Monday, November 21, 2011

This Time Last Year

Every so often, especially around Thanksgiving, I like to take inventory of the ways that my life has changed throughout the year.  Here are a few things that have changed or impacted me the most.

1. This time last year, I was pregnant and on bed rest, anxiously awaiting hearing my child's heart beat for the first time.  Now, I have a hearty, healthy, happy (and hefty) little girl.  Praise be to God.  For this, Patrick and I are both filled with thankfulness to our Lord.

2. This time last year, Poppop was still alive.  God gave us the most wonderful Christmas season with him--one that, according to the doctors, we shouldn't have had.  We'll miss him so much during the holidays (more so than usual), but I know that my whole family rejoices in the memories of last year.

3. This time last year, I was STILL in college (and on bed rest).  Thanks be to God for giving me understanding professors who let me miss over a month of classes without giving me a hard time.  Finally, at the end of last December, I GRADUATED!  After years of anticipating this very time, I can enjoy the Christmas season without worrying about finals!  I've waited my whole life for this!!!

4. This time last year, I was overweight and pregnant.  At the present time, I have not only achieved a "healthy" weight, but I am twenty pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant!  Although I still have a little ways left to go, I am feeling so much better both physically and emotionally!

5. This time last year, Patrick and I were happily married.  Right now, we're still happily married.  I pray that I'll be able to say "we're still happily married" for the rest of our lives.

For what changes/blessings are you most thankful?  In what ways has God worked in your life this past year?  This time last year . . .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Special Thanks

Special thanks to my wonderful, dear friend Naomi for designing my new blog format!  She is always so creative and good with colors, so I jumped at the opportunity to have her help me out.

Check her blog out here: The Incomplete Works of Anselm for beautiful pictures, mouthwatering (literally) recipes, and solid words of wisdom!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Take Two

Most people who know me probably have realized a few things about me: I love to cook, I love to have people over, and I do not love housework.

True, there are a few things that I enjoy about cleaning.  Bleaching things makes me happy (killing germs: hooray!), I cannot cook in a messy kitchen, therefore tidying it serves a purpose, and loading the dishwasher with dirty things that I can deal with later brings me a small feeling of joy (yes, I did procrastinate throughout college).

Things seem to be my enemy.  Things begin to pile up.  Things not put away immediately turn into a mess.  Once there are a number of things that have been left undone, there are a lot of things that must be done . . . and I find that unpleasant.

In an effort to keep said things from accumulating around the house, I have adopted a new motto: "Take Two!"  Every time I move from one room to the next, I either take two things to be put away or I clean two things.  Through this, cups make it to the dishwasher much sooner, clothes get put away much faster, and the house doesn't deteriorate quite so quickly.  In fact, there is less to be done at once!

While Patrick may not be noticing an immediate difference, I can say that the last two Saturdays have NOT been spent cleaning.  True, a little tidying has been done, but we have actually been able to get more accomplished or (shocker!) actually have some fun!  This last Saturday, we managed to get one home project started and completed--a new ceiling fan in our bedroom . . . with an overhead light!--and we bought the supplies for this week's to-do (sealing our windows).

If you struggle like I do, I challenge you to "take two" and see if things look just a little  bit better around your home!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


You never know when a smile, a kind word, or a sweet gesture will turn around someone's day or week.  In the past three weeks, I have been running on low sleep, zero energy, and two-parts frustration.  Natalie has been waking at least once a night (more often two or three times a night), where as she used to give me a solid 12 hours of sleep.  A few things have kept me plugging away with a little bit more joy in my heart: nursery chats, women's Bible study, and loving support from ladies in our church.

I have to confess that there are times when I linger longer than necessary in the nursery during either church or Sunday school for the mere reason that the women down there are encouraging me in exactly the way(s) that I need.  Whether it is sharing their own stories of parenting babies, encouraging me to continue pressing forward, or offers of prayers and support, I have been so blessed by the ladies in the nursery ministry.  Not only does it provide shoulders for me to cry on, but it also affords me the opportunity to meet and cultivate friendships with many of the women in our church.  I look forward to my time spent in the nursery each week, and I thank all of the women who volunteer down there from the bottom of my heart.

The next wonderful thing in my life right now is Thursday morning women's Bible study.  When I was initially asked to join/participate, a part of my mind said, "Erin--it is going to be sooo difficult to get yourself and the baby out of the house on Thursday mornings!"  Thankfully, the other part of my mind said, "I'd love to--sign me up so that I'm forced to come!"  Since I've been attending, I have gotten to know more women in our church.  My sense of community in the church has increased ten fold as I now have women to pray for every day.  Not only this, but it is wonderful to talk with women who have been in my current shoes and the shoes that I hope to fill one day.  The first and third Thursdays of the month are the highlights of my weeks!

This past week, I was sharing some of my concerns (in a sleep deprived state) with another dear woman from church.  She encouraged me to press onward, shared how she dealt with the same problem with her babies (waking through the night once they reached a certain weight), and all in all made me feel like I could face the week again.  On Monday night, she called me up and offered to take my snack duty for me on Sunday since she knew that I was running on empty.  I almost cried.  Patrick was in the car with me when I had this phone conversation, and I told him that this was just one more reason why I knew that we were HOME and why I loved our church.  I was so thankful for this kind gesture, and I am still thanking God for putting us in a church where there are people who care so much about our family.

As you can tell, God is doing great things in my life right now.  He is bringing new people into my life who are encouraging me, commiserating with me, and giving me the courage to face every day anew.  Despite my lack of sleep the past few weeks, God has filled my heart with joy and thankfulness by bringing new friends into my life.  I doubt these ladies know just how grateful I am for all that they are giving me, but I go on with new resolve in my heart to fight the good fight and to take every day with joy as it comes.