Teaching My 2 Year Old How To Crack Eggs

My 2 year old loves baking cookies, almost as much as she loves eating them. If allowed, I’m pretty sure this child would eat her weight in cookies. Around a year old, I started getting her involved in making them. It started as sitting on the counter with me, holding her own spatula. Then she helped stir, throw in chocolate chips and oatmeal, holding measuring cups and dumping those in the bowl, etc. Recently, she became fascinated with me cracking eggs. The first time she grabbed an egg and asked to crack it, my instinct was “NO“.

I mean, she’s only 2. Toddlers don’t crack eggs. Can you imagine the mess that would happen? I’d probably end up with egg shell pieces in the batter and the egg yolk all over me or the counter or the floor. I don’t want to waste eggs. I want these cookies to turn out right.

But then I looked at her sweet face and watched her sadly set the egg back on the counter. God showed me in that moment (very quickly, thankfully!) that I was more concerned with a “mess” than enjoying a moment with my girl and the opportunity to teach her something she was excited about. I was more concerned with “waste” than encouraging her independence and empowering her. (okay, I know ’empowering’ is a big word for this situation, but if I can’t empower my daughter in the little things, will I really ever be able to do it in the big things?) I was more concerned with “me” than with her.

So I took a big breath, and stepped out, I mean WAY out of my comfort zone and told her she could crack the egg. And I’ve been letting her try it ever since then. She can almost do it herself! It took her a while to figure out how to hit the bowl hard enough to crack it, but now she’s got that down and we’re working on how to pull apart the shell so that only the egg ends up in the batter. And yes, i’ve picked out lots of shell pieces from our cookie batter lately. So far I don’t think I’ve missed any.

20130729-133941.jpgI think this whole thing was a lesson more for me than for my daughter. It’s in my nature to want things done now and done right. I tend to be driven, and a doer, which are fantastic qualities I don’t want to lose. However, there is a time and place to let them run free, and a time and place to reign them in. Baking with my daughter was a moment to reign them in and instead, let patience, teaching, grace, and encouragement run wild. I realized that doing this means I pass my drive, my independence…over to my daughter. It’s a little scary, but hugely exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing those things develop in her.

Parenting in moments like these makes me so thankful for Holy Spirit. Because there is no parenting book to tell you exactly when you should let your child crack an egg. Even if there were (or is?) it just wouldn’t be very helpful because every parent is different and every child is different. Holy Spirit is that voice that encourages me when to loosen my grip and when to tighten it. The voice that points to right or left, up or down. Holy Spirit simply makes me a better mama.

EncouragementYou can remove the egg shells from the cookie batter (and live to tell about it). No one can remove the love and empowerment you pour into your child. Never fear coming out of your box to experience life with your little ones!

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24 – Let’s Raise The Dead and Restore

Year 23 ended for me in some heartbreak and heartache. The whole year was a crazy ride of highs and lows, with the birth of my second daughter easily topping everything. While this isn’t the time or place for me to go into detail about what all’s going on, I think I can give a relatable picture of what I’m dealing with and what God’s speaking to me in these moments.

Have you ever had to bury a dream?

That’s where I’m at. I keep having this vision of myself standing in a graveyard, squatting by a fresh grave with a shovel in my hand. Looking around, the other graves are relationships, dreams, hopes, projects, old characteristics and ways, plans and seasons. In the vision, I can’t bring myself to leave the latest gravesite. I tell God how tired I am of burying things I thought were so great and wonderful. I just can’t quite let go of this one. At least not yet.

And He tells me not to worry. This next year isn’t about letting go and burying. 24 is going to be about raising some of these things from the dead and restoration.

Let’s raise the dead and restore.

Thank you Jesus! While I have no idea which things or relationships or dreams this pertains to yet, I’m excited and honestly relieved. My heart has just been done.

This is my encouragement to you this week. Know that Papa God is in the dead raising business, and because you are His child, so are you! While yes, I absolutely believe there is a biblical command to raise people from the dead literally, I think this goes for our dreams and relationships too. Not everything is gone forever. If your heart hurts from losing too much, go on and ask for restoration in your family, friendships, hopes, dreams. Restoration is yours for the taking and your Father longs to see it through and heal your heart.

Year 24…I’m ready for you 20130726-140610.jpg

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Only a Season

My sweet 6 month old is the most determined little baby I have ever met. She’s fierce, she’s happy, she’s direct, and she goes after what she wants with everything in her little body. It’s been amazing watching her learn to sit, then scoot around on her bottom, get up on her hands and knees, and now – trying to crawl. She’s not there yet, but I know it’s coming soon. And while I love seeing her determined little self do whatever it takes to get to a toy, it’s been an exhausting week trying to get her to sleep. I know she’s tired, but it’s as if her brain is on overdrive. Crawling seems to be the biggest thing on her mind, even at nap time and bedtime. She’ll be rubbing her little eyes and yawning, all while attempting to crawl up my face. I’ve never been one to let my children “cry it out” and I never will be. I rock them, nurse them, walk with them, bounce, whatever it is, i’ll do it as long as they need my help to sleep. This past week, getting her to relax and drift off to sleep has taken significantly more time than normal. On top of that, I think she’s starting teething. So she’s been waking up more at night and sometimes holding her is the only way she’ll take a nap. By now, it’s been about 2-3 weeks of this and I’ve been a tired mama. But it’s ok. Because while I’m getting less sleep, not getting as many chores done around the house and having to put things aside like this blog, or dancing, or the book I’m reading – I’ve been blessed to have an enormous amount of snuggles with my sweet baby girl.

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I learned very quickly with my first that everything is only a season.

The sleepless nights will end. Walking the floor for hours will end. Dishes piling up and floors not vacuumed will end. Every time I find myself struggling and feeling at the end of my strength, I remember that it’s only a season. I don’t have to end, because this season will do it for me. So I push through knowing it won’t be forever.

In the same breath, I’ve learned that the precious, perfect, wonderful things come in seasons as well. The sweet smell of my newborn’s breath as she’s snuggled up on my chest. Those amazing gummy smiles. The wonder each time my girls learn to roll, sit, crawl, and walk for the first time. So I savor those things and live in those moments to the fullest.

Wherever you’re at, whatever you’re doing, no matter the lack of sleep or strength you feel – this is only a season. I promise you will find rest and strength. Those things that seem so hard will become easier. So enjoy what is precious and good and perfect in this moment.

It’s only a season

P.s. – baby girl is happily and peacefully sleeping today. Yay for new seasons!

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Am I teaching her enough about Jesus?

My 2 year old was snuggled up to me in our white wicker rocking chair. Head on my chest, hugging her tiny brown bear, her hair still smelled like honey from a bath. I really enjoy putting my children to sleep and try to savor those sweet moments. It’s a time of quiet where I can enjoy them as simply as possible, where I can pray over them, and process with God this whole parenting journey. This night, a new question jumped out of the darkness and sat heavily in front of my eyes.

“Am I teaching her enough about Jesus?”

I had no idea how to answer myself, and so I thought surely I wasn’t. We didn’t pray together or read bibles stories before bed every night. She does have 2 Veggie Tales movies, but I avoid them because (cringing here) they can drive me a little nuts. Maybe I need to go buy some kids books about the bible? What about those sunday school felt boards or puppets? Should I be setting aside daily time for this?

I hate it when I feel like I’m failing in an area (I like winning, I like succeeding). And that night I hated the feeling that I couldn’t shake the question and still with all my processing had no answer and no plan of how to change it. So I finally put my precious girl in her bed and went about my night as usual, because maybe I’d get some clarity in the morning.

After nursing my youngest twice in the night, an early start to the day, breakfast, changing diapers, etc. I had honestly forgotten completely about what worried me so much the night before. I was playing with the girls on a big quilt in the living room and Kai gets up and lays her hands on her sister’s shoulders. She starts babbling away and looks from Sage to me to the ceiling, and while I had not a clue what she was saying, I knew exactly what she was doing.

My toddler was laying hands on and praying over her baby sister.

I was glued to her, listening intently, and started tearing up, making sure I was quiet so as not to interrupt this moment. I wanted to see what she would do. She eventually took her hands off her sister and then came and put her hands on my shoulders.

My toddler was laying hands on and praying over me.

When she finished, I thanked her and told her how sweet she was and we went straight back to playing, as if this was the most normal occurring thing in the world – because it should be.

In that moment, God clearly and gently spoke to me that I was doing more than “enough”. I was showing her who Jesus was and that is worth more than a million teachings. The Thursday before this, we had hosted a leadership meeting for our church. The purpose of our meetings is to minister to and encourage each other. We always end up laying hands on someone and pray over them. Our leaders’ children are not only allowed at these meetings, they are welcomed and enjoyed. And my toddler watching us do this, taking it in, and then doing it herself – it’s what is amazing about the children being there. It’s what is amazing about being an example.

So while I fully intend to continue telling and teaching my girls about Jesus, I’ll leave the bulk of the learning to showing them who He is and what He does.

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My Temporary Loss and My Eternal Victory (My Testimony)

“Every loss is temporary. Every victory is eternal.”

The first time I heard Bill Johnson say this, it melted into my heart like a wave coming up on dry shore. I knew it held a lot of weight in my life but it wasn’t until giving birth to my children that I felt the full force of it. This is my testimony.

My Temporary Loss

I was 20 when I found out I was pregnant with my sweet Kai. In those first few weeks of pregnancy I tried to decide on a doctor and a hospital, but I just couldn’t do it. Something in me screamed that I didn’t need a doctor. I wasn’t sick. I was pregnant. The previous year I had met 4 women who had used midwives and birthed their babies at home. Everything about that suddenly felt right to me. So we met with a midwife and started our amazing journey through pregnancy and towards birth. I knew God designed my body perfectly to carry and deliver a child. I rested in that. And then my third trimester came. Baby girl was breech (Her head was up and it is ideal for baby to be head down). And she stayed breech despite all my prayers, despite all my crazy efforts (seriously, I spent those last weeks constantly doing versions, upside down, trying to convince her to turn). After talking with our midwife, it was decided that if she stayed breech, I would need to deliver in a hospital. Unfortunately, no hospital near us would allow me to deliver naturally. I would have to have a cesarean. This news broke me, I cried and pleaded with God to turn my baby. I knew surgery carried risks and delivering naturally was best for me and baby and I desperately wanted to experience God’s design of birth.

I waited patiently to go into labor on my own, giving every last second possible for a miracle. 11 days after my due date, labor began, and baby was still breech. During the car ride to the hospital all I could think was that God loved me less. (not true, but a horrible lie from the pit of hell) My precious daughter was born via surgery at 1pm. Stunning, beautiful, healthy, vibrant and 10 pounds of wonderful. I lost the experience of the birth God wanted me to have. I lost a right of passage into motherhood. I lost a dream I had held close. Yet my Kai was my victory and she would always be. Yet God still loved me, and no less because of it.

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Finally home with my first daughter, Kai

My Eternal Victory

Right away, I began to think of my next birth, my next baby. My daughter gave me hope. Hope that my loss was temporary, that I would see victory in my next birth. So I started fighting. I changed my diet, got back in shape, and educated myself on vbacs and breech presentations. 14 months later, we were pregnant with our second daughter. We had moved across the country, meaning I would need to find a new midwife and one willing to attend a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean). God’s grace and our relationship with our previous midwife led us to Amber. Right away I felt complete peace and knew Holy Spirit has placed a warrior of a woman in front of me to help with this victory. I think some battles are won in resting and some are won in fighting. This is one reason it’s so important to have a relationship with not only God and Jesus, but Holy Spirit as well. I knew this battle would be won with a fight. The next months, I had daily exercises, focused on better eating, prayed, and watched and read hundreds of victorious birth stories. I kept every doubtful and negative voice far away from me and baby. Every appointment we went to, our baby was head down and we were both healthy. So we would go out as a family and celebrate and thank God.

December 22nd, 11pm, labor started. I felt strong, I felt confident, I even thought I would go sleep (however, labor moved to quickly for that!). So around 1am, my husband called our midwife and she came over. I felt like I was rocking it, totally unaware of time, other people, other things. Then this switch went off in my brain. I realized that this moment was as far as I got with my first birth. It was the moment everyone said I couldn’t go any further. And I lost it. I was terrified it wasn’t going to work this time. I was terrified my midwife would tell me we needed to head for the hospital, that I would have another surgery. My mind knew my body wasn’t broken, but my heart overwhelmingly said it was. My fight came to its strongest peak and I was exhausted. I remember sitting on the toilet crying into my husbands arms as he encouraged me. I remember saying “I can’t do it” laying my head on the edge of the birthing tub and my midwife telling me I was doing it. I remember her whispers to God to give me strength and bring this baby. Around 5am, belly deep in water, arms wrapped around my husband for dear life, our sweet Sage left my body and came earthside in the most intimate moment of my life thus far. Do you remember the story of Jesus calming the storm while on the boat with his disciples? That’s how immediate the shift was. Sun up, waves calm, perfect baby in my arms. I birthed my baby out of my body in my own bedroom. I felt like a lioness, a goddess, a warrior, all wrapped in one. Sage was my victory. This birth was my victory. And absolutely nothing in the world can take that away from me.

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A few hours after the birth of my second daughter, Sage

My Testimony

My testimony is a temporary loss, failure, defeat, that God turned into an eternal victory. Where Satan whispers a “no”, God yells a “YES”. Be encouraged! Everything that’s been taken from you, everything that’s been destroyed, every hurt to your heart is only temporary. Because those things are not of God, they are not of the Kingdom of Heaven. Heaven is eternal, everlasting and that is where every victory, every good thing, every healing and every joy come from and live in. God can never be overcome!

Oh, and if anyone or anything tries to tell me I can’t do something ever again, I plan on pointing to these 2 cuties and letting them know, yes, I absolutely can and I will.

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My beautiful victories!

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The Family That Dances Together…

So You Think You Can Dance - season 10

So You Think You Can Dance – season 10

One of my favorite shows started back up last week – So You Think You Can Dance. I was really excited when my husband started to enjoy it as much as me and I’ve been waiting for my girls to be old enough to love it to. So we sat down, turned it on, and my 2 year old was glued to the screen. During one of the auditions, she suddenly jumps up and starts dancing all around the living room. I’m talking floor work, arabesque, arms, hips, kicks, everything! She was so into it and had me and my husband smiling and laughing and all eyes on her.

I wish I could describe the pure joy in my heart in that moment. There’s something so special about sharing something you love with your child, about enjoying it together. I danced from the age of 3, all the way through high school. It was definitely my greatest passion for a season and I’ve always hoped in my heart to pass it on to my kids. While I would be thrilled for them to take classes and pursue it on a professional level, it’s more than that. I want to pass on the confidence, the freedom, the joy and the creativity that comes with dance. I hope my girls are never too afraid to dance in a store when their favorite song comes on. I hope they have amazing late night dance parties together in their bedroom. I hope they freely worship God with dance in private and in public. I hope they dance to make each other laugh. I hope they dance to express themselves.

Last night, we watched another episode, with the most amazing audition. Hampton “the exorcist” Williams, his 4 year old daughter, and his girlfriend, danced together. It was so inspiring and so moving. I totally teared up.  I loved how they were sharing a passion and a joy and an art together as a family. I want to be like them. I want my family to be like them. This is definitely worth your time to watch

I love that God designed us for relationship. I love that he gave up incredible bodies that do beyond amazing things. I love that he is a creative God and that we get to be just as creative.

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I wish my husband could get pregnant and give birth

I wish my husband could get pregnant and give birth.

Not because I don’t want to do it. Not because I want him to know the exhaustion of morning sickness and peeing endlessly. Not because I want him to experience contractions for hours that make your hardest work out feel like a walk in the park (or maybe like a nap in the park?) Not because I want him to realize the “ring of fire” when your baby’s head is crowning is an understatement. Not because I want him to be faced with a forever changed body.

I wish my husband could get pregnant and give birth so he could know how wonderful and amazing and beautiful it is.

37 weeks pregnant with my second daughter

37 weeks pregnant with my second daughter

I wish he could feel tiny kicks and rolls inside his belly. That he would know the secret joy of baby kicking you, when you two are the only ones who know what’s happening in that moment. I wish him the chance to understand the intimacy that comes with carrying a child inside of you, constantly touching, for 9 months. I wish he could understand the honor and priviledge that comes with being pregnant. I wish that he could labor and push out a baby so he would feel the same “mountain top moment, tarzan swinging through the trees, every Avengers hero wrapped into one, greek goddess in an African field” feeling after. I wish he could be brought into the arms and secret place of God like how only being pregnant and giving birth can do.

You see, there’s been a video circulating on my facebook about 2 dads who “experience” what labor is like. And women are loving it. They want sympathy. They want to show women are better. They want men to know just how horrible it is, that a man could never handle it. Sure, I can appreciate that some of it is in good humor, but I have 2 problems with this. Number one, it’s impossible for a man to truly experience labor. There’s no baby in there, and so far, I’ve never met a man with a uterus. Number two, it’s not this horrible awful burden that we as women carry!

Pregnancy is a blessing, not a burden.

Giving birth is an honor, not a punishment.

I have been pregnant and given birth twice now. Both pregnancies I worked with midwives intending a home birth. Both babies came many days after my due date. I labored naturally to 10 centimeters dilated with my first only to end up with a cesarean due to breech presentation. My second was a successful water birth at home in my bedroom. I would never ever want to trade these experiences. Those pregnancies were some of the most precious moments of my life. The births of my two sweet girls made me into the woman, the mother, that I am today. And I’m a really good one.

Women, can we stop wishing away something that God so beautifully and specifically designed for us to do? Can we change our mindset from seeing it as a punishment and burden, to a blessing and an honor? Because I don’t want my daughters to fear the day they give birth. I want them to excitedly long for it. I don’t want men that look pitifully on women as they birth. I want to see men who look on in awe (and maybe even righteous envy?) of the strength and beauty of a birthing woman.

Yes, I wish my husband could get pregnant and give birth. I wish everyone could. And I’m forever grateful and thankful that I get to do it.

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