due date thoughts

39-weeks

Tomorrow is my due date.

20 weeks ago, when my water broke, my prayer was that I would make it to 23 weeks of pregnancy – far enough along to be hospitalized and down the hall from a NICU to give my preemie girl as much of a chance at life as possible.

And here I am, 40 weeks pregnant. Farther than I ever thought possible.

If I’ve learned anything through the last 20 weeks, it is the importance of trusting in God. I feel like these last days of pregnancy are an especially pivotal time to practice resting in His will. I’m incredibly curious about when and how this little girl will exit my womb and enter the world as her own unique person. But that’s not for me to know right now. So I can either focus on what I don’t know (all the details surrounding her birth) or focus on what I do know.

What do I know?

I know that God’s grace is sufficient.
For the waiting period now and the labor later – whenever it happens and whatever the outcome.

That’s about where my knowledge stops. I know the character of God will remain unchanged. His love will be present, His strength available, and His grace sustaining. Beyond that, I know nothing. And I don’t have to.

That’s kinda what faith is, right?

Resting when you can’t feel.
Believing when you can’t see.
Trusting though you don’t know.

And now for some random, due date-esque thoughts…

// I started reading this book again last week because I could tell I was getting incredibly self-focused, anxious, and irritable. I thought it would be a good reminder to trust in the Lord and rejoice in the present. It has been.

// I’m aggressively trying to empty my laundry basket and dishwasher. It’s a constant job. But I hate the thought of coming home to nastiness in either the laundry closet or the kitchen. I should really attempt to live like this all the time because it makes for a nicer home.

// I bought comfy clothes for the post-partum stage. Sweatpants, cotton, elastic, perfection. I’m super happy they arrived before labor began.

// We are in our 9th week of school. I can hardly believe it! But I am so incredibly glad we began in July (even though it was slightly painful at the time) so that I won’t have the pressure of jumping back into school the day (or week) after I get home from the hospital.

// In honor of my due date tomorrow, I’m going to take my kids out for breakfast. I wanted to have something to look forward to in case baby didn’t make her appearance, so I thought this would fit the bill. Pretty excited about the occasion, I gotta admit.

// We finally decided on a name for this new family member, although we’ll wait until after baby girl is born to be 100% sure. We are going to wait to announce her name until we’re able to tell our 3 older kiddos in person. They are super curious and we definitely want them to be the first to know. Since we’ve had a hard time with the name (okay, I’m the one who’s kept tossing in different ideas; Jonathan’s been pretty sure for a while now), I just want to wait until after she’s born to be totally, completely, 100% sure. You know, rather than calling her Millicent for several months and then switching it up on everyone after she’s born. So there’s one name you can be sure we aren’t naming her. Or maybe we are and I’m just being sneaky. One never knows…

// I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your prayers. So many people have told me they’re praying for me and baby – from the time my water broke prematurely to now while I’m prepping for labor. I need your prayers and am humbled to hear of them. So thank you for being the kindest support system ever.

I’m looking forward to sharing some newborn pictures with you sooooon!

p.s. I’ll definitely be sharing via social media before I get anything posted on this site, so if you want a sneak peek, you’ll find it on instagram and facebook.

 

water broke 20 weeks

 

Always Reaching For the Next Big Thing [& how to stop]

I feel it in myself. A yearning, reaching, longing for that next big thing in life.

When I was little, it was always the next birthday. A whole year older! Cake! Presents!
Then I began longing to be a teenager, enter high school, start driving, get my first job, begin college, find that special someone – along with a plethora of smaller desires mingled among the bigger milestones.

As I grew older and began experiencing all the “next big things” I had been anticipating, I realized something: I never arrived at the next anticipated milestone and felt as if I had arrived because I immediately began longing for the next big thing.

I was contemplating this a few days ago as I exited my doctor’s appointment. At 39 weeks pregnant, you can guess what my “next big thing” is now, can’t you? Hello labor & delivery, I’m looking at you.

And then what will the next big thing be? Getting back to normal. Normal-ish.

After my third baby was born, I constantly  tried to speak contentment to myself by saying, “Once things are back to normal, this precious newborn stage will be over.” And it’s true. You always trade one stage for another.

But contentment isn’t found by reminding yourself what you’ll miss from this stage.
Nor is it found by reminding yourself how much less fortunate others are around you. As in, “There are always people having a worse day than you who would love to be in your shoes.”

Contentment is found when I am truly grateful to God for who and where I am right now. If I’m not grateful today, why do I assume my gratefulness level will increase tomorrow? I assume that because deep down I believe contentment is determined by my circumstances instead of by my heart. I assume that if I only had a nicer lifestyle, better wardrobe, or deeper relationships that I’ll be content and have freedom from reaching for the next big thing.

But that ignores the basis of contentment.

Contentment isn’t found in my stage in life, relationship status, or level of health. Contentment is found in Christ.

If I can praise God for every circumstance He brings my way today, then I will be content. And only then will I experience freedom from reaching for the next big thing. Because only then will I be truly grateful for who and where I am today.

So I take these truths and apply them to my current circumstances.
The next big thing I anticipate is labor and delivery. And then a long period of recovery. How can I stop reaching for the next stage and instead live in the today God has given?
I can give thanks to God for today. For the discomforts and pains of pregnancy. For the miracle of life inside my body. For His perfect plan and timing and the ability to rest even though I don’t know the future. For the grace He gives to sustain today & the promised grace for tomorrow.

If I can give thanks for right now – if I can live with the conviction of David when he said, “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” – then I will be content. There is no room for discontentment in a heart full of praise. There’s no need to reach for the next big thing when you’re overflowing with gratefulness about what God is doing right now.

What do you find yourself reaching for in life? A better job, bigger income, more fulfilling relationships?
Give your desires to God and give thanks for where He has you right now. Contentment isn’t found in your circumstances. It’s found in Christ.

There's no room for discontentment in a heart full of praise.

What I’m Using for Baby #4

I love seeing what others use and love – for themselves, their home, and family. This week, in honor of reaching 37 weeks pregnant with our little miracle baby, I thought I’d share 5 things I’m planning to use for baby #4. Make sure you stick around to the end – or just scroll to the bottom – to find out about a giveaway for 2 of these lovely items!

5 things I'm using baby 4

// O N E  //
I think I first heard about this nursing wrap via instagram. The first thing that appealed to me was that it’s an all around coverage wrap. None of this drape in the front & leave your sides hanging out business. I stalked them on instagram for a while before deciding to get one for baby #4. When I mentioned this wrap to some of my mama friends, I heard only raving reviews over how much they loved it. It can also be used as a carseat cover, shopping cart cover & scarf. Although the reason I decided to get it was because of the nursing cover function, I’m looking forward to trying it out for all its uses!

 

// T W O //
womp womp. Who really wants to talk about diapers? Buuut they are a necessary part of the baby experience. Unless you decide to potty train your child from day 1. Which I will not be doing. Thus the diapers.

We bought a stash of cloth diapers when I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd. And by stash, I mean 12. After a lot of research, I chose these. I used them for my 2nd until he was potty trained and then for my 3rd child the whole time. I also have a couple of the all-in-one versions, but these pocket fold diapers are my favorites.

 

// T H R E E //
A friend of mine made a version of this wrap and I used it constantly with Miles – especially when he was teeny tiny. I cannot wait to have this little girl snuggled up with me again!

 

// F O U R //
When my first little girl was born, we somehow managed to accumulate a large amount of shoes. Tiny sandals, boots, dress shoes, etc. While I think it’s totally adorable to see baby girls in super cute shoes, I have learned that I’m much more of a minimalist in this area. As in, my babies usually go around barefoot as long as it’s warm enough to do so. When Anna Grace was little and it was too cold to go barefoot, I found a little pair of pink leather ballet-type shoes that she wore all the time – so much that she wore them out!

So despite my plethora of cutie-patootie girl shoes, I decided to stick with what worked last time and use a pair of pink leather moccasins for this baby girl. I’ve heard great things about Freshly Picked and am really looking forward to trying out these moccs for baby girl!

 

// F I V E //
After scouring Craigslist, I found an ergo baby carrier and snagged it up for baby #3. I loved using my moby wrap for Miles when he was little, but found the ergo to be much more supportive as he gained weight. Designed to be used for littles up to 45 pounds, I even used this carrier a few months ago when Miles was feverish and wanting to be held, but I needed to start on dinner prep (picture proof!). Let’s hear it for multi-tasking!

 

Tomorrow morning (Friday, August 26), I’m hosting a giveaway for 2 of these lovely items (#1 & #4) on my instagram account!
I’ll pick 2 winners – one for each item. Even if you’re not in the baby stage, feel free to enter and use it for a new baby gift!

// thanks to Covered Goods & Freshly Picked for partnering with me in this post //

prego series300

The [Table] Search is Over

I’ve been on a search for over a year.

You see, our dining table just wasn’t cutting it in the space department. It was totally fine for our family’s purposes. But we love to have friends over for meals and found ourselves frequently seating people in other areas of our home. Not a huge problem at all – which is why I didn’t buy the first or tenth table I liked last year.

After a year of looking on facebook yard sale sites, looking at craigslist, and browsing lovely stores to get an idea of what I liked, I decided the best option was for Jonathan and I to attempt to build a table. Specifically this whopping 96″ one. Since there’s just under a month until baby’s due date, what better idea than to start a large building project in all our spare time?

I jest.

I mean, I was really considering it and had mentioned the idea to Jonathan, who wasn’t immediately opposed to it, I might add, but we hadn’t committed enough to buy wood for the project.

Considering the list of things I’m saying no to this season, I continued my craigslist stalking. When I happened upon an extremely large, extendable table for sale in my price range and heard some heavenly angels singing at the same time, I figured I had better check to see if said table was still available.

IT WAS.

[cue more angelic singing]

We made an appointment to check it out and a unanimous vote was made for my husband to go in to the potential murderer’s home and check out the table situation. Thankfully, he was a non-murderous person and Jonathan returned, declaring the table to be in great condition and from Ikea. Of course, I quickly pulled the table up on my phone to make sure we were actually getting a good deal. Yep, we were.

Non-murderous man & Jonathan loaded the table into the back of our van and we carefully, scarily drove home. I mean, at least I was scared. That’s where this picture comes in. I apologize to all of our surrounding drivers for the frightening experience we may have given you.

Praise the Lord, we – and most importantly, our table – made it home in one piece. Except our table was in a few pieces from being partially un-assembled.

Voila. I present to you, our new and very large table.

dining table

If you prefer a non-grainy cell phone picture, here’s a stock picture from Ikea:

norden-extendable-table

You may notice our table is larger. Ikea must have discontinued selling our size table because all I could find was this smaller version. The dimensions of our current table situation are 39″ wide x 86″ long – plus an 18″ leaf that conveniently stashes away under the table.

My current craigslist-stalking-project is in the seating department. I’m hoping to sell our old dining set, so when that happens, we’ll be left with quite a dearth of chairs.

This is where a building project comes in. I’ve wanted a bench for a while. And a bench is much easier to build than a table, right? So that’s what Jonathan and I are hoping to have completed by this weekend. A humungo bench for one side of the table and thrifted chairs for the other three sides. I really like these chairs and this option, but I’m going to spend a boatload LESS for whatever we get. Ahhh, the thrill of the hunt!

Have you ever used craigslist? Anything you’re on the hunt for currently?

The Importance of Saying No to Good Things

saying no

Saying no isn’t really popular these days, is it?

We’re so focused on all the things we want/need to say YES to; saying NO seems like a bit of a downer. In our society of “do all the things! be anything you want! put yourself out there and be brave!” saying no comes across as lame. Maybe even lazy.

But in reality, we all say no multiple times every day. Every time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another. And sometimes you need to say no to good things in order to say yes to the best things.

Last month, I came across a Planning for Fall workbook. I have a very big life change coming up this fall called baby #4. I’m also homeschooling my 2 older kids (K5 & 1st grade) and supporting my husband as he works in ministry and begins his 3rd year of PhD classes. Those are the 3 main things going on this fall that I’m saying YES to. The most helpful part of this workbook was the section where I listed out what I was going to say NO to this season. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off,

MY 3 WORDS FOR THIS SEASON:

  • R E C O V E R      
    • [from giving birth to baby girl]
  • S A V O R             
    • [the unique life stage of a newborn]
  • L O V E                 
    • [my husband & children, though my hormones will be crayzeeee]
    • [God, through the way I think & use my time]
    • [this season of life, instead of wishing everything back to normalcy]

HERE’S WHAT I EXPECT THIS SEASON:

  • I expect this will be a time of temporary upheaval for our family – especially for me as I adjust to a plethora of changes in my body, personal time, sleeping patterns, and energy level. My husband will go through changes as he adjusts from 3 to 4 kids as well as an extra tired & hormonally imbalanced wife. My 3 older kids will need to adjust to Mommy’s new needs as well as having a new sibling requiring so much attention.
  • I expect God’s provision physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually to be increasingly evident.
  • I expect God’s grace to be incredibly abundant.

And it’s focusing on that last expectation that causes my heart to be at peace instead of freaking out at the expectations ahead. I expect some pretty big changes to take place this season. Some of them I know about; others I don’t. But I know – know – that God already knows about them. He’s the One Who planned them. And He’ll give grace to go through them in a way that glorifies Him. What confidence there is in resting in our grace-filled, grace-giving God!

 

SAYING NO:

Here are the things I plan to say no to this season:

  • feeling rested & comfortable [hello, nursing]
  • lots of personal reading time
  • regular blogging
  • creative, varied meals
  • lots of time out of the house
  • big birthday parties for my 3 big kids
  • looking like I didn’t just give birth

Let’s pause for a minute, shall we? Check out the 4th thing I’m saying no to this season: “creative, varied meals.” At first glance, this may seem like a lazy statement. “What? She’s not cooking different meals all the time? She’s not even making that a goal??” To put it frankly, no – I’m not.

Different seasons call for different pursuits. The season of new motherhood calls for the pursuit of physical recovery – not just from giving birth, but from the logistics of adding another tiny human into our family. Since I’m quite familiar with the taxing nature of such a proposition, I’m choosing to focus most of my energy into this little person and the rest of my family instead of the art of cooking. We will still eat, albeit non-creative or super varied meals. I’ve done some freezer cooking to try to make up for that dearth (here and here are some recipes I use) and I think my family will fair pretty well during this season of no to creative, varied meals. Is it a good thing to cook healthy, varied meals for my family? Of course! But sometimes you need to say no to good things for a season so that you can focus on the main thing God has for you. In my case, it’s a new baby. In your case, it’s probably something else.

 

Have you taken time to think through your next season of life?

Even if you’re not expecting a huge life change, taking time to pray and write out goals for the next months can be a very grounding experience as you prepare for upcoming responsibilities, potential changes, and holidays. As you think through what the Lord has given you to accomplish during this next season, take time to pray through what He wants you to say NO to…even if it’s a good thing. I can’t tell you what to say no and yes to, but I’ve found God to be true to His Word in giving wisdom when we ask for it. Go ahead – take Him up on that promise!

 

thanks to Jess Connolly for creating the Fall Into Freedom workbook.
If you want to plan through your fall like I did, you can snag a workbook [it’s free!] from Jess here.