Hope, a birth story

She was such a special baby, such a timely gift.

I guess since this isn’t titled “A pregnancy story” or “The life of the mom and dad story” I’ll start as close to her birth day as I can.

Just a few hours old
Just a few hours old

Our little Hopey was due on January 1. She was our first baby and we were ecstatic about having her! At a mid-December appointment, our doctor predicted that we would have her by Christmas. I was already dilated at least two to three centimeters.

I was feeling great and if I experienced any Braxton-Hicks contractions I wasn’t aware of them. We were busy with Christmas preparations, Paul’s responsibilities at the church, and my piano teaching.

Christmas was on a Tuesday that year and several things had been planned for the days right before the big holiday. Some friends were having a Christmas party on Saturday night. A man had planned a special Christmas service on Sunday afternoon for the inmates at the local juvenile justice center, and my brother and his family were going to be in town. My sister was also coming in from a few hours away and would be staying with us.

On Friday, a friend and I went to Target to do some Christmas shopping. While there something abnormal happened which I would later realize was what they call “losing the mucus plug.” Lovely. Right before the Christmas party on Saturday, we dropped by Barnes and Noble to pick up some other gifts. (Seriously, Christmas is a great season for staying active and doing things to help you go into labor.) = ) While there, I began to feel quite poorly and felt a great, sudden need to use the restroom. It seemed to go away, but when we got to the party, I knew I wasn’t quite myself. After sitting down on the couch, I did not want to move. Usually the independent one, I was quite content to have Paul get my food and refill my drinks. I started to notice that every so often I would feel really bad. So I asked my sister on one of those occasions what time it was. When it happened again, I would ask her again. It didn’t take long to realize that the “bad feeling” was happening every fifteen minutes. Later, I would realize, duh, the contractions were beginning. That was around six pm on Saturday night.

We went home when the party was done and stayed up late. I was wrapping Christmas presents for bus kids and Paul was assembling some nightstands I had just bought. I kept careful track of how often the contractions came. They worked down to seven or eight minutes apart, but never felt unbearable. When all our work was finished we went to bed.

In the morning, the contractions were still there. But as they weren’t really that hard to take, we got up, got ready and went to church. I was definitely walking different. My pastor’s wife took one look at me and said, “Are you in labor?”

“I don’t really know.” I answered. “Maybe?” Ah, first round ignorance. I just didn’t think it was that big of a deal since the pain was not that bad.

I played the piano for the church service noticing that every now and then it did take some extra concentration if it was during a contraction.

We ate lunch at my parents house with all the family. I remember walking in the door and my brother saying, “Hi, Labor Lady!” It was decided that my sister would play for the service at the justice center.

This was great for me, because I still hadn’t found the perfect Christmas gift for Paul yet. So where did my sister-in-law and I take off to? The mall! I happen to be a very picky shopper so we literally walked through every department store of the mall. I found the right gift and then headed to Walmart. Of course it was crowded, we had to park very far away, and once again, did quite the walking regimen.

By now I knew I was in labor. I didn’t know if it would be it for sure, but the contractions were regular and a little more painful.

We went back to my parent’s house to switch cars and people. Paul and I and my sister headed back to our house. At this point, my sister had a movie she wanted us to watch, so we did. It was horrible. There we were on the couch and my contractions were consistently every six to seven minutes. Sometimes I would look up at the ceiling or breathe really hard through one of them and Paul and Laurie would look over at me and ask, “Are you okay?”

After it passed I would look back at them and say, “Yup.”

This went on until the end of the movie (for which we all rejoiced). = )

I decided that I would go to bed. If I could fall asleep, then there was obviously no reason to go to the hospital, but if the pain kept me up, then we would go from there. We made sure the right phone numbers were on the refrigerator and headed to bed.

At about 1:05 AM I realized the contractions were too painful to sleep through. I told Paul that I was going to get up and call the hospital. The contractions were five minutes apart so the hospital told us to come in.

I remember having a great quandary over what to where to the hospital to have a baby. I didn’t want to go out in my pajamas, but it seemed silly to get dressed. I ended up wearing some of Paul’s basketball shorts and his Duke sweatshirt.

My sister came with us. We were all very excited. I kept wondering if this was really it.

We arrived at the hospital around 2:30 am. The people did not take us seriously at all. They nonchalantly called for someone to wheel me up to the maternity floor. That guy wasn’t the greatest; he laughed at us and said, “If you were going to have a baby tonight, she’d be cursing.”

I don’t remember too much about the first little bit of being there. I think I was only dilated to four centimeters. Thankfully we had an older nurse who thought it’d be great for us to walk around a bit. So we walked around the floor while the contractions continued. Once they were too bad to continue walking, we went back to the room. Again, I don’t remember too much; only asking for a ball to sit on, trying it and realizing it would never work for a short girl like me; and being very hot. Paul and my sister would take a washcloth and wet it with cool water to put on my forehead or neck. This felt amazing.

For some reason, I climbed up on a loveseat and kind of leaned my arms and torso over the armrest while kneeling on the seat. The pain was very bad. I rocked back and forth a little bit trying to do different things with my breathing to just stay in control and not give in to the pain. It was kind of like a zone. I knew other people were there, but still felt all by myself.

The next time the nurse checked me I was at nine centimeters!  We all cheered. Apparently, the weird rocking on the loveseat experience had been “transition.”

From there I stayed on the bed.

Again, the exact details here are a little sketchy. I think the nurse asked if I wanted to try to push. Of course, I did and she gave me this long explanation of what to do. I was excited as everything I had heard was that labor was bad but pushing was good.

Well let me tell you, not for this girl. I tried pushing a few times and stopped. That was not for me. To this day, I hate the pushing part!

Through all of this, my water had yet to break. They said they would call the doctor to come break my water. Then we found out that our doctor would not be there, he was out of town.

This didn’t seem like a big deal. A doctor’s a doctor, right? We’re pretty laid back.

I remember somewhere around five or six in the morning telling Paul that he needed to pray for me. I’d been doing pretty good, but was beginning to lose my trust in God. Why is this taking so long? It really hurts!

When the doctor walked into the room, a new wave of confidence was given.

He broke my water, which I thought was pretty cool. If nothing else, childbirth is a feast for curiosity.

I started trying to push again and was miserably unsuccessful. Let’s just say I push like I’m trying to play a trumpet or something and all the force does not go to the right place. And no, another explanation of how to properly do it will not be helpful, thank you.

The doctor gave the nurse a look and she told me they were going to do something to numb it because he was going to cut.

For some strange reason, this bothered me not at all. I don’t remember feeling any pain until recovery.

A few more pushes and there she was. (I have to say that the moment when the baby comes out is really cool! I thought for sure that that part would hurt quite badly, but for me it really didn’t.)

In just a moment, there was a beautiful red and purple skinned, dark-headed screaming baby on my chest.

“Hi! Oh, you’re so beautiful!!” I said to her over and over again.

I looked up with tears in my eyes at Paul and saw his first proud daddy smile.

“She’s here!”

She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Happy can’t even describe how we felt.

They took her and cleaned her up all while Paul followed and watched.

I remember being sewn up and not even caring. (Whatever they did to numb me worked really good!)

When they brought her back to nurse, it was so precious. She latched on beautifully and I watched in amazement at what was happening.

She was six pounds even and nineteen and a half inches long. Such a little peanut. An absolutely perfect little peanut to me.

One funny memory from after delivery is when the nurse informed me that I needed to get up and try to use the restroom. I looked at her like she was crazy and thought, “Hello, just had a baby! I don’t need to get up and do anything!” 

But sadly, I discovered, that yes, I did have to do something. And from there the pain and annoyance of recovery began.


We spent the first Christmas of our married life in the hospital. It was great. Everyone was being so sweet, bringing us gifts and miniature trees. All the while I was thinking, We just got the best Christmas present of all! Nothing can top this.

We held our sweet little Hopey and tried to take in all that she was. I was so surprised by how many faces and expressions and noises she already made. I had never been around a newborn before.

She was such a sweet baby, nursing and sleeping so well.


All the pain of delivery didn’t seem to matter anymore. I was thankful and surprised to have gotten through without any medication. While it certainly isn’t for everyone, setting myself up for it to be really bad and trying to breathe and concentrate through the pain seemed to do the trick for me.

I will say that recovering from the episiotomy was very painful and unpleasant. To this day I have no idea how many stitches I had. I didn’t want to know and didn’t ask.

Also, unexpectedly painful were the contractions that returned with nursing during the first week. I was totally caught off guard by this and a little mad that no one had told me about it.


The whole experience was only about half as bad as I had prepared for. Someone had let me borrow some Lamaze magazines and much of what I had read in there was helpful for ideas on how to breathe through contractions and for the overall “You were made to do this!” mentality. It wouldn’t be true to say that I followed it completely and I think that some women have a lot harder time than I do, but overall what I read  was helpful.

I remember the week after we had settled back down at home my sister-in-law sitting down and saying something like, “So tell me the birth story.” As I talked it out for the first time, I realized just how special it was and how special it was to be able to share it with someone else.

Even as I’ve written this I realize how many details I’ve already forgotten. But at least what I still remember and what was really important about those hours is recorded here. I can’t wait to write out Sophia’s! Hers was quite the whirlwind.


Remember this {on bouncing back}


About this time last week, I was down. Down on housekeeping, down on homeschooling… cooking, kids, you name it.

When I look around and find myself so dissatisfied with what I see, feeling helpless to turn any of it around, I’m often forgetting some extenuating circumstances.

In this particular case, my husband just graduating from seminary! A four-year long culmination for him. Not to mention more than a week of careful preparation on my part to insure that everything went smoothly that weekend so we could fully enjoy celebrating together.

So yes, there were rotten bananas on the counter that just hadn’t gotten made into banana bread. The laundry that had been so carefully taken care of before Friday had once again spiraled out of control. The two-year-old who had completely mastered potty training started having accidents out in public when I had no extra clothes and no idea what to do about the mess.

But accidents and dirty laundry and rotten bananas are not the point. The point is that I let these things convince me that I’m a complete wreck who will never get it right no matter how hard I try. Which is completely untrue. What is true is that I am a very average homemaker who most of the time keeps everything in line enough so that our family can run smoothly and enjoy each other, who some of the time can do above that, and who sometimes bottoms out and lives in a very messy house for a few days before bouncing back.

When you’re pregnant and there’s big a big abnormal life event, you might have to just rest for a few days. And no, your housework will not get done while you’re resting. And that’s okay.

Because somehow, in some way, I usually bounce back. It’s not normally from the big, all day, get-this-place-cleaned-up times I dream of; it’s usually in very small, indiscernible steps. Then one day I look around, and things have gotten better.

This applies to so many areas of my life. Just after having a baby is a big one. Or when baby has to start eating solid food. Sometimes it’s not just the physical settings of a messy house, testy kids, disorganized homeschooling, or never-ending schedules, sometimes it can be spiritual growth (or the lack thereof), strained relationships, or cloudy moods that evoke those feelings of hopelessness. It’s hard to convince yourself that those circumstances won’t last forever, but really those “lows” are most often just as temporary as the equal and opposite “highs.”

It might be the next week, the next month or the next year, but most of the time if you wait long enough, things will bounce back.

Maybe I’ll remember for next time. = )


Just wanted to say a quick hello to you, the readers! This may be the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without blogging! We did indeed have a lovely and touching graduation. God blessed and everything was smooth and wonderful. It’s hard to believe that sweet time of life has come to an end. We currently have three days of homeschooling left before we finish our first year. And then, it’s get ready for all things baby! Somehow that has given me the itch to rearrange everything in the house. = ) I am woefully behind on sharing pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will have some ready for this Saturday. Until then or whenever, thank you so much for reading and for your sweet support. 

lyrics i love


Before you close your eyes to sleep
I have a promise still to keep
As I hold you in my arms.
I pray your little frame grows strong
And that faith takes hold while you are young;
This is my prayer for you.

Hold my hand;
I’ll teach you the Way to go.
Through the joys, through the tears,
The journey of these years,
May you trust Him ‘til the end.
May you trust Him in the end.

This world is not as it should be,
But the Savior opens eyes to see
All that’s beautiful and true.
Oh may His light fill all you are
And the jewel of wisdom crown your heart;
This is my prayer for you.

Hold my hand;
I’ll teach you the Way to go.
Through the joys, through the tears,
The journey of these years,
He is with us ‘til the end.
He is faithful ‘til the end.

You’ll travel where my arms won’t reach
As the road will rise to lead your feet
On a journey of your own.
May my mistakes not hinder you
But His grace remain and guide you through;
This is my prayer for you.

Take His hand
And go where He calls you to.
And whatever comes, seek Him
With all your heart;
This will be my prayer for you.
mmmm Father, hear my ceaseless prayer;
Oh keep them in your care.


Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Fionan de Barra; © 2012 Gettymusic and Fionan de Barra (adm. by MusicServices.org)

Generous, ordinary words

imageA few evenings ago I caught myself in some rather nostalgic contemplation as I was doing dishes late at night. I was thinking about words that had been said to me that had meant the most in my life. Oddly enough, I don’t think any of the people who spoke them would have given them a second thought; especially not imagined that they would mean that much to me.

For example, out of all the things my dad ever told me (and there were many very good and helpful things), the most special one to me was so simple and ordinary. (I’m planning on posting about another one closer to Father’s Day)

I was fourteen or fifteen and in the middle of having braces. I had pined for braces since I was a little girl because I thought they were so cool. = ) Luckily I had inherited my father’s rather crooked teeth, so soon enough I got my wish. Overall, it had been a great experience; not nearly as painful or bothersome as I had heard others describe.

However, one particular time after an appointment, my mouth and jaw were really hurting, the only time I remember this happening. I walked by my dad’s door and saw him resting on his bed from a long week of work. He must have asked how I was doing and I decided to tell him that my mouth was hurting pretty bad.

I’m sure he said he was sorry or something, but there is one thing he said that I’ll never forget. “Just remember I had them, too; and I know exactly how you feel.”

I probably just smiled, said thanks, and went on with whatever I was doing. But everything in me felt completely better.

Isn’t it strange how much that impacted me?

Another one that struck me unexpectedly was a simple remark that a man in our church choir had made right before I left for college. I had been the church pianist for about four years, so naturally lots of people were coming around to give goodbye hugs and good wishes for that next step in my life. One quiet man told me with a small smile that he remembered when I first started playing for the choir. (It was when my sister had left for college) He said he remembered how hard it was for me to play even the simple choir accompaniments, and how fun it had been to watch as I grew little by little. I’ll never forget those words. Forget all the compliments from other performances in my life; someone remembered when it was hard, when I was just a complete play-by-ear fake who had to really work at reading music.


I began to think that possibly the words I speak that will be remembered will be ones I’m completely oblivious to, spoken only in passing. I mean of all the things I say to my girls day after day what will really warm their heart when they’re all grown up doing dishes late at night? Of all the words that I speak to friends or casual acquaintances what will it be that matters?

It appears the answer is… who knows?

Sometimes I recall a conversation or remark spoken in passing and think, “Why is my first reaction to say something about myself? Or, wow, what I said had some really negative undertones. Is that really what’s in my heart?” Of course, we can say good or wholesome things when someone approaches us for help or when we have a chance to prepare. But what do my mindless words that spill out communicate to others? What should they teach me?

As I stood there scrubbing away, I desired for God to change my heart; to make me someone who loved others above myself; to give me a spirit that would generously speak compassion and love even when I’m not really thinking. Every day so many words are spoken. May they be redeemed to be ones that bless and minister grace in the moment, whether they’re ever remembered or not.

Three no-brainer tips for pregnancy

Today, I decide to state the obvious.

These tips should be easy, but they’re just not always easy for me.

1. Drink water like you’re about to spend a week in the Sahara Desert.

If you think about getting a drink, drop everything and just go get one. If you’re thirsty, drink all the water you can handle. Try not to leave home without it, and take any opportunities when out and about to have some.

Drinking water has helped me with headaches, dizziness, fatigue, other nameless annoyances of pregnancy, and overall comfort.

And if someone could come up with some glasses that would block out any and all advertisements of Coke, that would help, too.

2. Eat something before you get hungry – every two hours. Or forty-five minutes.

I totally did not get this when I was first pregnant. But now I do and my life is so much better when I obey.

Even a handful of almonds (my current go-to) can do wonders.

3. If it’s not already, make sleep your new best friend. 

I am not the greatest at going to bed early or getting up on time. However, I am working on it really hard this time around because I know *negatively* what a big difference it makes.

Napping if possible is a wonderful help.

Adding any extra nighttime sleep you can is truly worth the effort.


And… ladies and gentleman this has been my three no-brainer tips for a fantastic pregnancy. Pardon me, while I go work on them myself.

A little optimistic reality for expectant and first-time moms

Sometimes I read posts that try to encourage young mothers by contrasting the long-term influence, joy, and blessing of motherhood with the current state of walking around as a sleepless, friendless, spit-up crusted, hardly ever attractive-or-cordial-with-one’s-husband zombie.

Women are encouraged to take heart and embrace the mess of motherhood knowing that one day they will miss these precious years.

I often wonder if those reading who have not yet had children are terrified. “I won’t shower for days? I’ll have to walk around with {fill in the blank} disgusting baby substance all over my clothes? I will growl at my husband every day when he walks in the door? My toddlers will scream uncontrollably while I try to remember these are actually the best years of my life?” Where is the exception clause?

So I felt it incumbent upon myself to tell whoever might be reading that it is not always that way.

I personally don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire day without taking a shower. Sure sometimes I would have rather it been right when I woke up and it ended up being right before I went to bed. Yes, there were things that totally fell apart after I had my first baby -namely doing dishes, making meals, and keeping laundry clean. But I wasn’t that great at those things to begin with. And little by little after the initial “black hole” post-pregnancy time, things started to come back together.

*I call about the first six weeks after delivery the “black hole.” Simply because though life still clicks along and happens, I can never remember anything about it. You look back and wonder how anything got done, but know that somehow you did eat and sleep and bathe.

I know a lot of moms, young and old, who’s lives did not completely fall apart when they had a baby.

Will there be days that are hard? Yes.

Will there be disgusting things to clean up? Yes.

Will you be able to keep every up every personal and domestic habit you enjoyed before children? Probably not.

But will your days be characterized by less-than-human conditions? Probably not.

Now are there people who have a really tough time regaining a “new normal” after having kids? Who do feel like they can’t struggle to the top of messes and sleep-deprivation and schedule changes and sickness? Of course. And if that is what one finds themselves enduring, that person needs hope. And if posts like the above-mentioned help, then I am sincerely all for that.

But if you’re out there, about to have a baby… take heart. Don’t be freaked out by drama and “realism.” Yes, you’re about to face a challenging time of life. But it’s doable. It will look different for every person and family; every child produces unique joys and challenges. Chances are, sometime during the first few months, you will figure out how to venture out of the house with a new little one in tow. Perhaps there will even be a grocery trip or a meal made. You will discover with great joy that you’re little sweetie can lay happily in a crib while you get a shower. Or maybe they’ll be cool enough to sit in a bouncy seat in the bathroom while you sing your favorite tunes and scrub away. Maybe not, but you will figure it out eventually. (in most cases, people do!)

Motherhood is a privilege, a great adventure, and above all a gift. God gives grace and new mercy every day.

So from one very average, imperfect, “real” momma to another, you can do it; and if you haven’t “done” it yet –it’s not so bad. I highly recommend it. ; )

Keep the door of my lips

If there’s one thing that bothers me about the first trimester of pregnancy, it’s the emotional highs and lows. Mostly the lows.

Feeling sick or tired is pretty clear cut. I feel like this because there’s a baby growing inside me.

But crankiness? impatience? frustration? a sharp tongue? I mean honestly, when was the last time you were like, “Oh, I’m flaming mad at my husband for being late because there’s a baby growing inside me.” No problem. I can just cut that emotion off right there.

It never feels that way. All the things around us that we perceive seem so real! Surely everyone in the world doesn’t turn into an inconsiderate mob the minute our hormones kick in; but it feels like the problem is with everyone else. Surely not us.

I was just a few weeks into realizing I was pregnant when I began to notice that the days were getting much harder. All of the sudden, the childishness of the girls began to get under my skin. I heard the words coming out of my mouth as harsh and unkind, not loving and patient.

At night, I would talk to Paul. “It’s so hard! I’m not any less accountable to be patient and kind, but the temptation to speak and act harshly is so much greater!” Every single minute is a battle. Every conversation. The days where you “do well” just mean you literally were fighting your flesh every five minutes and just barely surviving. At the end of the day, you are emotionally and spiritually exhausted. And there’s the days where you don’t feel like you win at all. At the end of those days you just feel really, really low.

I was sitting in church about a month ago, when I remembered a fragment of verse.

It had been one of those mornings. I had felt upset at everything and everyone. I had gotten really close to letting my feelings fly out of my mouth. Thankfully, through the schedule and rush of the morning I hadn’t had a chance. I sat in the service thinking through the morning. Slowly, my feelings subsided. I realized that it had just been a very normal morning. In fact, better than most. There were a few things good that had happened that didn’t usually.

The only real problem was me. Everything came from my perception of the circumstances, and those perceptions were being filtered by my heightened emotions.


Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

If there was ever a time I needed to pray that verse, this was it.

So that became my verse for those weeks of my life. I can’t say I worked on memorizing it or even remembered it during hard times. The basic concept in my mind was, Don’t say anything when you feel like it. Give it some time and see if you feel differently after the initial emotions have worn off. Nine times out of ten I realized that it was really nothing. And if it was something, time gives you a much better perspective.

As I said with my napping light bulb moment, why did it have to take me until the fifth pregnancy to realize this? I wish it hadn’t; but at least now it’s helping. The crazy dramatic feelings have been less since about week thirteen, but pregnancy still has a way of getting to you.

I need to be praying even more for help to stay calm and kind. Homeschooling, potty training starting soon, busy schedules… temptation to lose it won’t be far.

Certainly there is grace and help to match the times of pregnant need.

If I said and you said

If I said that I’ve craved and willingly eaten a pickle for the first time in my life,

that the stupidest commercials, signs, songs, -even seeing a man put his arm around his wife in church- are makng me tear up like a silly goose,

that going to bed earlier is becoming more and more attractive,

that getting frustrated for no reason at all is becoming easier and easier,

that hugging Mckayla holds a new level of sweetness for me,

that my house is growing messy and I can’t seem to do anything about it,

that I can only eat about 3/4 of what I used to, but that I’m very thankful for any appetite at all,

that Paul coming home at the end of the day seems like a great prize that I wait all day for,

that some mornings we’ve had to postpone school so Mommy could rest on the couch,

and that $.77 boxed macaroni and cheese has made it back into the lunch rotation,

you might say that I may be pregnant.

And you would be right.

= )


Napping… to the glory of God?


I love them. I hate them.

Go to sleep, Mommy.
Go to sleep, Mommy.

After four pregnancies, I’m coming to believe that they should be a part of almost every day for the pregnant or nursing mom.

But naps can be tricky. Especially when you consider other children in the picture, temptations to be too lazy or too productive, and a mind that sometimes wreaks havoc on your conscience.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything else. Sometimes it feels like such a waste of time. Sometimes it feels like they cause more problems than they help.

A few weeks ago while Sophia was sick, I sat down on the couch getting ready to crash for a nap.  Somewhere in the third level of my subconscious or something, I had this thought: “Lord, please give me the rest I need right now. Help me not to take more than what I need. Help me to be happy and to trust you even if I don’t get any. And help me to wake up refreshed and ready to serve my family again.”

Now please understand; what I just wrote there was far more coherent than the actual thought in the moment. But it did kind of startle me and make me think, “Why have I never prayed about naps before?” (Besides, “please help everyone be good, and please let me sleep for two hours, and please help the baby not to cry!”)

If we’re to do everything including eating and drinking to the glory of God, why not endeavor to take naps to His glory as well?

Resting to ease our bodies of the nightly feedings or physical demands of pregnancy and nursing is completely legitimate; but our rest should be with the intention of getting up to again serve and fulfill our roles as wife, mother, and follower of Jesus.

How many times have I gotten up off the couch so frustrated and hurt because I hadn’t gotten what I needed? The problem was actually my attitude, concentrating on my needs rather than seeking to better help those around me. God knows what I need; He is a better Shepherd to me than I will ever comprehend. I need to do what I can to be a faithful steward of my body and mind; but ultimately I must trust Him and receive what His good hand gives or takes with thankfulness.

I would be remiss not to mention that these thoughts were planted in my mind by the ladies at Girl Talk. Their post Is it Wrong to Look Forward to my Child’s Naptime? addresses some of these very same thoughts. I love this line, “… we as Christians should approach all our time—even our leisure time—as “God” time. Therefore we should rest to His glory, just as we work to His glory. And bringing our rest into this light helps us to evaluate it biblically.”

Here is the original question, “Is the goal of my rest to be refreshed in order to better serve my family and others?” 

It’s a great question. Even though I read this quite awhile ago, it is only now becoming a part of my conscious thought process.

Just one more area of my life to surrender. Just one more idol I hold dear to lay down.

Just one more way to discover that His mercies reach to the heavens and His compassions fail not. Just one more to way to remember how much joy there is in trusting Him.

Just one more way to glorify Him in this vapor called my life.

When I just want to crash

One thing is for sure about 99.8 percent of the time: if I sit down on the couch right after I put the girls in bed, I won’t be getting up… likely for hours.

I always think, “I just need to sit down for fifteen or twenty minutes; then I’ll get up and finish the dishes/pick up the house/etc.” It feels like I can’t do anything but sit down. My body has literally no option.

My mind does kind of tease me about that feeling sometime, though; because you know if one of the girls became ill or something, I would jump off the couch to rub a back, or clean up the mess, or give a drink, or start the laundry- all that those wonderful middle-of-the-night episodes entail. Conversely, if a trusted friend appeared on the doorstep to say, “Hey, your kids are in bed; I brought you a Target gift card, go shop for an hour!” I would probably be able to muster that little last bit of strength to do something fun.

Note: I am not saying at all that it’s wrong to sit down at the end of the day to just relax. I just know for myself that if I do that right after putting the girls in bed, it is very unlikely that I will get back up to do something profitable. Even though I always intend to.

Which brings me to a point of inspiration.

A few weeks ago, I read an article that said something like this, “You will never do what you want to do until you decide what you won’t do.” (Unfortunately, I cannot track down that post anywhere!)

Hmmm. “Won’t do.” Very interesting.

I thought it was a pretty good point and began to think where it could apply to my life.

One thought led to another, and here is what I came up with:

Thing I won’t do #1: I won’t sit down for twenty minutes after the girls go to bed.

At all. Anything standing, moving or walking is fair game. (except leaning over the counter looking at my ipad)

It’s amazing how that first small step of self-denial is so hard; yet the subsequent steps are so easy. Just picking up toys, putting away books, getting dirty dishes out of the sink, or laundry into the dryer doesn’t seem so taxing after all. Wow, I’m getting a lot done!

The other sort-of rule is that I don’t watch the clock. Ding! Twenty minutes; Pinterest, here I come!

This might be takng it too far, but I want it to be about my heart, not just a silly rule I made for myself. Body, I am in charge and you will do what I say. You’re not as worn out as you think you are. 

Funny sidenote: I am currently sitting on the couch, truly exhausted from a taxing week of homeschooling and a sick little one. Special circumstances do apply.) = )

Anyways, this has been a huge help to me! I think it’s been about a month now that I’ve tried it and I would say there’s been 80-90% success! I find myself doing profitable things for longer than twenty minutes, genuinely enjoying it, and accomplishing even more than I intended to.

And then when I do sit down? it feels really, really good. And I’m not as likely to relax too long before going to bed.

For some reason thinking of it as something I won’t do is easier than thinking of it as something I will do. eg. I will straighten the house for twenty minutes after putting the girls down.

Do you have any reverse psychology that works for you?

If you have trouble with a time-sucking couch, try this and let me know how it goes. = )