A time to be grateful, thankful, and to acknowledge all of what you've been blessed with, and even without.
We spent our day so busy, so full of plans. Dressing kids, cleaning up, cooking food, traveling from one house to the next, serving food, cleaning up messes and pink dyed counters from spilled grape soda.
It's hard, in the moment, to take a breath and see how truly blessed we are, but at the end of the day, when I finally sat down, it hit me.
We have a home, nearly 5 beautiful and healthy children, jobs, family, good health, free will, and most of all, we have God.
So, when we feel down because our home isn't finished, our kids are ruling the roost, the jobs we have may not be what we dreamed of as children, family gets a little crazy or overwhelming, anxiety takes over our seemingly good health, and we can't seem to use our free will to make the right choice; we still have God. He is still perfect, unchanging, and continues to love us unconditionally. He does not see our faults, our flaws, our imperfections. He created us in His image, and as long as we are always working to be better, we're doing exactly what we are supposed to do.
The things I find myself surrounded by lately haven’t been much fun, and they’ve been somewhat devastating to the soul. But, I took a step back and instead of letting my faith waiver, I handed it over to God. Just like we are told to do. Is everything magically better? No. That’s not how God works. But, things slowly take turns in the right direction and I know that I’m doing the right thing. We are not in control, God is. Nothing good can come from us trying to be in control. I fully believe the improvement I’ve seen in the hard stuff, is because God knows that I’m putting my trust in the right place for the first time in a long time and with trust comes reward.
It’s been a hard year. A hard two years, actually. But I still have so much to be thankful for, and I owe each and every one of those things to God. He blessed me with being a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, and most importantly, a mother.
Me. He trusted me with tiny little humans that contain all of His grace in nearly 5 little faces. What a blessing that is. One I truly don’t feel I deserve, and even on the hard days, I thank Him for all of the gifts He’s bestowed upon me. These babies of mine give me strength I never knew I had, and I can’t picture my life without them.
As you spend this weekend surrounded by family, friends, whomever you love, make a second to step back. Breathe them in. Remember we are living on borrowed time and we don’t know when God will call any of us home. Be here. Be now. Be in the present.
We don’t need Thanksgiving to remember to be grateful. We have every single day that we get to wake up and live our lives to do that. Don’t wait for the holidays to soak up the ones you love.
It’s easy to succumb to the chaos. One second everything is fine and the next you’re drowning.
Staying positive is easy when you are able to surround yourself with people who have the same goals and mindset, but that isn’t always a possibility.
More often than not our life requires us to spend time around people who are pessimistic and see the glass half empty.
Continuing to feel uplifted and joyous becomes more difficult. Pause and reflect when you feel the chaos taking hold. Close your eyes and take a couple of really deep breaths. Center yourself and find the calm. Ask God to start over in that moment and make a conscious choice to feel joy.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. It is important to continue to find ways to refill even when those who surround you are draining it. Find things that bring you joy and peace and can replenish what is being taken. Do things that make you happy. Read a book, go for a walk, pray, whatever stirs your soul.
Negativity can be all consuming. Even if you continue to be full of joy and shine your light wherever you can, there will still be people who continue to dwell in the past and leave their cup empty. It has become who they are. Change is possible if they will it, but so often it is easier for them to continue on the other they have already pages than to start a new one.
Do not let the stress and pain that others revel in crush your spirit. Let it change who you are and who you want to be.
It takes work. Lots and lots of hard, meaningful work. But, it is so worth it if you truly love the way you feel when you keep your spirits high and your cup I’ll. Let your cup be so full that it overflows to those around you and you cannot help but let them feel some of your optimism and joy, regardless of the path they choose.
Something I’ve always felt strongly about as a mother is that my children know their worth. The world will not always be kind and welcoming so it is essential that they know their importance, regardless of what the world may attempt to infringe upon them.
Every night before bed we have a mantra of affirmations that we speak aloud together.
“I am kind. I am brace. I am strong. I am smart. I am lIves. I am worthy. Jesus loves me, God loves me, and mommy and daddy love me.”
We do this as we say our goodnight‘s, once our teeth are brushed, our pajamas are on, and we are ready to head off to dreamland. My biggest hope is that reflections on these thoughts as they cozy off to sleep will help them feel more peace in their little sounds, and snooze soundly, for they know how utterly lived they are. Not just by their parents, but also God.
Children need to know they are worthy and who will tell them they are if not us as parents? This is such a big part of our nightly routine that sweet little fourteen month old Alvi does a hard blink after each statement as if to tell me she grasps that what is being said is of the utmost importance. She is hardly talking, but her communication with us is unreal and my heart explodes with every blink of understanding.
If I manage to do one thing right, it will be to raise my children to value their worth and not let others decide it for them. They are children of God, and they should know that even as much as we love them, He loves them more.
In the chaos of life, stop to remind your little humans they are important, too. Help them feel validated and let them know their opinion matters. Provide them with the tools they need for when we are no longer here to help guide them. Give them the strength to be confident in who they are and the things they will accomplish.
It seems as though our world has become a much scarier and darker place than most of us thought possible, but that is exactly why I'm starting this venture.
I want to bring more light and kindness to the world, and the best way I can do that is sharing our family's experiences with chaos, kindness, and a whole lot of grace.
Every day we are blessed to wake up for another morning with our children, our families, those we love, is another day God is saying that our story is not finished yet. It is only the beginning.
No matter how tough things might be right now, we can always look to Him for peace and grace. Whether you have been up since 3 a.m. or it's after lunch and you can feel the chaos taking hold of your day, it is never too late to start over.
Take a second, or even a minute, and bow your head. Pray. Talk to God. Let HIm know that He is in control and your situation is subject to change. Ask for His grace and peace to start over, relinquish the negative feelings that have crept in and are slowly but surely taking over your day. Every passing moment is an opportunity to let Him take over and restore your day and mend your faith.
You are only ever as stuck as you think you are. Everything here is temporary. Feelings, possessions, people, jobs, money, chaos, it is all temporary. Turn your focus to the here and now and choose to straighten your path. Let God lead the way, and surely you will never be lost. He lets us go through trials and disappointments to remind us that this life is temporary and in our troubles we are to seek Him. He is in control, and He never sends things to harm us. One bad thing does not make your whole day, week, or month a bad one. It is how you respond to it that counts.
My hope with this blog is to help remind you that amongst all the chaos, there is peace. It is possible to still be kind and show others and yourself grace. You don't need a new year or a new week to start over. Every moment of every day is a chance to start again and aim to be a kinder, more graceful person.
The quote "I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions," - Augusten Burroughs, is all too perfectly who I am as a person, a daughter, a mother, wife, etc. We all wear many hats and have to find balance in all areas of our lives, and this blog will absolutely never talk about how perfect I am; mainly because I am entirely flawed and accept this with all of my heart. My hands are just as dirty as yours, but we always have the choice to do and be better than we were yesterday or the choice we made twenty minutes ago. We learn as we go. We are human.
"By the grace of God, I am what I am." 1st Corinthians 15:10 says it best. But, it is not a permanent state of being. We are always changing, growing, blooming. That is what sets us apart from those who choose to settle for what they have been given and not dream something bigger for tomorrow. Our limits are endless if you put your faith where it matters most.
As you go to bed this evening, make it a point to decide tomorrow will be better. This is not permanent, it is only temporary. The world does not have to stay dark, cold, and scary. Be the light, and never be afraid to sine in the darkness.
It’s time for an updated “About Us” blog to help fill people in on our ever changing circus!
Brett is the second in command ringleader. Mainly because this mama is the one that’s home 99% of the time and has to be the one to put her foot down.
He’s the bread winner. The one that works hard and puts in the hours to make ends meet, to be sure our kids don’t go without and have everything they need.
He’s the protector, the hero, the “fun” parent. And, I’m okay with that. (Most days.) One of us has to be, and he’s lucky enough to have it be him. He’s gentle, kind, loving, stubborn and thick headed as they come, but he’s mine and he can mostly handle me on my rough days, which is more than I could ever ask for.
We aren’t perfect and we have our struggles, but we’re also always working to build a bigger, better, stronger relationship. We drive each other bonkers, don’t always listen to the other, and neither of us know how to be wrong. He’s a lot better at giving in and brushing things off than I am, and the appreciation I have for that is endless.
Then, there’s yours truly. The ringmaster of the shit show. The master mind behind all the crazy. The pregnant, hormonal, brain turning to mush mama that’s in charge.
I’m not perfect. I won’t ever claim perfection. I aim for gentle parenting, but some days that’s not how our evenings, or heck, even our afternoons end. You can only ask in a gentle, kind, polite voice so many times before you lose your shit. Or that‘s how I am anyway. Maybe there are moms who can hold it together, but I just can’t. My patience runs out.
I love my babies more than the moon and all the stores, and I struggle when we have tough days because I’m not yet at the level of mama and patience I want to be. I’m learning to grant myself some leniency, because as humans, we are not perfect.
I have a psychiatrist and a therapist, and I an the furthest thing from ashamed. Everyone could benefit from at least having a therapist, and more people need to speak up and advocate for it.
Mental health is at an all time low and I can’t wrap my head around why professional help means we’re not average humans who struggle, just like everyone else, but we accept we need help. Some of us? Some of us, a therapist is who keeps us getting up everyday and putting one for in front of the other.
Next up, we have the lovely Gypsy we call Averi. We’re nearing the big 11, and the teenage years are creeping in fast. She is not mine by blood, but by choice. She is brilliant, talented, kind, loving, and just a bit strange just like the rest of us. She has her dads humor amd as innocent as a child who hasn’t been introduced to the world.
Averi was four when her dad and I got together and being only 20, I had no idea what I was doing. I had little sisters the same age, but being a sister and trying to learn how to be a step in mom. It’s been a rough road but ever so slowly, we’re getting there.
Luci, my little acrobat, is the first one to grow in my belly, enter the world, and open up the mother that was inside me. The one I prayed existed, that would know that immediate love and that nothing in the world could be greater than the feelings in those first moments they lay your baby on your chest. I can’t imagine who I would be today without these little versions of myself. I might be a littler more sane, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Luc is kind, sweet, loving, an empath through and through. She is the most Tom boy princess I’ve ever seen. We’re talking big tulle spinning dress covered in all the bows, jewels, and sparkles while she wears converse and jumps in muddy puddles. She’s five and can bait a hook, reel in her fish, and even though she can’t unhook it yet, she always throws them back herself.
She is ready to spread her wings and hit kindergarten leaving them not knowing what hit them. I nearly expect daily phone calls and/or emails, but I’m hopeful our feisty, ornery side hangs low for a little while.
Jax. Jax is my boy, my own little clown. He’s leaning to his dad some lately, but that’s alright. He’s the one that was born into this world to be my very best friend, the one who loves his mama more than a bomb pop. I think.
He is overly sweet, kind, soft hearted, has a phobia of blood (literally), and can smell goulash from a mile away. At 15 months younger than Luci, he’s four and ready to start preschool this year. It was a tough call, but my mama brain needs a small reprieve and he could really benefit from some socialization.
In between Jax and Alvi, we suffered a loss at just six weeks. We don’t talk about it much, but I will never not acknowledge that baby. I don’t know why God chose to take that baby home, but He did. It took a hot, hot minute to work through it, but we made it to the other side.
There’s an empty frame that sits out in our home. No one has ever questioned it, and I’ve never spoken it out loud except to Brett. It’s a place holder, for the baby we didn’t get to keep, but we never had our first ultrasound. We didn’t make it far enough, but I need something to help me accept it, and this is what works for me.
She used to be last, but definitely not least, my little Alvi, who was supposed to be the last, but God had a different plan for our family. She is our tiger tamer, the one who fears nothing.
Alvi is loving, knows how to be sweet, and gives me a run for my money everyday. We haven’t slept in almost two years, from the very day she was born. She is stubborn, feisty, fearless, and entirely feral. I love her and wouldn’t know what to do in this world without her, but we have so many days that are such a struggle.
More than not she has me in tears, wondering what I did wrong. I’ve tried every level of parenting and nothing has helped. We have a referral in to a specialist, but they’re yet to be ready to schedule us. It was a hard call to make, but this mama needs some help, and I’m not afraid to admit it anymore. My baby needs a different level of parenting, and I need direction on which way to go. There is no shame in needing and accepting help.
I don’t know who this next baby will be. We won’t be finding out the gender, but I will refer to peanut as a girl. My mama heart can feel it, but I’ve been wrong before. I won’t be the least bit sad if it’s a boy, just to be clear. What part she’ll play in our circus, I can’t begin to imagine. Maybe a contortionist, but whoever she will be, God knew we needed her.
No matter how difficult this journey has been as I continue to pray to come to terms with, has slowly started getting g easier recently. We’re closing in on 12 weeks, so we’ve known for 9.
Regardless of what a shock and how difficult accepting this has been, this baby is more loved than anyone will ever know. She is the candles on our cake, and we anxiously await getting to meet her.
Welcome to our circus, we’re glad you’re here.