Monday, May 5, 2014

Staying at home with Purpose... and a 6 month old

Here are some updates on the cutest baby in the world... Yes, only shameless pride in my little guy is below.  First, I want to give a big update in my life.

I want to give a big ol' PRAISE GOD for the exciting news that I will be able to stay home full-time as a mom starting May 17th! I have loved my job, and I love my co-workers even more, but I am beyond grateful that I will be able to spend more time with this baby. I want to salute all working mothers - you are AMAZING!!! I watch my friends who work and have kids, and they are the most incredible, hard-working people I have ever known. not that I don't think it will be hard work to stay home. I know it will be.  I admire you for busting tail at work, busting tail at home, and still carving out time for friendships. I could go on and on about working mothers, but I just want you to know that you are amazing. I am of the opinion that there is not one right answer as to what a mother should do: work or stay home. I think it depends on each individual family, its needs, and what The Lord calls each person to do. I really struggled and wrestled with the decision to stay home. Like I said, I love my job. I feel like I have been given specific gifts to do my job well. I have felt like I've made a difference in the lives of my students and ultimately in the nursing community in our city. However, I have felt and unmistakable call from The Lord to use my gifts at home.

I do have some fears about entering this new season of life. I have never been a good "home-maker". ALL of my past roommates (all 7 of them) can attest to this fact. I hate to clean. I LOATHE laundry. I am not much of a cook...mainly because I don't like to take the time to do it. which is why is cracks me up that so many people copy my recipes... bulk cooking is the only way I can get home-cooked meals on the table. I am not very self-motivated... I tend to need deadlines and guidelines. All of these things really give me some anxiety to stay at home WELL. I don't want to just stay home without purpose. I want to serve my family and be faithful to the call that God has placed on my life. I am a little embarrassed to say that I have googled "staying at home with purpose" so many times, only to come up feeling even more inadequate to do it well. I see blogs by women with customized activity rooms for their children. yeah, right. that's not going to happen. Women who have daily agendas, chore schedules, home-made cleaning products, and organic meals that they make from their weekly trips to farmer's markets. this overwhelms me, scares me, and is unrealistic for me... especially considering all our farmer's market had was tomatoes the last time i went.

I worry that I will fail. I worry that I will waste my time, my husband's time, my child's time. I worry that I will not fulfill the calling God has placed on my because of my own limitations. I tell you these things because I am sure someone else can relate to these things, and because in the midst of my worry, God is already calming my heart and giving me the only answer I need.

He equips you for what He calls you to do. 

In the Old Testament, God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. In order to do this, Moses had to stand before the Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt, and ask for the Israelites to be released from captivity. Moses argued with God about this. He had anxiety, fear, worry because he was not a clear speaker. He stuttered. He was not prepared. I bet if Moses had googled "standing up to Pharaoh with a stutter" he would have felt discouraged too. God did not leave Moses there. He equipped him! He gave him the ability to not only stand up to Pharaoh, but to ultimately lead the Israelites into freedom! There is so much encouragement in remembering what God has done for His people all throughout history. If He did it for them, He will surely also do it for us!

Thus commences the shameless pride:

Waving for the first time
This boy LOVES his dogs... And they seem to tolerate him
He is FAST!! He may only crawl using one leg, but that one leg moves like lightening. I turned around for a minute and he was in the other room. It has started. 
I read a few articles about "Baby Led Feeding", and it seems to be PERFECT for this little guy! He was starting to fight me every time we tried to feed him purees, so we knew something had to change. He has been feeding himself for over a week now, and he LOVES it!! He eats chicken, steamed veggies, soft fruits, lunch meat, and other things that are easy to gum up. It has been so fun to watch him enjoy food.Yes, he is feeding himself a chicken leg in this picture. hilarious.
This little Superman pulled himself up all by himself yesterday! He proceeded to stand alone, without holding onto anything, for about 5 seconds. SCARY!!!

 It was SO hard to leave this little guy to go celebrate my sis-in-law's bachelorette party in Denver last weekend. I am so blessed that I didn't even worry that his dad would do an amazing job alone with him. They had a blast doing boy things, and I got some sweet time with my sister-in-laws.
 I love that I have so much fun with my in-law family! These girls are some of my favorite friends, and they are so fun! We can't wait for McKay's wedding in June!

 I felt like there were so many milestones this month that I had to share... I hope you are all having a wonderful Monday! Be sure to check out my other post from today to see what has been going on in my world this week/month.

Seven foods

There is a lot I want to write about... I think this "crazy food thing" I'm doing is probably the most all-consuming at the moment.

It all started with Jen Hatmaker. She and I have a love-hate relationship that she knows nothing about, wherein, she makes me feel guilty, makes me know grace, inspires me, challenges me, insults me, and makes me laugh all within a few sentences in her books and blog. I say all of this with the highest regard for her and her ministry, and I am BEYOND grateful for her passion in waging the war on our current culture. I appreciate her realness and humility through it all, and this is why I keep reading her work.

So, my buddy Jen, I promise I'm not a stalker, wrote this book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It is essentially a book of seven challenges to hopefully draw attention to the most common areas of excess in our lives and help us rid ourselves of all that distracts us from Christ. In the first chapter, she talks about our love for food - quantity and variety. This has always been an area of struggle for me. I have often referred to myself as a "food addict", and I have actually compared myself to drug addicts when talking about my love for scratch that obsession with no, still worse than that- fatal attraction to French Fries - like, I literally did this when talking to a drug addict... not my finest hour. All of this to say, when I read this chapter, my throat started closing, my breathing became shallow, and my heart had palpitations. I knew I had to do something about this.

The challenge to wage the war against food excess is to choose seven foods and eat only those foods for a month. WHAT?! Seriously, I am not happy with Jen about this right now. So, I looked at nutritional value and versatility, and I chose the following foods: 1. Chicken 2. Avocados 3. Black Beans 4. Whole Wheat bread (this includes tortillas) 5. Carrots 6. Apples 7. Salsa (I know there is more than one ingredient in salsa, but I'm counting it as one food. deal with it) I have also decided not to go to restaurants unless it is for a special occasion - mainly because it is hard to stick to "7" at a restaurant, but also because it is a privilege of excess to have someone else prepare my food for me. I'm also only drinking water with this challenge. (this is probably the easiest part... I like water)

I began the challenge on May 1st, and I plan to go throughout the month of May. I have already scheduled in "Grace Days" on which I can eat whatever I want and get a free pass for that day. I decided to do this because there are always special occasions that come up. I have decided to only allow myself 3 days of excess. 1. My first Mother's Day 2. The day after I am done working (I haven't told y'all yet, but I am going to be a STAY AT HOME MOM ON MAY 17TH!!! WAHOO!!!) 3. I haven't decided what my third day will be, but I'm planning on eating fried seafood.

I'm on my 5th day, and I am already seeing some ugly things come out. I think this is a good thing. The other night, I prepared food for Superman (6 months old and eating real food... it's incredible.), and he ate chicken, like mom, but he got broccoli instead of carrots as his side. I was actually JEALOUS of my 6 month old's steamed broccoli. how demented is that?! My co-workers went to lunch this afternoon, and I actually felt left out that I had to tell them "no" because of my decision to do this challenge. It is also a little exhausting every time I explain why I am eating another black bean, chicken, and avocado burrito for lunch (5 days in a row). It's good for me.

Anyway. I recommend this book for all Americans. I think it is exactly the kind of challenge we all need. It's uncomfortable, and it's hard. But - it's worth it.

This is what my g-chat conversation with Austin at work looks like when we are both doing the 7 challenge
The foods: