Goals for October

It’s that time again to review my goals, plans, priorities, and resolutions that were made in January.

I completely missed doing this in September, but I don’t feel too badly about it as I replacd it with lots of snuggling Zoe. Mmm… she is sweet.

Since there’s no review I’m going to comment on each of the categories with notes of and plans for improvement.

Goals

Organized and prepared – yes, this is quite necessary after the commotion of having a brand-new baby. Specifically this month, I want to keep up to date with homeschool plans, work to be at church on time (I’ve decided that on Wednesday’s the only two things we will plan are school in the morning and church at night. Add in meals and baths times five and that is one full day!), and be ready for Mckayla’s birthday.

 

Writing letters – I need to finish thank-you notes for all the wonderful people who gave meals and gifts after the birth of Zoe.

Keep readingCurrently working on The Shallows, What Jesus Demands from the World, One With a Shepherd

Do things with the girls just for the sake of spending time with them – going to be honest here, after school and nursing and meal-making, I don’t feel very affectionate and ready to just sit down and read or play Sorry; I rather want to either clean a long-neglected bathroom or hide in a room by myself and look at Pinterest. I need to pray about this, for a heart that seeks to love my children as I love myself and for wisdom to know when to take naps or clean and when to spend “just because” time with the girls. There’s just no formula is there.

Domestic skills – working to use the crockpot more?? = )

Embrace the newborn stage of life with thankfulness and calm. Yes. I do have to say that right now, Zoe is easy to be thankful for.

Plans

Bible reading – still working on the Old Testament, still working to memorize Ephesians 4

Fitness – do workouts to heal diastasis recti; it’s only eight minutes a day! And would help so much!

Home organization = Packing! I haven’t told you this, but we’re planning, hoping, praying to move this month! And that will be the most time-consuming “plan” for October.

Priorities

Rejoice. Give thanks. Love Paul. Love the girlies. Make meals. Do laundry.

Must remember. = )

Resolutions

To rejoice in the character of God – Paul is doing a Wednesday night study on Jonah; so much to learn about God from that book. Salvation is of the LORD!

To diligently fulfill mundane daily responsibilities – as unto the Lord.

To prioritize nighttime sleep – much easier now that Zoe mostly sleeps through the night. I do need to find a way to nap now and then in the afternoons.

To simplify; to focus on the joys and responsibilites that will not remain after this stage of life. 

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What about you? What are you working on this beautiful month?

Nine months down, three to go!
Nine months down, three to go!

 

 

 

 

 

Where did March go? (New Year’s goals review and plans for April)

Did I just say April? Wow!

March has flown for me, and I honestly can’t think of why. However, it is that time again to review the month (specifically the plans we made for March) and to make a new list of how to execute those New Year’s goals, resolutions, plans, and priorities in April.

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I’m going to do my best to make this short and sweet. I will divide my March list into three categories: accomplished or improved; effort made, but not enough; and did not happen.

At this point I would like to say that there are still four whole days left in March, and I do actually plan to do some of these things in that time. = ) Hopefully.

Accomplished or improved

*Chalkboard ready for the next day in the afternoon (being generous)

*Park every week with the girls

*Getting to church earlier to see Paul before services start (seriously, just writing down that little goal made a big difference in how I prepared all month!)

*Plan for spring cleaning (the plan has begun, but is not yet finished. It’s much more fun to put effort into the planning than the work!) = )

*Get caught up on laundry, fold as it comes out of the dryer. I am pleased as punch to announce that none of our hampers are currently over half full. This will come as a shock to any and all who know me and these conditions are still considered by the National Laundry Service as unpredictably sustainable.

*Piano lessons have been restarted! Yay!

Effort made, but not enough

*Clothes ready the night before, prayer in the morning instead of checking weather/email/facebook

*Exercise three times a week. This is perilously close to being in the did not happen category.

*More science with school

*Evaluate weekly activities; eliminate those which bring more stress than benefit

*Work on Awana verses. In all fairness and self-defense, this one could almost be in the accomplished or improved category.

Did not happen

*Read at night

*Make list of things we might need for baby

*Organize Mckayla’s room

*Go to church library

*Make list of expectations for girls

*Purchase organizing stuff

*Dream up an entryway project

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Well, with all that, here are just a few additional comments regarding the original list.

~ I taught the girls to wipe down the sink and toilet with a lysol wipe and have scheduled a day for them to do that every week. So far they’ve done great and remembered on their own. This is an accomplishment in the “chores” department. As well, they are doing very well making beds in the morning and putting shoes away right when we come in the door.

~ Our surfaces are overall a tiny bit more cleared off and clean. Why is it so hard to keep them that way?

~ I have an idea for something to do on the girls bathroom wall.

~ We are really enjoying reading the biography of Louis Braille! I’ve learned so much and been so inspired.

~ Weekly homeschool planning has not happened for a few weeks now. This hasn’t devastated our days or weeks, but I want to get back on track.

~ Night time sleep is beginning to look a little more prioritized! Keep it up!

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Okay, so those were all general things from my original list in January 2014. Now I will try to think through specific things to accomplish or grow towards in April. I think I will try to make a more concise, attainable list as it seems March was somewhat overshot.

*Begin spring cleaning. Try to finish the top two-thirds of the house (ceilings, walls, and furniture).

*Continue to work towards being early for events (church, appointments, etc.) not just on-time.

*Keep a Bible and pen by the bed. Take the minutes you have to read and make notes, even if it’s not the extended time you would like.

*Think through any birthdays or events happening in April and May. Try to plan ahead.

*Work to spend twenty minutes after the girls go to bed being productive in the house. (Happy sidenote: I’m sleeping in a slightly different position and my back is feeling much better during the day!)

*Choose reading, writing, or playing the piano with day and night time “free time.” And don’t just write this, do it! Grrr!

*Make a small list every week of specific prayers for the girls, Paul, and others. Think through even in a small way what I’m really asking for on their behalf.

*Exercise four times a week. Yowza. What was I thinking? I need to come up with a major reward if I actually do this. = )

*Organize the girls room. And Mckayla’s room. And what’s left of our room. And spring clean. And climb Mt. Everest.

*Buy a candle

*Plan the upcoming homeschool week on Friday afternoon

*Read more from our current poetry book

*More training time with the girls, talk about expectations

*Listen to Hope as she practices piano and violin at least two times a week.

*Teach Sophia long-vowel sound words. She wants to read so badly!

*Cuddle with Gracie

*Play with and tickle Mckayla.

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Those last ones aren’t really list-worthy; but as the baby due date draws near and I spend more time resting, I want to consciously spend sweet time with the girls.

I don’t believe I succeeded in making the April list short. I think I will copy and paste it to a notepad so I can view it more easily throughout the month. Oh dear! This is Easter month! I have some new ideas of ways to celebrate that will definitely take some thought and preparation, but that will have to wait for another post.

Until then…. thanks for reading!

Three months down, nine to go.
Three months down, nine to go.

So let’s talk about February (and make a long list for March)

It was the middle of December when Paul looked at me with blurry eyes and said, “Baby, if we can just make it through February 15.”

I’m here to tell you that February 15 has come and gone and we made it! By the way, I am so proud of my husband and how much he gives to those he works with and for.

On my end, February was filled spilled-over busyness from Paul’s responsibilities and unexpected challenges. There have been some bizarre and annoying pregnancy symptoms that have just majorly slowed me down. I was just reading through my February list of things to focus on and thinking, “Yeah, I was sleeping when I would have been doing that.” Have you ever realized your kids had five minutes left to finish breakfast and been like, “Sweet! I’m going to lay down on the couch because I cannot hold my head up any longer.” (and not because of staying up too late) = ) That makes you feel real optimistic about your day from 9:30 on.

However, if I had to summarize the month… I’m really proud of all we did. The girls (especially the big ones) were amazing with everything else going on. Paul put on an amazing middle school conference and finished the work for one of his seminary classes. Woohoo! Three more credits down, baby! And I have lived to see the light of March. = )

Here are my comments and thoughts from my February goals; next will be general thoughts from my original New Year’s goals, priorities, plans, and resolutions; and last will be specific ideas for March.

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Going to bed and waking up earlier? Improvement, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Might write a post soon about finishing well at the end of the day. Spoiler! I don’t normally.

Exercise? Average of twice a week. I’m really starting to enjoy it and want to do it more.

Reading? Pretty good. Need to do a little better to finish What Jesus Demands from the World and Robert Frost’s Poems by the end of March.

Biography for Hopey? She picked one on Louis Braille and we read a little, but are nowhere near done. a la February. (anyone recommend a way to learn how to pronounce French fast?)

Bible memory and reading? picked Ephesians 4 to memorize and did not finish the minor prophets (possible post coming about a different method to memorize)

Training in the morning for the little girls? Helped a lot, plan to continue

Organize our bedroom? small chuckle… clearing of the throat… well… our closet has been organized. Lots of stuff thrown out or put in a better place. There’s still a lot of work to do. However, the March room to organize can probably be done in about a day, so there should be time to finish our room. I just have to stay motivated and determined. I love the results!

Menu planning and grocery shopping? Eh? I will say that I have insured that there are ingredients to make pasta with homemade alfredo sauce on hand at all times. We’ve eaten that, oh, about five times this month. Then I had this idea to make creamy chicken enchiladas, so I did; and quickly realized it was a very similar dish. Just keepin’ the lady makin’ the baby happy. = )

Morning responsibilities for the girls? We (Paul and I) had a fun conversation about expectations and what we need to see from the girls. More on this in the March list. However, I do think the girls did pretty good with taking care of their stuff in the mornings.

Toys? Tubs bought? Check. Toys sorted and put away. The girls actually helped with this and I thought that was really good. We also put away a huge amount of stuffed animals to be brought out for parties or school or special things. This has made a huge improvement in the neatness of their rooms and the amount of time it takes for them to make their beds.

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Goals

To be more organized and prepared… I feel again some small measure of success here. Thinking ahead a little bit more… one small example: I am normally frustrated on someone’s birthday around here because no matter how much I think or prepare, it always seems like I come up short. Especially because I never remember to clean the house or have it neat and orderly for that day, I realize on the actual day that everything is a mess and we don’t have a “blank canvas” on which to celebrate. That being said, two days before Sophia’s birthday I remembered this! and vacuumed! and cleaned stuff up! and on the morning of her birthday the house was not perfect, but it was good enough. And while it probably didn’t make any difference to her, it certainly did to me. That being said, pregnancy brain is in full effect, so all efforts and successes are subject to change. = )

I did not do well with playing the piano this month. As already mentioned, I was probably sleeping.

It’s funny when you realize you did “better” praying because that really means you were struggling a lot. When you’re forced to rest, the house becomes messy, the meals become stressful, the little kids start to push the limits, and the “crafts” that the older ones occupy themselves with in the afternoon overflow to every last imaginable space in the house. This can make for one frustrated mommy. Prayer doesn’t feel so much like a spiritual response, but a desperate reach for the help and grace you now realize you need. I can give thanks for any circumstance that opens my eyes in this way.

Plans

Laundry. It piled up again, and sometimes didn’t get done. Last month’s victories don’t guarantee future successes.

Homeschooling. Oh dear, what a month for homeschooling. First I have to say that I am so thankful for Hope. Her sweet and patient nature are such a gift. Her cursive writing is starting to look beautiful and she is catching on well to more concepts in math. We lost several days of school through the first weeks of February, but the third week we fought through and conquered and the fourth week was back to normal with an extra day made up! That felt even better than a whole month of perfectly executed lesson plans.

We did play outside a lot in spite of the cold. I think being outside helps me as much as it does them.

Priorities

This would have been a good month to fall back on those priorities and remind myself of them constantly. That didn’t happen, but hopefully it will the next time some challenging weeks roll around. (because I’m sure they will)

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I’m out of breath! But just one more list to go and I can go to bed! Because I know if I don’t do this now I won’t maybe for the rest of the year.

So here we go: specific plans for March!

(wait, one more thing. I have this policy about lists; I try not to let things roll over. Of course everything doesn’t get done, but just putting it on the next list seems to mean it won’t get done. If an item is that important, it will bug me until I get it done, list or not. All that to say, there will be things missing from March’s list that I will still be working on.)

*Get chalkboard ready for the next day during the afternoon

*Read at night

*Try to go to the park every week with the girls

*Make extra effort to be early for church, just to see Paul before everything starts

*Choose to use even the five minutes it takes to check email, facebook, or the weather in the morning to pray (weather could be checked the night before) ; ) for that matter, let’s be ambitious: have clothes ready the night before

*make list of things we might need for the new baby

*Exercise three times a week

*Organize Mckayla’s room

*Make spring cleaning plan

*Fold all current laundry, then fold as it comes out of the dryer and do not do more until the previous load is folded and put away. Get.caught.up.

*Homeschooling: more science, go to church library, find a time to do piano lessons

*Make list of expectations for the girls. Include personal responsibilities, chores, manners, attitudes, and possible rewards or consequences

*Remember the priorities!

*Evaluate weekly activities; eliminate those that might bring more stress than benefit.

*Consistently work on Awana verses with the girls. Try to be ready every week!

*Possibly purchase some organizing stuff for our room/papers/stuff.

*For profitable fun, dream up an entryway project from Pinterest, craigslist, Target, etc. Include storage, place to sit, and things to make it pretty.

What a lovely way to end a list. I think I’m just trying to encourage myself for the work ahead.

And if you read this… go eat a Snickers or some other rewarding treat. I can only imagine it is as laborious to read as it is to write. This is so helpful for me, though; thanks for bearing with me. I referred to the list many times in February.

What else should I be thinking about in March?

Happy Almost Spring! (I like winter enough that I’m cool with it for another twenty days or so)

Two months down, ten to go.
Two months down, ten to go.

“Don’t mess with Momma…” January goals review / February focus

One Saturday afternoon our family was enjoying lunch together. Well, trying to enjoy it in spite of Mckayla’s whining. I looked at her and said, “Mckayla, if you don’t stop whining, I’m going to take you straight to naptime.” Her whining continued and I whisked her off to her bed. As I walked past Paul’s chair I heard him say, “Don’t mess with Momma the first week of January.”

What a laugh!

The sad thing is it’s true.

Already this month I’ve seen the progression: Motivated and disciplined; tired and inconsistent; frustrated and overwhelmed; humbled and seeking help; motivated and disciplined…

By the way, I don’t think this cycle will ever be eliminated. I guess my goal is to just spend more days in the motivated and discplined spot.

Thinking about my New Year’s goals and the questions I asked my kids has helped these last few days to get back on track. Especially helpful has been trying to think through the last month. What worked? What didn’t? What can be tweaked?

I won’t rehash all of my goals, plans, priorities and resolutions; but I’ll just list certain ones which are comment-worthy. Then I will probably jot down a few specific things for February.

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Overall goals

I think, conservatively speaking, that goals 1-5 were “small step” successes. I felt a little more prepared, in general; was more productive in the evenings, but not in the mornings; played the piano a few times and almost caught up on thank-you notes; tried to read at night before working or relaxing with the iPad; chose to spend time with the girlies “just because” which is so rewarding. Now, if it was November, I might feel really good about those things. But most of it should just be attributed to January momentum. Now I have to really work and watch to keep improving.

Number 6 is hard to judge. What I can say is that pregnancy is a fairly difficult time to lavish your husband with love and affection. I can remember specific times this month when he was on his way home and I was in no mood to be unselfish, when God answered a simple prayer like, “Please help me to bless him, and do good to him…” with grace beyond my abilities. Looking forward for more grace to grow in this every day.

With regards, to having an attitude of prayer throughout the day, I do not believe there was any growth. Positively, I can say that the burden and necessity of prayer for me as a believer and wife and mom are growing inside me.

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Plans

Again, this may be rather scattered. Definitely some things will be left out.

The two big specific successes of the month were finishing The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer and organizing my kitchen and pantry. Whoo! Those both felt really good.

Exercise. This is what I have to say: I think I did some kind of something three times this month which is three more times than I did last month. Enough said.

Homeschooling has been rather a challenge this month. Not the actual school part, but it felt like so many times there were other busy things planned in the day that made us have to juggle our schedule. I would like for this month to be more routine. Also, while I did really good at my weekly planning, I need to do better at night making sure the room and chalkboard are ready to go for the morning.

We did play outside a good amount, but I think we can do even more. It helps so much with Mckayla taking naps – which helps with every other last area of life! = )

Priorities

There was significant improvement in the area of laundry. I’m taking it slow and trying to just develop steady habits that will keep clean clothes in our drawers. Other than that, the other priorities need some more prioritizing. Seriously, if you’ve never made a list like this and referred back to it often, you should try it. I find it so helpful.

Resolutions

In the area of prioritizing nighttime sleep, I get an F+. Because… overall, I think I went to bed a tiny bit earlier, but there were a few nights that would just blow that average out of the water in the bad direction.

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A few things to focus on in February.

-Going to bed and getting up earlier. Just go ahead and plan on reading that one every single month.

-Exercise twice a week. Plan these!

-For books, I’m planning to use February and March to finish What Jesus Demands from the World and Robert Frost’s Poems. I know the Piper book will be a great aid to the resolution of “rejoicing in the character of God.”

-At our last library visit I picked out four biographies that I thought would be interesting for Hopey. Probably on Monday, I will let her choose one and we will read that together in the month of February.

-I need to pick out my first passage to memorize from the Bible this year, and I would like to finish reading the minor prophets this month. I started with them since it had been so long since I’d read them.

-Training for the younger girls most mornings a week. I had been using this time to do little ABC’s or numbers or books, but right now, they need to grow in obedience more than any of those other things.

-Organize our bedroom. Call in the Cavalry! We’re going to need it.

-Keep up with weekly menu planning and grocery shopping.

-Currently I’m working with the girls on their morning responsibilities; we all fold and put away their laundry together once or twice a week; and I’m having Hope and Sophia clear the lunch table while I put the little girls down for naps. These might seem small, but they are a big help to me. Instead of adding more responsibilities at this point, I’m going to stick with these and try to solidify them as habits for us all. (It’s hard work to make sure your kids do their work!) As the month goes, I might add a few more things.

-Toys. I’m planning on buying two tubs. One for toys to put away for awhile (things that are no longer age-appropriate, things the girls seem bored with, or things that are consistently not where they’re intended to be) and one for toys that I see certain of our children chewing on! The idea is if I see any toy, piece of jewelry, anything in a mouth that’s not supposed to be there…. it goes in the tub and they can’t have it back… until they disinfect it or something? I have a feeling this one will evolve. All I know is that a two and four-year-old using regular toys as chew toys has got to stop! Sorry to end on a negative note.

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Well, my, my, my; I do hope this wasn’t so boring that you wanted to poke your eyes out. Or that if it was, you stopped reading a long time ago.

I already said it, but it’s true. It’s so helpful to revisit and re-evaluate your goals!

Thank you so much for reading.

Here we go, February!

One month down, eleven to go.
One month down, eleven to go.

Reading list – 2014

I feel like posting this dooms me to never read these at all. Perhaps it’s because four or five of them are ones I’m currently reading that easily should have been finished last year.

Here’s a post about two books I actually did finish last year. Yay! #livinginthepast

Okay. Reading is one of my goals for this year. So here’s the list as it stands right now:

via Amazon
via Amazon

What Jesus Demands From the World, John Piper

via Amazon
via Amazon

The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer

via Amazon
via Amazon

Robert Frost’s Poems

via Amazon
via Amazon

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr

via Amazon
via Amazon

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

via Amazon
via Amazon

The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer

via Amazon
via Amazon

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, Noel Piper

via Amazon
via Amazon

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp

via Amazon
via Amazon

Give Them Grace, Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

via Amazon
via Amazon

True Companion, Nancy Wilson

And… that’s about the list for now. If you look at my goals, you’ll see that I want to read twelve books this year. This list is only ten because I know there will be books that I discover throughout the year. I’ll try to update the list as that happens; maybe mention it on facebook so you can stay up to date. = )

A few more comments about the list:

Yes, unfortunately, the first five on the list are ones that I am in the middle of. When did I pick up that habit of reading four books at a time? How do you read? One by one? A few at a time? I obviously need help! Oh dear, I don’t think I read Gatsby at all last year; it is way overdue.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, I have read most of that before; but I think I’m much more in the stage of life to need and use it now.

Give Them Grace piques my curiosity. I’ve heard good and bad; so it’s time to find for myself. = )

The Well-trained Mind and Faithful Women and Their Extrordinary God were both gifts from friends. I really wanted to start them, but was already so far behind. = / This is the year!

I really want to read True Companion! Need to put it in the amazon cart and hope my husband buys it along with his seminary books. = )

Oh dear, so excited! Can I just be honest with you and say it is so hard to forego that iPad at night and just pick up a book?! I frustrate myself. Once again, this is the year. Oh yeah, and if you even read the first few chapters of The Shallows it will help with the whole technology thing. For a few weeks at least. = )

I think I will try to finish The Hidden Art of Homemaking by the end of January. I’m close to done; and it is so inspiring.

I’d love to hear from you! What are you reading this year?

31 days of training my kids: don’t despair

imageIt’s taken two days to write this silly thing. And it’s not even that profound or deep or anything. Here’s how it started out, two days ago: 

Today did not start out super great. I woke up late -happens more than I’d like to admit. We finished breakfast at…

I don’t even want to say.

Then to clean up at least a little, get all the girls settled playing, make sure the homeschool space is ready… start school, take care of Mckayla who just easily hopped over the baby gate…

All the while my mind is eating at me, “If you had… you can’t even… even when you… it’s still…”

Mornings like that are no fun.

I’ve learned from experience that the worst thing to do is despair. Sometimes it feels like you can’t walk away from that voice in your head.

*Digression: it is my personal opinion that at this point the worse thing you can do is follow the popular advice of the day, “Remind yourself that you’re a great mom! Think of ten things right now that you’re awesome at! It’s so shallow. We know deep inside how messed up we are.*

Even when I know that I’m behind and in less-than-desirable circumstances, I can’t go back and change anything. In the moment, I have to do what’s right. Keep fixing breakfast. And be joyful and thankful.

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Seriously, the last few days have felt like 600,000 inner battles one right after another. Then go to bed, then do it again.

Not giving in to despair or discouragement or feeling defeated is a victory. Just because the temptation is there to wallow in all those emotions doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice.

The moment, minute, and hour at hand have not been messed up yet.

Ever felt like this?

Task. Frustration. Discouragement. Repentance. Hope. Task. Thanks. Rejoicing. Repeat. 

Every ninety seconds.

Not fun, but good.

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I have to say that yesterday was even harder than the day before with crazy things coming out of all sorts of places. If you’re having a day like that, don’t give in. Don’t despair. 

…hope thou in God:  for I shall yet praise him,…

Kristin: Ob/gyn to stay-at-home mom

Hello everyone and welcome to Mother’s Week! 

I’m so excited to pass along a story today from one of my dear friend’s here at our seminary. Kristin is one of the kindest and most caring people I know. Her love for Christ and her service to others were evident the first time I met her! She organized meals for our family after Mckayla was born, has babysat our children just so we could have an evening together, and regularly encourages all who know her with her sweet spirit. Several months ago, she shared her testimony with our seminary wives group. It was so touching; I asked her right after if she would let me put it up here. She was so sweet to say yes, and so I’m been saving it for this Mother’s Day week. I know you’ll love getting to know her and be blessed by the story of God working in her life.

Hi! My name is Kristin, and my husband Kevin is a Masters of Divinity student here at Shepherds. We should hopefully be finished by May of next year.

I appreciate the opportunity to give you all my testimony and share with you what God has done in my life. I, like many people, do not feel comfortable speaking in front of people so when Lucy asked me to do this, my hands typed back “sure” while the rest of my body said “NO!! Are you crazy?!” The very next day, we had a Seminary Wives Fellowship and our very own sweet Marsha gave us a talk on how to give a presentation. What perfect timing! Well, she talked about how important it was to have an illustration that could relate to people. Well, my mind began thinking of what I could possibly use…and in 5 months, I could only come up with one thing. And after my testimony, hopefully it will make more sense why this something is near and dear to me!

****At this point, Kristin held up a diagram of a uterus! We were all like, “Wha?” but just hang on, you’ll soon understand, too. = )****

Does anyone know what this is?

Right! A uterus!

Just in case you don’t know, it is the female organ which is responsible for our lovely menstrual cycles but also the wonderful organ that carries babies!

The uterus is an amazing organ. When a woman becomes pregnant, the uterus will stretch up to 500 times its normal size! 500 times! And it doesn’t bust open! That is amazing!

Well, God may choose to stretch you more than you think you could ever be stretched, but don’t worry, you won’t bust open either!

Let me tell you how God is stretching me!

I was raised in a Christian home. I heard the gospel, and at the age of 8 years old, I accepted that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. And that God had sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sin, so that I could spend eternity with him in heaven. I continued to believe this throughout the rest of my childhood and into my adult years. There were several years when my walk with Christ was not close, and there was little fruit in my life, but by God’s grace, he drew me near again about 10 years ago.

Let’s back up about 15 years.

I was in medical school pursuing my life-long dream of being a doctor. I knew I would get married someday, but I figured it would be when I finished medical school and then started my Obstetrics and Gynecology career in Denver, CO. The man of my dreams would be found skiing in the newly fallen snow on the slopes!

And then before I was able to finish medical school, I met my future husband, at a billiard hall. Oh, and by the way, he hates cold weather and certainly does not like to spend all day in it skiing! Good-bye Colorado….Hello sunny Florida!

Kevin was not a believer when we met, and he subsequently met weekly with the pastor of my parents church and by God’s grace, he accepted the gift of salvation. We were married in 2001 and then moved to Jacksonville, Florida for my residency. When we moved to Florida, we had no idea how to look for a church. The Lord was so kind to us and placed us in an amazing Bible-believing church where we could be mentored and our faith began to grow.

Kevin was immediately on fire for Christ and he just couldn’t get enough. He would get together with guys from the church and talk theology into the wee hours of the morning. He had truly put off his “old self” and was putting on a “new self.” And it was a totally different Kevin than the one I met in a pool hall and married!

I was pretty consumed with work, practically living at the hospital delivering babies day and night. That made it easier for me to avoid dealing with the fact that we were not growing in Christ together. I began to resent that he was trying to be a spiritual leader when he hadn’t even became a Christian until recently. I was the one who had been a Christian for a LONG time, who is he to tell me about God? However, I was becoming to feel more convicted about the double-life I was living, outside of church and inside church. And my now “goodie-twoshoes” husband wasn’t helping any!

Thankfully, God spoke to my heart, and with His help, and Kevin’s patience, we, as a couple, began to make some big life changes and grow together in the knowledge of Christ.

One big change was the desire to have children.

We didn’t think kids were for us. Whoa, being stretched here! Kids? Really? But God laid the desire on both of our hearts, so…well, I won’t get into that- you figure that one out yourself. But then we had our first child, Brendan in 2005, right before we moved to Virginia so I could join a private practice there.

OK…so now the uterus has been stretched a bit. That is good, right God? No more stretching necessary!

This is great! Picture this! I’m now a partner in a private Ob/Gyn practice. Did I mention it was a Christian practice? We gave Bibles to all of our 6 week postpartum patients with their baby’s name in it. I have the BEST office staff, the BEST hospital staff, the BEST patients. I have no financial woes. I am able to aggressively pay off my student loans. We have a nice house. I have a husband who has quit his job and has joyfully devoted his life to raising our children. We now have 2, Kayla was born in 2006. My parents live 5 minutes away and are available to help any time we need it.

Everything is great on the outside…except that inside, my heart is hurting.

I don’t get very much time with my family at all. Being responsible for the lives of moms and babies is taking a toll on me. I want to do everything right, I don’t ever want to make a mistake with a patient. I am obsessed with every detail of every labor, every delivery, every annual exam, every surgery. But in return, I am missing my own baby’s first steps, and first words, and preschool plays.

But Lord, who goes to school for all these years and then finally is a successful doctor, and then quits? To do what? Be a stay-at-home mom? What will my husband say? We agreed that he would stay home and I would work. What will my office say? What will my parents think? I can’t stretch that much Lord. I’m not going to say anything. I figure this is probably just a phase, and I’ll get through it.

Well, little did I know, that God had laid the same thing on my husband’s heart. He had heard a message by Alistair Begg about motherhood. And he became convicted that we were not following the Biblical guidelines for how a family should run, with me working and him staying home. Now, I understand that there are reasons that a woman works outside of the home and I am not passing judgment on anyone else or making a blanket statement. But for our specific situation, ours was purely by choice. Our debts were now paid off, there was no reason why I had to be the breadwinner anymore.

So, Kevin dropped the bomb and spoke to me about quitting my job and becoming a stay-at-home mom. He was so worried that I would have a negative reaction! He had no idea that I longed to be home with my children but I was just too scared to say anything. God had prepared both of us for this idea…unbeknownst to the other person! Wow God!

But let’s keep stretching that uterus. I start the process of quitting practice. It takes almost 2 years to jump through all the hoops and stop work. I’ll spare you the painful details. As we worked all of that out, Kevin and I started discussing what he would do. Would he go back into the secular work force, or would he pursue this growing desire to attend seminary? We prayed and felt that seminary was the way God was leading us.

Also, during that time of transition, God blesses us with an unexpected pregnancy. Yes, an Ob/Gyn doctor can have an unexpected pregnancy! My last day of work was the day my water broke with Josie on June 30, 2010. And then Kevin started seminary 2 months later.

And here we are! Josie will be 3 in June, her sister is 6, and her brother is almost 8. I am a full time stay-at-home mom and I love it. My uterus is still stretching but not because of any more babies (I think!), but now because in a little over a year, we will be done with seminary. And then I may find myself as a preacher’s wife! What??? Me? Sometimes I wonder if I can really stretch that much. But I know that God is in control and I am so thankful for Seminary Wives Fellowship and the ladies that pour into us here.

Maybe some of you always thought you would end up here, but I sure didn’t. But I know that God will equip me and I already see how he has provided such wonderful people to help me along. One last uterine fact, the uterus starts out about 2-3 inches big, then expands to up to 500 times its normal size, then after birth, it goes back to about 4 inches big. Not the original 2-3 inches, but closer to 4 inches. God will stretch you, sometimes farther than you ever expected, but he will be with you the whole time and will protect and guide you. And you may never be the same again, but it is all part of God’s sovereign plan. God is molding you and making you just what he wants you to be.

I want to close with a verse. I have carried around an index card in my purse for many years with the scripture verses Philippians 4:6-7 on it. As my life goes in directions I never thought it would go, it is easy for me to be anxious about the future. What does God have next for me? His Word says, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

Thank you so much, Kristin! Your story is an inspiration to me every time I hear it.