A newborn, a toddler, and a homeless man. Never in a million years did I think I'd be living with all three under one roof. Yet here we are.
When my husband originally asked me if we could shelter this man with no family and no money, who had lost a job and would soon have to move out of his current apartment...I said no. I was overwhelmed with a reflux baby, sleep deprivation, and a moody toddler. I could barely find time and energy to take care of our little crew, surely God wasn't calling us to do this and add one more? (I know, I know. So selfish of me when we are so blessed, but I'm keeping it real, y'all.)
But then a couple days later in prayer I knew He was. And so we invited him (or Him? -Matthew 25:40) into our home.
About once a week I start to get panicky about finances and time and energy and how long can we keep doing this. In the middle of last week, I had one of those days. I was on the way to the grocery and just feeling weary and overwhelmed. Not quite discouraged, but just on the brink. I asked God for some sort of sign. He's already given us several affirmations (like the time a family sent us a random gift card in the mail, not even knowing about our guest, that just happened to be the amount I had spent extra on groceries that week) but I felt like I needed a hug from God...a sign that He was with me, He cared, and He would work things out for all of us.
He sent me that sign in the meat section of Aldi's. A lovely middle-aged black woman saw me looking at the chicken prices while my sleeping baby was strapped to my chest in a carrier. She oohed over him and asked a few questions, then when we were going our separate ways she pointedly and emphatically said, "GOD BLESS you honey, and GOD BLESS your baby." Immediately my mind went back to my prayer and I had tears in my eyes as this woman blessed us. I wanted to share it with her but was afraid I'd break down in the grocery and how silly that would look over a simple "God bless you."
Instead I silently prayed for her as I continued through the grocery, encouraged by God reaching out to me through her. After bagging my groceries and heading out to my car, I noticed her getting into her van. She saw me walking through the parking lot and drove over, got out of her car, and started loading my groceries into my trunk. "That way you can get the baby into the car sooner and out of this hot weather," she said.
I knew there was no excuse to not share my story with her now, so I quickly mentioned how I'd prayed for God to reach out to me today and how much it meant that she had been a believer and blessed us in the grocery. Before I could even finish, she wrapped her arms around me and the baby in a big hug and started praying over us. It was so beautiful. The best part was when she prayed:
"Lord, we know that you are at work and going to make everything okay...we know that because of You, everything is already okay."
And then she was gone. And my day was changed.
What an incredible encounter. It was such a powerful reminder that when we ask God to show up, He does. When we ask Him for a hug, sometimes He gives us a real one.
And when we know Him and trust Him in this life, everything is already okay.
(I would love your prayers for our friend...God has found him a job and now we are looking for inexpensive apartment.)
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Since it's only a couple days until summer officially begins, I decided I need to finalize our Summer Bucket List! My husband and I have been discussing things to put on it and I realized we both have different ideas when it comes to the goal of a bucket list! My Type A personality wants to put all realistic yet creative things with the goal being to cross the majority-- if not all-- of the items off. His spontaneous, dreamer personality wants to put all sorts of fun and crazy ideas on a bucket list even if we only get the chance to do a few. What do you like to put on a bucket list?
(For the record, this one will probably include more the small-scale, realistic stuff I'd like to do with the kids...and then we'll create a bigger, more outlandish family one, haha!)
Summer Bucket List 2018
2. Go on a hike
3. Decorate the house with some fun summer photos
4. Go to the zoo
8. Make fruit-infused water (strawberry-mint-cucumber is amazing!)
10. Take a mini vacation
11. Visit family around the state
12. Enjoy the farmer's market
13. Go to a baseball game
15. Sit around a backyard campfire
16. Pick berries
17. Explore the library / Go to storytime
18. Meet up with old friends for a girls night out
19. Run through a sprinkler
20. Grill peaches and pineapple
Saturday, June 16, 2018
I've always really enjoyed daily devotionals. Maybe it's type-A of me, but I like a structured daily plan for spiritual nourishment and inspiration. I definitely like other forms of prayer, but daily devotionals help keep us accountable and consistent in our walk with God, and they encourage us to set aside time each day to spend with God.
I'd like to instill this practice into my children, and I know it will change and evolve over the years. So far we have been trying to get into the habit of offering our day to God (Morning Offering), asking our guardian angels to watch over us (Angel of God prayer), and then praying for a couple specific requests for the day (daddy's job, play date friends, etc). Eventually I'd like to add a song, more prayers, saint of the day, and a children's devotional or Bible reading...maybe even all kept in a "Morning Prayer Basket."
God's Blessing Day by Day would be a great addition to that basket as the kids get older. It's a devotional for all the days of the year, but not marked by date so you can start it any time of the year. It has cute illustrations, a Bible verse to ponder, a reflection, a short prayer, and a summary phrase to remember throughout the day. I would say this devotional would be best for maybe ages 5-10, although since we don't have kids those ages yet I may be way off. The content is beyond toddlers for understanding, yet possibly too childish for kids over 10. I like the simple lessons of each devotional-- things like helping others, remembering God's love, being a good friend, singing for the Lord, and God taking care of us. It's definitely pretty basic when it comes to faith topics, but that can be good for children. I'd prefer it were a Catholic devotional because it definitely would be great to have additional content on the grace from the sacraments, our friends the saints, and our Mother Mary, but this could still be a good supplement in addition to other things like a Saint of the Day book, etc.
4 out of 5 stars.
[Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]
Friday, June 8, 2018
1. I never know how quick these quick takes will be because it's usually during naptime. Oh yes, my friends, both kids are currently sleeping right now. Their naptimes have been overlapping this week and it's nice to get an hour (sometimes two!) to myself...although today I let my little love nap on me awhile after nursing. You can't get those moments back, you know?
2. I'm not sure if I'll write more on this or not, but I'm emerging with a deep, beautiful breath of fresh air after being treated for postpartum depression. (I went the natural progesterone route thanks to the amazing Naprotechnology.) It's been a hard and humbling postpartum, yet the reality is there have been good and beautiful days, too, even during the hard. Not every day was dark or depressing, but I am so grateful for my loving and compassionate doctors helping me get to a better place. My OB even prayed over me during an appointment and reminded me that the devil often tells us negative lies about our motherhood to discourage us. Best. Doctor. Ever. She's a saint.
3. I thought I loved our son and was bonding even in the midst of the struggles, but man, lately the mama love has been kicking into overdrive and I'm just so in love with this little guy. I think there's an even stronger bond having gone through our struggles together-- him with his reflux and me with the PPD. He's cooing and smiling these days and I just melt. Our sweet big sister is loving him too. She often shares stuffed animals and toys with him and likes to lay on the ground beside him. ;)
4. We currently have a young man living with us who is going through a rough time without a job or a home. I was at first opposed to the idea when my husband presented it and even said no (um, hello, we have a toddler and a newborn and I can barely keep it together!), but during prayer time a few days later I strongly felt called to tell him I changed my mind. It's been amazing to feel the grace and affirmation from God...we are definitely confident we are supposed to be doing this and we pray (and ask your prayers!!) that we can help him find a job, a home, and a deeper relationship with the Lord.
5. Does anyone feel in denial that we're a week into June already??? Slow down, summer!! I've been starting to make a bucket list for the summer. What are you desires or plans for these months?
6. My sister-in-law had a reflux baby a few years ago and has been a great rock for me with understanding the difficulties of the diagnosis and treatment. She and her husband sent us a Roku and subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. If you know me and P, we have been living under a rock with just a handful of antenna channels so this is a pretty drastic change for us!! Thankfully we're too busy with the kiddos to fully binge-watch, but we've definitely enjoyed The Crown and Fuller House so far. Okay, just me for enjoying Fuller House, ha!! Hit me with you favorite Netflix shows or movies!!
7. How about summer reading recommendations? I'm currently into three stellar books right now: Only Love Today, by Rachel Macy Stafford (my new mantra, seriously-- we all need to live life this way); What's It Like to Be Married to Me?, by Linda Dillow (great marriage book so far-- even just the title makes you think!); and My Daughter's Legacy, by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (fiction by my fave author Mindy).
7.5...because I forgot to mention GARAGE SALES! You guys, I'm getting so many great deals!! Adorable Melissa and Doug toys, a video baby monitor, cute linen lined storage baskets...one of my favorite (geeky?) summer pasttimes...
And some photo dumping just because.
Linking up with Kelly! Happy weekend, friends!