Quiet and Settled.

Quiet and Settled.  Those are two things that I have not been as of late.  Over these last few days I have found myself restless, hurried and anxious for reasons that, truly, are silly when I come to think of it.  I start thinking, “Oh, I’m just not a good enough mom,” or I don’t feel like being a good mom today.  You know, those days when you just don’t feel like getting it together?  Or those days when you look in the mirror and sigh…ugh.  Those days.  And then, instead of freshening myself up, putting on some blush and lipstick and a smile and finding something enjoying for me and the little one to do, I just run with this life stealing thoughts.  And even I get into the trap of looking at other people’s lives (and blogs) and wishing if I were just a little more like them…

The other day I realized I had no peace.  I didn’t feel right inside.  I knew God’s Spirit inside of me was telling me I had lost sight of His word and what I was supposed to be dwelling on.  His love.  His provision for all my needs, including emotional, mental and physical.  His sovereignty.  He changes me from the inside out, I can do nothing on my own.  His guidance.  His peace.  I quickly ignored all those thoughts that I had been listening to for the past few days.  And remembered this,

“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

He will quiet me with his love.  It’s one of my all time favorite scriptures.  Quiet and settled.  When I’m not, I know I’ve lost something very important.

Are you quiet and settled today?

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Freshly Green

There is a freshness in the air now.  We have had rain for a few days, and somehow, without me ever really noticing, our chilly dry winter air has given way to a most familiar heavy air, a moist air that hangs around your skin.  Thankfully, it still being early in the season, we have nice cool and beautiful dusks and dawns- a welcome delight.  But with that moist heavy air, comes green.  

There is a rocking chair that sits in the corner of our bedroom.  It is where I have rocked my little one since she was growing inside of me, and it is where I rock her still.  It faces the only window in the room.  I know that scene well.  The old rotted fence that, in all reality, needs to be replaced, but can’t because the bright orange flowered vines have made it their home.  The brick chimney on my neighbors house and the tops of trees that peer over the top of their roof.  For so long now all I’ve seen is bare branches and often gloomy skies.  But just recently, we sat down in our familiar rocking chair, to rock and nurse and quiet down and I saw the tops of green trees peering over at me.  When did that happen?  

Spring comes, tip-toeing in, and then with a sudden vibrant welcome we wake up one morning and the world is green once again, flowers are blooming and everything takes a deep breath.  Freshness has arrived.  

My growing babe just loves the outdoors.  I mean, adores!  We have noticed this trait in her since she was born.  If she was crying, it would quiet her.  If she was fussy, it would comfort her.  If she was restless, it would lull her to sleep.  She is, to my husband’s delight, just like him in that way.  It is one reason we would really love to move to a little bit of land one day.

I’m not really that way, as much.  I adore being among nature, but have never really been the “let’s play outside and get dirty” kind of girl.  Marlee, however, loves to be outside, crawling around, exclaiming in delight “ee!” and pointing to a tree or bush or flower she finds most attractive.  She also loves raking her hands through the grass and trying to pick up pill bugs with her chubby little fingers.  They are though, too fast for her.  Although I (and probably most moms) cringe whenever I see my clean little girl piling up dirt on her dress and under her fingernails, but truly I know it is good for her, in every way that can be good for a person to be among nature.

Lessons in Gentle Healing

As I said recently, we have all been sick here at our house.  We were up all night with the little one for about 3 days until we came to the end of our wits and our rope.  She didn’t seem that sick.  Her fever was gone and she had a runny nose.  She was fussy and didn’t want to sleep and refused to eat at many of her nursings.  I just figured she felt crummy, and when you feel crummy you don’t really feel like eating a whole lot.  But after a few days of all of this, and barely any sleep, and my mommy powers being taken away because she didn’t want to nurse- well when my husband suggested we take her to the doctor in the middle of the night, I knew it was the right thing to do.  At least we could all have a change in scenery- even if it was the inside of an 24 ER.

I feel kind of silly writing that I took my child to a 24 ER because she wouldn’t sleep, but we did and I’m glad we did.  Turns out she felt so crummy because she had an ear infection and tonsillitis.  I felt bad at first that I didn’t realize my baby was hurting so much!  But truly, this was the first time in 11 months she has even been sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or need medicine, and I don’t think I was expecting it, considering she’s not around very many other children.

The next day I also went to the doctor and we all got more medicine than you would think three people could use.  I decided not to take any of it.  I had a virus, so antibiotics wouldn’t do anything anyway, and I’m still (happily) breastfeeding and there’s very little that you even can take under that circumstance.  I didn’t want to chance it.  My husband, being sick for about two weeks, finally started getting better on antibiotics.  We really debated whether or not to give Marlee her antibiotics.  There’s information out there that states that a lot of children can safely recover from ear infections without antibiotics.  But I also read that children under 2 have a greater chance of developing complications from ear infections, and since she can’t talk yet, I felt we wouldn’t have a good way to know how she was doing without it.  Especially since we didn’t even catch on that she was so sick in the first place.  (But that is just what we did in our situation.  If you have a little one, you should make your own assessment, talk to your doctor and decide whether you’re child needs antibiotics or not.)

But through all this craziness, sickness, doctors and medicine, I still have this very strong, underlying belief…

I can help my body (or my child’s body) heal itself gently and naturally.

There are a few experiences in my life that led me to think this way.  The first was experiencing my father’s diagnosis of cancer, and in two years, it taking his life.  I saw all the latest modern medicine, and all that it did not do to help him.  It was around that time I became fascinated with alternative types of medicine.  The second was my own experience with anxiety.  For a while in my young life, it took over my life.  The medicine I was on for a short time, without a doubt, made things worse, and it was then I began to educate myself on my own, and read books about how to relax myself without drugs.  The third was my decision to have a home birth.  It was an easy decision.  I knew my body was created to accomplish that purpose and didn’t need man made inventions to do it.

But something wasn’t adding up.  If I had so eagerly educated myself and found gentler, better alternatives to other situations in my life, why wasn’t I applying it to my own child?  Who I want, more than anyone, not to be inundated with synthetic chemicals and drugs?  I realized my values in this area needed education and action behind them.  I couldn’t offer her anything but modern medicine, as long as I did not know what else to offer her!  So now I am embarking, just like in the other situations in my life, to educate myself about childhood illnesses, natural remedies, how food plays a role and other alternatives like chiropractic (which I already believe is very beneficial).

It’s not that I am against modern medicine like pain relievers or antibiotics, certainly there have been times when I was grateful for those things and more, but I believe that we were all designed wonderfully by a brilliant and infinitely wise Creator.  I don’t want to try and take God’s place, I believe healing ultimately and in every situation comes from Him (whether we recognize it or not), but I think by treating ourselves a bit gentler, we can honor God.  We can honor God by acknowledging His divine wisdom in the way He made our bodies to work and fight off diseases on their own, and also acknowledging the amazing wisdom and functionality in the different plants and herbs He made for our benefit.

I really want not just to learn about natural remedies for my family, but to put even more of my life in His hands.  Letting go of fear of the unknown, I can learn to trust and pray to Him when we need healing and wisdom and look to Him first, the Great Physician and Healer and Restorer of every part of our lives.

I love that God has given each of us common sense and intelligence, and the ability to acquire knowledge.  I think each of us can use that to better ourselves and our lives (as long as it does not contradict the word of God).  I am now just beginning this journey towards learning how to treat illness with a different perspective, that is, faith based, not fear based, and am excited to see where God will take me!

 

In what kinds of ways do you help your body heal gently?

 

Up All Night

I’m actually really glad to be coming to you once again, dear readers, for this is the first chance all week I have really been able to sit down and write.  All three of us have been so sick this week, and it has not been fun.  I wrote a little while ago, how my husband and baby were sick.  Well, I thought I could avoid him long enough to save myself, but I guess it was inevitable!  Thankfully they are just colds and nothing too serious, although sick is sick- and none of it is enjoyable to go through.  Unfortunately, Marlee did come down with a little cold and fever.  You mamas know, it’s just so awful seeing your baby sick and unhappy, but the worst part is not really the sickness, it’s the fussiness and the sleeplessness.  I don’t think we have had nights like we have had this week since she was very small.  Tuesday night I didn’t get much sleep because I wasn’t feeling well.  Wednesday baby wouldn’t sleep.  I thought last night would be different, but again I was literally up all night with her.  All night!  God heard a lot of prayers from me this week!  I’m so glad that so far He’s answered my prayer to save Marlee from this awful lingering cough my husband and I both had.  But the sleeplessness…oh that’s just another thing altogether.  This morning we got 4 blessed hours of sleep, of which I was extremely grateful.

You might be wondering what I’m doing here, writing, while baby is again, thankfully…finally… sleeping again.  Writing has always been very therapeutic for me.  It’s my little time away, to think and to process my days.  When I write I can always see things from a different perspective and often see the good in a difficult situation.

Every since Marlee was born I think the bulk of prayers have been for sleep, for me, and for her, but much to my impatience God has often not answered them.  Sigh…This week this verse kept coming to mind:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

I would definitely say that this is a kind of trial.  Anytime you are deprived of sleep, and sick and still have to take care of a little one who is fussy and won’t sleep- and still be gentle and kind and patient!  Oh dear!  But pure joy?  I’m still working on that part…

Gentleness is an ongoing lesson.  It’s something God reminds me about often.  Honestly, I’m the type of person that tends to get snappy and terribly impatient when I haven’t slept or had enough to eat or just- stressed.  I used to just give in to that impatience, but I’ve seen a much better way- clinging to the word of God, which is living and powerful.  What I need to constantly remind myself is that gentleness along with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control are fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is God.  Those are the things that God produces in me, to behave in a way that I could never simply will myself to do- especially on nights like this week when everything in me wants to just cry and give up, bury myself under my covers and feel sorry for myself.

I cannot wait for everything to go back to normal here at the gentle home.  But until then, God gives grace.  Grace by giving my energy at 1, 2 and 3 o clock in the morning.  Grace in a few hours of rest.  Grace in a overall healthy child.  Grace that I can stay home and take care of my family.

Wishing all you mamas out there healthy children and restful nights.

 

Loving the Messy Moments

This weekend was a bit trying.  I had a sick baby and a sick husband.  The doctors visit with the baby was long and they couldn’t even tell me what it was that made her break out in a rash and a fever!  Thankfully, she was better later that day playing with her toys as usual.  I didn’t get a lot done, and even though her fussiness was…tiring, it was still nice just being near her so much and letting her sleep with us.  I love that closeness.  Her new favorite thing now is playing in all of Mommy’s craft supplies.  Yesterday, she made her way over to my (just organized) box of ribbons and managed to open it up and dig her chubby little hands inside.  As she did, I found myself watching her…watching her eyes light up in curiosity and watching her meticulously grab each ribbon between her thumb and forefinger, and instead of quickly directing her away from them I just watched her- and snapped these pictures.  Maybe it was because we had had a long weekend and I was just so glad that she was feeling better, or maybe it was just because it’s the most incredible thing in the world to watch your baby grow up into this curious and bright eyed little child, but no matter what the reason, I was really loving this messy moment.  

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

It’s finally that time of year!  You know, the time when putting on a jacket is actually exciting (well for Texans anyway) and when all those dusty boxes come down out of the attic and the smell of pine scented candles is just about everywhere…

And I have a new little helper this year…loving all the sparkly balls, wreaths and garland to play with.

She met (and loved) Santa Claus.

There are so many new friends to play with!

…This is what makes me feel like a little kid.  Twinkle lights all aglow, filling the dark streets with magical light.  They warm me inside and out, despite the stormy winds blowing outside and the very cold air settling in.

The fun of twinkle lights beginning to capture her heart too…

 

As the magic of this new holiday season approaches, what makes you feel like a kid again?

to my love

Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 2008

To my love…Happy Anniversary!  Here’s to 7 wonderful years!  Remember all these fun times we’ve had?

Our first anniversary in Galveston

Our second anniversary in San Antonio- the Alamo. Yes it was cold!

Go Astros!

Destin, Florida 2007

Young Marrieds Retreat 2006

Anniversary 2010 Kemah, Texas

And hopefully we’ll have 70 more wonderful years together!  I love you!

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