perfect love, come cast out fear

i don’t know about you, but i struggle tremendously with fear as a mom. i read a story this week about a freak accident in which a tree fell on a vehicle, taking the lives of two of four sisters. little girls, blondies, happy little souls that were probably looking forward to going home and playing with dolls, riding their bikes, eating ice cream…and just like that, they are gone. my mama-heart breaks just thinking about it. it breaks for that mama, and it breaks in painful empathy. that could just as randomly happen to my girls.

they are going boating tonight with their dad and grandpa for the first time. they are almost three and four and a half. they are still my babies, and i am afraid. i shower and images of isla falling into the lake water cripple me. i see my husband go to grab her, and she slips out of the life jacket b/c she is so tiny, and she’s lost in the muddy water. i’m not even asleep, yet i am plagued with nightmares. i get out of the shower and say to my husband, ‘if one of the girls happens to fall in, make sure you grab their physical bodies, not the jackets.’

my fear is met with chastisement, b/c it shows i don’t trust him as a daddy. but the truth is, i don’t trust anyone, and sadly, i am learning that i don’t even trust God when it comes to my babies.

i am hesitant to even admit those words, but i struggle with something that i call, ‘the Job complex.’ i sing songs that say, ‘nothing else matters, but You, Lord,’ and ‘take it all.’ but, if i am being real here, that’s not the truth. my girls are everything to me. sometimes, i think they are the actual beat of my heart, and if anything were to happen to one of them, it would just stop completely.

i hate living in this fear. i hate being afraid of losing my child. accidents, violence, kidnappings…it’s just too much to bear. God says to cast our cares on Him. He tells me to give Him my heavy load, and take His light one in its place, but what does that really look like? how do i live in freedom as a parent? i don’t think God calls us to be careless, but i know He doesn’t want me to be crippled by fear and control, either. and then there’s that ‘Job complex’ in the mix that wants to taunt me – He could let all that i love be stripped away in an instant. i don’t care that the latter half of Job’s life was more blessed than the first. the whole thing troubles me deeply.

this is one of those conversations that i would love to have with God. i’d love to crawl up next to Him, lay my head down and tearfully share every fear i have with Him. i’d want Him to assure me that He wouldn’t let any of them come to pass, and then, He’d brush His hand over my mind, and every fear would vanish. i would get up and parent in confidence, trusting Him like never before. i’d take Him at His word. i’d believe what He says. i wish He could just tell me that everything would always be okay and that i could finally breathe again.

this morning, as i was about to walk down our stairs, ava unexpectedly shoved me as hard as she could. we had been playing with one another in eden’s room just before, being silly, laughing, tickling, wrestling, hugging and kissing. the silliness was maxed out. so, i know she pushed me out of playfulness, but i had eden on my hip, and i wasn’t ready for the sudden blow. my back contorted violently in my attempt to keep my balance. the whole thing scared me to death. after i got my footing, i whipped around and said frantically, ‘ava! you never push anyone on the stairs. you could have really hurt mommy, even sent me to Jesus!’ shock and regret came over her face and she welled up with tears. we embraced, and she bawled on my chest.

see, Lord? every moment has the potential to be dangerous! and now, i am adding the worry that she will push a little sister on the stairs, or off of the boat, or…or…or… ugh. the list continues and fear is fed once again.

on top of it all, i have to teach them. teach them not to push on the stairs, not to run into the street, not to climb bookshelves and dressers, not to horse around on the boat… how do i teach them, Lord, to be responsible and safe, while leaving fear out of the equation? how do i teach them the seriousness of their choices and to think before they act, without shaming them or making them afraid of everything too?  i don’t want them to be like me, in that respect, God.

perfect love casts out fear.

what does that mean, Lord? what does that look like in my life? how do i find this perfect love and apply it to my whole being?

Father, i am tired of being scared. i am tired of wondering if something terrible is going to happen to the babies that you have gifted me. You gave them to me to care for and love, but i need Your help to do it right and do it well. i have no rest in my spirit. i am constantly on edge. i need Your rest and Your peace as a mother, Lord. Holy Spirit, i need a miracle. i need Your perfect love to come and cast the fear out of my heart. teach me how to pray, Lord, and more importantly, help me to hear Your voice. even if You answered me, i don’t know that i would hear You, so please help me to be quiet enough inside to hear You. thank you, Father for my children. they are so rare, like precious jewels. help me to trust that You love them even more than i do. help me to trust You completely. i give this day to You, Lord, and if i pick it up again, please remind me to keep laying it back down at Your feet. in Jesus’ name, i pray. amen.

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lament

i wish grace lived here.

once again i wake up after the husband and kids, b/c i’m dead-tired, dragging and wishing the day would rewind itself before it even had a chance to start. he’s in the shower, listening to his praise music. must be nice. to shower and spend your mental energy on Jesus in the morning. not this girl. i wake up to isla slamming a cupboard door that she shouldn’t be in, or hitting me over the head with a cup, asking for her morning milk, or ava swinging a remote two millimeters from my eyelid, whining that she wants to watch a show, or eden screaming from her crib, b/c isla already went in and offered her four barbie dolls.

husband emerges, says his hellos and begins to walk downstairs. ‘can you take the baby with you?’ i receive my first eye-roll/scowl/or lecture for the day. great. i just want to shower. oh, get up earlier you say, sir? well, i saw ava at 1am, and 230am (at which point i changed her peed-in pjs and tucked her back into bed). then, i had the pleasure of carrying isla back to bed at 430am, and i was so out of it that i called her ava, and it wasn’t until i was already walking down the hallway, that i noticed her petite body in my arms and realized that it was her this time. but hey, sure, i can get up at 6am and try to beat you to the shower so that eden doesn’t whine at you for more cheerios while you have your quiet time. either that, or i can just stink until 10pm, like i do most days anyway.

i stand firm though, and brush off his disappointment for some time to myself. cut myself shaving. ankles. probably the only bones still visible after growing my babies, and yep, i cut one. so, now i’m greeting the day with a bitter husband, whining children, and a wad of toilet paper stuck to a stinging ankle. doesn’t last long, b/c ava curiously rips it off before i make it past the dining room. baby is in her highchair, alone, a cheerio still left here and there. not happy, of course. hubs is partaking of his devotional time in the living room, alone, and the other two are running around like it’s 1999.

i have a sign in my dining room that reads: ‘let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.’ what it should probably read is: ‘let us lay prostrate on the kitchen floor until God actually shows up.’ i don’t feel Him on days like this. i know He’s there, but i can’t feel Him steering us in any shape or form. three tender moments today. three. over 50,000 minutes with my family, and i can count three tender moments.

we have breakfast. i have two loads of laundry going and all three cleaned up and happily dressed before 9:30am. miracle. we play in the backyard, enjoy homemade popsicles, and follow a baby bird around the yard, all before noon. poor bird. lunch and grocery time.

i get the kids in the car, and something starts to happen. the unraveling of a day. they want lunch now. they want to go to target, not sam’s club. they want to listen to the lion king song, not jesus culture. they want; they want; they want. no sam’s club card. nice. hubs has it. call him – no answer. i bet he’s out to lunch. call him again – answers. yep. out to lunch with a buddy at panera bread. oh, you know, the one restaurant he won’t take us to, b/c the portions are too small, the food is over-priced, and he always leaves hungry. yeah, that place. i head to the bank first for grocery money. ‘do the kids want lollipops?’ sure, nice teller-lady! two please. then it hits me that i just asked for punishment during our entire shopping experience. once eden sees those ‘pops’ in her sisters’ mouths and figures out that i don’t have one for her…i’m doomed. no one gets a pop until we get to the store. okay? okay. (at least if i sit her carseat sideways in the ginormous cart, she won’t be able to spy her sisters’ lollipop-sucking profiles.) they begrudgingly agree to my terms. i do a drive-by and grab the sam’s card from hubs, recalling that the last time he met us for lunch, isla was in a highchair. max ‘n erma’s 2012. interrupting his lunch date would be as bad as hijacking his morning quiet time, so i drive off to buy us a much unhealthier option – sonic. ugh. cheeseburgers and french fries it is. we eat in the car and talk about what policemen do. random and typical.

{most ‘recent’ lunch date – 2012}

arrive at sam’s and load girls into the cart as planned. perfect. eden never catches a glimpse of the goods and she is content to smile in the breeze. as i go to grab the handle of the shopping cart, i mistakenly whack ava’s lollipop onto the ground. the parking lot ground. after making her wait for 20 minutes, and lecturing her to keep it concealed…i knock it to the ground. as if my life flashed before my eyes, i whisk it up without hesitating and the ‘oh crap’ moment sets in. now what? there is more than half left on the stick. isla is savoring hers, and it’s my fault it went flying to the ground. the dirty, parking lot ground… the germophobe in me is screaming, ‘noooo!’, but the mama-guilt in me wins by a landslide. as if i was being filmed in slow-mo eating slugs on the nat-geo channel, i put the foul thing in my mouth and ‘wiped it clean’. ugh. oh heaven help me. for chicken and lettuce. i’m doing this for chicken and lettuce. and butter. can’t forget the butter. almost an hour later, what are we leaving with? a lot more, and if it were up to ava…a pretzel and a trampoline would have joined our caravan. (you know that moment in which you start over the initial drop of a roller coaster? this was that part of the day, and it crosses my mind that their sonic kids’ meals were laced with a disobedience powder of sorts.) i’m not paying $11 for butter, so i decide aldi’s is our next and final stop. to say they were ill-behaved would be putting it nicely. i got a sympathy pat on my right shoulder from a stranger – a mom of four. ‘i know what you are going through, honey.’ really? great. my usually kind-hearted and darling daughters are attacking each other, trying to headbutt the baby, sticking their tongues out at me, and shouting, ‘poop and pee’ at the top of their voices. can’t i just believe in aliens for two minutes, b/c these clearly aren’t my children. the ‘lilo and stitch’ dvd is going in the trash can tonight. have to start the reformation somewhere.

i make it to the checkout without buying popsicles or leaving ava in the freezer aisle. i am promising bum spanks once we get to the car (something i have never had to do in a public setting in all four and a half years of being a mom.) people are smirking at us. i am making jokes about ‘waving the white flag’ to onlookers, and isla is growling. eden is crying and has a red mark on her forehead. gee, is it any wonder why daddy never thinks to meet us for lunch? now i’m thinking about that again and how bad i think he stinks and i hope that his ‘pick two’ gave him reflux. i pay for the groceries, which started out as a butter-run and morphed into a fruit and veggie extravaganza, and we go to the car. of course there has to be a woman next to us while i have to follow through with the promise of spanking ava’s bottom. ‘you’re getting this spanking, remember? you didn’t listen to me in the store, and i told you that you were going to get a bum spank if you didn’t stop those x,y,z behaviors.’ cries for mercy break out. the woman is still piddling with something next to the car, and i quickly give a swat to the tushie of a very unhappy four-year-old. what a horrible day, and it’s just 2:30. oh, but it doesn’t end there. oh no…what happens next makes amelia bedilia look like she has it all together.

after putting the kids and the food in the car, i throw the stroller in the back. the box of chickens is sticking out of the van while i put the beast stroller in the right spot. in total haste and embarrassment, i run to the driver’s seat and hit the button for the hatch to close itself. the chicken. hit it again, so it becomes as confused as its operator and stalls. fix the chicken, and push the button to close the hatch again. proceed homeward. hop on highway. where is my phone? the stroller? man. get off of highway. pull over. phone? brand-new, four-day-old iphone…sticking half out from under the rear door! yep. good stuff right there. thank goodness, it still works. get back in the car and drive home.

eden wakes up as i pull into the garage. we all know what 10 minute car naps do to babies. bear. little grizzly. i make dinner for us and friends who just had a baby. that is the only thing going right so far. ava and isla are begging for tv, and, as badly as i want to glue them to the couch and let them sit in front of a movie, i realize that we are heading back out soon and the last thing i need is for them to pass out in front of the tv and pee on my floor. b/c they would. b/c i am having that kind of day. so, no! no movies. okay then, i guess running around and hitting each other is plan b, and i asked for it, right? eden is content, b/c i handed her a bowl of baby-sized white cheddar cheese puffs, and who doesn’t love cheese puffs? they’re all quiet. too quiet. ‘what are you doing?!’ ‘playing duck-duck-goose, mom!’ believable. okay. i finish dinner and begin to wrap up our delivery items. shoes on. dog in crate. no purse to be found and a kid has to poop. oh, for the love! poop then! where is my purse?! i’ll tear the house apart while you poop. no purse. seriously? i came in, put down our bags and haven’t left the kitchen in over two hours, and i manage to lose a purse?! panic hits. it’s gotta be on the highway. it fell off of the stroller and some wanderer picked it up and thought it was his/her lucky day b/c it had twenty-five dollars in it, my only debit and credit cards, a license, and one thousand joann fabric receipts. lucky day.

load up all of the food and the kids back into the car. open garage. frantically search for purse and husband appears. am i that late already?! and talk about timing – i just got these monkeys buckled. of course they don’t want to stay here with dad, they want to go with mommy. of course! i lost my purse. what?!!!?!!!?! yes, sir. i lost it. needless to say, grace still wasn’t showing up. husband speeds off for aldi’s. b/c, for whatever reason, they don’t list their phone number.  another wasted 411 charge.  i head for the highway.  i drive my little route twice. no purse in sight. he goes to aldi’s – no purse. i go to aldis’. ‘oh yes, i remember you – you had all of the kids in the stroller.’ yes, that was me, thanks. no purse.

white flag still waving. children all asleep in the car. i break out in a nervous-sweat, and my pit paste doesn’t want to work when i nervous-sweat. only when i’m nervous.  weird.  and see? i shouldn’t have even bothered with that shower this morning, b/c i smell like b.o. now anyway.

tender moment number one…in the midst of all the chaos and negativity, i get to meet nora. i get to see a few smiling faces that aren’t mad at me b/c i lost my purse, aren’t yelling at me to play a certain song, and aren’t pulling at my burning ankle, crying to be held. for about 10 minutes of this day, i felt the warmth of patience and hope and peace. so nice.  i think grace lives there.

i return to the van and decide to check the highway one more time. i drive like a ninny with my four-ways on, creeping along the berm on a very busy portion of interstate. pull off the exit that i had taken earlier and figure it couldn’t hurt to walk about ten yards or so of the straightest stretch in hopes that it’s there, blending in with the dirt. i pull over, lock the doors, and walk in the rain. now i’m smelly and getting drenched. no luck.  i get back into the car, succumbing to the fact that nearly the entire day has been a wreck, and i may as well write ‘epic fail’ on my forehead.  as i sit down and glance at my phone, i see a missed call and a text from the husband, who has been back at home for some time now.  ‘found it along with an empty bottle of rubbing alcohol , aroma oil, hair spray…’ (and a few other not-so-nice words about the kids not being supervised well enough and responsibility). insert crossed eyes here, b/c i think my brain just decided to braid itself. seriously? duck-duck-goose my rear! those kids were up there for 10 minutes, max! and when i asked twenty times if anyone had seen, touched, played with, taken or hid mommy’s purse…the answer was, ‘no.’ the truth of the situation is that isla had decided to snag my purse from the diaper bag (turns out my subconscious really does work when i’m stressed and frantically going through the motions) and bathe eden’s rocking horse, so she poured an entire bottle of safflower oil on its mane and tail and about a tbsp (all the was left) of rubbing alcohol on its saddle. and they lied about it all with wide eyes and innocent faces.  grace. give them grace. i wish i had some thrown my way too. i’d take a medicine cabinet installation also, please. that’d be helpful. i individually take the girls upstairs and talk with them in the bathroom about safety and poisons and things that they aren’t allowed to touch… deep breath.

i return to the main floor. child one lays on the dining room chair. child two falls back to sleep on the couch. please don’t pee there. husband already ate. i feed the baby. he’s still peeved. the house is a disaster. i played with them this morning. i fed them, clothed them, chased bugs and followed a bird around the yard for an hour just b/c they wanted to. i did two loads of laundry. i made eden take a nap a whole hour earlier, so i wouldn’t screw up this day. i thought i lost my purse, but i didn’t. the kids are all okay, even though we have to throw out a rocking horse. dinner is cooked and waiting for us on the counter. i try. i fail. everyday, i fail at something. i fail him. i fail them. i fail me. i wish grace lived here.

roasted chicken, veggie pasta, greek salad, and the kids want to eat a bowl of feta cheese for dinner. whatever. hubs leaves for class at church. baby is standing in the dishwasher. girls are watching a movie with their feta cheese, and the white flag waves higher. fabric sits untouched on the kitchen island. another day goes by that i don’t get any ‘work’ done. i clean the house. i fold the laundry. the kids won’t have to wear play clothes to bed tonight, b/c i actually got caught up today. finally.  isla walks up to me with three barbies in her arms. ‘thank you so much, mommy, for buying me this doll,’ she says with the most innocent excitement. she is referencing a ballerina that i brought home from a friend’s yard sale a year ago. ‘and thank you for buying me cinderella and thank you for buying me rapunzel too, mommy. thank you so much!’ she kisses me between each sentence, and i experience my tender moment number two.

as i pick up the last of the toys, the garage door sounds. has it been that long already? two hours past the kids’ bedtime. they need baths b/c they are covered in safflower oil and smell like cheese. i brace for the feeling again. fail. ‘no, i didn’t wait for you to put them to bed. i cleaned up the house. i folded the laundry.’ i bathe the baby and he takes over with the other two. i put eden to bed, and go to change ava’s sheets. the crew arrives, dons pjs, and we do our bedtime thing. isla first. i silently wet her blanket with tears as i quietly pray over her. she’s so little. she’s so pure, and i am messing this up royally. i kiss her and walk out, heading for ava. i kneel by her bedside, and she asks me to scratch her hand and then her back. her love language. i lay my head on the edge of her mattress and pray for her too. i feel so unworthy to pray, especially for these kids. i spent most of my day yelling and trying to rein them in. i scratch her back and ask her if i made her feel bad at all during the day. ‘yes.’ when? ‘when you spanked me.’ i figured. i ask her if i made her feel happy at all today. she pauses. she turns her head away and says, as if she is surprising even herself, ‘i don’t know. i don’t know when i was happy today.’ i don’t remind her of the popsicle or the baby bird. i just sit there and say the only thing i know how to say, ‘mommy’s sorry. we’ll try to have a happy day tomorrow.’

she’s nods and asks me to stay and scratch her back a little longer. tender moment number three. she gives me grace, even when i can’t give it to her, her sisters, her dad, or myself. she gives it. grace may not live here, but at least it visits us from time to time.

it’s quiet, the kids are sleeping, my legs and hands ache from a long day of barely standing still or sitting down, but i find myself wanting to be here, listening to audrey assad’s ‘lament’ on repeat, and pouring my own lament out onto this keyboard like telling my story will somehow prevent a bad day from ever happening again.

i’ve probably listened to it twenty times in a row just now, and it’s nearing 2am.  i’ll crawl into bed, hoping for double the tender moments tomorrow and praying that this song is the only thing on repeat.  xo

I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time,
I’m sitting at His feet and yet I’m dying to be recognized,
I am a picture of contentment and I’m dissatisfied,
Why is it easy to work but hard to rest sometimes,
sometimes, sometimes

I’m restless, and I rustle like a thousand tall trees,
I’m twisting and I’m turning in an endless daydream,
You wrestle me at night and I wake in search of You,
but try as I might, I just can’t catch You,
But I want to, ’cause I need You, yes, I need You,
I can’t catch You, but I want to,

How long, how long until I’m home,
’cause I’m so tired, so tired of running,
How long until You come for me
’cause I’m so tired, so tired of running
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long, how long until I’m home,
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long until You come for me
’cause I’m so tired, so tired of running (X2)

{i originally shared this song in this post.}

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motherhood.


motherhood.


warm smiles.



a window into the very heart of God.



couch cuddles.


thigh-high hugs.



pillow-soft cheeks.


being immersed in innocence.



the gift of interpretation and the art of negotiation.



the opportunity to see the man you love in a whole new light.


squishy bellies and feathery curls.



long afternoons, even longer bedtimes, but very short years.



songs and stories and dancing in the kitchen.



backyard adventures.



perpetual dress-up.



the chance to relish in childhood a little bit longer.



walking down the bumpy road of life paved by miracles.



i am so thankful for my children.  

i’ll buy them some new play dough this week, and as i watch them giggle, pat, and argue over who has the biggest piece… i’ll imagine that when God brought these little people into the world, He handed them my heart, and everyday i think He smiles a big, wise smile, watching them mold and shape it just like that.  young, old…near, far…yesterday, tomorrow…
they will always and forever be shaping me.

happy mother’s day. xoxo
and because this mother’s day is making me think of taylor swift songs…grab a box of tissues, hold your babies’ hands and enjoy.
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pin-it party and ‘oatmeal smiles’

happy saturday, pin-it party friends!  if this is your first time joining us, welcome!  i am sure that you will find many great things here!  

for example, this post from oatmeal smiles seriously made me grateful for these link-ups.  so often, i find awesome diy posts and advice/tips, but it isn’t too often that i see a post that just ministers so deeply to my mommy-heart…to my woman-heart.  i am thankful that our pin-it party introduces us in some way to one another.  thank you for sharing from your heart, georgia and God bless you in your honest and beautiful words.  you can also pin this great post for later by clicking {here}.

participating in the party is so easy!
here’s what to do:

1. follow the co-hosts on pinterest (links below)

paula from beauty through imperfection

becky from your modern family

gabrielle from MamaGab

me! kristi from klover house


2. pin our “pin-it party” picture. (one of these)

3. add as many of your great pins as you want!  remember to get your pins from pinterest & not from your blog page. it will make it easier to re-pin a pin instead of a post.

4. hop around and re-pin other pins from this page- lets share the love!

5. adding your link gives us permission to use an image from the pin (or post connected to the pin) to feature on next week’s pin-it party. because of this we ask that you only link up images from your own site, and images that you have taken, created or have legal rights to.

thanks!!!! REMEMBER: when it asks for your NAME, you can put your PIN NAME or your BLOG NAME. essentially, it’s your pin’s title.

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when everything isn’t enough

i fell in love. 
i had a fun, adventurous courtship.
i married my dream guy.
i became a teacher.
i was gifted three gorgeous, miraculous, amazing children.
i was given a beautiful home. 
i was granted the best job on earth…homemaker.
i work in my pajamas.
i can eat chocolate for breakfast.
i can be an artist, a chef, a couch potato, a gardener, a writer, a chauffeur, a teacher…anything i want at any given time.  
i can dance in the kitchen with both snow white and rapunzel at any given moment.
my needs are met daily.
my family lives in safety and is loved.
i am loved.
little angels wake me every night and call me ‘mommy’.
i am needed. 
a faithful husband calls me every afternoon from work just to see how we are doing.
i have a mother who drops everything to be there when i’m unraveling.
we are all healthy and strong. 
i have everything i need.
i have everyone that i have ever hoped for. 


i am living my dream life.
i am loving my dream family. 

so how does everything become not enough? i admire and coo over pictures of my children – oh they are so beautiful… oh, i can hear her laughing when i look at this one… yet, they sit three feet from me 90% of the day, and i am cooing over yesterday’s images and already daydreaming about what tomorrow will hold?!  how has the present become so lost on me? when did everything become so lost on me? time to stop sleepwalking through these irreplaceable moments, daydreaming about my tomorrows and rehashing my yesterdays.

 

Ephesians 5:14…
This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,

rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

yes. wake up, you sleeper!
you have everything you have ever needed. 
you have everything you have ever wanted.

today, it will be enough. 
today it will all be more than enough.

 

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pin-it party #43

it is GORGEOUS outside today!  i hope you are inside checking out this party, b/c like me, you’re perusing the internet while cooking a meal, and then you are heading out into the sunshine!  we’re going tree-hunting after lunch!  i am excited.

this is a total rabbit trail (i’m good for those), but since we’ve got our mind on trees…  the girls and i had some time to kill this afternoon, so i drove them past the house i grew up in.  the one thing i loved more than anything about that house was the magnolia tree in the front yard.  it is beautiful.  still is.  i miss it.  i would look forward to it budding every year.  it was like a fresh breeze coming into life.  winter was finally over and good, warm things were on their way.  my mom always did such a nice job with our yard.  peonies lined the back, roses lined the side, a rose of sharon graced the mailbox, lilacs kissed the driveway, and a beautiful white dogwood kept my beloved magnolia company in the front.  their was never a shortage of fresh flowers, and we made bouquets almost daily.  i miss that too.  i hope to have that kind of yard for us one day.  anyway…back to why you are here!

if this is your first time, i’m so happy that you’ve chosen precious moments of your day/night to stop by klover house and participate in our weekly pin-it party.

last week’s most clicked pin was this one from caroline nixon’s blog: anchored in His grace.  what a sweet blog!  be it for work, an event, a date-night, i also personally struggled when it was time to leave each of our girls.  i realize that life goes on past being ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’, but i am not ashamed to admit that i am addicted to my kids.  🙂  

participating in the party is so easy!
here’s what to do:

1. follow the co-hosts on pinterest (links below)

paula from beauty through imperfection

becky from your modern family

gabrielle from MamaGab

me! kristi from klover house


2. pin our “pin-it party” picture. (one of these)

3. add as many of your great pins as you want!  remember to get your pins from pinterest & not from your blog page. it will make it easier to re-pin a pin instead of a post.

4. hop around and re-pin other pins from this page- lets share the love!

5. adding your link gives us permission to use an image from the pin (or post connected to the pin) to feature on next week’s pin-it party. because of this we ask that you only link up images from your own site, and images that you have taken, created or have legal rights to.

thanks!!!! REMEMBER: when it asks for your NAME, you can put your PIN NAME or your BLOG NAME. essentially, it’s your pin’s title.

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let’s potty! a board game that helps to potty train your child!

hello, friends! this is not an affiliate post. just want to be upfront with that so you know that all opinions in this post are 100% mine, all mine. 😉

it’s pretty clear that potty training is a big deal for us. my potty training post is my number one read post, it’s my number one pinned pin on pinterest (try to say that ten times fast). i mean, it blows the rest of my posts out of the water by the thousands, and that’s no exaggeration! maybe, i should quit yammering about the other stuff, and just talk to you about toilets and sticker charts? whatta ya say? haha just kidding.

seriously though, that says to me that… it’s a big deal to us; it’s a common thread in parenting; it’s challenging; it’s necessary; it’s sometimes a nightmare; it’s sometimes a breeze; masses of ppl are interested in advice regarding it and so on…

since my potty training in a weekend post is so popular, and the pin as well, a talented and ambitious mama found me and offered to send me the ‘let’s potty’ board game for our littles to play and for klover house to share with you! to that opportunity i said, ‘absolutely!’ i love the idea of a game centered around something so important and relevant to us in this life-stage.

it’s funny, when it arrived in the mail, my brother-in-law had stopped by to pick up a tool or something that my hubby had borrowed, and he brought the package up to the door from outside for me. so now my girls think the game is from ‘uncle’. too funny. i tried to explain it to them, but nope. ‘uncle bought us the potty game.’ kudos to ‘uncle’, b/c they love it! haha

and that’s it, folks. they love it.

the graphics are vibrant, fun, and engaging 
for ‘bigs’ and ‘littles’ alike!
 the playing cards are large, sturdy, and easy-to-read!  
the script is appropriate for little minds 
and both humorous and encouraging.

they couldn’t wait to play it after dinner that night. we cleared off the dining room table and all played the potty game! even daddy. he was by far the most competitive and determined to win, even though there is no true winner (just finishers). haha he did ‘win’ too! he got to the potty first.  typical.  😉  ha!

we laughed and giggled the whole way through the game. it was a ton of fun. so much fun in fact that the first words out of our 2 1/2 year old’s mouth the next morning were, ‘mom, can we play the potty game?’  how awesome is that?!  

the poopy-talk grossed ‘i’ out and made ‘a’ blush!  haha

this award-winning game, developed and illustrated by two experienced parents for ages 2 and up, is professional, fun, engaging, and easy-to-understand. your little ones will love it! it uses appropriate potty-talk and images. i think it is extremely well-executed. i have only great things to say about it. if you are in this wild and unpredictable stage of life too, i definitely recommend this game! it gets the conversation going and makes potty-success a focal point in your household. if your little person is stubborn, this game uses humor to point out that going to the bathroom in your pants/diaper isn’t so great. it’s not discouraging or demeaning in any way at all though! the cards are so encouraging and motivational!

and if you’d like to buy this game for your littles, just visit www.lets-potty.com or click on the amazon link below.  ‘let’s potty’ is the only potty training board game on the market today!


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follow let’s potty on facebook too by clicking {here}.

you can also check out my potty training in a weekend post {here}.  becky mansfield’s (of your modern family) book is currently on sale for half off!  hurry – the sale ends on march 31st and the code for this deal is SPRING!

thanks for stopping by and we wish you the best in your adventure of potty training!  stop back and let us know how you and your littles like the game!
join the klover house family on facebook, pinterest, and twitter!
  

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a mother. a mess.

mistake #1 tonight… watching ‘gravity’ as a tired, weepy mama of three little girls. the red shoe, ppl. i’m still thinking about it. and if you haven’t seen the movie yet, and you’re a weepy mama too, grab the tissues for that scene. my husband, on the other hand, embraced that part as his ‘ah-ha’ moment…’i thought this was halle berry all along!!’  oh, men.

mistake #2… having a serious debate conversation with your husband minutes before bedtime, after watching an intense and moving movie that made you burst into tears at one point. needless to say, my emotions are running hot, and i no longer wanted to go to bed. instead, i retreated to a hot cup of tea and my thoughts.

mistake #3… grabbing a box of samoas on my way to the couch.

yep. there i sat with raging hormones, a racing mind, a cup of tea, and a box of samoas. then, the baby cried. midnight. right on cue. as i walked into her room, dad was already there, holding her sleepy self in his arms. i love that sight.  even after a debate…

as soon as she spotted me, she lunged for me. i love that sleepy baby needing her mama stuff. she is pure preciousness. as i took her, i asked hubs to grab a bottle before returning to bed. you see, i’m a nursing mom with a history of complications, but God has been so good and faithful to me this time around. with ‘a’, things started to fail around five months. i went back to working full-time, and my supply quickly shut itself down. with ‘i’, i had even more of a struggle, even being a sahm, and things disappointingly just stopped working at a mere three months. but with ‘e’, i have been praying and believing for a miracle run. God has granted it. she’s nearly ten months old, and i still have the pleasure of nursing her in the wee hours of night. i am thankful.

all that said, i took ‘e’ to her nine month appointment, and her growth had slowed significantly enough that her doc wants to see her midway between the nine and twelve month appointments. that was a blow to me. a blow to my ability to sustain her, to satisfy her, to see her thriving and to have had a hand in it. so, to say i gave it all i could, i began pumping and doubling whatever i produced with formula. she has been doing quite well that way, but in the back of my mind, i think about doubt, and trust, and faith, and responsibility. but that’s all enough for another post.

in the minutes that my husband was gone, retrieving a bottle, i decided to nurse and sat down. ‘i still have this, Lord. i know what You’ve done so far, and i am believing for it to keep working, b/c you are faithful and i have faith in You. not me. You.’ and once again, i pray over myself and this vessel of a body, and i thank God for the gift as she takes every gulp.

no, this isn’t a post about nursing. that’s the one that i wrote while i nursed. this is a post about me, the mama. the mess.

i nursed her. hubs sat the bottle in the crib and returned to bed. i sat in the dark and stroked her head. she is so incredibly soft. i couldn’t believe how soft she is. no silk, no velvet could ever compare to her skin and fuzzy head of hair. babies are so soft and beautiful. i thought as i was bathing her tonight that there is nothing cuter that a naked, rolly baby sitting, splashing in a bathtub. well, there is nothing more precious than a soft, sweet-smelling, sleepy baby snuggled in a lap. so sweet, so soft…the epitome of peace.

i kept writing that post in my head – the one about nursing and God’s faithfulness, but i kept stopping myself thinking, ‘think about this, kristi. enjoy this. don’t go to the mental keyboard. you don’t know how long this will last. enjoy it. get out of your head and back into this room with this amazing baby relying on you for comfort, food, and love.’

and so the cycle went, until she began to snore (she has the sniffles). i prayed over her one more time, and as i placed her into her crib, i thought, ‘my goodness. i am a mess.  my head and heart are all over the place tonight’, and matthew 14:22-33 came to mind instantly.

i think about peter walking on the water a lot. and it struck me tonight that i feel like peter in this motherhood thing. peter called out to jesus. ‘let me come to you.’ (i am paraphrasing), and then he goes out with what seems as confidence, notices the wind, probably looks around at the unsteady waves, the rising waters, the unknown depth, the natural, the physical, the reality of the situation, and he falters. i mean, imagine the awesomeness!  you are walking on water to Jesus! seriously, could anything but flying be more incredible?! that’s motherhood. awesomeness. it’s also as scary as all get out, if you’ve turned your attention. that’s so easy to do. some days, i am confident. i’ve got this. i’ve got grace and peace and assurance… and then, i take my eyes off of Jesus and catch a view of the uncertainties, the responsibilities, the fleeting moments of baby-bliss, the state of my overwhelming emotions, and whoa. ‘catch me, Lord!’

i am a mess.

and just like with peter, i feel Jesus rescue me. mothering is hard. the ‘what-ifs’ are unending. the sleep deprivation and the worries are manifesting themselves daily in my body, mind, and soul, but He’s got me, so i know He’s got this. since nursing eden, i’ve gotten to put a sniffly isla back to bed and deliver a drink and a prayer to a sleep-walking ava. i kissed each of their heads, stroked their hair and cheeks. (gladly, even at four, they are still so soft. that doesn’t fade too quickly, thank God from this mama’s heart…) and i returned to my half cup of cold tea and a box of samoas with only one absent row (hallelujah) to tell you about my mess, and the water, and my Jesus before i let Him take me by the hand and lead me back to the boat. in this case, my bed. He knows that i need some sleep in order to fully embrace and appreciate the three beautiful blessings that will surely be there to greet me in t-minus four hours. hang in there, mama. i’m going to wake up in the morning with matthew 14:22-33 on my mind and ask the Lord to call me out on the water again. and tomorrow, as well as each day after, i’m going to try my best not to look down. keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

xo

and how can i reference matthew 14:22-33 without hearing this song?  
i love it.  it’s written on my heart.

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“New Life Within” is here!

remember when i shared my two writings, “dear baby” and “my love is a sunset” with you a few weeks ago?
well, the book is complete and avaible in paperback on amazon!
i am so excited to be a part of this project, and i pray it goes far in reaching expecting mothers. proceeds from the book sales will go towards encouraging women to choose life via the Gabriel Network.
thank you for supporting me during this process! your words of affirmation definitely helped me to find the confidence to submit my work. my cup overflows!

you can find the book by clicking on the image below:

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good find friday: a sacred mess of grace

happy friday, friends. i’ve left you a little video introduction to this week’s ‘good finds’. i pray you find them to be as good as i have. they have really ministered and inspired me this week. xoxo


Hands Free Mama: The Bully Too Close to Home

I sat down on the edge of her bed and began saying things I’d never said to another human being—not even myself. “I feel mad inside a lot. I often speak badly about myself in my head. I bully myself. And when I bully myself, it makes me unhappy and then I treat others badly—especially you. It is not right, and I am going to stop. I am not sure how, but I will stop. I am so very sorry,” I vowed trying not to cry. Read more…

A Holy Experience: The Best Way to Do Your Christmas Cleaning

Why it happened right then, when she turned toward the stack of dishes on the counters, the squash peeling and apple cores and crusted pots, she had no idea.
No idea why it came right then, in the midst of kids and mess and loud, like a coming around:
How when you are turned away from God, life turns ugly, but when you are turned toward God, life turns lovely. Read more…

join the klover house family on facebook, pinterest, and twitter!
  

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