FMF: Stuck and Stable

I must admit, a lot of times I feel stuck. I feel stuck in the kitchen cooking for hours each day. I feel stuck on the couch nursing my twins. I feel stuck in this house, homeschooling and cleaning. It can be difficult to remain positive about this stability. It can be challenging to remember that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do. I am nourishing hungry bellies, educating future generations, and caring for the little slice of paradise that God has granted me. Truly, I am blessed.

Stability is one of the vows that all oblates make, and one of the principles that I am trying to apply to my life. We live in world where people shop for “perfect” churches and where families don’t hesitate to move across the country. To remain “stuck” and “stable” is looked upon as archaic. Yet, here i find myself vowing to meet life head-on. I have promised to do my best to remain stable in my spiritual life, commitments, and relationships.

I have vowed to still my wandering heart. There are days where having a career seems more appealing than staying home with my kids. There are moments where other parishes seem to offer more beauty than mine. There times where I regret the path my life is on. This is where my vow of stability comes in handy. When I persevere through the bad days with my kids, I get to see them hit milestones! When I put down roots in my parish, I develop friendships that will last a lifetime. When I am determined to own the major decisions I have made, I find satisfaction in my growth.

It isn’t easy to be stuck, but as Abba Poeman once said, “It is by warfare that the soul makes progress.”

 

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FMF: Money Gatherer

The van was dark as we rode back home, a little later than on a normal date night. Spencer and I had just picked the kids up from their grandparents’ house, and everyone was worn out from playing hard.

My husband and I were listening to a local Christian radio station, as we heard our kids talking in the backseat.

Renee flatly said, “You’ll need to get a husband first, because husbands gather all the money.”

Exasperated, Nora agreed, “I know, I know.”

My husband and I lost it. We tried to cover our snickers as the conversation continued. The girls discussed the importance of a husband. Husbands are the ones who gather money for food, toys, and houses. Before Nora could open her dream grocery store, a husband was clearly needed. (I think they are oblivious to the fact that Mommy brings in money too, but that’s okay)

I love the simplicity of life in the eyes of my children. I admire their thankfulness for all that Daddy, Mommy, and God provide for them. They never worry about tomorrow or food running out. They are never fearful of the car being repossessed, or the bills going unpaid. They trust in God’s Providence.

If only I could cultivate such a life of simple gratitude. If God clothes the flowers of the field and feeds the birds, then of course He will also provide for those made in His image.

 

 

I wrote this post for Five Minute Friday. The prompt was “provide.”

10 Magical things to Do in Winter

It isn’t officially winter yet, but it isn’t too early to get a head start on some Winter Activities! December is a magical month. Here is a list of some of my favorite Winter activities. Make sure you share some of yours with me too!

  • Make/Decorate Cut-Out Cookies
  • Admire Local Christmas Lights
  • Go On a Carriage Ride
  • Send Christmas Cards to Prisoners
  • Go Christmas Caroling
  • Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas
  • Cut Down Christmas Tree
  • Read a Biblical Account of the Nativity
  • Donate to a Local Food Bank
  • Decorate the Front Door with Snowflakes

 

Are You Done?

Ever since giving birth to Gideon and Aidan, everyone assumes that I’m done having children. You wouldn’t believe the strange things that people say to the parents of twins.

“Hey, at least you got it all done in one swoop!” (Um… tell that to my saggy belly skin or my poor hips!)

“I’m so sorry… Better you than me though!”

“So did you get your tubes tied or did your husband get snipped?”

“You are done now, right?

I know people don’t mean to be rude, but those comments hurt my heart…

How can people say they feel sorry for me? I have two beautiful, healthy baby boys! I get to spend all day breathing in the smell of their tiny heads and losing myself in their gummy smiles.

These boys are an answer to my prayers. When I went into preterm labor, we were discussing the possibility of them dying… There is nothing to be sorry about, but there is plenty to praise God for!

And when people start to inquire about whether I am done or not, I don’t know what to say. To be honest, I think I’ll always want more children. I’ll never want to give up the empowerment that comes from growing a human in my womb. I will always want to witness the miracle of another tiny human coming into the world. I will never want to give up the newborn snuggles and fuzzy haired toddlers running around the house.

So yes, I do want more. I don’t know if God will see fit to give us more, but a big part of me hopes that He does.

When I allow myself to think about the fact that someday I will rock one of my children for the last time, my heart shatters. How could I ever be done with that?

10 Fun Things to Do in Autumn

Fall is finally here and I am extremely excited! There is so much to do and so little time. Below I have made a list of my top 10 Autumn activities. Share your Autumn Bucket List items in the comments!

  1. Visit a pumpkin patch
  2. Attend a fall festival
  3. Go apple picking
  4. Attend a high school football game
  5. Take family photos
  6. Bake pumpkin quick bread
  7. Bake an apple crisp
  8. Make s’mores
  9. Make popcorn balls
  10. Picnic in the mountains

Aidan and Gideon’s Arrival

It was June 26, 2017, when Dr. Schindler told me to head to the hospital for an induction. (I was 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant at the time.) Her words set in motion an excited fury of packing, babysitter arranging, and nervous chatting. Spencer and I sat in the hospital parking lot munching on McDonalds and discussing how strange this all was. We were about to begin the labor process after weeks of attempting to hold it off. It all felt so surreal.

Although we checked into the hospital around 11:30am, the induction process didn’t get fully underway until around 4:30pm. Before the Pitocin was turned on, I received IV antibiotics for Strep B and the anesthesiologist placed an epidural just in case Gideon had to be manually removed.

I’ve always heard that Pitocin is a nightmare drug, but honestly it wasn’t that bad. The contractions came hard and strong, but even with the epidural turned all the way down they still weren’t as bad as my back labor with Renee. I was able to talk with all of our family that came to visit and I even kept people updated on Facebook.

Everything changed once my water was broken though. Around 9pm Dr. Schindler broke Aidan’s water. Instantly, the pelvic pressure and contractions got intense. I asked the nurse for some stronger medicine and she sent the anesthesiologist back in to give me a spinal. Let me tell you, that was a miracle drug. I was instantly numb from the neck down. With that in my system all we had to do was wait. I was already measuring 8 cms so we knew the end was in sight.

Around 1:30am Dr. Schindler returned to check me. Much to our surprise I was already dilated to a 10, and Aidan’s head was almost crowning! The room instantly got chaotic. Two NICU teams rushed in, lots of nurses, and some techs. I barely had to push for Aidan to pop out. When they laid him on my belly, I instantly felt pure love. I had never seen a baby so tiny. I carefully ran my fingers through his hair and whispered lovingly to him. It killed me when the nurses came and whisked him away to the warmer.

As the NICU team looked over Aidan, I could see that something was wrong. Suctioning noises could be heard and my husband’s face looked concerned. One of the nurses kept saying that he was fine, but I didn’t believe her. The doctor told me to focus on pushing out Gideon, but how was I supposed to do that when one of my children was struggling for breath?

With all the willpower I could muster, I pushed. Since Gideon was the bigger baby, it was more of a process. Dr. Schindler had to reach up into my uterus and pull him out. Thankfully, I didn’t feel much of that due to the spinal. He must have looked very blue, because they barely let me touch his head before carrying him away too.

After a few minutes of attempting to stabilize both babies, they were rolled away to the NICU, with my husband following behind. I laid in the bed without my family,  bleeding and heartbroken. This wasn’t the way I imagined their birth going…

Thankfully, Aidan would return to us within an hour. He instantly latched onto my breast and my Mama instincts took over. Gideon on the other hand, would be battling a lung infection for four days in the NICU.

I’m still trying to process all that happened that day… I will tell you this though, twin pregnancy is the most difficult, but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I wish my boys had a better entrance into the world, but I am thankful that they are both here and healthy now. Things could have been a lot worse.

Our Pascha in Photos

This was our family’s third Pascha since converting to Orthodoxy. The Lord has blessed us with three years of spiritual growth and beautiful memories. Pascha is now my favorite holiday of the year, and I am doing my best to instill that love in my children as well! This year our festivities included daily Holy Week services, the Paschal Vigil, 2 egg hunts, a HUGE feast, and of course dyeing eggs. We had a blast and are now all in recovery mode.

I wanted to share a few pictures of our celebration with you!

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