Coasting

It has been quite a while since I posted any blog updates. Mostly because our computer went kaput a few months ago and we were just blessed a couple weeks ago with a new (to us) one. And the other reasons would probably be that life is a bit busy with 2 little ones, sometimes there’s just too much going on inside for it to be a “safe” time to write (ha!), and having the moment to sit down with a cup of coffee and organize my thoughts is usually limited to my quiet time journaling in the mornings.

The kids are doing well, they are growing so fast that some days I am afraid I will have missed it entirely. They bring such joy and laughter, but some trials and tears as well. I have learned that they are my biggest mirrors, always showing and revealing where I am lacking, where I am improving, but most often where I need Jesus the most. 

Genevieve is almost 9 months and into everything, it amazes me how quickly she has grown. Alot of the time I feel I have 2 toddlers, even though there are 20 months between them. But I absolutely love that they can play together and enjoy each other, even if most of the time I’m telling Gavin to “be gentle” and “get off your sister!” 🙂 

Gavin is changing all the time. Everyday he is learning something new, trying something new, and building up my prayer life A LOT. Some days are much easier than others, its learning to be patient, and giving him grace. Often. 

We’ve had him in Speech Therapy since about 15 months old, as he just wasnt showing many signs of attempted communication. I have actually only heard “mama” come out of his mouth a handful of times. Other words seem to flow freely, depending on his interest. After a few months of therapy between to therapists, they finally have pinpointed what they believe may be his diagnosis: Childhood Apraxia of Speech. 

Basically the pathway from the brain that tells the muscles of the mouth/tongue to move to form words sent from the brain gets interrupted. Sometimes it works just fine, and other times its nearly impossible to get the words out. It’s like having a word on the “tip of your tongue” that simply refuses to come out. 

I cant even begin to fathom how frustrating that must be to a 2 yr old, especially at the stage when they are learning so many new words and putting sentences together. It helps explain alot of the random temper tantrums over what I thought was minute things, when all along it may have been his frustration at not being able to communicate or be understood. And here enters a wholelotta mom guilt. How many times did I get frustrated with him and discipline him for these “outbursts” that may not have been anything related to being a 2 yr old not getting his way, but simply not being understood. 

As a parent, this is a somewhat heavy burden as I process what it means for now, and what it could mean for his future. Cognitively he’s “normal” (I really dont care for that word), as his therapists have commented “Gavin’s super smart, we just have to train his brain and muscles to let it flow”. He knows all his colors, can count to 10 (and some days 20), and is a problem solver. The goal now is to train his mouth muscles to receive the cues from his brain to form the words. And repetition. Lots and lots of repetition. (Broken record, anyone??)

The job situation with George has been mixed with frustration, disappointment, and some uncertainty. For 3+ years George has worked for his boss under the assumption the restaurant would be sold/transitioned to him for ownership. There have been many stipulations, false pretenses, and dishonesty. It has come to the point we feel God is keeping that door closed to have George pursue something else. Currently its within the same company, but working under corporate, rather than a franchisee (is that a word??). 

The downside/upside to this possible transition is that it would most likely take us away from Greenville, where most of our family and friends are. But there has been a restlessness growing in both of us, as it seems we’ve just been “coasting” along. Aside from our families, our “roots” are not very deep here. 

We have been house hunting for a few months now, and just cant seem to find the “right” house. We arent looking for the perfect house, just one that seems to “fit” what we need and want. This has been pretty frustrating and exhausting. But we have also been wondering if this is also because God wont be keeping us in this area for very long?? Because we may not hear about where we *might* be transferred to, George still feels we should try to establish a home here. He leads, I follow. 

Because I dont have enough on my plate with 2 little ones, a possible move, house hunting, etc, I have also started a new business venture. But honestly, its not really about the business. Let me explain.

A couple months ago I stumbled upon a giveaway on a blog I follow, for something from Blessings Unlimited. I didnt win the giveaway, but I did order some things from their clearance. The lovely lady I ordered from not only communicated with me during the wait time for the order, but she sent me a card and beautiful ceramic token a few days later. 

As small as it sounds, that sweet gesture meant alot to me, and from a “stranger”, no less! I thought to myself, this is the way it should be. This thoughtful act made me feel connected to this woman I’ve never met, as a sister in Christ. (I know, I’m kinda pathetic when it comes to nice gestures).

So I prayed about it, and even George was on board with it. We decided I would sign up to sell Blessings Unlimited. Mostly because I love the product, but also because this is something that no one in our area is selling. (I checked, closest consultant other than myself is 2 hrs away, ha!) I really wanted something that would help our family, and bring friends together. But God has even bigger plans.

The day after I received my starter kit (kid in a candy store, for real!), it was announced the company was transitioning to “Mary & Martha”, and focusing on showing hospitality…”Meaningful Entertainment…Made Simple”. At first I wasnt quite sure how I liked this transition..the pieces of the collection seemed pricier (and they are, for the most part), and frankly I am horrible at entertaining! I never feel my home is clean enough or organized enough. There are constantly toys strewn about, laundry piled high, sippy cups hidden in couch cushions, and you never know when my arch-nemesis, the water bug, will appear (how embarrassing!). 

While I was going over all these reasons in my head as to why I “cant” do this, God whispered quietly why I SHOULD. Because I am a Martha when it comes to my own home…feeling the presentation is more important than the presence. But I am a Mary outside of my home, soaking up what moments I can with friends. 

I need to be “Living in the &”…I need to be more concerned with inviting people in my home to enjoy their presence, and not worry about the presentation of my house (to an extent). The goal of Mary & Martha is to help make that more simple, with their gorgeous servingware/dinnerware/home decor. Because lets face it, as ladies we get WAY more excited about food/coffee/whathaveyou when its presented in a unique piece that starts conversations. 

Because I really feel this is something God is leading me to do, I plan on hosting a gathering in my home once a month. Because its not about perfection, its about people. So my little somewhat dilapidated home will soon be a place for coffee, desserts, and I’m hoping alot of fun and friendship!

I havent purchased any of the new product line yet, but hope to as this business flourishes (Lord willing!). There hasnt been a huge response of interest in hosting any gatherings, but I am praying God will open some doors (literally) to allow me to share this product and concept. He’s using it to work in my heart, and I am praying He will use it to bless others. 

I am pretty sure this is enough of an update…maybe I wont wait so long to post something and it can be more “on topic” rather than random thoughts. 

As for now…my dear friend Coffee is calling my name 🙂 (Ok, so its cup #3 of coffee…but who’s counting??)

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3 years of Redemption (on the daily)

I cant believe it is MARCH already…February was barely a blip! Things are going well around here, the kids are growing/changing/challenging every day and I am constantly amazed how trying it can be yet how unbelievably blessed I am to be their Momma. While we dont have a set schedule every day (I’ve tried, they never stay established) we do have a routine that seems to “work” for us. 

Genevieve is sleeping *mostly* through the night, still nursing 2-3x depending on what time she went to sleep. We are still co-sleeping with her (in our ginormous king size bed..she pretty much as a whole half-side to herself, ha) but we are working on transitioning her to the crib in Gavins room. She is NOT a fan. But she makes up for it with her smiling eyes and contagious grins!

Gavin is becoming more and more a “little guy” as he will be turning 2 this Saturday. I still cant wrap my head around it…2 yrs old. I often call him my “redemptive blessing” as God used my “unplanned” pregnancy with Gavin to break me and bring me back to Him. 3 years ago I was living a life full of pain, regret, poor choices, running, and looking to be loved and wanted in all the wrong places. (I could go on and on about my stupidity…let me rephrase that, about my desperate desire to be fulfilled in a way only Christ can and how I thought I could somehow find that fulfillment in men, sex, food, drinking, money, etc…because for those of us who have been broken to be redeemed, we know how it hurts to the core (because thats how deep the pain and sin go) and sometimes THAT pain takes longer to see results, and giving into the sin “fixes” the pain faster…but only TEMPORARILY.

I’ve never really spoken very openly about my unplanned pregnancy, the deep struggles I went through when I realized that my life would forever be changed and I had NO CLUE what was going to happen, the embarrassment I would be causing my family…because I was, after all, a Christian woman who KNEW what the Bible said about premarital sex, and the lifestyle I was living. How I would support myself and a child. Where would we live? (At the time I was living in a huge house with 3 other roommates and 2 dogs) The one thing I did know, was that it was time to stop running. At night I would pray (ironic, eh?) that God would somehow take all the pain away that had been building up over time from broken relationships, emotional abuse, life’s disappointments, constant struggles…I just wanted to feel whole again, to feel loved for who I was, in spite of my imperfections. While I was praying for that, though, I was still trying to find that wholeness in the same ways that got me feeling empty in the first place, and I know God used this pregnancy because it was the only thing that would cause me to STOP running. To break down. Game over. Or so I thought…

God used this time in my life to accomplish so many things, but mainly my redemption…and to bring about all the things I had been wanting but was too impatient and too mistrusting to believe He would bring them about. Was it all wrapped in the shiny red bow I had pictured? Not at all. When my husband and I met, I was healing from a horrible emotionally abusive on-again/off-again 2 yr relationship, and he was working 7 days a week and spent his evenings with me, and plenty of alcohol. (Please do NOT misinterpret, my husband was not an alcoholic by any means, I am simply saying he was trying to numb the pain in his heart). Over time people from our church began reaching out to us, praying for us, and things began to change. Our “like” and “need” for one another became our love for one another, and our focus began to shift towards Christ. He proposed in January, Gavin was born in March, and we were married in June. Not exactly the shiny red bow, but definitely a God-wrapped blessing. 

Since that time we have had our ups and downs…marriage is hard. Especially when you flip the “script” and have kids first. (and broken pasts, for that matter). There is a REASON God laid out things as He did in the Bible. In our first year of marriage we went through our share of fights, rearing a child, a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy for me (another way God used a situation to bring healing..I can blog about that later), job frustrations, another pregnancy (and subsequent baby) and learning how to live well on one-income. It was a tough first year, but we will be celebrating our 2nd anniversary in June and I’ve never been more in love with that man 🙂 

So when I look at Gavin, even on the most difficult days, I cant help but think about what he is a picture of: God’s never-ending love and grace, a God that loves so intensely he will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring you back to Him. Because you are His BELOVED. THAT was the love I so desperately craved and needed to feel in a real way. And every time I get a snuggle, kiss, giggle, or amazing smile from my “little guy”, I am reminded of what God has done in my life, and how much I am dearly loved. 

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet redemptive blessing…I love you more than words can say! 

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Happy New Year!!

Wow…this new year has charged in fast and furious (much like the birth of my sweet little Genevieve 2 MONTHS ago…can you believe it??) My days have been filled with trying to balance 2 kids under 2, organizing/decluttering our home, and revamping our diets/health. 

As the new year was rolling in, I began reflecting on things I wanted to do differently in 2013, the changes I wanted to see in myself, my marriage, my parenting, and my home. Last year was full of excitement, disappointment, challenges, and anticipation. But one thing that constantly nagged at my heart was whether or not I was truly INVESTING in my relationships, particularly my husband and child(ren). I want this year to be different. I want to wake up each day with a goal in mind of serving (yes, I said THAT word) my family, and more importantly my God. Undistracted. Unselfishly. Unrestricted. That means changing things. 

As a mom to 2 little ones, and a husband who works 70-80 hrs a week…my social life isnt very “social”. So I did what 99% of people do, and I Facebooked. And Facebooked. And check the notifications again. And check the friend feed again….”oh wow, so-and-so is doing what?!”,” oh wow…this friend seems to have it all together, why cant I?” “I wish I could have date nights with my husband like so-and-so is having”, “wow..looks like these friends had fun…why wasnt I invited?”….who knew Facebook could arouse all these feelings and emotions?? And you never realize just how much time and attention it takes out of your day until you actually walk away from it. Which is what I had to do for now. 

Do I think Facebook is all bad? Not at all! There’s just no room for it in my life right now until I can keep it in its proper place. And believe it or not, its been 10 days and it feels GOOD to not have it weighing on my heart. To know its not a source of contention between my husband and I (he really dislikes Facebook, haha), to know I’m investing in UNDISTRACTED time with my son, to know that now when I nurse my daughter, I’m looking her in the eyes and speaking to her, instead of scrolling through my facebook on my phone. (And trust me, she is WAY cuter than any Facebook status!) And just to let you know how time-consuming it was/can be…I accidentally logged back in via Spotify when I turned it on one day to listen to music while cleaning. I then had to go to my FB page to deactivate it again…it had only been a week…and I had 50+ notifications! (And no, I didnt even look at them!) 

I do miss my friends on there and the easy interaction I had with them, but I’m enjoying the time with my family, and peace in my heart so much more. Not to mention, my house has never looked more organized and clean!! 🙂 

The one area I havent amped up as of yet is my quiet times in the Word. I’m one of those people who enjoy “topical” devotions relevant to what I might be going through or feeling at the time (yeah, I’m emotional like that). My husband has mentioned he’d like to do a couples devotional every morning when possible (right now our 2 month old enjoys being a night owl most nights, so I tend to sleep in when I can). But I need something for my own growth as well, something to dig deep into…while juggling 2 babies and housework. I use my Bible App on my phone with different reading plans, but I feel I need something more to hold on to. Because while I spend a good amount of the day in prayer (usually praying I dont lose my cool with Gavin’s terrible twos, praying I have energy to get stuff done, praying the kids will nap, etc… 🙂 kidding, kinda!…), that’s always been a little easier for me than spending time in the Word. My husband reminded me just this morning that we are commanded to “meditate on it, DAY and NIGHT”…not just when Bethany feels like it. 

Speaking of husband…mine is truly a blessing to me. We couldn’t be more opposite in personality most days, his bluntness almost always clashes with my sensitivity, but as our marriage grows stronger through trials (and I promise you, we have had our fair share!) and through learning one another….I know that God knew exactly what He was doing in bringing us together. He knew that I needed someone who could handle my crazy hormonal emotions during/after pregnancies, someone who would take the time to talk me down from fears, someone who would love me unconditionally. 

He’s always thinking of little ways to “bless” me. Whether its getting up in the middle of the night to take over for our little diva who refuses to sleep sometimes, to buying me flowers “just because”, or some amazing coffee (he knows that’s truly the way to my heart!), or helping with the housework. 

This morning I got up early to go to the grocery store before he left for work, because going alone is so much easier than dragging two kids with me. When I got back home, he had washed the dishes from last night, swept and mopped the floor,  and mopped in the living room. This literally made me squeal with delight! See when you are addicted to something like Facebook and you give it up, your eyes start to see all the things you were neglecting…and now it bugs me to let my floor go unswept for more than a day or two. The problem is, with a toddler, I generally need to sweep every day. And mop (but with a toddler who is into everything, its more difficult to do than it sounds). So to come home with this already done for me was just the best blessing of the week! 

He’s not perfect, and we are so different in so many ways, but he is truly what my heart needs and wants, and I adore him. In all honesty I need to make the effort to show him more of that. 

There are so many goals for this year, and I’m sure I will blog about them soon enough. But for now I need to snuggle my sleepyhead Gavin and start our day. 

Insert Witty Title Here

I’ve been attempting to start this blog with something profound and interesting to make any readers bookmark this spectacular blog and keep coming back for more…

but between the Christmas holiday, 2 sick babies (one currently in my lap causing me to type one-handed-hen-pecks), fighting a cold myself, and spending what little time my husband and I have together with him…my witty and profound thoughts worthy of a blog have eluded me 😛

But I assure you once life is a little less chaotic (is that possible??) I will have something worth the time to read (I hope!)

-Bethany