Sunday, July 28, 2013

Update: Learning & Life in Louisville

So, last week I had one of *those* mornings...  the kind that comes on like a late afternoon thunderstorm in July - quick and fierce.  The kind that comes after a perfect day, a day of gratitude, a day of strength -- when you really look and realize in amazement how God's plan is so much better than you could've ever planned it yourself, when your spirited and energetic boy is as sweet as South Carolina peaches, when the sun is literally golden and you think in the words of Bob Marley, "every little thing is gonna be alright"...

I've heard it said and know it to be true that we tend to be most vulnerable to "temptation" or a "spiritual attack" when we are in a "sweet spot".  We subconsciously begin to let down our spiritual guards and begin coasting on feel-good-vibes and Bible passages we read last week.

The whole morning wasn't a total loss, but rather a particular moment stands out -- a failing on my part as a mama.  I had originally planned to dissect this event in a play-by-play run down of my failings, but after a little sleep and a little prayer I don't believe that would be helpful to anyone.  I desire to cultivate a heart of grace within myself and within my family, and I am finding that giving grace to oneself can often be the hardest.

It can also be hard to remember that 3 is still so exploratory - exploring limits, exploring environments, exploring attitudes and feelings.  It can be hard not to take my 3-year-old's behavior personally -- like a reflection of my parenting skills -- his disobedience shouting to the world that I have trouble setting boundaries, while his good manners say that I have invested my time in teaching him "to mind his P's and Q's".  Of course, this is no standard by which I would judge another parent because I know that a child's behavior does not a good or bad parent make.  Again, giving grace to oneself is hard.  It's also hard to reconcile the way I was parented with the way I parent.  I feel like this is totally new territory.  This is in no way a dig at my precious Grandparents, just an observation that we have very different styles of parenting that stem from various backgrounds, personal situations, and generational differences.  Also, given the sudden addition of a 3 year old into their later years of life, I think they did a great job of "grandparenting" me; I am beyond thankful for God's wisdom and mercy in giving me these two wise and God-fearing influences.

So, in light of all of this there are 3 key lessons that we are working toward with Bowen.  They are obedience, respect, and self control.  I have begun teaching him Bible verses to help us both in the middle of a difficult situation.  Yes, I am teaching my 3 year old Bible verses.  Not something I ever imagined myself doing, but this is one way I was parented and it is the best reference for teaching character.  If I want my children to know and follow after the heart of the Father I must teach and model what God says in His love story to us -

  1. Obedience -- this is a given for our family.  We believe that our children must learn to obey their authority/parents in order to learn to be successful in society and in order to learn to have a heart of obedience toward our Heavenly Father.  While I do not expect immediate obedience, I do expect obedience.  Ephesians 6:1 "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."  
  2. Respect -- especially in the way he speaks to me.  He has less trouble speaking to Josh respectfully.  I do not expect him to be happy all the time.  In fact, I *want* him to express a healthy range of feelings and emotions.  What I do expect is that he express those emotions respectfully.  Ephesians 6:2, "Honor your Father and your Mother - which is the first commandment with a promise.  So that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy a long life on the earth."
  3. Self Control -- this is an area that we really struggle with.  Young children are naturally exuberant and kinetic.  Bowen does everything with gusto!  But we want to teach him to express that energy in appropriate ways.  We try to build in periods of time during our day for movement and energy use - walks, riding bikes, time at the playground, etc.   Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law."   

I am struggling a little here in Louisville.  That's not to say that we don't have wonderful days.  We go for walks, to parks, to the library.  We read books and make meals and attend church and playgroups.  We spend as much time as we can with Josh, but his hours are varied and long and, through no fault of his own, he has very little left to give when he finally returns home.  The tragedies and heart-break he is dealing with at work make me so grateful for the life we have.  I do my best to relieve him of too much pressure or commitment to me but it's harder with Bowen.  Right now all Bowen has is me and his Daddy, and he doesn't understand the other commitments that occupy our hearts and minds.  I have a lot of guilt because all Bowen has is "me".  He constantly wants me to play with him, to occupy the time we spend at home...  in the middle of my life and stress and loneliness I just don't always have the desire or energy to engage in "play".  I struggle with wanting him to be more independent (because I know he will need some independence when his baby sister comes) and wanting him to stay my little boy.  I'm struggling to find that balance and a little terrified of what's to come with two...

On a happier note we are praising God for several things!

  1. After 5 weeks here our insurance *finally* came through and I was able to make an appointment with a local midwife/OB group.  My 35 week check-up went really well.  I had been having some deep and uncomfortable cramping which I believe to be changes in my cervix, but I was assured that this was not uncommon for a second-time mom and normal.  I wouldn't be surprised if Little L comes a bit earlier than her brother -- although I am planning on hanging on until Grammie gets here on August 21 :)
  2. Our house in Greenville has been rented!  An older couple showed interest and signed the lease on Friday.  They are paying a year's lease up front and are also interested in buying at the end of the year's lease.  The man is ill and wants his wife to be provided for in the event that he is unable to do so. 
  3. We have attended 2 Preschool Play Dates with Ninth and O Baptist Church (which is where we have attended church for the past 3 Sundays) and plan to attend another one this week.  It's nice to have something to look forward to during the week.  All the mama's have been very kind and welcoming and I know Bowen enjoys the change in routine :)
  4. Josh is gaining confidence in his job!  Although he is dealing with some of the most difficult issues (socially and medically) he is really fitting in well with his co-workers and beginning to make management decisions on his own.  We continue to pray that he will be a light in the darkness around him.

Love from Louisville,


Saturday, July 13, 2013

What I'm Learning...

“Why must people kneel down to pray?
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do.
I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I'd just feel a prayer.”

If you didn't know, growing up, Anne Shirley was a hero of mine.  She was passionate, talented, brave, vulnerable, smart, & romantic.  She was also an orphan, "ugly", stubborn, temperamental, melodramatic, and out-spoken.  A flawed heroine.  In her early years she was orphaned and left to fend mostly for herself in homes of over-committed families and bare-bones orphanages.  But, Anne made the best of the imperfect life that she had been given.  She read and she imagined and she remained true to herself.  Eventually she found the love and friendships that she so desperately wanted in a community that was unaccustomed to the "Anne's" of the world. 

Like Anne, sometimes all I want to do is "feel a prayer".  Sometimes my thoughts are so mixed up that I have trouble organizing a prayer that I think is acceptable to God, that I think he will hear & answer.  And while I am comforted to know that God knows the deepest, most secret parts of me, He doesn't need (or want) a formulated regurgitation of words or phrases from me.  He wants me.  All of me.  He already knows what I need before I even ask (Matt 6:8) and He is offering me the mercy and grace I desire - all I have to do is ask for it.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Sometimes being still and quiet is enough...  Sometimes feeling a prayer is what my soul needs, but I know I'm going to need more than feelings to get through these next few years... through this thing called "life".  I would love to hear how you make time for studying God's word (and especially how you do/did it with young children).


  • God is faithful.  In the midst of every challenge I have faced God has met me with peace and answered prayer.

  • My Grandmother and Aunt Patty came to visit!  They helped me in so many ways - unpacking boxes, setting up the kid's shared bedroom (they brought the crib and Josh put it together), hanging pictures, ironing and laundry, cleaning rugs, playing with Bowen, walking the dogs, etc.  Just having them here for a few days was nice - sharing coffee, laughing, solving problems, and working side by side. 


  • Dogs: last weekend our dogs got out of our fence and were gone for about 6 hours.  Because both Truman and Reagan had on collars with new tags and their electric fence collars (Josh manually put in an invisible fence because both dogs are escape artists) I wasn't too concerned at first.  Bowen & I prayed together while Josh went to look for them in his car.  As an hour turned into 2 and then 3 I really began to panic.  Not only are these dogs our family, but I also began to feel the weight of EVERYTHING that has happened in the past 6 weeks come crashing down on me.  I cried for like 4 hours straight - seriously undignified weeping...  BUT God was faithful in the midst of my fear & 2 separate, good Samaritans found the dogs and returned them to us.  It was a good opportunity to teach Bowen about answered prayer and about what to do if he ever gets lost (find a policeman). 

  • Being tired & learning to ask for help: we are all tired.  Josh is working up to 12 hours each day & then "on call" once/twice a week.  I am not sleeping well (stress, anxiety, hormones) and am "on call" 24/7 as a mom.  I know how stressed and tired Josh is so I try to make things easier on him by doing most of the house- and kid-stuff myself.  I can do this for a few days and then I need help, but I'm not really good at asking for what I need...  So, you could be in prayer for me in this area.  We need to find a balance - balancing our use of technology, our time, and our shared responsibilities of raising children.  We also need to find some time to spend together without children.  No free babysitters here :)

Love from Louisville,

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hello From Louisville

Before our move to Louisville, KY I was asked if I had considered starting a blog to stay connected to friends and family in our hometown of Greenville, SC.  For two main reasons I have always been a bit daunted by the thought of keeping a blog.  Firstly, it seems so personal.  As a young girl and teen I kept a pen and paper journal.  I would pour out my heart on those pages revealing my deepest desires and aspirations, my fears, insecurities, and hopes.  It was a wonderful outlet for me then and I still find comfort in making pen/paper lists.  Secondly, I find that I have an innate desire to please others which could potentially make authenticity a challenge.  Am I going to blog about things that make others feel happy?  Things that comfort them?  Things that give them a sense of security?  Things that make them feel as if all is "right" with our family... that we are not struggling so far away from our support system?  OR am I going to blog about the hard things?  About the times I lose my temper?  About the hundred different ways I fail as a wife and mother each day?  About my disobedient children?  About my badly behaved dogs?  About how hard life can be with young children and a husband who works long hours?  Truthfully, I don't have the answers to those questions because I don't know where this blog will take me.  I don't want to "air our dirty laundry" but I do want to be authentic.  Prayerfully, the Holy Spirit will give me discernment about what and how much to share.  I have had this space for some time, and I hope to use Sunday afternoons as a time to reflect/highlight what has happened in our lives.  I don't promise regular or consistent postings, but if you are curious about what we are up to and I have not blogged in a while you can always email me :)

Highlights from our first week in Louisville:
  • Unpacking!  Our home has very little cabinet/closet space so we have been challenged to eliminate "clutter" and have unpacked only the necessities.  There are many unopened boxes being stored in the basement :)
  • Tricycle rides and walks through our new neighborhood!  I LOVE our neighborhood.  Its shady sidewalks are perfect for walking the dogs, riding bikes, jogging (not doing any of that these days!), etc.  In the early mornings and evenings there are many people out and about.
  • Meeting the neighbors!  We have friendly neighbors on either side.  Both are professional couples around our age.  Neither couple has kids yet, but one couple is expecting their first baby in late October.  There is evidence that some children live on our street, but we have not seen or met anyone yet.
  • New drivers licenses and library cards!  We are within walking distance from the St. Matthews Library (it is on our street!).  Bowen has already completed the Summer Reading Program and is going to collect his prize this afternoon :)  We are also looking forward to Preschool Story Time on Wednesday mornings!
  • Getting acclimated!  We have found the Trader Joes, Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Library, Chick-fil-A, and Farmers Market.  What more do we need??
  • Church!  We attended a very small, downtown, Baptist church this morning called Baxter Ave Baptist Church.  We were invited by a very lovely woman, Hayley Wilton, that I met through a series of contacts - my Grandmother knows her mother from BSF...  It was a sweet church family where hearts were turned to prayerful and meaningful worship.  The regular pastor was away on vacation but they had a time of fellowship after the service and invited us to stay for lunch.  We met some very kind people and really enjoyed our time there.  We are looking forward to visiting several other churches in the following weeks, but hope to go back to Baxter Ave Baptist to hear their regular pastor.  I am really wanting to put down "roots" quickly before Baby Lorelei comes in August.
  • Orientation for Josh!  Josh had his orientation on Friday and begins full time Fellowship on Monday.  His hours will be 7am-7pm.  He will also be "on call" 6 times each month when he will be at the hospital from 7am until 11am the following day (i.e., 7am Wednesday morning until 11am Thursday morning).  He is excited and nervous about this new beginning.  We are excited for him, but it has been nice to have him at home this week.  I anticipate that things are going to be challenging for all of us as we adjust to this new schedule...
  • I have signed Bowen up for swimming lessons that start on Friday and am looking for a Mother's Morning Out where he can meet new friends and play for a few hours while I clean or run errands.  He attended a lovely little MMO in Greenville and we both loved it :)
Love from L'ville,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 18

Last night was another long one.  I don't know what to do about Bo's sleep patterns.  Thankfully he was up at a decent hour so here's hoping we're getting back on track.  We are headed to the gym for Jodie's LAST CLASS.  (Oh, what will I do without my hero and inspiration???)  Then we are going downtown to the park to meet cousins and play in the fountains.  The heat should help take my mind off my migrating mentor...

Later... the water play really tired him out!  He took a fabulous nap.  Praying for a decent night's sleep!!!

Breakfast: coffee + green smoothie
On the way to meet the cousins I stopped and got a coffee from DD.  I could've gotten a smoothie, but didn't want to spend the money.  Of course, I was starving by the time we got home.  I'm thinking that if I do this cleanse again I might add a protein bar in after workouts.  It's so much easier and more portable.
Lunch: half a spaghetti squash + grapes + sf-chocolate pudding
Dinner: red pepper & avocado salad + roasted green beans + brown rice
Snack: yogurt + grapes + ground flax seed

Day 17 -

5 days left and feeling good.  My headache eventually went away yesterday; still not sure what triggered it but glad it's gone!  I didn't make it to the gym this morning, which always leaves me feeling disappointed.  Bowen has been way off schedule the past couple of days on naps and bedtime which is why we missed the gym today.

Breakfast: a green smoothie +  coffee
Snack: a banana
Lunch: half a spaghetti squash + butter, s/p
Dinner: sweet potato + zucchini, squash, onions
Snack: bananas + yogurt + decaf coffee

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 15/16

Yesterday was Day 15, the start of the third and final week of the cleanse.  It was also the first day that I didn't get to post.  Being a mama is so special and it means putting the needs of my little one first.  Last night (which is when I usually find time to post) my little one needed me.  So, I held him tight and treasured the closeness because I know he is growing up quickly.

So, a quick recap of week 2...
1) I love that J-bo is trying and eating healthy foods!  Since I began the cleanse 2 weeks ago he has asked for triple helpings of BROCCOLI and portabella mushrooms, tried asparagus, seaweed (not liked by either of us), protein muffins, fruit "leather", and green smoothies.  He still eats dessert after dinner (typically a cookie from Trader Joes or an ice cream cup), and gets to have fun treats like Trader Joe's "cheetos", cereal bars, and chocolate chip pancakes.  I don't know what he eats with his Grammie, but I've heard rumors of powdered doughnuts and reece's pieces.  He's a kid after all and eating is fun :)
Ninja Master Prep Blender
2) We got a new blender, a Ninja Master Prep!!  It's so cool...  Our local Big Lots had them very reduced - we paid under $30, typically closer to $100.  I just dump everything in and ta-da... it's blended.  Saves me so much time!!!
3) J-bird and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises.  LOVED IT!  Christian Bale (swoon).  Anne Hathaway (J-bird swoons).  Joseph Gordon-Levitt (swoon).  I have been a huge fan of the Batman franchise since I was a little girl - back to the Michael Keaton days.  I can remember my Grandfather (who passed away 2 years ago) taking me to see them - it was something special just the two of us did together.  Since I wanted to stick to the cleanse that meant no popcorn for me, so I brought my own snack - grapes and sugar-free lemonade.  It worked out perfectly and I didn't feel deprived or cheated on the movie experience.

DAY 16...
started off with another headache.  It was a long night with J-bo.  He had trouble going to sleep; it was an evening filled with tears and extra cuddles from Daddy and Mama.  By the time I got to bed I could feel the headache coming on; it got worse over-night.  J-bo woke frequently - crying or scratching at his miserable bug bites.  We have tried everything to keep the mosquitoes away - citronella candles, tiki torches, bug spray, treating the yard, etc.  The only thing that seems to help is staying inside, which just isn't possible when you're two.  Trying to take it easy today and drinking lots of fluids.

Breakfast: coffee + spinach/blueberry smoothie
Lunch: brown rice pasta + zucchini/squash + grapes + sf-vanilla pudding
Dinner: chicken breast + sweet potato
After dinner: decaf coffee + yogurt and a banana

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 14

In an effort to keep my cravings at bay I added more carbs and rearranged my meals a little bit.  It seemed to help.  The brown rice pasta from Trader Joes was killa...  no, you read that right the first time.  I said "killa" :)  I had never tried any gluten-free pasta before and was really (pleasantly) surprised by how good it was!  So, give it a try.  I think you'll like it.  If you don't, I promise to come over and eat it all for you.  I'm nice like that.


Breakfast: coffee + peach smoothie (peach, spinach, protein powder, almond milk)

We went to Trader Joes after the gym this morning.  To "tide me over" until we got home for lunch, I stopped and got an iced coffee with light cream from Dunkin' Donuts.  Hey, Bo got donut holes, so I don't want to hear it...

Brown rice pasta + Roasted summer veggies


  • Brown rice pasta
  • 1 each - onion, squash, zucchini
  • 1 Tablespoon each - rosemary, thyme, coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon each - salt and pepper
  • cooking spray


  1. preheat oven to 400*; spray baking dish
  2. cook pasta according to package
  3. cut veggies and place in baking dish; add spices
  4. roast veggies for10-15 min or until tender
  5. drain pasta and toss with veggies - drizzle with oil

Afternoon Snack: a green smoothie (avocado, spinach, protein powder, almond milk)

Dinner: Salmon + roasted green beans + tomato avocado salad + sugar-free vanilla pudding

Late-night snack: decaf coffee and half/half