Category: Motherhood (page 1 of 3)

It is Possible to Live TOO Small

If you have read many of my blog posts, you may already know that I really like the idea of minimalism and its benefits. I believe in living small, and I try to keep my life relatively simple. However, the last five years have taught me that it is possible to live TOO small. Sometimes, less is NOT more.

I’ve been pretty introverted around here. Despite the MANY blessings and exciting events in the last year, I really struggled with anxiety and depression. I’m not a stranger to those things, but I think they got the best of me, because I thought I had grown beyond their clutches. True to my nature, I withdrew from writing, because I want to be a source of encouragement, and I just wasn’t a wellspring of positivity. I considered being vulnerable and talking about the ways I was hurting, but the words just wouldn’t come. I was stuck. And then I felt guilty and like a failure. It was a spiral, but I’m not sure I was even fully aware of it.

When we moved into our new home in April, I felt a very sudden loosening of those chains. Our new house, which I believe was an absolute gift being held for us by God, is a lot more airy and open. The four years prior, we’d lived intentionally very small so that we could pay off some of our debts and pursue the life we wanted for our kids and us. We learned and relearned that we really do need a lot less than we think. But those small spaces became even smaller when we added another sweet baby to the family. Her person and her belongings tipped the scales of what could comfortably fit in the space that we’d chosen. Daily, I was overwhelmed and even completely overcome by the clutter around me. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t purge and organize enough to really make it work. I’ll never forget tripping over laundry baskets to cook dinner and wash dishes. Just the basic functions of a stay-at-home-mama were extremely tedious.

Living small wasn’t serving us, so its very purpose was defeated.

Our new home, with the same amount of possessions as our apartment, now gives us the space we need to breathe. SPACE is a good thing. We still live small, but we can stretch out and live more fully. I can be hospitable in ways I never could before. I can live and work in close proximity to my children and not feel smothered. The possessions that enrich our lives have their own places and can be stored out of site, which creates an environment that is less visually stimulating. In short, this home is peaceful, and for that, I thank God continually.

We were able to host both sides of our family for Hosanna’s first birthday! 

More than necessary cabinet space is great for little explorers to play and hide!

We have time and space for blanket forts!

These quiet moments with my babies make life so sweet.

A yard of our own means we get to own pets. Meet Harold “Harry” Super Cat Dummel!

I realize that moving into a larger space isn’t always an option (it wasn’t for us for many years), but our situation is indicative of our need for space in many ways. We need space to think, to breathe, to grow. That doesn’t always mean physical space. We need to keep space in our schedules for Sabbath rest, for connection with the people in our lives, for communion with God. Are we tripping over the laundry baskets of life on our way to eating spiritual and emotional food? Laundry and serving and paying bills are all necessary parts of life, but when they begin to crowd out the peaceful moments that keep us going, we are bound to shut down.

Whether it’s my upbringing by two very hard workers or my type A personality, I’m a person obsessed with productivity. Learning to juggle two kids and a house that refused to stay clean got the very best of me in every way. I worked constantly and forgot to take time to breathe and fill up in my own unique ways. I pushed away my husband and kids in the name of cleaning and seeking spatial peace that wasn’t to be found. Thankfully, hard lessons can be learned, and I’m beginning to once again care for my family and myself the way that I should, which means a whole lot more than physical work. The depression and anxiety are mostly at bay. Intentional time spent building my relationship with my husband, my babies, and my Savior are all keys to emotional strength and well-being.

If your life is so busy that you don’t have space to breathe deeply, please take a Sabbath rest. It is possible to live TOO small. You can live with too little physical AND emotional space for a healthy lifestyle. Moving into a larger, more open home was extremely helpful to me, but depression and anxiety are imminent if I don’t follow God’s way, which includes hard, meaningful work, but also deliberate rest.

A Sense of Meaning: Update on My New Normal

Hey friends, thanks for stopping in. My heart is full tonight, so I thought I’d write. There’ve been a lot of things I would have written about the last few months, but the days have been long and full of memories and struggle and meaning. I’d be lying if I said I savored every moment. Truth be told, I’ve had more grueling moments over the last 6 months than I ever did as a mother of one. I’ve felt like a failure as a wife, momma, and home manager (I’m calling it that, okay? I manage a lot, and putting it that way makes it seem more important. It’s not just laundry and dishes. It’s making life peaceful and enjoyable for my family!). I’ve had more guilty feelings than I can count. Mostly guilt over not feeling rosey about motherhood every minute. Being a momma was and is my greatest desire, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

So anyway, I was feeling guilty and worthless, so I pleaded with God to help me find the joy I used to feel over mothering babies. It didn’t happen over night. It took soul searching, slowing down, letting go of expectations, and lots of prayer. Tonight I’m truly, madly, deeply feeling the joy of motherhood. I’m trapped in bed by two babies who didn’t want to go to sleep. They finally gave it up, and it’s going to take some Olympic gymnast like moves for me to get untangled and out of this bed! One might be teething, and the other is battling seasonal allergies, and I’m wrapped up in their needs, their precious faces, and the overwhelming sense that I’m right wear I belong.

I hope you’ll commit your struggles to prayer, because the LORD certainly cares and answers in His very perfect, mysterious ways. Whatever you’re walking through, know that nothing good or bad lasts forever. The moments are fleeting. Root your heart and thoughts in God’s love for you, and trust that His plans are truly for your good.

July 2016 Update

I had good intentions to write this post early in the month, but it’s summer in the Midwest, and we are living life to the fullest while the weather is warm. Maybe it’s better, because I have more to say than I did 26 days ago. When you’re raising tiny people, a lot can happen in the span of a month.

Josiah has been equally adorable and hilarious this month, as he continues to grow into the role of big brother. He insists that he loves his sister more than anyone else, and that she feels the same about him. I know that their bond is sacred, and I’m content to take a backseat. They both still know who to come to when they’re hungry <snicker>.

IMG_4590 Continue reading

May/June 2016 Update

At six weeks after giving birth to my second child, I now understand why bloggers announce their temporary hiatus from blogging at big life changes. The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of emotions, activity, and learning.

On May 4th, after only a few hours of labor, Hosanna Lynn Marie was born via C-section. Continue reading

Goals for November 2015

It’s November. 2015 is almost over. Am I the only one struggling to grasp that?!

Last month, my goal was to get by. This month, I’m a little more ambitious…emphasis on a little. I’m starting to feel better. I’ve crawled into the second trimester this week, and wonderful things are starting to happen. Though morning sickness is still way worse this time around, I’m not sick 24/7 now, and I have energy to do more than survive. What’s even more exciting than that is the kicks and rolls I’m feeling in my tummy. I’ll be 15 weeks tomorrow, and I’m already feeling this child move consistently. Can anyone say second child?! It’s crazy how different the first and second pregnancy can be.

I have some simple goals, but even simple ones can get you excited to conquer your list.

  • Learn more about and foster a continuous brew kombucha. I followed this method to grow my own SCOBY, and then I read about continuous brewing, and the lazy foodie in me thought that sounded great. I found this adorable container at Big Lots this week. The ones at other stores were $30+. Life doesn’t have to be so expensive, if you’re willing to look a little harder for deals!

  • Make homemade toothpaste. I’ve been out for a month, at least. I’m telling you, my teeth were whiter, stronger, and less sensitive when I was using the homemade kind. Plus, when Josiah uses it, I don’t have to worry about him swallowing it, because all the ingredients are edible…unlike fluoride!
  • Get back to my spiritual disciplines. Morning sickness is a beast, and I gave into it 100%. I mean, I really did the minimum in life for about two months. I’m sure Dustin would agree that it has taken a toll on my emotional and spiritual attitude. I’m so thankful that God is faithful, even when I’m not, but I really don’t want to be a slacker Christian. It’s not a joyful way to live, and it certainly doesn’t please the heart of my LORD.
  • Be WAY more consistent with homeschooling Josiah. Like a lot of homeschool mommas, I don’t think 4 year old preschool is even necessary, as kids are learning constantly through play. However, Josiah is so much like me when it comes to school. He LOVES to learn and is a total sponge. Besides learning, I can tell it’s a way of bonding for him. He loves that special time in the day when he has my full attention. I don’t want to miss these precious opportunities.
  • Organize Josiah’s homeschool area. Although learning happens everywhere, we do need an organized area for supplies, lest I go crazy before this baby arrives.
  • Follow Clean Mama’s simple guide to keeping my house squeaky clean.
  • And lastly, try to enjoy this pregnancy and all that comes with it. Hormones have made me a little crazy lately, and this week, I was blessed to enter that precious stage when every moment of the day, I feel like crying…for no reason and every reason at the same time. For your reading pleasure, here are just a few things I’ve been tempted to cry over in the last 24 hours:
    • I want to watch Gilmore Girls all day, but I can’t.
    • I’m feel worthless, because all I want to do is watch Gilmore Girls.
    • There’s too much junk on the bookshelf.
    • I have to wash dishes.
    • I’m just so tired.
    • I’m stuffy because the heat keeps coming on.
    • I missed the black dress memo for the bridal shower today. Um, I don’t own a black dress that I can even wear right now, so that’s moot, but still felt like crying.
    • Two beautiful kids are getting married. Why did they grow up so fast?! It’s so wonderful and heartbreaking!
    • I don’t want to fix my hair.
    • Makeup is too much work.
    • The bathroom smells funny.
    • Dustin has to go to work.
    • I have to make dinner.
    • The art show last night was so beautiful. I can’t handle it. So much talent in one pla-ha-ha-hace!
    • I miss my big kitchen, especially the teal walls.
    • Josiah was such a cute baby.
    • Josiah has grown up so fast, and this baby will too-hoo-hoo!

Being a woman is beautiful, is it not? Hormones, ugh. I hope that list made you snicker, not think less of me. I get points for never actually crying, right? I even managed to compose myself for an art show last night. It was so encouraging. Art. Love.

November 2015

I hope your November is full of thankfulness, good health, and fun with your family and friends. God Bless!

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