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15 Photos of The Loveliness of Nursing

I would like to thank my husband for his support of me nursing, as well as sharing these photographs.   From 2009 to 2013, a range of the loveliness I have experienced in nursing my children until they were ready to wean.

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Beauty & BF

Happy World Breastfeeding Month!  I am inspired by the events this week at The Leaky B@@B and am planning three upcoming posts in the spirit of supporting the beauty, health and importance of breastfeeding.  Welcome all who need encouragement and/or are curious!

To start off, today I just want to reminisce….

Twenty Places I Have Nursed My Children

(listed in order of the impact they had on me to be more confident)

20. In the rank bathroom at a restaurant.
19. Sweating under a light sheet covering in a meeting at church — the cover was ripped off by my unhappy nursling and I pretty much flashed another leader guy, who was AWESOME and didn’t even blink twice.
18. On the couch, sweating under a light sheet covering at a Bible study full of single guys (all of whom are either about to be married, are now happily married, or even expecting kids… kinda nice to realize I didn’t scar them forever).
17. Around the corner on the stairs without a cover, at #18.
16. Discreetly but without a cover, sitting fourth row back from the front of church, because I finally realized my church is AWESOME.
15. Discreetly but without a cover, at Starbucks at an outside table.
14. Metro bus (babies don’t wait)
13. At the hospital after C-section birth and VBAC (same hospital for both)
12. In the car after a funeral in the country (dirt roads are bumpy… see #14)
11. In bed while simultaneously cuddling with husband
10. In a living room with other moms and their nurslings
09. At the zoo, with a bunch of nursing moms, surrounded by a bunch of other mammals nursing
08. In a cozy armchair in my pastor’s living room, bought specifically for nursing moms who might visit
07. On the couch, with my almost two-year-old toddler on one side and my newborn on the other (a.k.a. Tandem Nursing)
06. In mixed company, at my house, because it’s hard to get out with a nursling
05. At my Doula (now a Midwife)’s house because she’s awesome and has parties for her Mamas and their families
04. At my in-law’s house, where it has become the supported norm for me to nurse my speaking & walking toddler
03. In the church nursery while helping care for other kids
02. At Young-N-Restless Resale store, where there are chairs just for nursing in
01. In the brand-new rocking chair bought for me by a friend shortly before my daughter was born

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Thank you to those of you who have supported me nursing along the way.  I hope to help others down the line, for the rest of my life!  It has truly been a lovely, wonderful, life-changing, life-giving experience.  I am grateful to everyone who has said “Go ahead!”

Well-Worded Advice

God has seen fit to bless me with a five-year-strong marriage and three beautiful children.

Along with these areas of great blessing, I have had moments of great need — for support, prayer, help, and advice.  Over time, I have found the more incredible words from friends and my heavenly Father building up into beautiful inner dialogues, sometimes battling or encroaching upon my more negative dialogues, even eradicating them, but always consistently energizing me and keeping me going.  Praise God.  These words are as refreshing as a Texas water canal, filled to the brim, gushing into a vivid-green rice field in the middle of our dry, reddish-brown countryside.

Let me share with you some of these reverberating cheers of my soul.

My Mother-in-law: “Leave the crumbs where they are.”  She said this right after my toddler son dumped something all over the floor.  We were all having to walk all over it while trying to serve dinner.  I loved her for that grace, that kindness, and that relaxed attitude about the mess.  I try to extend it to myself when I have chunks of food on the floor, etc. and have so many other things to do…

Our marriage mentors: “Intimacy is not the icing on the cake, but rather the yeast.  And intimacy is not so much about a goal, but about being together.”  How much effort and stress that has saved me in the past few years!  I could say the idea of being together applies to any activity I am doing with my husband, or my kids!  The goal is being together, not just to do whatever activity I have planned.  It helps me to keep that in mind!

My sister in Christ: “One thing I wish someone had told me when I was a new mom… take 5 minutes every so often, and stop, and rest, and breathe.  It’s okay, and the kids will be fine.  I flew around everywhere trying to take care of everything.”  Enough said, right?

The Lord (direct tap): “Trust me.  And ask me first when you don’t know what to do.  I will help you.”  More recently, he also told me “It IS good enough, and so are you.”  I have this posted above my sink now.  Thanks God, for taking my inabilities and making things happen supernaturally.

The Lord (through Scripture): “You are blessed beyond the curse!”  In frustrating, hormonal, or tired moments as a parent, spouse, or woman (pregnant or not), this speaks to me deeply!  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 — “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Blessings, Friends.  Thanks for reading!

Things I Think Of

It’s been a while!  We have been busy with two very important family projects.  My husband started a business of his own (see the link below) and we are also working on building our very own home, debt free (see second link below), Lord willing!  More on those later.

www.ThunderbirdArms.com

www.DaveRamsey.com

So, in the meantime, here is some stuff that I had on my brain last week and made into quickie little illustrations.  I hope they make you chuckle and encourage you to nurture your creative side in this busy life we live.

I love this first one (above) because I often find myself mad about things that I don’t need to be mad about.  I have to take a calming breath and just remember that it’s not about me.  It’ not about how I perform, I don’t need to defend myself, I haven’t messed up, I haven’t failed, and I certainly am not defined by what is going on.  This is all great medicine for my soul.  Thanks God, for freedom from the circumstances surrounding me.

This second one is just my reminder to pop my vitamins instead of going for coffee or sugar intake…. yeah, I just love the drug reference.  I never was a druggie but sometimes I like to pretend I am one, when I take my “vits.”

Here I illustrate my need to remember to congratulate my son on his amazing ability to divide and conquer whatever mess he has aimed to make.  He loves making messes, and of course I can easily slip into “clean-up mode” where I complain about the toll on my house, my energy, my time, etc…. Sometimes that’s all internal and never at him directly, sometimes it is a frustration with him, but I am working (and asking the Lord for help) to be able to just sit and enjoy the mess with him.  There is a spiritual truth in that, for me.  Does God sit and enjoy the mess we make as his kids, sometimes?  Surely he must.  His laughter rolling up from his insides…  Thanks God, for enjoying ME.

Lots of love, dear Readers, and thanks for your time and attention this morning!

Delight in all my Labor

It is easy for me to forget in the daily grind that I am cherished.  Treasured.  God’s special girl.  A princess in the kingdom.

We’re not talking “positive self talk” here.  We’re talking true healing from the frustrating day yesterday, and knowing (and feeling) the tender heart with which God views all my mistakes, trials, and heartaches.

My husband has taught me this phrase: “PROGRESS, not perfection.”  I love it, but it is hard to really step into sometimes.  I do want to be good at my job, my life, you name it.  So, when even PROGRESS seems unattainable, I can be easily and understandably…. erhm…. emotionally constipated or… erhm… runny.  Either one.  Ha!

What I am realizing is that this enemy of my heart works to not only steal my self-worth, he also seeks to steal the joy in my work with this mentality.  I am suddenly just working away for nothing, not appreciated, not worth being appreciated.  The voices start saying: You should never have signed up for this.  You made a big mistake, and you will pay for it for the rest of your life (if you want to be a good wife and mother by not quitting).  

or

Look at the mistake you made.  You shouldn’t share about that with anyone.  They will just look at you sidewise and not want to be your friend.

Then I start filling in: I should quit — to be rebellious against all these voices!

or

I must never make that mistake again.  Let me be as hard on myself as I can so I will learn this time.

These are all tricks of the enemy of our souls!  I know God wants me to just rest in the identity HE has created for me…. it’s all there, in the Scriptures.

I am beautiful.

I am His treasure.

I am His bride.

I am not alone.

There is joy for my work today.

There is new mercy and grace for every mistake I make.

…It just goes on!

Ecclesiastes 2:10b — “My heart took delight in all my labor,  and this was the reward for all my toil.”  Even though the purpose of everything is to know and be known by God, and is meaningless otherwise, I seek to rest in His perspective of today.  I choose to look to Him for the joy and delight in all my labor… as a friend, mother, wife, homemaker (I loved seeing that on our IRS return!), and daughter of the King.

It Won’t Be Like This For Long

“Someday you are going to miss them running around and being this little!”

At the risk of sounding like I complain all the time (although I know I do a lot — I am working on it)… My husband and I comfort each other with that phrase any time the kids are so demanding that we feel our hair frazzling to a dull grey (more recently, during cold-and-cough season, when both my kids required medicine given via nebulizer — basically a child’s version of an inhaler).

"Quack Quack Medicine"

So… 8 times a day I held a sometimes-complacent, often not, child on my lap and administered the prescribed innoculation through the freshly sterilized-between-each-breathing-treatment…. yeah I can’t finish that thought anymore.

"Dinosaur Medicine"

At least the meds worked! But with no time to do any of my normal routine and also no visitors/extra trips out, well — you get the idea.  Some folks can give me a HOLLA I’m sure.  It gets old real fast, right?

So… “It won’t be like this forever.  This too shall pass.”   It helped a lot.  It became our mantra.  We said it the most often when *I* got sick on top of it.

But, I can’t use that phrase anymore now, because of a stupid country song… made me cry my eyes out today.  GRILLED CHEESUS.

Please tell me I’m not the only one.  SIGH.

I was actually holding my 2-yr-old right when it played, after an afternoon of splashing in really cold water and “help” with raking leaves, and herding our family’s new rooster (yeah, I’ll blog about him later) away from the fire.

My awesome child was tuckered out and had just sweetly fussed himself to sleep on my lap.  So the timing… was… hateful.  I did not need that hurt in my heart today!  THANKS A LOT, DARIUS RUCKER.

SIGH AGAIN.

Thanks for reading, Friends.

Overshadowed by Grace

‘…the power of the Most High will overshadow you… For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 
— from Luke1:34-37 (one of my Christmas/Advent readings)

After having my first baby, there came a season of  mental “re-training” — I had to realize that it wasn’t going to be so hard anymore to do things.  My body and brain started coming back, and I had to relearn how to use them in a non-pregnant way.  Anyone hear me on this?

With my first post-partum, I had no idea this issue even existed.  I just did not remember anymore what it felt like to be interested in cleaning, or maintaining some chore. I didn’t know it could be easy anymore to flirt with my husband.  There was no hope for our front porch or any other area which I had signed up to take care of in our married life.

Granted, that is not everyone’s pregnancy story (I don’t want to scare people away from having kids).  Nevertheless I think Snow White’s brain made a much faster return-to-normalcy after her coma than mine did.

It cracks me up: there were moments upon moments of “Aha!  It only took me five minutes to _________, and I’m not exhausted!”   Make some tea, put dishes away, clean an area, play with my child, whatever.  You name it.

So, the second-pregnancy-around, I came prepared.  (I thought.)  I talked myself through decisions to stop caring about my shaved legs by saying: “In a few months, I will do that again, but for now I won’t worry about it.”  I knew that I would return from the ride and eventually be myself again.

Uh…. yeah….. I forgot that this time I would have: “Two!  Two precious angels!  Ah – Ah – Ah!”  (Please tell me you get that reference.)  It’s not that I’m complaining.  I actually, if anything, would complain that I can’t seem to get over the change to two toddler/babies and keep smacking my head like a moron into the wall of “what I WANT to do.”  Again, anyone hear me on this?  I know I’m not alone or stupid in this, but dang.

So… here we are…. seven months in and I am finally getting some progress on my mental switch.  Anyway…. here’s to learning to taking it EVEN EASIER on myself and accepting the new normal.  My Father-God seems to know just how to embrace me in it, too.  I have to work a little at listening to His Voice instead of the inner-critical one that likes to play on me.

So… Proud-a-me?  Yes.

Is progress really that important?  Not always, no, not really.

Is it perfect?  Definitely not!

Is it still good?  Hell-to-the-yeah.

So, thanks, Lord, for helping through this next reprocessing/readjusting phase.  Thanks for helping me figure out the new normal.  And thanks for friends and family (and an amazing husband) who help and encourage along the way.  Help me to rest fully in Your overshadowing grace and love and excitement about my life!

Thanks for reading, Friends.