Big Week

Monday, September 30, 2013

Deep siiiiigh.  This week feels overwhelming, and it's only Monday.

write, write, write, write, write
It's all good stuff - Josh starts his new job tomorrow, I have some meetings set up for for pursuing my Marriage & Family Therapy Practicum for the Spring, and I have a couple massive school projects due very soon that I'm wringing out my brain for.  Write, write, write, write, write. Bible Study, play dates, and coordinating child care on top of everything, I'm already looking forward to next Monday when I feel like I will finally have reasonable opportunity to go to bed at a normal-ish hour.

Ever have weeks like this?  When you feel bogged down before the chaos even gets rolling?  When you feel like you're catching up before you've even started?  That's how I feel right now.

These are such great "problems" keeping me awake and working at night, that it's frustrating just to feel frustrated.  I am loving everything that is happening right now...I just want to do a great job at ALL of it...and oh yeah, somehow there are still dishes and laundry and meals to manage.  Somehow I want to keep writing a blog and reaching out to you all as much as I can.  Somehow I need to find time to not only hug my daughters, but look them in the eye and sing silly songs.

There's a big week full of craziness ahead, and I'm so thankful I have a community to help me get through it.  YOU are part of that community!  Just reaching out and talking to you all is such an inspirational tool for me to keep going - this grad school thing isn't gonna just happen on its own, and every time I think about having a new story, reason, or lesson to tell you all, I'm motivated to charge on.

How do you stay motivated when you're feeling overwhelmed?

Sometimes, I just need a moment to recharge.  So often I think I have no time to stop and write.  Too many times I have excuses (good ones!) to abandon my calling or to avoid the challenging route.  I'm tempted just like many to take the easy way and let go of all the "optional"things in my life.  Blog, school, Bible Study, play dates...these are all options that I make for myself, to connect and grow - not just to fill up time in a boring day.  I'm so thankful for these options, and I'm grateful to how they are stretching me and forcing me to depend on God and friends like never before.

Here we go, big-week-ahead.  Life doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  I'm about to find out if there is enough prayer (and coffee) to see me through.  [There is.]


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guys.  I'm starting this story at the end, and trust me, you will still want to read it after I tell you the best part.  Here goes:  The job search is over.  JOSH GOT A JOB!

I've had a bottle of champagne sitting at the back of my fridge allllll summer, and now - it's time to celebrate!  I am beyond thrilled to announce that after three and a half long months, my husband is going to be the Marketing Coordinator at a local, private school. Hallelujah!  Praise be!  Thank you, Jesus!

And now that you know the ending, just wait until you hear the whole story...

He first applied for a job at this school about 10 weeks ago (whew!)  It was actually for a different  position, and one that he was unsure of taking.  He knew he could do it, but if you asked him what he would truly want to do, what his gifts and desires were directing him towards, he would have told you his dream job would have been to step over fully into a marketing position.  Truth be told, it took a bit of a prayer and twisting of his arm to get him to apply in the first place.  But we prayed about it, and he knew our God was not limited to an application, and so he took yet another step of faith and wholeheartedly put his hat in the ring.

A good six weeks later, he accepted a position at Trader Joe's, a local grocery store that we love (and who's roots are in California, so it really felt like a piece of home for us!)  We are SO incredibly grateful to Trader Joe's, and we were bursting at the seams to tell everyone that he got hired there - except that, the day after he started there, the school finally called to interview him!  All this to say, we've kept silent about this job journey the last several weeks because we didn't want any potential employers to question the loyalty or schedule of what we were pursuing.

You get it.  Job hunting is hard enough!  It was the best problem we'd had in weeks - to have been hired at a (albeit, most likely temporary) position while interviewing for a prestigious opportunity.  We didn't want to confuse the situation by having "Found a job!" posted on a status update and muddling the unemployed waters.  So, thanks for understanding and respecting our roll-out of this info!

A couple interviews at the school later, and God shook the very ground we were standing on.  After interviewing Josh for a different position, the head of the school saw something in him that revealed the talents and passion he had for marketing.  It was one of the most affirming moments I've witnessed in his life, and I'm so grateful God placed someone at the right place and time to recognize and distinguish this in him.  Two more interviews (and a few more weeks) later...and it's official.  He got the job.

We are ELATED.  We are so so so so grateful.  We are blown away by the goodness of others and the goodness of God.  A year ago I would have told you that we would have NEVER moved here without a job, or that it would be impossible to do so, or that it would be irresponsible, or that there's just no way we could have survived three and a half months with no income.  But, here we are.  Because....because God.  The end.  Because we listened and obeyed, and really, really, really NOTHING more.  God made it all happen.  Only God.

And here's where I get real honest with you.  Here's the part where you are feeling all "oh, how nice that worked out for you" and I'm about to blow that thought right out of the water for, just keep reading.

The night before we got the job, God told me something.  He said, plain and simply, "You know that if he gets this job it doesn't solve your problems, right?  Only I can do that."  I kind of brushed that off and said another prayer for the job, and then I BEGGED God for the job and then I thanked God and still said "but, please God, seriously, please let him get this job".  I didn't quite let what God told me sink in all the way.  I wanted Josh to get that job.  It would be A problem solved, and so my heart and mind were set on that.

Then, he got the job.  And, I felt relief.  I felt joy.  But...I didn't feel any more secure than I had the day before.  In fact, neither Josh nor I jumped up and down like we had in the past when much smaller victories were won (You got a call baaaack!!!!  You got an interviewwwww!!!)  Not this time.  This time was different.

Josh got the job.  Hallelujah.  But, that's not the victory here.  The victory - the moral to the story - is the three and a half freaking months that came before the job.  The miracle is the survival, the journey, the long road of impatience and questions and doubting.  The loving marriage that sustained the waves of tumultuous worry.  The food on the table brought by friends.  The cards of encouragement and support sent by loved ones.  The pride found in working a blue-collar job.  The strength of a family cared for by a community and body of Christ.  THAT'S OUR VICTORY.

I never could have guessed it.  Even a few weeks ago I could have told you what this blog post could have looked like - a long and relentless bragging about my husband and how awesome he is and how good God is for rewarding his efforts.  No.  Not at all.  Don't get me wrong - Josh is my hero - but, we're giving credit where credit is surely due, and that goes entirely to Jesus.

Here's something else - Satan hates it when we give Jesus the credit.  And today, just as we were eager to awake with feelings of assurance and celebration, we were spiritually attacked from all sides as Satan did his best to steal our joy and distract us from the goodness of God.  I'm really being honest here, gang.  Today was ROUGH.  Even my daughters were stressed out and overly emotional and the littlest things seemed like the end of the universe in our home.  Each one of us was in a terrible mood, annoyed and frustrated, irrationally snappy and completely out of sorts.

We literally had to stop in the middle of our morning and pray aloud in our living room to just invite the Holy Spirit to be present with us, to help us focus on His peace and faithfulness, and to not let anything distract us from the beauty of the moment and the assurance of God's goodness.

But, here we are.  We are here to CELEBRATE and let you know that God IS good.  Wholly good.  And the job is wonderful...but, it is merely a facet in the structure that is our lives as they should be lived out according to God's will.  We are grateful - but, not fooled by the false sense of security that money and benefits offer in this world.  We are humbled, and we are sincerely blessed by the long three and a half months where our faith was stretched far beyond the boundaries of our liking.

Thank you, thank you, thank you - to each of you who prayed for us, supported us, encouraged us, and fought the good fight through the victory of the wait.

God is using us here.  God has big plans for us.  God is good - really - all the time.

We're so grateful to celebrate God's goodness with you!


Monday, September 23, 2013

The weather in Nashville has been extraordinary lately.  A cool breeze in the air and the crunch of leaves under my feet is enough to make this Californian happy to be here (that's saying a lot coming from the land of weather-perfection).

With my birthday passed, school in full swing, and pumpkin-products-galore taking over the shelves everywhere I look, there is no question:  FALL is here!

Fall is my favorite.  You'll probably hear me say this at least a dozen times in the next few weeks as this short-lived window of transitional-weather-bliss continues.  I'm so happy to be here in the midst of seasons...something that California offered only to a very limited degree.  I can't wait until the leaves start changing color and I get to very-unscientifically explain to my toddlers the difference between summer (swimsuits and popsicles!) and fall (sweaters and pumpkin scones!)

This is such a unique season of our lives too - in the middle of our own transition, getting into the routine of my being a full-time grad student, starting back into Bible Study and MOPS and making new friends left and right.  Fall always has this nostalgic, in-between quality about it that feels like it is offering up a fresh start, though late in the year, right before the holidays hustle in with its stress and expectations.

What season of change are you in right now?  

Fall always reminds me of the changes and lessons that God has been teaching me all year long (life-long, for that matter) as well.  As I witness the color of His creation turning from green to brown to deep oranges and yellows, I recognize that my insides often feel the same.  I have new growth in my faith, new doubts and questions, and new understandings that enrich my life - I die a little more to myself, only to bring about a greater beauty that reflects His presence in my life.

I hope my life can be like one of those dead leaves, falling from the tree of myself, taking on a new look and a new purpose...nurturing the soil in a way that only I can be used, to present new growth for God's glory.  Nature is showing us all the time various ways to reflect the presence of Christ in our lives.  There are limitless ways God uses His creation to show us new aspects of who He is, and new ways to allow Him into deeper parts of our lives.

How is God using this season to reveal Himself to you?

I love Fall (I warned you I would say this a lot!) But, not just for the pumpkin spice lattes and scent of cloves that fill my home.  I love it because it's the most contemplative of seasons to me, the cool nights that are just right to clear my head and make me nostalgic, and eager with anticipation for the coming busy months ahead until the year's end.

Lord, help me brown, help me orange, help me yellow, and let people see the changes only YOU can bring in my life.  These are natural, beautiful changes that only God can cause.  Such a great reminder that I'm His changing creation as well, just like those falling leaves outside.

TBT: Crazy Pills

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Today's TBT post is from April 2012...

Pretty often, maybe even daily, my husband and I will be watching our children, blinking hard past our exhaustion and find ourselves once again asking the same question we asked the day before: How do people do this every day?

Parenthood, that is. I mean, is it this hard for everyone? Are all parents just sitting in a daze all wondering if everyone else is wondering if it is this hard for them too?

The other Sunday, we were once again in the "wiggle room" with Daphne (8 mo) while Matilda ran amuck in nursery for the morning. While everyone pretty much keeps to themselves quietly, trying to absorb the lovely church service through the 45" plasma hanging on the wall, one can't help but observe others and their children. There was a sweet nearly-2-year-old girl just playing quietly while her mother nursed a new baby. They looked happy, well-rested and calm. Were they thinking the same thing about me?

I ran into the same mother in the restroom later, as we both changed our baby's diapers, and we quickly exchanged the names, age and birth experiences of our new daughters. Even though, by the end of our sharing, I found myself envious of her 1-hour labor story and sleeping-through-the-night 7 week-old (are you freaking kidding me?)...I still shared a mutual sympathy for her efforts. I think there is always an understood sentiment felt between women once they are ushered into the club of motherhood, and I felt that for her in this moment. That, even though I wanted to shout "You have it so easy!" I still could see the frazzled look in her eye, the worry in the tightness of her lips, and the nervousness in the intensity of her grip on her new baby that told me - she is still struggling to do the best she can just like me.

My children sleep so little that you would seriously
think I was filling their bottles with coffee.
We parted ways a bit awkwardly (as many encounters in the restroom can be) and I could tell I was headed in a different direction than she was. I didn't know how to end this conversation that went from "Aw, cute baby" to "how far were you dilated" in split seconds and now was curiously making its way back to normal-people-status. Uhhh. I wanted to say "It gets easier!" and leave her with one sturdy ounce of encouragement to make it through the next hour...but, literally, in that moment, I thought Does it? Does it get easier? I don't want to lie to this poor soul! It gets different, but so far it does not get easier! So, instead, as I was walking out the door, I turned awkwardly and just said "By the way, you look really great!" The end.

Yes, this was my awkward encounter with a strange new mother in a church restroom. But, you know what? She smiled. Mission accomplished. The next time you see a new mother in a frazzled state or looking discouraged...don't tell her it gets easier. Don't tell her to enjoy the moment or nap when the baby naps. Just tell her she looks fantastic and walk away. We need that. It's probably the one thing you could say that doesn't get old hearing.

So, this whole parenting thing - will it get easier? Let me narrow down what I'm talking about: exhaustion. Lack of sleep. Life progressing around you in a blur of picking up toys and cleaning spit-up. Surviving in warp-speed of tripping over laundry and get yet another meal on the table. Being. Tired. All. The. Time.

Am I taking crazy pills? Am I the only mother who is sitting here thinking "I really don't think other people understand"? Surely, not. So, then, are their children equally crazy? Do their children incessantly yell at them and demand their attention until it ends in a fit of rage and tantrum kicking? And then, of course, the next SECOND later the same children are smiling and saying "I love you mom-mom" and asking to read Cinderella again and SUCKING you back into that deep vortex of love that makes you want to buy them ponies and make home-baked-masterpieces that you only drool over via pinterest???

I see posts all the time of moms complaining/venting about how their kid won't sleep or eat or behave, etc. But then, I read further and find out that their baby woke up once during their 3 hour nap...and my head spins at the thought of having such a luxurious amount of time to fill with whatever I might choose. My children sleep so little that you would seriously think I was filling their bottles with coffee. Sigh. So, does that mom understand me? Does she look at me and envy that my toddler will eat her green beans? Does she read my posts and think "this crazy loon doesn't know how hard my life is!"?

Yes. Yes to it all. We are all taking crazy pills.

We are all exhausted in some area of parenthood somewhere, I just have to believe that. We are all trying to raise productive little souls that will be kind and grow up to make their own nutritious breakfast every day and not become serial killers who won't remember when Mother's Day is. We all wear clothes we have to wash and eat food we have to fix. We all work jobs that don't pay enough and drive cars that break down too much. We all have friends who we don't deserve, both good and bad. We all have crazy families who offer terrible advice and not enough help. We all are fighting The Man, the traffic and bad breath.

We will make it.

It may take a lot of coffee, even more prayer, and a crazy lady in the church bathroom telling us we look great to get us through one more day...but we will. We are parents. We are awesome.

Now, take two more crazy pills and call me in the morning. Cause trust me...I understand.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We all know what a Table of Contents is, right?  That page at the beginning of a book that outlines the parts that make up the information given in the pages ahead.  It's the big, overarching themes that sum up the in-between parts that give you an idea of the whole before you have even had a chance to understand it all.

The Table of Contents of my life might look something like this:

  • The wife who forgot about dinner
  • The mother who hands her toddlers her iPhone 
  • The writer who can't remember that one word
  • The student who asks too many questions
  • The overwhelmed human who needs rest
  • The repentant prayer warrior who is reminded of her needs
  • The healed sinner who found peace again
One of those things by itself wouldn't totally describe me, but together, they can give you an honest glimpse into the life that I live - and this would only cover maybe one normal day!  The content of our lives says a lot about who we are, a lot about who we think we are, and a lot about where our values and dependencies lie.

Am I content with the content of my life?

I heard something today at Bible Study that was perfectly put - today, there seems to be an "epidemic of discontent" among society.  I couldn't have said it better myself.  So many times, I'll hear or read or see moms (and not just moms, of course) who are either feeling guilty about the life they should be leading or feeling guilty about living they life they already are.  

How can we find contentment?

The word CONTENT is what is called a homograph.  It's two or more words that look alike but have  different meanings:

con-tent:  that which may be perceived in something

con-tent:  satisfied with what one is or has

Just because something looks to hold everything we might have always have wanted, doesn't mean that it represents everything that makes us whole.  Your Table of Contents might be perceived as everything that should make you content...but, instead, it could have a very different meaning. 

In other words, whenever I lack contentment in my life, it's time to examine the content.  

Where is Jesus in the midst of my toddler throwing noodles at me in the middle of lunch?  Where is Jesus when I want to cry into my pile of laundry?  Where is Jesus when I feel guilty about wanting to get out of the house by myself?  Where is Jesus when I'm taking my blessings for granted?

Jesus is the content for my contentment.

I have no hope to get it all right.  I have no hope for feeling like enough, especially when my focus is on myself.  But, pursuing Jesus and injecting Him into the CONTENT of my life will bridge the gap of my seeking and finding the contentment I'm in need of.

Contentment doesn't look like sitting still.  It doesn't look like a pond with no ripples.  In fact, the closer I get to Jesus and asking Him to reveal to me how I can inject more of HIM into my day, the more motivated I become to not seek anything else.  The more motivated I am to inspire others to do the same.  The more motivated I become to fulfill who I'm called to be for Him.  And, the more the content of my life resembles a content human resting in the assurance that I am trusting a God who knows what's better for me than I do.

If I'm going to let God be the author of my life, I'd better be willing to let Him start with the Table of Contents.

Jesus Year

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Welp, TODAY is my birthday!  Yup.  The big 3-3.

As most years, I didn't wake up feeling any older or wiser (when does that start to kick in?)  But, this is year is going to be BUSY, I have no doubt.

I also have no idea what is really in store.  With a new city, new home, new school, new routine, new church, new friends, and new adventures ahead, the bulk of what is to come seems more unknown than ever before.

Turning thirty-three has been coined by many as "the Jesus year" referring to the final, epic year of Jesus' ministry leading up to his crucifixion, when He died at age 33 (resurrected 3 days later, of course).

If you only thought this concept was a Christian thing, you'd be wrong - apparently this is kinda a "known thing" and if you don't believe me, just google it or even check out what urban dictionary says (yeah, you know something is for real if its on there, right?  Haha).

So, evidently this is my Jesus year.  No pressure, right?

I used to think that 33 was old.  You know, like when you're sitting in Sunday school as a child and hearing the Easter story for the zillionth time and somehow it registers in your head that Jesus was about your parents age when he died on the cross.  Older guy.  Wise.  Had life figured out.  Did miracles and saved souls.  Got it.  I will definitely have my life figured out by 33 just like Jesus did.


And suddenly, a few blinks later, and turns out thirty-three is NOT old!  Why didn't anyone ever tell me this?

I don't know why Jesus didn't stay on earth longer than He did.  Why He couldn't have stuck around to be 83 or 103 or 133 is beyond me?  But, to think of Jesus being MY age is a whole new thought.  For the first time ever, the ministering Jesus of the Bible really IS my comrade.  I can look myself in the mirror without excuse.  No more waiting around thinking "yeah, but Jesus blah blah blah and someday I'll get there too".

Well, I'm not ever going to "get there" on my own, but I'm here right now.  I'm here.  I'm 33.  I'm not any more brilliant or brave than I was yesterday, but I'm wholeheartedly devoted to allowing this real, peer-Jesus to take over my life and utilize it for epic ministry for the remainder of my days.

I'm not just 33 today...I'm 33 forever.  Life as epic ministry, let's do this, Jesus.


Monday, September 16, 2013

The other day, a new friend of mine asked if I'd like to meet up to go hiking early one morning.  Immediately, I dismissed the idea, thinking to myself "Oh, I'm NOT a hiker and I'm NOT a morning person".

Then, I thought about it for a second.  The timing would be great - up and gone before anyone else even woke up in the house.  Cool morning air, a little huffing and puffing in the middle of nature, soaking up the bright new day.  Hmm, maybe this did sound appealing.  Who am I to label myself with such stringent restriction?

Maybe every day hikers wouldn't consider me a hiker - but, couldn't I hike?  Maybe every day early risers wouldn't call me a morning person - but, couldn't I get up early and enjoy it?  You bet!

I freely admitted to my friend my novice-status and soon enough, it was Saturday morning and I was lacing up my sneakers before dawn.  Being out in nature - dirt, rocks, trees, birds - was even better than I remember.  The two-and-a-half mile hike went by super quickly, as good company and getting-to-know-you conversation betters any experience in my book.  But, I never would have done it if 1) I wasn't invited and 2) I stepped outside my box.

It's not really in our nature to step outside our comfort zones as humans.  We get comfortable and settled into our routines and perspectives; and, normal life doesn't offer enough opportunities to push us much beyond our boundaries.

It wasn't in my nature to get out and enjoy nature.  Maybe it's one of those nature-versus-nurture moments where we have to stop and nurture ourselves towards going against our normal flow.  It wasn't a big deal - so what, I got up early and hiked a few hills? - but, it was enough to remind me how important it is for me to do things like that.  Do things that I don't consider "me".  

What can you do this week to step out of your nature?  
How can you redefine labels you may have placed on yourself?

I probably won't turn into a nature-loving-every-day-hiker any time soon.  I definitely want to get out there more often and appreciate the air and land that God created that I so rarely stop to observe.  But, no matter what, I want to be intentional about always trying new things, always stretching the boundaries of my self-labeled-box just enough to explore new aspects of who I am.

It might not be in our nature to lean towards the uncomfortable, but we all have the ability to nurture each other; whether that's reaching out to new friends, encouraging new adventures, or exploring the nature of God through the creation that's all around us.

TBT: Meat & Potatoes

Thursday, September 12, 2013

*In the spirit of TBT (Throw-Back-Thursday) - I thought it would be fun to start something new on Thursdays and re-issue some of my more popular posts.  This post is from November 2012 and I hope you enjoy it!

The other day, I was at a crossroads.  Perhaps you've been there before.  It was early afternoon and I was just beginning to think about that age old (yet, daily) question:  What's for dinner?  The pickings were slim.  I didn't want to order in (scratch that, I did want to order in, but we really couldn't afford it and I knew I shouldn't cop out of dinner-making one more time that week) and I definitely did not want to load up the girls in the car, unload them, scream and cry our way through a trip around the grocery store, and have to come all the way back home to start cooking.  Ugh, that sounded terrible to me.

So, I faced my cupboards and my fears and decided with all my might to figure out something that could be constructed into an edible excuse for supper.  I sighed as I sifted through my barren pantry, finding a can of this or that.  I yanked out my last pound of meat at the back of the freezer (ground turkey!) and found some frozen peas next to it.  I dug around the bins of my fridge and discovered leftover potatoes that hadn't rotted through yet.  I know, this sounds scary to most of you, but I was so determined to scrape by until payday that I had really let our kitchen become quite meager.  Still, I knew I could pull something together.  Something.

As I surfed the Internet for ideas, it suddenly struck me.  Maybe it was the crisp new chill in the air, but suddenly the need for comfort food hit my belly and mashed potatoes crossed my brain.  Aha - that was it - Shepherd's Pie!  For those of you who may not know, Shepherd's Pie is a sort of an old "peasant" kind of dish, meant for recycling leftovers for people who don't have access to the first round of good food.  It's a layered dish of meat and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes.  Generally, around here anyway, you see it with ground beef, carrots, corn, and peas.  The topping of buttery mashed potatoes is really its selling point, let's be honest here.

Voila!  Shepherd's Pie it was, and as the weather got chillier and our tummies grew hungrier, the better and better it was smelling.  Sure enough, by the time we ate, it was super delicious.  Yay - a hit!  And I was mighty proud that I had scavenged our cabinets and turned our humble means into something quite delectable.  (Great recipe here for those of you wondering!)

It wasn't until hours afterward, with my hunger and dignity satisfied, that it occurred to me what an analogy my day had become.  As I tucked my girls into bed for the night, exhausted from another haphazardly wonder-filled day, it struck me how motherhood is like that silly Shepherd's Pie.

In the day-to-day events, motherhood is such a mess.  It really is.  I must look at the clock about 13 times a day, and I have no idea why except for the fact that it helps confirm one thing to me:  this too shall pass.  I love motherhood.  Sincerely!  I cherish these precious girlies the Lord has blessed me with.  I want nothing more than to be with them, nurture them, engage with them, help guide them.  But, boy oh boy can they press my buttons!  Whew!

The hour-by-hour focus that two little toddlers requires of me is astounding.  At their best, they are talking non-stop, running around, climbing, throwing food or clothes, or trying to leap from furniture.  And at their worst, well, let's just say I've had to clean Play-Doh out of carpets, crayons off of walls, get glue and honey and paint and applesauce out of hair, and keep them from strangling each other with dress up clothes or jewelry.  It's crazy business, let me tell you!  In fact, just today it crossed my mind that, "Hey, God, if even EVE couldn't keep her kids from killing each other, how do you expect me to?!?"  Sometimes I wonder.

The everyday mischief is just like those peas and carrots.  It's just like that freezer burned ground meat or those nearly rotten potatoes.  You line it all up and it looks like nothing but a heap of garbage.  What a mess.

But, you're looking at it all wrong.  There's more to it then that.  (Hold on, I'm gonna go all Karate Kid on you here!)  How many times has an older mother passed by you and your youngins in public and looked at you sweetly, maybe even stopped and said something like "Oh, how wonderful, I remember those days!  Cherish them!"?  Do you think she is remembering the rotten potatoes?  Heavens, no.  She's smelling the Shepherd's Pie.

All these days, these terribly exhausting days of trouble, they are all adding up into a terrific era of our lives.  I just know it.  I can't quite see it, at least, not while I'm in the middle of it and just want to strap my toddler to her highchair so I can please just fold this basket of laundry that's been sitting in my living room for a week!  Please!?  But, I know it's true.

Some days, when the dust settles long enough for the sunlight to beam in just right and my girls are smiling and my brain hits pause just long enough to capture a moment in time that looks better than any Instagram filter ever could...I get a glimpse of the big picture.  I can very nearly imagine myself an old woman trying to recall this very moment.  I can almost smell the memory of the present, though it is happening right in front of me, as if it were decades ago and I'm longing for the sweet innocence of not knowing their futures.  I blink, and their older.  I blink, and I forget it all.  I blink, and suddenly I am back in the throws of the day and just struggling to survive once more.  Peas and carrots, again.

This daily struggle matters.  This mess that we're trying to make sense of, it will make sense before we know it, and all too soon we will be smacking our lips wondering why we ever thought it seemed so terrible.  We don't have to wait until then to believe it will be satisfying.  Take hold of it right now, dig right it, get messy and creative and believe in what you are doing, because before its all over you will want to know that this was part of what makes it great.

You're in the thick of it, mamas.  This is real meat and potatoes kind of life stuff.  Keep up the good work, and savor every second.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today, we remember the events of 9/11.  We pray for those still grieving, we thank those who became heroes that day, we seek hope for all.  We each have our own story, our own personal version of how that tragic day forever changed our lives and our perspectives on the world.

There are still a lot of questions.  There are still a lot of emotions that don't make it feel like it was twelve years ago.  This world is a crazy, ever-changing, non-stop entity that so often feels like it is spinning out of our control.

But, while we all cling to hope and seek out answers and hold hands in this struggle to survive on this planet together, I'm reminded of one singular truth that keeps me focused on a day when I'm recalling so much confusion:  we have an unchanging God who lovingly rules over this ever-changing world.

This is my Father's World.

Here are the lyrics to the hymn with that title, and I hope they bring you hope as we all remember today.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought. 
This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker's praise. 
This is my Father's world, he shines in all that's fair; in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere. 
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. 
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I almost didn't write this post.  It has potential to paint me (or my kids, or my parenting) in a bad light, and it's downright embarrassing.  And then I remembered - I'm not alone.  So, I'm hoping this hits home for somebody somewhere and reaches whomever it might be meant for.  You're not alone.

It was just a few days ago...

"Well, if somebody would watch their children like they are supposed to, this wouldn't happen!" the grandfatherly fellow sitting catty-corner to me in Chick-Fil-A huffed and puffed.  His remark was precisely directed towards me like a laser beam, though his eye contact hit the floor in disgust.

"I'm sorry, sir?  Did something happen?  Did my daughters do something?"  I was instantly offended and embarrassed and I didn't have a clue what he could be talking about.

He turned toward me, hugging his around-2-years-old granddaughter in his arms who appeared no worse for the wear from what I could tell.  It was clear, however, that something had him incredibly agitated.

"I don't know, but there's two girls in there who were spitting on my granddaughter!"

Fear rose as my heart sank.  As much as I didn't want to admit it, the only two little girls left in the Chick-Fil-A play area were my own flesh and blood.

"I am SO sorry.  Please wait a minute."  I pleaded with the older man who was getting ready to leave with the sweet little wide-eyed victim on his lap.

Let me tell you, hell hath no fury like a mother whose little ones make her look like a bad parent by behaving like little heathens.  My mind instantly flooded with questions about what had really happened and yet, I couldn't help that it did sort of seem like something my little angels might attempt.  Ugh.

I burst into the play area and with the growl of a mother bear, I demanded my childrens' immediate presence.  Matilda emerged from the plastic-tube-castle-of-fun first, and so I yanked her outta there quicker than a wedding ring from garbage disposal.

"Did you spit on that little girl?" I felt like my voice had reached new depths of seriousness.  Matilda knew I was not kidding around.  She nodded.

I firmly placed her little body in front of the little girl and her grandfather.  "WHAT DO YOU SAY?" I bellowed.

"I'm sorry" came the tiniest of timbre out of the mouth of my babe.

I got in her face, right then and there.  "You NEVER spit on anybody.  You are never unkind to anyone.  Do you understand?  Now, go sit down.  We're done.  We're leaving."

As Matilda climbed up into the chair at our table, I looked up at the grandfather, who I think was stunned more by the scene of the apology than the actual altercation.

"Thank you," said the grandfather.  And they left.

As I retrieved my other toddler from the plastic pit of germs, I could feel the adrenaline rushing throughout my body.  I was so disappointed.  I was so embarrassed.  I was so MAD.  I was so offended.  I was so worried.  I was so SAD.

The long ride home was fraught with mixed emotions.  We calmly talked through what had "really" happened, and I gave Matilda a chance to explain herself.  By the time we got home, I was still choked up over the whole mess of it.  I wanted to handle this correctly.  I wanted to make sure my child understood all sides of this story.  And I wanted to drill into her the impact she can have on others and empower her to use it for GOOD.  Good grief.

While my babes went down for nap time, I had a chance to think.  Was this really about Matilda?  Was this really about making sure she understood?  Certainly.  But, was there more to it than that?  After all, wasn't I also mad and offended about not being able to explain myself to that grandfather?  Why did it bother me so much that he didn't know the whole story - that he would never know the whole story?

Here's the whole story:

On multiple occasions, we have had to discipline our girls for "spitting" at each other.  It's not exactly spitting - I mean, there's no liquid or drink in their mouths or anything - it's just putting your lips together and blowing and making a silly sound.  To them, anyway.  To us, it's annoying and rude.  Sure.  But, when you put it in context, it's just two mischievous sisters goofing around.  Yes, we tell them not to do it, but it is a rather mild offense in our home and usually knocked off after a warning (or two).

On this particular day, my girls were being extra-rambunctious.  Oh, and it was only 9am.  I needed to get them OUT of the house, but it was dreadfully humid outside.  They suggested Chick-Fil-A, and the thought of an air conditioned play area where they could be confined and minimally supervised was extremely appealing to me.  I set up camp at a table RIGHT outside the play area where I could completely see them, but their sound was curtailed.  I brought my iPad along to do some reading for homework while I kept an eye on them.  Yes, I understand this could appear very slacker-mom-ish...but, I know my girls and my hearing and sight on them was a-plenty, I assure you.

Matilda explained herself immediately to me after "the incident".  She said "But mom, I was just being so funny.  I thought it was funny!"  Sigh.  Knowing how she and her sister are, I can definitely imagine how they egged each other on and then, being the extremely boisterous and social types that they are, wanted to include EVERYONE in on the fun.  The poor little girl never had a chance - she was pegged  as a "new friend" by the Pardy girls from the get-go and just ended up cornered in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now...I definitely explained thoroughly to Matilda afterward how "Being funny means EVERYONE is having a good time and laughing.  Hurting someone's feelings is NEVER funny." and so forth.  But, all in all, it was clear to me that her intentions were pure while her execution of the joke was very poor. (First rule of comedy, Til...know your audience!)  Still, she was punished, and "good intentions" never get you off the hook in the Pardy home.  Enough said.

I had never before been a position where my child was the bully.  I have been the parent of the child who was bullied, however, and that is nearly equally as frustrating.  However, this situation shed new light on the stressful scenario.

I don't mind telling you another strategic detail of this story.  The family of the grandfather and his granddaughter were not white (though I'm not disclosing any more than that because it is irrelevant).  And, I bring this up for a VERY specific reason.

When he made his comment regarding my parenting, it added to the social awkwardness that invisibly already existed.  The situation became instantly uncomfortable.  I don't know about you, but I don't interact with elderly non-white men on a usual basis.  And I'm just going out on a limb, but I'm gonna guess this gentleman doesn't encounter too many youngish hipster white moms like myself.

All this to say, I can attempt to understand his reasoning for not just confronting me about the situation, no matter how much I wish that he would have handled that situation differently.  I couldn't help but think, "Just TELL ME TO MY FACE what happened!" in the moment.  But, looking back and putting myself in his shoes, I probably would've done what he did too and passively addressed the situation in an extremely stern and obvious way.

Here's my point:  It would have been a LOT easier for me to get pissed off, turn my back, and wait the 10 seconds for them to leave.  It would have been a LOT less uncomfortable for me to ignore his remark and justify the dismissal since he didn't know the "whole story".

But, I don't live in a world where these uncomfortable barriers are going to disappear without ACTION.  So, I took action.  I stepped in.  I took the chance to embarrass myself in a split-second and decided it was worth the confrontation in order to reach out and make things right.  This isn't because I'm extra-wise or super-insightful (again, none of this even registered with me until hours later) but, because I felt the opportunity present itself and it was what I would want to have happen if the tables were turned.

I'm not raising bullies.  And I'll never get the chance to tell that gentleman how loving and sweet my little hellions really can be.  He will never know that these silly girls are raised in a home where we talk to them about equality and compassion and the love of Jesus.  He has no idea that I was doing homework about studying racial inequality in the Family Life Cycle (no joke)...but, one thing is for sure:  he didn't leave brokenhearted and angry or without recognition.

Here's the thing.  All that "whole story" business - it just doesn't matter.  The entire reason I even share it with you is to bring you up-to-speed on the full context of the situation.  I'm guessing several of you have been in similar circumstances; and, if not, then you might be someday soon.  All of our kids are gonna hurt other kids' feelings (intentionally or unintentionally) at some point.  That's life.

But, just like it "didn't matter" that Matilda didn't intend on hurting that girl, it truly "didn't matter" that the grandfather knew the whole story.  The hurt here and now is just about all we can handle.  The good news is, it's not so entirely outside of our grasp to make a difference.

The next time I'm in an uncomfortable situation where my impulse is to dodge the confrontation, I'm going to do my best to take the leap and reach out and do my best to destroy that wall of social barriers.  I want to plow through those inhibitions with the compassionate might that only God can grant me.

Yeah, it was my kid who was guilty.  Yeah, it made me "look bad" in the moment.  Yeah, it was mortifying at the time.

But, as my little girl has repeated the experience back to me and reiterated the lessons that she's learning through it, I'm motivated to remember that I'm raising more than just a silly little girl.

I'm not raising bullies...I'm raising bulldozers.

MOPS Winner!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I am happy to announce we have a winner of the one year MOPS membership!  Hooray!

Jessica Garcia

Here is the photo with the caption submitted by Jessica:

Haha!  I think this is something ALL of us mamas can relate too, am I right?  Man, how many times am I cringing during the day as I pick off itsy-bitsy pieces of nonsense from the soles of my feet?!?  ARGHH!

Maybe it is a miracle ANY of us have any hair left at all!

I was just telling my husband the other night how I wish God had made toddlers with their own built-in vacuums!  Can you imagine how much easier life would be if toddlers came with one leg as a little "roomba" that just swept up behind them as they waddled around dropping snacks left and right?

Way to go, Jessica!  Thanks for capturing a stressful thought that all of us can empathize with!

Thanks to everyone who submitted a funny caption - it was a blast reading through the hilarious options and difficult to choose only one winner.  Maybe we will have to do this again sometime!

Happy Monday, Mamas!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Early morning light.
I would not call myself a "morning person".  I loathe the sound of an alarm, and since sleep is sometimes hard to come by around here, I genuinely cherish it when I get to partake.

However, nearly equal to my need for sleep, is my need for quiet time.  

As my girls grow and get louder and louder (seriously, I think their volume increases daily) I find myself praying for peace and quiet (and patience!) on a regular basis.  In the midst of homework and housework, it doesn't seem like too much to ask for a gal to get some silence once and a while.  Right?

Time management hasn't always been a strong suit of mine, but necessity has lent me whole new abilities I didn't even know I had the capacity for.  While my prayers for God to suddenly create the 30-hour-day go unanswered (well, unanswered with a 'yes', anyway) my prayers for "finding time" have not.

It was 3:58 in the morning when I woke up today.  This isn't just early, this is ungodly in my book.  The wee hour of the day when it is not-yet-morning and too-late-to-be-nighttime.  And, it seemed so entirely unreasonable to get up and out of bed by choice.

This has been happening to me about once a week lately.  And, to my surprise, I don't entirely hate it.  Mind you, the first several minutes when I wake I'm questioning my sanity and trying to justify a million reasons why I should ignore this prompting to get up and utilize the "free time".  I let the wheels in my head turn for a while before I'm entirely convinced it is worth any while at all.

Then, I got up.  I came downstairs.  I made coffee, and here I am, sitting in the wonderful QUIET chatting with all of you in the only moment this day might give me where my focus can be held for more than a minute's time.  And I'm loving it.

I used to hear about people getting up before the sun and thought they had lost their minds.  I thought we should banish them to some island far away from normal stay-up-late-and-drink-coffee-until-noon people like myself.  I still prefer to reside in the comfortable category of those who would rather sleep in.  I don't think I'm ready to call myself a morning person yet by any means (zombie, maybe, but not morning person).

But, I'm reminded as I take advantage of sweet, calm moments like this that God is providing ALL I need...even peace and quiet within a week filled with deadlines and screaming children and too-high-of-expectations on myself (yeah, we're going to have to eat frozen pizza one more time this week).

Maybe you are struggling to fit something into your own schedule?  Time with your kids, time with God, time for friends, time to rest.  If there's one thing we all have in common, it seems to be that there's just never enough time for any of us, right?

But, even at this ungodly hour, I'm feeling blessed to know that God already has provided all the time I need.  I'm still working out the kinks (and will continue to do so my whole life) on how exactly I prioritize and use that time wisely...but, He has made no mistake on limiting the structure of our days.

Twenty-four hours is all we've got before the next day arrives.  And today, God provided that 4am wake up call right when I needed it most.  [Take a deep breath with me here.]  Peace.  Quiet.  And a moment out of the normal routine to stop and recognize His provision.

Thank you, Lord.  (And thanks for coffee, too!)

TBT: Non-Parents Just Don't Understand

Thursday, September 5, 2013

*In the spirit of TBT (Throw-Back-Thursday) - I thought it would be fun to start something new on Thursdays and re-issue some of my more popular posts.  This gem is from March 2012 (ala "back when I had bangs") and I hope you enjoy it!

I love my kid-free friends, I really do. In fact, now that I'm a parent, maybe I sometimes like them even more than my friends who have kids. Okay, easy now, maybe not "more"...but, you have to admit that there are some days when the last thing you want to hear about is how someone else's kid threw up on them or how nap time was a total train wreck again, etc.

I mean, it is only natural to seek out friendship with fellow parents (fellow caffeine addicts) and partner together in sharing the ups and downs of this new job that epically transformed both your lives - to commiserate together and compare notes on which vegetable your kid isn't eating, pat each other on the back for making it through another sleepless night, and even (dare I say) ask advice when you are surely at the end of your rope and none of the ten books on your nightstand seem to hold the answer of how to get your toddler potty trained. We need each other, no doubt.

But, sometimes, once in a while, it is nice to sit across from someone completely outside of my new peer group and stare into their lives. Work. Dating. Drama. Freedom. Talking with a non-parent friend can be as good as a rerun of Felicity and a bowl of popcorn. It helps me vicariously get a taste of those long lost chapters of my life that I now view with such optimism.

Of course, at the time, drama with a boyfriend or a new conflict on the job with a co-worker was ten times more miserable than the worst day I can imagine with my babies at home (well, maybe not ten times). But, when I was able to be more central to the focus of my own attention, everything around me seemed to hold so much weight. And now - well, if it doesn't effect my kids, then it probably doesn't bother me. Honestly, give me a secure and protected nap time for my toddler, get my baby to eat her rice cereal gruel, and I'm a happy camper for the most part (sleep-deprived, but happy). This is all to say - I love my non-parent friends. They bring me joy and cheerfulness (and sometimes dinner!) and an appreciation of the memories I hold for that time in my life.

Before I had kids, I would have considered myself one of those women who was pretty accurate on my expectations of parenthood. I suppose this makes up about 99% of pregnant women out there. But, oh how there is a vast canyon (a gorge) between what you think you expect...and reality.

I truly had everything going for me - I had 7 nephews and nieces, I had been a nanny throughout the years in my twenties. I had even been the caretaker of premie newborn twins overnight. Yes, there were some things that I totally understood and could anticipate. Other gaps in my knowledge I attempted to fill with books, doctor's visits, even a twelve-week birthing class with my husband. That is to say, if there was a way to get my hands on a piece of knowledge in preparation for parenthood, I found it, swallowed it, and digested it until I was sick (or was that just morning sickness?)

Still, it wasn't until we brought that bundle of joy home with us that we began to fully be able to answer the question that was truly on our minds for the full nine-month journey leading up to it: What the heck do you do all day with a baby?

Oh, sweet, naive, free-as-a-little-bird non-parents. Nothing can prepare you for this answer. The unpredictability of every day since bringing home that baby has only grown - much like the baby herself! I won't drone on and on about how we fill each and every hour (otherwise, what would I have to write about next week?) But, rather, I'd like to submit the following letter...a letter to the parent-friends I knew, back when I was that same non-parent friend coming by to gab about my latest drama...

Dear Parent-Friends of my past,
I had no idea what hard workers you are! Oh my. I have greatly underestimated your day, your endurance, your sheer fortitude in perseverance. I'm sorry that I would get frustrated when you would interrupt our conversations on the phone to tend to your kids. I'm sorry it was super annoying to me that you would alter between baby-talking to your child and then turn to me with a half-listening ear as if there wasn't a kid screaming at you. 
I'm sorry I didn't help you fold laundry or do dishes when I came over for dinner. I'm sorry that I would sit and watch TV while you put your kids to bed and I wouldn't even pause the show for you until you came back into the room - and little did I know you were trying to do the speedy-to-bed version of their favorite storybook just so you could spend a few more minutes with me. I'm sorry that I would talk on and on about myself and my life drama and expect you to give me a complete analysis full of sound advice, while I wouldn't even bother to ask you how your day was...or, if I did, I would roll my eyes as if your story about your child losing a library book or not getting their nap was of lesser importance than my "real" issues. 
I'm sorry that I didn't offer to babysit more often and for free and without expectation. Did I tell you that I value looking at your life and your marriage as a wonderful example? I'm sorry I didn't support you more tangibly, especially in exchange for all the words of wisdom you freely offered me. I'm sorry I didn't appreciate what you did all day. I'm sorry that I actually thought you had one of the easiest jobs simply because you didn't leave the house all that often. I'm sorry I didn't realize you didn't leave the house all that often because it would take half an army to get you out the door on time - and I'm sorry I would get annoyed when you did arrive late if we met at my place instead. 
I'm sorry I didn't bring the outside world to you more often. I'm sorry I didn't ask you more intelligent questions...that simply because I saw you sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" 8,000 times to your child at bath time I figured you wouldn't be the person to ask about the latest crisis in Africa or what a certain Scripture meant. I'm sorry I didn't think of you as an equal breadwinner in your home simply because your husband has an "employer". 
I'm sorry I didn't play more fervently with your children when I came over so that they would sleep better for you that night - because, there I was thinking I knew what exhaustion was since I had stayed up talking with my friends all night. I'm sorry I feared for your style when you would meet me at the door in pajama bottoms. I totally judged you and thought you were being lazy. I'm sorry if I made you feel worse just by showing you how cute my new manicure was. I'm sorry I didn't send you out for a manicure, right there in your pajama bottoms. 
I'm sorry I didn't realize what a triumph you were doing with your kids - really, truly, stellar work. They are kind and funny kids and I actually like them a lot, and their clothes almost always matched alright. That was all you - making sure they were polite and in order - and there I was thinking the whole time it might be sort of nice to have a kid someday if they came out like that - easy, polite, and matching and all. 
I'm sorry I waited until now to tell you that you are a huge reason I decided to have children at all - and I think of you every time, every day, when I question whether or not I'm actually fit to be the person in charge of these little humans who teeter on the brink of outsmarting me by the hour. 
Thanks for humoring me and encouraging me and inspiring me. Thanks for feeding me and making time for me and offering me a glimpse into a future that I can now be confident in living out. I hope I can extend the same amount of grace and wisdom (even an ounce?) to the non-parent friends I now have (Lord Bless 'em).

In all sincerity,

MOPS Giveaway!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being a mom is crazy hard.  Ridiculously hard.  Way-harder-than-any-of-us-ever-thought hard.

But, you know what makes it even harder?  When we think we see moms who have it all together, who are doing it "better" than us, or who have way cuter Instagram pics when we can't even get our kids to keep their eyes open for the flash.  Ugh.

Being a mom is hard enough that living in a world where someone is Pinteresting their latest mega-DIY-birthday might make us "real moms" all wanna go jump off a cliff.  Seriously.

I don't know about you, but my best defense to feeling like a total mom-fail is meeting other moms.  I don't mean just reading blogs (though, THANK YOU) or texting, or diving into Pinterest over nap time.  No, no, no.  I mean real life contact with another grown up human female who has procreated.  That's right - connecting with other moms.

Moms.  Yes, I'm talking to you/us.  We need to GET OUT.  We need to meet each other.  And, while the blogosphere can get us FAR in the middle of a spit-up-covered, laundry-overloaded, don't-even-care-what's-for-dinner kind of takes genuine contact to ultimately interrupt our Disney-channel-consuming lives.  (Seriously, I need another Veggie Tales singalong like I need a hole in the head.)

SO, let's break out of our bubbles this week!  Let's put a date on the calendar to meet up with another mom - if only to commiserate and high five!  We are survivors - every day tackling the mundane with the same wanna-be enthusiasm of a revival preacher.  We need each other, and if we don't get out there and encourage one another, then we're just as guilty of neglecting friendship as we are neglecting shaving our legs (a scary reality for some of us, right?)

Have you heard about MOPS?  MOPS is one amazing way to connect, and chances are good it is in your neighborhood.  There are MOPS groups all over the USA!  Check out their blog for gobs of info on meeting up with other moms and getting all kinds of tips and advice on parenting youngsters.

I am a big supporter of MOPS, and today, I'm so excited to be giving away a ONE YEAR MOPS MEMBERSHIP to a lucky reader!

How do you get it???  Well, for the next few days, (deadline is September 8th) all you have to do is CAPTION THE PHOTO BELOW!

I hope you laugh at the photo captions I've put on the other photos in today's blog (LOL here) and I'm looking for a silly and original caption for the photo above that every mom can relate to.  C'mon - we all need more humor in our day!

You can tweet me the caption @pardymama or email it to or just post it in the comment space below.  I'll be checking out your captions and choosing my favorite to award the MOPS MEMBERSHIP!!!

Let's hear it for the moms!  Yay!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

As I walk around my apartment (well, trip more than walk, would be a better description maybe) I notice how my daily life appears to be summed up in big piles everywhere.  Laundry piles, dish piles, toy piles, pillow piles, paperwork piles, and so on.  PILES.

These piles are everywhere, seemingly spring up out of nowhere, and I swear they are multiplying by the minute.  HOW does this happen?!

Between school work, toddler chasing, dinner making, and doing my utmost to sustain my sanity with the occasional coffee "break" (is it really a break if you reheat the same cup eighteen times?) I feel like I'm dodging mountains and creating mole hills everywhere I turn.

Ya feel me on this?  Are we all caving ourselves in with these clutter volcanoes or is it just me???

There are often days where I feel like motherhood is two steps forward and twenty steps back.  I'll capture a moment of my daughters hugging and I'll say a prayer of thanks for getting a glimpse of heaven here on earth.

The next minute, I'm pulling my hair out as they topple over stacks of just-neatly-folded laundry onto a crumb-ridden floor.  And then they hit each other.  And then they're crying.  And then they hit their heads as they run toward me.

And so, I shove everything out of the way into one giant pile and attend to their screaming.  Siiiiiiigh.

But, maybe, through the tears and the confusion, it's ME who is making mountains out of the crumby-laundry-mole hill...and not my crazy kids.  Maybe it's worth all the mess to stop and see that hug, to be the one they run to when they cry, and to side-step those mines of chaos that truly clutter up our minds more than our homes.

Sure, there's times when I need to ask for help and clean up those piles.  Organization and cleanliness can feel great and help us all sustain necessary order. the the dishes and toys pile up, I need to take a deep breath and let myself off the hook.  I need to just hug my kids and keep focused on the path between the piles.  That's the journey that really matters.

After all, that pile isn't going anywhere.  

Share & Care Contest Winner!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Thank you so, so, so much to everyone who entered the PARDYMAMA Share & Care Contest!  I am amazed at how a fun little contest can bring together SO many people, and I'm excited at reaching out to all of you through this blog!


Congrats, Rebecca!  I have notified you via Facebook message and look forward to shipping the care package off to you soon!  You will enjoy many goodies, such as lotion, coffee, chocolate, a pardymama tumbler, a couple of my favorite books, and a devotional to help encourage you when you run out of that yummy chocolate!  

BUT WAIT....there's MORE!  

This fun contest was SUCH a SUCCESS that I just had to indulge on picking up a couple more items.                                         

There are TWO SURPRISE THANK YOU PACKAGES being awarded today!!!!  

PARDYMAMA had a lot of sharing and caring over the last two weeks, but two people in particular SHARED my blog often, and I want to especially thank them for their support!

Julie and Stephanie, you will each be receiving a pardymama tumbler as well as a leather bound HOPE Journal!  I hope that you feel appreciated and inspired - thank you for your "extra care" these last couple weeks!

HOORAY!  Thanks so much to EVERYONE for helping in the success of the Sharing & Caring Contest!!!
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