A tiny reminder

I know that every mom gets excited and sentimental about finally feeling their baby move during pregnancy – and for good reason!

Feeling this tiny baby (almost a whole pound!) move – finally, (thanks, anterior placenta) is such a sweet reminder. It is a reminder of the hope that we have for the future, how in an instant God can unexpectedly change our lives forever, and how this world is so much bigger than us. How OUT of control we are, and a reminder that He is able – He is the fulfillment of every longing of man. A perfectly formed tiny human with four heart chambers, 10 toes, and her very own heartbeat. Likely going to be an image of her father or myself, and even more importantly, made in the image of the same sustainer of life that I am. How amazing.

Feeling her move is reminding me how strong and resilient she already is – and yet how much she will depend on her Dad and I for once she is here. It is reminding me of the responsibility I have to think about the decisions we have to make for her – when will we baptize her, where/when/should she go to daycare, how long will I stay home with her before returning from maternity leave, what kind of atmosphere do we want to bring her up in?

The constant reminder of her presence and my connection with her is further reminding me of how undeserving I feel to be her mother. Yet in the same moment, reminding me of how quickly my insecurities are laid to rest by a Father who sees me as fit and deserving to be a mother, even at my weakest. (And by a husband who tells me I’m beautiful, even through every pound gained and broken capillary in my face from nights spent with my face over a toilet bowl.)

 

baby

 

Advertisements

An attitude of thankfulness

How many times a week do you say, “sorry”?

Ladies  (and some men) we are guilty of over apologizing.

“Sorry, I’ve never done this before.”

“Sorry that I didn’t have time to help you.”

“Sorry, I forgot you already told me that.”

The list goes on and on. At home, at work, even in the grocery store – we over apologize.

I also think we under thank.

What would happen if you replaced half of the apologies in your life with showing gratitude?

Thank someone for helping you understand, thank them for their time, thank them for letting you by in the aisle at the store- all instead of apologizing.

Recently, I adopted a new goal, though I haven’t decided if it is actually a goal or just the radiating power of the fierce and strong willed little girl I’m growing in my belly. I decided I am not going through the motions anymore – I am taking charge of my emotions and what I need help with and what I do not need or want help with. With this, a state of vulnerability and openness comes – and it’s meant a lot of apologizing on my part. Apologizing for needing help, not having the answer, or not having the time.

My new goal – to make an effort to replace my “sorry” with “thank you” at least once a day. Apologies have their place, but we can’t, and should not, apologize for everything.

In the month of November, thank your coworker for explaining something for you instead of apologizing for needing help. Thank your friend for planning an event you didn’t have time for instead of apologizing for being busy. Thank the man that holds the door for you and your kid who walks slower than grass grows. You don’t need to be sorry all the time. This “thank you” attitude promotes a spirit of thankfulness – and the people around you will be encouraged by this positivity.

“I’ve been replacing my I’m sorry”s with “thank you”s…it’s not only shifted the way I think and feel about myself, but also improved my relationships with others who now get to receive my gratitude instead of my negativity.” – Vijara

I wish I could.

I wish I could tell the 8 year old girl who felt left out as the oldest sibling that her mother would one day be her best friend.

I wish I could tell the 10 year old who got made fun of for her shoes that she would look like a princess on her wedding day.

I wish I could tell the 12 year old girl that felt out of place at church that she’d someday be an assistant director at a church.

I wish I could tell the 14 year old seemingly incompetent babysitter that she’d someday teach classes to new parents how to care for their newborns and help fragile NICU babies during their earliest days.

I wish I could tell the 16 year old who was so viciously bullied and abused that she had to leave public school that she would one day heal and find more happiness than she could ever imagine.

I wish I could tell the 18 year old who failed her first college English class that she would someday write an article for a prestigious medical institute.

I wish I could tell the 20 year old with the broken, battered heart  how close she was to finding the love of her life.

IMG_7393

The trials we face only get bigger as we get older. I’m looking at the trials I face today, while they are so much bigger than some of the ones I’ve faced in the past, I know the triumphs will be even greater, too.

My prayer is that you, too, might find peace in reflection, knowing great victories are to come.

To the woman grieving this mother’s day

To any woman who turns down the radio when talk about mother’s day begins,

To any woman who feels guilty for grieving this day,

To any woman constantly aware of an absence,

To any woman whose heart is longing,

To any woman hopeful that this month will be her month,

To any woman constantly in prayer,

To any woman angry at God,

To any woman whose baby felt no fear and knew no pain,

To any woman who loves another child like her own,

To any woman who is saving every last penny for a single shot at conception,

To any woman who feels alone in her suffering,

To any woman whose baby had a heartbeat,

IMG_7171.JPG

I see you. I see your perseverance and I feel your pain. I see your unending love. The perseverance and love of a mother.

This day is also for you.

Life can be beautiful, but it can also be really cruel. This is heavy – but these aching hearts should not be forgotten this Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day, I can think of no one more deserving than a Mother who had to give one back.”  Erma Bombeck

love,

cheyenne

Side by side – obeying your husband?

Ah, Biblical submission. Obedience. Whatever you want to call it.

I’m no pastor, just a lighthearted theology student. But I am a new wife – and I wanted to dig deeper into what God expects of me as a wife.

GUESS WHAT!

I found a case of “misinterpretation” in more places than one by many spiritual leaders I grew up hearing.

What my spiritual discernment showed me is that the context of the words “obey” and “submit” as we use them today is not what God intended to wives to uphold within marriage.

Let’s look at Eph 5.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Colossians 3 –

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

1 Peter 3 –

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands

Ouch. Upon casual glace, it looks like the odds are against us. That might even make some of us angry. They don’t make me angry, because I am able to read them in context. I’m not angry because I am able to see that “submitting” and “obeying” are not synonymous and NONE of those commandments say to “OBEY”.

There is a mention of “obey” later in 1 Peter 3 – so let’s look at that.

“They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master

Here’s the kicker – this part of the scripture is addressed to Christian women with unbelieving husbands. That’s not me, but I will explain deeper incase that is you.

Here, what we should be seeing is that the arguments of a Christian wife are not going to convert her husband to know God. It is her grace, faith, and gentleness that will reach him far better than any argument she presents. Women in these situations were advised to be subject to their husbands in hopes that someday they would know God. In the Old Testament, such “submission” was the mark of a Holy Woman.

This is the best part…

In Sarah’s time, it was the norm for wives to submit to their husbands in all aspects of life. Christian women were called to stand up for their religion even if they stood without their husbands – HOWEVER, in every other aspect of life, they were to be wives that “blended in”, model wives, wives that compared to the wives of that culture. That is what their husbands would command and expect – and the wives would “obey”. They would stand alone on the rock of Christ and worship him, but in all other aspects of life, would submit to their husbands as not to allow Christ to ever be blamed for the result of what came from obedience to their unbelieving husbands.

There it is.

That’s the sound of the police.

God’s like, “NOPE. Not today, Satan. Not going to be blamed for THAT one. Won’t be blamed for what someone who didn’t believe chose.”

Hehe. Just kidding. He didn’t actually say that, probably ever.

I believe it was God’s heart to avoid situations where the blame of these husbands’ choices could be placed on Christ so that someday, these men would see the grace their wives had, the mistakes they made as husbands, and messes they created when they commanded their wives do XYZ – and turn to Him for hope and salvation, finally trusting her that he is the Way. They would admit they were wrong, they would be humble (LIKE THEIR WIVES EXEMPLIFIED) and see that they too, needed Christ. Peter’s instructions here were for special cases/mixed marriages.

So what was Peter saying for my marriage? In my Christian marriage? Where we both love the Lord? It ends up being presented as a MUTUAL SUBMISSION and MUTUAL RESPECT model.

In 1 Peter 3, Peter tells us that husbands should treat their wives with respect and honor as he had exhorted wives to treat their husbands. Emphasizing they should view each other as recipients of the grace of life and the same inheritance in what is to come. By emphasizing the wives’ spiritual equality, Peter prevents husbands from using his instructions as grounds for the husbands to subordinate their wives.

EQAULITY.

What does that look like? That is going to look like me respecting Zach in moments he doesn’t respect me. It is going to look like him giving me grace when I am being a butthole. It is going to look like him reaching down to where I am to pick me up and forgive me. It is going to mean me forgiving him when he forgets how sensitive I am. (hehe) It means doing something he wants because I LOVE him. It means him doing something I ask because he looooves me.

BONUS –

Head of the household?

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Marriage is a partnership. Each part is different but equal. Where would Zach be without me to pick up his dirty clothes and do his taxes? Where would I be without him to pick up spiders and answer the door? Different, but equally important!

God created us so differently – certain strengths and weaknesses. Sure, I could kill spiders and Zach could organize our home, but each of us is happier when we do the things we are good at and not necessarily the things that challenge us.

Leadership – not dominance.

Zach is the “headship” of our marriage. That does not mean he has power over me or I am to follow him around like a clueless sheep. His headship does not make him superior to me. Eph 5 tells us that,

“Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.”

Even the Trinity, one person is head. God the Father is head over Christ – but none is greater than the other. Headship examples may vary from marriage to marriage. Zach leads us in prayer. He leads us to repentance when we have strayed. That is how he leads me right now, and I am 100% accepting of that. He listens to me, and I listen to him.

Ask him any day of the week a question about our finances, home, or plans, and he will probably say, “I don’t know, ask the boss!” I’m not really the “boss” (despite my “boss lady” coffee mug) but this is an example of differences and equality. He is so good at leading me emotionally and spiritually – and I am so good at budgeting, decorating, and dragging him around with my friends. 🙂 We both work our BUTTS off in different ways. We have mutual respect for the way each of us works so hard. We mutually submit and “choose our battles”.

 

wedding photo 3

 

PC- our wedding photographer, Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

A year’s difference

imageI remember the night of September 19, 2015 like it was yesterday. My heart was shattered, torn, stomped on, and left alone in a hotel room hours from where I lived. I had put all I had into something that was giving me nothing. That was the worst pain I have ever felt. I remember crying to my best friend. I remember crying to my mom. I remember the constant pain I felt for the week that followed, the kind of pain that shoots up your left arm.

Today, a year later, I’m finishing a road trip across the country with the most incredible man. A man that loves me and shows me he loves me. A man that is perfect for me; someone that is literally everything I have spent my life praying and looking for – in all the wrong places. I would pray that God would change the different “men” I dated into my dream man. Little did I know, God had everything I wanted, needed, and a little bit extra, wrapped up in a man that was halfway across the world at the time. Jesus has transformed my life in so many ways this year, and Zachary is one of the biggest and most unexpected ways.

But, kiddos, it’s not all about finding Prince Charming – no matter how sweet it may be. I started a business, finished a college degree, found passions, dropped negativity, and grew as a strong and independent woman that don’t need no man. I learned to embrace intelligence. I learned to embrace the fact that I am an introvert instead of being ashamed and forcing myself to hide it. That was one of the best things I did for my relationships and my mental health.

I went places alone that I never would have gone alone before. I learned how to get my car fixed in the shop without getting taken advantage of. I worked with doctors. I delivered a baby. (seriously) I learned how to stand up for myself. I moved furniture alone. I painted rooms alone. I traveled by myself. And I met an amazing man that loves that I can hold my own when I need to.

God can use a year to change a lot.

My response to “Safe sleep guidelines are failing new parents”

Let me start this by saying that I have dealt with SIDS and SUIDS first hand. It is hard. It is tragic. I understand the pain, and I am not blaming you. Ever.

With that being said, articles like this are what hurt us. Articles like this are what make expecting mothers and new parents question the credibility of organizations that spend their lives researching and advocating for parents and babies, and that’s not ok.

I DO believe that women who are educated on the risks associated with co-sleeping or other sleep situations and are still doing something different, should be taught the safest way to handle their preferred sleep situation. Whether that is belly sleep, side sleep, wedges, or co-sleeping – especially co-sleeping. No sleep aids, no alcohol, no comforters. The fact of the matter is, some parents are not going to adhere to these recommendations and we need to be prepared to teach them how to handle their situation as safely as possible instead of condemning them and turning away.

It is said time and time again, safe sleep practices are put in place for a reason. They have proven effective. I can not think of a single parent that would prefer the AAP recommend anything BUT the safest options for our children out of convenience. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to recommend only what we know is safest. It would be irresponsible and reckless of the AAP to recommend anything else.

I do understand the point of view the author holds in some aspects, the first point I understood was when she quoted,”…may be at least partly because of persistent cultural norms and beliefs.” This is absolutely true; if anyone over the age of 25 has their mother teach them how to care for an infant, they most likely will hear from their mothers that this was not the recommendation when they were raising their babies and their babies turned out fine. That’s great. We are glad! We as a society are smarter, we have more technology, and every day we are expanding upon the knowledge that we have to work with. It also blows my mind that fluffy crib comforters and bumpers are still legal in most states. There’s no evidence that proves that these keep baby safer during sleep, in fact we only have evidence that says that it hinders safe sleep.

I completely understand the desire to nurture and care for your child, no one wants to let their newborn cry themselves to sleep. This is why I am such an advocate of bassinets by the bed and co-sleepers for those mothers who just can’t put their babies in their cribs. The AAP actually recommends that babies sleep in the same room as an adult. The halo bassinet and arms reach co-sleeper are two of my favorite products for women that prefer to keep their baby at arms reach.

I like that the author mentioned that she did what she could to keep her bed sharing as safe as possible, I commend her for sleeping without blankets and kicking her husband out of the bed. But is this really what women want to do when they have a baby? Do they want their husband sleeping on the couch? Do they want to sleep without a blanket? No. I’ve been into homes where mothers get up in the middle of the night with their baby and her husband ends up on the couch. That’s not the dynamic we want to create in the home of new parents at all.

We still do not know the root of what causes SIDS, but we do know that the safe sleep recommendations put in place today are saving a lot of babies. It is not just about sleep, this we know. There are babies that sleep safely for every sleep that still tragically pass away. We are doing the best we can with what we know. Sleep standards may change in the future, but for now, with the knowledge we have, we are doing everything we can. As pediatrician Dr. Bill Bush puts it, “Taking that risk and saying ‘maybe it won’t happen tonight’ – it’s just not worth that risk.”

All in all, I think there are solutions to most, if not all, of the concerns presented in this article. A little creativity and knowledge of options is all it takes. There are absolutely special cases and I can’t say that I will never nap with my baby someday or let them sleep with me out of pure exhaustion. In my professional life, I will always stick to the AAP recommended practices. There’s a reason I have clients sign waivers when parents insist on other standards, unfortunately. In my personal life, like I said, I can’t guarantee that my kid will never sleep in my bed. I can’t guarantee that my baby will never nap in a bouncy seat. It’s unrealistic to think that way.

Here is the babycenter blog post

Here are the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines

13466326_10201957892664742_6920528442756756177_n

Save