• We all make sacrifices for those we love. At least, hopefully we do or we’re just living a selfish existence. We sacrifice our time when a friend needs to talk. We sacrifice our schedule when a family member needs help. We sacrifice our life when we have a baby…wait, what? Should we be sacrificing our lives for our children? Obviously, I’m not talking about my physical life, because I am typing this blog, but we do sacrifice pieces of who we are in order to be what we need to be to our children. Whether it’s something as simple as going to movies or as complex as the things that make us interesting, there seems to be a lot we are asked to give up.

    For me, I quit my job. I am no longer a chemical engineer, and when I introduce myself to someone at a party, there is really no need to mention this fact. I no longer have that, “Oh, really?!” response that I had vainly come to appreciate during my introductions to strangers. In some sense, I said good-bye to 16 years of preparation. Then there are those little every-day sacrifices like, not being able to take an un-interrupted shower, or go shopping without flying through a store and grabbing what you need while making funny faces to entertain your baby, or sitting and reading a book without having one eye following that special someone around the room, or going to a party without rushing home because you are worried the babysitter is about to pull her hair out…. All these things are what I consider sacrifices that I’ve made, in order to be the best mom I know how to be to someone that I love.

    Now that I’ve thrown my pity party, I’d like to tell you that you really shouldn’t pity me at all. I thank God, that I get to serve the most amazing little person I’ve ever met. I thank God that I am not solving boring, complex engineering problems but teaching a mind that is dying to learn. I thank God that I have an excuse to not go to every party because there is someone who needs me at home. And at night, when I lay Pace down for bed, I thank God that I am able to be here, at home with her, knowing that I am giving her my best.

    There is also the fact that God seems to bless us so much more when we make the sacrifices He asks of us. Now that I am home, I have taken the time to do this, to write, which is something I never would have taken the time to do when I was working away from home. He has let me experience a new kind of love that I didn’t even know existed. He has given me new friendships that have helped me grow as a person, a wife, a mother, and a home-maker. He has even given me a way to exercise and take better care of my body.
    Not only is Pace worth the little sacrifices, my life is filled with even more blessings!

  • Well, I certainly missed this blog while we were out of town! I have come back with lots of things I want to write about, but today I want to tell you about my favorite part of the weekend…the run I took on Saturday morning.

    A lot of people talk about how much they LOVE to exercise. How they just crave getting out and working hard and sweating and pushing their body…. I have never been one of those people, and frankly, I think those people have a loose screw or two. I do, however, love to enjoy nature. I love to run when I can be outside and it’s not too hot or cold, it’s not too hilly, and I haven’t just eaten something that is giving me a cramp in my side. So, as you can imagine, a “good” run for me is pretty hard to come by, but Saturday morning happened to be one of these runs.

    I was at the Maddox’s farm, and they have a lot of wooded acres that are filled with winding horse trails. I have ridden these trails a lot, but I have always been with Jeremiah, and therefore, never really had to pay enough attention to learn the trails. So, when I set out to run the trails by myself, I had no idea where I was going. There was an excitement in that feeling itself…setting out on a “wholesome adventure” (as Dad would call it) with Buckley by my side.

    The air was crisp, but not cold. The morning was bright, but the sun filtered through the branches in the trees to create a golden glow in the woods. The terrain was uneven but not rocky, and I was at the mercy of my own will! When my trail became a choice between the wide path or the narrow, I chose the narrow. When there was a choice between a trail that held more trees or more shrubbery, I went with more trees. I wound beside a trickling creek, swelled by winter’s cold rain. I passed through a pasture where horse’s necks gracefully stretched to the ground to munch on dew drenched grasses. I stumbled upon two different emerald green ponds, quiet and still as though no human had ever broken their borders. I stopped to run my fingers over Ellie’s headstone, where her name had been lovingly carved out in cursive by Dr. Maddox. I knew I was supposed to be keeping my heart rate up, but some of these moments of beauty demanded that I stop and take notice of them.

    I feel sure that I didn’t travel down any trail that I’d never seen before, but they all felt new to me. I don’t know if it was because things look different from the ground than they do from a horse’s back, or if it was because I was approaching them from new directions, but there was something very satisfying about feeling like I was seeing new and beautiful places. I passed a familiar spot from time to time and my heart would give a knowing smile and wink and then pass on. All this while, Buckley the protector was dashing through the woods, checking to be sure no evil would come and spoil our adventure.

    While my eyes and senses were taken by the beauty around me, my mind was free to wander on a path of its own making. It thought of God’s splendor, and how He must be allowing glimpses of heaven through nature. It thought of heroines like Elizabeth Bennett, Molly Gibson, and Fanny Price who took strolls through the countryside for all their various and sundry reasons, and it felt kinship with these strong women. My mind also kept playing the words of Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, over and over. Lines that I believed were long forgotten, my mind brought to the surface for this special occasion.

    I don’t know how long I wound through my little paths, but my adventure ended abruptly when I came upon the barn filled with people doing their every-day chores. It was so abrupt, and there were those fleeting seconds when I felt like an outsider in the midst of people I love. An outsider because they had not been a part of the magic and beauty that I had been overtaken by. An outsider because I was an adventurer discovering new lands and they were still on solid ground.

    “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening”

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.
    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.
    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.
    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    Robert Frost

  • Here we are, all smiling warmly into the camera…. Actually, we are in a fight and I am just about to lose it. Here’s the gist: I would have been happy to do a Christmas card of just Pace. I mean isn’t that what you do when you have children? Graciously remove yourself from all photos as life, like pictures, becomes all about them? Jeremiah, however, would NOT have a Christmas card without the whole family–ESPECIALLY Buckley. Now, if any of you have ever taken pictures with dogs and babies you know that getting everybody happy and looking at the camera at the same time takes something close to a miracle. But, he really wanted it, and I agreed to try.

    So, my friend/neighbor Lauren agrees to come over and take the picture for us. The background on that story is that she is having a HECTIC week. A week that would have given me a nervous breakdown long ago. A week that also includes several failed attempts at making her own Christmas card pictures, and I know that she is burned out on pictures period. She, however, is one of those people with a sweet disposition who would never say “no” to anything you ask of her, and she comes, with a good attitude and a baby of her own in tow, to take our impossible picture.

    We’re on the steps. I am trying to make Pace smile and look at the camera, and Lauren, understanding what any mother would want for her Christmas card picture, is calling Pace’s name and trying to make funny faces and noises at her while still taking a quality picture. What, you may wonder, is Jeremiah doing during this raucous? He is constantly saying, “No, Lauren, you’ve GOT to call Buck! He’s not going to look at the camera unless you CALL him!” Over and over he makes this same statement, and I feel my blood getting hotter and hotter with every cry. I try to ask (and I am not going to lie and say it was in a nice voice) if we could take a few pictures without Buckley as well, so that we can focus on Pace looking at the camera for a minute. However, these requests are basically ignored and the Buckley chant continues. I need to be fair and say that in Jeremiah’s mind, our neighbor was giving us 10 or 15 minutes to snap a picture, and, since I was holding Pace, he was just trying to do his job and get Buckley to look at the camera. After all he couldn’t control Pace if I was holding her. He was just trying to be helpful and didn’t understand why on earth I was getting my panties in such a wad.

    This saga goes on, with me feeling the whole time like we need to hurry up because poor Lauren shouldn’t be having to do this…but the question I’ve been wanting to pose is this: Is there a correct way to respond to someone in anger? We know that Jesus got mad, and he threw things around the temple, but that was a jealous anger for his God, and not a tirade over a Christmas card picture. To be honest with you all, I have a tendency to get too mad too fast. When this happens, I also have a tendency to talk down to my husband…. I know it is absolutely horrible, and I have been praying about it and working on it for literally years now, but it still happens. Is our true nature revealed when we are under pressure, or are we acting out in a way that is not who we are because the pressure is there? Either way, I need to learn a new way to respond when I get mad. Obviously it hurts and infuriates my husband, and he really doesn’t deserve to be treated that way–even though it is usually him who is wrong 🙂 I am just asking for prayer. Prayer that I won’t get mad over things that don’t matter, and prayer that when I do get angry I won’t feel like I have the right to talk down to my husband. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy our Christmas card picture, ’cause it came at a price 🙂

    BTW, this isn’t the picture on our card. You’ll have to hold your breath and wait for that one! Also, I changed the settings so that anyone (not only google users) can post a comment. So, if you’ve just been dying to respond but didn’t want to take the time to become a google user, then today is your lucky day 🙂