I love the morning light in my house, and while enjoying it I realized that I haven’t shown you all my house in a long while, and there have been a lot of changes. So let’s take a very short tour. Excuse the lack of stylized photos – this is just my house, this morning, as is.
I love that all of my back windows look out onto a solid wall of greenery. So solid I didn’t know what was behind our house for several months, till all the leaves fell off the trees in the winter. Turns out that there are houses back there, and a large wooded gulley.
Yes, Ida’s birthday decorations are still up. I told you, I’m not perfect. :) The table below in the dining room is from my husband’s grandmother.
I love the beachy color in the front entry. I almost wish I’d carried it through the whole downstairs, but I think that might have been a bit over-beachy.
The living area is a hodge-podge of things. It needs more on the wall, but that will come in time.
This is one of my favorite bits of the house. Don’t you love how the chandelier casts so many light patterns in the stairwell?
There you are this morning, a little taste of what we’re currently living in. I didn’t even show you the book corner – but I’ll do that later. :)
Ida is now officially one year old.
Andy said to me as I was preparing for the party, “Does it seem ironic that we have this big party and she doesn’t even remember?”
We decided that a first birthday is just as much a celebration for the parents and the family as it is for the little one to enjoy.
The truth is, the first year is a lot of hard work, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of change.
And a lot of big fat baby smiles, dimples, and rolls.
And so it was wonderful to take a day and celebrate God’s goodness to us. For me, it was as much a party of praise to Him as it was in honor of Ida.
It was also a chance for the whole family to get together and just purely enjoy Ida.
I’ll share a little bit more of the party later :)
I will say this: Ida did amazing. Even though she was sweaty and sticky and a little overwhelmed (and very frustrated that she’d get a new toy and then it would be taken away while yet another box would be shoved into her arms) she was cheery and happy and all around delightful. Even if she did not want to be held at all!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sacrifice. I don’t have much to say about it except that I want to view sacrificing as a burden. It’s hard. And it seems so very inescapable when you’re a wife, and a mom. Your whole life revolves around caring for others. And it’s usually not fun, in and of itself.
But the truth is that sacrifice gains back more than it gives. It’s blessed. The big sacrifices, like that of my body to birth a child, are easy to accept because the blessing is so obvious, so huge. But the daily sacrifices are more rewarding than they’re draining, too. It’s just harder to see. When I sacrifice a possible nap time to clean the refrigerator, I’m rewarded with an easier daily dinner routine. When I sacrifice reading my book to put extra effort into dinner, I’m rewarded with a happy family and a satisfying evening.
And sometimes the blessing is later. When I pull out those precious green bills I’ve been saving to buy myself some new jeans and plonk them down for ground beef, sometimes God just decides to bless me by bringing in some extra tutoring to give me even more money than I’d saved. And I am left with the confidence of knowing that I am strong enough to always do best for my family.
The beginning of school is always a tough time as Andy settles back into his hectic, overwhelming routine, but it is all so much easier if I am willing to sacrifice myself. We’re all happier. And sure, sometimes I resent the fact that I’m folding laundry at 11 pm when I could be in bed with a cup of tea and a book or, better yet, asleep. But I’m trying to remember that sacrifice is easier if I want to do it. It doesn’t diminish the difficulty of it, but when I do it willingly, joyfully, the rewards are bigger and the results are full of so much more love.
A few things that I am especially thankful for today.
Diapered baby bottoms. One day recently my Amazon diaper order was late, for whatever irritating reason, and it said it might not be delivered for two more days. The bank account was low (since Amazon had already been paid for the late order) and as I sadly put the very, very last diaper that I fished out of the bottom of her diaper bag onto her little booty, lamenting that I’d have to waste money on paying a premium price for Ida’s chlorine free diapers at the store… the doorbell rang, and the Amazon box was delivered two days “early”. As I was fastening that last diaper onto her. Yay.
Reading. Ida and I both love to read, and it’s not uncommon to find me on the couch with my Nook, and her at my feet engrossed in a touch-and-feel book or some other bright board book. I thought I’d be a die-hard paper-and-binding book forever, but the Nook (and the fact that Ida can’t rip the pages or tear the cover or bend the spine) has completely changed my thinking. I read constantly now, since my Nook is always there at my fingertips with a plethora of book options for whatever mood, time, or concentration I seem to have at that moment. Thank goodness for library ebook collections!
Yelling. You may not be able to tell in the above photo, but Ida is yelling. Vehemently. Our house is full of happy yells these days, and I love it, even when Andy and I practically have to shout at each other too to make ourselves heard over the din.
Fruit. I’ve never been much of a fruit person, since I tend to like everything to be hot, but Ida’s love of fruit has made me thankful for how easy it is.
Wubbanubs. Ida can’t live without her Wubbanub… a simple stuffed animal with a Soothie pacifier attached (the only kind she will take). ”Catty” as her little caterpillar has affectionately become known, has a hard life – a life of being thrown in fits of anger as well as physics experiments over the back of the couch or from a moving stroller, of being dragged along across the floor, of being carted through the house precariously perched on the walker, of being waved in the air violently and whomped on the floor to indicate supreme joy, to being smashed underneath a sweaty, adoring little girl while she is passed out on her belly in bed. There are now three Cattys, which thankfully Ida does not care, and they are all in various stages of disrepair… the worst one, the original, is nubby and torn at the seams, and the little “connector” piece which holds the pacifier to the stuffed animal is almost black with the grubby little fingers that grip that part as her security hold – all night long and anytime she’s upset, tired, or lazy. Thank goodness for washing machines!
What are you thankful for today? Things as mundane as mine? :)
If I ever lack faith, I just need to take a moment and look around at my life. I have seen such blessing in my life – from healing to watching my daughter take her first bite of watermelon – and yet when I look back over my struggles of the past several years, I see that at the core of so much of my fear was that I had a broken, misunderstood view of God’s goodness. So often I viewed his goodness as an abstract quality, a part of the perfect holiness that set him apart, sure… but set him so apart from me that there wasn’t much connection to my humdrum little life.
The only time I was ever angry at my counselor during counseling for OCD was when he told me that I was going to have immense difficulty healing unless I had a community to support me. I was angry, hurt, and sad. I cried spiteful tears all the way home as I bitterly remarked to my husband that it was true but it wasn’t helpful, because God had not chosen to surround me with community – at least, the type of community that my counselor was speaking of – at that time. So I guess I couldn’t fully heal. And what did that mean for me, since he called me to conquer my sin, he promised me relief in him from my sufferings – but how could those promises be fulfilled without the community that my counselor stated was so essential? I felt all hope drain in that moment. It’s a broken, sinful world, and I accepted that truth a bit too completely… I just shrugged and figured that I guess God wasn’t going to let me heal.
I was right, that God hadn’t given me a community right then. But I was wrong that the absence of that need meant I couldn’t heal at all – which is a very different thing from healing completely. God began me healing through other means, and then he began opening the door to community that would allow for full healing. But I had to trust. God wasn’t witholding the means for my hope and demanding that I pull my own weight. The world is broken, but God is still good.
God gives what we need in pieces, and sometimes he makes us trust that he’ll give us the rest in time. The Bible is so full of promises that there is nothing we cannot bear (1 Corinthians 10:13) – in its brutal sense, it means that we are fully responsible for the sins we commit even though we have a sinful nature. In its beautiful sense, it means that we can face anything.
God did give me community, but I had to wait. It’s easy to give up all hope and disguise it under the name of “accepting my sin” or “accepting that the world is messed up.” God is perfect in the midst of a broken world, and we can still cling to him to bless us with what we need, emotionally, spiritually, or even physically too. God is good. God is good. God is good.
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