Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sleep wherever...

Somedays I tucker them out so much they can't make it til bedtime...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The tears in the night

Up in the night with the crying child whose ear is hurting. I'm looking up natural remedies frantically and frustrated that I'm not sleeping. Another night of little sleep.

And I snap. I'm angry about the wailing... partly because it's annoying and disturbing and mostly because I feel helpless to do anything. And as I'm gathering hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar I get further exacerbated by the bugs I find everywhere and I begin to grumble.

And I have to stop myself and ask Jesus for help. Help me comfort my hurting child. Help me to be selfLESS.

And now the natural remedy coupled with ibuprofen has finally
Other nights I didn't sleep so well
soothed the swimmers ear. My child sleeps quiet beside me. Arms encroaching my space. Head sharing my pillow.

And I am thankful that God is not like me. He doesn't tire. He's not impatient. He knows and understands me perfectly and isn't frustrated with my limitations and weaknesses.

In fact He sings over us and delights in us. And so as I seek to close my eyes again I pray and ask that I would know better this tender love He has for us... and pray that I would be transformed to be a lot more of Him and a lot less of me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Gift of Rest, My Need to Get Unplugged & Resist the Lies

I have had some of the most restful days this past week that I've had in a long, long time. I've been able to sleep, exercise, eat, play and go to Barnes and Noble whenever I've wanted. I have been "kid-free".

This is not my daily life. This is not normal at all. But I have enjoyed the ability to unwind and breathe deep and stretch as needed.

My life is full. Full of 5 beautiful, crazy kids. Full of cleaning and meal making and laundry doing. Full of joy and work and the occasional heartbreak that comes from living in a fallen, broken world.

I have found that in my unwinding... I need to be unplugging more. I'm finding myself in this quiet time, drawn to a screen like a moth to a light. And there are so many screens to choose from... my laptop, ipad, cell phone.

If I'm not careful I can fool myself into thinking I've been productive when I've just let myself wander down the rabbit hole.

This would have had no meaning
when I was a child...
If I'm not careful I can buy into the lie that my reality is way better or far worse than others' reality. I can look down my nose in self-righteousness. Or I can dissolve inward and feel sorry for myself that others have it so much better/easier than I do.

I have to be careful when i'm on online to ask myself, "Is this real?" "Is this the truth?" "What marketing/advertising line am I buying right now?" "Have I fooled myself into thinking that this product/service will fix ALL my problems?"

I need to yank those lies up by their roots and throw them away.

So instead of saying more I am going to stop. I'm going to close my computer for the day. And go workout. After I workout I'm going to gather my notebook and a physical book (kindle on my ipad can lead to checking out e-mal and FB) and find a coffee shop or cafe and just sit, soak up the sun. Write down some thoughts. Maybe do some art journaling or creative writing and breathe.

Get in nature. Take a walk. Toss some water balloons. Laugh. Breathe. Make some homemade ice-cream.

I'll check in again tomorrow. Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

transforming

I'm tempted to give up at times. But I'm not going to. Life is challenging. It has unique difficulties and roadblocks. And there are times when you need to genuinely stop and rest. But I'm trying to learn to pray and know the difference on when I need to press forward and when I just need to say no, this isn't it the time to stop. Running into a wall over and over again is not helpful. But learning to go over the wall or around the wall is.

I'm tempted to push snooze when I need to wake up. I want to give in to a temporary satisfaction instead of longer lasting pleasure. Asking God to help me to trust Him and move forward in my health. To change my eating, my diet, my exercise... MY HABITS!

This transformation has been happening for a long time. Many things internally have had to be re-aligned and fixed before I could take this step to move forward. Emotional and spiritual things had to be discovered and healed before I could do this.

I'm moving past issues that have held me back. With God's help I'm working on my PTSD, anxiety and depression issues. With God's help I'm growing stronger and healthier.

I'm choosing to be kind to myself, and not only to others.

I'm learning to stand up for myself and give my opinion when the time is appropriate instead of fearing others thoughts of me.

I'm not apologizing for the things that I don't need to be sorry about.

I'm not going to shape your opinion of me, I will allow you to make your own decision about me.... which means I'm not going to say, "I know this is so weird but..." or "I have a dumb question...." Instead I will ask, "May I share this with you?" "Excuse me...." etc.

Lookout world... this girl is becoming a butterfly.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Changing Your Life



"Changing your life is like climbing a mountain, you can't see the great view from the top but you know it's coming..." Jennifer Napier

Thursday, July 09, 2015

On the days he hates me.

He hit me once and then again. He ran to his brother and popped him on the head. I pulled him away and held his hand. "Noooo!" He wailed. He went rigid. His eyes staring at me with scorn. His little body tight. His frustration mounting. And then he said the words that pierce my heart, "I hate you."

And it's really hard in that moment to gain perspective and clarity. It's hard to see his inability to control his environment and world. His desire for control in whatever way he can grasp it overrides any kind of behavior or attempt at kindness.

And my heart seizes in my chest and I tell myself to breathe. To exhale. "Son, I love you. You may not hit me. You may not hit others..." and he instantly starts whacking at himself. Trying to hit himself. Trying to punish himself. I put down the things in my hands and I say to him, "And you may not hit yourself. Squeeze me. Squeeze me hard." I wrap my arms around him and give him firm pressure. He's still angry. He squeezes. I can feel the anger and frustration in that squeeze and I pray that he's able to release this intense emotion.

I see him testing me. Testing my love for him. Seeing if it's any match for his self-loathing. His frustration and anger at the world that he in turn reverts inward directed at himself.

He feels other, not apart. Different. And the truth is he does have things that set him apart. And my heart breaks and I want to fix it. I want him to feel loved and accepted. I want him to know that his uniqueness is okay. He is not a mistake. He was made in the image of God.

I ask God to change my heart. To keep it soft. To not stiffen and respond in anger. Somedays I win at this and other times I fail. And I have to ask forgiveness from God, His maker. And I ask forgiveness from him, my child.

Some days are easier than others. Some days I'm more aware of my failing than God's faithfulness. I'm more aware of my son's contempt than God's continuing work in his little heart.

I know he doesn't really hate me. I know it's his way of saying, "I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I don't have control." But these are things I must continuously give to the Lord.

So Jesus help me. A new day has dawned and I'm need of your grace for today. Your new mercies for today. And help change me into the Mom you created me to be. In Your Name, Amen.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Persevering

per·se·vere
ˌpərsəˈvir/
verb
gerund or present participle: persevering
  1. continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.
    "his family persevered with his treatment"
    synonyms:persistcontinue, carry on, go on, keep on, keep going, struggle on,hammer away, be persistent, be determined, see/follow something through, keep at it, press on/ahead, not take no for an answer, be tenacious, stand one's ground, stand fast/firm, hold on, go the distance,stay the course, plod on, stop at nothing, leave no stone unturned;



Long days.

Littles finally truly asleep.

After reports of a bloody nose, who is getting out of bed, who has to go potty, who needs water, who is scared, and who banged their head against the wooden bunkbed.

Putting out "fires" day and night it feels like. I have such a deep appreciation for the single moms in this world and for moms who are home while their husbands deploy. This "single parenting" isn't what it's cracked up to be.

The learning how to use the outdoor grill and how to check the steering fluid in the car. Or checking the strange sounds at night. I miss the extra pair of hands and the wisdom that comes from stability and logic and soundness of mind and emotion. The encouragement that I can do it. The not sleeping alone.

Starting bootcamp for Michael for OT and Physical Therapy soon. That will be 2-3 days a week. Coupled with speech camp we're looking at 9 hours a week for 2 months. Entertaining 4 kids in the waiting room for 3 hours 3 days a week is NOT my idea of fun.

Doing what is necessary and right is not always easy. I want to cave and give in. Put off the difficult. Put off the challenge. Put off the exercise. Put off the making another meal...again. But I'm trying to say No. I will accept the challenge. I will do it in spite of how I feel. I will choose to persevere.

My tires are flat on my bike so I can't exercise in that way right now. Instead, I have to make a different choice, do a different exercise.

The needs, the questions, and the demands from the kids don't stop. Thankfully God is bigger than that. He's big enough to handle my despondency. My temptation to self-pity. Thankfully He loves me enough to just let me cry and reminds me that it will be better in the morning.

Mommy/Daughter Date night consisted of finishing A&E's Pride & Prejudice. Libby loved it. We also baked chocolate chip cookie bars for the boys. I added coconut oil and some oats to the recipe... and decreased the amount of sugar... but they never even noticed the healthier changes :) Success!

Days are long but I rest in the unchanging love of God. I know His mercies will be new in the morning. I know that NOTHING can separate me from His love! I know that His love and affection for me isn't dependent on what I get done or how well I parent or how clean my house or how in shape I am. I rest in the finished work of Christ... and Him alone.

So I surrender the day and the week and the month and the year and the decades again to the Lord and I say, "Please have your way with me, in me, through me." Help me to love and serve others. Help me to seek first YOUR kingdom. Help me to resist my self-sufficient ways, and my all-or-nothing attitudes, instead, let me run hard after you.

Going to bed. I know I will wake soon with a child's pair of feet in my face or being squished by someone trying to get in bed quietly. The night will fade and morning will come. The day will start again. Fresh with not mistakes in it. And my hope is in the Lord and I will sing His praise come what may...

May you find fresh grace for where you are at in this moment. May you find strength and peace and hope. You are not alone. We don't walk this life alone. Running with my eyes fixed on the prize....


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Bye-Bye Caterpillar, Hello Butterfly...

saying good-bye to the old me...
Hi friends. It's time. Time for me to transform. Time for me to slough all the extra weight that has been slowing me down... that was bound to me through trauma and stress and grief and loss and heartache. It's time to say good-by to the caterpillar and hello to the butterfly.

There's a New Girl in Town and her name is Jennifer. She will still smile and laugh. She will still enjoy life. But she's embracing health in a whole new way.

(I don't know why I was speaking about myself in the 3rd person, but that's okay.)

I'm moving more: walking, strength training. I'm not fearing the sweat but embracing allowing the toxins to leave my body.

I'm hydrating by drinking water.... a lot... with lemon, with mint, with cucumber, sometimes infused with strawberries and I might even get a little wild and throw in some apples.

I'm eating my fruits and veggies... At least 31 a day. 

I'm resting and sleeping when needed. 

I'm seeking healthy ways to release stress. Himalayan salt baths. Deep breathing and stretching. Journaling. A nice cup of herbal tea with lavender honey. Using my Doterra Essential Oils.

I'm not saying "No" to myself but instead "Yes"! Yes to veggies. Yes to smoothies. Yes to juicing. Yes to adventure. Yes to singing out loud and embarrassing my kids in the store. Yes to working out (even when I don't feel like it!)

On occasion right now  I might still have sweets. I might still enjoy a Starbucks now and again. But the point is I'm doing more positive. I'm making more food from home... and less eating out. I'm making my passion tea lemonade from home instead of going to Starbucks. I'm fixing myself lunch and eating so I'm not stopping at a drive thru before grocery shopping.

I'm eating my rainbow: spinach, kale, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, oranges, mangoes, bananas, apples, broccoli, carrots, red, yellow and orange peppers....

And on the days where I'm not eating like I want to I'm still consuming 31 veggies and fruits a day! Thank you JP!

I want to be: 

healthier

stronger

embracing life

tasting sunshine

feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

Getting Ready to Fly
I'm going to take Dave Ramsey's advice... and I'm going to live like no one else, so I can LIVE like NO ONE ELSE!

Change is here. And I'm stepping out in faith. And it's a little scary. What if I fail? I have a whole audience to watch me... but what if I succeed? I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep trying. And I'm excited to see Jesus transform me more into His likeness and more into the Jennifer He created.

I will keep you posted about my T-30 and T-120 (transformation 30, transformation 120).

Bye Bye caterpillar...