Lesson from our tiny teacher: water, prayer, gratitude

This afternoon, in the midst of playing, our 23 month old stopped and asked me to pray before she drank her water.

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As a result of this simple request, so many thoughts flooded my mind.

I thought of what a gift it is to know that the water she’s about to drink won’t make her sick.

The fact that her “dirty” bath water from last night is much cleaner than what most of the kids in the world will drink today.

And I thought about the reality that we’d all die much sooner without water than food…yet, we bow our heads in thanks for food much more often than for a simple glass of water. Hmm.

Thankful for our tiny teacher. ❤

5 reflections on 2016 & hopes for 2017

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This blog was started in 2016. In addition to the blog; twitter, instagram, and a fb page were created. I gave them all a trial and will be keeping active on instagram & fb and hopefully write more in 2017 on this blog! It was mostly me (R) writing and posting in 2016…maybe D will join me more in 2017. One can dream 🙂

As I begin to briefly reflect on 2016, I will share the following. I recently read my FB Memories from years past re: my new years reflections. Year after year, I wrote something to the effect of the previous year having its share of really difficult moments & good ones. I guess the saying from Ecclesiastes is true: there’s nothing new under the sun. With that said, I’ll pause to reflect on 2016 and offer some hopes for 2017.

2016

2016 certainly had a theme of loss. While we felt peace about our decision to resign from our church, I mourned the loss of those relationships in 2016. We also said good-bye to our dog, Mowgli, and our cat, Storm in 2016. I miss them.

2016 had a theme of personal growth, too. It wasn’t until the end of 2016 that I realized something: I grew a lot this year in the areas of grace and forgiveness. In 2016, I purposed to “feel all the feels” as well as to let go. Being hurt but not growing bitter is hard work! This could be a whole other blog post. Suffice it to say, I’m entering 2017 feeling light and free.

2016 was a year of growth as a couple. We grew in emotional intimacy and spiritually. We prayed more together in 2016 than ever before.

2016 was the year that I grew closer to my co-workers than ever before. I don’t know why this is. I wonder if my heavy church commitments (being married to a pastor & serving in my own way(s) in the church), caused me to be “less available” when at work. I know that I used to use my breaks at work to do church related things (like update the church fb page, read a book for book club, etc). It could also be the fact that several co-workers have gone through super stressful times this year and it’s more natural for me to “show up” for that than to do small talk. For whatever reason, I’m thankful for new and deepening friendships outside of church walls in 2016.

2016 had us feeling tired & so happy as we watched out daughter grow from a baby to a toddler. We feel tremendously blessed that dad was able to stay home with our girl from summer 2016 onward.

2017

2017 will be the year that we plug into our new church. We visited over a dozen churches in our area in 2016. We are praying about where to put down roots. I am so looking forward to having a church family in 2017!

2017 may bring us closer to discerning what’s next for us in pastoral ministry. Or not. We’ll see! The key is to remain open to whatever comes next. And to also enjoy the season that we are in (we are enjoying it!).

2017 is a great time to do all the new years resolution type things: lose weight. eat healthier. purge items from home. work on projects. read more. travel. I would like all of these! But most of all, I desire to grow in relationship with others this year. Family, friends, co-workers, church goers, strangers, etc. To make time even when you think you don’t have any time.  If I spend more time with people, if I’m more present with people, if I’m more vulnerable with people, and if my “people time” decreases online and increases in other ways, 2017 will be a success.

Do you have reflections on 2016 & hopes for 2017 that you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear them! Truly.

Love,
– R.

when dad stays home

As a couple, we view parenthood as a joint adventure. We are both in the game in every way. For the first year of our daughter’s life, I stayed home on mat leave (Canada rocks!). Now I’m the one working full-time while dad stays home.

At this time, Dad has been the stay-at-home parent for two months now.  Over the last several weeks, the following has been said to him:

How are you liking retirement?

You can’t be staying home, you’ll go crazy!

There are things said to stay-at-home dads that don’t seem to be said to stay-at-home moms. Being a stay-at-home parent is a real, full-time job (I don’t think it’s quite like retirement??). While you DO feel like you’ll go crazy at times (teething, tantrums, etc) it’s also filled with moments of fun and laughter. Some days are tough. Some days are great.

While the day-to-day is similar whether mom or dad stays home, misunderstandings for dad abound. Even after Derek explains that his full-time job right now is providing care for our toddler, some are still shocked that he’s actually alone with her for 5 days a week (M-F). And he’s the main one up with our daughter during the night (on week nights). He’s a real stay-at-home parent in every way.

How long will he be the stay-at-home parent for? We don’t know. What we do know is this: it’s important to embrace whatever season of life you find yourself in. And we try to remember that our daughter won’t be like this for long…and we are going to miss this.

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Have you ALWAYS known you want to be a parent?

As a young girl, teenager and young adult, my friends have made statements that they always knew that they wanted to be a mother. They say this without wavering, without any doubt. Gosh, to have that kind of confidence! It’s fascinating to me.

It also makes me feel like an odd duck. I have been meaning to ask my mother if I ever told her as a child that I wanted to be a mother. I have a feeling that I didn’t as I can only remember one conversation re: children and I remember her sharing that it’s different when you have your own.

The crazy thing about me not having a memory of always knowing that I want to be a mother is that I love kids. Yes, I really enjoy being around OTHER people’s children! I have worked with children in various roles (babysitter, mentor, camp counselor) and sometimes my love for OTHER people’s children is so deep that my heart could burst.

What I have found interesting is that a lot of my friends who always knew that they wanted to be a mother have said that they don’t like other people’s kids. They tell me that they love their own but don’t care for “other people’s kids”. Prior to having children, some have never worked with kids before, and a few have never changed one diaper! It blows my mind that they just KNEW they wanted to be a mom without having exposure to being a caretaker for a child.

Anyways, why haven’t I always known that I want children? Is there a maternal switch in my brain that’s missing? I have been told the following reasons for why I MUST be a mother: “you are too good with children to not have them”,  or, “you’d be a good mother because you are warm and loving”. So I don’t think I missed the memo re: always knowing due to not being nurturing or mother material.

Here’s the best answer that I have for you today. I think that I haven’t always known because I think too much. I believe that I may be a realist. It’s more natural for my head to guide my heart than vice versa. While some may think of children and dream of all the lovey dovey stuff, I can quickly come up with the pros and the cons.  I don’t picture a beautiful, lovely, easy pregnancy — I weigh that image with the knowledge that you can experience morning sickness every single day for 9 months. I don’t JUST picture a cuddly newborn, I also picture the adorable baby crying and screaming at all hours of the day and night. I don’t only imagine a cute toddler but also see a little ham who just colored on the walls for the 5th time this month. I don’t solely dream of the joy I’d experience at my child’s graduation from high school, I also imagine many hours of worry and fighting before they get to that point in their life.  Maybe I’m a realist or maybe I’m just being negative, I dunno. I believe the *always knowing* that a person wants to have children must be driven by the heart and not the head. While it has been said that 2/3rd of pregnancies aren’t planned,  the ones that are planned may be as a  result of always knowing through a heart desire.

I love children, and I have no problem loving other people’s children!  I may be a mother one day, but I won’t be able to say that I always knew. I’d be lying if I did.

What about you? Have you always known? Why do you think that is? And if you haven’t *always known* please leave a comment too. Thanks!