Tuesday, February 28, 2012

measuring up

I've been pretty discouraged the past few days (or months... or years?). Reading all the wonderful things that other ladies are doing in their roles of motherhood. Seriously, awe-inspiring, Godly things! But instead of actually being inspired,  it has crushed my heart. Failure. I'm not doing a good enough job. I should be doing this, that, and the other thing. But I can't even get my floors mopped. 

So when Jason and I sat down to do our daily devo time this morning, I couldn't even read past the first two sentences - since I burst into tears. 
Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role. Above all, stop comparing yourself with other people. This produces feelings of pride or inferiority; sometimes, a mixture of both. I lead each of My children along a path that is uniquely tailor-made for him or her. Comparing is not only wrong; it is also meaningless.
     Don't look for affirmation in the wrong places: your own evaluations, or those of other people. The only source of real affirmation is My unconditional Love. Many believers perceive Me as an unpleasable Judge, angrily searching out their faults and failures. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I died for your sins, so that I might clothe you in My garments of salvation. This is how I see you: radiant in My robe of rightesousness. When I discipline you, it is never in anger or disgust; it is to prepare you for face-to-Face fellowship with me throughout all eternity. Immerse yourself in My loving Presence. Be receptive to My affirmation, which flows continually from the throne of grace.
Lk 6:37, Jn 3:16-17, Is 61:10, Prv 3:11-12
Jesus Calling; Sarah Young

Now, my floors really do need to be mopped, Acacia needs to be taught and disciplined, and I have to squeeze in some activity that fills me. But I can't accomplish these things out of obligation - because it's the "right thing" to do. And having a drill sergeant yelling shots at me all day will do me no good (and that would probably just make me cry). Instead of depending on my own strength, will, and flesh; I need to look to the throne of grace. I can take the great examples in front of me, and pray that God will work in me both to will and to do them. 

Above all; that whatever I accomplish with my day, may it glorify the Lord

Sunday, February 26, 2012

postpartum obsession

My second pregnancy was a far greater, unexpected, unpleasant surprise than the first. From the time I found out through nearly the whole nine months, I was in a state of unhappy confusion.
   Yeah, I know; horrible, but it's the truth.

But something peculiar happened the evening of August 12th that I was not expecting.

My heart burst the very moment when the nurse put my sweet, dumpling, dark haired baby on my belly.

       Ava Ree.

She had me hooked from then on.

I never realized that newborns reveal their personality right out of the womb; until I met Ava.

As I held her, even just looked over at her in the dim lights of the hospital room as she squeaked with every tiny breath, the radiance between us was sweet joy. It was so tangible, I could feel it... and it set my heart in warm, loving blissfulness. 

I thank the Lord so much for her because she is precisely what I needed (I would say "wanted" - but I didn't even know...)

Ava loves to snuggle. Ava's always smiling. 
Ava is full of joy. Ava is content.

The first six months after delivery were hard for me. Beside the hormonal aspects and re-accustoming to 6 weeks of excruciating breastfeeding, I became a mommy of an infant and toddler. I would say another aspect that made it hard was lack of family around... But no - there was no lack of family around for us. In fact, we were a bit crowded with family - living in our home, as I have mentioned before. On top of that, Jason spontaneously decided to really (over?)-devote himself to the young adult ministry at church (his reason being that he didn't want to use family as an excuse to skip out of ministry).

What wasn't hard, not in the least bit, was bonding with my baby.

There were so many times I would snuggle up with her, holding her for dear life, thinking, You're my only one. The only one who loves me. The only one who comforts me. Tears were constantly on the verge of out-pour, especially her first three to four months. I often wondered if I was suffering from postpartum depression; I was withdrawn, irritable, anxious, had no energy, and found little pleasure in life. But my little Ava held me. God sent this sweeter-than-honey child to relieve my soul. I can feel my heart exploding with love and gratitude within me at the remembrance.

It's hard to say if the season would have been so hard even without having a newborn. What I do know is that I received the most perfect newborn for my circumstances.

Thank You, Lord, for showing me the joy in life; 
through Ava Ree

I keep a page recording her sweet progress HERE.

P.S. Since I feel like I have just cheated on Acacia here, I think it necessary to give her praise as well. Acacia is growing kinder with each passing of the sun. She has a loving, motherly personality which melts my heart. She is a little star; singing, dancing, pouncing around humorously. Many times I have been caught in awe of her maturity. I thank the Lord that [it would seem] the "terrible twos" are coming to a close as she nears her third birthday. Though, the thought of that nearly makes me cry - so I try to avoid it. I miss her at six months old. I miss her baby face, her perfect button nose (it still is!), her little hands, her bald head... As the infamous saying goes, "It went too fast".

I think that's why I am really loving Ava - actively, presently, wholeheartedly - as I do: knowing that I'll never get this season to repeat, only reminisce...


Being a mother is so bitter-sweet.

       But right now?

                I'll focus on the sweet.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

update: OCM

So, I think it's time to provide you with a follow up to my post about The Oil Cleansing Method.

It has been over a month now and my face is erupting.

       Just kidding.

It's doing wonderfully! I definitely recommend the OCM.

I'm still using the same bottle that I made in the first place (50% castor oil to 50% olive oil). But I do think that the next batch I make will lean more heavily on the EVOO -- since I'll get a teensy bit flaky on the nose and cheeks (maybe 40/60?).

I am thoroughly impressed with this method of cleansing. My face has not had one blemish in over a month now (two months including the miracle month before trying the OCM.) I feel so much more confident about the skin I'm in. I've grown to enjoy the massage I give myself as I gently - but firmly - rub the oil on. I have already had a number of very stubborn pores clean themselves out and I see a lot of open pores that are making towards the same progressive goal - clean, empty, and functioning! [TMI: Seriously, I had this one by the side of my lip that I thought I'd have to live with the rest of my life -- but no! - it cleaned out just last night!] The hot "steaming" with the washcloth is probably my most favorite step. I take deep slow breaths and try to let go of all the stress of my day. An added bonus is that this stuff removes all my make-up! Hooray!

I look forward to the future; hoping that my skin will purge out the gunk and I'll be left with a brilliant complexion!

For now, I'm enjoying the supple skin and healthy glow I see in my reflexion each night.

Friday, February 3, 2012


A soft answer turns away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger
Proverbs 15:1

Some time after Acacia started exploring her behavioral boundaries I learned my Moses-mommy concept.

Moses represented God to the Hebrew people. He led them, cared for them, and kept them in line. But Moses was not perfect - he fell short in correctly representing God (<- follow that link for the passage)

In their wanderings through the wilderness the children of Israel were complaining... again. God ordered for Moses to simply speak to a rock to bring out water to the thirsty people. Sick of the attitudes he was seeing, he lost control and acted indignantly; he smote the rock (and in this anger, he did it, not only once, but twice). Moses' sin was not that he disobeyed God's orders -- but that he misrepresented God. Moses did not please the Lord with his behavior towards His children and he suffered sad consequences for it: not leading the Israelites into the Promised Land.

I'm not exactly sure at which point I made this parallel, but it has been heavy on my heart for quite some time. The Lord has made me leader, lover, and representer to my children. It is a hefty responsibility to carry, but He has chosen me for the position [obviously! -or I wouldn't have these two little munchkins]. When I lash out at Acacia in frustration, I am not depicting my patient, kind, and merciful Father. How can I hold hands with Acacia praying before a meal and in the next moment be slamming my hand down on the table because she wants something different to eat?

As He has shown me what Love is, I must likewise carry this Love over to my little ones. I see the way my poor reaction crushes her spirit. It breaks my heart to know that I have reacted wrongly at the expense of my dear child.

Of course, there are times when Acacia needs a firm and steady rebuke. But never should I react angrily, by my actions or cutting words.

I will also note that disobedience demands discipline [most of the time; it's good to show mercy and grace as well].
For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines...     
Hebrews 12:6
So, if Acacia is acting rebelliously, I implement appropriate consequences. Because I love her, I want her to learn characteristics (respect, obedience, patience) and sometimes the only way to learn is the "hard" way. The crucial part is to be a parent with Godly character, responding in the proper manner. My guide is to look at the fruit of the Spirit:
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...  
Galations 5:22
My challenge this year is to respond in a fruitful way rather than a destructive way. May God give me grace to represent Him, and mercy when I fail.