2016 in 12 Sentences

In January we celebrated 5 years of marriage. February brought the shock of Baby Ruff being a GIRL! We rested in March. The baby preparations began in April. May began the baby shower celebrations! In June we welcomed Erin into our family when she married Kevin! July brought the heat, spending my days in the pool, and Kyle’s wisdom teeth being removed. The best month was August because Hannah was born!!! September was full of sleepless nights and dirty diapers. October added Tanner into our family through a fun wedding. In November we were thankful for our growing family! December reminded us how loved we are by our Savior. 

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The Mission of Motherhood

Mommies, you are important and called by God to disciple your children. You have an influence that no one else can have on your children. I know life can feel monotonous at home with the kids, but what you are doing is so important. I just finished reading Gloria Furman’s Missional Motherhood:The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God. I have read a few of Furman’s books and love her style of writing. I appreciate how much scripture she uses and can feel her heart in how she writes about God. This book takes a look at God’s plan for mothers, what it means to mother (it doesn’t always mean biological children are involved), and what discipling children (or other mothers, other people’s children, etc.) looks like/means. In the conclusion Furman says, “The world says that you are just a mom and that your mothering ministry is not newsworthy. The world says your work is mundane, but every mothering and discipling moment in your life is actually unique–unprecedented in history and never to be repeated. Your work in evangelism and discipleship done through the power of the spirit gives Jesus praise that echoes in eternity.” I love that she points out that each moment in mothering is unique. All of my friends who have multiple children point out that their children are different and cannot necessarily be approached the same way. Potty training one doesn’t mean you will potty train the next toddler the same way or at the same age. Even with my one child I feel like each moment is unique. One day blowing raspberries makes her happy, the next she hates that and loves bouncing. Who knows what she will like tomorrow?!? Furman wrote a great book that points out your unique ministry and mission field. Grab a copy! You just may realize how important your ministry at home is.

Reflections

This time of year always brings about reflection. The end of one year and beginning of another. A new start. Another year to try to do better. This year my reflection is on the struggles God has brought me through and the love and joy He has sent me. Many days I wonder why God sent me through infertility. Times cause me to question the purpose of it. The other day I was reading in 2 Corinthians 1 where it says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV) God was my comfort when we walked through infertility. His word was something I leaned on. My prayer partners were people I could call on for support. According to this passage not only is God my comforter, but I am supposed to share the comfort God gave me with people who are needing comfort. I truly believe part of my journey with infertility was to broaden my testimony and allow me to share the way God comforted me during my walk. 
Since becoming open about our infertility we have talked with and shared about God’s faithfulness to guide us through with so many. Many who have already been through similar situations. Some who have yet to make it through with the bundle of joy they hope for. I love to share how God carried us through. There is an unspoken bond between people who have been through infertility. If you’ve never experienced it you can never fully understand it. There is a loneliness within this period and many times God’s voice is hard to hear during this time. Sharing our story has not only helped heal my heart, but it has allowed me to better understand the comfort God provided. When I couldn’t lean on my own understanding, I could lean on Him. When I felt alone and weary, He carried me. Through the decisions and heartache I grew closer to Kyle and the Lord. 

This year, I hope and pray to be able to share our story, Hannah’s story, with more people. I hope to be able to glorify God with sharing about the comfort He gave us. I want to be true to who we are and who God is in our lives. 

Christmas Traditions

I want to add Christmas traditions now that we are a family of three. Some traditions Kyle and I brought from our childhoods into our marriage (reading the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve, not decorating until after Thanksgiving, Christmas sweets to share, etc.) and some we have added as a couple (Christmas letters with our card and reading them all each year, 25 days of Christmas gifts and fun, etc.). 


Obviously Santa pictures will have to be a new tradition. But what else? She has Christmas pjs for tonight which I thought would be fun. Any other Christmas traditions to add with a little one?

What do you want for Christmas?

What do I want? … I have it. I have what I have prayed for, hoped for, begged for, cried for. I have a loving husband, warm home, and healthy baby. I have a Savior who died for me, church who supports me, and family who cherishes me. I have friends who pray for me, and a job which provides for me. What do I want for Christmas? … I want God to teach me to be a better wife. I want Jesus to show me how to be Hannah’s mom. I want to inspire children to love to learn. I want to share the love of God with the people I encounter. I want to cherish each moment, live a life that shares Jesus, and love God with my entire being. 


What do you want for Christmas?

Mary Again

Our church had their Christmas cantata this past weekend and I was Mary again. This means that Kyle was Joseph of course, and for the first time we had our baby be Jesus (I’ve had the honor of holding other babies for the past few years). 


Weeks ago I was asked to sing a song while holding my baby. I listened to the song and cried. I knew if I was going to sing this song with my daughter that I would have to get over the lyrics. Give Me This Night is a beautiful song about Mary asking to just be Jesus’ mother and he be just her son for the night. Let him be just my son, not the savior, for just a night. The bridge of the song is what got me:

God you gave him to me, And I gave him life. Now with him in my arms, And me in his eyes, This is much more than I ever could wish, You can have his tomorrows, But please grant me this. Give me this night, to just be his mother. Give him this moment to just be my child. He has the rest of his life to be Savior, but so little time, to simply be mine. So give me, please give me this night.


Being a new mom I have a whole new look on Christmas (as well as other things). For the first time I identify with Mary as a mother. She carried him for 9 months, endured the pain of child birth, and has the overwhelming feeling of being the mother of the Savior. This song may seem selfish on Mary’s part, and scripture doesn’t say that she asked God for this, but singing this song with Hannah got me. Even after practicing with her several hundred times, I cried. I cried with joy! Just like Mary must of recognized she wouldn’t have much time with her son (because time flies!), I realized I don’t have much time with Hannah. I cannot slow down time and keep her longer. She will grow up, and she will move out one day (a LONG time from now), and I will look back and cherish these moments I have now. It won’t be long before she won’t want to be rocked to sleep, or want to be carried everywhere. I know if I blink she’ll be headed to school or driving. This weekend was special, and I will cherish it forever. 

What a Chunk?

Hannah is 4 months old and a chunk! She had her check up this week and is 16 lb. 11 oz. (77th%) and 27 in (above 95th%). Go figure she is going to be a tall baby. She has finally rolled over!!!!!! BUT, she doesn’t know how she rolls over…she just looks amazed that she is no longer on her tummy.

 

Each day I look at her and thank God for her sweet face, amazing health, and happy personality. How did God bring me from desperately wanting a baby to this moment? I’ve gone from crying for a child to crying because I love her so much. 

Hannah is a happy baby who laughs often. She recognizes her bottle and loves to watch us eat. She is fascinated by lights and stares at the chandeliers at church until she falls asleep. Hannah can pull to a sitting position and prop up on her elbows. We love watching Hannah grow!

This is supposed to be a FAMILY blog

My husband had a great lesson last night at church! I loved it! The students loved it! So logically I wanted him to share it here. When I suggested it last night he responded with changing the subject. This is one of his tactics to getting out of something. I then turned the conversation back to sharing on our FAMILY blog and he addressed it with, “I’m not good at communicating through writing.” Without any prompting from me he also confessed the only way to get better is to practice. Can I get some help from y’all? Will you encourage him to participate in our FAMILY blog?

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I used to have a spotless house

I enjoy cleaning. It is a way for me to relieve stress and get a clean house all in one. I know most people are rolling their eyes or thinking I’m crazy right now.  Maybe I am. Before baby girl was around, I cleaned my house top to bottom each week. I was a proud home owner who wanted to maintain my house through cleaning. I was also a stressed wife who wanted to contribute financially but couldn’t, so I cleaned. 

Now…now it’s different. Now I would rather hold my daughter while she sleeps, play on the floor during tummy time, and giggle at all of her funny faces. There will always be another day for cleaning. But today, I will adore my daughter. 

It Rained!!!

Tuesday morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. Not because the house was cold and my sheets were warm. Not because I was tired from a fussy baby. Not because it was still dark out. I didn’t want to get out of bed because I could hear the rain gently falling outside. The sound of rain seems so foreign to me given that it hasn’t rained in so long. This week was only the second time it had rained since Hannah was born on August 10th! Georgia needed the rain so badly and it finally rained.


I was excited to get up and put my rain coat on as I was leaving for work. I was excited to walk through puddles going into the school. I was even excited for indoor recess (no teacher ever says that…unless you really wanted it to rain!).


All of the praying for rain, hoping for rain, and waiting for rain reminded me of a verse from Hosea. “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3) Rain is refreshing. Rain brings growth. Rain provides life to plants and animals. We need rain! This verse talks about God coming to us like the rain. He wants to refresh us. He wants to help us grow. He wants to provide life to us.