Asking for a win (peas over pie)

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I’ve found myself saying it more and more lately:

“I think if we could just get a win we would be okay, we need a win.”

What I mean when I say this is that we need something to go our way, we need a bit of life changing news, not another challenge but rather something that removes a hurdle or two.

I found myself inserting this concept not only into conversations but into my prayers:  “Dear God we need a win, a landslide, something life changing.  I’m tired of the day to day struggle.”

One day as I was saying this to a friend I stopped myself short; suddenly I realized how ridiculous I sounded.  Not to my friend on the phone, but to God, the giver of all good things.

The sustainer of our breath, the founder of our simple feasts, the payer of our mortgage.

I wonder if, upon hearing those words, he felt as I do when I make my hungry children a plate of delicious food and they respond in whining.  When I give nourishment and they complain  because it’s not the precise thing they were hoping for.

No chicken Mom, that’s not what I wanted, I wanted spaghetti, or ice cream or pie!  Or Mom, I want apples but not THOSE apples, I want the ones that come crunchy in the mickey mouse packet.  Please put THESE apples in the trash. Continue reading

Spoiled, but not rotten?

© Goranmulic | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Goranmulic | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I’ve spent a lot of time in our mini-van lately, last weekend to Dallas, this past weekend a day trip to Oklahoma City.  As my eyes take in the landscape of the southern plains, my mind wanders to all the different regions of this country, reflecting on all I have seen, and how freely we’re able to hop in the car and go.

Lately as my eyes take in the ever changing landscape, from small mountains to trees to scrubby grasslands, I can’t help but think about the freedom we have.  The freedom to be. To go. To live.

I hold our mobility incredibly close to my heart as a freedom, a gift.  A short road trip, something trivial for us, is a huge freedom for many in this world who may never know a world beyond their own 10 mile radius.

Yet, here we are free to strap our children safely in our van as they stare at little screens and eat healthy snacks and sip clean water from character themed sippy cups.

When we get to our destination they play happily in a water park or build custom stuffed animals with both parents by their sides.  Later in the evening we have our food brought to us at restaurants of our choosing.

Oh Lord, we have so much, we have too much, we have everything.

With a little hard work and elbow grease we can improve our already fabulous situation, we can move across the country, change careers, aspire, dream, achieve. Continue reading

Mom Hack (from picky to licky)

DSC_0642-1 Today I’m excited to share a guest post from one of my favorite people, my friend Jillian Burden. Jill and I met in college and I remember being amazed by her from day one, she’s stunning inside and out. She’s on my short list of people I want to go out for coffee with, because she laughs deeply and listens so intentionally. 

Jill and her husband John brought home their first child, their Son Artem, in November shortly before US / Russian adoptions shut down.  I love being on the mothering journey with Jill, even if from a distance, her joy and love for her son and orphans world wide are contagious. So without further adieu… 

I just love food. I love the way a toasted piece of sourdough soaks up the savory flavors of tomato basil soup. I love the creamy/sweet contrast of goat cheese and red pepper jelly on a thin, crisp water cracker. And I really love the sweet and salty slurpy wonderfulness of any kind of peanut butter and soy sauce noodle dish. I’m not a natural born talent in the kitchen, but I’ve taught myself to cook because I need a means to get to the end of delicious food.

Not only do I love to eat food myself, but I love to cook for others. I think one of my love languages is feeding people. So you can imagine that as I stood on the precipice of motherhood, I had grand visions of cooking beautiful dinners to be enjoyed with great thanksgiving by my hungry children.

And then my husband and I brought home a picky eater. We adopted our two-year-old son Arie three months ago from Moscow, Russia and he survived Thanksgiving through Christmas on cheese, bananas and multivitamins.

Our pediatrician assured me this was normal and that it could take up to 16 “tastes” of a new food before we’d actually get him to eat it.

Turns out though, sixteen tastes is a lot. Especially when you’re wiping them off a chin or a bib or a floor for the tenth day in a row. Actually, wiping food that was spit out from our son’s mouth was something of a victory because most of the time he’d guard his tongue by pressing his lips together like an oyster hiding a pearl. Short of forcing a spoonful of yogurt in his mouth, I had no idea how I was going to get sixteen tastes in there.

I won’t lie; I was feeling a little desperate.

Picky Eaters

I guess genius sometimes lives in desperation because therein I found my answer: food licking.

It started off with, “Hey Arie can you stick out your tongue??” (Yes- he’s two; he can definitely stick out his tongue) and progressed to, “Watch Mama lick this berry!” slurp slurp slurp “Isn’t that funny??”

Sure enough, he started giggling and licking. Little does he know, licking is the same as tasting. Over the next few weeks, small licks became big licks, and big licks became nibbles, and nibbles became bites!

Arie licking

Unintended consequence: first time we baked together, he licked the dry ingredients.

We’ve moved from a list of two acceptable foods to about 20. We’re still licking too, so here’s hoping that list continues to grow!

There’s my mom hack: teach your picky eater to lick her food. I hope the licks turn into bites for you too!

MOM HACK BREAKDOWN
WHAT– Teach your picky eater to lick her food before rejecting it.
WHY– Because just getting one “taste” in her mouth is one step closer to getting her to actually eat it.
TIPS / HOW- After she takes a couple licks she has to eat it or put it aside, otherwise you might have a lick-fest on your hands. And that’s just bad manners. 😉

DSC_0013Bio: Jillian Burden is an adoptive mother, blogging about her adoption & parenting journey and all the blessing, lament, joy, and conviction that happen along the way.

Check out Jill’s writing at her blog
Follow Jill on Facebook
And on twitter here

PS If you’re interested in sharing a mom hack let me know by sending an email my way!

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My Manna (what’s sustaining me)

heart bread

This week I told you that I picked up some extra work to improve our financial situation. Well, in doing so I gave up my Tuesday and Thursday kid-free work time, it’s all the way gone.  I had no idea how deeply this would wear on me until the weekend came and I realized that I’ve had little to no quiet-alone time in the past few weeks.

I’m the sort of person who needs to retreat to process life, and life just hasn’t allowed for that lately.  Even my writing is crammed into stress-filled spaces and is starting to feel like a burden instead of a joy.

I eluded to this in my What I’m into February post but I can’t stay awake in the evenings anymore.  As soon as, and sometimes before, the kids fall asleep, I conk out on the couch and Kel nudges me to bed as I mutter protests like: “But I miss you, we never talk anymore.” or “I have stuff I want to do now that they’re sleeping….”

But I obey and fall asleep with unbrushed teeth and makeup still in place.  I regret it in the morning, but let’s be honest, I’m already asleep and sleeping people don’t swing by the sink.

This is a tough rhythm to sustain and tonight Kel and I are going to talk about how to change things up a bit to squeeze in some much needed self-care.  But I know that in the long run it will be one of those “push through” and “it’s just for a season” times in our life and I’m making my peace with it.

Yet, God keeps feeding me with nibbles here and there and they’re my manna, just enough, nothing extravagant but 100% nourishing for the next step. Continue reading