Monday, October 28, 2013

Rinse and Repeat

I read an article a friend shared a week or two ago, and I found an "Aha" quote.  I loved it, times ten, but I felt conflicted sharing it because the article was about stay-at-home moms.  I hate delving into the Mommy Wars, particularly stay-at-home vs. working, mainly because I've done both and I know that both are equally difficult.  The common denominator in both is "mother", and THAT is the hard part.  Anyways, that is a different topic and I don't want to go down that tangent.  

Now, if at all possible, please unpack all that you've just read so that you don't read into the implication that I am in any way saying that the following quote applies to the stay-at-home vs working argument.  It doesn't.  I mean, in the article it does, but for the purpose of this post it does not.  Okay?  Okay.  Back to the quote:  

We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we’ve idolized “being busy,” and confused it with being “important.” You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy.  ~ Matt Walsh 


As a mom of three littles, I can tell you that I don't have a lot of down time.  Like, at all.  Last week, I started getting sick.  When Mommy's sick, the house falls apart.  Heck, when Mommy's NOT sick, the house falls apart around here.  Ha!  There is always something to do.  Somebody needs water, milk, cheerios, nap, wiped, medicine, clean underwear, bath, story read, help with homework, clothes changed, driven to soccer, etc., etc., rinse and repeat.  While I would not change any of it for the world, I assure you that the responsibility weighs heavy on me some days.  My busy is in the mundane.  I know it is all important, though.  Shaping young ones is important.  Some days I wonder how good I'm really doing, though.  And that's where God's grace picks up, Amen!  

Outside of the messy and mundane busyness, I throw more busy on my pile from all kinds of other places (with good intentions of course).  It gets to the point that I don't even have time to think about allowing myself to be used where God wants me because I don't have the time to stop there and get to all the other places I'm supposed to be.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I'll tell you why.....our society and our country put value and worth on how much we have on our to do list each day.  When there are days where I don't have anything going on (outside of the mundane), I feel guilty about it.  What is that about?  Mornings (like today) when I sit and type are turned into what I shoulda woulda coulda been doing with my time.  Such is the American life.

When I was preparing to go to Costa Rica two years ago (Two years???), I researched life in Costa Rica.  Many people from the US retire in CR because of its laid-back nature.  Some from the US can not handle CR, though, because it is too far from the norm of their lives in the States.  In CR, if you ask someone to come to your house to fix something (or whatever) and they tell you they'll be there "maƱana", it could be tomorrow when you see them, but it will most likely be the next day, or the next day, or the next week.  Things are just not in a hurry down there.  It's called "Tico Time".  Days that are full of opportunities.  Days that are full of ways to be used for God's Glory.  Days that are nothing like a day in the life of an American.  We have convenienced ourselves to the point of expecting immediate gratification and immediate results with every single area of our lives, including our relationship with God.  If we can't have a prayer answered right now, then we'll just figure out how to make it work ourselves.  That works SO well, doesn't it?  We fill up every single minute of our waking hours (and sometimes hours that should be reserved for sleeping) with stuff, worldly stuff, and none of it will make a hill of beans by next week, let alone tomorrow.  

While being too busy plagues all of us sometimes, it should never plague us ALL of the time.  I know too many people like that.  There is no room in their life for one ounce of spontaneity or deviation.  I have been trying my best to not let that happen to me, but at times, I end up there.  How can God use me if I'm not freed up a little more, though?  You are not important (even though you may feel that way) just because you are strung out way too thin.  The number of items on your to do list does not define your worth.  The lack of items on your to do list does not define your worth.  If it is not eternal, it is not important.  Period.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to feed a child lunch, pick a child up from school, pick another child up from another school, take a child to her dance Halloween party, come home and get ready for a soccer game, get home, feed kids, bathe kids, put kids to bed, crash.  Rinse and repeat.

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:14

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. ~ Colossians 3:1-3

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Romans 3:23

I wrote the following post after the Boston Marathon but never published it.  I remembered it this morning, though, as our nation began to reflect on the acts committed 12 years ago (has it really been that long?).  Thought it was worth finally posting since it's how I still feel today about our desperate need to seek approval that we are "not as bad as those people were".

This week, an unimaginable thing happened.  Two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the famous Boston Marathon.  As if I needed another reason (excuse) to not run a marathon.  All joking aside, this was another travesty in our nation and another time when I had to turn my TV off after I found out the details I wanted to know.  I know I can't shelter my kids forever, but I am just not ready/competent enough to explain these things to them at their age.  Charlee is terrified of so many things that I don't want to throw another thing in there for her to be scared of.  Now, if she were to ask me about it (I did have the news on while she was in the room.), then I'd stumble through the best and most comforting way I could manage.

After 9/11, I was glued to cable news.  I left my TV on all night and went nearly blind from trying to read the scrolling news at the bottom to make sure I wasn't missing anything.  I was in college.  I mean, what college kid obsesses about what's going on globally and nationally?  That's what 9/11/01 did to so many of us.  I'm at a different point in my life, I guess.  I want to know what's going on, and I keep up to speed on most things happening around the world, but I don't indulge in it.  I can't.  I don't want to feel powerless like I do when I indulge.  This is why as soon as I heard about the Newtown school shooting, I didn't watch a single news coverage of it.  I mean, not one.  We were resigned to Nick Jr. and Disney Channel.  (Who am I kidding?  That's what we're ALWAYS resigned to.  Ha!)  I knew the main details of what happened from scrolling through my Facebook News Feed that day, but I had a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and a 2-month-old and couldn't let my mind go there.  Still can't.  Several Facebook friends have posted links to a video about Gosnell, an abortion doctor on trial.  I can't go there, either.  I know in the back of my mind what he did, but I can't watch it.  Can't even read it.  I read about him when he first went on trial, and that's enough.

Now, I feel like we should know about the injustices and evil things occurring in our world.  I don't know why, other than just to be informed and to feel the true weight of our NEED to utterly rely on Jesus.  I don't want to live in a bubble and believe that everything is hunky-dorey just because it is in my little world.  Going to Costa Rica totally opened my eyes to so many things in my life, in my church, in my country, and I think that was such an important realization that I will never forget.  I want to be sheltered, though, to all of this violence and mass chaos.  I want to cling to Jesus and remember that I do not belong in this world.  So, I guess it's okay that I don't immerse myself in all the negative coverage, right?  I mean, show me a story about awesome work that God has done.  That's what I want to see!

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I have seen a quote quite a few times by an actor/comedian.  The quote basically says that we should focus on the fact that there are more good people in the world than evil and that we should always remember that we outnumber the evil ones.  He says that we wouldn't be here if humanity was inherently evil because we would have "eaten ourselves".  Humanity is good.  Take comfort in that.  Lots of people have been comforted by this quote this week.  Let me tell you something:  It has bothered me to no end.  Even if I look past the fact that he is a self-professed atheist and that he started the quote with an "F bomb", it is just not true.  Humanity is not inherently good.  The Bible specifically says that mankind is fallen.  We are sinners who don't even seek God, the only perfect and worthy One who deserves our utmost and constant focus.  Humans are selfish.  Yes, that includes me.  "But I'm saved," you say, "I'm a Christian."  If that's the case, then you only do good works through the Power of Jesus Christ through you.  You can't do anything good on your own.  It may look "good" from the surface, but you are not "good" in and of yourself.  Bummer, right?  Such an offensive thought for so many Americans.  "What?  You're calling Americans selfish?"  Why, yes.  Yes, I am.  So are Canadians, Italians, Australians, etc., etc.  Everyone is out for themselves.  No one seeks God by his own will.  

Now, the problem I have with the quote and with the entire sentiment that a tragedy like this brings forth is that it is an opportunity for our selfish minds to look at the attacker or the attack and think:  Man, something incredibly evil and selfish did that.  I could never fathom doing something so heinous.  For the large majority of us, we would never do or even fathom something so inconceivable.  Because of that, though, we will blindly believe that that makes us "good" and incapable of "evil".  This is just wrong.  While tragedies such as this cause an emotional reaction in all of us (unless we are just heartless), emotions don't bring about true change, true repentance, or true "good".  Emotions can lead you to church (this happened after 9/11 when many returned to churches or went for the first time seeking something to give them hope, peace, joy).  Emotions can't save you and make you "good", though.  Only Jesus Christ and His saving grace can do that. 

Where am I going with this?  I'm afraid that quotes like this and sentiments that we should "focus on the good in the world" will lead us to believe that we are not that bad, that we don't need saving because we are good.  Because if we were truly bad, we would be able to commit terrible acts such as these.  The problem with that is we ARE capable of committing terrible acts against a Holy and Pure God, and we do it every day.  That alone will send us to our demise.  If America doesn't realize how depraved the human condition is and how we are all destined for destruction by our own accord, then we will never see the need to turn to Christ, the only one who can save us. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Landry Fay Castle

Well, it's been 4 months.  4 whole months!!  Or has it been years?  Sure feels like it.  Not in a bad way, of course, but just seems like our Landry Fay Fay has been here so much longer.  I've been wanting to blog about her birth, but to be honest, 3 kids is HARD WORK!

On October 14th, just a few short days after my last post, I woke up around 4 in the morning with contractions that were coming maybe every 10 minutes or so.  They weren't very consistent, and they didn't hurt much at all.  Since I was having C-section #3, though, I didn't want to wait too long before going to the hospital if this was the real thing.  Short story about Barrett's birth:  my doctor told me I would only have to have consistent contractions for a couple of hours at home before I needed to come in so that the repeat section could be done.  I waited until the contractions really started hurting, though, because I wanted to be sure it was real labor.  Imagine my surprise when I showed up at the hospital, my doctor being out of town, and the on-call doctor didn't want to be bothered with getting out of bed and coming in for little ole me until 6 hours later!  She wasn't too keen on giving me anything for the pain either, and there was pain.  Lots and lots of pain.  After quite a bit of flak from the less-than-friendly nurses, I was finally able to get an epidural since on-call doc wanted to still wait a couple more hours before performing my surgery.  Yea.  Fun stuff.  Good thing I wasn't all concerned about my uterus rupturing or anything.  Barrett came, though, healthy and perfect in every way so all was good.  Fast-forward back to me on a Sunday morning trying to decide if I go in immediately to the hospital (which is what my doctor told me to do), or do I go to church, or do I stick around the house until I know for sure I'm really in labor.  I mean, this is the 3rd time.  You think it'd be easier to tell by now.  Nope.  They're ALL different!  I finally gave in and we headed to the hospital around 9 because I was very nervous about having to stay in pain for so long again.  I wanted to get there before it started really hurting.  Almost my whole pregnancy, I prayed and prayed that I wouldn't have to go through what I went through with Barrett.  I know, I know ~ it's labor.  Every mother has done it for centuries.  This chick can't take it, though.  I read one time that red heads have more pain receptors in their bodies, and I can agree 100% when it comes to labor contractions.  Call me a weenie.  I don't care!  Anyways, I got to the hospital and waited around for, you guessed it, another on-call doctor.  Thankfully, not the same one from previous time.  She was at an emergency at another hospital, but the lovely woman that she is, she ordered pain meds and something to stop the contractions BEFORE they ever started hurting.  Bless her times 5000!

After waiting much of the day, the contractions finally starting really hurting and none of the meds to stop them were working.  The doctor arrived and could tell how much pain I was starting to get into, and she became my best friend because she spoke ninety-to-nothing (which is awesome when you are totally ready to get the show on the road) and she ordered C-section prep right away.  Yummy concoction was swallowed and I was wheeled off to surgery.  Got my spinal and was overjoyed at the relief I immediately felt after they tilted me so that the numbness traveled from my feet to my chest.  Ahhhhh.  :) I then got to focus on the conversation between the anesthesia folks and the nurses until the doctor came in.  A short time later, 5:09 pm to be exact, little MISS Castle came out just a wailin'.  The doctor said, "Well, what do you think?  Boy or Girl?"  I must not have heard this, because all I heard was Chandler say, "Boy!"  So I said, "It's a Boy?!"  "Nope ~ a GIRL!"  Such a rush of wonderful emotions.  I highly, highly recommend waiting to find out what you're having!  SO cool.  Doctor told us she was a feisty one, then brought her over for us to see.  Perfectly round and beautiful little t-tiny head.  SO sweet!  I couldn't believe how small she was but how big her feet and fingers were!

When we got back to recovery, our family showed up.  We wanted Charlee and Barrett to be the first to know if their new sibling was a boy or girl, so Chandler sent out texts that just said Baby is here.  :)  Charlee and Barrett were so excited about their new sister, but Charlee was a little scared to come anywhere near me because I was throwing up (yes, right there in front of everyone who had come to see us.  I started throwing up while still in surgery and didn't stop until well into the night.  NOT fun to be feeding a baby and throwing up at the same time.).  Poor Charlee thought she would get sick if she got too close to me.  She didn't, though :) and she got to come back the next day and introduce herself to her little sis up close and personal.  In true Chandler and Jamie fashion, our new little girl remained nameless for a couple of days.  We finally decided she was the perfect "Landry" and just needed to add a middle name.  We named her "Fay" after her NanNan and her Nannie, and it couldn't be more perfect for her.  Her nickname now is Landry Fay Fay.  :)

Look at that foot!

Our traditional Mommy, Daddy, Baby picture :)

Recovery from this C-section has been a little rough, but I'm doing a lot better now and only have a little bit of back pain left.  We went through something new with number three, a touch of colic every night for 3 hours from 4 weeks old to about 12 weeks.  We survived, thankfully, and Landry is doing so much better and sleeps fairly well for us.  Not consistently sleeping through the night yet, but we do get a break once every few nights.  She wakes up less than the 5-year-old, so that's good, right?  Life with 3 is definitely an adjustment, but I wouldn't trade those 3 sweet things for anything.  Barrett hasn't been an ounce of trouble with her, he loves her and is so sweet with her.  Charlee loves having another girl in the house, and just loves seeing Landry wear her old clothes.  So do I.  Girl clothes are just so much cuter than boys'!  Sweet Landry has totally shaken up our Castle and we are all completely smitten with her.  More fun to come, and I can't wait!