Monday, February 24, 2014

So God made mothers.

I read this article tonight that brought tears to my eyes. Most articles about motherhood and children do that, but this one made my heart explode into a million little pieces. It was listing off a bunch of things that mothers of sons should live by. They were all great and practical and touching. But in the last one the writer talked about how mothers are "home base" and that you will always be the constant safe place in your sons life, like the sun.

Like the sun.

God made the universe and it was good, he made heaven and earth, beast and fish, sky and ocean, and it was all good. He made man, but he knew that man shouldn't be alone.

Shouldn't be alone.

So God made woman, the ultimate companion. He made Eve, the first wife and mother. God made us loyal with a heart of servitude.

God knew that our husbands and children needed a source of warmth and comfort, so He made us.

Our husbands needed a companion, a helper, a supporter, a cheerleader, a partner, so God made us.

Our kids needed a warm chest, a listening ear, hair to pull on, lips to kiss, tummies to squish, and hands to serve, so God made us.

With a constant, warm love. Like the sun.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm angry today.

But sometimes it's okay to be angry.

Today I feel like giving a piece of my mind to the next guy I see wearing those horrible shirts from the mall with a naked woman on the front of it. You know, the shirts that this mom in Utah purchased all of so that they couldn't be displayed in the store anymore?

I want to scream at the high school boys my husband sat behind on the bus yesterday, who gossiped about "getting hot girls" and keeping certain people in their circle because he brings around hot girls.

I want to gather up all the dads that have abandoned their families and tell them about the ripple affect their actions have had and how their decisions have made the world a worse place.

I want to slap every pornography producer upside the head and tell them how they have single handedly destroyed marriages and families (including my own).

But I can't do any of those things, and that makes me angry.

But I do have a precious and innocent seven month old son napping in the other room. And everyday for the rest of his life I am going to make sure that he knows that women aren't objects, toys, or things. I know that I won't be able to shelter him from every objectifying ad or sexualizing commercial, but I can teach him what our culture fails to communicate: That those things are wrong. That using women's bodies is abuse and that supporting it or tolerating it is sin. I will teach him that it is a big deal, which is exactly what our culture doesn't want him to believe.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Art by Society 6.

Talking about my issues with comparison and self esteem is one of the hardest things for me to do. I feel more vulnerable talking about these things than I do my divorce or other struggles I have. If I'm being perfectly honest, a lot of times I still feel like I'm nine years old in the school yard. Trying to fit in, feeling so self conscious about everything I would say, do, or wear. Being tormented by other kids' opinions of me. To say I was a sensitive child is an understatement, but I also had (have?) extremely low self esteem. 

But now that I am an adult, I find my low self esteem working against me in different ways. The enemy uses it to isolate me and make me feel worthless. I often feel that I have no value as a friend, which stops me from reaching out to people. I want so desperately to fit in with the other awesome photographers in Seattle and for them to see me as their equal, so I try to engage them on Twitter or Instagram (both of which I HATE using), but I just end up feeling like a fake. And why would anyone want to be friends with someone who can't even be true to themselves or break out of the mold? 

The truth is, I can't remember who I was before the world told me who I should be. Before people said hurtful things that made me change, before I took a critical ax to myself in a mirror, before I was shy, before I felt self conscious about everything I said. I don't remember who Sara really is, or the things she says or the way she acts. I think that about 75% of the things I do in a day are things I think I should be doing or because I want to appear a certain way to others. 

Have you ever met someone who was just so unashamedly themselves? Someone who just had a way of life that was unique, who said the things they thought and did the things they wanted and didn't feel sorry for not being loved by everyone? I knew a woman like that once, her name was Jess, and she was amazing. I had never met anyone like her and I felt lucky to be one of her best friends. She passed away from cancer a few years ago and not only am I sad she's gone, but I'm also sad that the world lost one of the few people who wasn't afraid to be themselves. 

Which is where I get back to, "Just be yourself". But I don't know who that is. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Being made

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” 
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

About a month ago, I had been in a long season of pain and anger. A combination of things had just been weighing on me for so long, and I slowly slid into a depression. I felt oppressed and controlled by the enemy. I awoke and went to sleep angry everyday. I didn't feel like eating, I didn't feel like getting out of bed. On days when I was so mean and bitter that I was causing conflict left and right, I felt like my family would be better off without me.

I prayed for God to change me. I didn't know how to get out of this hole I had found myself in. I was angry and hurt about so many things, I needed healing that I couldn't get with my heart so hard. Feeling miserable is a vicious cycle.

And then God answered my prayers. He gave me joy and a renewed spirit. He gave me the strength to pray through all the feelings I was feeling. He gave me wisdom to discern all the problems that were going on. He gave me a desire to be close to him. He started showing me how to really love and serve others and why I should. It's been a few weeks, and God has been knocking down walls everyday.

He started building a house I never could have dreamed of.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thank you Jesus

Finnegan has never slept more than a three hour stretch in his entire, six month long existence. It probably wouldn't be that big of a deal if he regularly slept three hours at night, woke up, slept three more hours, etc. But usually he wakes up five times a night, give or take a few.

This has stretched me and challenged me more than I ever thought possible. Not just battling the sleep deprivation, but the negative self talk, doubting my skills as a mom, and constant unwanted advice from others… All while trying to remain patient even though I am exhausted.

Well last night I was more exhausted than usual. I was falling asleep on the couch at 9pm while Charlie and I were watching a sermon (I did make it through most of it… but man Driscoll's sermons are long!). As I laid in bed I asked God for the first time to help Finn sleep through the night. I felt strange asking for it, but I also felt that it would be okay if my prayer went unanswered since God has met me with abounding strength and grace through this time of exhaustion.

Then I fell asleep… and as far as I can remember Finn didn't wake up until early this morning (around 5am I think). It is very possible that he did wake up and I just nursed him back to sleep without even being coherent or remembering. But I'm pretty sure he didn't.

So yes, that was my (and Finns!) first full nights sleep in six months and seven days. This morning when I told Charlie I welled up with tears in my eyes.

Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Who I am

I am a woman, pure and feminine. I am a daughter, a mother, a sister, and an aunt. I cry during TV shows, movies, books, Youtube videos, and just about everything else. For a long time I was lost, stubborn and hard hearted. When my heavenly Father showed me who I am to Him, I became more tender, accepted, and loving. 

"In Him you also are being built into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit." Ephesians 2:22

I am a lover, a partner, a helper, a supporter. My husband is my best friend and my joy. 

"The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:11

I am a nurturer down to my core. I want my career to be raising lots of kids. Showing them what loving God and loving others looks like. Teaching them to be dreamers, healers, and thinkers.

"Her children rise up and call her blessed…" Proverbs 31:28

I am a thinker, an observer, and an analyzer. I am a listener and an advisor. I want to help others learn from my own experiences. 

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

I am an artist and a perfectionist. I am a writer, a reader, and a dreamer. I see beauty in light, in the old and forgotten. I am my own worst critic, and I desperately want to make an impact in the world.

I am nostalgic and sentimental. I desire a simpler life, in nature, away from modern pressures. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

How we found joy: Parenting our high need baby.

Charlie insists I need to blog more, I'm not so sure. There are many things that I want to say, but like a lot of other areas in my life, my need for perfection paralyzes me. I think that if I can't say what I want to say in the best possible way that I should just leave the talking to someone else. But the people around me keep insisting that I'm wrong, so here I am.

I promised that I wouldn't turn this blog into a mommy blog.

But I lied.

That's like being on a boat, out at sea, and trying to talk about your life on land. It's so far gone you don't even remember. Maybe one day you'll get to land again, but for a while you're here.


Today I want to write about what has been my "boat" for the last six months; this tiny man.

If there's one theme to the last six months it's been this: going with my gut and following my heart. At times this meant swimming upstream and tuning out basically everyone in the world around me. It was hard, but it has been so worth it, and I think our family is better because of it.

The truth is that before Finn was born I didn't really have any idea about raising a baby, no one does really unless you've done it before. I had a basic gist about their needs and breastfeeding and baby care, but not really any idea how to manage their temperament and how to get them to sleep and make them happy.

So this was what the first three months of Finns life were like:

From birth he was pretty fussy. He nursed for 45 minutes every 1.5-2 hours. To convince him to sleep we had to swaddle him, give him his binky (force it into his mouth repeatedly) and bounce him vigorously. He fought and screamed and cried constantly. This process usually took between 15-40 minutes. Since he couldn't stay awake for longer than an hour and a half, these thing sucked up the majority of our lives. I can count on one hand how many times I've left him with a babysitter.

He has never slept through the night to this day. From 1-2 months he only woke up 2 or 3 times a night but as he got a little older he started waking up more frequently to the point where at five months he was waking up 4, 5, 6 times a night.

On top of all that, he was a pretty discontent baby. He would never just relax or chill out (I thought this was normal for all babies until I met my nephew, Korben!), he wanted to be constantly stimulated and engaged, but after ten minutes or so you needed to mix it up.

Can you hear the exhaustion in my voice?

I reached the end of my rope several times a day. I was beside myself, I didn't know what we were doing wrong or how to fix it, and I was so sad because I just wanted him to be happy. I read everything I could find about helping your baby sleep, but a lot of the stuff I read made me uncomfortable and didn't seem right for my son.

After reading Dr. Sears article about high need babies we decided that this described Finn pretty well. And at that point (I think he was about 3 months old) Charlie and I made the decision to change how we had been handling him. We decided to press into our son because he obviously needed us. Just like everyone else in the world, he needed understanding, grace, patience, and persistence. We decided to stop wishing he would sleep through the night like so-and-so's baby, stop wishing that he would be more content and not demand our attention every second, and stop getting so frustrated with him. We made a commitment to support each other more and communicate to each other when we were at the end of our rope so the other parent could help out. We decided to just accept him where he was.

This really didn't change Finns behavior at all, but it changed our perspective. Instead of constantly feeling like a horrible mom and trying to find ways to "fix" him, I just accepted that Finn is the way he is. Instead of worrying every time he woke up in the middle of the night that we were messing up his sleeping habits for life, I just gave him love and patience and extra cuddles (of course I still had my moments of impatience). I use to try to multi task while taking care of him, which left me frustrated when I couldn't accomplish what I was trying to do, and instead just stopped what I was doing to give him my undivided attention. I stopped talking to anyone about Finns behavior because I knew their advice would only discourage me and revert me back to my place of frustration, because truthfully, people don't really understand HNB (I learned this the hard way after letting slip at the chiropractor about how Finn doesn't sleep well at night. After twenty minutes and a "You gotta get him to stop manipulating you" speech later, I swore I would never make that mistake again).

Eventually Finn came around to everything in his own time. He wouldn't sleep in his own bed until he was 3 months old, but now he loves it. He use to need to nurse back to sleep in the middle of the night (yes that means sometimes I had to nurse 5+ times a night), but now he will go back down with some comforting. He use to not be able to fall asleep on his own, but we are currently in the process of teaching him to do that and he is doing SO GREAT! I use to think he would never be okay with a babysitter, but he is perfectly content with strangers. All in all, he has become a super happy baby. He is strong willed, always wants to be engaged, and constantly active, but I really think that we're seeing the fruit of our labor with him. I truly believe that it is because we were patient and let him do things in his own time, instead of forcing things on him. I'm so glad that we listened to his needs and met them, that we never tried to fit him into a box of what he was "supposed" to be doing. Because now I feel that we have won his trust. That he feel so safe and secure with us that he is independent and happy, and he knows that we will always meet his needs.

If you have a chill baby who sleeps through the night and laughs at your silly faces, then you probably have no idea of what I'm talking about. But if you are the parent of a high need or fussy baby, I hope this post can give you some inspiration and hope. You're not doing anything wrong and there's nothing wrong with your baby. Let them lead you, listen to their needs and accept them where they are, and eventually they will grow.