The Bluff

One of my children’s favorite books is The Gruffalo. In case you haven’t read it, it is a rhyme of a mouse walking through a deep, dark forest. Along the way he meets a fox, an owl and a snake. All natural predators, in case you didn’t pick that up. They each try to trick him into sharing a meal with them, where obviously he will become the meal. He in turn replies that he cannot come to their place to eat because he’s meeting a “gruffalo.” They ask him what a gruffalo is and he feeds them whatever features he thinks will scare them the most. If you have read this story to your kids, I’m sure you can hear it in your head. “His eyes are red his tongue is black, he has purple prickles all down his back.” They suddenly get scared and leave the mouse alone. He chuckles and moves on laughing that they fell for his trick. Ultimately, he runs into this fabled creature, and the gruffalo looks at the small mouse and comes right out to say he’s going to eat him, no tricks. The mouse replies that the gruffalo should be afraid of him because he, the mouse, is the scariest creature in the wood. The gruffalo scoffs. The mouse then convinces the gruffalo to follow him through the forest and see what happens. As they walk they run into the snake, owl, and fox again the animals run away in fear. The gruffalo believes they are running away from the mouse and ends up running away in fear as well.

How often the Devil walks through the world tricking people into thinking he’s the scariest creature in the universe. We run in fear, shake in our boots, and give in to his temptations thinking we aren’t powerful enough to defeat him. He’s like the stooge in an old movie with his hand in his pocket pretending to point a gun, when in reality it’s just his finger. We as children of the most high God have high powered assault rifles and we lay down our weapon in front of him. That’s ridiculous! The only power he has is the trickery. Call him on his bluff. He can make it hard on you, yes! He can try messing with your thoughts and your motivation, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Love is not…

Recently ive been hearing from multiple “channels” about what love is and what it is not. Today I wanted to chat a bit about how love is not tolerance.

This might seem super simple, but I heard it from two different sources in the same week and both times my mind was blown. Not in a “I didnt know that” kind of a way, but in a “DUH!! Why havent I ever thought of that!” Kind of a way.

We know this with our children. Its simple, its natural. We love them so we correct them. We discipline so that they wont make pointless mistakes or get hurt. Now no matter what your thoughts on types of discipline are, you do this. If your child is running towards a street full of traffic you grab them and stop them. To have the chance to grab them and choose not to would be deemed “unloving” right?

So lets apply this with friends and loved ones. Have you ever had a friend that was “running toward oncoming traffic” so to speak, and you couldn’t choke down the shouts of warning. I know I have! The terrible part of it all is, I’m not very practiced in the ‘art of confrontation” so I lost that friend. Yes, I know its not completely on me, but all I can really change next time is my own actions and words.

I was always told “Unrequested advice is unheeded advice.” So I’ve gotten very good at keeping my mouth shut, when it comes to other people’s choices and lives. Do I have an opinion? You Betcha!! But unless you ask, I’m not squawking! Which is most likely a philosophy I will keep the rest of my life.

But there has to be a point, a line in the sand, where the choices are so monumental and so detrimental to the person you love that action must be taken. That words must be spoken. That the “unloving” thing would be to not do or say anything. It would be unkind, unloving, even hateful to simply “tolerate” what is happening.

If you knew your best friend was being abused by an outside force, you wouldn’t hesitate to step in and do something about it. But if your best friend is abusing themselves by cutting, drugs, addictions, or lets be more day to day negative self-talk, sexual thoughts about people other than their spouse, we’re silent or hesitant to do anything, cuz we dont feel its our business. Im not saying we suddenly have an opinion on every choice the people around us make. They can wear the makeup they want, wear the clothes they want, make day to day decisions they do all without our help. Im talking you see them heading down a path of destruction for them or their family and you say nothing. Is that love?

Motherhood Merry-Go-Round

Remember the last time you rode a Merry-go-Round? For me it was last Christmas with my family in South Carolina. It was cold. Not Wyoming cold, but to the bone cold that is brought on by moisture in the air. My 18 month old daughter stayed back at my parents house with my husband and I had my 6 year old son and my 4 year old daughter. My son was super excited to ride, but my daughter was very nervous. As a stroke of genius the ticket prices were set up in a way that an adult could ride for free with a child under a certain age, so I was able to hop on with my little girl and help her have this awesome experience. My parents, or Grand-poppa and Grammy, stood at the gate and watched us go around and around. Every time we passed them my now practically fearless daughter cried out, “There’s Grammy!” “There’s Grand-poppa!” I’m not sure if she even noticed the other scenery we passed multiple times.

I’m sure every mom knows that there are many phases of motherhood. We go through them all multiple times like riding around on a Merry-Go-Round, but, sometimes, I forget to notice more than one. Right now, I’m in an exhaustion phase. With lack of sleep from nursing a 1month old and a busy schedule during the day, I could easily fall into the trap of thinking this is all there is for me. I made the crazy decision to go for a fourth child and now this is my life.

But hold on a minute! In just this short month, I’ve ridden the Motherhood Merry-go-round through other stages too.

Excitement of holding a new life in my hands, Anxiety of whether or not I’m capable of taking care of this new life, Exhaustion from figuring out the routine of nursing.

Excitement of introducing Asher to his older siblings, Anxiety over whether they’ll love him and not feel cheated of love and attention, Exhaustion from now having 5 “love tanks” to fill every day.

Excitement, Anxiety, Exhaustion…I’m sure there are more phases, smaller ones I missed noticing or grander all encompassing ones I haven’t paid attention to while I focused on the small things. The thing I have to remind myself is to remember the next phase is coming. Life doesn’t stand still! All that is happening right now is preparing you for the next thing.

If all you pay attention to is one phase as it comes around you’ll miss out on all the others.

You Gonna Have Another One?

This past Sunday morning, I was asked the seemingly ever present question. “When are you having another baby?”

It’s is interesting that no matter what stage of life you are in there is always the question of kids. If you’re single, the question is, “Well, dont you wanna settle down and have kids before its too late?” If you just got married, “When are you having kids?” After you finally have a baby, “When are you guys having another one?” I have three babies, ages 6, 4, and almost 2. Now, yes, the age gaps imply that its time for another baby, but it’s really none of your business. Also, its is a really emotional subject for me right now. Why?

Well, I thought I wanted another baby, but lately I’m wondering if, deep down, I just want another chance. Another chance to enjoy the excuse to be selfish the way you can be selfish when you’re pregnant. The way I can excuse not getting anything done all day because I just dont feel up to it.

Maybe, I just want that first 48 hours in the hospital (Im a C-Section Momma) where you get pampered by the nurses and people bringing you food as you just lie in bed snuggling your tiny, tiny newborn.

Maybe I just want another set of small hands and feet, another pair of beautiful baby eyes gazing into mine for what feels like hours at a time.

As I look back at old pictures and videos of my three beautiful kids, I try to close my eyes and relive those moments. I have one of those weird memories that can relive random moments of my life. It’s not always trustworthy. As my dad says, “I have a photographic memory, I just ran out of film.”

So, I will relive some special memory of when my 6 year old used to wrap his arm around my side and caress my back while he was nursing. Or how my 4 year used to unlatch just to smile at me. Or how my youngest used to let out these ear splitting screeches at the most random times.

I thought I wanted another baby, and, to be honest, my husband and I have been trying. But every time my “monthly gift from Mother Nature” comes, I experience that disappointment mixed with relief, and I don’t know quite how to take that. I think part of me knows that when another child is added to the mix, everything changes.

More importantly, I think God hasn’t let me get pregnant yet. Maybe, because He wants me to see that having another baby will not bring back all those beautiful moments with my other three. Having another baby won’t cure my longing to keep them little just a little while longer.

I dont know if I’ll have another baby, but no matter what I will treasure the memories and look forward to the future. I cannot wait to see them embracing who God made them to be, learning to drive, finding their calling, getting married, becoming parents. Im looking forward to the teenage years with my girls of sharing clothes and going shopping together and staying up late watching chick flicks.

Im looking forward to watching my son turn into a man. He has dreams of building houses or being an inventor. I can almost picture him working with his dad and uncles, or leaning over blueprints of his latest project with that intense focus he summons up from time to time.

I want them to grow up. I just…don’t want them to grow up at the same time. This is the life of a mom, I guess.