A Tuesday blessing for my Imogen.

You turned one on Saturday. I watched you. You’re different. You’re special. You bring joy and hope and good things to peoples’ lives. That will explode one day into something even more spectacular. Not because you’re my kid and I love you, but because He has good things for you that we could not even dare to imagine.IMG_1929

May you leave traces of God’s goodness wherever you go, and may you bring hope and compassion to those that need it most. May you feel accepted regardless of your talents, skills, or what you do, and may you always feel deeply loved and wanted. May you always know that His grace is enough. May you always return to the old roads that lead to Jesus because they are always the hardest, sweetest, and best places to be.

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“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis The Magician’s Nephew

So may you stand on the confidence that you are loved and bought with a price by a God who freely gives peace, hope, love, and salvation. May you continue to be the sort of person you are – a person of joy, excitement, intensity, hope, and healing. May you see and hear the voice of Jesus above the voices of shame or sadness, and may you see people for who God made them to be instead of how they are, for you have been given grace just as much as those.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,

it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessing.

They will continue to grow stronger;

as each one appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7

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A Window into My Simple Tuesday.

She always smells like Golden Grahams. I don’t know why. I’ve been smelling Golden Grahams a lot today. Teething has a way of taming the wild in her enough to snuggle. Maybe it was because we were rocking in her dark nursery or because I have a new precious niece (as of 11:46 Argentina time last night), but I was thinking about when Imi was a baby. Oh, when Imi was a new baby.

I was so lonely. I was so hormonal. I was so scared. I was so recovering from a c-section I didn’t expect to have.

Now, I’m very aware of what fixes teething days. I know she smells like Golden Grahams. When she cries for an hour I know it will stop eventually. Just a year ago, I didn’t know any of those things. The point is, I didn’t think I ever would. But now I do.

I was looking at the window in her room, the one that has a black out curtain over it (because black out curtains are more proof that Jesus loves all the parents in the world) and there was light peeking around the curtain. It framed the window like it was desperate to push through and fill up the whole house with sunlight. One day I’ll take off the curtain down because she won’t need a dark room to sleep in. But for now, it is dark with little pieces of light shining through.

So in the midst of dark places, I have to remember that light is always there pushing back the darkness – even if it isn’t flooding the room yet.  I never thought I would get out of that recovery period, or that “new mom” feeling. But I did. Instead of an incision, there is a scar. Instead of fear, there is certainty. Instead of what-does-she-need-I-don’t-know, it is a calm “oh hey, my little Golden Graham.”

On this simple Tuesday, I am thankful for the reminder that I took down the black out curtain over my motherhood.

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What I Learned in 2014.

What a year. What a babe. Here are some things that I learned.

Post partum is no joke. There is a beautiful science in involved that helps mothers forget the bad parts of the first 12 weeks and only remember the sweet ones. Therefore, there are lots of memories of a snuggly newborn, Olympic medals, and Bob Costas’ pink eye.

I lost my ability to have it all together, and it was lovely timing. Between spit up, poopy diapers, and a set of hormones that can’t stop won’t stop…it puts things into perspective.

I finally accepted the fact that I am a through and through introvert.

My life is art, and my time well spent with Imi is my paintbrush. She creates beautiful things wherever she goes, and I’m a big part of that because I get to be her Mom. Being a mother is part of the art I create, but it isn’t all I have to offer. There are other facets to me, but being a mother is the biggest one right now. And that is perfectly okay.

My husband and I learned how to really and truly be intentional with each other in the little time we get to spend together. Our time might be short during the week, but it has turned into the most exciting fun our marriage has ever experienced.

God doesn’t expect perfection from me. He already sees it because of Jesus.

I learned how to put nails in a wall and not wait for the perfect house or the perfect time.

All in all, lots of perfection got thrown out the window, and lots of who I really am got let in the house for the first time.

Viva la Freedom in 2015.

check out http://chattingatthesky.com to see what other people have learned in 2014.

You won’t see this kind of romance in movie.

We woke up in a daze. Another day started with a diaper change, nursing, burping, and then watching her eyelids slowly fall…knowing that they’d open in an hour and a half to start the whole thing over again. Luke left for work and I started to cry. I managed to get myself together and eat a cup of applesauce for breakfast. I looked down at my sweet little baby and felt so full. Drained. Grateful. She was supposed to come four days before but she had been with us for a couple of weeks already.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

We had a plan. A new plan. The c-section was scheduled and I had mentally started to prepare – see the post below. But the doctor called and said there were issues with my lab work up. We went into the hospital to run some tests and after 4 hours and an emergency c-section our baby came out and into the world. Another change of plans. It wasn’t what we expected but it didn’t matter. She was now safe and healthy.

Fast forward past the first two weeks of hormone crashes, anxiety attacks, and learning how to take care of this little human. And we had made it to Valentine’s Day. I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day. You’ve heard it before – why do you need a special day to tell your significant other that you love them? But on this day I’ve never wanted a stereotypical Valentine’s Day more in my life. I wanted the flowers. I wanted the date. I wanted the chocolate. It was all so…not me. It was all the panic of a new mom wishing for the days when she didn’t have any responsibilities that involved keeping another person happy, fed, alive. 

We never did anything special on that day together. While Luke worked at a hotel job he hates, I was in another daze of every two hours going through the motions of taking care of a baby. But she is our baby. And that night, when I looked down at my daughter eating and my husband sleeping next to me, knowing that I smelled bad because I hadn’t showered that day or brushed my teeth in two…it was romance. It was real. Because I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world. There is no fanfare for that kind of real life romance. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t forbidden or lusty. It just is. It is the day to day. But it is spectacular. The romance comes from the fact that we chose each other. We chose to start a family. We chose to accept plans – and our lives – changing. And we don’t need a special day to celebrate that. Knowing that we choose each other every day is a celebration in and of itself.

Change of plans.

It has been 20 days since the last post. A lot has happened in those 20 days.

  • We found out the baby was oblique. This means diagonal.
  • Then we spent 24 hours in the ICU because they thought I had heart problems. I don’t.
  • She’s head down after a week! Yay!
  • I get a call from the doctor who wants to do ANOTHER ultrasound just in case. Groan. However, I needed the lose the bad attitude because hello she’s breeched. Again, I repeat. The baby flipped. At 38 weeks. This child – she is going to do what she wants. So…change of plans!

We wanted to have a natural birth. We had a plan, a doula, a desire for things to be a certain way. We were flexible, though. We know you can’t just decide how a baby chooses to leave her place of … growth? Anyways. Here we are, 13 days away from her due date and I know that, without a doubt, I will not go more than 6 days until I meet Imogen. Why does that subtraction of a week feel so crazy? Because it feels crazy. The thing about knowing when your baby is arriving is a weird thought. I’m thinking now – this is my last Tuesday night of Wheel of Fortune without nursing through it. Or holding her. Or not being able to watch Wheel because I have no energy because I am now responsible for another human being. It is the little things that make it feel real. When my carton of milk expires she will be 4 weeks old. What?!

Also, don’t judge my religious watching of Wheel and Jeopardy. Don’t knock it till you start watching and you can’t. stop.

I couldn’t be happier with this change of plan, though. Because at the end of a surgery I get to meet my little girl. It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what I imagined or what I had hoped for. But at this point – who cares. Plans change. Babies flip. Sometimes you have to have surgery. It is what it is. I’m just grateful that starting next week, I get to learn how to make space and rest with my little nugget at my side.

 

Also, I’m well aware “rest” becomes relative after she gets here. Not to worry.

Something called tradition.

The Christmas tree has been hauled off to the dump. The ornaments and lights are (almost) in the garage. Christmas is over. The holidays were busy.

Now I’m detoxing from sugar and thinking about tradition.

Whenever I say the word “tradition” I go to the world of Fiddler on the Roof and want to shake my fists in the air with a prayer shawl wrapped around my shoulders. It just feels right. In the same way that the word “tradition” always reminds me of something that I loved as a kid (the musical notsomuch the shaking of my fists) I want to create traditions in my family that evoke something. Preferably a positive something, but it doesn’t have to be overtly “happy”. There is something to walking into a home that is filled with a family full of traditions. Whether it is listening to Riverdance while playing Nuts (a Kody family tradition) or playing Amy Grant’s Christmas album while decorating the tree (my family’s tradition), there is a foundational something that happens when you are a part of that. It feels good, right, and sustained. That something makes you remember. It helps you keep score of the times you’ve done something special together. It connects sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes with whatever action is being performed. It turns it all into a big ball of assuredness and endearing familiarity. (Warning: it can also cause you to tear up when you find out 19 years later that Amy Grant lip synced at the 1994 Dove Awards.)

When you are included in a tradition, you feel special. You feel like you are being let into something sacred. Even if the “something sacred” is making homemade popcorn during a football game. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. They usually never are, and never start that way.

I love tradition. It doesn’t make life boring. It makes life special. That sounds like the inside of a Hallmark card, but it is totally true. There is a something that comes with a family that has traditions. So make your “somethings” happen with other people, regardless of how small. It might not feel so small to them.

Mandatory Breathing

This weekend we had a mandatory child birthing class at the hospital. Talk about exciting. Not really. I went in very unsure of why it was mandatory. The first night started with newborn care. It was a little hard to swaddle because our baby’s arm and leg had fallen off and been put back on backwards. Yikes. I was really wanting to go back home and get in bed (especially at that point) but the “mandatory” was keeping me in my chair. 

It was a rough morning the next day. Luke and I kept missing each other. Meaning – lots of miscommunication. We were both stressed, didn’t want to be there all day, and we were not helping each other through the process as the morning started off. As the morning progressed and we watched videos of other couples have their babies through different methods, we started to lean into each other more. There was more laugher, more cutting up, more normal us. After a break for lunch, we came back into a darkened room and our instructor told us it was time to “learn to breathe”. We all went to different corners of the room with our partners, got in comfortable positions, and started learning how to breathe through labor together. It was very quiet. No talking – just an occasional giggle, or the over-zealous couple that was breathing like they were trying to blow up a balloon. As Luke and I sat together, I became very overwhelmed by the quiet. No one likes silence. It makes you uncomfortable. It makes you think. It makes you examine yourself. In those moments, I let it go. The stress of the morning, the frustration of the pain I was feeling in my back, the videos of babies coming out of their mamas and making me feel like I can’t do this in 7 weeks. I rested on my sweet husband’s shoulder and remembered the important things. In the uncomfortable silence, things began to feel much more comfortable. It made space for me to realize I lack in nothing. I have much to be thankful for. It gave me a few moments to breathe and to put things into perspective. 

So thanks, hospital administrator, for making me take a few mandatory minutes to breathe.

Forced to rest, party of 2.

I have a daughter. Her name is Imi. Say it with me… “eeemeee” (those are long “e” sounds). If you can’t do that, just call her by her birth certificate name. Imogen. Say it with me… “I(short i sound)-moh-jin”. If you can’t do that, blame my husband for coming up with her name and  just call her Nugget. That’s my name for her. (Disclaimer: I love her name. But her name is hard for some. I get it.)

She isn’t born yet. She wants to be, though. These days she can be found growing underneath my gigantic stomach and trying to karate chop her way out of my bellybutton. I love that feisty girl. I get to meet her in 7 1/2 weeks…that is if she comes on her due date (which is February 10th).

I was just put on modified bed rest. For me, this means that I can’t work anymore, my activities are very limited, and I have to go to physical therapy twice a week because little nugget turning into big nugget has caused Sciatica. My first thought about bed rest? Ah, it’ll be fine. I’ll catch up on Netflix and lay around on my bed. It’ll be every lazy person’s dream. My real thoughts about bed rest? What the hell am I going to do with myself for 8 weeks?! I can’t do this! I have to work! I have to get the house ready! I have to do, do, do or I’m a failure as a human being!

Whoa, there lassie.

Looks like I just uncovered some issues about myself that I am going to need to talk to God about as I’m holed up in my house with my karate-kicking babe. I am choosing to treat this 8 weeks (now 7 1/2) as an opportunity. Not just to pop muscle relaxers and watch Netflix all day, but to really learn what it is to rest. Here’s the thing – I could spend the next few weeks resting to the point of bed sores, but never really know what it means. I’ll have the physical rest part down, but what about the mental, emotional, and spiritual parts? If I only know how to do 1 part out of 4, I’m thinking that’s not the healthiest thing in the world.

SO. Here’s the plan. I’m going to figure out ways and spaces to make room for rest in my heart. I’m really going to meditate on the fact that God asks His children to “Be still. Know that I am God.” That isn’t a suggestion – so why do I treat it that way? I’m going to document my days of resting…really resting…and see what bubbles up to the surface when I hush. So I ask of you, please join me as I try out the resting thing. I would encourage you to make the space for it yourself – if you haven’t already.

3 cheers for hushing, and making the space to let rest sink in.