Monday, September 30, 2013

every mom needs a friend

Today is one of my dearest friend's birthdays. And it just got me to thinking about how life is just so much sweeter with friends. Not just see ya at the ball fields friends or the see you on Sunday morning friends or the thanks for the Christmas card friends. But the kind of friends who not only see you at the ball fields, but show up with snacks for the team when it was your turn to bring them and you forgot and guess who you can call still on their way to grab snacks for 10 little stinky and sweaty 9 year olds. Or that friend who calls you to see where you've been when you haven't made it to church for 4 weeks in a row and well, she was counting and not to judge, but only noticed because she really cares about what is keeping you from church these days. And how can she help you get back? Or the friend whose Christmas card comes in the mail...or not at all...and you still know everything about their last year even though you didn't get the Christmas card letter update. There are friends. And then there are friends.

You know, motherhood is one of those things in life that is just much better with friends. Those kind of friends who you call last minute and they notice when you are gone and they know every little and big event from your last 365 days. And even better, they still LIKE you. In a lonely world and a do-it-all by yourself culture, motherhood is one area I would suggest having some real friends.

If you pray for anything for yourself during the motherhood years, pray for a real friend or two. Because we all need a friend who knows our good days and our bad days. We all need a friend who we can call when we're excited about life and when we are drowning in life. We needs friends who go to bat for us and cheer us on. We need friends who do the inconvenient for us and hold the flash-light for us when we just can't see through the fog...or the dark. We need friends who laugh at our bad jokes and tell you when to laugh something off, it's not such a big deal after all. We need friends who tell us what we really look like in skinny jeans and when we've cut our hair way too short. And please don't ever wear that shirt again if you don't want to look like your mother. We need friends who you call up last minute for dinner plans in the back-yard of nothing more then hot-dogs over a fire and marshmallows for the sides. And friends who drive miles to get the one thing you need and can't ask anyone else for. We need friends who give us God's word for a breath of fresh air and His grace when we've screwed up. In motherhood, every single one of us needs a friend.

So today I smile in my heart for the friends I have been so very blessed with. The real, gut wrenching truth filled, Jesus loving, and grace giving friends. Motherhood could very well swallow me whole some days... and it's nice to know that I've got a gal or two just a phone call away, ready to throw me back out for some more because they believe in me...sometimes when I don't believe in myself. Today I am thankful for friendship and motherhood and the real part of relationships that makes this life journey such an adventure. And every time one of my friends celebrates another year, I am right behind them cheering the loudest. Fearfully and wonderfully made they are. Humbly and blissfully I know it. Happy Birthday, friend :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

here I am

I wasn't sure how to write this post. Or if I should. Or when I should. But now is as good a time as ever and I told myself this blog would be a honest place where I could just be me. So here I am.

Life with four kids has been everything and nothing I thought it would be. If that is possible? But I find myself marveling at what God has placed in our care for now and also wondering some days how in the world He trusts us with these 4 little people. I mean, there is major potential to screw them up!  Some days are easier than others, but mostly I am trying to keep my purpose at the forefront of my days and living from that place. It puts most things in a much better perspective when I do!

Adding that fourth bundle of joy brought many things and with her addition brought the fruit basket upset of how we've done life here the last couple years. And it should. Roles would change, people would change, sleeping would change, routines would change, and so on. If there is anything you can count on with a new human coming to your home, it is the act of change being consistent! So with change in the air around here we are just trying to breeze through just where we should all land when this transition is said and done. Just in time for the next change probably!

Most know that for the last 9 years I have done child-care out of my home in some way, shape, or form. With the recent family changes, this just came to a place where it was very hard to juggle both child-care and the speed at which our 4 kids needed something from me. We knew something would have to give and for a short time, my rock-star husband picked up a side job of driving taxi to pay the bills around here while I finished out my pregnancy, had a baby, and helped said family of six transition to new life. Whew. It got a little crazy for awhile :) But we are still standing! I hated sending my already tired husband out though on Saturday nights when he had already worked a very full time job for the week and trying to help him recover from a night of no sleep for days after was not fun. I knew this could not go on forever. But money needed to be made up some where else then...

Here is where my new journey starts. Shortly after Carson was born, a friend of mine handed me a Spark. I was sleep-deprived, exhausted in every way, and living in a fog. What Spark did for me was awesome. I was drinking at least a pot of coffee a day at that time and by the end of the day my gut felt so heavy and ick. I knew it was too much caffeine and I didn't have energy or the sustained mental focus that I deeply craved to function well at home. I can honestly say Spark was great. I even shared it with some other mom-friends and thought how did I not know about this until my third kid!?!? So I enjoyed Spark for a year or so and then decided to look into their vitamins. "Their" is Advocare and I didn't know much about them at the time, other then they produced and sold me my favorite mommy drink!

As I browsed the Advocare website looking at what else they had to offer for products, I stumbled upon their different ways to get a discount. I liked Spark. I wanted to try their vitamins. I was interested in their body cleanse. I wanted a discount. And I wanted to make a few hundred dollars a month to get my husband out of the weekend taxi driving gig. So I called up my Spark giving friend.

My Spark giving friend met me at a park, our kids played, and she explained how Advocare helps people feel better in the health and wellness area. I was very interested in knowing more about the 24 Day Challenge Advocare offered and I was curious how to get my best discount. She filled me in and I came home and shared with Dave that night just what Advocare could possibly do for us... better health, better discount, possible pay check.

I sat on what I learned for a couple days. I wasn't sure I could "sell" stuff. Actually, I knew I couldn't. I am a horrible sales person and hate the business side of that. But I love helping people. And what I learned in the last year and a half was that having a body that felt good could not happen if you didn't have a heart that felt good. And I started to wonder if God was leading me towards a way to help both others through a way of caring not only for their bodies better, but feeding their hearts in a way that would let them really live a full life. Years ago I took a strengths test and Belief was my number one strength. I took the same test a few years ago and it was my number one strength again. To this day, I can not stay with a project or a ministry or job or a purpose in life if it doesn't line up with my beliefs. I get bored, uninterested, and fizzle out very quickly. I know this about myself. So if I decided to step into Advocare, would I be able to do it in a way that was both healing for people's bodies and for their souls? Could I be in the Advocare world in a way that would let me flow from my place of belief? There is a lot of hurting people when it comes to their view of themselves, how they care for themselves, and the way they let their hearts lead them away from His love and grace instead of closer. After spending a chunk of time trying to help my body be healthy for the purpose of better living, I learned that what my heart was doing during that time frame was just as important. And perhaps He is calling me to pay that forward now. To share with others, through Advocare, that healing can happen well when done for both health and heart.

I make no claims to know much about all this, other then through personal experience and His leading. I typically step back when big changes come and when new things get hard, I often like to step away and try to make things go back to "normal". But I have learned to embrace change. I'm practicing it daily. And I think where He has called me, I just need to stand up and say "Here I am". Use me.