Archive for July, 2015

Mom on a Mission

2015-07-13 earthquakers mica and twins

“So what do you feel is your purpose in life?” ask my small group leader. I was timid to answer. It was March, 2011 and this was one of the first groups I’d ever had and I didn’t feel very comfortable opening up.

Unsure of how I might be perceived and feeling a bit embarrassed to be unemployed, I answered, “Right now, I feel like my main mission is to raise this little one up right.”  I felt the anointing.  Mica was not quite 3 years old.  I had no idea if I had plans for more children of my own in the future.

Just the year before I had obtained teaching qualifications in my state to become an ESOL instructor (teaching English) .  I had also applied for over 30 other jobs, all of which I was qualified.  I have two degrees, but have never officially worked in a paid position within the fields of my studies.  Bipolar disorder had interrupted my life significantly, leaving holes in my work history that made it hard for me to explain away on a resume.  With the disease under control in 2010, I had determined to become gainfully employed.

But then Christmas happened.  My father overdosed and died.

I tried keep it together, for Mica’s sake.  My in-laws also had some issues around this time, and my sister-in-law and her 3 kids moved in with us within weeks of his passing.

I had stopped looking for a job.  My grief was often left unsatisfied, postponed, and unattended, as children filled my room, life and heart.  They were a handful but a beautiful distraction from the open wound my dad’s passing had created.  My sister, who had been planning her wedding for a year would be walking down the isle with our mom by her side later that very month.

A lot of destabilization and disaster followed.  A lot of turmoil, a lot of tests, all leading to testimonies.

Little did I know, as I answered that question, that motherhood, not a traditional career, was and would become even more, my main mission.  If I never see anything, despite all my efforts, to change this world, to make it a better place, to bring people to God, I know I have made a difference.  Because I am raising a future generation, instilling values that are time-tested and true.  I am making Christ-followers right here in my own home.  I am bringing up little earth-quakers.  They are my legacy.

(July 21, 2015 – Twins 12 months, Mica 7, Hope 6)

Double Talk Quote: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” – June Cleaver

Word that has Lost its meaning:  lost

Relatable Lyrics:  Stuck In A Moment by U2

Bible Verse: Romans 12:12

Romans 12-12

 

2015-07-19 bella and flower gladiolis

Bella

Hope & Mica

Hope & Mica

Brooks

Brooks

Disco!

Disco!

Black Days

Amor's Phone 2 black days yes

I’ve felt depression sneaking in over the past few weeks.  Things I normally enjoy doing like taking care of my family, doing church activities, and making summer super-fun for my kids, has become increasingly difficult to do.

  • Money (or the lack of it) is of considerable concern.
  • None of my suggestions seem to matter.
  • I’m overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.
  • Discord rings through the home.
  • I feel like my purpose is lost.  Yesterday I believed my writing mattered.  This morning that feeling was just gone.
  • I’m misunderstood.  I’m not who I am.  Or am I?

Is this an identity crisis?  No.

I am SuperMommy.  This is my Kryptonite:  Depression.

(Saturday July 18, 2015 – twins 12 months)

Double Talk Message: I love my babes.  I’ve written to them and that will matter…  One day, that will mean something.

Bible Verse: Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. – Psalm 126:5

Word that has Lost its meaning: energy

Relatable Lyrics:  Soundgarden – Fell on Black Days

“so don’t you lock up something that you wanted to see fly”

Romans w8:2w8

2015-07-15 Mommy & twins babywearing

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

This was my daddy’s life verse.  Every time we talked, any time I was down, he’d always quote this and tell me to keep my pretty chin up.  Even when times were bleak, they would eventually be turned into testimonies and used for God’s glory.

But sometimes Usually, Almost always, When you are going through something difficult, it’s hard to see what good can come of it.  It’s hard to see the promise land.  It’s hard to imagine how it’s going to work out.

God has giving me instructions.  He has given me talents.  He has given me inspiration.  He has given me testimonies.  He has given me revelations.  He has given me promises.

When, God, when will these promises come to fruition in my life?

Then God reminds me of these other verses:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
  • Isaiah 40:31 – but those who  wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
  • Psalm 27:14Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
  • Romans 8:25 –  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

I love the Lord.  I am called by Him for His purpose.  My hope is in Him.  Without Him I can do nothing.

So I’ll wait.  I will keep mommying.  I will keep writing this blog.  I will keep pursuing my “Think Big” series. I will write “Testimonies.”  I will minister to “Moms of Many.”

I firmly believe that all these things will work together for good.  Not just for my good, but for the glory of God.

2015-07-01 mess

Beautiful Mess

Double Double Talk Quote: “You have to go through tests to have testimonies” – Starla

Bible Verse: Romans 8:28

Word that has Lost its meaning:  trials

Relatable Lyrics: “You make everything beautiful” – Rebecca st James – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgsfESBDFcg  “In my weakness, You can Shine, In your strength, I can fly.”

Weight Off My Mind

weight black and white selfie

One of the most pressing issues for many postpartum women is losing the baby weight.  Indeed, after the birth of my first daughter, it took me (at least) a full year to get back down to my “normal” size.  I had been careful about the weight I gained during my first pregnancy.  As a matter of fact, after an ultra-sound at 37 weeks when Mica was estimated to weigh only about 4 lbs., the doctor actually told me to go eat some donuts and ice cream.  I did and she was born at 41 week at a small but healthy 6lbs. 4 oz.

My weight issues date back to my childhood.  I, like many, was bombarded with images of what women were “supposed” to look like and I remember well hearing my mother and the church women gossip about how fat they felt (even though they were at a perfectly healthy size), how they were trying to fit in such & such a dress size and weight.  Children are well-know to be imitators.  I was going through a typical awkward / chubby phase (age 10-12) and my best friend and I used to mimic our mothers, “Oh you look fabulous!  Look at all this fat I have on me!”  Statements like that were a common theme throughout our play sessions, where we also would step on the scale and try on “the dress” (which, of course, I couldn’t get zipped).  My friend would say something reassuring like, “it’s just water weight” or “it’s because we just ate,” to try to console me.

But I didn’t feel better.  Even after going through an upward growth spurt around age 13, I still felt fat.  So I went on a strict diet.  By 14, I had become a vegetarian and ate like a bird.  (And “the dress” that I was once to fat for finally fit.)  The same family members who once worried I was too chubby were now concerned I had an eating disorder.  I maintained I was just being healthy.  Call it what you wish, but whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy for me, mentally.

The “I’m fat” mind-set followed me into adulthood.  I am 5’4 and never weighed over 125 lbs.  I was usually around 115 and every time I looked at myself in the mirror, all I could see were the flaws.  My husband tried to help me.  He encouraged me often, daily even, telling me I looked beautiful and that helped a little.  But after so many years of believing the enemy’s lies, it was just so hard for me to believe.

Satan had a stronghold on me in this area.  It wasn’t vanity exactly.  I often walked around with messy hair and no make-up in thrift store clothes.  But they had to be size 2, or I’d consider them my “fat day” clothes.  Maybe it was also due to years of photo-shopped media influence.  (I’ve read that the size of most Hollywood actresses fall into the 1st percentile of the general population of women’s sizes).

Anyway, during the first half of my second pregnancy, I felt like I was gaining too much weight.  My sister and I were both due within days of each other and indeed, family members confirmed that I was bigger.  (Not that I was trying to compare).  “I hear your belly shows sooner with subsequent pregnancies.  This is her first pregnancy,” I would try to reassure myself.

I’ve written recently about how I was depressed and in a bad place when I found out I was having twins (https://theearthquakers.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/i-see-two-heads/), and about how God relieved my burden that day.  He lifted the weight off my mind too.

After my appointment, we went out to eat to celebrate.  My husband started to gently lecture.  I stopped him.  I knew what I had to do.  I had to grow these two little babies as big as I could and carry them for as long as I could.  And I did.

I went 38 weeks & 6 days and gave birth to two healthy, beautiful twins weighing in at 6 lbs. 3 oz (Bella) & 6 lbs. 9 oz. (Brooks – bigger than singleton Mica)!  I never felt guilty about eating while I was pregnant.

Since having the babies a little over a year ago, I have focused on being a good mommy.  I (usually) eat healthy foods and keeping up with 4 kids counts as exercise!  But my weight has been the furthest thing from my mind.  I am so in awe at what my body did… no, in awe of what God did through the body I once saw as ugly.  And I see myself the way he sees me. I am beautiful now.

Double Double Talk Quote: 1:  “The book says my baby is the size of a grape!” – me looking in the mirror at my belly at only a few weeks pregnant.  2:  “Come on, you’ve eaten french fries sometime over the last 14 years!” – Jeff’s disbelief when I told him that.  “Nope” I said, as I popped one in my mouth.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,a
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Word that has Lost its meaning:  diet (replace with “healthy eating”)

Relatable Lyrics:  “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

9th Anniversary (before twins)

9th Anniversary (before twins)

10th Anniversary (Post-twins)

10th Anniversary (Post-twins)

I’m Sorry…But

2015-07-09 I'm sorry but bella butt

I’m sorry… but when you say “I’m sorry” and then follow it with the word “but,” your apology comes off as insincere.

Here’s a pych tip for you:  If you are really sorry but still feel the need to justify your actions or words, do so before you apologize.  For example, you could say, “When I said/did ABC, I was feeling XYZ. I know I was wrong in the way I went about saying/doing it.  I want you to know that I’m truly sorry for ABC.”

Stating your apology this way allows you to indicate your own feelings without negating your apology.  Ending with “I’m sorry.” is more likely to put the person you are apologizing to, in a more accepting state of mind, thus you are more likely to get a more peaceful resolution.   Saying “I’m sorry but…” automatically puts the person you’re apologizing to in a defensive position and then he or she is more likely to simply see you as just a sorry butt.

Double Talk Quote: “I’m sorry…but” – Anyone guilty?  Comment below

Bible Verse: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” – Ephesians 4:26

Word that has Lost its meaning: sorry

Relatable Lyrics: It’s too late to apologize – Timberland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gzt6GeNLBk

Season Of Survival

 

2015-06-20 dirt road ward cemetary

Time after time, I’ve been approached in random places, by fellow moms of twins and given words of encouragement, affirmation, and advice.  The most common information I have received is, “It gets easier after the first two years.”

Over the past year, I have experienced challenges meeting even my basic physical and psychological needs.  Almost anyone who has given birth will admit that, in the beginning, it’s downright hard.  Sleep deprivation, the sound of crying, and keeping up with the demands of a newborn is not easy and can take a toll on any new mother.

Here’s my equation:  Double that (twins) + 7-year-old daughter + marital challenges + financial difficulties + changing environment (baby Asher leaving, 6-year old Hope becoming like a 4th child to me) + Bipolar disorder & anxiety issues = “God I need your help”

For this season in my life, I’ve had to focus on surviving.  So the dishes didn’t get done.  My family ate dinner.  So the living room floor is littered with toys.  My babies played and learned today.  The clean laundry has been sitting in the basket so long, it may never even get put back into the drawers before worn again.  My family has clean clothes to wear.  There are ants in the kitchen (and bedroom, and bathroom).  At least they aren’t fire ants!  So I forgot to renew my license and I paid the cable bill twice last month.  I got where I needed to go, and the cable refund will help a lot towards an extra expense we have this month.  So I have bruises I don’t know where they came from.  That just means I was working so fast that the pain didn’t even bother me.

I recently made a summer “goal schedule.”  It helps me stay on track and try to balance it all.  Sometimes, I feel like there are just too many balls to juggle and I just have to let a few fall.  And that’s okay.  Right now, that’s okay.  Because seasons change.  Spring follows Winter.  One day… one day soon, maybe even today, the ice will start to melt and the sun will shine and I will slowly but surely emerge from this season of surviving to a season of thriving.

(July 1,  2015 –  twins 1 year old)

2015-06-30 earthquakers twins Micaela Grace

Double Talk Quote:  “I was hoping she (the mom of twins) was going to say it gets better after 6 months!” – Amor, the first time someone told him about the two year marker.

Bible Verse: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  – 1 Peter 5:6

Word that has Lost its meaning: failure

Relatable Lyrics: Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxzEeKfpyIg&list=PLtW2C_aPoZfSm10ubNP5mVcg2vqfK8n_-&index=3

2015-07-01 goal schedule dry erase

(Dry Erase “Goal Schedule”)

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