felt blessed with the mother in law I was given. And lately I have felt that even more. The morning of the festival began with me hurting my postpartum back while shaving in the shower, being tired from my emotions the night before, and realizing all of my shorts and nursing tanks were dirty. Sometimes life just feels overwhelming. All those little things add up and leave me feeling like a frumpy mess that should crawl back in bed. I ended up crying and hugging Andrew's mom. The funny thing about all those little things is we all know its not really about the little things. I try to be brave with all the big things and then crumble when I don't have anything to wear. I have probably always been like that. I'm sure in middle school when my parents were getting a divorce I cried more about not having anything to wear.

A person can only be brave for so long. There is something so comforting about Andrew's mom that I know I will probably cry when I hug her if I'm sad. Right after having Rosemary when we came to her house for dinner I had been cold to Andrew in the car, and the moment I saw Andrew's mom I teared up. I was so terrified of parenting two little girls alone.

The morning of the lavender festival I knew that I just needed a hug and then to leave the house. That moment the windows were rolled down and I could smell the lavender, I knew I had made the right decision. Later when I was sitting in the lawn chair next to Blanche playing in the sandbox, with smells of lavender dancing in my hair and the sun shinning on my face, I exclaimed happily, "All I need is a glass of lemonade and I am good for the rest of the day!" I not only got my lemonade at the festival later that day, but lavender lemonade.

As I become older I am realizing that it is important to recognize my emotions, but to not live in them. The good or bad does not go away if I choose to not admit how I feel. But sometimes my emotions can paralyze me. I start to feel alone and that I will always be alone. Or  that things will never change. But every day is different. And by choosing to recognize that life is not always easy is the best way for me to start trying harder, or maybe to start praying harder. To choose happiness and see my blessings. To press on. Sometimes I may try and be strong by hiding how I feel, but true empowerment is admitting that I am scared. Then the next day I wake up and do something about it.

Maybe this makes sense. Maybe not. All I know is that I love my family and all the people around me that love me so well. I also really love lavender.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Why I Believe In God

The other day a child of a new friend randomly asked if I was a Christian. I was taken by surprise when she asked, and I honestly surprised myself by how hard it felt to answer. I said, "Well, I guess you could call me that. I believe in God and Jesus."

I don't normally write about "what I call myself." Because I don't think it really matters, and there are a lot of blogs out there already talking about religion, culture, and God. I like to write about my every day life. A lot of times that includes God. It rarely includes the church though. Because I don't really believe in the church like I believe in God. Thats why I feel funny saying yes I am a Christian.

I am constantly turned off from the church by the culture wars that surround our country. I feel like the church spends a lot of time dumbing down who Jesus really was or using him as an object against people. I don't think this is who Jesus is or was. When I meet new people I don't really ask about church or what they believe. I just want to know who they are. As people. It doesn't matter to me. I know eventually if we become friends, I am sure conversations about life will come up.

Because of my distaste of some of the religious culture in our country, I often find myself slipping away from God. I know this is why God says we need the church. And honestly, whenever I do go to church I find loving people. I also feel a bit odd and uncomfortable. But I feel pretty comfortable with Jesus.

God to me isn't contained in a building. I could show up at church in my pajamas and braless, and I think God would still find me.

The last couple of months have been rough for me. I feel like I am on a roller coaster of feeling like I have control over my day to day life, and then it all falling apart. Yesterday was probably the worse day I have ever had as a mother. Mostly because of how I responded as a mother, not because of my children. Most of motherhood does not come easy for me. The parts that are the easiest are the things I was already good at doing. Like crafts or snuggling. Things like patience and kindness are harder when everything is chaotic. And then I really dislike myself. At the end of these awful days, however often they may come, I always feel like God is my answer. And its not about his rules or what the church says I should do. Its a feeling of overwhelming love. And that in His example of perfect love and patience, I too can raise my children that way.

I believe in God because I honestly don't think I could get through life without that hope. I am weak person. I have to believe in God. I see mothers on instagram and other blogs and their lives literally seem like a walking nightmare. For example this woman and reading her story as she tries to continue living her life after her three year old son was hit by a car and killed. I know some may read these things and not believe in God. Because why would a good God do such a thing? Others may say God gave her a tough hand of cards because He knew she could handle it. I think thats bullshit. Because I think God grieves for those losses more than anyone. This is where it boils down to what each person believes. What their gospel truly is. My gospel is that God is a good God. That He loves us. I also believe He gave us the choice to not choose Him. And the absence of God is the removal of all things good. All things lovely. All beauty and love. And our world is fallen. But God brings redemption and love. He doesn't give a tough hand of cards and walk away.

I write all this because I have a hard time making it through my days sometimes. Even while writing this Rosemary has been fussing, wiggling on my lap, hitting the key board. Blanche has spilled her snack all over the floor twice and instead of watching her movie is digging through the craft drawers. All I want to do is sit and write. And I feel hot and sweaty and tired of constant baby needs. But I see other women who only want this one thing that I have. And I know I am blessed. I know God is here. And He does love me. And that I will make it.

I posted this picture because when I was taking these pictures of wildflowers, however cheesy it may seem to say I saw God in the beautiful flowers, I did. I wasn't trying to. I had been hiking and everyone had went ahead. While I watched the warm wind blow the flowers wildly and I saw all the colors and shapes, I thought about how whoever made something like this was an artist. And then I felt like my heart heard a whisper, "I am more like you then you think."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finding the Fourth Home

Life has felt like a bit of a whirlwind lately. There were days this winter after Rosemary was born that  I felt like all we did was sit inside. Blanche watched Netflix, and I nursed Rosemary. In reality a lot was happening. Our family was getting use to being a new family of four. We were kind of just trying to keep our heads above the water.

Its funny that I started this first paragraph saying life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Because I started righting this post six days ago. And I am just now coming back to it. When I stop and think through everything that is going on right now I know there is a reason I feel so busy and tired. We are in the middle of trying to find a place to move. We gave our sixty day notice at our current apartment and need to be out after the first week of July. So many things just seem way more difficult in the city. I thought renting a house wouldn't be that big of a deal. I know in Siloam it seemed like you saw a sign, called the number, talked to the landlord and then rented it. Here we have dealt with multiple realtors, and we have been looking in what feels like a forty mile radius. There are lots of details and information that really is not that important to write out. It all just boils down to the fact that there is a reason so many people rent small apartments or duplexes here. We have been trying to find a house. Or a duplex. But we want these fews things: a garage (so I don't have to walk through a parking lot with two small children alone), a backyard, and three bedrooms, two baths. My brother is planning on moving down to Austin as well. And we are all going to live together for a year. We have finally gotten our applications in and are waiting to here the word on a house. If this house falls through I literally do not know where we are going to go. And this is in two to three weeks.

The girls are both napping at the same time right now. I feel like this hasn't happened in forever. I want to sleep, drink coffee, blog, clean my house. All right now. I am doing half. Drinking coffee and writing. I am getting to the point where this apartment seems a bit like a lost cause because we are leaving soon. And sometimes just taking a moment of time to myself helps me feel so much more grounded. With Blanche no longer napping regularly, most of my days end up with Blanche up around seven and Rosemary not down for the night until ten or eleven. And no real break in-between. Its only a season. I know Rosemary is entering that four month stage. That stage where she fully wakes up and becomes a real baby. She was going down around eight or nine each night and only nursing maybe once at night.

I am constantly reminded though how extremely lucky I am. I love my family, and I know that a busy and tiring life is not a bad one. I am trying to take one day at a time and appreciate the little things. These photos remind me to appreciate the little things. Blanche takes time to love life. One night I let her get out of bed to watch the storm with her daddy on the porch. And one afternoon I said yes to what seemed like an inconvenience at first. All I really did was fill each little snack container with snacks instead of putting it away with the rest of the dishes. Sometimes no just comes more naturally. I was cleaning the kitchen and Blanche saw her travel container for snacks. She begged for me to fill it with snacks. So I did. And it turned into a picnic outside and Blanche kept saying, "I'm so excited!"

Blanche asks every day if we are going to our new house now. When I first told her we were going to move she said she was sad because she had fun here. In our little 800 square foot apartment. With no garage or yard. What has felt like a bit of an inconvenience of a home to me is the only home she remembers. And Blanche loves this place for all of the right reasons. This is where her family lives. I hope I can be more like Blanche in living one day at a time. Finding the good in each place we stay.