Hold it.

“Hold it!” 

“HOLD IT!” 

“Hold. It. This drink. HOLD IT!”

“THIS DRIIIINK!!”

“Hooooold it! Hold it? Hold it? This drink? Hold it?”

These phrases seemed to run endlessly across my toddler’s lips as I pulled out of the Chick-fil-a parking lot after retrieving our lunch from the drive-thru window.

“Not right now, baby. You can have it when we get home.”  I told her.

She was desperate to hold the lemonade I got for the two of us to share, but I didn’t want her to have any while we were in the car. I needed her to wait until we got home and I could pour some into her own cup so she wouldn’t make a mess.

I was going to give her some. I hadn’t changed my mind about that. But at the rate the words flew from her mouth and the way her volume knob seemed to be ever increasing by the minute, you’d thought I had tossed that cup of lemonade out the window and told her she’d never ever have lemonade ever again. Ever.

Then it hit me.

How many times do I ask God for something and He answers me with, “You can have it, just not right now.” And instead of being patient out of obedience to Him and remembering He has my best interest in mind, I start whining.

And begging.

And whining some more.

“But, you said I could have it! I want it NOW! Please, please, please?” 

“What if I ask nicely?”

“What if I wait just a few minutes longer and ask you again?”

“What if I raise my voice a little?”

“What if I whine SO annoyingly that I think you’ll give in… can I have it then?” 

And still He holds firm with me, like I do with my daughter. Because He knows what is best for me, just like I know better than a two year old what is best for her. And what’s best for her is waiting to get home so mommy can pour lemonade into her sippy cup so she doesn’t spill it all over herself trying to drink it in the car.

How many times have we prayed and asked God for something and He answered, “Yes, but not right now.”

And how many times has He asked us to wait on His sovereign timing and be patient, yet we fail to be?

I could make a list a mile long of instances where I was impatient with God’s timing. And, honestly, the more that I think about it, I’m struggling to even find a handful of times where I was genuinely patient on the Lord. But look what happens when we do wait patiently on the Lord:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:1-3a

He hears our cries.

He lifts us out of our despair and gives us a place to rest.

He gives us a new song to sing — one that I imagine has a lot less whining than the one we were singing before…

When we finally got home, Lucy had to wait just a little while longer to get her drink. I put on Sleeping Beauty for her to watch while I put the baby down for his nap, took the dog out, and retrieved the lemonade from the car (because, of course, I forgot it in there…). As she saw me open the door with the cup of lemonade in hand, I noticed her tune had changed.

“Yay! Drink!”

“Yay!”

I got out her purple sippy cup from the cabinet — the one she likes with the little birds on the front, and poured some lemonade in it.

She took a big sip, looked at me and smiled and said…

“Thank you.”

Loving two.

When Andy and I talked about having another baby, I wasn’t prepared for the emotions and worries I would feel once we got the wonderful news that we would, in fact, be welcoming a new baby into our home.

The old worries of my first pregnancy — feeling like I wasn’t going to know what to do, being scared of the impending labor, worrying that I wouldn’t have all the “things” in our house that we needed to take care of the baby — those worries have come and gone.

A new list of thoughts and worries have taken their place.

Will Lucy be upset that I can’t focus only on her any longer?
Will I actually have to figure out how to deal with a jealous toddler?
Will I be mad at myself and feel guilty for dividing my attention?
How will I ever maintain the sweet, sweet relationship I have with Lucy and still make room in my heart for another baby?
Is there even room in my heart to love another?
Will the new baby be quiet, happy, and laid back like Lucy?
Will the new baby be dramatically different?
Will I be able to handle life with a newborn and a toddler?

The list goes on…
Sigh. 

 

As I was praying through my worries (Psalm 55:22), laying them at the feet of the Lord, (1 Peter 5:7)… I was prompted to Google.

Maybe that sounds really crazy to you, but for those of you who know me, I Google everything. And… God has always had some really interesting ways of communicating things to me. (Ask me about the time I was in the middle of singing at church and had visions of the animated movie Feivel Goes West.)

So I Googled, and came across the following poem that beautifully walked me through my emotions and safely brought me out on the other side. With tear-stained cheeks of course.

 

Loving Two

I walk along holding your 2-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship.

Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited. And I wonder, how could I love another child as I love you?

Then she is born, and I watch you. I watch as the pain you feel at having to share me as you have never shared me before.

I hear you telling me in your own way, “Please love only me” and I hear myself telling you in mine “I can’t”. Knowing in fact that I never can again. You cry, I cry with you.

I almost see our baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared. A relationship we can never have again.

But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty. I’m afraid to let you see me enjoying her — as though I am betraying you.

But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection. More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine.

The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast. But something is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just us two. There are new times — only now we are three.

I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.

I watch how she adores you, as I have for so long. I see how excited you are by each of her new accomplishments.

I begin to realize that I haven’t taken something from you, I’ve given something to you.

I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.

I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong. And my question is finally answered to my amazement.

Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you, only differently.

And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I know you’ll never share my love.

There’s enough of that for both of you — you each have your own supply.

I love you both and I thank you both for blessing my life.

—Author Unknown

My heart is still heavy sometimes at the thought of sharing my love, but I know there are many  mothers who have gone before me who have realized that indeed a mother’s love for each child can be equally strong, but just as different as her children are.

My prayer is that I will be at peace knowing I will have enough love for both of my babies.

They will each have their own supply.

Love,
Janine

Joy.

I am my own toughest critic.

It’s so easy to compare my life with the lives of others: people I think have it all together. Especially moms that have mopped floors, perfect hair, no giant laundry piles in plain sight, cook dinner every night, AND go to work. They magically do all of this while I stay home and try to keep my curious baby girl out of the dog’s food bowl, while dutifully reading to her, singing to her, teaching her basic physics and calculus, giving her piano lessons, distracting her from things she shouldn’t touch and climb on, and occasionally remembering to clean the toilets, scrub the showers, vacuum the carpet, and fight off the ever present laundry monster. (The list goes on…)

Just thinking about it all exhausts me.

And how am I supposed to DO everything AND enjoy it? How am I supposed to do everything and enjoy it all without comparing and complaining and falling into a sad, pitiful pile of exhausted mess.

Well, I didn’t really know at first, but I think I have an idea now and I’ll tell you.

I keep seeing this quote on Pinterest:

Comparison

Now, I’m a skeptic when it comes to the things I see and read on the internet, so I can’t tell you for sure that Theodore Roosevelt actually said that. However, if he did, I’d like to thank him and shake his hand! (His alive hand… if I could actually go back in time and shake his hand when he was alive… this is all hypothetical of course.)

Ole Teddy boy must have been reading my (imaginary) diary when he penned those words. The entry where I scribbled down all my “woe is me” sentences and believed the lies that something must be wrong with me or I have to change or I have to try harder and do better because no one else ever has a dirty house or an unbathed kid or unwashed hair or a dog who obsessively licks feet and faces.

And then I saw that quote.

It made me wonder if comparing my life with the perceived lives of others around me was actually stealing my joy. Where is my joy? Where! Shoot! Some of it has been stolen!

And because I honestly still don’t believe Theodore Roosevelt said it, I decided that maybe I should investigate the one source I actually do know as Truth.

The Bible talks about a lot of things. I’m not here to give you statistics on all the “things” the Bible talks about, but I do know that it talks about jealousy and joy. And the more I investigate, the more I have begun to realize at the root of all my whiny comparisons is jealousy. I am really being envious of what others have and that is stealing my joy.

I think God was onto something when he told Moses to tell the Israelites:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Maybe you’re saying to me, “Janine! It’s all good, you’re not coveting your neighbor’s house… just the clean floors! And you’re definitely not coveting your neighbor’s wife, servants, ox or donkey…” (Well, maybe that’s really what I was saying to myself so I could justify all the whining.)

But the reality is I am. Just like the Israelites.

I am coveting the things I see that I do not have. The things I want and things I think I need (mopped floors, clean babies, well-mannered pets…) in order to be happy and content with the life I’ve been given.

When in reality, I have more than I need (food, clothing, water, shelter, and lots of love!) and mostly everything that I want. (Except that spotlessly clean house!)

Jesus said:

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:10-12

So, Teddy. If you really did come up with that whole “comparison is the thief of joy” thing. Well, thanks. You helped me to investigate the root of my comparisons (jealousy) and the source of my joy (Jesus).

Remember your joy!

Love,
Janine

 

 

 

Goal setter.

I am not typically a goal setter. What I mean is that I’m not usually driven by the end result, the finish line, the goal. I’m more driven by the process or act of getting from point A to point B and the experience I gain along that journey; hence the piles of mostly finished paintings and almost complete projects that litter my world.

Lucy may only be just shy of 7 months old, but I can already tell she is a goal setter.

Take this morning for example.

Usually I let her play on a play blanket for a little while each morning while I work on the dishes or get the low down on what’s happening in the Facebook and Instagram world. ::gasp:: (Yes, I admit it, I actually USE my phone while my baby is awake!) But, today, I decided to watch Lucy. I wanted to test her a little. Conduct an experiment of sorts.

I unfolded the biggest play blanket we use, placed it on the floor, put her on one end and her favorite giraffe toy on the other. (We use “play blankets” around here because it’s warm here in California and our dog sheds like crazy and I don’t vacuum every day ::gasp again:: and Lucy spits up sort of a lot and it’s easier to toss a blanket in the wash than to clean the carpet thoroughly enough that keeps the dog from licking the spit up spot all day long. That was a really long sentence.)

And I watched her.

I watched her eyes light up when she saw the giraffe. It’s one of her current favorite toys, so naturally she wanted to play with it as soon as she recognized it.

But she can’t crawl. It was definitely out of arm’s reach.

It was too far away.

I can imagine that if I were a baby in that situation, I likely would have reached my arm out and once I realized I couldn’t easily get what I wanted would direct my attention to something else or just start to cry.

Not Lucy.

I saw that sparkle in her eye turn to a look of deep concentration. I watched her lay on her belly and wiggle her little legs with excitement and determination. Though she couldn’t crawl, she was going to find a way to get that toy.

She tried tugging on the blanket to see if she could bring the giraffe closer to her, but the blanket was much too heavy and she couldn’t pull it hard enough from the position she was in. So, she kicked her legs and began to spin herself in the direction of the giraffe. Even though she wasn’t moving forward, she was making progress and getting more excited!

Eventually she turned to the one means of transporting herself she knew she could do. She rolled.

She rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled.

And rolled.

And she got it!

She got that silly little giraffe toy. She was so pleased with herself, she played with it and rolled around with it and had a complete conversation with it. I imagined her telling him, with delight, how nice it was to finally play with him after all that hard work.

But that wasn’t enough.

Once she had a little momentum, she kept going.

Even further away, by our front door, under a small table, was an embarassingly large pile of (mostly my) shoes.

Lucy had a new goal. And I watched her again with the same sparkle in her eye…

She did it.

(Insert a really cute picture here that would already be inserted if I wasn’t having technical difficulty and needing help from my hubby… it will be here soon… promise!)

My tenacious little baby girl got a shoe and immediately inserted it into her mouth.

Wait.

Am I supposed to be excited about that? It’s a really dirty shoe…

Okay, I let her enjoy reaching her goal by chewing on the shoe for a minute and then redirected her attention.  It was time for a fresh diaper and a nap anyway.

So, maybe you think this is all a bit silly. Maybe.

But, maybe, just maybe, this little one really is a goal setter. A quality I can only hope to learn from her! Maybe she really is determined and full of character.  (Well, she’s definitely full of character, that I’m sure of.)

And maybe she just wanted to chew on a shoe.

Either way, I’m proud of her. I am her momma after all.

Love,
Janine

Honestly.

Honestly…

I like to sew and bake and get way too involved in TV shows. I enjoy reading a good book (or even a pointless-waste-of-time book) and doodling in my sketchbook and painting. I even love scouring thrift stores and playing with makeup and trying different ways of doing my hair.

I love pastries and Kraft American cheese and peanut butter and candy. I love cheeseburgers and fresh berries and bagels and sushi.

I do not cook dinner every night. Not even close.

I do not like folding laundry and matching socks. And I especially hate putting folded laundry away when I do finally get around to shaking out the wrinkles and folding it. I like to organize, but I never keep things organized. Our window sills are covered in layers of dog drool and snot. And dust. I loathe dusting. Our bathrooms need to be cleaner and I can’t remember the last time I mopped the kitchen floor. I am messy and I leave a trail of unfinished projects throughout the apartment with good intentions of finishing them… but hardly ever do.

I’m a terrible dancer, can hardly do much more than simple math in my head, and thought Morocco was a city in Spain.

And I love my life.

My baby doesn’t sleep through the night consistently, but I try to enjoy the extra sleepy snuggles I get during those middle of the night feeds. She won’t be needing me forever.

I feel like I’m failing all the time at this motherhood thing because I guess a lot and don’t really know what I’m doing. But, I’m learning that’s okay.

(Nobody really knows what they’re doing even though they pretend they do.)

I post way too many pictures of my daughter on Facebook and Instagram, but lets face it… she is adorable. And those cheeks! (I’m probably obsessed.)

The dog licks our baby’s face and I burned Mac-n-cheese and I probably spend too much time sitting on the couch doing nothing.

And I love it.

All of this is to say…

You may see me post a picture of the latest drawing from my sketchbook or project I made for Lucy. But know that there were probably 20 failed attempts before I got to something I felt worth sharing.

And that latest batch of pancakes or heart-shaped waffles I made? Half of them burned or were slightly undercooked and dense and made me feel like I ate a pile of rocks after I finished eating them. Too many of them, of course.

I stress out relatively easily, take things personally that I shouldn’t, and worry about things that will likely never happen. Ever.

Why?

Because I’m a work in progress. I’m not perfect. I don’t have my act together all the time, and I’m just doing my best to enjoy each day and take one baby step at a time.

Honestly.

Be kind to yourself. We’re all a work in progress.

Love,
Janine