Everyone is buzzing about fall around here. September has graced us with some beautiful weather. The air feels laced with energy. The leaves haven’t even started changing yet but the sweaters, hot teas, pumpkins, and boots have been busted out. I keep seeing friends and fellow bloggers posting pictures of beautiful new boots, new scented candles, and steamy hot drinks that they are enjoying. My thoughts wonder back to before I had Ethan, before I knew what it was like to be pregnant with a busy toddler. I would have been one of those to post the new boots or buy a new scented candle. I don’t have any fun pictures of fall esque scenes to post, no trendy new boots to show off, no new scented candle to light. Not that I don’t appreciate those things, I would love to have new boots or sit sipping a hot beverage. Instead my thoughts are on preparing for whats ahead. Life with two kids. Living in the wake of that reality has consumed my thoughts and prayers. The crock pot is bubbling with bone broth, the floors clean with rosemary water, my birth box sits full, sorted, organized, ready. I lay in bed at night thinking about life with a new baby, how Ethan will respond to sharing his mama. What will the birth be like, how will I handle the pain, will my midwife make it this time:) I feel the gentle nudge of my son as he snuggles in closer next to me and I relax against him. God is speaking to my heart, He is constant and kind in my every day. He tells me the unknown ahead will be ok and reminds me of how far He has already brought me. I love the change of seasons in a different way every year.
I love to write on this blog but I find that I write posts in my head nearly every week but far less actually make it to the screen. Life is good, full, hot, and growing. Summer has settled in and there have been lots of changes around here. There is growth happening every where. Our garden is giving us lots of veggies every day. Ethan doesn’t get that we only pick the ripe ones yet. He thinks its his job to pick everything he sees. He also enjoys taking little bite samples along the way. He is getting so big and so heavy:) He LOVES to be involved in everything Dustin and I are working on. He is busy and wants to be so helpful. Every time I sweep the floor, water the plants, feed the chickens, make dinner he’s right at my heels doing his share. If he’s not doing his share of chores he’s dancing his little heart out around the house. That boy loves music. Any time we turn the tunes on he looks at us with all sorts of mischief in his eyes and starts wiggling his little body.
We got chickens!!! I have been begging Dustin since we moved out to the farm to let us have some chickens. Well last week he bought some from a farm not to far from here and built us the most amazing chicken coop!! Currently we have 5 laying hens and I’ve only managed to name one, her name is Harriet. They are an awesome addition to our little homestead. We’ve been getting 2-3 eggs everyday so far. Ethan is enthralled with them. We go out to visit with them every morning. This summer has been so wonderful out here on the farm. Can’t beat the cool of the evening, swimming in the lake, fresh eggs, home grown tomato, and watching your son love farm life.
In other news of growth and change, I am 27 weeks along and starting to feel round with child. Baby girl is doing wonderful and lets us know her presence daily. She kicks into my side every time I pick up Ethan. Its been different being pregnant this time around through the summer. With Ethan I was pregnant through the winter. I’m learning to take the hot days in stride and enjoy the moments where the breeze blows.
Life has been challenging the last several months. Our little family unit has been plagued with some emotional and physical challenges that has brought us closer and also to our knees. God’s presence never feels more all consuming to me then in the darkness. His still and quiet voice is constantly speaking in my life and that sustains me. This winter has been hard. The short, dark, cold days have been bleak. I always enjoy winter but this year was hard for me. Just in the past month or so the sky has opened up, the sun warm on our faces, and all the green grass and trees have sprung up. Spring has ushered in a new warmth and hope for the days ahead. I don’t know if I’ve ever needed or longed for spring and summer this much. As this season pours through my soul I feel like a defeated flower blooming in the sun. The earth around me awakens and gives life.
Life is picking up around the farm, we are planting in our garden, fixing, building, and spending as much time as possible with the windows open or barefoot outside. Ethan is loving life. He is learning to run and thinks its the greatest thing. He is his fathers shadow. Dustin can’t get within three feet of the door and Ethan is at his heels asking to go wherever it is Dustin is off too. Which most of the time its down to the garage to tinker with something. Ethan loves to go through Dustin’s tools and “tinker” as well, although he’s a bit more destructive then anything. Oh how I love that boy. With every new stage I always say “oh this is my favorite age”, I never tire of watching him explore. But, for as destructive and busy as he is, he is just as sweet and loves to cuddle. He is a lover.
Spring is such a short incredible time of growth. I am trying to absorb these days before the hot humid summer settles in. Although, I welcome summer with open arms and a tank top on. Anchoring myself in contentment, I look forward to the days ahead. Though the challenges are still with us I can hold fast to His promise that He holds my life in His hands.
Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love
Ethan picked up one of my favorite mugs yesterday and dropped it down the stairs. Sadly, it broke into several pieces. I started picking up the mess and it hit me how defining a moment it was, picking up broken pieces. Lately I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of that. Ethan’s hurt feelings or broken toys, Dustin’s broken emotions and grief. My life will be scattered full of moments as a mother and wife to pick up the trail of broken pieces: broken toys, shattered glass, a crushed heart, smashed self confidence. My role has been and will be to pick up the pieces and patch the holes of the broken emotions and objects. These moments teach us how to rebuild. Its hard to let go of things, tangible or intangible some times its just difficult to face a loss. But learning to absorb the loss helps us to move forward. Absorb the moment, the feeling, the emotion, the memory, the loss, and be angry, sad, distraught, indifferent, those will be the moments that heal us.
She left pieces of her life behind her everywhere she went. Its easier to feel the sunlight without them, she said- Brain Andreas
But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded- 2 Chronicles 15:7
Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments- Psalm 119:73
We are in the middle of moving. We are waiting for the certificate of occupancy (our CO) from the inspector so we can officially move in. In the mean time our life is in transition. The apartment is filled with boxes and our once cozy little space feels bare and cold. We are more than ready to be done with this transition. I am trying to stay focused on things that make me smile.
Here are a few of my favorite things lately-
My son- he is a wonderful distraction. He keeps me laughing all the time. When he’s happy, sad, keeps me up until mid night, or wakes me up at 3 am, chucks my phone in the tub full of water, or unpacks every moving box I pack, I adore him and every moment he adds to my life.
A cup of hot coffee in the morning- my brother just brought us a bag of coffee from mexico from his bother in laws coffee shop. Its freshly roasted and SO yummy. It makes me smile.
Clean clothes- living with two boys keeps my house full of odd smells so its lovely when they both put on a clean shirt and smell so good.
My husbands laugh- although it is a rare magical unicorn these days, but when I hear him laugh it instantly fills my heart with happiness. He battles with his grief daily and drains him of all the things I love about him. Its a struggle to watch him go through this. It will get better, its just not better yet.
Donating things- its amazing what you accumulate over the years. I enjoy purging closets and bins in our house. It feels wonderful to toss things to create space and organization around here.
Soon our house will be complete and this transition will be over. We will be head over heels for our new space! But in this moment things don’t feel that way. We’ll get there, we just aren’t there yet
I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, I always have. I love most everything about the holidays. I enjoy the colors, the warm drinks, the festive decorations, the gift giving, yummy food, twinkling lights, all the carols, and most of all the family time. Although this year the holidays have brought a new set of challenges I was not expecting and with those challenges an odd feeling of melancholy. It could be that I’m to busy, could be that I’m not really that excited this year. But mostly there are too many distractions, too many burdens. Our building project is nearing the end and our moving date is looming over us. Every day has been one big decision after the next. Picking out flooring, wall color, bathroom fixtures, tile, door knobs, cabinets, deck configuration etc etc. All the fun stuff. I have never felt so anxious! I think I’d rather go through labor again then make all these decisions. Those of you that know me know I am probably one of the most indecisive people especially when it comes to permanent fixtures. I can be indecisive about weather or not I am actually indecisive. I often times know what I don’t want but I cant always tell you what I do want. Even the most exciting things can still be stressful.
But maybe beyond that this Christmas is shadowed with sadness. It will be a year on December 20th that Jack passed. I can feel the sorrow of my husband and his family, the heaviness that surrounds them as they think about that dreadful day last December. I am sad and I grieve but I do not understand the depth of sorrow that they go to bed with every night. I see it in Dustin’s eyes every day. I don’t believe there is ever a point in your life when you are “prepared” to lose a parent. They are a constant in your life, a safety, a comfort that you have always had, always known. When that corner stone of your life is ripped from you, your foundation rocks. There are days when it feels strong, maybe even happy and joyful. Then a wind blows and suddenly you feel like at any moment all the stones in your tower will crumble to pieces and you are grasping for someone to pull you from beneath the heap. I do not know this grief and I don’t wish it on anyone yet my dear ones are haunted by it daily. I pray that they will have strength, that they would find peace, and emotional victories would be on the horizon for them. It will get better, but not this year. This Christmas is more about survival than celebration, and that’s ok. I think I would be more worried about them if they were all acting like everything was just fine. To struggle is to absorb your pain and through that you are able to more forward.
I was rummaging through old boxes today cleaning and organizing when I came across an old letter I had written to Dustin in 2004 before we dated. It was a note of encouragement.
It’s funny that I”m writing to you with a pencil. I never use a pencil but I’ve turned this house upside down looking for a pen only to find a million types of pencils. I wish we could write our life using a pencil. Then we could do away with regret because we would know that at other end of this piece of led, that is recording our words, there awaits an eraser to fix our damnable mistakes. But if that really were the way it was, then we wouldn’t need grace nor experience the vulnerability of suspending your life in His hope for us. “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for. But the spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words we cannot express” – Romans 8:24
If I could plant a garden where answers could be grown I would spend forever on my knees tilling the ground. Stay on your knees, its impossible to stumble there. Be encouraged my friend. Thinking and praying for you. With everything that is simple, Christy
Its funny how I wrote that letter 9 years ago to a boy to encourage him and now here I sit encouraging myself with those same words. I felt like I was writing to myself from the past. The words I wrote in that letter were more powerful as I read them today then they were 9 years ago. The longer time goes on the more I discover how important it is for me to pen down my emotions, I find great solace in it. It gives me peace to write out my heaviness and my hope. I remember when Dustin and I were only friends and I would write him notes all the time. I would leave them taped to his car, stuffed inside books, or just scribbled on school note pads. I was always trying to impress him with my wit and words. I think he has always been my muse. Gaining his attention with my writing was a challenging, still is. I still love to listen to him articulate with his words. Every letter or note he has ever written to me has been framed and hung in my room. I treasure them more than a painting in a museum.
I hope my words always impact him, always reach him. Lately I’m not convinced my words are reaching him. He is distant and buried deep beneath his grief, trying desperately to cope and distract himself. I miss him. But he will return to me. I get little glimpses of his charming flirty mischievous self every now and again and I am encouraged. I have to hope for things I do not see. I hope he will once again find joy, excitement, and fulfillment in our life. That I would be able to comfort him again. That he would tell me stories of things that inspire him and I will hang on his every word.
Some times the ebb and flow of life is easy and peaceful, and sometimes it is raw and sad. I am thankful for hope and I am thankful for words. Let my words be filled with encouragement and wisdom. Least my heart fail me I will not turn from this grief because through my own yearning I will find my husband again. Wrestle with your grief and healing will come.
There are days when the sun will not come out to warm your face, the coffee your husband made for you is cold, your son has been up since 3 am, and you just broke a bowl in the already messy kitchen. These are the days that sneak up on you when you least expect them. They come waltzing in and try to disrupt your routine and prey on your penitence. Well let me tell ya, those stupid days sure do one heck of a job getting me down. Suddenly I find my self complaining and blaming. The day turns ugly and so does my heart. I start stomping around looking for a quick fix to brighten the day. But it never really turns the day around. Although several strong cups of coffee and an electric shock might help. All the chores left in my house start to whisper about my short comings and I grumble back.
Then I am reminded to be thankful, to start speaking promises and affirmations. Even if you don’t feel thankful or encouraged keep saying those words of affirmation in front of you and eventually you will fall into them. I am so thankful for my life and all that is in it. I’m thankful for my son who wakes me up at 3 am with his toothy grin and chubby hands, for my loving husband who makes me coffee, for my cozy apartment, and because His mercies are new every morning. I could feel my heart start to change. Give your self some grace and your eyes will see the beauty in the day again. I turned on some Ella Fitzgerald and the day seemed to shift and brighten.
There will be days when the coffee is perfectly hot, the dishes are clean, the laundry gets done, Ethan sleeps, and I will feel productive. But there will also always be days like today that will try to undo the productive ones. We all need to be challenged sometimes and motherhood is all about the challenge. But you come out a little less scathed if you can find contentment and grace through those challenges. Through the tough days we discover His grace over and over again in our lives. We find our place of contentment and we dance to a little Jazz. Speak those words of thanksgiving and promises before you and eventually you will fall into them.
Not to the strong is the battle,
Not to the swift is the race;
Yet to the true and the faithful Victory is promised through grace.