Monday, April 28, 2014

My Next 30 years - Reflections on turning 30

You may have already heard... but I turned 30 yesterday.  I figured I'd jot down a few reflections for those of you interested in reading them.

1.  As the day approached, I realized I had been a lot more excited about entering the previous decade than this one.  The only good reason was because I knew that the next decade would be the big 4-0... and at that point you can't even pretend you're young any more.  But 29 years and 360 days old.... c'mon, I'm still in my 20's baby!  Not any more.  However, just one day into this new decade of life and I actually already like it.  Maybe it's the fact that I like responsibility and influence more these days, and I think both of those increase (or should!) with age.  Who knows.

2.  This past weekend was a significant one in that it represented many things coming together at once.  On an important-but-not-ultimate level, my house finally got a backyard.  4+ months of hard work, lots of stress, plenty of money, and tons of volunteer hours from friends has made the dream come true.  But more significantly I saw a lot of people this weekend, had friends over, and realized that I'm at the point where I have close friends who I've known "since I was a kid" but also close friends who just became close friends in the past 3-6 months.  That's when you know that a) you're getting older and b) you're blessed to still be making friends.

3.  I'm loving almost every minute of being a daddy.  I say "almost" only because the past week has been rough, and it's not the only rough week we've had with our little man.  But that pales in comparison to being able to be the father to a wonderful son.  Sure he'll start breaking my heart with his disobedience soon enough, and sure I'll get frustrated with him at times and then realize he's just like I was when I was a kid (unless he has Noelle's childhood temperament, in which case I'll be very happy!), but literally nothing in my life has compared to this relationship forming with my son.  I'm looking forward to this next decade with Colton.... and maybe another kiddo... and maybe a 3rd?  Whoa, slow down their tiger.

4.  I want my 30's to be more fun than my 20's.  But it will be fun in vastly different ways.  Fun in my 20's had a lot to do with sports and college for a while, then with moving to a new city and totally loving the adventure that Portland was for us.  Fun in my 30's will be filled with being a dad, planting even deeper roots in this local area of Placer County, going on family trips, serving in my church, improving the quality of life in my home one step at a time, and hopefully still playing a decent amount of golf.  But I believe the fun will indeed be better because it will be richer as the family grows.

5.  Tim McGraw's song "My next 30 years" has been in my head for a while.  I really do need to write some resolutions for my next 30 years.  Truth be told, I'm at the very beginning of the best 30 year period of my life (1-30, 30-60, 60-90... if the Lord keeps me here that long).  I've still got plenty of energy, I'm growing in wisdom with my finances, I love planning things with my wonderful wife, always trying to soak in the beauty of God's creation around me and wanting to be an integral part of expanding God's Kingdom in our region and around the world.  I do believe these next 30 years will somehow be better than the first set of 30 I've already lived.

Much more could be said but I want to keep it short and sweet.  For those of you well beyond your 30's and reading this, please provide some piece of advice, word of caution, or anything else you think I need to know in the comments section below :)

 -- Chris

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dirt for the Soul

We are re-doing our back yard at the moment.  Not to mention, maintaining the front yard.  And there's the side vegetable garden as well.  Home ownership will really keep you in the dirt.  If you enjoy that kind of thing.  We didn't know we did, until we got a little dirty.

I confess I like to have my stuff together.  Is there anything wrong with that?  I crave structure and routine.  And when I have it, I enjoy the room to create and allow for improvisation, but I definitely like to plan for that freedom.  And like many things in life, parenting is an opportunity for change in this area for me.  The first time I put my Tupperware back into the cabinet and he looked at me like "aw, thanks mom" and took it all out again with such joy... that's when I realized that this kid was gonna help sanctify me.  And I want to thrive in the process, not fight it.

My dad, also type-A/planner/clean-freak type, was finishing dinner while visiting for Colton's birthday.  He commented how blessed he was that my floors were dirty.  I call them "distressed" which means I can get away with the "barn look" a few days longer than most.  He said when I was a little girl, he saw me coloring one day and I was getting so frustrated at myself because I couldn't stay within the lines.  He pulled back, wide-eyed and realized this was the "him" in me that was coming out.  He said my floors give him hope that maybe my children might be a little more normalized because at least I was okay with dirt.

I laughed out loud, thinking about how it drove me crazy that I didn't get to clean my floors before the big birthday party that weekend.  But when I look down to see that my son is MOST happy when his bare feet and hands are ash grey from going in and out of our sliding door, traipsing in more dirt each time, I just shake my head in joy.  I can feel the good for my soul, and for his, right then and there- watching him make a mess, knowing that we can clean him later, and that he'll sleep better, and that hosing down your kid is such a better feeling than locking him inside just because you don't want to deal with the mess that day.

Colton loves dirt so much.  He'll squish it, lick it, hit it.  And while I know it's normal for little boys to enjoy all things earth and worm related, I think it's been especially good for me to have a boy.  I'm leaving so much of my clean self outside these days.  Weeding while watching him play with the hose, or replanting that same poor basil plant he keeps pulling out of the garden bed as if he'd finally found his favorite one.  It's all so good.  I love getting dirty with him.  I love picking him up even though that means getting my shirt mud swiped.  I love washing our hands together afterwards and watching the water go from brown to clear.  He's not thinking twice about what's happening, but I'm hoping this discipline of dirt play will instill a freedom to let the dirty floors go when I come to visit someday, and give him a love for cultivating earth that his father and I have discovered about ourselves.

Here's to more laundry, and grassed stained jeans- his and mine.  I love being a mom to a boy.  It's so good for my soul.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Baby Turns One Tomorrow

A year ago tomorrow, I got to see my baby's face for the first time.  It's so strange to think I didn't know what he would look like, and now I can't get his face out of my mind.  That face has changed so much in the last year.  I have changed too.  No one can prepare you for the love of a child.  It's so magnificent.

In one year, our hearts have been filled to the brim with joy for Colton Sterling.  How is it possible that I can grow to love him more?  Thought I would reflect through some flash backs over the year... cause each time I was in the shower thinking about what to write about I got lost in these random memories.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Ministry Is Sleeping

Tried to time it right.  Skipped my shower, teased my hair instead.  Husband brought out all the stops.  But after taking my exhausted son into my arms just 15 minutes before we should be leaving for church, he looked up at me with the most tired eyes and we both understood each other.  This day, this nap, this time, sleep was more important to his little body.  And it was momma's job to notice that.

I love the Church.  People from all different kinds of backgrounds and upbringings coming together to worship God.  Gatherings on Sundays were and are very important to my husband and I.  But something not talked about until you are in it, is the sacrifice Sundays become when you have little ones.

I'm seeing each week into this motherhood adventure that every day is different and each Sunday is a new decision.  So I haven't written off church.  But my expectations are low, and if we get there for half a sermon Praise Be To God!  And if my son needs a three hour nap that morning, Praise Be To God.  My ministry has been refocused for a little bit, (or just concentrated for a while) on my son.  My family is my first ministry right now.

My call to know intuitively what he needs in that moment is one I take seriously.  Last week that was a good ol' college try in the nursery and we made it through a whole service.  Today his growing body needs me not to push him.  Before having kids we loved having people over several nights a week, sharing life with other couples, spontaneous dinner parties... and now my ministry is to quiet the house down after a difficult day, turn off the noisy toys or just GET ON THE FLOOR that I haven't swept and play with the legos.

It takes discipline to find satisfaction in this "ministry" on some days, if I'm being honest.  But when I do find it, God reminds my soul that this indeed is EXACTLY what He is calling me to do.