Sunday, March 22, 2015

On birthdays and true celebration


On Tuesday I will be 31.  I remember pretending to be 31 as a kid.  I would pretend to drive my kids to and from school in the closet that served as my car.  I would pretend to make dinner, change diapers (not at the same time), throw tea parties, and talk on my pretend phone constantly.

I should also mention that my perfectly silent husband, normally my baby Bert doll (I know it's a little creepy), and my motionless children did everything I told them to do.  I'm realizing right now that that probably set me up for some major failure!

I know I did not pretend to look in the mirror and wonder, when did my body start to work against me?! (as my friend so graciously told me this week accelerates beginning at age 31).
I did not pretend to feel hurt by social media (especially since Instagram did not exist).
I did not pretend to have to make the kind of decisions that I have to make now on a daily basis about how to spend time and money and energy.
I did not pretend to become more introverted as I became older because my lovely, expressive children drained me of the ability to speak coherently after 5:30pm (remember the motionless baby dolls).

And I DID NOT pretend to have a brutally difficult conversation with my husband DURING my birthday dinner AT the restaurant, with tears and snot included.  We tipped very well in an effort to apologize to our flustered waitress last night.

Without boring you with the both personal and uninteresting details, the conversation included me realizing how very immature I still am and how often I am still hoping to control our family for my happiness and comfort.  How's that for a "welcome to another year"?!

Growing up is hard.  Seeing myself more accurately can be discouraging.  Life does not look exactly how I thought it would.  I truly don't know the future.

But I want to carry into this year 3 things that -God lovingly whispered to me last year in response to my most common and poignant struggles....

*In relation to fear... nothing, nothing, nothing will separate me/you from the love of Christ.  (Romans 8).  And that love is not my selfish, half-hearted attempt to do good to my family...it is the love that says I bought you on the cross, I brought you to myself, I started a good work in you, I will fight for you, I will protect you, I will defend you, I will complete the work.  REST in my love and approval.

* In relation to control...the ONE who is able to do more than we ASK or IMAGINE is in control (Ephesians 3).  NOT ME!  Praise be!!  Seriously, if I really was in control, the world would be wrecked, my home would be wrecked and I would wreck myself.  He never has a wrong motive, works all things for the good of those who love him and sees the whole picture.  If that doesn't make you want to lay down and take a nap I don't know what will!  Oh and he even says, he gives to his Beloved sleep (Psalm 127).

* In relation to seeing my weakness...oh this has been anything but fun this year...but if we do not let God show us how messed up we truly are, how will we ever live dependently?  We won't.  I just know that the minute I think I can do ANYTHING in my own strength, I lose sight of his presence.  And honestly, I'd rather be weak.  Because I make a mess of things in about .2 seconds.  Walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5)

He is our anchor and hope.  An unchanging and completely trustworthy advocate as we walk through the life He has written for us.
Post cry-fest

Friday, July 19, 2013

A New Direction

I started Simply Chic Mom two years ago after we transplanted from the west coast to the east coast as a means of keeping friends and family posted on our life as well as getting to be creative in new ways and challenge myself to write about the things I care about and am learning.
It has been so fun and humbling and challenging and rewarding but it is time for something new and it is kind of a dream come true for me!

My husband Dave and I are going to be co-authoring a blog together beginning in January 2014.
We are so excited to team up and write and create together.

More details to come but in the meantime you can follow what is happening in our family on my simplychicmom instagram.

Until January!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Purchase of the week: summer hair care

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Left to Right:
kenra platinum blow dry spray: perfect for straightening curly hair
living proof no frizz styling cream: amazing.  no other product needed for curly hair days
bumble and bumble surf spray: great for after the pool or beach for an effortless wavy look

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On a Personal Note: death leads to life

I am a control freak.  You wouldn't know it by the state of my kitchen floor or the amount of peanut butter that is (constantly) on Graham's face.  But I am.

It takes different forms during different seasons of my life but it's always there.

I keep coming back to Jesus' words that if you try to save your life you will lose it but if you lose it (for His sake) you will find it.
Sounds poetic.  Even intriguing.  But what on earth does that really mean?

A couple of weeks ago, Dave told me that he needed to go to Europe this month.  Immediately my thoughts went to: who will help me?  does he really need to go?  will we get enough "family time"? what will he miss in MJ's life at such a young age?...

I've realized that these questions were questions to "save my life" or try to preserve what I think our family needs.  And I'll tell you, Jesus is right (as usual), I began to experience loss of life.  I experienced loss of harmony with Dave (him feeling unsupported in his job).  I experienced loss of peace (my mind racing with scenarios of "what if").  I experienced loss of enjoyment (dreading him leaving).

And then God graciously intervened.  As He so often does in my life.  Gently and firmly.
Through friends, his word, etc. I knew I was being asked to let go.  To die to saving my life and what I think I "need" and to let God care for me.

As I (very weakly) started to do that, life returned.  I actually began to anticipate and pray for all that Dave would get to do on this important trip and began to feel like his teammate again.  Multiple people (some I barely knew) began to offer to help me with the kids.  God provided sweet family time and even date time for me and Dave in the days before he left.  And I honestly feel more energy and joy than normal in these days with him away.

My pastor recently said that if dependence on God is the goal (and I would venture to say that that is the goal of the Christian life) then weakness is an advantage.

Death leads to life.  The more I die to myself the more he is able to give me life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19).  How would we see God's care for us if only we would release our grip more often?

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A sweet family day at the zoo before Daddy left

Monday, June 17, 2013

Momstyle: post-baby wardrobe part 2

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(Shorts: TJMaxx $19.99; Shoes: Target $24.99; Top: H&M) 
I'm a shorts girl.  Might be the growing up in southern California and Phoenix but they are my summer staple for casual and more dressed-up looks.  The high waist makes these shorts comfortable and the pattern makes them versatile for a casual or in this case, more polished look, especially when worn with a small wedge.  Again, the tied shirt gives a good illusion of a waist that has not fully returned.  Oh, and please note the dark circles under my eyes and messy hair, both an absolute staple of the post-baby look! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On a Personal Note: ADD Reading 10th ed.

Summer class reading :/.  Basically I'm just procrastinating reading this one.
Wow.  This book is not for the faint of heart.  I am going to need to read it again to fully process it.  I don't agree with all of it but have definitely been challenged to look at training my kids for the sake of them being able to say "yes" to God and "no" to themselves.
I love to cook and host and this book puts words to why what happens around the table when we eat together is so significant.  Full of fun new recipes to try too.
Reading this because Romans is full of the Gospel, the good news that I add nothing to the equation of right relationship with God.  Jesus did it all.  I need to be reminded daily.