A season to sow, a reason to reap: Your future can’t wait for tomorrow

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Our culture of immediate gratification has falsely and tragically led us to believe that at any given time, we can radically change our circumstances. For those of us who are young and have been blessed with resources, current circumstances has set a precedent for us to believe life is always adaptable, without consideration to how age, time, health, expanding families, and added responsibilities can make immediate adaptability less and less attainable – and our goals and wishes further out of reach. Once over the hill, life can leave us wishing that instead of only operating in the present, we prepared also for the future.

We only think about changes that need to come to a school, when our own kids attend it.

We only think about women in the workforce, when we become a part of it.

We only think about our marketability, when we are stuck in career that we can’t leave.

We only think about life insurance, when we’ve been diagnosed with something that makes it too expensive.

We only think about house maintenance when an expensive repair is needed.

We only think about our marriage, when something begins to threaten it.

We think about spending more time with our kids, when they are older and ready to move away.

We only think about retirement, when we start aging and realizing we can’t be young forever.

We tend to be creatures that believe “I’ll get to it eventually when I need to” and we forget (or choose to ignore) the sweet fruit that’s produced with consistency (and some trial and error) over a period of time. We forget that there’s a season to sow and a season to reap, and that both sowing and enjoying the fruit cannot be done on the same day. Furthermore, you can’t reap what you don’t sow. 

Friendships take attention, time, and patience.

Developing a new skill requires trial and error, practice, and observation.

Financial freedom comes with diligence and steadfastness.

A lifelong, loving marriage takes daily maintenance and adjustments.

The choices you make today set the outcome for the rest of your life. Even micro-choices shape your future and set your path.

Instead of thinking “But that will take 10 years to master/understand/develop/create, so why start?” realize that 10 years will pass either way – might as well be working toward something!!

I challenge you to start taking 30 minutes every day and dedicate to your best future-self. Your future-self deserves it. And the world does too. ❤ 

#WBW My Breastfeeding Journey

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Breastfeeding . . .  13 months and going

This journey has been beautiful (and difficult at times) with both children. Both unique experiences, both I wouldn’t regret. When Tali was born, I didn’t have many friends with children. I didn’t know a lot about breastfeeding. I had little support. I wanted to quit. It was awkward. It was lonely at times. I had a hard time getting her to latch. My milk didn’t come in for 5 days. But one mommy was brave, messaged me on FB, told me about the benefits, and told me I can do it! I then committed to a year right then and there. I went back to work when she was 4 weeks old, and I pumped. Pumping was lonely. The stress to keep my supply was sometimes overwhelming. But those moments in the night made it all worth it. Tali was on mostly half formula and half breastmilk for her whole life. Tali weened herself around 6 to 9 months (cause she didn’t want to be held, cuddle, lol). She refused to nurse. So I’d hold a bottle of breastmilk for her to take, while pumping. Her one-year-old birthday was the last time I nursed her (she actually let me that morning.)

With Parker, I was ready for this journey. I knew I wanted to try again. I was armed with a LOT of knowledge, support, and techniques. I know about supply and demand. I knew about all the most recent research and articles that have surfaced about STEM cells, immune support, antibodies, probiotics, and more. For about 9 months I provided fully breastmilk, even after returning to work. And up to 13 months, he’s still mostly breastmilk fed with occasional formula. But, I had weeks where it hurt so bad I cried when he nursed. I had moments I wanted to give up to have more help and freedom. But, it’s been worth it. With Parker’s conditions (kidneys and ears), I’ve provided him to the best of my ability what his body needs to fight off any infections and to grow strong. One year now, and I think I’ll just keep going. ❤

IMG_1861I love snuggling my babies close. I love watching them nurse, watching them study my eyes. I love their little hands on my skin. I love providing for them. I love feeling their chest rise and fall with each breath. I love how I can calm them in seconds at my chest. I’m amazed how the Lord made our bodies – to grow, house, birth, then nurture.

I know this journey isn’t easy for everyone, isn’t beautiful, isn’t encouraging. I know that for some reason or another, mamas have chosen not to. And that’s okay. ❤ Don’t let this post be one to make you question your choices – or make you feel I would. You’re the mama. You know what’s best for you.

And this picture, it’s of a mama feeding her baby. It’s beautiful. There’s nothing here to hide.

Mama’s Simple and Wise Life Lesson

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

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My wise mama taught me an important life lesson, one that as a kid I would roll my eyes and think “well when I’m an adult, I’m not going to have to do this.” Instead, it’s a lesson I now appreciate, cherish, and will teach my own kids.

Mama would always say:

When you leave somewhere, leave it better than when you arrived. When you borrow something, leave it cleaner than when you brought it home.

And she diligently applied this rule to every aspect of our daily life:

860272_1874362465723_1815623652_o.jpgWhen I’d try on clothes, mom would make me hang every single piece back up, button it, straighten it, fold the jeans, etc. and give them back to the attendant. When I’d leave a restaurant, if I made a mess on the floor, she’d have me tidy it up. If I missed the trash bin, she’d make me go pick it back up. I’d often get frustrated and say something along the lines of “But they hire people to do this! This isn’t my job.

She’d make me do it anyway.

Today I walked into the bathroom at my workplace and saw trash thrown near the trash bins and paper towel scraps near the dispenser. It looked pretty bad. Of course the average person probably pulled out the paper towel, grabbed it wrong, let the scrap fall to the ground, didn’t have a second thought, and moved along. The average person also might walk in, see what I am looking at, and think “this looks awful!” and leave with the same thought, taking no action.

This is my second home. It’s where I work, work I take pride in. It’s where my coworkers spend the majority of their waking hours. It’s a place that’s been good to me. I know my coworkers here, their spouses, and their children. I know our mailman. I know our janitors, and know many of their life stories and have shared with them my own.

I stooped over and began picking up all the trash, and tidying the bathroom. It took me about 20 seconds to do.

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When we care for these smaller things, when we take time to notice the impact of one person, we start to understand the world differently. We can suddenly see the impact of 10 people who stopped caring, and realize the impact of an entire culture who, out of habit, thought “someone else will do it.” We start to see how little decisions “pile” up – and these small teachable moments translate to every aspect of our life, our home, our family, our workplace, our lifestyle, our culture, our world.

A little of your time, mommy

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Tali broke my heart last night. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

One of the most difficult jobs a mommy has is balance: balancing career, mommyhood, cleaning, cooking, time with your husband, self care, quiet time, and everything else.

Different days have different sacrifices; sometimes our family is put on hold for work crises. And other times work is put aside for quality time with the people that matter most. Other times, we assume what our child wants most only to be reminded that the simplicity of their wish comes down to desiring our love, attention, and affirmation.

Yesterday morning, I left the house while Tali was still asleep and went to work, the usual. Work was busy, satisfying, and fulfilling. After work, I met Tali (daughter), Tucker (my husband), and Parker (son) at community group, an event we have every Tuesday night with our closest friends. We share a meal, the adults talk pleasantries, and the kids play; they play HARD. These kids have known each other their whole life.

After we got home, after what I would consider a long, satisfying day, I told Tali we need to get ready for bed. (It was about 9:00 PM).

Tali then suddenly cried, “Mommy, why haven’t you played with me today?” I opened my mouth to explain how we’d talked in the car on the way home and how she played with her friends tonight and had fun and how it’s late, but the words just felt empty to her emotional plea. “Mommy, I want to play with YOU, don’t you want to play with me?”

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Even after playing with her friends, spending time with daddy and Parker all day, what she really needed to feel satisfied was a little bit of my time, a little memory and token of my affection to carry her off to sleep that night.

In that moment, I didn’t know what to do. We’d been up really late the night before. I was exhausted and still needed to get her baby brother down for bed. If I gave her “10 more minutes” to play then it would turn into “ . . . but last night you played with me!”

Instead I hugged her, told her “Mommy is so sorry. I love playing with you. Tonight though we played with our friends and now it’s bedtime. How about mommy reading you a book?”

That moment really stuck in my mind, and has all morning. I think I’ll even ponder on its meaning for a few years, while Tali probably woke up without even a glimmer of it.

Our babies need us. They need our time. They need us to put down our email. Put down our phone. Place the world aside to show them that they are worth our undivided attention. Keeping them “happy” and “busy” with playdates and activities and other things aren’t enough. They need US. They simply need us.

And honestly, we need them too. We need them to remind us what’s most important in life. It’s the people in front of us. It’s the simple things in life.