Friday, October 30, 2009

A Huge Vent

I am tired... exhausted even... nope, I don't even know if that covers it. I've been working a lot lately, subbing that is, and was finally feeling like I was helping contribute to our finances some, Bryton was doing well at the sitter's house, etc. Then, apparently I bring home something more than just finances... some kind of bug... I think it's the flu. Of course, you pay a copay to go to the dr... sit there forever, and they write you a prescription for an antibiotic... gee thanks. So, I've been more ill this week than I have been in a long time. I stayed in bed all day (minus my dr appointment) on Wednesday... Thursday was not enjoyable, and I'm finally feeling like I may be on the other end of this. Bryton has been at the sitter's everyday (there goes those finances), and Aaron's been trying to play breadwinner and dad.
Well, Aaron comes home last night with a fever and a headache, has thrown up 3 times today, and can't beat the headache. (Exactly how mine started off.) My mom was taking Bryton for the weekend (currently the only one NOT sick), but she couldn't get him to nap, so he was there from 10:30 - 4 and she sent him home... so now I'm playing super mom, except my super powers are gone. I don't have the energy to play with him like I should, or the patience... laundry needs to be done... badly, I need to get grocieries, and I don't even feel like getting off the couch. On top of it all, the "mom instinct" in me says, "CLEAN, ALICIA, CLEAN" because I don't want Bryton getting whatever it is that we have (I still say flu), but where is the energy to do that... ugh.
Not to mention this all happens when we should be celebrating his birthday. Ugh, it is so... aggravating, frustrating, irritating... ugh
I swear, if Adam and Eve wouldn't have messed it all up (we would have eventually I'm sure), but I'm guessing there'd be no sickness... thanks a lot sin...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Most Likely To...

For those of you who know my Jesus story you know that my senior year was hard. To really comply with all of the convictions I held I was forced to stand out in the crowd I'd always wanted to blend in to. I consistently carried my Bible with me to class, my music choices changed drastically (they had to at that time, the other "stuff" had crept into my heart), I did not frequent the same places anymore, and, as a result, many of my friendships began to fade.
I can't totally say that I blame them. There was a lot of change going on in my life and in my heart all at one time. It would have to be a lot to take in. Afterall, it was in the matter of a week or so that my life made a complete flip/flop. Many said I had "went off the deep end", others made fun of me and called me Jesus (I cried, but realize now how unworthy I am of that title, but what a compliment it was), and others would not join in with the mocking but would not stand next to me either. Do I blame them? No. I hold no grudges, I harbor no bitterness, and I point no fingers. But do I make any apologies for my change of heart or direction? Absolutely not.
All of that is said to say this, when it came around for the voting of the senior "favorites" at the end of senior year, I would have put $1,000 on the fact that I would have been voted for nothing. Definitely not most popular, definitely not prettiest eyes, or smile, or class clown. I was smart, but knew many others who were more likely to succeed than me. What does book smarts have to do with success anyway? I'm learning, not a lot. So, I took a ballot, turned in my two cents, and went on with life.
And then the results came in. Not only did I receive votes in a specific catagory, I would have lost my $1,000 because I won that category for the girls... most likely to......................................... change after high school. Yep, you heard me right. At the moment of hearing this news I didn't know what to think, but it only took me a minute or so to feel the pain well up inside of me again. Please understand, I may have been a Christian, and God is enough for me, but I really needed a friend that year. I really needed a pat on the back. I really needed someone to say, "Whether I agree with what you are doing or not, I commend your passion, and I am your friend and I will stand next to you." And what I got was being voted most likely to change after high school. It felt like the ultimate blow. It felt like people thought I was fake, like I couldn't perservere, like I'd go to college and go nuts. Maybe they thought I might finally be fun again. Maybe they thought I'd turn my back on my faith. To be really honest, I don't know how else I could have taken it. What IS that category anyway? I had been voted "friendliest" in 8th grade, and now this? I couldn't believe it. I was just ready... for high school... to .... be .... over.
So here I am... 6 1/2 years after graduating High School. Every so often I think about that title I was given by my classmates. It has often been a challenge to me. Scripture talks about those who leave the faith. There have, of course, been times that I've questioned and backslid, as is with most believers, but I have not wavered. I have stood firm on Jesus as my foundation.
Have I been tempted? Sure. Have I had opportunities to wander? Absolutely. Do I feel like I've missed out on anything? Never. (Believe it or not, not even senior prom.)
On the other hand though, they are right, I have changed. I am no longer the timid senior who stood firm, but sometimes ashamadely on her Jesus, I am now a confident young woman who finds her confidance in Jesus alone. I am proud of my faith, I am proud of what makes me different, and I am proud of who I have become. It is my success. (I'm learning that being "most likely to succeed" is not a fair category. What may be success for one person may not be for another.) I believe I have become more loving and less condemning. I believe my confidence change has changed many of my classmates views of me. Confidence, (not arrogance), can do a lot for a person's character. I don't listen to just "Christian" music anymore, but I don't fill my heart with junk or language that is going to give me a false idea of love or happiness. In day to day life, I'm just like anyone... I love my family, a good laugh, a good time out, and my favorite tv shows.
So that being said, have I changed after high school? Absolutely! Was it in the way that was predicted? Probably not. But I believe I have changed for the better... but that I have a ways to go. God is still doing a work in me, and I am still making myself available to that.
Would I have done anything differenly in high school? Sure, lots of little decisions I'd guess, but the biggest, I would have loved myself more and loved people better.
One way or another, I couldn't be happier with how my life is currently unfolding, and my race is not yet finished. I have more perservering to do and more changing... hopefully for the better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Incredibly Blessed

Life is full of so many blessings. Sometimes we have to weed through and scrape around to find them. Sometimes they are as obvious as your child's smile. Sometimes realizing your blessings are a blessing in and of itself. There have been times in my life where I have found it very difficult to thank God for my circumstances. There have been times when I have been dissatisfied with myself, when my worry has stolen my joy, and when my outside environment was allowed to wreck a great deal of havoc on my joy. I am not naive. I know that these times will come once again.
Which is why I can praise God for the blessing of realizing the blessings.
It is a great blessing to go to bed at night with a laundry list of things in which to thank the Lord. It often overwhelms me. It brings tears to my eyes. That God would allow such great gifts in my life and would trust me to love and cherish them as His own, that is a blessing.
I dine with, commune with, parent with, and worship with my very best friend. The Lord has given me a husband whom I love and who loves me in return. I will never claim that he is perfect, and he would prefer me not claim that anyway. He has his faults, and I have mine as well. Together, we are two imperfect human beings clawing our way to the prize. I encourage him, he encourages me. We are imperfect, but together we serve as a beautiful illustration of the love of Christ for His church.
And God has made me a parent. I'd be lying if I said I had no reservations about parenthood. I definitely wanted my "married time" before any other person took my husband's affection away from me. (Seriously, that was exactly my thoughts for awhile.) Though I do appreciate, and do not regret, the 3 years, 3 months - 3 days, that Aaron and I were married before Bryton came into the world, becoming a parent has been the most life - changing, and one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever encountered aside from marriage. I love being a mom. The rewards that come with seeing my sons smile, seeing his new experiences, seeing his affection for me and his dad, and having that little head lay on my shoulder, even if for a moment, is priceless. I think now of the sacrifices I would make for my children and to be a mother, and it amazes me. A year ago I had a lot to learn about parenting, love, and sacrifice. Amazingly, the "motherly instinct" (that I believe comes from God), comes quickly and fiercly. My mom saw it in me the first time Zeke met Bryton. The dog, whom we had loved like one of our own children, very quickly became a dog again when Bryton was on the scene. My mom says she could see in my eyes the, "You hurt him, and I kill you," glare as he ran wildly into our apartment. My affections towards Zeke have returned to some degree, but he is, and forever will be, the dog.
Bryton has made me take life less seriously. He, in his 11 month old innocense, has instilled in me a love for fun and spotanaity. He encourages me to laugh at myself, to rough-house on the floor, to splash as much as we want in the bathtub (who cares if the floor gets wet... it seriously takes one minute to wipe up), to have family traditions and to do and see as much as a family as we possibly can. I truly believe that he has taught me to become a better wife, better youth worker, better aide at school, and better friend. My confidence is higher than it's ever been, and though there are probably more stressors in my life than there have been at other times, I find myself less stressed and more happy.
I never want to be my kids' friend at the cost of discipline and their moral character, but I'd love if my kids could consider me their biggest cheerleader and a really fun mom.
As far as friends are concerned, I have some pretty amazing women in my life who encourage me, boost my confidence, who make me take life less seriously, and whom I really believe will be behind me and beside me regardless of what obstacles I may one day encounter. Some of them I have known briefly, some I have known for some time, both are as valuable to me as gold, and they are always remembered as I reflect on my blessings. I love them dearly.
Thank God for opening my eyes to my blessings. Even when the times seem hard and the blessings seem few, they still exist, and it is a blessing in and of itself that my eyes have been opened to see the precious gifts in which I have been blessed. God is forever worthy of praise.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Italian Beef and The Simple Things

Well, you guys probably thought I'd given up on my challenge since I've been so busy... NOPE! This week was crock-pot italian beef. I should preface this to say that this was a huge step for me.
A. I've never fixed Italian Beef. Period.
B. The reason I've never fixed Italian Beef is because I'm certain, without a doubt, that my mom makes the best italian beef in the whole entire world :) (And doesn't know her own recipe, figures.)
C. I know my mom has never fixed Italian Beef in a crock pot, so that scared me in itself.
All in all... it was okay, and I would fix it again, but it sure wasn't like momma's.
Here it is:

2 lb chuck roast
I mixed all of the dry ingredients with the water, poured it over the roast (in the crock pot), cooked on low for 8 hours. Then I shredded the meat, put it back in the crock pot on low, added the small amount of vinegar and let it cook for another 1/2 hour.
So there it is. Aaron said it's worth doing again... we shall see :)

As for other news. I absolutely love this time of year. As if it wasn't great enough to begin with, having B this year (actually in my arms) makes it even more exciting. His b-day is coming up (in exactly one month from today), which means a 1st Birthday party, (which I'm totally excited for), not to mention Halloween (he's going to be a lion), pumpkin food, pumpkin smells, chilly weather, football, thanksgiving, Christmas shopping and then CHRISTMAS! Yay!
So, I've noticed myself (and this is a good thing), going to bed at night so very thankful for what gifts God has given me now, and so here are the simple joys I find in my every day life :)
-The loving promise from a savior (had to throw that in first)
-My son's smile
-My husband's hug / touch / conversation. I don't know that he understands the depth of the meaning of those things.
-The smell and flicker of a good candle.
-Fixing a nice warm meal... to enjoy together.
-Friendships of great friends
-Cozying up in a blanket
-My favorite show on tv (currently the biggest loser)
-A nice sweet, good, warm dessert... yum
-Pumpkin pie blizzards from DQ!
-A nicely made bed (which unfortunately does NOT happen everyday)
-Our comforter... the best $34 I've spent at Wal Mart
-A clean house and clean laundry
-Right now, a nice, crisp apple
-Playing ball with my son, and even moreso, Aaron and I both playing ball with him. There's something extremely attractive about your husband and your baby enjoying each other!
-Boardgames... and I don't do it nearly enough.
-The sunshine
-Getting a good deal
-Getting sweet, random, encouraging text messages or emails
-Taking sweet pics of my baby boy
-Homemade doughnuts!
-Wearing my favorite pair of jeans... I'm getting ready to start looking for a new favorite pair of jeans
-Planning for anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas ;)