Growing up on a farm, we were always uprooting weeds from our fields, or transplanting fruit for our garden. We would go out with shovels and dig up those pesky thistles or burdock weeds. If caught within the first year, the burdock was easy to dig up. But by the second year, it grew a loooooong root, that went down for feet. We would try and pull it up, but most of the time the top would pop off and come up again the next year. My dad would start tomatoes, broccoli or cabbage inside and after May 15 when we were safe from frost, we would take the baby plants out to the garden and transplant them into the ground. Once there, these plants would slowly grow bigger, their roots expanding and reaching to unknown depths.
I have been blessed with strong roots in NY. And then God transplanted me to Belize. It wasn’t hard to adjust to a tropical island, living on the beach every day for a year. But the experiences I went through, humidity and lots of sun, lack of wind, hurricanes, stolen items, and visiting the trail of a broken past helped me grow stronger. My roots grew deeper and stronger.
I chose to uproot and head to Florida. I was blessed with an amazing job, making friends but through my choice of moving, I learned a lot of hard lessons. Looking back, what I have discovered for myself, is when I step out of God’s will and do something on my own, He still blesses, he still loves, comforts and cares but it comes with consequences. I’ll never regret uprooting and moving to Florida. It needed to happen. And it showed me that being outside of God’s will is not something I want to do again. Praise God that through it all, my roots never stopped growing.
After taking some much needed time to refresh my mind, discover how much fun life could be and find small blessings in the unknown times, I took a unexpected trip. Alabama! Before I knew it, God was once again plucking me up out of NY and taking me south. He planted me in a small town, where I have now been for nearly a year. The journey here has been tough. God’s been teaching me to love deeper. To forgive despite the behavior that doesn’t change, or worsens. To find my contentment, joy and strength in Christ. He’s shown me how to worship, pray and dive into him deeper, in daily response to anything that the world or enemy throws my way. To bloom through the gloom. And not to make it sound like my time here in AL has been horrible. I have never been more thankful for God placing me here. The family I’ve grown to love, the state is beautiful, the church I attend is welcoming and the people I’ve met have beautiful, serving hearts. This has been one of the best states I have ever lived in.
And now we come to the bittersweet news. I’m being uprooted and transplanted. Again. I’m excited for this, because I never thought I would ever be called back to my beautiful, first home, Syracuse, New York. I’m still VERY uncertain what life is going to look like. I have always committed a certain time to the Lord. Whether three months or a year, I’ve always had a time frame in the back of my mind. This time, I’m trusting God to tell me when. It could be six months, two years or five. I may never leave New York again. (I highly doubt that, with all that I dream of seeing and doing.) But that’s not today’s problem to figure out. I’m looking at returning NY by this fall. My parents have graciously opened their home for me to stay at while I figure out life. I finally get to see my best friend who had a baby 6+ weeks ago and I still have yet to meet. I get to spend more time with family, watch my siblings grow and help my grandparents. I get to expand my roots. I get to try new churches, build new friendships, visit with old friends and walk through my parents garden secretly plucking peas and beans from growing bushes. I can sit with my mom and talk to her (verses having to call while calculating the hour that is ahead of me, making sure she’s not at market, hoping she’s not taking a walk, and avoid the pre/dinner hours and not call too late at night when she’s already in bed. It was tricky!)
I’m moving to my birth place, my favorite home in the world, the one area that brings me most joy, holds the most memories, and I always smile when I think of. Dear home: I’ll see you soon!!!!!
I wrote this down a couple nights ago. It’s just some thoughts on the power that God has given each of his children that I wanted to share. Like always, it’s a little all over the place, but it’s something. Enjoy!
There is a power so great inside me. What a great promise! When I returned from New York to Florida at the end of May, I brought back a bible that I read in my teen years. I will never forget being seventeen and deciding for the first time that I was going to read, not because I wanted to, but because I needed to. I dived into the New Testament and began to underline. I had a rule that every night I had to read a chapter and had to either underline or write a small note on the side of a verse. Even just simple like, “I love this verse,” would count. But I wanted to read to understand, learn and grow. Not just to check off a list. Spending all that time in the word was so beneficial. Seventeen was my favorite age.
We need to lay a foundation to stand on. And it needs to be upon Christ, his word and a relationship with him. And then upon that foundation we can allow Christ to build himself a throne, and a home over it, which we can live together. We can grow to trust him with the dusty closets or dark basements. And through it, he’ll plant a garden, surrounding the home in fruit and flowers. But are we willing to accept it all? For free?
And it’s not easy. The storms come. People steal from us. We are robbed of joy and possessions. People hurt us. They touch our bodies, minds and souls, scarring us. We all have God sized holes to be filled. Sometimes we try and fill it with food. Or relationships. Or drugs. Or money. Or jobs. For me, I tried to fill my hole by allowing my thoughts to roam, causing me to be discontent. I focused more on a future wedding, not becoming a woman of Christ. I pushed down secrets and allowed lies to fill my heart, trying to cover my brokenness. They were all things that will never fulfill the longing inside my soul that Christ can only fill.
Thankfully, age seventeen I realized my mistakes, and realized that it’s not in Heidi’s power to fix myself. I needed the power of the spirit to help me. I opened a few dusty closets and allow God to help me sweep the cobwebs out. It took months to clear some of those places out. And it was years later that I actually realized there was an attic door inside the closet and we had to start all over again to clear out cobwebs and fill the places with Christ’s light.
I still struggle being content and being thankful with the place Christ has put me. I’m still learning to allow healing to come into my life. But I’m working on growing. The garden of my heart that He’s planted is getting bigger. And I get to spend the rest of my life continually learning more, growing and being victorious.
And with Christ comes His power. The power of the spirit. It hit me a week or so ago at church. I had the thought hit me and wrote in my notebook “I have a great power inside me and I can look the enemy and hard times in the eyes and say “you have no power over me.” And I’ve been mulling over this phrase for the past couple days. I haven’t come to anything, just been thinking, praying and allowing God to let the truth of that statement settle into my heart.
Back to that bible I used in my teen years. I was recently flipping through and remember I had some notes in Nehemiah back when I was in a bible study years ago. And while I was reading, I came upon this verse. Nehemiah 6:16 “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
Wow. Talk about power. And the great thing about this power is that it’s still inside us today. We can do things and there will be fear of us for the God who is with us. Me, a little girl from the country can do amazing, powerful things through Christ. When I was nannying in Belize, I heard a song and part of the lyrics went, “There’s a yes in our hearts and it carries through eternity. Simple obedience, it changes history.” I think of those lyrics often, how my little yes to the Lord can be used in might, extraordinary ways. Whether it’s a yes to his plan for my life, a yes to reading a chapter in my bible a day, or yes to using the power he gave me, for his glory.
Well it’s been over two months since my spring break and car adventures. And I’ve been rather silent. But don’t you worry, I’m still alive! I’ve just been traveling. More then I expected to. I don’t want to bore anyone with details so here’s the quick version with my favorite thing: Pictures!
April 14 – May 7; I was home in NY. I was only suppose to stay two weeks but got an extra week.
May 9; my best friend, Crystal, came to visit for a couple weeks.
May 18 – 20; I had a wedding in Indiana. Crystal and I traveled up together and I got to see friends from my Discipleship Training School in Belize. It’s been about two years since I’ve seen most of them.
May 21; Crystal and I drive down to Ocala area, Florida where her family lives. A year ago I use to live down there.
May 23 – 28; I flew home to NY to see my family over Memorial Weekend. We always go to a Great Uncle’s house (on my dad’s side) for a family reunion.
May 28 – June 8; I returned to Florida where I visited with friends before returning home to Alabama.
And that’s been my life the past two months. Busy driving, flying or just sitting watching the TV show, Friends. Busy traveling northeast, southwest, then north, then south, then up north again, then back northwest to my home. Busy seeing people, playing games, talking about life, seeing new places, eating food and drinking my favorite virgin water. And naturally enjoying life the whole way. My heart is full.
I’m not sure how to explain my extended vacation. I’m thankful. It was a blessing in so many ways. I have stories and stories and stories of everything I did, whether with family and friends in NY or all the
adventures I went on with Crystal. I’ve never had so much fun in my life. I got to go on walks with my grandma and mom. I got to explore Birmingham with my sweet friend, Anna and Crystal. I got to watch baby goats be born, swim in the Gulf and see sink holes in Florida. I got to see my 36+ week pregnant friend (she’s due any day now!!!) and visit with friends in NY who I hadn’t seen in many months. I got to travel past Nashville TN and dream of visiting it one day. I got so much from my vacation and I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the stories and adventures.
I’m especially thankful because I’ve never spent so much time with a friend like I did with Crystal. For nearly a month we were always together. Every day. We got to take walks. We could curl up on the couch, eat cheese and crackers and watch movies. We got dressed up and did photoshoots at abandoned creepy shed in the woods behind my house. We drove hours. (Well I did all the driving as she still hasn’t learned how to drive stick!) And somehow survived meals due to our dislike of what the other person likes to eat.
Being home, in Alabama (all two days) has been good, but hard. I miss Crystal. I miss going out late at night to dance in a dark gazebo. I miss kayaking, swimming, tanning, laughing and talking. I miss waking up and
seeing her beautiful, sleepy eyes in the morning. I miss her gorgeous self, the real side, that not many people see.
My drive home from Florida, leaving Crystal and her family, it was hard. I knew it had to happen sooner or later. But I didn’t want it to actually happen. After spending over a week being constantly surrounded by 15+ people, it’s weird to only have 3 around me. Or to sit in a completely empty room due to everyone being asleep and all I have is music to fill the silence that is louder then everyone I left in FL. It’s weird.
I’ve had a lot of things on my heart since before I returned home to Alabama. But like I’ve been reminding myself for the first few months of this year, I need to take it a day at a time. It’s not today’s problem. And I need to be okay with that. And it’s hard. But like the Lord showed me earlier this year, his timing is best. He’ll reveal his heart and plans in his timing. Not mine. I’m not good at telling him when it’s the best timing. I like to think I do, but I really don’t. And I have to be patient in the waiting.
Back to my vacation. It was so good. And I am thankful to be back in AL. I’ve missed my kiddos and even little stuff, like making tea, playing cars or stuffed animals, or even making meals! I’ve missed it more then I realized.
I have so much I want to write. There’s so much I want to say. So many things I wish I had time to write about. But ultimately my vacation filled my heart with thankfulness, love and so many memories. I’ve learned lessons, found closures and freedom. I’ve opened up and experienced silly, but fun mishaps. I’ve enjoyed every single moment, whether it be tears of laughter or pain.
Every so often, take a vacation from the normal life. Go to a beach or the woods, which ever you prefer. Relax, listen to God and drink virgin water. It’s better then root beer.
Wellllllll….It finally happened. I lost my little PT Cruiser, Muffin, to the car shop again. Something in me said that it wouldn’t be a good idea. But instead I pushed it aside, thinking I could take a quick 30 min trip down the road to the zoo with the kids.
Wait, wait, maybe I should back up.
I have never had both children for about 120 hours straight. I know that’s a slight exaggeration as between two days I had about 6-8 hours of sleep where the kids mama was home. But after that night, she left early in the morning and I had both children. They were on spring break. Both children. All week. And mama wasn’t due to get back until Saturday night.
The first thing in these kind of new changes is I allow myself to let it settle in my brain slowly. I knew weeks before that mama was going to be out of town, so I would be nannying both children. What didn’t hit me until the week before this was due to happen, was both children would not be able to attend school. I didn’t doubt my ability to care for them. But I did question what we would find to do. For 12 hours I wanted to keep them as occupied as possible without using electronics (TV an Ipad) too much. Thankfully for us, the whole week was beautiful. Full of sunny, blue skies and warm breezes. 70+ degree weather. Every day. But like every good story, this didn’t start on Monday, it started on the weekend before….
Saturday the weekend before their spring break we drove up to the Rickwood Caverns. Noah was telling us all about it and as we made our way into the registration area, my heart sunk at the sign that showed the prices for kids and adults. I paid the small entrance fee before we headed up the way towards the fossil trail. Not even ten minutes into our hike and I had some children chiming for the restroom. We backtracked but before we could make it on the trail again, the kids were asking to play at the park that was set up there. They ran around for a bit, before we headed towards the gift shop, where I had promised to get them a small gift. There were so many small gems and bottles of rocks.
After that we headed towards home. We grabbed some lunch and played outside. We drew with chalk on the driveway. I taught the kids a game called Snail Hopscotch, which I had learned years ago. Basically you draw a spiral, leaving the middle fairly large. Then you add a line from the end of the spiral towards the middle of the spiral, but stop when you hit the next line. You continue to draw lines throughout the whole spiral until you reach the middle. The end product should look like a snails shell with squares or rectangles through it. Inside each of these blocks, you write numbers 1-how ever high it goes. The large middle gets to be claimed as HOME. After it’s all drawn, everyone picks their own colored chalk. Then one hops on one foot through all the squares to the middle, home. After reaching home, they could rest a moment before turning around and hopping on one foot all the way back the numbered blocks until they made it out. If they were successful in going the whole way around without putting their other foot down, stepping outside the lines or on the lines, they are then rewarded by writing their name in any of the blocks. When the next person goes to hop though, they are not allowed to step on the square with another person’s initial and color in it. If you come to a square with your color in it, you can just hop in two feet, rest a second, then continue on.
As these are children, I go easy on them. Juliette had to hop on two feet (she liked to try and skip through, and would miss going from square to square) and Noah had to hop on one foot there and back whether he stepped outside the boundaries or not. They both loved it. They did great picking squares and several times we were laughing as I had to hop on one foot farther across the driveway because they had blocked a significant number of squares without me getting my initials in them. We enjoyed ourselves a lot.
Monday: the start of spring break! I took the kids to get my phone replaced and after what felt like hours of getting all the information transferred, we headed home for some lunch again and more playing. Later that afternoon I took them to the park where we climbed animal statues, ran away from carpenter bees on the play set and waded in a creek, soaking our rolled up pants. We had so much fun though. I stopped at DQ on the way home and got us ice cream to cool us all down.
Tuesday Lizzy (mama) took off for her job which was two hours away and would stay until Saturday. I got the kids breakfast, dressed and out the door before 9:30 and we headed to the McWayn Science Center. It was full of amazing experiments designed to teach children…well science….We spent over two hours there, discovering new things with each floor (4 of them!) we went to. The last place we went was Magic Kid City (or something like that) where everything is child sized. There’s cars where a kid can use child size drills to take off bolts and fix the wheels. There’s a animal vet area where one can check their stuffed animals. There’s a little grocery shop with pretend cash register, conveyor belt and baskets to put food. Right next to it is a little restaurant to make pretend meals, bake plastic pastries or cook up whatever ones imagination can come up with. And in the back of the this magical city was a wet play area where little yellow, plastic balls flow along water ways, through fountains, up tubes and drop into the water below. I’m not sure how we ended up there, but after they had soaked themselves in happiness, I told my two kiddos it was time to pack up and head home. They were very obedient and we grabbed lunch before getting home for a short break.
Then Miss Heidi had an appointment at the H&R Block to finish her taxes. I grabbed a couple books and we headed down towards their office. I settled down with the kids and started reading Make Way For Ducklings, one of their favorites. Before long, the receptionist sat herself down on the floor and was listening intently with the kids. It was soon our turn, so I led the kids to the back of the room, and tried to listen to what I was signing while both kids spun around and around in their office chairs. We finally got out of there, and before long we were home and playing outside with chalk again.
Thursday I had nothing planned other then a possible trip to the zoo. My car had been acting louder and I called my grandpa about it. It was not good news. He said he thought the clutch was going. My RPM’s were zooming and acceleration was next to nothing. Once I got into fifth gear, I was usually fine, other then constantly having my RPM’s jump and bounce randomly. After I heard that from my grandpa, I decided that I was going to stay home and maybe get it looked at later the next week. I ended up telling my boss and we had someone test drive it that day. The man was very nice and told me he would fix it for me. He also said I should have enough time to get it to the zoo and back, but it did have to be fixed. I decided we would lay low the rest of that day and just relax at home.
Friday. It was just a few days ago but feels like months. I woke up with aches and pains, headache and feeling tired, plus I felt so nauseous. I was so confused about why I felt that way as I hadn’t do much physical activities on Thursday. I finally crawled out of bed and got the kids some breakfast. I took some medication as my headache was not going away and I was so cold. I asked the kids if they wanted to go to the zoo, but we decided to wait until after lunch. We played outside in the morning and sat enjoying the sunshine on our faces. After lunch, I got the kids in the car and we started down the road. Noah was hesitant as I was beginning to voice my concerns for my car being able to make it to the zoo and back. But we plowed on down the highway and finally made it to the exit for 31, with another 10ish minutes left. As I glided down the runway, I tried to put my car into first and it wouldn’t go. I panicked and turned right instead of left. I found myself in a gas station and by that point I realized if I jammed my stick into gear, it would go. I told the kids we would go to the zoo another day, at that point, I just wanted to get home. I was able to get back to the on ramp and we headed home. Thankfully we made it home safe.
I took my car to the shop, was blessed with a rental and the kids grandfather took them home for the weekend. As soon as I waved goodbye and stepped inside, I was shivering like I lived in a igloo. After calling my mom to see if I should just wait out whatever ailed me or take medication, I took the medicine. I curled up and prayed for God to take whatever was wrong with me away. And eventually, after a late supper, I curled up in bed and fell into a deep sleep.
Saturday!!!! My best friend was arriving this day. I knew she and her cousin were going to spend the night, so I had frantically started washing sheets and cleaning the house the night before. The next morning I woke up tired and hazy and achy, but after awhile, I got up and got some more laundry done. But it was too much. I collapsed on the sofa again in fits of shivers and confusion. I never got sick. Why was I feeling so poorly? I curled up and snoozed for a good two hours. I didn’t feel much better or worse, but I got up and found some energy to actually shower and get dressed. I put the clean sheets back on the bed, made the beds and did the rest of the dishes. And fell back onto the sofa in exhaustion. Gritting my
teeth, I took another two pills and frowned. I never felt this bad. Finally in mid afternoon, my best friend, Crystal and her cousin Brian arrived. The medicine had finally kicked in by that point, so I was over the moon excited to see them. We hugged, giggled and grabbed some new clothes before heading out towards the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham for Brian to take some pictures and videos of us. He does an amazing job. I wish I had a link towards some of his work, but if you want to see some of it, let me know and I’ll direct you with some social media area’s that he’s got stuff posted. While at the gardens, we walked the flower blooming trails and sniffed tropical scented greenhouse grown rarities. We skipped past stone walls, giggled while dancing through pillars and gazed into a camera lens while tangled on white washed, park bench seats. After nearly three hours of silliness and memory making, we headed for dinner at Hamburger Heaven and then went home to drop to sleep.
Sunday wasn’t too eventful. My friends had to leave early, I went to church and survived the day without medication. Barely. I hadn’t slept well the night before as I kept coughing. And when I thought I would get a quick nap, it never happened. The whole day went differently then planned. Other then being tired though, I felt so much better.
Monday I woke up feeling refreshed and energized. I got the kids to school, came home and worked out, caught up with friends, prayed for my car, ran to the store for some essentials (like cat food for our very pregnant cat) and felt great. I got the kids from school, we played and all of the sudden, my car pulled into the drive! WHAT! I was so confused. I thought it wouldn’t be completely fixed until the end of the week. I ran out and learned it was fixed and running great and nothing else looked like it needed to be completely fixed. What a blessing! The kids and I enjoyed the rest our evening together, had dinner, did homework, played some more and they fell into bed. I sat on my bed and told my friend about a strange pressure in the right side of my face. It went from my top jaw up towards my nose and back towards my ear, making everything tingle. And my whole area next to my nose felt so pressured. She suggested it might be sinus pressure. I ended up taking medication and finally fell into bed. But not asleep as little Juliette decided to wake up and ask me to put her back to bed. I did so quickly and she was soon in snooze land again.
Tuesday I woke up and felt off again. I was sore for doing sumo squats and other workout squats the day before, but it was also that achy feeling all over my body. I got Noah off to school and Juliette and I waved her mother off to work. As soon as she left, I got the chills again and began to shiver. I grabbed my medicine, hating to use it, but not knowing what else to do. I ended up resting on my bed most of the morning and afternoon. I did catch up on some journaling before trying to sleep for a little. Sleep never came so I pulled my favorite blanket on my lap and sat with Juju for a game of Peppa Pig. We played, got her brother from school and then I told them I wanted to sit in the sunshine as it was nice out. Noah suggested Go Fish on the porch, so we grabbed the cards and played. Very often we both get 13 matches, but today our first game he wiped the floor with me as he got 19 and me 7. Two games later and I still had yet to beat him. The kids aunt came to visit and we wrapped the day up with books and the kids passed out quickly.
And that, in a very large nutshell, has been my busy life. After a stressful month, hectic busy week, and longer then usual weekend, I got the blessing of my car back fixed very well and running like a well oiled machine. I’m still fighting through these allergies. Pollen is crazy down here. It coats everything like I’ve never seen. I swept the porch a couple days ago and there were piles lined around the chairs where the wind had blown it. NY, you are blessed at spring time. It’s so bad here. But through it, God has given me strength when I’ve needed it. He’s given me patience to make it through Spring Break and am now blessed with another week to drop both kids off at school and I can take time to help myself mend. And I know in time it will pass. Like winter, spring does not last forever, thankfully.
There are some other things I forgot to highlight, so let me address them while I’m thinking about it. I’m starting a garden in the backyard (well, we are attempting a garden) April 5 is the last frost date. I’m hoping to take the kids to the store and we’ll get some food seeds and plant them by the end of the week. We did get some flower seeds, which will hopefully start popping up in another few days. After planting them, Juliette asked if we could go check and see if they had bloomed yet. I told her it was going to be a couple months before we saw the blooms.
Spring break week is gone, my clutch is fixed and my sinuses will be cleared at some point. God is good!
Wow, where has the time gone by?!?!? I can’t believe it’s already been six months since I’ve moved to Alabama. I also can’t believe everything I’ve felt, experienced, been blessed with, have learned and am going through in these past six months. God has been so faithful and good and kind as I’ve been trusting him and walking through this awesome life he’s blessed me with.
There’s not much new to share with what’s been going on, but I am just so grateful to be here. It’s crazy how clearly I know, deep in my soul that God wants me here. It’s not easy, and there’s so much I could share on the hardships, but everything I’ve gone through and am going through is worth it. I’m learning so much. I’ve been blessed and put through trials. I’ve wanted to clunk a few heads together and wanted to pour love upon love onto these kids and their family. I always wondered how stay at home moms did it, having their kids 24/7 without a nanny or babysitter. Because I haven’t had my own children, I’ve never had that long term. But I’ve tasted it. You stay-at-home moms, you all are incredible and I admire you. You’re brave and awesome. Don’t ever forget it. I don’t know everything you go through, but I’m learning in little ways what it’s like and am finding that the dreams I had (to have 50+ of my own children) is a little more then crazy as reality kicks in. (Not that I still don’t want 50+ kids…heehee)
BUT! I just wanted to quickly say that walking through life with God these past crazy, six months is so worth it. He’s taken me places I’ve never imagined. When stressful situations arise he is there to hold my hand through the valley or sit and cry with me. He’s the one that tells me to go and tells me to stay. He makes my life full of purpose and destiny. He leads and guides. He dreams big dreams over me and writes a story, better then any book by a human author. He’s the one who makes it all worth it. I am nothing without him. And I’m so grateful to be his Daughter.
Life is not hunky dory all the time. Any mom or woman can tell you that. But that doesn’t stop me from being loving, kind, blessed, joyful or fearful.
I’m so excited to see what God can do in the next six months!
I once tried to write a story about a princess that fell in love with a village man, but he got drafted to go to war and she ran away from the castle to find him and proclaim her love to this man who was a near stranger. I never finished it, but I had a battle scene and I had no idea how to write that. I asked a couple of my brothers for help and they gave me a couple paragraphs but even then, it made no sense. Slashing bad guys, swinging swords, bows and arrows, riding and horses and blood and dying people. What can be more boring to write about.
But the point of all that, is that while I didn’t know the right way about how to write about battles and fighting, I can relate in real life. I don’t always fight and battle life the right way. Recently for a couple weeks I was finding myself constantly trying to tell God how I wanted things to go in life. Whether it was related to my job, friends, future desires or my car, I wanted it my way. I constantly kept trying to take the wheel and drive the car. I kept trying to put myself on the throne. I kept picking up my sword, striding towards the war, tipping my chin up and saying, “Stand back, I got this, I know how to take down the enemy.”
And instead of winning the battle I tripped over my feet and got wounded in the process. So after picking myself up from that rough ground and limping away with my shattered pride, it dawned on me that I was being ridiculous trying to fight these issues that were arising. These battles were not mine to fight.
Let me take that back slightly. I’m not to be out on the front lines leading this battle. It hit me hard that while complaining to God, telling him how life had to go, advising him on how to handle the things that were going wrong, I was losing a part of my loving self. I was being judgemental. I was being stressed out. I was getting angry. I wasn’t actually allowing him to work and move because I was in the way.
The past few weeks, our Pastor has talked about seeking the Lord, serving him and following him daily. It’s been hitting me big time and I’ve been trying to make daily life changes to be sure that I’m spending more time with God. In doing that, I’ve had to continue opening the door to letting God take over the battle. Honestly it’s a battle in itself as I still want to advise him in how to handle situations. But I was talking to my mom about it and she reminded me that before Jesus went to the cross, he was praying and basically told God, “Take this cup from me. But not my will, yours be done.” And I’ve been trying to remind myself that I can do the same. After I’ve told God that I don’t like something, I ask him that his will is done. His good and pleasing and perfect will. Because ultimately he knows best.
And that’s where I’m at. Trying to make sure I’m lying my sword down, bending my knee battling with prayer. I’m not perfect and I mess up a lot. But there’s a freedom in praying and releasing the hard stuff to God. It’s been making my faith grow because I have to trust him to work out it, even though it may not look my way or go the direction I think it will. I get to tell God how I feel. I can sob, sing, be angry or just be still and listen. He’s not going anywhere. He’s a big God and can handle my mess of emotions. And he knows my heart better then me. He forgives me constantly for the way I think I’m better then others. He helps me humble myself and serve him.
I’ve had several people recently encourage me by saying that I’m a light. God’s got a plan for my life. And my simple yes of obedience can change the world in ways I can never imagine. I’ve been clinging to God’s word and what he speaks over me. His promises to never leave me or forsake me are holding me up. He’s the rock I stand on daily and honestly He is the only reason I’ve made it this far.
I think it’s hard to explain to people how I’m doing when on the outward appearance I’m doing great. I started to work after a two week break and I love nannying again. Alabama is full of beautiful souls and I’ve been loving meeting new people, especially young women my age. I have been enjoying the weather warming up and flowers that bloom all around us. I’ve been reading non-fiction, fiction, my bible, books for Sunday small group and children’s books to the kids. I get to kick my feet up and watch movies. I spent a night this past weekend making cookies at 2 AM…(You only live once and I’d never made cookies in the middle of the night soooooo…) I’ve been cleaning, cooking, playing with cars in the sunshine, helping Juju learn to ride a bike, hunting down nature with Noah and just loving life. But internally I feel so messed up. I think I understand a little how people can be so depressed but look so happy. I don’t want to give the impression I’m depressed. I’m quite happy and loving life and thankful to be where I’m at. There is just life stress, a little discontentment, frustrations over things I can’t change, people from my other homes that I’ve been missing and other little stuff that I deal with but one would never know unless they could peak into my brain.
But like I keep reminding myself, God is in control of these things. God has a plan. God is using me in ways that I’m not always aware of. And God is gonna bless me through the trials that I persevere through. Whether I see it now or in Heaven one day, he doesn’t forget his children who are faithful and continue to love like him. The truth through? Easier said then done!
I’ve been so thankful for the all that God has been teaching me and helping me through. While I still have days that I’m biting at the bit to charge head first into the problems that arise and take charge or control, I’m learning that I need to stop and allow God to take that part. My job is pray, listen and love. Seek him and his will. I need to step back and kneel. He’s got the rest under control.
The past couple weeks were so long and hard. BUT I’M FREEEEEEE!!! (Well, for a a little) Lizzy finally finished the job she was on and the next one will start next week. I just got to say, she’s a strong woman to go through the hectic schedule of this past show and come out alive. She deserves the break between films.
I’m also very excited to have some down time. I have no idea what I’m going to do with this new long freedom, but I’m looking forward to getting out and exploring, catching up on phone calls with family and friends, reading books uninterrupted, getting my taxes done (I started that today) and writing in my journal. We’ll see how much I can accomplish during this lazy time.
As to the blessings that God has been giving me, let me take a few steps back and share a few stories. Over the course of several months of attending my church, 7 Mile Ministry, just down the road from me, I got to know a girl, Anna. She leads worship, has a beautiful heart that loves the Lord and a very sweet girl. We finally exchanged numbers, and met up for a late lunch at Moe’s. What I thought would be an hour or so talk turned into close to 3 hours of us talking about life, share stories, and laughing together. We probably would have talked longer, except I had to go. That evening she told me that she has a small group she goes to and invited me to go. Girls my age? Going through a devo book? A safe place to make friends? Learning about God? I was all in.
After we parted way, I drove out to Corner High School and got to see my talented friend, Alyssa, perform in the musical, Willie Wanka. She played Violet (I can’t
seem to find the paper for what her last name is) But she was a young cowgirl style girl who loved to chew gum. She put aside the gum long enough to eat the chocolate, and was rewarded with finding a golden ticket to join the tour of Willie Wanka’s candy factory. Inside she turned into a giant blueberry after eating special gum that Mr. Wanka had not yet perfected. Alyssa did a wonderful job, singing clearly and constantly smiling on the stage. I love watching musicals, but knowing people on the stage makes it all the more special.
Then on Sunday, I went to church. Every Sunday I have been so filled. And my constant prayer is that I seek the Lord, worship and learn and grow throughout the week. With being busy, making choices to do other things, or be distracted and forgetful in life, I find myself sometimes putting that quiet time with the Lord to the side. But spirit’s constant nudge is there, reminding me that I need God more then just Sundays. It’s like I have a bucket that Jesus fills on Sunday, but then come Monday, I’m a little more empty and I try to keep as much of the bucket as I can without making more effort to allow God to keep filling it throughout the week. But by Sunday I’m thirsty again and want more and more and more.
Our Pastor spoke this week about living by faith, not by sight. I’ve always viewed myself like Thomas, one of the disciples who followed Jesus. Thomas told the others, that unless he touched the scarred hands and spear pierced sides of Jesus, he wouldn’t believe that He raised from the dead. And Jesus appeared and told them “…have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) While I do believe without seeing, I have times, a lot of times, where I doubt. But more so recently then ever before in my life, I’ve been finding myself trusting and believing God in ways that I
never have in the past. Not because I can see what he’s doing, but because I believe what he’s going to do before I’ve even gotten it. And I feel so blessed from it. After church, I went home, grabbed a book and had lunch at Panara bread. It was a good time to sit back, read, and think about some things in life that I’ve put on the shelf. After that, I came back for a bit, had a nap, then took off for the small group Anna had invited me to. It was not as small as I thought it would be.
The girl’s house was about 15 minutes, so it was a nice drive. Other then being dark and going through unknown back roads. I see myself enjoying the drive in the future when it lightens up more, as it seemed to be more country out that way. (I enjoy seeing the farm lands….especially when they cows)
Anyways, this “small group” ended up being 13 girls, including myself. I was laughing to myself because I hate speaking up with just 5 people in a group, so I wasn’t sure what I would get out with over double that. Not everyone knew each other, which meant I wasn’t suddenly a “new girl” to the group. We went around, told our name, whether we were in school or working or both, and what our favorite scent was. (It’s a girl thing) After that, a girl, Caroline gave each of us a random question that she came up with. I ended up being last (my least favorite place in line) And shared my name and that I was a live-in Nanny. All 13 girls exploded into questions and comments. I nodded to people that I did laundry, that I did the dishes, that I did make meals and that I actually live in the house with the family. I shared a little how I work for a single mom who works on the movie sets here in Birmingham. I went on to tell them that this next film she’s with will be having Chris Evens in it. (The man who plays Captain America). The room exploded again. I just sat there and grinned. I didn’t even get to tell them about the other two famous actors, Robert Pattinson (who played Edward Collins in the Twilight series) and Tom Holland (who acted as Peter Parker in the newest Spiderman movies) Yeah, my boss gets to meet some pretty famous people! I also didn’t get to share my favorite scent, which is nature/outdoor (freshly cut grass, fresh air especially after a rain shower, a field of cow patties, etc)
Anyways, back to the small group. After going around and introducing ourselves Rachel, the leader, explained about the book she wanted to go through. She said that in the past they had done books of the bible, but she had read though this one book and really felt the Lord leading her to go more in depth with the group. The book is called Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s about living loved when you feel less than, left out and lonely. I was able to get a copy while there and I’m really looking forward to reading it. After that, we had some time of worship then branched off into small groups and just talked about life. (Nothing serious, just that girlie stuff like best places to get nails done, where we worked, more about ourselves and all that jazz)
I left so full. And the whole ride home, I told God how thankful I was for the church I get to attend and be a part of, for the word that is taught and worship that is brought. I’m thankful for the people I’ve gotten to meet in the church, the friend’s I’ve made and now this small group that I’ve gotten to attend. Looking at my life from even just 7 months ago, I felt so lost and confused. I didn’t know where I was headed in life (well I guess I still don’t) But I had no idea where the Lord could lead me. When the doors to Alabama opened I struggled with the peace I felt and the reality of moving again.
I haven’t regretted moving for a second. As soon as I stepped off that plane and into the welcoming hugs of strangers I knew that I was in the place I needed to be. After the first night Lizzy was gone and I cried because I didn’t know what I was doing here, I began to have doubts. But after successfully getting Juliette to sleep the next night, I knew once again, that this was where God was placing me. Not just to help an amazing mama by watching her kiddos, but also because God wanted me to come into people’s lives down here. God wanted to use me to bless others, outside of my job. To be a friend. To join a church. To love those who came into my life.
I’m soooooooooo excited to see where the Lord is going to walk me these next few weeks. I prayed the whole way home from the small group that God would give me Sunday nights off. I wanted to go back so much, but with Lizzy’s job being different from the normal 8 to 5 hour, Monday to Friday schedule, I knew the only way I would be able to make it would be through lots of prayer. And guess what?!?!?! I talked to Lizzy and she said she’s working Monday-Friday, and occasional Saturdays, but she’s *suppose* to have EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY OFF!!!!! WHHHHHHHAAAAAA!!!!! This girl (ME) is sooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!!!!
God has been so good to me. While driving home the other night, I was thinking about how busy I can get, or stressful life can be. But through it, He’s constantly reminding me of all the beautiful blessings he has given me through it all. I’m so grateful. I’m so thankful. I’m so blessed.
I hope that as you go through life, no matter what you go through that is hard, stressful or causing you to feel like you’re sliding backwards, that you’ll see the blessings. No matter how small, they are there. It can be as simple as being thankful for waking up in the morning, or as big as after praying for months to have friends, being blessed with group of 13 to choose from. God’s moving and working and his blessings are always in front of you, don’t ever doubt that!
Syracuse family and friend, please sit while you read this. This is gonna shock your socks off. You’re never going to believe the awful snow conditions I had to suffer through this past week. Let me start with Sunday. While I was at church, I was talking to many people and the main subject for that day was “did you hear about the snow we’re suppose to get on Tuesday?” or “You’re getting your wish! It’s going to snow on Tuesday. We are suppose to get quite a few inches!” Everyone I talked to mentioned it at some point.
Monday I got a text message that Jefferson County had already announced the schools were closed for Tuesday because of all this snow we were going to get. Noah was excited for a snow day. I was excited to see snow. Juliette and Noah were both excited to play in the snow.
Tuesday morning I was awoken by Noah at 6:30am, his sun-shining smile lighting up my room. Tiredly, but excitedly, I asked him if it had snowed. He bounced up and joyfully opened the blinds for me. “Look miss Heidi! It did, look out here. It even snowed on the trampoline!” He was so excited and I sat up and glanced out the window.
I nearly cried. They were predicting nearly 2 inches of snow. Below is a picture I took later that morning of the backyard “snowstorm” that we got:
Now here is another picture, the same day, about 4 hours later:
Now to be fair, there was rain before we had the snow, so the roads probably were iced over. And Alabama does not have snow plows. But to close the schools due to a possible snow storm of 2 inches and only get a dusting of snow….that was a huge disappointment. HUGE. I think it was worse that by noon the snow had melted and was beautiful out (other then still being cold). In the depths of my heart, I cried all day.
And that is the story of Heidi’s first Alabama snow day. Thankfully we survived.
On random other news (since I’m writing, I may as well keep going) Life has been a busy good. Here is a recent picture of me in my most natural attire:
Warm sweaters, jeggings (jean leggings), hair up in a messy bun, a mug of tea (usually chia) in one hand, laundry basket (it happened to be empty at this moment, but thirty minutes prior it had been over flowing) and my phone playing country or Bethel tunes on Pandora. I love my comfy self.
For one week, I felt like all I did was laundry and dishes every day. Then the next week I felt like I had so much time on my hands. This week has been a blessed in between.
I have also been enjoying making more creative dinners. I occasionally make “cooking with Heidi” videos for a friend and I happened to capture a picture of me about to cut an onion:
There was no crying in the cutting of that onion. I was making soup. This was the day before our snowstorm. We have a bunch of kale, so I made a sausage, kale, onion and lentil soup after my sister-in-law suggested in. It turned out pretty good. It was the first meal Lizzy ever ate of mine. She’s an amazing cook and after having a bowl she told me it was good. I felt all kinds of happiness.
A couple posts ago I put in a picture of some flower buds that were on the bushes at the end of our driveway. In preparation for our snowstorm, I wanted to bring some of them in, as I was assuming the snow would kill off all the flowers. Here is a picture of the flowers I brought inside to brighten the house:
I’m not sure what kind of flower or bush it is. I tried a mini google search, but couldn’t find anything. They are beautiful, don’t have much of a scent, and have long thin thorns. Some bushes are about waist high and some are nearly as tall as me. I’m not sure what it could be.
And last but not least, my sweet children! Noah is doing awesome in school. Every night he has to do a reading (1 chapter or 14 pages) Recently he picked one of my childhood favorites, Cyrus The Unsinkable Sea Serpent By Bill Peet. Here is a picture of him reading the book:
He and Juliette really enjoyed the book, so we found a few others from the library to read. Before bedtime, I’ll read to the kids and often they pick the books that we laughed or giggled over while previously reading.
Speaking of bedtime, Juju has been learning the difference between real and fake. Recently she’s been more afraid of dark rooms or going places in the house by herself. I think a lot of her imagination has to do with stories she hears from me, Noah or other people. I have to be careful about what I tease her about, as later she’ll come to me and tell me she’s scared of the rats or gingerbread man or ghosts.
The other night, I was putting the kids to bed and after turning the light out, she asked me to lay down with her. I had done it a couple nights ago, but I didn’t want it to become habit. If I can get out of the room, allowing her to teach herself to fall asleep on her own, that’s my goal. I told her I had a friend I wanted to text quick, so I would sit at the end of the bed. She then asked if she could hold my hand. After she fell asleep, I was able to capture this picture before I left the room:
I know I mentioned it before, but her trust to hold my hand or gently touch me makes my heart melt. This child had me second guessing so many times that I would ever get her to love me through physical touch. And now she does and when her soft little hand holds mine, or she crawls in my lap and lays her head on my shoulder, when she shares her fears or stares at me with her beautiful big eyes while we both are giggling together, I get so thankful I am blessed to nanny this girl.
She, as well as Noah, are so creative. She constantly comes up with weird ideas and silly miss Heidi doubts them. Usually thirty minutes later, after I’ve gone along with whatever idea she has, I’m proven wrong again and again that she knew what she was talking about and whatever it was she wanted to make or build turned out really cool. I love her creativity and uniqueness she sees or thinks up.
Of course, life is never easy. But when I get to sit back and look back at the way I’ve come along, and about how far I’ve grown through the past 4 months, how much I’ve been learning, how the kids and I get along and what we’ve shared over the months, I know I’m right where I need to be. God is so faithful. For him to lead me to Alabama and allow me to help a mother by watching her two precious children is such a blessing. God is so good all the time.
This last picture is a sunset we saw a week or so ago. We were pretending our stuffed animals were visiting another country (I believe it was Tucker’s Town on the Bermuda island) and they sat on a hill (a bed) watching the sunset. While we were sitting there, waiting for the light to fade, I was suddenly aware of how beautiful the colors were and had to run outside to capture it quick. I love sunsets:
Life always holds blessings, whether it’s glancing at myself in a mirror and laughing at how cute I look wile I’m running around like a busy ant or making a meal from scratch. There’s blessings whether in the book reading snuggles or tear stained faces that snuggle in my lap. There’s blessings in nature, whether it be simple flowers or a orange sunset.
And sometimes, there’s a blessing in a Alabama Snowstorm. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21-22 ESV
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corth. 13:4-7 ESV
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers…Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth…Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 3:16, 18, 4:11-12 ESV
The past couple months I’ve been seeking the Lord about how to love loving those around me. Not just children who test my patience, but those people who seem to drop out of my life. Those people who I hurt. And those people who hurt me. Those last people are the hardest.
While I’ve been diving into the bible more about how God calls us to love those around us, I also have been looking at how God himself loves us. When I look at my life through his eyes, there is no reason for him to love me. I’m a sinner. I put Christ on the cross because of those sins. And yet, it was because of love that he bore my sin. He took that, and through his blood and death and resurrection, I gained a hope and life forever. I gained a Friend, Father and God who will love me for eternity.
Then I twist it and look at how I love those around me. I get upset and angry. I can be selfish and self centered. Impatience and unkindness flow through my words and actions. And if one could hear my thoughts, you’d see how off the charts they would be in regards to unlovely.
But I try not to focus on my mess ups. I’m flawed and make mistakes like my next door neighbors. But I’ve been trying to focus on how to love loving people. And it’s not easy. I’ve only been processing this idea of love just for a little while, so it’s all still new. Not just loving people. That’s kind of natural. It’s the learning to love loving. Not just because I have to. But because I want to.
Example? I hit a valley awhile ago, a hard spot that left me feeling depressed, upset and unsure. And angry. Bitter. Resentful. And that’s what spurred this thought, of loving to love. To love despite the hurt I was facing. And I was so torn. I hated to think that God would actually want me to still love through this rock and tight spot. I didn’t have answers or knew what I was suppose to do.
But while I was praying about my options, I told the Lord that I would not build a wall. If I built a wall against loving, especially those ‘enemy’s’ that hurt me, I would become a bitter, angry person and that would destroy me. I would become someone I would never want to be. But on the other hand, I told God I couldn’t handle being hurt. My heart is tender and soft. I cried because I didn’t know what way to turn.
That next Sunday I was so blessed by the church service. The Spirit has been speaking to me in so many ways through Pastor Red at the church I go to. This week though, another man, Josh, asked if he could share something God had placed on his heart, so Pastor handed a mic to him and stepped off the stage.
Josh took us to 2 Corth. 4:8-18. He refreshed our memories, that Paul had been through shipwrecks, nakedness, he was beat and stoned. Yet he never gave up on hope. And he never gave up on loving those around him. Satan applies pressure to Christians, but the Spirit inside of us says “Keep going. You’re gonna make it, keep going. Keep loving.”
Then Josh said something that made me pause. He said, “We need to love like we’ve never been hurt.” And I lost all track of what he was saying and began asking God how anyone could love like they’ve never been hurt. I didn’t understand how to do that, because I only saw these two directions of either putting up walls to stop pain from getting in, or keeping it internal and slowly losing myself.
At the end of the service, Pastor Red got up and shared an analogy. He said that things don’t always go right in life. A child might have a balloon or lollipop. And accidentally they let go of the balloon or the lollipop drops from their hands. Now to an adult, that’s not a big deal. It’s just candy. It’s just a plastic bag with air. We want to tell the kid to get over it and keep living. Most likely, three months from now, maybe even sooner, that child will not even remember that balloon they lost.
But that is exactly how some people (me) look at their problems. I suffer a loss, or have pain in life and I get upset. It makes me want to shut down, shut out and shut up. I want to cross my arms and pout or cry or whine. I had such a good thing taken or lost from me and it’s not fair. But then God is looking down and saying in that voice that sounds so much like my own, “Heidi, you are being so silly. It’s not that big of a deal and you need to stop focusing on the lost balloon. You can still live life and love despite being hurt. Moving on will be worth it. Loving to love despite XYZ will be worth it. I make it worth it. No walls, no distance or hardening. You can love loving people. And you can love them well.”
Well long story short, I’m still trying to figure this loving thing out. I sometimes feel like I made fifteen steps forward to scoot back ten. I mentally work myself up over the fallen lollipop that I begin to lay down bricks. Then I realize what I’m doing and I have to begin to tear them down again. I begin to distance myself and pull back and fear grips my heart that I’m going to be hurt. Then I realize that I’m overreacting and have to stop running backwards.
For me, loving to love makes me my joyful. It’s makes me free of the walls, bitterness and hurt. I’m not saying I’m free from suffering, but I don’t need to allow it to build up or allow myself to build around it. Loving love makes me want to dance. It makes me want to spin around, giggle and continue loving in life. And it’s not easy, but it’s a process, a daily step by step.
I don’t know if any of this made sense. But I guess as encouragement out there, if a little country girl can learn to love in a big scary world, no matter where you are, who you are or what you’ve done, you can learn it to love deeply and well. Yes, people need to put up walls or need to avoid that bad company. Boundaries are healthy and good. But don’t withhold love that God has poured over you to share with others. If you’ve got love to share, do it with open hands and willing heart. You’ll probably lose a balloon or drop the lollipop a couple times. But don’t get upset. Don’t let it stop you from loving those around you. Dance, spin and giggle. Heap those coals on the enemy’s head. Love beyond reason. Christ is love and if He is in us, we can learn the way He loves.
Love because you want to love love.
Have you ever read that book called The Little Engine That Could? That’s how I feel my life is going sometimes. One day, I’m the train, stuck on a track not moving and unsure of how to get to the other side of the mountain. It looks too big and I’m hopeless to do anything. And then there are days I’m the little blue engine, taking the load and with a deep breath I slowly start up that mountain. It takes encouragement, it takes one pull at a time and though it may be slow, I am slowly moving forward.
Since returning to Alabama, I’ve been a busy little train. Noah had school off until the 7. That weekend before, Lizzy had some props she needed to find for the
current movie job she’s on, so I had both kids for three days. Thankfully that weekend it was beautiful weather, so we took a lot of trips outside to play at parks and jumped on the trampoline. I’m already looking forward to warmer weather, but it also gave me courage for this coming summer when I’ll most likely have both children constantly.
The past ten days have been me getting back into the rhythm and routine of life. Lizzy had to leave early in the morning and wouldn’t be back until after the kids were in bed. Back in October/November, when I worked this much, I was always feeling like bedtime was the part I dreaded the most. I hated putting the kids down because they wanted their mama to put them down, so they fought sleep, said anything to get out going to bed and on and on. Since returning, I haven’t had anything to deal with. But now I’m starting to deal with dinner complains.
I don’t cook very well. Ask my family that. I’ve had a few mistakes in the past that did not boost my confidence and I’ve been getting anxious as the clock slowly rolls around 5pm and I still have no idea what I’m going to whip up for dinner. Last week I felt like nearly every night I tried to cook something I thought the kids would like, they turned up their nose and informed me that they could not eat it. “Miss Heidi, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t like brussel sprouts.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Three or four nights in a row it was like that. Sweet potatoes, some weird dumpling things, potatoes or carrots, there’s been a food that one or the other has not liked. It leaves me feeling even more like a failure to make a good meal and unsure about my future homemaking skills for that poor man who blessed with marriage to a unskilled cook. (Don’t worry man,whoever you are, I’m getting better!)
Thankfully I don’t stay in my mini fountains of sadness forever. Saturday I had to unexpectedly work. We were low on groceries and I was just feeling very down about cooking. The weather was gray, rainy, and didn’t add any cheer to my depressed feeling. Thankfully I had a car so I took the kids to Chick-Fil-A where we all ate well, ate
happy and afterwards were able to play in the little indoor playset they have there. It was a good ending to a long day. (Side note, I was talking to some people while there and I heard this southern’ twang coming out in my voice. And what makes it worse is I didn’t know how to stop it!)
Lizzy restocked the fridge and freezer Sunday, so Monday I took a peek around, deciding what to make with all the new goodies. I noticed that we had ground beef we hadn’t used in awhile. I called my mom about making chili. After getting a list of several other ingredients, I noticed there was a bag of frozen sweet potato fries. I knew Noah liked them, plus the kids loved the fish nuggets and we had several left over. They also liked cucumbers. It was a weird combo, but I was confident they would enjoy it. More or less, I got the “I’m sorry miss Heidi, I don’t like this meal.” And it left me already dreading the next 4 or five days I would have to cook up something for dinner. (HA HA, no pun intended)
That brings me to Tuesday. I found this frozen meal of hot dogs tucked in rolls. (Similar to pigs in a blanket) and decided to be a little daring and make some roasted potatoes(?) (The baby potatoes halved, covered in a oil and spices and baked) While those were in the oven, Noah, Juliette and I took some stuffed animals and went around the world, visiting new counties. We were in Lexembourg (A small county in Europe tucked between Germany, France and Belgium) when the timer went off and I had to get dinner onto plates. As I was pulling everything out, Noah came up behind me and he suddenly squealed. Fear gripped my heart that once again I would get his speech about how much he was sorry that he didn’t like something I had prepared. Instead he pointed towards the potatoes and hot dog rolls and shouted, “I love those foods! You are the best nanny every!” And he scurried off, leaving me with the biggest smile ever. I’m awful at preparing meals, I don’t always know what to do or how to cook food to make it taste good. But in that moment, I knew I was doing something right. And the kids loved it the meal.
Wednesday we went to dinner with family, then Thursday I put all my ingredients into a slow cooker, and at the end of the day we had delicious bowls of chili with biscuits. I got a thumbs up from both kids, and even a good old southern’ compliment from Juju “It’s so good I could slap my nanny.” It made me laugh so hard when she did.
I live for these little moments. Those compliments are what keep me moving along. Slowly and surely I see myself moving a little farther up that mountain. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m slowly getting closer to that goal. While I was eating with the kids the night we had Noah’s favorite meal, I was telling them about the chili I wanted to make. They both chimed in that they loved chili. And it made me all the more eager to make it, as they both claimed they’ll eat it. And they did! My cooking hasn’t always been successful, but I’m learning how to make it easier in the future as I learn to make meals. To skip the pizza, or fast food and actually make something from scratch, like biscuits or baked potatoes or chili helps me gain confidence and go a little farther up that mountain.
Apart from meal making, a new change I’ve begun to notice is Juliette. Three
months ago I remember writing to my friends, begging them to pray for me because I thought the little girl hated me. Her attitude could explode in a second and I had to walk on eggshells so as to keep it from being triggered. She was physically reserved and I had no way of giving comfort if she hurt herself. While she’s learning to lower her voice when she’s angry, she’s more blunt, honest and open about how she feels then I’ve ever seen in a little girl before. She is a fighter, which to me is a rare beauty. She’s like her mama, strong, brave and independent. But unlike her mama, this little firecracker of a girl did not like me. I laugh now as I think about the way she would growl at me, or give me looks like she was planning on kicking me out onto the curb.
Anyways, this little girl has been surprising me so much more since I’ve returned to my Alabama home after the holidays. While she never told me she missed me, she did tell me she missed playing with me. Where she use to be stand offish, she now crawls onto my lap randomly while we are playing. She allows me to pat her back or brush her hair with my hand when she’s hurt herself. Recently we were watching a movie and she fell asleep on me. Not next to me, but curled up on my arm and chest, making me feel all sorts of joy. And just this past Sunday, I got my first hug from her, that was not promoted by encouragement from someone. She just ran up and gave me a hug and told me goodnight with a smile. After that, my
little train was full steam ahead and heart was full of happiness. When I get little blessings like that, I soar as high as the clouds. I have never felt so thankful before about this job.
I always have moments of doubts and unsure moments of shaking my head wondering what I am suppose to do because I have no words to calm down unhappy children. But these little memories of compliments and hugs help me move along a little longer, a little faster and up that mountain a little more. I’m not stuck in the same place anymore, I am still moving and headed the right direction, though I don’t always feel like it.
A few fun things that we have done recently has been
building blanket forts. Juju and I made one recently and our cat, Tiger Lily ran into the corner. We tried to wiggle past her and she playfully tried to attack our toes or swat our hair as we went by. Juliette and I both just laughed and giggled the whole time. A couple days later, Noah built a fort. He does not like the cat and actually put blankets, pillows and random coverings all the way around so as to keep the cat completely out. It worked and we played that it was always dark in the little cave where our stuffed animals lived. They did not like the light, as it hurt their eyes.
We also have been playing with hot wheel cars on and off. We have had a couple, Rescue and Doc Sarah who
worked together in a ‘hospital’ (like a car ER/macanic shop) got engaged. They got married about fifteen minutes later. It only took that long because we had to line up all the cars. And then a few days later, another couple, Tow-dow (Not sure how
one would spell it….) and Valerie got engaged and once again we had a car wedding. The cars took a trip to Disney World in Florida and got to meet Walt Disney in person. We tried to get creative with him. We’ve had a lot of fun playing together, exploring the world and seeing what creative imaginations we can come up with as we play and have fun.
A goal I have for myself is to find new places outside of my usual 5 miles that I drive. Wanting to find an easier way to the zoo, I went down route 31 S with Juliette buckled in the back. (For family in NY, 31 is similar to route 11, how it follows 81. Here 31 follows 65 in the same way.) We found the zoo, but didn’t have much time to go in, so we toured a few cute shops. After that, she asked if we could go to the donut shop that was near the zoo. I found Yo Yo Donuts on my gps and after taking the wrong turn, I turned around in a sketchy road before we found the little shop. It was a special treat, to spend time together and get something sweet in the end. I’m hoping to find more little places in the future.
For myself, I’ve recently taken a break from social media and apps that make me stay up late at night. Or that keep me from getting out of my warm bed in the morning. For how long it will last, I have no idea, but the past two days have been hard. But a good hard at the same time. I finally finished a journal that I’d been writing in since October 2017 and I got to start a new one. I’ve got a goal to read 24 books this year. It’s hard to read when I’m constantly working, as I don’t always prioritize it like I could. But 24 will make me have to read two a month and if I go over, I can always challenge myself to 36. Right now I’m reading He Fell In Love With His Wife. It took awhile to figure out what I was reading as it’s that old English style, but 100 pages in and I’m glad I’ve stuck with it. I look forward to finding time during the day to read. I’ve also been drinking more tea. Chia is a new favorite. I’ve been working out with a new set of hand weights I got from my brother and sister-in-law. My arms or legs are sore the next day, but it leaves me feeling stronger, healthier and excited for the next time I get to use them. I’m branching out of my comfortzone and actually spoke up at Sunday School this past week. There are a constant 4-5 other people, not including the teacher, and so for me to actually say something for the first time in about four weeks, I felt everyone look at me like I suddenly appeared in the room.
I love when Lizzy is busy, because it means I’m busy. I enjoy when she’s home because I can read and relax more, not have to worry about dinner or putting the kids to bed. But I know that I’m also thankful for these long days. It’s preparing me for the future in ways I can’t imagine. I’m learning a lot, I’m growing and slowly I’m chugging that hill. When I’m busy, it keeps me from becoming bored and restless. And with goals to accomplish for this new year, I’ve got a lot that I’m looking forward to as the year goes on.