Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sisters

Yesterday I was shocked to be told that I will having another little girl in January. I'm not sure why I was so certain I was having a boy, but I was definitely surprised.

Since then I've been thinking about how unprepared I am to raise sisters. All I had were brothers; If I don't even know how to be a sister, how will I raise some? Of course, my concern mostly just stems from the same insecurities any mother feels about raising children in general--am I really ready for this?

I keep having the song "Sisters" from the musical "White Christmas" run through my mind (this is the best video I could find). My daughters will be 18 months apart, and I hope that as they grow up they will consider it a blessing to have a sister and friend so close to them. I'm sure there will be times they want to pull each others' hair out, but I hope that overall they love having a sister.

For those of you who have sisters, what is your favorite thing about having/being a sister?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Such as I Have

As we were driving a couple days ago, my dad had an audio version of the New Testament playing. I was struck by the story in Acts where Peter sees the lame man begging and says, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I unto thee" (Acts 3:6, KJV). He then heals the man--a much better gift than money.

I've been feeling bad this summer because I haven't had money to help my parents buy groceries or help pay for my younger brother's missionary service in Denmark like I had planned on. I've felt like I showed up and have been a burden all summer; I was sick for most of the summer, and my mom has spent a lot of time taking care of me and Cimorene as well as all her usual responsibilities.

But for the last few weeks I've been feeling better, and I've started finding ways to contribute. While my mom's been at school I've spent time cleaning. I've cooked several meals. I drove my younger brother to work, sports, or meetings every night last week. Such as I have, I've been giving. And while I still wish I could contribute financially, it doesn't eat at me anymore. My spirit is more at peace, because I know I'm contributing.

But I know that in a couple months I'll be back in a position where I have little energy, feel overwhelmed, and don't feel able to serve anyone. I struggled with that when Cimorene was born. Logically I knew that my job at that time was to take care of my daughter, but I still felt guilty that I wasn't taking better care of my house and husband, and that I wasn't serving anyone around me.

As I was thinking about this, I remembered an experience I had when I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant with Cim. I was feeling bad because I felt like everyone had been serving me lately (mostly my husband), and that I hadn't been helping anyone else. I prayed one morning that God would help me find someone that day to serve.

That afternoon, right after I got to one of my classes, I overheard two sisters talking. They were discussing how they had both missed lunch that day because of tests, and how hungry they were (it was about 2 p.m.). I suddenly knew how I was supposed to serve. Less than an hour before, I had bought a 12" roast beef sandwich, and I had only eaten one half. I quickly pulled the other half out and offered it to them. They were surprised but grateful, and my heart was full.

It was such a small thing, but so big for me. Just knowing that the Lord could still use me, even when I was tired and overwhelmed, helped me feel valuable and needed.

Remembering that experience helps me to remember that there's always something I can do, but I have to be looking for opportunities to serve. They may not always be obvious, and they may seem small, but they will be there, and if I'm praying and staying close to the Lord, I will see them. And then, such as I have, I will give.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mornings

This is an excerpt from my journal entry this morning (I've just started writing in my journal again, which feels really good).

In the mornings it's easier for me to be calm, to be quiet. The day has not yet built up inside my head in heaps and jumbles that spill over and get shoved to the side again and again. It's even easier if I'm outside in the morning, feeling the sun that is not yet hot and the air that is not yet tired.

I've lost a lot of morning joy over the last year and a half as I've been morning sick, exhausted from being up all night with a baby, or sleeping away the morning as my daughter naps and another new life forms inside me, using up all my energy. While I know it's part of the season of life I'm in, I'm grateful for mornings like this one, where the house is quiet, I am quiet, and I can remember why I love mornings.

I feel a physical, mental, and emotional uplift as I sit and just reflect on mornings and quiet. I feel more ready for the day, more capable of making it a wonderful day.

And it was.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Feeling

I have very sadly neglected this blog for many, many weeks now. Most of the summer, actually. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest is that I have spent much of this summer "existing" instead of living.

When Ryan left for Basic Training in the Air Force, I shut down emotionally. I didn't know how to handle him being gone, and instead of just facing the heartache, I ran from it. I tried not to think about him, but since everything reminded me of him, I ended up trying not to think at all. I say I tried not to think about him, but it was really just the actuality of him being gone that I couldn't face--I spent a lot of time thinking about him "from an angle," if you will. I became obsessed with a couple of Facebook pages that offered support for those whose husbands/sons/boyfriends/etc. were in Basic Training. I spent hours poring over information about what to do in San Antonio when I went out for graduation weekend. I searched the internet constantly for information on military moves and housing in California. These things made me feel closer to him, more a part of his world, without making me actually face any of the emotions I was running from.

The main problem with shutting off one kind of emotion, is that all emotion seems to run down the same pipeline. If you stuff a plug in that pipe, the bad stuff gets backed up in there and the good stuff gets stuck with it. Block pain, block joy. Ignore the nervousness and you'll miss the peace.

Now, I'm not saying it's good to dwell on pain and nervousness and fear. But experiencing them and letting them flow through you and then out is part of life, and when you bottle them up they just get worse. Ask me how I know. ;-)

About once a week I would break down and cry, Usually either after Ryan called or when I was waiting for him to call. It was like I suddenly let the plug out for awhile, let most things drain out, and then stuffed the plug back in for another week or so. But when all those bottled emotions were coming out, I only seemed to get the bad ones; the good ones had apparently evaporated.

Maybe you're starting to see why it's a bad coping method.

The worst part, though, is that one of the primary ways I recognize the Spirit of God is through feelings. When I attempted to block those hard emotions that I didn't want to face, I was also blocking all the peace, love, and reassurance I could have been receiving from my Heavenly Father.

Spending a weekend with Ryan in San Antonio for his graduation from Basic Training helped me realize how much I had been blocking. I was suddenly so happy, happy in a way I hadn't been able to be since he left--not only because he was gone, but because I was blocking all strong emotions.

I've recommitted this week to living instead of just existing, and I'm not only happier, I'm more productive. And I've suddenly started noticing things I could blog about again, which means I'm actually thinking (amazing, I know). And though I'm still missing my husband (hopefully only a couple more weeks until I can move to California), I know I'll get more out of my last couple weeks here with my family and my daughter than I have out of most of the summer.