Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monthly purge

I can't explain what happens to me when the house goes quiet and I sit down with a blank piece of blog paper in front of me. Many of you have read along for years and you may remember there was a season before life exploded and there wasn't nearly a day I would miss the chance to sit down and put the stuff on the inside- out and available for anyone. I actually enjoy writing more than animal crackers which if you have known me longer than this blog you know that is a whole lot. At one point in college I calculated that I had spent close to $600 on animal crackers in about 5 years. I was concerned by that number and decidely quit but it didn't last long. So as you see I really do enjoy stringing my thoughts together on paper or on here but I don't like to edit and reread so I have never made a solid writer with real credentials. I worked for the Atlanta paper in high school and one summer after and it proved to me that getting paid for what you love to do isn't always the best thing, especially if you aren't a rule follower. So like my writing, much of who I once that I was has gone by the waist side for a bit. I know full well that the "she" that I once thought I knew is there but there just isnt a spare second to develop her character right now. (And even as I write that I chuckle on the inside knowing that what I am doing now is molding me more into who I really am anyway than any of the writing, exercising, hostessing, party planning, trip taking, exploring ever would do.)

I say all that because I am so surprised at my half-efforts made to come here, to one of my favorite places to unwind. I would think even among 60 extremeties to be cut every 3rd day and the diaper trash that goes out atleast daily (I'll worry about my carbon foot print on another day) that I would find a few minutes to steal to atleast get a little writing done.... a little part of the true me out there..but as you have seen.....it just doesn't happen. But neither do alot of things. If anything profound comes from this season it is that I have learned the art of loving myself and I have slowly learned to give myself grace and not be so hard on the me that can't seem to do the things I used to do....even with just two kids. I can't believe that I was any better at paying attention to my talents and ambitions just one short kid ago?!?! Somehow, 3 has been the number that has broken me, and I am truly grateful it has....

Because it has allowed us the pleasure of truly living in the moment.

It's raining now and it will probably rain for a few days so come Thursday I may change my mind but for now I am being romanced by the rain. The boys and I sat in the garage earlier today just smelling the rain as it just began. Then on our way into our favorite rainy day lunch at Chick fil A we found every puddle in our path and made sure to get wet enough to leave foot prints once inside. I will never claim to have the patience or creativity of a teacher but in the car today me and the big boys talked for atleast 10 minutes (which is a long time in toddler years) about the rain and how it comes from God, nourishes the trees and the flowers, and it is a gift to us. Then, for one of the first times in his short three years, Brooks, started to pretend he was on a ship in the water (while we were driving) and he was opening his map to find our way home. I never thought hearing your child pretend would be so beautiful? Would you read into all of this with me? Many of you may be bored by our little morning but I just have to write these things down because I know that they will go and be gone quickly and how I would have hated to have been on my phone during all of that. How I will want to have had a real memory, deep, deep down of our often long days together - even the ones drenched in rain.

This isn't at all where I thought this little "monthly purge" would go but that is what I love about this living in the moment type of thing that I have finally started to appreciate. Honestly, before this most recent season (aka - 3 years and 3 kids)I was always looking for the next date on my calendar or the next trip, or the next milestone to celebrate. Lately, the conversations in the rain and the 20 minutes playing with the boys deep inside the slide at the park hold even more excitement for me than anything else. Having our kids close together has done this to me. It's shown me just how quickly each phase goes by. Brad said it best the other day and it sunk deep in my gut and it kinda hurt. He said, "Just think...William will be 3 in a year and 3 seems to be the point where things are a little more easy so by this time next year we'll be 2/3'rds of the way through with the hard stuff." Ouch. He didn't mean it to wish away where we are but more as a high place to look to...a place to set our sights. But in my gut I wanted to melt into a puddle. Though an easier season would probably do all of us some good around here - I don't want it to come quickly for any reason...not even for the thought of throwing out the diapers or donating one of our now THREE cribs to a new family or having anymore time to myself. It is obvious, I have never been more needed (and physically drained) in my 30 years but I have also never felt more useful. For so many years leading up to my plunge into motherhood I just wanted to be used. I didn't need to make a ton of money or be the best at whatever my title was - but I did want to feel like I contrubuted. FInally after all of that searching and praying, I know I am contributing, even without the paycheck or daily kudos from coworkers to prove it. And there is so much to be said for feeling available to do whatever it is you are truly needed to do. For my sake, I am grateful I wasn't deep in the middle of a demanding and satisfying career when the call to mother children came my way. I know it would be impossible for me to be excellent at both and that is all I ever wanted...to be all in to one thing. To be all about it no matter the sacrifice.

The other big secret of this season of life that we are in is that you don't have to make sense to anyone but the 5 people within your own walls. Often I tell people that my family feels so fragile right now. There isn't a more perfect word. The big boys would mimic someone skipping into 285-traffic if they had even the slightest ounce of trust in that person. This makes the world all of a sudden seem like such a threat, from the things on tv to the words in the songs on even B 98.5, to the way a toddler friend treats his little sibling. They are sponges and it seems my job is to filter the water that touches their surface. But then there's me.....I am an even bigger sponge. Being a mom is a weird role in many ways....of course I am interested in how everyone else is doing it but only because somewhere along the way something taught me that I didn't know how to do it in the first place. My most freeing days are when I unplug from social media, turn off the tv, put down the parenting book, and think for myself about how I would like to train, rebuke, teach, love and instruct my little people. Our most natural moments come when I draw from within me....what my mama taught me and what is in my core and then decide for myself and for our family how we should preceed. I finally get the silly saying my mom always said about everyone else jumping off that bridge.

And with that - I have found myself more confidently saying no. Can you feel the burden fall off my shoulders just writing that? It has never felt so good to JUST SAY NO. No, we are not going out of town for a short 24 hour trip even to a fun place with our fragile little family, no we are not buying an ipad for the three year old (yet), no I can't come tonight...it just won't work for us. The other theme these days is "what is simple?" Dinners are simple, weekends are simple, birthday gifts are often homemade, morning activities involve a few solo cups and some string, and with these short little words - no and simple- I have experienced more authentic joy than all of the alternatives combined. The best part is - for the first time ever I don't feel the need to explain to anyone either. For one of the first time's ever - it doesn't have to make sense to every one else. It just has to fall in line with our values and our priorities. Though we may be fragile right now, we do have a well fortified wall around us because of these boundaries we have set. We are on a lock down of sorts but inside these walls it feels so darn good...and, it's oh so cozy, therefore, I don't mind the looks or comments or opinions one bit. What a sweet place to live!

Aptly, this is what I have been reading over and over and over this month and if you know me well or have texted me for any reason in the last few weeks I have probably sent you on your way with these beautiful words. This is from Psalm 138. How perfectly lovely and pleasing to a mom, a daughter, a wife, a husband, anyone..... These few words speak so much louder to me than any pat on the back or 100th like on facebook. These words assure me that I am known, no matter how far away from myself I feel and no matter who understands what I am up to these days. What perfect, perfect words on this perfectly rainy day.
Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit down and you know when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain.
Psalm 138

And here are just a few of the smiles that make the long days worth it all. Trust me, there are just as many whiney hours, nose bleeds, scrapes, and tongue biting moments so it isn't always tied in a pretty blue bow but hopefully you know that about us anyway.Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Needed this today

I have had this blog in my inbox for a few days and just got around to reading it. It was the perfect timing.

10 Ways to be a Happier Mom (by Ann Voskamp)
1. Life is not an emergency.

Life’s a gift.
Just. Slow. Down.

2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace.

Do whatever it takes to wake to wonder right here.

3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy.

Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and memorize it.

Without the lens of His Word, the world warps.

{Slowest=fastest to joy}

4. Laughter is the cheapest, holiest medicine.

Preschoolers laugh 300 times a day. Aim for double that. Tickle someone, (yourself!), if necessary. This is good!

5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace.

Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege.

Never forget.

6. Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection.

A perfect home is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Christ and Beauty are embraced.

{Perfect does not equate to immaculate.}

7. A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over.

A minute dawdled here, a minute scrolling here — they can add up to your life. Write down your intentions for the day and prayerfully ive the intentions and spend your life well by paying attention to the moments — which pays thanks to God.

A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.

8. Believe it: I have all I need for today.

The needs of our day are great but our God is greater and we call Him Providence because we believe: He is the One who always provides.

{And when God provides, He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn’t praise always be on the lips?}

9. Slow. Children at play.

The hurry hurts the kids.

Time’s this priceless currency and only the slow spend it wise enough to be rich.

If we had to actually buy our time, would we spend it more wisely — spend it more slowly?

{God’s Word never says Hurry Up. God words only whisper: Wake Up.}

10. Love is patient.

Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him.

Patience. Love always begins with patience and patience is a willingness to suffer.


The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right – but about receiving Grace.

The sinners and the sick, the broken, the discouraged, the wounded and burdened — we are the ones who get to celebrate grace!

Regardless of the mess of your life, if Christ is Lord of your life, than we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace — because when it’s all done and finished, all is well and Christ already said it was finished.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Original post here. This one may sound like I am a paid food blogger but I think it's just my post pregnancy appetite on fire. Hello maternity clothes still in play almost 3 months after birth! And, yes, these are all truly blessings I want to remember one day when these little years are so far away or even one day in the near future when I can't find anything positive in the minutia of the day. These are more than just "likes" - they are heart felt little things that make my heart swell with gratitude.
58. Baby giggles. OH. MY. WORD.
59. Matching outfits (so I can easily tell when one is missing)

This picture also reminds me how much I love trips to Costco for entertainment and on Saturdays for a good meal worth of samples!
60. Trying new restaurants
61. Fresh seafood in Atlanta

62. Grandparents close enough to visit
63. TOMS on little boys
64. Summer tomatoes from a friends garden
65. Pink tennis shoes or anything pink with all the testosterone in my house
66. The netti pot - ewww
67. Le Croix on a hot day
68. a VIDEO monitor! Yes, after 3 kids we FINALLY caved and yall....I AM ADDICTED. Hi, my name is Betsy and I am obsessed with watching my child in a scary way.
69. Baby fat rolls at all the right places, wrists, ankles, above the elbow
70. new baby boy bedding for the nursery (after 3 straight years we needed some new spunk)
71. Alessi White Balsamic and those summer tomatoes (with fresh mozzarella)
72. My mother in laws fresh pound cake sent just for me (so I ate the crust off of half of it before I decided to share)
73. 3 year old giggles (aka driving while videoing your children who undid their carseats)74. 2 year old bed hair
75. An unexpected weekend with only the baby and the baby's daddy
76. Dinner out with my favorite person
77. Dinner out again with my favorite person and brother and sister in law
78. Dinner with those 3 over 4 hours and a few bottles of wine
79. Internet shopping
80. A quiet car when the toddlers are at grandmas
81. My favorite trees in our back yard blooming for the 2nd time this summer
82. PEACH COBBLER ICE CREAM. OH MY STARS. This better be in heaven.
83. Hearing my babies laugh and say they "wuv me" over the phone
84. Our new preschool starting in a few weeks - an answer to prayer!
85. Afternoon thunderstorms
86. My abs starting to hurt again because they have been used
87. Sleep. Ahhh. What a miracle.
89. Recalling what we were doing during the last olympics....before 3 kids and 3 moves!
90. The view from Brad's office on the 20th floor.
91. Strolling the mall while the kids are away...wasting time like I used to when my biggest worry was what I might wear out that weekend
92. And taking 2 hours to work out and then even take a long shower just because I can
93. Words with friends to make me feel like I am with some of my favorite friends
94. A mosquito free yard to enjoy
95. Baby dancing (kicking) on the floor after a good meal
96. Feeling those first date type of sparks again - almost 5 years later
97. Watching a man work in his yard with pride
98. Sweet prayer time with a friend - the kind that never ends without sweet tears
99. Planning parties
100. The good feeling I get after knowing I finished my water bottle for the day
101. A new dress
102. A manicure with my mama
103. A goofy baby 104. An oversized teddy bear, aka wrestling toy and cuddle friend

104. Potty training successes
105. A fun, private back yard

106. Precious baby time that only happens when the big boys are sleeping

107. Talking like a baby when you swore you never would
108. Staying up too late to watch the London Olympics
109. Laying 5 deep in "daddy's bed" to watch diving together (and clapping excitedly after every dive)
110. The Sandy Springs farmers Market on Saturday's
111. Clean baseboards. And a good workout.
112. Pandora on the radio computer while cleaning
113. Nutella for breakfast
114. Nutella anytime
115. Nursing a baby while eating Nutella and knowing atleast a bite of the calories have already been burned
116. Nursing a baby

Stay tuned...