Monday, November 26, 2012

A Lesson from the Cosby Show

I wasn't feeling well yesterday, and I decided to relax and watch the Cosby Show while I ate lunch. I think my two favorite episodes played during that hour of time I had to myself while the boys napped.

The episodes covered the grandparents' 49th anniversary and when Theo had to "rent" a place in his house. I have always liked the Cosbys. Their family is pretty awesome, but I noticed something that I hadn't really noticed or cared anything about before.

They dressed up. Not just to go out for some reason. They had the grandparents over, and they wore SUITS. How often do we wear our everyday clothes when we invite someone in or go visit someone? I think people would actually look at me funny if I dressed up when I had them over...our "nice" now is jeans and a nice blouse. We all are "comfortable."

I wonder what life would be like if we "dressed up" when we met with friends. Would it make any difference? Do you remember a time when if you went somewhere for dinner, you took something? I'm blessed to have a few friends like that, or we will just swap taking care of the entire night. But still I wonder, would my home be even more of a haven if tomorrow, when I had my friends over, we made it a "dress up" event? Would we all be uncomfortable, or would we all be showing each other even more respect and love by showing how special their coming is...special enough for our best attire...as long as we weren't planning on playing wii. :)

I wonder how I would feel if I dressed my best for me. At any time. For any reason. Would the world be a little bit brighter? Would I be able to make people feel special? Would I feel more purpose? Would my husband feel more special? Would my sons sense something special about our lives? Would I go more places? Try more new things? Meet more new people?

I wonder if somewhere along the way being comfortable overshadowed the joy we could feel at true hospitality. We could find comfortable dress clothes if we wanted to dress up, right? But we might have sacrificed something special. Or maybe all this was just because my head was in a fog during an episode of the Cosby Show. lol. Either way...it's food for thought!

UPDATE: I wore my jeans and nice blouse and my husband wore jeans and a shirt when our friends came. My friend was wearing jeans and a nice blouse, but her husband was in a suit (he came immediately to our house from work). I almost snickered when I realized I would have fit in if I'd dressed up...even though it would've been unexpected. This morning as I update this, the question still plays in my head. And I think it's very possible that I'd be asked over and over why I was so dressed up, but rather than that making me uncomfortable, I could give them the answer, and maybe...just maybe...that would make a difference in a life.

Finishing up Making my Home a Haven Challenge

I, sadly, missed linking up last week at women living well, but I'm not going to miss it! Last weeks challenge was all about the kitchen. I realized before Monday that I had been living out the challenge to bring special meals to my family for a couple weeks. Finally feeling healed from having sweet Landon, I started meal planning, and I made an array of homecooked meals that filled my house with pleasant aromas. All of these dishes were new to my family. There was only one dish I didn't like (even though it was cooked right). And out of all of the meals, Austin (my sweet 20 month old) ate them ALL.

I didn't cook as much last week, though. We cleared out all the leftovers. I think I had worn myself out. :) I did cook Thanksgiving dinner, though. My husband was off the two days before thanksgiving, but I wanted to spend all of those days soaking in time with him and my boys. So on Thanksgiving morning, I got the boys up and we watched the parade and relaxed around the house. Then I got the potato salad cooked during nap and got the turkey prepped. I managed to have Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, potato salad, stuffing, peas, and gravy ready the minute my husband walked in the door.

He thanked me...oh, I don't know...around 10 times. No exaggeration. It was a special moment for us. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I'm glad he enjoyed my effort. This is the first Thanksgiving we were apart for most of the day, so it was important to keep something traditional for us.

This week our challenge is to decorate. I'm SOOO excited about it. This is my first Christmas with both our boys. Makes it feel so special. We have our tree set up, but we haven't had time to decorate it. Adam is off tomorrow and Wednesday, so I look forward to decorating during that time. I'll have to take pictures, as I haven't been adding many pictures to this blog, and I think this is the perfect part of the challenge to start.

Hoping your holidays start out merry and bright!
Saretta

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Closer to "Haven Status"

We are to week 2 in the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge. This week we are to keep our candles burning and play soft music, remembering to pray for peace in our home and to practice gentleness.

I have to admit, I had a hard time getting started with the music, which is surprising because I absolutely LOVE music. I think it was deciding how to go about the challenge. In the end, I decided to play my local Christian station at a low volume.

My husband has become interested in this challenge, and he turned the volume up slightly so it could be heard very lightly in our bedroom. I didn't think too much about gentleness or peaceful relationships intentionally, but I have had quite a few opportunities to choose how I react to situations in my life. I have chosen to not speak many of the thoughts that have crossed my mind because I knew I would essentially be saying them to "hurt" because I was hurting, and I don't want to continue the cycle.

My tv has come on less due to the challenge, and I often think of curling up with the hubby and sleeping in our living room where the music softly plays. It makes me think of times I led Disciple Now groups and I stole away to spend some time quietly in the Word.

I can't say that it has made a huge difference in my life...yet. It feels like it's just a seed right now. As if my mind is being renewed a little more each day, and I am heading more to the simpler life I crave.

I know I'm not just doing this for the challenge of it all at this point. This is going to be a lifestyle change. The music will continue to play, and the light will keep burning. And hopefully, as I go, I'll grow, and my light will shine a little brighter, and my music sound a little sweeter.


UPDATE: I realized that I have explored a new hobby more in the last two days. Rather than just sitting and waiting on my son to finish his meals after I finish, I have worked on my sewing at the table while talking to him and my husband. I actually completed my second project this morning. Something about music being in the background rather than tv influenced that as my attention is not drawn in so many directions. It's so peaceful, and I am thankful for the time to do something I enjoy in the tiny moments afforded me. I'm glad I'm blogging about this challenge...I notice little details so much more when preparing to link up than if I had just been going about my day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge 1

I am super excited to take part in the challenge to make my home a haven. The challenge has weekly components as follows (taken from womenlivingwell.org):

November 5th -Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home.Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.
November 12th - Play soft music everyday in your home. Focus on using peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships. Work on gentleness this week.
November 19th – Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home. Cook things with pleasant aromas – like homemade bread, pies, and cookies.  Remove discontentment and give thanks to God for the home God has given you in which to create a haven for your family.
November 26th - Decorate! The holidays are upon us.   Be creative as you make your home warm, cozy and inviting for the holidays. 

I began week one a little early when I came across the post announcing the challenge. So I found one of the best smelling candles I could. My home quickly smelled like baked apple pie. I remembered to pray for peace (even if only quickly) in my home everytime the candle caught my eye. The timing of this challenge was particularly important. My husband and I have been in a short season of a complete lack of peace in our home. One of the first things my husband said to me upon seeing (and smelling) the candle was "You love me." After I asked him to not blow out my candle (which he had done two days in a row) I realized that he thought I was lighting it right before he got home to make things nice for him. This is one of the few times I hadn't blurted the "cool new thing" I was doing all over the place. I asked him why he would blow something out that he thought was meant to make things nice, and he said he didn't want to waste it. So I told him I had plenty more candles and I could buy more if necessary, so we can leave it burning. As I am writing this, I have realized that during this time, peace has returned to my home again. The tension has left, and we are once again going in the right direction. My husband and I even shared a slow dance to the credits of a movie (and no...this is not a normal occurence.) :)

I keep my candle in the kitchen, and the smell permeates my entire home. At night, when we are watching tv in the den after the boys are in bed, I turn on a battery powered candle that looks like the real thing as well. The light of that brings a different feel to the room as well. Isn't it amazing what one item can do for the home. I know that my prayers are being answered, and it feels quite different around here.

But I have to ask myself the question: is it really just that God heard my quick prayer and answered quickly and efficiently...or could it be that when we seek peace, we act more peacefully? In my case, I think it's a little of both. Seek and ye shall find...



Sunday, September 30, 2012

The First Weeks after Birth...Lessons in Faithfulness Part 2

My last post dealt with the faithfulness of God as I completed my pregnancy, and boy has He shown himself faithful in every way. Just like I'd prayed, I was having contractions when I went to be induced on 9-24-12, and the beginning of my hospital experience was much the same as with my first son. The pitocin started at 5:30am and by 11:11am, the screams of my new baby boy could be heard. What I didn't expect was how easy the contractions would be to handle...I dunno what happened with my first delivery, but this was almost nothing like that one, and I was shocked when I was told it was time to push. It all happened in the most perfect of timing and the easiest way for my family's current situation.

God's faithfulness doesn't mean easy peasy though...I reinjured the tears from my first birth only worse, and my healing has been a lot more difficult. While my first son nursed fairly easily, it took a while to really get a groove...which led to four bilirubin checks. And this time, I had to have help from my parents since my husband only had a week off with me. And I had to go against a doctor. I'm a strictly breastfeeding gal, so when the doctor (upon seeing the bili levels not change in two days) said to supplement with formula, she got an emphatic NO. The last bili check showed tremendous reduction in levels, and I was given the all clear...the doctor actually told me "keep doing what you're doing." This is the second child that within a week of birth I was asked to supplement formula with, refused, and it all worked out just like I knew it would...but that's for another post. Still wasn't an easy time.

I wondered to myself how is God's faithfulness shown in this situation? Each time I went to get the lab work done on my son, more bills piled up. If he was going to be fine, what was the point? And then I saw it...the first few days were super difficult for me...healing and nursing wise. God allowed me rest as Landon didn't nurse but once in the night and allowed my hurting breasts to heal as he nursed infrequently while I learned how to get a good latch with him. Each of these things would have contributed to the levels not falling as they should, but I'm pretty sure that it is what got me through the hardest part of recovery. The bills are just a small side effect of His faithfulness...comfort and healing over money....my choice anyday.

The weeks following Landon's birth have been amazing. My family finally feels complete, and the transition wasn't near as difficult as we expected. Our 18 month old has done wonderful in every way. My husband and I seem even closer. AND we have another blessing to enjoy life with. Landon is about the easiest baby ever! Oh...and have I mentioned that I seem to be healing BETTER than I did with my first son, so maybe I won't ache upon moving for the rest of my life BECAUSE I got torn in the same place? I'd always hoped I could heal better from the second so as to fix the mess I was after my first.

I don't know why I'm so blessed, but I sure am thankful for it. But most of all, I'm happy that God has been teaching me about his faithfulness...it puts a new perspective on each new challenge and has really made my life less stressful. If we can keep our focus on the One who is really in control, His peace will surround us. I'm still waiting on the Lord in one more area of life, and I can't wait to share how He was faithful in that situation as well...because I know He will be.

Are you waiting on something? He's faithful. His way is perfect. If He holds your future, you can be certain of one thing...He has it ALL under control, so rest in Him. He always comes through!

Wishing you well,
Saretta



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lessons in Faithfulness

This pregnancy is almost over, and this mommie is ready.

I have definitely seen God's faithfulness in through this pregnancy. Having a toddler and being extremely pregnant could have proven way too much, but my GREAT God was faithful to give just the energy I needed each day. I noticed a couple months ago that I would feel horrible every time my husband had his two days off, and what proceeded would be feelings of guilt (over not being all there for him when he was off) and feelings of anxiety (at how I was ever going to handle him going back to work).

Those feelings didn't last long though, once I learned my lessons in faithfulness. You see, my husband was always faithful to help me with whatever I, or our son, needed. Not only was he helpful...he always made me feel like he didn't want me to worry about anything when he was home. And God...He was faithful to allow me to have my hardest days when I had the help. Every time my husband went back to work, I felt better and had just enough energy to make it to each nap and bedtime, when I could rest.

Now that I'm at the end of the pregnancy, I'm seeing help from all around. As I was typing this, my dad came and played with Austin for a couple hours which allowed me to go through all the baby clothes we own and sort them. They are almost all put away, and I have dinner with my parents to look forward to tonight. This may seem like a normal thing, but for me...this is God's faithfulness in action all over again. I was raised pretty independent and I haven't really had much need for help from others so I rarely have it offered. But here when I really need it, it's coming, and God is giving me the ability to accept (and sometimes even ask for) the help.

This was one of the days I would have dreaded before, especially since my husband is working the shift where he is gone the entire time Austin is awake, but I've learned a few lessons in faithfulness, and I know that I am fully taken care of.

Now, I still wait...wait for the moment when the contractions actually bring my new son into my reality. I am thankful that my faithful God knows the exact moment Landon will join our family, and I can wait in peace knowing that He knows our circumstances and has the perfect plan for them all.

Praying that you see God's faithfulness today...knowing that He knows the end gives a peace I wish upon everyone!
OnePassionateWifeandMommie


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Future in Hindsight

The countdown has begun. In seven days, I'm due to have blessing #2 arrive. If you had told me that at 27 I would be a wife and mother to an 18 month old and newborn, I would've laughed. But, here I am. A lot of what I thought about my future life is quite different in reality.

I thought I would teach high school math until I couldn't do it anymore. I quit after a 4 year career to stay home and raise my sons.
I thought my ministry would be in the public school system. Now I plan to homeschool when the boys are school age.
I thought I might get married one day way after I was out on my own. I got married the week after I finished my master's degree and two days before I started my teaching career, going from home with the parents to home with my husband.
I thought I might have one kid tops, and I wanted a girl. God gave me a heart for raising boys, and now I'm about to have two of them.
I thought that if I had a kid, I'd be formula feeding and disposable diapering. I nurse exclusively (my firstborn never did see a bottle) and I use cloth diapers (granted those have come a long way from what I thought they were in the past), and I do both of those for reasons that have nothing to do with saving money...though it's a bonus!)
I thought I had to control everything to make sure things went as smoothly as possible. I've learned that relinquishing control sometimes has the very effect I saught when controlling gave the opposite.

I can say with absolute certainty that I'm more thankful for the reality of my life than for what I thought it would be like when my dreams were ahead of me. I'm not at all the woman I thought I would be. All I know is that I serve a God who has transformed my heart and mind. I'm the happiest I've ever been, and I'm not even sure what is going to happen tomorrow. The days I spend as a stay at home mommie all run together, and I like that just fine. My life seems to be opening up to me for the first time, making each new thing more and more exciting.

And now, I don't worry so much about the future. For a goal-oriented, success driven personality like mine, that's quite a shock. But the present is a much better focus. I can strive to serve God today...to be a good wife today...to be a good mom today...to be a good friend today...and to keep a good home today. I'm not even assured of tomorrow. And I know now that the future, in hindsight, doesn't always look like we planned.

Praying that you have a wonderful day, today!
OnePassionateWifeandMommie

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trying a First Link-Up...Thank Yous From a Young Wife and Mother

One of my favorite things to do is follow blogs of Christian women trying to live out the word in their everyday lives. I lean toward married women with children who also homeschool. The blogs of these kinds of women help me feel a little more normal. I'm not sure I have ever completely fit in anywhere, aside from at home with my husband and son, and what I find in blogs like Women Living Well is the passion that I feel in my heart, with a little added wisdom as I'm in the beginning phases of my journey as a wife and mother.

I want to be able to encourage women in the early stages like myself, but I also feel burdened to let those wise women that have gone before me know that sometimes it's their words that give me hope that I'm not completely alone in my quest.

So that's what I want to do today in my debut as a blogger. I want to say thank you. Thank you to Women Living Well, Passionate Homemaking, Time-Warp Wife, Joyful Mothering, Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling, When You Rise, and The Better Mom (some of the blogs that I follow currently). Thank you for sharing your wisdom as well as your struggles. Thank you for the tips you have that line up with scripture. Thank you for upholding Titus 2:4, where you train younger women to love their husbands and children.

We are listening, or atleast I am. You may not see us, but you are blessing homes like mine...homes where seeing others putting the word into practice gives a little bit of hope in this crazy world.

OnePassionateWifeandMommie,
Saretta

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hello World...

I'm excited to begin this journey of blogging. I have been inspired by many women bloggers here lately, and I want to join in the conversation. I'm in the beginning process of setting everything up the way I want it, but if you are visiting my blog, I want you to know about what will follow.

I've been a wife for a little over 4 years now, have a 17 1/2 month old son, and am due to have my second son in a couple of weeks. I'm interested in many things, but the majority of what I think about revolves around how my Christian faith can be put into action as a wife, mother, and future homeschooler. As I have become a stay at home mommie, I have expanded my personal interests to include what I call "cricuting" (scrapbooking/cardmaking etc with a cricut machine) and sewing (of which I am a complete novice but just got my first machine). I also love the game of tennis, love to cook, love to write, and love taking pictures.

Within this blog, I'll share my thoughts on married life, raising boys, faith in action, homeschooling and my journey through my various hobbies. I hope that it can help me keep my thoughts in order as well as be a blessing to you.

~OnePassionateWifeandMommie