Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Last Day of November

Our Christmas tree is up and I've been submitting as many online orders for Christmas shopping as possible. I cannot believe December starts tomorrow! I don't feel like it's Christmastime but I'm trying to get there. I wanted to get one last blog post in before November is gone as quickly as it came.
The kids picked up all the walnuts in the yard from our one lone walnut tree. They brainstormed about what they could do with the money once they sold them, that they could all enjoy together. We knew the profit would be pretty slim, $14 per 100lbs of hulled walnuts. Yikes!
Joe and I took the kids to collect walnuts at a friend's and my brother's. We had the back of our van loaded with many garbage bags full of walnuts. After selling them, the kids made $17! They had already decided they would use the money to buy items for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes a ministry from Samaritan's purse that delivers shoe boxes filled with items to children all over the world effected by poverty, disaster or war. Joe and I helped them with extra money they needed to fill 2 shoe boxes but it was a great memory they made working together to bless other kids. We pray theses boxes will be an avenue for sharing the love of Jesus!
November brought us lots of opportunities for nature walks and identifying nature in the backyard. I loved this past fall so much and I'm grateful it lingered as long as it did.
Hazel turned 5 months! I can't stop these days from flying past no matter how hard I try to hold them back. She is a very happy and content girl. She loves the swing and playing in the floor. She is a good sleeper but over the past month decided she needs to nurse twice a night. I know I shouldn't complain but I'm trying to make a plan where she will sleep all night. I've started giving her baby food and she loves that, she is growing so fast and becoming a chunk. She sticks out her tongue all the time, to the point of doing it when we ask her where her tongue is. She also likes blowing raspberries. Most of the time, she just goes with the flow and barely makes a complaint. She loves watching all her siblings and lights up when any of them are near.
In case you missed it, Joseph and I finally got his first deer of the season! You can scroll to the bottom of my last post and watch the final video. It will definitely be one my greatest moments with Joseph as an 11 year old and maybe ever! Hunting with him was the most fun I've had in a long time.

Monday, November 21, 2016

How Saying Yes to Hunting with Joseph Changed My Week

Last Sunday, I said, "Yes."

I had no idea how saying yes to Joseph was going to change my heart, how much joy it was going to result in and how much is was going to change my regular-everyday-life this past week. Monday morning, for the first time ever, I got up at 5AM to go hunting. I honestly didn't know if I wanted him to get a deer while I was with him. I didn't know if I'd watch him shoot a deer or close my eyes. We didn't see anything, he didn't get a deer, so I said yes on Tuesday.

On Tuesday we saw the deer and suddenly things became much more fun and exciting. As result, I've continued to say yes to taking Joseph hunting every time I've been able. Yes, 8 days straight. Yes to hunting 6 5AM mornings and 4 evenings. Yes, to climbing in a tree stand, heights are one of my most real fears. I do not like climbing up, I do not like being up high, 5ft off the ground is too high. My heart races, my hands sweat, my stomach hurts and I just don't do it.

I recently read Breathing Room and after letting some of the things I read sink in, I'm making changes. Changes in the choices I make, being more intentional in making choices that will make me happy. Making choices that help me do the things I enjoy and bring me joy. Investing my time where I want when possible, rather than where I feel I ought. Often times as adults and mothers we put all kinds of responsibilities and "have-to's" on ourselves that really are "don't-have-to's".
Secondly, I related to a chapter or two where Leeanna talked about self talk, how we talk to ourselves when we are going through a hard time, or even the things we say to ourselves when we look in the mirror. She made some great points about loving ourselves for who God made us to be, rather than wishing we were more like so many other women. Because of this seed that was planted, I hit publish on a silly little video I took with Joseph while hunting on Tuesday. I denied myself the mental battering of not loving how I looked or how I talked. I decided to be brave and embrace me for who I am and HAVE FUN!

That goofy video resulted in more videos, plus many texts and comments from friends telling me how hard they laughed and how my videos brightened their day. It blew me away, something so silly brought me joy and others as well.

It's been a week and Joseph hasn't gotten a deer yet. I have loved every minute of sleep I gave up to be outside with him. I have enjoyed spending a crazy amount of hours sitting in silence, freezing our tails off, watching for deer. I've laughed so hard I've cried. I cherish the memories we're making and I really, really hope he gets a deer while I'm in the tree stand or blind with him.

Joseph turned 11 earlier this month. I know sometimes we worry as moms about what life is going to look like when our precious babies, cute toddlers or fun little kids grow up. At least, I do. This past week hunting with Joseph has been a reminder that time with our kids is a continual gift. It's a continual learning who they are today and most of all a continual blessing. This saying, "Yes." has reminded me how powerful saying yes can be.

If you'd like to watch mine and Joseph's hunting adventures up til this point, you can watch the videos below. We are heading out in a few minutes and these videos are first published in my Stories on my Instagram.

UPDATED! Joseph got a deer the evening after I published this. The final video has been added at the bottom. What a memory we made together. This is Jospeh's third deer. He killed his first when he was 6! You can read about those memories here and here.

Hunting With Mom Success!! 6 from Miranda Rose on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Joy in the valley

The best way out is always through. -Robert Frost

I've been taking time for myself. Time to think and evaluate. I've been taking walks in the woods, enjoying every color fall creates, looking closely at gorgeous moss and lichen, feeling the chill on my cheeks and the sun on my hair. It is like a tangible way to feel God near, up next to me, on my skin. I hold deeply veined leaves of the sycamore, rub dock and smell its scent on my fingers, feel the prickly woolly worm crawl in the palm of my hand and it's like touching God's hand. 

I've ordered half-a-dozen books on nature identification because I find that learning about God's creation makes my heart happy. Seeing the beauty He creates and sustains, the beauty even out of dying things, reminds me of His powerful way of making all things new. There is nothing that escapes Him and neither do I.

I'm in this season of lingering and searching for I don't even know what. Searching for healing, searching for the way to forgive, for the path to be free of baggage. My shoulders physically ache from the weariness I carry. There are days when all I want to do is just be rid of my weariness but it's not simply all in the choosing.

I'm learning to be okay with not being okay which I think is freeing and helps to actually just be here. This season is what it is and try as I might to change it or rush it, I cannot. So I'm learning to find the beauty in this valley, learning that gratitude can be found in rich abundance here, learning that I can have everything I need each day because my Father is a generous giver when it comes to meeting needs, to soothing this soul weariness.

I find myself evaluating the things that require my energy. What can I eliminate from draining my limited resources of emotional, physical and mental energy. How can I carve out space and time to deal with my jam packed thoughts and emotions? I get the same amount of hours in a day, days in a week as everyone else and these past weeks I've been evaluating how I can take control of my life in a way to promote healing and joy. Sometimes instead of fretting over life not being in my control, I need to remember this is my life and I do get to build it in ways that I choose.

In my quest to be intentional with my time I've taken the plunge to close my Facebook. Months ago, I deleted the app and that helped silence some of the distraction it created. I heard Sarah, at Sarah Ann online say, (paraphrased) "If a social media platform doesn't make you happy then don't do it, you have control over where you invest your time." I confess, these words have been on repeat for months before I finally mustered up the courage to cut ties with Facebook. It was such a hard call, because there are many great advantages about FB and I didn't want to give them all up but in recent days it has made more and more sense that I need the time and energy Facebook stole from me on a daily basis. 

I didn't love Facebook, it didn't bring me joy, it felt like a "have-to". I have so many have to's and Facebook need not be one of them. This is just where I'm at in life right now, I understand all the positives of Facebook and I'm still trying to figure out how I can maintain those connections without FB. The bottom line is, I am in a place in life now where I need to invest in the things I love, that bring me joy and healing. It is exciting to think of new ways to invest that time.

"The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope--and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend up on it) disappoint us." -Walter Wangerin Jr.

I'm asking myself what brings me joy, what makes me love this life I'm living? And then I'm asking how can I allow myself the grace to invest the time in myself by investing in the things and people that bring me joy.

Some of the answers have surprised me. This self exploration is very life giving to my weariness.
Our annual pumpkin patch trip with all my punkins, brings me joy. Laynee clapping and squealing watching her siblings and Mamma fly down the slide. Her hair matching the pumpkins. 7 kids lined in a roll, gathering pumpkins they can hardly carry. Joy!
Hazel Joy, wided-eyed, rosy-cheeked, sleeping-lashes, in-Daddy's-arms, legs-kicking, brings me joy. Big grins at Laynee as she sings Hazel her sing-song version of "Happy Birthday". "Happy to you, Happy to you, Happy to Hazel."
My children outside, gathering, washing, cracking hickory nuts. Outside building pretend helicopters and toy guns from PVC pipes. Outside pushing Laynee in the wheelbarrow, coming in with runny noses, nippy cheeks and dirty hands.
Anne's latest people drawings. 
The way she describes crying as, "I have something making sad in my eye."
Realizing Anne wore 15 brand new colorful hair ties on her wrist to church and later telling me she gave them away to her friends in her Sunday School class.
Brady asking,"What does an ostrich eat? They must eat healthy stuff cuz their eggs are HUuge!!"
Overhearing Brady and Anne playing Mom and Dad, "Mom!! It's time for me to go to college! I'm 91! It's time for me to go to college!!" Brady said.
Most surprising of all joy in homeschooling, thank you Jesus! Joy in teatime with the kids. Joy in reading aloud, gathering nature and drawing nature.
And least surprising of all, joy in this man who loves me in my valley. Who tells me I am enough, who listens to me ramble about the hard things in life and feeling lost as to how to get out of this weary place, ramble on about Walter Wangerin Jr. quotes and my quest to make space for the things I love. He hurts with me, cheers me on everyday and most of all hugs so tight it takes my breath away.

Even when it feels like I'm camped out in the valley indefinitely, when this heart of mine has deep wounds and I don't know how to fix them, there is joy. I hear God whisper and remind me, "Miranda, I am the binder of wounds." I believe those words.