Saturday, November 26, 2016

Word Power

Words have power. We all know that. This time of year, especially, the focus is heavy on the messages we tell ourselves while we consider what we are grateful for (confession: I obviously drafted this before Thanksgiving).

Our family has been counting God's gifts to us by writing them on a Gratitude Pumpkin this week (that's about my level of holiday crafting). I've been surprised by how much the kids have gotten into it, although there has been a certain amount of naming off whatever random objects Tiny's eyes light on. I finally had to start asking the kids why they were grateful for things before sharpie-ing them onto the Pumpkin. I drew the line at writing on "TV stand".

The Pumpkin sits on our kitchen table the rest of the day, and the kids have fun spinning it around looking for their favorite items on the list. Bee wants to find her sister's name every time. Littles wants to find his entry for "moon songs" (it's a long story). And Tiny consistently wants whatever is written immediately next to whatever Littles is looking at so that they can fight over who gets which side of the Pumpkin. It's been fun to not only write out what we're grateful for, but then to get to talk about it as the week progresses. Fighting aside.

Last week I also indulged myself in a little bit of artistic word power, by painting one of my favorite biblical blessings on our entry wall (which refuses to accept nails, screws, or any alternative ways to hang artwork). I enjoyed my time painting, but I've loved even more getting to talk to the kids about what the words mean and being reminded of what really matters as I go through my daily routines (specifically mounds of laundry and adventures in twin potty training). It is good to remind myself that God's peace is with me as I mop up pee puddles.

I've been thinking a lot about the narratives we tell ourselves since we found out I was pregnant again. After the initial shock, I felt the need to apologize and to explain. I hated that everybody "didn't know the whole story". It then became hard to let go of my need to tell everyone the Whole Story. One of the ways that I came to terms with our new reality was to reframe the narrative for myself. Instead of seeing baby number 5 as just another surprise baby, I started thinking about her as a bonus baby. In my mind, I told myself that this was similar to an opportunity for extra credit points on a project or the chance to work overtime for double the pay. For some odd reason, that made it more fun for me. We're having a Bonus Baby!

Regardless, I want to challenge myself daily to think about the narrative that I am telling myself and others. Does my story sound like this: I'm already floundering with four kids. How in the world am I going to handle another? Or like this: Our kids are so much fun, we get to have another! Am I allowing myself to stay in the frustrations of the moment or looking for the things for which I can say thank you? Am I letting myself by overwhelmed by the tyranny of the urgent or trying to remind myself of truth while dealing with those still definitely urgent items (there is pee on the floor here, people!)?

Our words may not change our reality but they truly can shift the way we deal with said reality. I hope that when I pick the truth I tell myself and others that I pick a truth that encourages and challenges over a truth that disheartens and weakens.

{The pictures of the kids are from July. I never shared them, and now months later, thought you'd enjoy them along with us.}

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Birthday Gift to Me

My thirtieth birthday gift to myself is to start blogging again.

This pregnancy has been hard on the blog. I've been tired (physically and emotionally and mentally) and since there are no screaming children demanding that I blog, I haven't done so. A large part of me has considered letting the blog go completely. I could sit myself comfortably in any number of excuses (brain too fried from homeschooling, exhausted from tantruming two year old twins, ran out of funny stories, stopped learning new things...).

But then I remember why I do this: because I like to and because it's a part of who I am that has absolutely nothing to do with my precious children. Sometimes that's enough reason.

Honestly, that's a lot of the same answer that I give when people ask why I've kept running this pregnancy. And I have been asked quite a lot. It's not like anyone is forcing me to go run, and it's not like people wouldn't understand if I stopped. But I like to run and it's a part of who I am that has absolutely nothing to do with my precious children.

So I'm going to look at this blog much like I look at running while 7 months pregnant. It might be painful. It may be sporadic. And there will be some hilarious moments when I look like some kind of cross between a waltzing hippopotamus and a spasming penguin, but we will get there. Though it may be slow and short and with several stops to allow for cramping or bathroom breaks.

Here we go.