September’s 10 Things

It somehow feels like August never happened. I clearly remember Dustin graduating from medic school, completing some very big projects at work, and my birthday happened somewhere in there, and I think we went to the beach one day, but, all in all, it was just a blur of time and diapers and Parenthood (yes, I will keep talking about Parenthood probably until Jesus returns).

But it’s September 10th, and I really enjoyed writing my Ten Things post a couple of months ago so I think I’ll keep this going!

1. While I’m still (semi) on the subject, Parenthood is wrecking me. The first three seasons I could go a couple of episodes without crying. But season four is just all the tears and I have to pause it because I literally cannot see what’s going on through my tears. It’s embarrassing.

2. Titus finally got his orthotics! They have teeny tiny farm animals on them and he walks just fine in them! We can already see a noticeable difference — his feet don’t turn out when he has them on and I think he’s even a little more confident.

3. I read two books in one month! I haven’t done that in at least a year. I’m thinking about starting some type of online book club on my blog, but I’m not sure how and also I might be getting ahead of myself because the two-books-per-month thing may never happen again.

4. We started Whole30 on Labor Day. Yes, I said, “we”. Yes, that “we” includes Dustin. Pray for our marriage.

5. I totally underestimated ALDI last time I was on Whole30. They have really upped their game (plus, our store in Lancaster is very fancy now so I actually kind of like going there)! I found sugar-free ground pork, bacon, and these fruit leather strips that everyone in my family loves. And I bought La Croix there!

6. I’m not sure if all kids are like this, maybe I just never noticed, but Titus is turning into a little weirdo and we love it. He makes the goofiest faces and runs around making weird noises and called a bald eagle a “seagull” (wouldn’t that be a strange national bird?). He definitely keeps us laughing.

7. After my last post, I’ve really fallen in love with writing again. I’m not sure if I have more time than I did a year ago when I sort of stopped, but I’ve been making time for it and I don’t feel guilty about that anymore.

8. I’m making these Whole30 compliant meatballs next week and I’m very excited about that. Trust me, they are delicious and you won’t miss the gluten!

9. We’ve been doing physical therapy with Titus for one year now and the progress has been incredible. We’re using Early Childhood Intervention through Lancaster County and I can’t tell you how much of a positive impact they’ve had on me and Ty. If your child ever needs therapy of any kind, I highly recommend this program!

10. My next book to read Present Over Perfect. Has anyone else out there read that? And what other book recommendations do you have?

This wasn’t my season.

I love writing. It is way up there on my list of favorite hobbies. I love writing grocery lists, to-do lists, and text messages that turn into paragraphs. I journal and scribble in the margins of books and I have an ongoing, fictional dialogue in my brain just in case I ever write a book. I have a hundred notes in my iPhone full of blogging topics, things I'm thinking about, research I've done, and ideas that wake me up in the middle of the night. I love to think of synonyms, look up definitions, and I diagram sentences in my head.

But this year, I didn't spend nearly as much time on this passion as I wish I could have. I felt guilty most of the time. I barely blogged in the past 12 months. I didn't pursue blog followers like I have in the past, and I didn't curate my posts for more likes on Instagram. I hardly touched my Facebook page and I glanced at my blog statistics only once in a while. For a few months, I wondered if my love for writing had dried up.


The other day, I was half-listening to a podcast, half-listening to Titus chastise Breck for being a bad dog, and drying dishes when something the podcast speaker said struck a chord deep within my heart.  She spoke about what it was like to write a book, then basically go radio silent for years instead of starting on her next book the way most authors do. She said, "It wasn't my season to write."

That's me,  I thought. This past year of my life wasn't my season. It wasn't the time for me to pursue a passion.

It was a season of being present when my family needed me most.

It was a season of hard work because this past year was difficult for our marriage. I needed to pray over Dustin, support him, and listen to him.

I needed to wash dishes and sing with Titus.

I needed to quietly sit in a waiting room and watch the clock when Titus had two different surgeries.

I had to go to sleep early instead of writing late at night because my brain needs to be ready for work, and motherhood, and marriage.

I had to learn what it means to be a really good friend and work through some relationships. We had to deal with some heart-wrenching situations.

This year, this season, wasn't mine to run wild with. Instead of my fingers moving quickly across a keyboard, my mama hands held my baby's hands as he took his first step; my hands held my husband's hands as we sat cross-legged on the living room floor and wondered how we would survive this year of paramedic school; my hands dried tears and dishes, cleaned floors and toilets, held a camera in Africa, and drew letters and numbers with crayons. And I'm totally at peace with that.

Sierra Leone + 10 Things

 

What can you possibly say when you return from a country like Sierra Leone?

I could tell stories of beautifully strong people I met. People who keep on when the world is actively trying to hold them back.

I could talk about the kids who climbed on me, touched my hair, and face, and clung to me.

I could speak of men who are passionate about developing their country one person at a time, but they don’t know how they’ll feed their family tonight.

I could tell you about fierce women who are pursuing higher education and raising their children while making the equivalent of $150 per month.

I could show you pictures of a remote village that burned down and now the people are coming together and rebuilding with the help of our church.

I could blog about all of this, but I’m still processing, thinking, and feeling. If you really want to know about this trip to Africa, let’s talk in person. This hardly ever happens to me, but it doesn’t feel like the right time to write.

Instead, I want to share 10 things that are on my mind.

  1. Titus seemed to gain a whole new vocabulary while I was gone. Within 12 days he somehow started to speak in tiny, kid-sized sentences. I love it! He also picked up the words, “bad dog”. And now he walks around the whole house pointing at poor Breck and yelling, “Bad dog!”, even though Breck is innocent (usually).
  2. My gut feelings are usually right — I feel like that’s kind of my superpower — but I was wrong about something today. I was praying and seeking the Lord this week about a particular issue and trying to make myself at peace with my gut feeling — that he wasn’t going to answer my prayers the way I wanted him to. But he did. While I’m pleasantly surprised (actually, super excited!), I’m wondering if I’m losing my superpower.
  3. Circumstances shouldn’t dictate happiness. Just one thought that’s been rolling around the back of my mind since returning from Sierra Leone.
  4. Never eat a “chicken burger” in Africa.
  5. I started Parenthood this week and it took me one entire episode to get into it. I wasn’t sure at first! But I’m really loving it now. Plus, Lauren Graham is so perfect in every role she plays.
  6. Laundry is one of my least favorite chores, but I actually enjoyed it today. Usually, I save housework for when Titus is asleep so that I can spend as much time with him as possible. Today, I got the genius idea to combine chores and time with Titus. We chatted and he handed me the clean laundry to fold. It was glorious and now I’m sitting here blogging instead of folding laundry. Hallelujah!
  7. My mom gave me the Magnolia Journal this month and it’s just been one of my highlights. I have nothing else to say except if you enjoy easy but good writing, pick up a copy and you will be encouraged and inspired.
  8. Right now, I’m reading The Warmth of Other Suns. My friends will read this and roll their eyes because I’ve been reading this book since late March. I’ve read other books since starting this one, but now I’m buckling down. I think the reason it’s taking so long is because the content is heavy. It’s hard for me to read because I get so sucked into books (and movies and TV shows. It’s a little unhealthy). However, it’s a fantastic book about America’s Great Migration of African Americans. By fantastic I mean, factual and based on true stories, reads like a novel, and it’s so well-written. I definitely recommend it.
  9. The Bethel Kids worship playlist on Spotify (if you have Amazon Prime you can stream it for free!) is one of my favorite things to listen to with Titus. I have it on in the background while we play and eat. It’s so well-done and usually kids’ music gives me a headache, but this is perfect! It’s all the songs we sing on Sunday mornings, but cuter because it’s a bunch of talented kids singing.
  10. Paramedic school is almost over! The light at the end of the tunnel is no longer a tiny dot in the darkness, but it’s bright and it’s lighting up my life! We’re so excited for Dustin to finish and to go back to our old normal. A crazy, but slightly more manageable normal.

Happy weekend!

My Word for the Summer

I’m in the beginning of a half-hearted sprint toward the end of summer.

Sprint, because the end of summer is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Half-hearted, because it’s going to take some long, uncomfortable days to get there.

IMG_2981.jpg

We have some amazing opportunities in front of us, but sometimes it’s really hard to look at them through that lens. My heart is bent toward things that are good and fine and even praise-worthy, but when those things take the place of Jesus I drag my feet and complain about the tasks I’m called to complete.

IMG_3089

This summer, I’m choosing to bend my heart toward the voice of God and listen. Opportunities are dropping in my lap and it’s getting hard to ignore them. Not just big opportunities, like my upcoming trip to Africa, but small ones. I have opportunities to savor my three-day weekends with Titus, show love and understanding to my very busy husband (even on my bad days), and work toward cultivating a life-giving home. I want to keep this word, “listen”, close to my heart and fresh in my mind.

IMG_3307

Follow along as I write about all of these things — this summer is filled to the brim with possibilities!

Will you join me in choosing one word to focus on this summer?

Titus Adams Mosher: 21 Month Update

Yep, you read that correctly.

I thought I’d be someone who stopped saying, “Oh, my child is ____ months old,” after the first 12 months. Nope. Not sure why it stuck, but it did.

IMG_2266

I discontinued the monthly updates back when Titus turned a year old because his health was well on its way to bouncing back and, honestly, those posts were getting pretty boring to write and I have a baby book to write in. However, Titus still has some skills to work on even though his pediatrician removed his failure-to-thrive diagnosis last August.

Ty’s currently going through bi-monthly physical therapy to work on his gross motor skills. We started out with some pretty small goals. His personality is really hard to work with — not that he’s a difficult child, he’s just extremely unmotivated (so me, times like a thousand). He’s too laid back — if that’s even a thing.

IMG_2123

So, back in August, one of our first goals was to get him to use his pointer finger. Lazy Titus wanted to use his entire hand to point at something or for any fine motor skills. He mastered that quickly (now, I’m trying to get him to stop pointing at people in public. Whoops).

Now, 7 months into physical therapy, our goal is to see Titus walk independently within the next few months. We’re impressed with how quickly he’s catching on to his gross motor skills — he seems to get a little faster and stronger each day. But he’s still very cautious. Little by little, he’s getting more independent and more adventurous.

IMG_2337

One thing we considering is getting him orthotics. The orthotics will act like little braces for his feet, helping him with his muscle tone, stability, balance, and the bone structure in his heels. The way his feet look and work right now is typical for a child who is just learning to walk, however it’s not typical for a kid his age. For now, we’re giving him some time to see how he progresses and hopefully we won’t need to buy the orthotics.

Also, his favorite word is “car”, he loves “num-nas” (bananas), he likes to pray and dance (not at the same time — we’re still Southern Baptists deep down), and today he started jamming his finger up his nostril for fun. So, all in all, I think we’re raising a pretty healthy little boy!

IMG_2163

I Had A Bad Day

I think an alternative, but equally powerful title for this post could be: “I’m Really, Really Tired.”

Tonight, I stood at our front door and pointed my car key fob at the door knob and pressed the unlock button. This is not an exaggeration.

Life is exhausting right now. Dustin and I feel like we’re solo parenting 95% of the time, because he’s asleep when I’m awake and I’m at work while he’s at home. Then, once Titus is in bed, I start my second job and by that time Dustin is at work, then I go to sleep. I can’t even keep up with the two sentences I just typed, let alone live them.

We’re tired. And I know we aren’t the only ones who are tired. Humankind is exhausted, because life is just exhausting. I don’t know when the exhaustion stops, or if it ever does. Will I just be tired until the day I die? It feels that way sometimes.

The biggest problem with being tired is when I lose sight of who I am. I start viewing myself as a martyr. I think my family is out to get me. In my exhausted state of mind, Dustin is killing me with the dirty dishes in the sink. Titus is killing me with disobedience.

Then I overreact. Once I realize I’m overreacting, I apologize to Dustin. But the cycle starts all over again the next day. And I think to myself, “I’m just having a bad day.” (Also, isn’t it really terrible that family usually gets the brunt of our off days?)

But my days aren’t so bad. They’re actually really great. I’m finding more and more that what I really need is rest.

Complete, unadulterated rest. Rest in Jesus. When I don’t spend a part of my day filling up my mind with truth, I can guarantee it’s going to be a “bad day.” It’s going to be a day when I believe lies — the tiny little arrows penetrating my heart.

whish. whish. whish.

You aren’t good enough. Ouch.

You’re a bad mom. Ouch.

He doesn’t love you. Ouch.

But truth covers those wounds like a healing balm. I remember who I am and I remember my calling.

In this moment, exhaustion subsides. When Jesus says, “I know you’re weary, but my burden is light,” I breathe a sigh of relief and the weight shifts.

What Would Jesus Do For Refugees?

Silence is something I can’t take for granted anymore. Sometimes I wake up early enough to brew tea the old fashioned way, sit with my feet tucked under me in our recliner, and watch the sun rise from my favorite corner of the living room. When all is still, I think of the long-haired little boy sleeping soundly in his crib. His belly is full. His arms and legs are sprawled out in a position that only babies can sleep in. He breathes slow and — when he’s in a deep sleep — he softly snores. He is content, safe, and happy. 

IMG_1084

I love my silent home. I can think and plan and pray and read. 

Today, my home is silent, but my thoughts are carried to the mothers who aren’t experiencing the peaceful blanket of quiet.

I think of gun shots. Aircrafts. Crying.

I think of screams and the wailing of parents who watch their children suffer because there is no peace where they live. 

I think of the people whose lives look simultaneously very different and very similar to mine. We love our children. We pray for them. We would do anything to protect them.

Except — it is much easier for me to do that, than for the Syrian woman who holds her dying infant in her arms. By the grace of God, I was born here. 

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

No human being should be forced to endure the terror that strikes your heart when your child is in danger.

No human being should be afraid for their lives.

And no human being who is criminally trafficked, targeted, and driven out of their country should be denied aid. 

While Americans spend a leisurely Sunday morning freely worshipping as the Body of Christ, men helplessly watch their wives taken. Women cry out in desperate sorrow as their children die right before their eyes. Children witness the murder of their parents and siblings.

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

True help, true love begins with the Church. 

I am pro-life in every sense of the word. Age has shown me that the pro-life movement can’t stop with the unborn. The pro-life movement values children in the womb, mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, aunts, and grandparents of every race, religion, and ethnicity.

Christ called the hungry and broken to Himself. Shouldn’t we be the hands and feet of the One who sacrificed His life for the sake of millions of other lives?

Would I value my life over the life of a child growing inside me? No.

Should I value my life over the lives of millions of people left hungry and shelterless? Would Jesus?

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:25-36)

For facts about the Syrian refugee crisis, click here. For ways to assist and love refugees in Lancaster Country, click here.

I Did Not Know Fear Until I Became a Mother

Photo by Juliana Bird Photography.

 

I’ve done a couple of things in my life that made me afraid. Nothing crazy or especially dangerous. I’ve been around other people doing dangerous things, but I tend to be a bystander in those situations. I’d rather be safe than sorry, as they say. I didn’t know real fear, though, until Titus was the size of a pea in my belly.

Once I knew he existed, fears flooded my mind. I memorized the list of things you should never do when you’re pregnant. No soft cheese, deli meat, swordfish (gross), alcohol, cold medicine, or caffeine for me. I stuck to the list, because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t.

The day after I hit the 6-week mark, I started throwing up. I didn’t stop throwing up until 6:00pm on June 18, 2015 — right before Titus was born. There was a stretch of time that I threw up over 20 times each day. I remember sitting on the bathroom floor, eating tiny pieces of ginger candy and sour gummy worms because I knew I had to eat something for this baby that was inside of me. Something had to get to my stomach so that he could grow (Reality check: babies grow even when you throw everything up. They steal your nutrients and calories no matter what because they’re itty bitty little thieves and they will keep taking things from you until the day you die. I know this because tonight, half of my dinner went into Ty’s mouth instead of mine.). I was so afraid of my body wreaking havoc on his body. I was so afraid to get up in the morning because I knew I’d spend the whole day kneeling in front of a toilet.

The day Titus was born, the OB told me not to push because pushing would make his heart stop beating. I was so afraid to push.

Then, six months later, the pediatrician said Titus was failing to thrive because he wasn’t getting enough food from me. I was so afraid of not being enough for him.

Almost every day, the same, cold hand of fear grips my heart. I look at pictures of children in Aleppo, and I fear for their lives and cry for their mothers. I see the hate that consumes this world, and I fear that Titus will have a very different childhood than my own.

And this week we’re preparing for Titus to have another hernia surgery and I can’t help but be a little afraid. I know what fear feels like. I know there are scarier things I could experience, but being a mother is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I think a lot of parents feel this way. Within moments of becoming a parent, your life suddenly becomes less, and your child’s life becomes much, much more. Someone else’s life is very dependent on you. It’s easy to be afraid because the overwhelming amount of love we feel. But we know that perfect love casts out fear.

Fear is a motivator. Fear drives me to my knees. I didn’t know fear until I became a mother. I also didn’t know the real power of prayer. I didn’t know what a candid conversation with Jesus looked like. I didn’t know empathy and compassion until I became a mother. I didn’t understand perfect, unconditional love which can only come from Him.

But now I do. And the knowledge of these things is worth every ounce of fear that comes my way.

Another List of New Year’s Resolutions

Every January, I get something akin to a New Year’s high. I love setting goals. I love reading about ways to improve my life, and I love throwing myself headfirst into projects. Dustin called me out on this the other day as I stuffed our fifth bag of clothes I wanted to donate. I sat down on the bed and sighed, and he said, “Oh, stop. You love this.”

I can’t deny it. I do love it. I start each year with many, many goals and find that very few stick. This year, however, I have one specific goal and two general goals.

1. Complete my reading list.

Last year I set out to read 75 books in one year. I didn’t quite reach my goal. I slowed down once I started working full time again, and it’s one thing that I wish I would’ve followed through on. So this year I have a very specific list of books I want to read. Classics, contemporary, theological, and secular. I’m motivated to start this year of reading and complete my list!

2. Grow in my marriage.

This past year wasn’t easy for Dustin and me — and up until now, we’ve had it pretty easy. I’m not quite sure how to measure this goal yet, but it’s something that God has put on both of our hearts. We want to fight for our marriage, even in the moments, days, and weeks when marriage feels secure and smooth. Our goal is to never let our guard down.

chelseadustin

Image by Juliana Bird Photography

3. Embrace health.

This means many different things for me. I’ve had a difficult time balancing work and marriage and motherhood and housework and cooking and health in general. This goal is less about me and more about my family. I want to move us toward health.

My first step was donating all of the clothes we don’t need or wear. Next, I’m starting whole30. Each step will move my family toward contentment and health. And I’m just really excited for what this year hold for us. What are your goals for this year?

Shop Small Favorites: Baby Scarves and Hand-Dyed Onesies

When I first found out we were having a boy, I had a brief grieving period (Dustin might say I was being dramatic, so don’t ask him) over all of the adorable girl clothes I couldn’t buy. I thought it would be nearly impossible to find cute clothes for Titus.

 

_f8a5152

 

_f8a5233-1

 

_f8a5234

 

 

_f8a5272

 

_f8a5155

 

_f8a5166

 

_f8a5229

Images by Juliana Bird Photography.

However, Instagram has become one of my go-to places for baby clothing. Some of the best small shop owners have the most beautiful Instagram feeds! I love shopping for Titus by looking through their photos.

Will & Tess not only has a gorgeous Instagram (just check out her flat lays!), but her hand-dyed clothing and scarves are the cutest! The colors are rich, and they don’t fade. These clothes are baby and kid basics, but in the most beautiful hues! I think Titus’s French Roast onesie is perfect for him. It goes with everything and it’s an amazing color for this season.

I also can’t get enough of her scarves! We have the charcoal gray Will Scarf, and it’s the softest thing in the world. Plus, it’s an infinity scarf that will grow with him.

Now through Monday, November 7, you can get 25% off your purchase with the code THANKS25. Have fun shopping!

 

Onesie and scarf c/o Will & Tess. All words and opinions are my own.