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Friday, September 30, 2016

Short & Sweet: Forty Days

*This isn't a typical Short & Sweet post, but I hope it serves to encourage those in a waiting period.

Truth? Patience doesn't come easy for me. Reality. I'm forced to practice patience on the daily, and with every year, it seems to increase based on the happenings of life. This season of waiting for a baby to arrive after being pregnant for what feels like forever is difficult. The discomfort, the baby kicks, and the "how are you feeling" and "when are you due" questions make it near impossible to keep from being anxious. The doctor bringing up induction makes me wonder if this baby will take just as long to arrive as our first. The last month feels like a thousand months, and every extra day that follows feels a million years. Anyone with me?

When I came home from the doctor's office the other day, you can imagine my frustration hearing that I hadn't progressed since last week. We are so close, but not quite. Many others around me have been having their second and third babes a week early, and here I am hoping ours will just come on its due date. I was frustrated at the thought of waiting beyond the due date and frustrated that jealousy was attempting to creep into my thoughts, so as soon as my daughter went down for her nap, I opened my bible to read some scripture on patience.

Trivia time: How long was Noah and his family on the Ark?

I've heard this bible story ever since I was old enough to understand language, and the only number I ever associated with The Great Flood was forty. It rained for forty days and forty nights, and while illogical, surely they exited the ark as soon as it stopped raining, right? Um, no. It was more like a year, give or take a month or two.

What an incredible amount of patience Noah and his family had to endure!

A few things stick out to me:

  1. Noah and his family kept busy. Certainly anyone in their position would be anxious to race off the ark when surrounded by stinking animals, especially considering that several months were spent sitting in one place while they watched the water recede each day. Instead of lingering on when they'd leave the boat, they worked hard mucking stalls, feeding animals, and keeping seasick llamas healthy. No, the bible doesn't say what they did in those months, but I'd imagine this work had to be done. 
  2. A method was devised to test if the earth was dry. Near the end of their stay on the ark, Noah sent out birds every seven days, and in time, there were several occasions that offered hope to him and his family. 
  3. Even though all signs pointed toward the land being ready, they remained on the ark until instructed by God to leave. 
So, we wait. Each and every one of us, at one point or another, are given situations in which to practice patience. We wait for newborns to arrive, for new job offers, for test results, and for loans to be paid. In order to keep from growing anxious, we must prepare and keep busy. Preparing may look like washing baby clothes or updating a resume. Keeping busy may not even be related to what we wait for. It may look like helping a neighbor, cleaning the house, or training for a race. We may devise plans to reach what we patiently wait for, but ultimately, we must wait for God's instruction. 

Over the next several days, I plan to wait patiently and to keep busy and prepare for our new arrival whilst waiting on God's timing. I've also placed this verse on my fridge as a reminder until little Hughes makes his or her arrival: "He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..." Ecclesiastes 3:11a. 

Check out Genesis 8: 1-16 to read about about this patience story for yourself. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Short & Sweet: Pocket of Air

A phone call brings me back to the reality of life, the one I push into crevices to create a pocket of air for breathing. As long as there remains a pocket of air, all is safe, and I can allow the water to swirl around me unnoticed. I ignore the places that need most attention in order to enjoy the small portion of air I breath just in front of me. The pocket of air will cave, but for now it's comfortable, and searching for a surface will mean sputtering on water and may even mean drowning before I'm pulled lifelessly out of the depths to be awakened.

I can't give details on this phone call, not in written words at least, because I fear. I fear you'll read the words and stab at the only air available to me. I'll be forced to thrash in the undercurrent before finding light and an exit. So I remain in the pocket of air. I close my eyes and visualize simple. Nature. Flowers. Breathing. Slow. Calm. Redemption.

But the phone call stirs me, brings me back to reality, and reminds me to continue searching for the surface. One day I'll share with you, and you may wish to stab at the pocket of air, but I won't be there anymore. I'll be using all my strength to find air and to make sense of direction. Holding my breath, I'll attempt to tell you the story which will be seen differently from above water. Looking into the water, the direction for surfacing makes sense. You know exactly how you'd surface, but it's different when the water is actually surrounding you. One day I'll explain from my perspective, and maybe you'll attempt to understand, and though you may not agree in whole, maybe you'll agree in part, and a sliver of mutual understanding between us will be worth the experience. Offering grace to one another will be key, because every person is different, learning, and holds a unique story. One day I'll explain, and it'll hit home for the few who are or have been in the very same water, and that shared understanding will be life-giving.

Until then, I'll attempt to search for the surface though I'd much rather close my eyes and think of simple, like a child who squats down to smell flowers, oblivious to the hurt of this world. Until then, I must remain in the searching, and that's okay.

Monday, September 19, 2016

While We're Waiting

Monday is just about over, but it's never too late for a While We're Waiting post, especially since the links are in the form of videos this week. You're welcome, visual and auditory folk. We have 16 days left until this baby may make his or her arrival! How is that even possible?! We are still clueless as to whether we are having a boy or girl, but everyone is saying boy after taking a look at the baby bump, and I'm now half-expecting a boy. Even the few who thought it might be a girl have changed their minds. We'll all know in just a few short weeks. Until then, videos for you. Enjoy!

1. Here is an old, but good video, and a great reminder to every woman out there. 

2. 5 Tips for keeping your marriage strong.

3. Another video by the same couple, because they are known for their funny videos, and this one is appropriate for the state I'm in. 

4. Another great reminder by one of my favorite bands. 

5. Forget the fact that I got way too excited when I heard the lyrics to this song and it included my daughter's name, but the testimony that accompanies this video is awesome. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

While We're Waiting

23 days! We are in the homestretch that drags on and feels like months have gone by in one single hour. Still, we wait and try to do so with patience. Oh how much I've learned about patience since having our firstborn. I'm so far from receiving any awards on patience, but I'm learning, and with God's help, my prayer is that I'll get a better handle on the keys to patience. For now, we wait. No new reports. No exciting news. Simply waiting. And while we wait, we may as well read for the good of our souls. Here are three links to help get you through the week!

The Christian Word That Makes People Cringe by Christie Thomas

On Comparison-The Joy Thief by Elli Johnson

When you're running on Empty by Katy McCown

Friday, September 9, 2016

Short & Sweet: Season

In the third trimester, pregnancy brings with it a lack of creativity and imagination when it comes to writing. That has at least been the case for me, both when I was pregnant with our daughter and now again with this one. There's still imagination, but most of it is being poured into thoughts of what the following month will hold, what the baby will look like, what name we'll choose, and so on. Creativity is in the form of nesting. Trying to organize the house and not burn it down all at the same time because of the terrible "pregnancy brain" takes some effort. Deciding how the nursery should be arranged, what color curtains to purchase, and what to place on the walls has drained me of creativity. My toddler refusing to take naps all this week has certainly played a role as well. We are in a season of waiting, and soon we'll hold our little one and begin a new season complete with its own challenges. Until then, here's my futile attempt to bring you something of worth in the form of a list. 

1. Life comes in phases, and seasons don't last forever. 

2. Seasons are beautiful and should be enjoyed, but they are also difficult and moving to the next phase is exciting. 

3. Being pregnant and caring for a toddler and not having family nearby is far from easy, but it certainly brings out the supermom in you. 

4. Bad mama days do not define you. 

5. Some seasons are more difficult than others. 

6. There are days in which you'll be at wits end with nearly everyone around you. Deep breath. Everyone has good intentions. 

7. Your child will test your limits and you'll wonder if you are doing anything right. Upon feeling a little overwhelmed, someone will bring you back to reality with a comment such as "your little one was practicing praying over her pretend food tonight in the nursery." Reminders such as this will allow you to continue being intentional as a parent. The difficult day spent with your determined, cranky, stubborn child will dissolve as evening comes to a close and she sweetly hugs and kisses you and folds her little hands when you pray before laying her down in bed. There is difficult, but the overwhelmingly precious moments remind you to stay on course. 

8. In the third trimester, it's entirely possible that you'll burn cake, freeze jello, and lock yourself out of the house wearing no shoes and having no phone to call for help. All you'll be holding is a sack of Chinese food with the look of panic on your face because your child is inside. (Thankfully she was already in bed and fast asleep, and thankfully the dog didn't wake her with his incessant barking, and thankfully you found a neighbor with a garage door battery so you could get back inside within a half hour.) In those moments, be consoled that you're not the only one feeling a tad crazy. 

9. It's going to be okay. You're doing great! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

While We're Waiting

30 more days! One month to go and we will finally meet our second little one and find out boy or girl. We had our last ultrasound last week and we let our daughter come with us. She watched the monitor and kept saying "baby" over and over. I'm not sure if she knows exactly what's going on, but it's cute to hear her say "baby." Our second is charting a bit larger than usual. Why am I not surprised? Please don't be a 10 pound baby, little Hughes! All is well and we are getting more and more excited with each passing day. Until then, here's some links for your week.

When You Finally Get Over Trying To Be Perfect by Sarah Mae

30 Ways To Boost Your Happiness Today by Jennifer Dukes Lee

A Letter To Those Who Teach by Courtney Stanford

Living In The Sweetest Days by Heather Hollander

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