Friday, February 9, 2018

The redemption of my story as a mom . . .

This blog post has been stirring in my heart the past 6 months. I haven't had the words to articulate exactly what it is I want to say. But this morning, while chatting with some good friends, they helped put to words part of my testimony that is still being written and encouraged me to write this post. So here it goes:

With the birth of our 3rd born 9 months ago, not only did I physically give birth, but a spiritual birth happened as well. God has and is redeeming my story as a mom.

Fact: I did not like being a mom most days prior to Baby #3. With 2 littles, I struggled with anger. So many days would include frustration, shouting, and angry demands of my two sweet little girls. It shames me to think of how angry I would get, especially with my first born. She did not like sleep, and most of my selfish expectations and frustration revolved around that. Along with that, I struggled with feeling trapped and without a purpose as a stay at home mom, which seemed to result in built up aggression towards my children.

With the surprise of finding out we were expecting baby #3, I really, really struggled. If I couldn't handle 2 children, how would I manage 3?!?  I felt myself spiral downward into a dark hole. Depression is real, and something I have watched close loved ones struggle with. I never thought it would strike me. But it did, and hard. My husband and parents grew concerned about me and encouraged me to reach out for help.

I reached out to a lady at my church who had a similar story. She encouraged me in an honest and raw way. I am also so thankful for the friends in my life, especially over that time, who surrounded me with love and LOTS of prayer. I had people checking in on me, wonderful parents who took my girls to give me breaks, and a hubby who didn't stop loving me despite my change in mood and behavior.

Weeks prior to Baby #3's birth, my friends gathered together and prayed for me. They spoke words of life and encouragement to me, and also gave me specific scriptures and God given words to hang on to over the weeks to come.

Having had 2 long and hard labors with my girls, baby #3's labor seemed easy. So easy that right after baby popped out, I told hubby, "I could do that again!" Haha! ((That remains to be determined))

With the birth of Justus Alexander, I feel like the Lord has and is redeeming so much of what I have lost in the previous years of being a mother, even down to my labor. He's given me a second chance. 

In chatting with my friend this morning, she commented on how patient I am as a mother. I almost laughed at this! Lack of patience with my girls was one of the key triggers of my anger previously. But since baby #3's birth, the Lord has graced me a huge dose of patience, something that I KNOW is God breathed because it is not in my nature to be patient. 

I'm also learning to  l e t   g o! Let the kids make a mess, let their clothes get muddy and maybe even ripped (gasp!), let myself have fun with them doing silly things, let the house be dirty to spend more time playing instead of always cleaning (BIG one for me!). For me it's a daily reminder to let go of my need for control and perfection (SO HARD!).

When we found out we were expecting baby #3, I cried, feeling so overwhelmed (3 kids, age 3 and under?!?!!). I went out onto our patio with my journal and cried out to the Lord. I felt the Lord say so clearly "my Grace is sufficient". I have CLUNG to those words, and they have proven true. 

I am a messy work in progress! Clinging to God, his grace and his truth, has birthed JOY in me. I can JOYFULLY say, I love being a mama. Are there still hard days? YES. Are there still days when I yell? YES. But GOD and his wonderful, forgiving grace has removed the anger and made me so aware of the huge purpose and responsibility of raising these little ones. 

My story is still being written, but this is part of it. I wrote all this in hopes to encourage maybe just one mama who may struggle with some of what I did/do. Let me say, we cannot rely on our own strength. Let the Lord be your strength and guide, and his grace will carry you!

2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Psalm 28:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This journey I'm on.

So much time has passed since my last blog post, too much to really play catch up. There have been many times I have sat at the computer with a heart full of things to post, and just not quite knowing where to begin. So I will begin with my current journey. I haven't really found a name for this journey yet. Maybe it should be "journey to joy" or "#momlife". Haha. As usual, this post will be raw and real.

Quick catch up. This year in May, Babe and I celebrated 6 years of marriage and in July, 2 years of Texas living. August brought my 30th birthday (WHAT?!!?) , our girls turning 3 and 1 (WHAT WHAT!?!?!?),  and, drum roll please . . . the news that baby #3 is on it's way (SURPRISE!!!!!!).

If you would have told the 20 year old me what the 30 year old me would be like, I think my reaction would have been that of disbelief. I've only been a mom for 3 years. But what a journey it has been.
I am so blessed that our financial situation allows me to stay home with my girls. But in that, I struggle to find joy in the day to day of motherhood. The 20 year old me was adventurous, fun, made friends easily and loved life with every fiber. The 30 year old me has struggled to find joy, finds it difficult to make friends while juggling kids and tasks, and some days, can't wait for the day to just end. 

This is not a "pity me post" or a post to get comments of "you're such a great mother". This is my journey. This is where I am currently at, but where I know and choose not to stay. It's a season. ((I also recognize that there are so many ladies who would LOVE to be mamas and cannot. My heart hurts for you. I recognize that this post may seem like a slap in the face to you, when all you want is what I have. I am simply telling my story. Please hear my heart))

"Lord, what about this season do you want me to lean in and GET?" Since having A, I feel I have been in a constant refining and pruning process. And it hurts. It's not fun. It's yucky. Bitterness, resentment and anger have surfaced and reared their ugly heads. I sometimes think to myself "who are you?!" Is it because my babies are just horrible little things? Nope. It's the crap in me that for years has gone untouched and not dealt with, and now, God is using these little munchkins to make me look in the mirror and really deal with things. (I'm sure lack of solid sleep for almost 3 years straight has something to do with it too! Hahaha)

It hasn't been a pretty season. There have been many, many tears. But daily I (and my 3 year old) will remind myself to choose joy. It is a daily battle that some days I lose or choose to not fight. But when I choose to believe what my faith says over how I feel, I am victorious. My heart's cry is that on the other side of this process, there will be jewels that come out of the ashes. And so, a bit grudgingly, I embrace this season. Because I know that with perseverance, I will grow and evolve. Not into perfection, of course. But hopefully into a more confident, loving and compassionate person. 

Why have I shared all this? I'm still not sure. Maybe because I know I am not alone on this hard journey of motherhood and another mama needed the encouragement to know that they are not alone. Or maybe you are in a different kind of hard season and needed the reminder to daily choose joy. Wherever this blog lands, I pray that it will encourage and bring hope. 

What journey are YOU on. Whether hard or joyous, I would love to hear your story. And I would love to pray for you. Please email me! 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Happy New Year! (a month late)

We knew moving to Texas would be a crazy ride, but somehow, even knowing that, we couldn't really prepare for what was to come. New Years Day came and went with a flurry of activity. And I feel that I am just now beginning to catch my breath. Baby Girl spent the night at Mimi's last night, and I am enjoying a relaxing morning of writing and 2015 goal setting. Better late then never, right?

A year ago this time we had no tangible evidence that Texas would happen for us any time soon. We had hope. And we had faith, though sometimes weak. We moved to Texas in July, a short time after receiving an amazing offer on our house. Thought we would only be living with my parents temporarily. Between our jobs not being exactly what we had anticipated and the housing market here being so crazy, our "temporary" stay with my parents stretched into 6 months. I have to say that staying with my parents was a HUGE blessing and went much better than I could have even hoped for. They are some of the most generous people I know and endlessly give of themselves. 

The week before Christmas, Babe saw a house listed for rent. We called, looked at it, liked it and found favor with the listing agent. There was a line of people wanting the house, but the realtor went to bat for us and we got the keys to the rental on  New Years Day! January 1st found us cleaning and painting OUR home! Wow what a great feeling to have our own place!! 

On top of moving into our own home, we shared the news with family and close friends that little Glickster #2 is on his/her way and due to arrive in August. Yes it was planned! And yes we are so excited!! 

Whew!!!       Deep breath . . .  d  e  e  p    b  r  e  a  t  h  .  .  .  .

I am working about 16 hours a week at a local university cafe. I enjoy the fast pace, break from Baby Girl and getting to interact with people. After doing landscaping and other odd jobs, Babe got the job he had been hoping for with a local construction contractor. They treat him so well and have high hopes for him in the future. My Babe has been faithful and humble in the little and has been rewarded with much! He amazes me and I am so proud of him. We are continuously in awe at the doors God has opened for us and give Him all the credit. 

This pregnancy has felt more challenging then I remember my first one being. I haven't been feeling great, so moving, unpacking and chasing a toddler around have been exhausting. But God's grace!! Oh His sweet grace has carried me through. And the loving support of my amazing husband and parents. 
W O W!

There is so much more to share, but I think that brings us up to date with the big stuff! Though the past 7 months have been challenging and very stretching, we now see that God has ordained our steps. Life doesn't always look like we had hoped, thought or planned. But if it would, I don't know that we would take those first steps of faith. We are excited to see what 2015 has in store for us! 

Happy New Year! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chocolate Cheesecake Filled Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing!

In celebration of Baby Girl's birthday, I made these scrumptious cupcakes upon Babe's request. They are a favorite of his and so ridiulously good.  These yummy treats go against my "healthy" conscience, but life is too short not to enjoy special treats now and then, right? Baby Girl hasn't had something this sweet in her entire short life, but we let her have a few bites. It was her birthday, after all!  To make the cupcakes even more sinful, I made a butter cream icing to top them off! 
Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Chocolate Cheesecake Filled Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • for the Filling:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Make your filling first. In a medium bowl, Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa in a large mixing bowl. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Line a cupcake/muffin tin with liners and fill cups 1/2 full. Add one heaping tablespoon of filling into center of each cupcake.
  3. This is a sticky batter so I lightly greased the top of my pans, just in case, it works great for any cupcake or muffin recipe.
  4. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes or for mini cupcakes about 18-20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely

    18-20 cupcakes
The recipe I normally use is from a mennonite cookbook that is currently in storage. I found this recipe on pinterest and thought it sounded fairly similar. They tasted just as great!!!  Source and pictures 

Buttercream Icing

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.
Serves: 2.5 cups

Birthdays are made to celebrate! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Baby Girl's 1st birthday

Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Girl!  

August 15, 2013 changed our lives forever. After 30+ hours of active labor, we were delighted to finally meet our baby girl. Our joy was dimmed when minutes after birth, the nurses realized something was wrong. Baby Girl wasn't getting enough oxygen into her blood. The details are now blurry in my mind, but I can still feel the heartache. I got to hold my baby only for a few moments before they took her to the NICU for observation, where she would remain for the next 10 days. 

After many tests and doctors telling us the worst case scenarios, we were told Baby Girl had pneumonia and fluid in her lungs . The days were a blur of tests, medical lingo I didn't understand and a roller coaster of progress and regression in our baby's health.

I have never in my life FELT prayer like I did over that time. Some of the days I felt I would break from the weight I was carrying. I felt fear that I may never get to take my baby girl home. I felt frustration and anger. But I also felt peace. Peace that passed human understanding. Peace that no matter what happened, God hadn't forgotten our little family. Thanks to our amazing friends and family and social media, we had hundreds of people from literally all over the world praying for us. We are so thankful, humbled and in awe of our Great God who healed and restored our baby girl's lungs 100%.

Today, Baby Girl is healthy, happy and full of energy!  We love her spunk, sense of humor and determination. She loves people, especially other kids, and loves going "bye bye" (anywhere outside of the house). She is pure delight and brings laughter and joy into our lives. 

And so once again we CELEBRATE! 
We celebrate life!

Happy Birthday, Alaina Grace! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Singing the Hallelujah Chorus

We are doing a little happy dance and singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Our settlement finially went through. You probably had no clue it didn't go through, right?? For many reasons, we kept it on the down low. Mostly because we didn't want people "nicely" reminding us that what we are doing is crazy.

Everything was lined up perfectly. We loaded the truck on a Wednesday. Settlement was to be Thursday. I was to fly out Friday and Babe was to hit the road in the moving truck Saturday morning. We got the call from our realtor on Wedenday afternoon, literally right after we had closed the door of the loaded moving truck and done a final walk through of our empty house. She told us she had been on the phone for hours trying to sort through everything. She informed us that there was a glitch in some of the buyer's paper work and settlement would not be happening the next morning. WHAT?!? I wanted to cry and throw something. We had come so far on our journey and we wouldn't be able to settle?? She assured us the sale would still go through, but just be delayed.

The next morning we met at the settlement office and were able sign all the paper work so that we would not have to fly back for that. But the buyers would not "own" the house until their paperwork was approved, and because of that, we would not be getting the sale money until then.

As I drove to my in laws after getting that call, doubts flooded my mind. What if the sale didn't go through? Do we wait to move until we see the money? Where will we stay?!? God, what is going on?!!?!? 

I can still picture exactly where I was on the drive. It wasn't an audible voice, but was so loud in my spirit I could almost hear it in my ears. "DO YOU TRUST ME?" No God, obviously I don't because I'm trying to figure this all out on my own. "I HAVEN'T BROUGHT YOU THIS FAR JUST TO FORGET ABOUT YOU NOW". Oh wow. Those words rang in my heart so loudly. I took deep breaths, trying to find comfort in those words (and tried not to burst into tears). 

We decided to proceed with our plans to head to Texas and trust that all would fall into place. Our realtor told us settlement would happen the next Monday. It got pushed back to Friday. And then pushed back AGAIN to the following Monday. And then finally, yesterday, 3 weeks after our original settlement date, our house sale was finalized!!!

And this is why we are having ourselves a little dance party!

It's so easy to dwell on the things that go wrong in life. 
What about all the things that go RIGHT? 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We haven't melted . . . YET!

I figured out pretty quickly that Texas summers are like PA winters. You just stay inside and don't attempt to do many activities outside. And my brave Babe! He just endures the outdoor temps while working, whether the PA cold or the Texas heat! He never complains.

We are alive and well here in our new "home". I say home in quotes because we are currently staying with my parents. Though we are settling in nicely, it doesn't quite feel like reality that we are here to stay since we are not in a house of our own. 

We were not able to find a suitable house to rent before we had to have the moving truck returned. Currently all of our belongs are in a storage unit, with the exception of the few things we brought to my parent's to make our stay here feel a little more like home. My parents are so gracious to allow us to stay with them! Though we hope the arrangement is temporary, their house offers a great set up. We have our own room and bathroom and Baby Girl has her own room as well. So thankful for their giving hearts! And of course, Baby Girl is loving all the attention Grammi and Poppy are pouring on her. (Babe and I are loving the "breaks" we get as well!!) 

Babe started working the first week we arrived and since has been working for 2 different companies, sometimes working two jobs in one day. We are not sure how permanent either job is, but for now we are grateful for anything provides income. 

I had an interview this week at a local Christian university's onsite cafe. The job looks promising and seems like something I will enjoy! I am thinking I'll work 2 or 3 days, with my mom watching Baby Girl. I look forward to getting back to work, simply to meet people and be social. 

Despite things that seemingly went "wrong" with our move, so many more things went right. Above all, we have a peace that passes ALL understanding! We know God has not forgotten us and he continues to guide and direct our steps. 

If you've been praying for us, thank you! Please don't stop :)