Hoo-rah!

It started back in the fall. I was penciling dates in on my calendar, when I discovered the happy coincidence that Firefly's ballet recital fell on the same date as Wildflower's third birthday. This might seem like an inconvenience to some of you, but as we have no family in town and everyone must travel from out-of-state, this was a two-birds-one-stone type of scenario. A few months later, it dawned on us to have little Edelweiss' baptism the following day, sealing the deal for a tripleheader weekend, dubbed the "April Hoo-rah"

The last few months have been a flurry of lists, shopping trips, menu plans, crafting projects, itinerary making, and email threads. Family from Oklahoma, Georgia, Idaho, Tennessee, and North Carolina, as well as many local friends would be joining us for the celebration, and everyone was tickled to death to be together. 

The events kicked off Friday evening with a Chinese feast courtesy of my dear Aunt. My cousin, who we lost last year, and for whom Edelweiss is named, loved Chinese cuisine, so this was a sweet nod to her memory. My Love stepped WAY out of his comfort zone and took Firefly to her dress rehearsal with lipstick and bobby pins in his pocket and detailed costume instructions in hand. Bless that man.  (He grew up with three brothers, and even the dog was male. His world has been turned upside down.). 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

The next morning started slowly and sweetly, walking around with coffee in hand as we prepared the house for the day's festivities. Before long, we all rushed to lunch at a popular Greek restaurant before the big recital. Ya'll, it was just the sweetest thing, and our little Firefly, who usually runs from the camera, absolutely glowed up there. 

image.jpg

With just a few hours until the party, we headed home and made ready for even more guests to arrive. Wildflower was actually born on my Nana's birthday, so we threw a spring soirée in honor of both the birthday girls. The house was decked out in festive florals, including the most amazing cookies made by my friend Alana at A Double Batch. 

image.jpg
image.jpg
 The birthday girls together.  

The birthday girls together.  

image.jpg
 If you don't pass out on your birthday, clearly you're not partying hard enough.  

If you don't pass out on your birthday, clearly you're not partying hard enough.  

The weekend concluded with Edelweiss' official welcome into our church family. It's always an honor to stand in front of our people, recite the baptism vows, and receive prayer over our sweet children. The baptism gown was made from the wrap to my wedding dress, which brings extra significance to the theology of Covenant Children for us. 

image.jpg
image.jpg

It was a great time, full of tons of food, much laughter, and lots of fantastic memories. (We even managed to get my grandparents to play Pie Face, ya'll. Can you imagine?!?) 

 My brother flew all the way from Idaho for the weekend. We hadn't seen each other in over 3 years! 

My brother flew all the way from Idaho for the weekend. We hadn't seen each other in over 3 years! 

 The children with my parents.  

The children with my parents.  

 My Papa convinced the children that he was bitten by a T-Rex as a boy. He even has a scar to prove it.  

My Papa convinced the children that he was bitten by a T-Rex as a boy. He even has a scar to prove it.  

I have no idea when we'll all be together like this again. With all of us so scattered across the country, it was a rare and beautiful treasure. Worthy of celebration in and of itself.  

Holding

He did it. He met a big goal, something that stretched him past comfort, and his reward was getting to watch Star Wars. The real, grown-up one, laser guns and light sabers in all their glory.  

As he walked out to the car from school, I rolled down the windows and blasted the opening theme loud enough to wake the dead. He cracked a smile, but it didn't reach his eyes.  

"I hurt my elbow at school today." He held up his arm, brandishing a bandaid.  

"I'm sorry, bud. What happened?" 

He recounted the events- nothing more than rough n' tumble boy play, then he paused.  

"They laughed at me. All the other boys, and my best friend. They laughed when I fell." 

Hot, silent tears rolled down his face, and my mama heart shattered into a thousand pieces.  

I've known this day was coming. We've made it six years, which is a gracious plenty in light of the world we live in. Today wasn't just about embarrassment and a scraped arm. It marks the end of an era, an era in which he's walked through the world genuinely believing that everyone in the world is kind. That all those around him are with him and for him.  

I could have turned around and marched in, demanding an explanation from the teacher. I could have texted the other mama and demanded an apology. Goodness knows I've seen those scenes play out over my years as a teacher and a mama. 

But I didn't.  

I pulled him into my arms and wiped the bitter tears away. We talked about compassion and forgiveness.  About using words to build others up. I told him that what he felt was called betrayal. He perked his head up. "Like Jesus? Jesus was betrayed, too."

This afternoon, he's been careful. He's been quick to apologize to his sisters in moments of unkindness. He's been kind in his responses to hard requests.  I know this is not a permanent change, but it's been evidence of a slight shift in his heart towards empathy. 

We live in a culture that refuses consequences, that pushes against anything unpleasant, and refuses to sit through pain or endure suffering. We are quick to exact our pound of flesh, not minding the drops of blood it takes to get it.   We fight our children's battles and all they ever learn is that they are victims entitled to restitution. Yet vengeance and a demand for justice will never breed compassion or love. 

As hard as it was to watch him hurt and hear him wrestle with his feelings, I could not be more proud of how he took that pain and used it towards mercy. And, for love, that he knew he had a High Priest that sympathized in his sufferings. 

There are times when our children will need us to stand up and step in. There are times they will need our protection and advocacy. But there are also times to let them experience the brokenness of this world and run to the arms of their Savior who promises he will make all broken things new again.

So while today might have been the closing of an era, it's the dawn of a new one in which I pray the gospel will be richer and deeper in his life.   

Holding back sometimes means holding out hope. 

 

image.jpg

Eine kleine nachtmusik

Oh, the magic of Spring. New life, soft blooms, gentle breezes, the hum of bees and the songs of birds. It's just so slendiferous.  

Except when it's NOT.  

Ya'll. I'm writing this at 11:30 at night, gaily accompanied by the most extroverted robin on the planet.  

Now, I could spin this into some super inspirational post about singing even in the darkest of night, but, BUT this creature is affecting my sleep. And has been for days now. Not that I have a nursing baby who needs me ALL OF THE NIGHT or anything. 

Now, I'm so glad this little creature has the joy of the Lord in his tiny little heart, but I don't care if Gabriel himself has alighted in our trees outside and this bird is heralding heavenly presence. I AM OVER IT.  

Sounds like Mariah Carey swallowed a whistle and is doing a self-inflicted heimlich maneuver.  

And the baby is sleeping. For a few blessed hours, THE BABY IS SLEEPING which means I SHOULD BE SLEEPING. 

But no, this bird is either doing the mating call of the century or auditioning for The Voice RIGHT outside my window. ALL NIGHT.  

My love got a pretty awesome light-up bow and arrow toy thingy last year, and I'm about to go all Katniss Everdeen on it. 

Just to scare it. To death.  

I mean, I know Spring has other vices, but right now I would snort a line of pollen straight into my sinus cavity if it meant shutting this thing UP. 

Think I'm exaggerating? Listen.  

 

Spring Christmas

The Big Brother came up with this phrase today, and it warmed my heart to hear it.  

I've tried to cultivate that sense in our home for the last few years. We put so much emphasis in our culture on Christmas and often let Easter be nothing more than a fancy new dress, a nice meal, and maybe an egg hunt.  The Birth of Christ is no doubt a joyful thing- a light piercing into our darkness- but that hope is void without Easter. 

I love this time of year. February is such a depressing month, and then, right around Easter, new life sneaks in almost overnight. You wake up to the world suddenly green again, as if a screen is switched from black and white to full technicolor.  Branches that looked dead bear new life.  The children have been running around the backyard the past few weeks, squealing at the discoveries of violets and buttercups, tulips and shamrocks, where barren rocks and mud just were.   It sets a great stage to talk about New Life and redemption. 

So we do Easter up big. Cookies, cupcakes, and egg decorating. Signs of spring tucked all over the house. We even pull the Christmas tree back out and deck it out in all the color we can muster.  Easter morning there will be baskets full of delightful treats underneath.  In the days leading up, we sing hymns, do crafts, and use our resurrection eggs to go through the the story of the last days of Christ. And just for fun (like our beloved elf, Waldo, at Christmas), we plant jelly beans the night before Easter and tumble outside early Easter morning to discover that they've grown into lollipops.  

Celebrations are a big deal to us, as I feel like they compose so much of the traditions that root our family and remind our hearts of the great Story we're caught up in. 

So Happy Spring Christmas, ya'll! Hope it's a time that gives you renewed life and joy in the abundant goodness around us.  

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Yurtle the turtle

This weekend we threw caution (or maybe common sense) to the wind and got out of our comfort zone.

We went "glamping."   

In a yurt.

With 4 small children including an infant. 

I would love to tell you that this was a well-thought out trip, anticipated by much thought and careful planning. 

But no, this was the product of My Love casually mentioning that he'd like to go to a cabin sometime, prompting me to stay up way too late with the Googles, somehow winding my way to a yurt in Talladega, about an hour and a half away. 

 Off we go! 

Off we go! 

The next morning, I called him at work for our morning briefing (because let's be honest, I'm still in the process of peeling myself off the sheets and stumbling towards the coffee as he's making his way out the door every morning), mentioned the yurt and that our only good weekend for the next 2 months was 11 days away, and before I knew it, we were booked for 2 nights at Mike's Magical Mountaintop yurt

The week before was somewhat tumultuous as our children were recovering from a cold, including sweet baby Edelweiss who ended up having a sleepover at Children's hospital due to bronchiolitis. 

image.jpg

 

But since she was greatly recovered, and back to her sweet smiling self, we soldiered on and set out for the yurt (or, "da yeht" as the Wildflower says.)

 Yurt, sweet yurt.  

Yurt, sweet yurt.  

 Isn't it adorable?!?  

Isn't it adorable?!?  

 Now, for your entertainment, I would love for this to be a hilarious post filled with all the mishaps and catastrophic calamities that make for good blog posts, but it's not. Because everything actually went beautifully.

We had such a sweet time, y'all. Sure, there were hard moments- which there always will be. The point of going was not to avoid hard moments, but to fill up our time with as many sweet moments as we could.   

And we did.

image.jpg

We played board games, read books, and ate junk food.  We snuggled in pillow nests and watched movies.  Big brother caught his first fish with his daddy, while the girls splashed in the lake water and made sandcastles. We fell asleep to the sound of rain drumming the canvas roof.  Baby Edelweiss and I took a nursing nap in the sunshine streaming down through the ceiling window while My Love took the children to the playground.  Big brother strummed his ukulele and the girls played hide and seek in every nook and cranny they could find. 

 Firefly intent upon her favorite book (pictured below).  

Firefly intent upon her favorite book (pictured below).  

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
 Nursing mama love. Oh, how I adore this sweet stage.  

Nursing mama love. Oh, how I adore this sweet stage.  

We stepped away from the distractions of laundry, dishes, home repair, school work, electronics, and just focused on each other.  And it was so, so good to soak up some fresh air and the company of my people.  

 Sweet little Edelweiss snoozing by the lake.   

Sweet little Edelweiss snoozing by the lake.   

image.jpg
image.jpg

So now, we've been bit by the adventure bug and are already planning our next trip.  I may have started a new obsession with Airstream trailers and have visions of cross-country escapades dancing in my head. As usual, My love is trying to rein me in with things like "common sense" and "budgets, " but we do sincerely hope to travel and explore more and more over the coming years.

 (But I'm still gonna dream of a shiny airstream or building a yurt village in the meantime.)

 Making wishes

Making wishes

 We drove about 20 minutes to explore a historic (152 years old!) mill.  

We drove about 20 minutes to explore a historic (152 years old!) mill.  

image.jpg

Now that I'm a real grownup and all...

So, as you know, I just hit a new decade milestone- the big 3-0. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. For some reason, having a husband, 4 kids, a dog, and a house didn't make me feel like a Real Adult, but being 30 did. Go figure. Couple this excitement with fact that I tend to have the most depressing birthdays ever (no, really), and this was a recipe for a year of change. I took matters into my own hands and decided to throw the most lavish, beautiful dinner party I could muster.  Several of my most treasured friends and relatives sat around the table and laughed, drank wine, wore makeup, and ate and chatted to our hearts content. It was magical, ya'll. 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

I was hoping to get more photos of the actual event, but since our children WOULD NOT SLEEP, my dear sweet husband was unable to break away to photograph the festivities.  Just know that it was a beautiful evening, and it was such a blessing to do something I love so much with and for my people that I hold so dear. 

.................................................................................................................................................................... 

Also of note lately, remember how I said I'm a hippie wannabe? Well apparently 30 was the year predestined for me to jump over the line because in the past few weeks I have 1. Eaten kale every day (and LIKED it) 2. Gone gluten free (thanks to a case of thrush for me and sweet baby Edelweiss) 3. Rented a YURT for our family to "glamp" in next weekend. (Please say "yurt" out loud in a Swedish accent, resting on the "r" as long as possible.) 

I don't even know who I am anymore. 

......................................................................................................................................................................... 

And finally, a few of my favorite things from the interwebses.  

1. This song from Andrew Peterson's latest album. I have a thing for sad songs. They're usually my favorite and I spend hours with them on repeat. I think that since my personality stays more "up" than "down", I need a little nudge to enter and explore any sadness I have rippling under the surface. My Love will often find me holed up in our room, tackling a load of laundry with some deep, reflective song on full blast and tears just pouring down my face. This one is a new favorite. Raw, honest, achingly beautiful, and dripping with hope.

 

 

2. This video makes me smile so much my face hurts. Adele is just fabulous as usual and James Corden is beyond adorable. 

 

3. I just learned that my beverage of choice, a vanilla earl grey latté, actually exists outside of my mind and has the best name. Dear ones, I give you the London Fog. It tastes like beauty in a mug. 

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/london-fog-tea-latte-london-fog-drink/

 

 

 

image.jpg

On Turning 30

I sat on the couch, crying.  I was lonely, confused, heartbroken, and afraid.  I was 17, with no real friends, recently dumped, unsure about college and all the winding, obscure paths that lay before me.  “This is supposed to be the best time of my life,” I choked out as my daddy sat by my side.  My sweet daddy cracked a smile, a smile that seemed to know something I didn’t.  “I sure hope not,” he replied.  “How sad it would be if the best was over by the time you’re 20.  You’ve got so much ahead of you.  The best of your life is yet to come, sweetheart.”

That moment has never left me, and has been fresh in my mind as I reflect upon my 20s.  And you know what?  My daddy was absolutely right. 

The last 10 years have been a whirlwind for sure.  I married my best friend, earned a degree, and made lifelong friends,.  We’ve owned two houses and have welcomed 4 dreams-come-true into this world.  I’ve worked in daycares, churches, taught lessons, and have sung on international television.  But all of these things don’t hold a candle to the greatest experience.

I’ve been held.

I went through a dark period of doubt about halfway through college.  I wasn’t sure if God was good, and certainly not convinced that his plans were best.  But over the last decade, I’ve come to see that His glory and my joy are the same, and that even the darkest moments have held great promises.  We’ve walked through depression, loss, unemployment, and betrayal.  We’ve celebrated a happy marriage, healthy children, an amazing church family, and faithful provisions.  And in all of these mountains and valleys, the radiant light of God’s goodness has remained consistent. He has been faithful to work in our lives, and he has been gracious to work on me.

We hear talk of the day we meet our Maker face to face, that there will be a reckoning of sorts, and that all of our sins will be laid bare before us.  But the Bible also says that in Christ, our sins are as far away from us as the east is from the west.  I’ve long tried to reconcile this in my mind, and one day while scrolling through pictures, I began to wonder what it was in us that made us love “before and after” shots so much.  It struck me that perhaps that’s what we’ll see when we meet our Father.  Maybe He will show us the path that we were on- filled with despair, ugliness, regret, and sin.  But I’m hopeful that He will then spin us around to the work of art we’ve become.  We’ll be able to trace the lines of his mercy over the canvas, linger over the brushstrokes of suffering that brought great refinement, and revel over how those worst moments were crafted into beautiful shapes. 

The best taste I’ve had of this so far was upon visiting my husband’s childhood church when we were newlyweds.  I had slipped out to use the ladies’ room and encountered a group of young teenagers.  I immediately identified with them.  I saw myself in their awkwardness, in-betweenness, and general discomfort with themselves.  I ached in remembering my own loneliness and self-loathing.  As they herded out, I made my way to the mirror and gasped.  There before me stood a woman.  Those awkward lumps had become shapely curves, the acne had disappeared and left fair skin, and in my eyes was a confidence that I knew without a doubt that I was loved.  Years had passed, and without my even noticing, I had been molded and changed.  Shaped into what I had been becoming all along.

So it is with great joy and anticipation that I approach this next decade of life.  Lord willing, I hope to have many more moments of joy and laughter.  I pray I can grow in love with my husband, delight in my children, walk with my dearest friends, and serve with His People.  I know there will be terrible storms and unforeseen heartaches.  I know I will see more and more the depths of my sinfulness and the greatness of his mercy.  But I know that in all of this, he who began the good work in me will be faithful to complete it.  And when his work in each of us is done, we’ll all stand back and gasp at the sight.

Step by step guide to adding a fourth baby

Here is your handy-dandy guide to absolutely rocking it with your fourth baby and making it look effortless at the same time.  

Step one: Getting your looks back

The key component to returning to your pre-baby glory is to set the bar low to begin with. Go ahead and get those around you acquainted with the no makeup, unwashed hair, yoga-pants vibe before conceiving. Add a splash of sour milk under your neck to establish your signature fragrance, with the slight whisper of baby powder for a touch of elegance. 

Return to your original physique with these simple rules: start out "curvy." Wear flowy clothes. Bask in the amazement of others when your original burkas, kimonos, and ponchos cascade right over those extra 20 lbs. 

Step two: Keeping up with chores

To keep your house looking tidy, make sure to deliver the baby around Christmas time for some serious crap camouflage. The house will be so bedecked with macaroni ornaments, glitter trees, garlands of seizure-inducing lights, and more wrapping paper than Hobby Lobby that the assortment of socks, toys, and dog hair will coordinate with the rest of the festive accessories. 

Eliminate the growing mountain of laundry with a two-step system. First, leave laundry in the dryer for as long as possible and have family "shop" directly from the freshly (re)tumbled batch. Second, dump all remaining laundry on the floor and instruct the little "cheetahs" prowling about to put the laundry away in predatory fashion. Ignore the wrinkles, saliva, and bite marks. Mary Poppins would be proud.  

image.jpg

 Step three: Punctuality

Nothing says "I have it together" more than showing up on time or early. To accomplish this, give a 10 minute warning to your children to get their shoes and coats on and get in the car before leaving. Do a quick verbal confirmation that everyone is buckled before skidding out of the driveway, but above all else DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR CHILDREN. This is crucial to your timeliness. When you arrive at your destination, stifle your gasp when you realize your toddler is in footie pajamas and sandals and has attempted to copy the Joker's signature look with your lipstick. Disregard that the older children are wearing flip flops and costumes in 30 degree weather.  

Step four: Time Management

In order to nurse the baby, maintain the home, prepare food, and supervise the children, you'll need a little help from your friends. These friends will become like family to you as you will see them more than your own flesh and blood. My dearest companions include the Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger, two delightful boys named Phineas and Ferb, and a sweet princess named Sofia. Without them, showering would be impossible. 

Step five: Food Preparation

Since the Toddler's new favorite phrase is "I'm hungry," providing healthy food options for your children is a frequent and necessary task. Since the baby refuses to be put down, meal prep must now be done one-handed. Fear not, though, as "picnic" and "buffet" meals are a favorite among everyone. Simply open every available snack food and place on the table. Spread a blanket on the floor. Let the children select from a healthy variety of fruit snacks, crackers, and cereals and enjoy lunch with the aforementioned "friends". 

Step six: Keeping your sanity

Remember to live "momently." A dear friend coined this word, and it's the best gift I can give you. Remember that each of these moments, the sweet and the challenging, are fleeting.  Know that nothing lasts forever. You'll be able to get your routine, your house, and even your body back to a healthy place again, but you'll never get this day with your little ones back. Hold that baby and laugh at the kids. Call someone to tell them the toddler's latest stunt just to hear someone else laugh about it. Show up to church and school and play dates without feeling the need to look good, just to be around the people you love. Let people into your home in all its chaotic glory, and let them hold the baby if they ask (they really do want to).  

Just rest in the love you've been given and the knowledge that you were loved unconditionally as a Daughter long before you were ever a mother. And remember that your children are loved and cared for just the same. 

image.jpg

Adventures in Post Partum Depression

I shared this post on Facebook a year ago today, and it resonated with many people.  This story is about my experience after delivering our third child in the Spring of 2013.  Thanks to modern medicine and support, I'm thankful to say that I've not repeated this experience with our most recent addition.


I come from a line of strong, determined women. The ladies I grew up around, and those who had passed that I heard stories of, were makers and do-ers. Crafters, mothers, nurses, midwives, volunteers. But one thing we are not is complainers. Morning sickness? Go on with your day and keep a bucket handy. Common Cold? Here’s a cough drop and some hot tea. Carpool is in one hour. We don’t do tired. I don’t mean to sound like my forerunners were cold. Anything but- very gracious about the plights of others, doting and concerned, but when it comes to handling your own ailments, you just suck it up and deal. You can ask for a pain pill after surgery, but do it bravely and with a smile on your face. So you can imagine, since I graduated from the life school of Big Girl Panties University, that post-partum depression came as a great shock to my system.


My first two pregnancies were flawless. When we welcomed our first, a bursting-ball of energy little boy, I remember crying a lot, but they were happy tears. I was overwhelmed by the sudden wash of emotions: unparalleled joy, fresh anxieties, happiness, anticipation, hope, exhaustion. But overall everything was bright. When our little firefly, a calm gentle little girl, arrived 18 months later, she added a touch of elegance and softness to our home. I remember being overjoyed by her arrival and over all felt such peace and warmth. Adding her was almost effortless. Was it any surprise that we would be eager to add another? When our 2nd was 18 months old, we decided to add another seat at the table. The first trimester was typical- mild morning sickness and tiredness, but came with a new experience: panic attacks. I remember having my first panic attack when I was 8 weeks pregnant. The chest pains sent me to the ER. After tests that showed nothing, they sent me home with no further explanation. I didn’t figure out until later that what had happened to me was a physical manifestation of anxiety.

As the pregnancy progressed, my mood declined. I chalked it up to fatigue from chasing two toddlers with a growing belly. The red lights didn’t really go off until after our Wildflower arrived. We welcomed our new little light, a girl, on a sunny April morning. She was pink and perfect, and despite all my best efforts, I couldn’t muster up much happiness. I swallowed the guilt and just hoped that the feelings would come. This was only beginning. I slowly started slipping into this mire of hateful and scary emotions. Every single instance of the day triggered in me a fight or flight response. The simple request of “Mommy, can I have some goldfish?” sent me either screaming, crying, or hiding under my sheets. I grieve over the way I treated our children in those months- their mommy was replaced by this snatching, screaming, wild-eyed ogre and every day I pray that they don’t remember.

 Our Wildflower at 3 days old

Our Wildflower at 3 days old

The best way I have found to describe those moments is that I felt like I was no longer in the driver’s seat. I felt like I was sitting in the passenger seat, watching some alternative version of me driving the emotions. The real me sat in the passenger seat asking “What’s going on? It’s just goldfish! What’s the big deal?” but the driver always steered to panic. I experienced crippling panic attacks almost daily. I couldn’t breathe. I kept thinking “I can do this!” Everyone told us that adding the third baby was the hardest, and I quickly dusted off my Big Girl Panties diploma and soldiered on. Except I was marching into darker and darker territory. Pretty soon I started thinking that my children and my husband would be better off without me. I never got to the “planning stage” but I remember thinking that if I didn’t wake up in the morning, everyone would probably just be better off.


Before I continue, here are a few things you should know about me. I’m an optimist to the core, an extrovert, a great lover of people and especially children. There is not a melancholy bone in my body. I’m one of the most flexible people you’ll ever meet and I often thrive in chaos and unexpected situations. I’m also a deep lover of Jesus, firm believer in the power of prayer, and active member of a fantastic church. So you can imagine that my world felt like it had been flipped upside down. I remember praying and praying for help, asking to be relieved of the rage inside. I assumed it was unconfessed sin or worry or something else spiritual. I read my Bible and cried out often to be “fixed.” When nothing happened, I came to the darkest place of all. I felt like I had been abandoned and that God didn’t care. I remember lying on the bed during prayer and story time with the children, completely unengaged and just wishing it would be over. I remember nursing my baby and wishing the warm-fuzzies would come.

 A happy moment with my Firefly

A happy moment with my Firefly

 


One day I opened up in Sunday school about the anxiety I was feeling. We have a great church and the response was positive and encouraging. They prayed for me and checked on me. I still thought my issues were rooted in spiritual or emotional disconnect and rested in the thought that my problems, with a little extra support, would soon be solved. The spiral continued. Finally, my dear sweet husband approached me. I will never forget that moment. After a tense dinner that ended in screaming and tears, he quietly tiptoed into our room and sat down on our bed where I was hiding under the sheets. He put his hand on my head and slowly stoked my hair. “I think you need to call the doctor. This isn’t your fault.” I was eight weeks postpartum at this point. He had started noticing the trend that I would call him about the same time every day begging him to come home. When I started saying things like “I’m afraid to be alone” he perked up. I would have these horrible daydream flashes in my mind and was terrified. He started reading and quickly figured out that I was textbook for PPD.

The night before my doctor's appointment, I sat at the computer, kicking myself at the thought of getting on anti-depressants. Despite all the science screaming in my face, despite the simple explanation of serotonin deficiency from pregnancy, I still couldn’t get over it. I logged into Facebook, and in God’s sweet mercy, I read the most encouraging post. A friend had posted something in our church group about her Zoloft prescription running out, and the responses were hilarious. Within 10 minutes I read from 4 women in my Sunday school class that they too were on the drug, and shockingly, ok with it. No stigma, no apologies. I went into my doctor's appointment with a little less dread. When I tearfully told my OB what was going on, she placed her hand on my knee, looked in my eyes and said, “It’s going to be ok.” and whipped out her prescription pad. Zoloft. 50mg once daily. I slunk to the pharmacy and filled it.

The first night, I felt like my brain had been hijacked. My thoughts raced and I couldn’t sleep. The second day, I had a headache all day and felt mildly dizzy (thankfully this was a weekend). The third day, I felt like someone who had been drowning getting that first life-saving gasp of air. For the first time in 3 months I was myself again. I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror, staring into my eyes that had gone from the color of a stormy sky to a calm lake. I felt clear. I felt happy. I looked at my baby and couldn’t wait to hold her. “You’re back” my husband sweetly whispered later, joy and relief in his face. And I was. I tickled, I snuggled, I chased. I was calm and collected. Exhausted, but deep down content. The way it was before. Still, I couldn’t shake the stigma. I still tried to make it into something that was my fault that I could fix on my own. I was talking to a dear friend at church when she gave me the exact words I needed. She asked, “Well, did the medicine fix it?” “Yes. Immediately.” “Well there’s your answer,” she said. “If it had been a spiritual problem, no pill in the world could have fixed it.”


Now hear me on this. I believe God is sovereign and capable. But I also believe He designed our bodies to work a certain way. Certain chemicals, organs, and processes. And I truly believe medicine to be a merciful gift from His hand to help and heal. And indeed it did.
So why am I sharing this? This is not a commercial for prescription drugs. Although the medicine ultimately fixed the problem, it was the openness and attentiveness of those around me that saved me. It hurts to think of where I would have ended up or what could have happened to our precious children if I had been left to spiral further. The care of my husband, the attentiveness of my parents, and the openness of those in my circle were the catalysts to getting the help I needed. Our Wildflower is now approaching her second birthday, and I’m having the time of my life. There are hard days (how could there not be?), but the voices of deep shame and hopeless despair have long been quiet.


This was a huge, humbling, learning experience for me. It has taught me compassion in an area that I honestly turned a blind eye to. I never thought it would happen to me. But you can’t “Big Girl Panties” mental illness. There is no “suck it up and deal” when you feel like life as you know it is over. If you are one who has been down this dark road, know you are not alone, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. For those who haven’t, keep your ears sharp and your heart open. It’s often hard to tell where the darkness comes from- broken relationship, broken spirit, or broken body. As believers, we often attribute struggle to spiritual conflict, but we must remember that we were made body and soul, and both have been wrecked by the Fall. Thankfully, He gives us himself, He gives us each other, and He gives us the means to physical relief. Take heart, there is great hope all around.
 

  Picture from November 2013. Snuggling with my Firefly and Wildflower on a beautiful Fall day.

Picture from November 2013. Snuggling with my Firefly and Wildflower on a beautiful Fall day.

Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

I sing that as a lullaby to my Firefly every night (she's my second born and the eldest girl.  more about my children in a later post.)  I have running lists in my head all the time of my favorite things, or "thing of the day," so I figured I should share here.

It kind of makes me feel like Oprah though, to have a public favorite things list.  Before you get too excited, nobody is getting a free car. Sorry.  You can come and ride around with me in my Swagger Wagon if you want, but given that it has the blissful essence of Chick-fil-a, dirty diaper, and Febreze, that offer may not be very enticing.

Anyways.  Here are some of the things that have my current attention/undying devotion. 

1.  Anna Maria Horner's Fabrics

image.jpg

  I was first introduced to Anna (pronounced Ahh-na, like in Frozen) by my sister in law, Allie, who used to work for Anna in Nashville.   I was a newlywed at the time, trying so hard to Adult, and part of that included, or so I thought, embracing a neutral color palette for everything.  All of my new Adult Friends had very tasteful homes full of beige, gray, white, and grain colors.  Throw in some dark brown for interest.  If that's your style, that's great, but it just wasn't for me, and I felt squashed by trying so hard to fit that mold.  Enter Anna. 

image.jpg

  When I started reading her blog and saw all the amazingly beautiful things she made, she made me fall in love with color, and showed me how to use it in a sophisticated way.  She also had a few sewing books out, which I quickly bought and tore through.  She spoke my language.  Instead of having the designed-by-an-engineer-super-complicated patterns like you would buy at the local craft store, her instructions were more like a conversation.  The cuts were simple and the words were like having a friend sitting next to you. I was hooked and have been sewing ever since.  I'm currently working on this quilt pattern in her Folk Song line.  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. (all images are from Anna's blog)

2.  Scrapbook Paper.

     So, I just had a baby.  A precious, sweet little spoonful of sugar that I could just hold all day long.  With the addition of a baby has been the presence of many sweet friends in our home, visiting, helping, and bringing us meals.  As I've walked people through our house and they've commented on the different decorations I have up, I've become increasingly aware that I may have an unhealthy thing with scrapbook paper.  I'm starting to admit that this is becoming as bad as my love of fabric.  (I come by it honestly.  You should see my mother's wrapping paper collection.  I think Hobby Lobby calls her when they're running low on inventory.)  With a little tape, Modge Podge, or contact paper, I'll convert just about any blank space into a paper fiesta.

   Here's the wall next to the kids' art table. This paper has great texture and each page is a European country.  

  Here's the wall next to the kids' art table. This paper has great texture and each page is a European country.  

                    Use with contact paper to hide scrapes and rust marks on appliances.  

                   Use with contact paper to hide scrapes and rust marks on appliances.  

                          Our family tree in progress. My artist husband free-handed the tree...

                         Our family tree in progress. My artist husband free-handed the tree...

                     ...then I used a paper punch for the leaves and painted them on with glue.  

                    ...then I used a paper punch for the leaves and painted them on with glue.  

     This now serves as decoration only, but this window pane used to act as a dry erase board.  

    This now serves as decoration only, but this window pane used to act as a dry erase board.  

                                       Line drawers with it. It's thick and won't roll up. 

                                      Line drawers with it. It's thick and won't roll up. 

                  Cover plain photo frames with it (I have too many of these to share here!) 

                 Cover plain photo frames with it (I have too many of these to share here!) 

                 Create bunting for a border. This is our playroom/schoolroom/teaching studio.  

                Create bunting for a border. This is our playroom/schoolroom/teaching studio.  

I'm also working on coat racks, made from 1x4's, covered with textured paper, and finished with hardware. More on those later. See? Obsessed. 

 

3. Tazo Brambleberry Tea

image.jpg

"Marionberries, apples and cinnamon eschew the comforts of their respective pies for a taste of the chilled life, with leaves of calming peppermint and lemongrass as their expert guides."

First of all, this tastes gorgeous.  As in, "I want to let my hair toss in a gentle breeze while prancing through an enchanted Autumn forest with friendly rabbits and squirrels" good.

Second, let us not neglect the use of the word "eschew" (bless you.)  If you want a drink to make you feel beautiful AND eloquent, this is it.

(Do things make you feel beautiful, or is that just me?  Certain tastes, smells, colors, and textures will make me feel absolutely lovely, even when sporting unwashed hair, spit-up stains, and breakouts.)

4. Sophie Hudson

image.jpg

   This girl's books and blog have me cracking up right now.  I read her late at night when nursing, only to chortle and snort with laughter, waking the baby up in the process.  She writes and speaks with a warm, gracious, honest voice that makes me miss a world I never knew.  She's so personable that I feel like I know her and her whole extended family now.  I'll try really hard not to be awkward if I ever run into her at the grocery store.

5.  Brookside Chocolate

image.jpg

       When I'm pregnant, I tend to lose my taste for sweet things.  I'll eat a dessert if it's offered, but it's not something I need or even really enjoy all that much.  Then baby arrives, and chocolate and I are reunited like star-crossed lovers in a romance movie.  I spy it across the room, and string-filled music fills the air while I passionately rush headlong into its sweet, dark embrace (all of this plays out in slow motion with lots of closeups).  With my third, Nutella and I developed quite the bond (Helloooooooooo nursing calories!), but this time, it's these little jewels of dark chocolatey goodness.  I have a stash and cannot, will not pick a favorite variety.  And look at all those healthy words!  Fruit!  Antioxidants!  Natural! It's clearly an investment in my health.

6. Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Products

image.jpg

   I've been in love with the Geranium line for a long time (I use the spray to clean countertops and the dryer sheets to make my laundry smell like heaven), but recently discovered this new "limited time" fragrance on the "clearance" (and I do use that term loosely) shelf at Target.  Since I love all of the things that have to do with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom, clearly this needed to come home with me.  It's been a lovely product to use to tackle the war-zone that is my house right now (remember- new baby!), creating something like a fragrant oasis in the midst of an active petri dish.

 

So there you have it- a few of my favorite things at the moment.  What's on your list right now?

 

 

Introductions

Hi.

I'm Lindsey.  And you are? 

Nice to meet you.  I'm so glad you've dropped by to my little corner of the internet.  I hope you know how so very loved you are.

Now, a little about me.  Wanna know a little secret?

I'm a walking contradiction.  Seriously.

I'm a classically trained opera singer who really doesn't like opera all that much.  I mean, I love to sing, but prefer art songs, spirituals, and folk songs.

I'm a wanna-be-hippie that has a love affair with peanut butter m&m's and chips.  I'd love to go live in an off-the-grid commune, as long as I can take modern medicine, Amazon, and cookie butter with me.  Something tells me this would not go well.

I consider myself an artist even though I can't paint or draw to save my life.  That's ok.  I consider art to be a very broad term, not limited to what you can create on a canvas.  I hope to expound upon that a lot here.  I craft, sew, decorate, bake, and am constantly creating.  I have an artist's soul, even if I don't have an artist's hand.

I think of myself as a 22 year old world adventurer, when in REAL life, I'm a 31 year old stay at home mother of 4 precious, hilarious children.  You know the saying that parenthood is the biggest adventure?  It's cliché and kind of misleading.  But also, strangely true.  That said, I really want to go on actual physical adventures once we've gotten some big life skills down.  Like sleeping.  And using a potty.  And eating what's put in front of you.  Minor things.

I love hot drinks and the bulk of my wardrobe is some sort of sweater/kimono/shawl.  I live in the Deep South, but this doesn't stop me from enjoying these things 365 days of the year, even though we have about 5 days of Fall and 3 days of Winter here.

I'm a believer of The Gospel and in love with the God who crafted it.  I forget my true identity all the time and need to be reminded often.  I claim the grace of Jesus, but I neglect to extend it to myself and others.  This is the biggest contradiction of all, but I'm content to be a work-in-progress.  After all, I love the art of creating something beautiful out of something broken, and I'm trusting that the Creator is doing the same thing with me.

So here I am.  I hope you'll take me as I am and join me in this little adventure.  I'd be glad to have you along.

 

IMG_1181.JPG