Saturday, March 2, 2013

bad news

I have some bad news.
Our wireless internet in our apartment is not working up to par.  This is due to the internal "guts and gizzards" of our laptop...not the actual internet itself.

And although I do have other various ways to connect to the's proving to be too difficult of a process.  I can't balance fitting in the time to "play" alongside actually LIVING my life WELL.

That being said, I'll be taking an indefinite hiatus.

I won't stop blogging forever.
It just will no longer be a priority.
I will try to blog when the opportunities present themselves.  And they will have to be obvious opportunities. I can no longer take the time to "create" such "opportunities".  It's getting too hard.

And believe it or not, I feel that this whole thing is of a divine nature.  I can sense the hand of God gently pressing down.  I really believe that this is another lesson to be learned, taught by my loving God.  I have some room to grow in the area of selfishness.  I need to live my life God's way.  Not my way.

Will I miss blogging and writing?  More than you could even fathom! But it's what's needed.  It's what is currently best.

In the words of Samuel,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening. 
(1 Samuel 3:9)
Here's to taking time to PAUSE and CONNECT to reality, rather than escaping from it.
Here's to Happy Living!

p.s. You can still find me on Instagram (mrsmweston) and Twitter (@mrsmweston) to watch me harvest pieces of time!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

someday soon my heart will finally settle down

Mike has been sending out lots of resumes recently.  He will graduate in May 2013.  (HOORAY!) And because we are in a year-long internship, we will stay here in Rochester through July 2013.

My mind constantly races.  Meaning?  I never stop thinking.  My brain is like a hamster in a eternal exercise wheel.  So whenever I'm doing anything, my mind is analyzing my life.  If I'm doing dishes, I'm thinking.  If I'm driving, thinking.  Making the beds, thinking.  Folding laundry, thinking.  Eating.  Reading.  Crafting.  Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.

Do I get tired?  Yes.  Always.  But I'm used to it.  And I'm grateful that God has given me this mind and gives me the knowledge and ideas to fill it with.  I really do think of it as a gift.  But it does get tiring.  There are days, to be honest, I'd like to turn it off.  But then, I decide that's not for the best...because, knowing my luck, that would be when the best idea of ALL TIME would hit me...and I wouldn't even know it.

But a particular thought came to mind today as I was sewing a baby gift for a baby shower I'm attending on Saturday...

I am finally going to know what it feels like to be "settled".

Mike and I have not stayed in the same place for very long through out our 7-1/2 years of marriage.  And don't get me wrong, I have adored, cherished, and LOVED this adventure we are living.  We are filling our memory banks to the BRIM with lots of happy-goodness.  We have met so many WONDERFUL and  AMAZING friends (aka. family) each place we have lived. Experienced so much local flavor.  And we have had the chance to eat at some pretty phenominal restautrants (I think it's safe to consider ourselves restaurant foodies)....and not chain-restaurants..."diamonds in the rough" restaurants...the ones you only know about through word-of-mouth...or find by accident.  

At the same time, I am enchanted by the lives of those who are "settled".  Isn't that funny?  We all want whats on the "other side of the fence"!  Moving around has made this life lonely.  And I know being "settled" isn't a cure for loneliness...but it will be one less time where I have to "start over" in the friend department.  I love making new friends!!!  TOTALLY!!  But it's emotionally taxing.  (Will she like me?  Does she think I'm weird?  Well...I am...but have I shown her "too much" weird-ness up front?  How much is too much?  Did I say the wrong thing?  Did I say too much?  I need to stop talking! Why can't I ever stop talking???! I really hope she wants to be my friend...)

I also want to have town/city that "belongs" to me.  Where I know how to navigate the back-roads around town.  Where I know my mail-man.  Learn my neighbors names.  Have a church home.  Invest my life.  Make a difference right where I am.  Live fully.  Plant flowers.  And roots.

I'm excited to call somePLACE my home.

I don't expect life to get "better"...because I think my life is "better" right now.  So don't mis-interpert what I'm trying to say.    It will just be a different kind of "nice".

What I'm trying to say is this:

It will just be nice to have my heart stay-put for a few years.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

my {heart} day

I bet you are wondering how I spent my valentine's day.
I'm sure of it. *cough, cough*

The day before the big "V" day...I took a quick trip to the dollar store (because I'm not all that big into just throwing my money away to large corporations because they "say" I should...but I am really big into showing my family just how much I love them...and those two things don't have to go hand in hand.  It doesn't have to cost a lot to mean a lot.) I wanted to fill my day to the brim with actions of love and kindness!

So I bought a few small and sweet things for my kiddos (a *small* box of chocolate and a v-day balloon). I bought 3 red candles, some heart-garland to wrap around them, and a few conversation candy hearts in order to create a simple center-piece for our kitchen table. And I bought Mike a bag of chocolates, that I put inside a v-day vase, and had a "balloon-on-a-stick" stuck into the center of the candy vase.  When I got home, I placed Mike's treats on his work desk for him to find in the morning.

I got up early on Valentine's morning.  I set out the kids' treats and my center-piece.  And I got to work on breakfast.  Homemade pancakes with fresh strawberry puree.  I then cut hearts out of my pancakes just like this idea I found on the internet (I google's yet another sickness I have):

photo credit
Super cute...huh??

I lit the candles and brewed up some coffee as my children slowly woke from their dreams.  My daughter and I delivered Mike his coffee in bed (and she brought him a few candies on her own accord...I just LOVE her empathetic, sincere, thoughtful and loving heart.)

And we all enjoyed a nice breakfast as a family...complete with strawberry milk, of course.

I made sure to cut hearts out of cheese for lunch and made a few chocolate covered strawberries.

Not too much of a fancy day...but enough to make my family feel special.  (And enough hugs, cuddles, kisses, and snuggles all day get the message across loud and clear.)

Later that night, Mike and I went out to dinner and coffee.  And what I love is: our friends.  Friends that are willing to "swap" with us.  Meaning?  They watch our kids so we can sneak out on a date on one night.  And the next night, we watch their sweet little 15-month-old man so they can sneak out for their date.  Perfection.  Not only do our kids have fun with each other AND we all get a night out to reconnect with our significant others...BUT we are helping each other protect our marriages.  Because it's SO IMPORTANT to make date nights a priority...regardless of the occasion! (And it didn't cost either us a red-cent for a baby-sitter!  Score!)

What a great day.  It was not only lots of fun and filled with endless sweetness, it reminded me how beyond blessed I am in this life:
  • with a loving husband
  • wonderful & happy children
  • great friends
  • a good God
What more does one need??  Except maybe a good cup of coffee...

....I'm on that.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

photo credit

Saturday, February 16, 2013

different and better

We celebrated the Lord's Supper this past Wednesday.  It was different than "normal".  And it was better.  A lot better. Because this time we celebrated it with just our community group.  It was the first time (and a first for most) to celebrate it in a private and intimate setting.  I am used to corporate participation - with our entire church.

It's interesting how "tradition" can quickly become the "only" method - even if that's not the only way God allows it to happen.

I never paid attention to what the early church described in the book of Acts did: they broke bread (aka. the Lord's table) in each other's HOMES.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers and awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being down through the apostles.  And all who believed were woven together and had all things in common.  And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts...  Acts 2:42-46 
Celebrating the Lord's table so intimately with my community group was strange, different and completely out of my comfort zone...
i loved it.

Especially when we passed around the bread and physically broke our own piece off of the loaf.  Such deep symbolism transformed into hard my hands.  It brought me to tears.  Hot, burning, grateful tears.  It was such a powerful image of Christ's sacrifice...for ME...for my sin.

photo credit

Keep an open mind.
Keep learning.
And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

potty training: what i did wrong...and finally got right

She did it!
She's potty trained!
I have been waiting for this moment with bated breath!

I introduced the idea to Annaleigh when she was a few months past her 2nd birthday.  To be honest...I thought she was ready.  I read books.  I read blogs.  I read websites.  I talked to Mamas who have been through this stage of life with their own littles.  And all the signs seemed to point to her readiness.  And to top it off...she would cry whenever I put a diaper on her.  She hated them.

But what should have been a sign to me that she was no where near ready...was the fact that she would cry for me to put her diaper back on.

What a paradox...huh?  She apparently wanted her cake and eat it too.  Don't we all?

So I figured she would just have to get used to the idea of "underwear".  {Ring the 'wrong answer' game-show buzzer right about now.}

Needless to say...after a few weeks of misery...we both failed.  (And trust me...I tried ALL the suggestions out there.  ALL.)

I threw up the white flag and threw a diaper back on her.  {deep sigh of defeat}

But I was determined to potty train her.  I mean...everyone else's kids where potty training...and my kid was just as "good" as Annaleigh should hop on that bandwagon too!

After another valiant attempt a few months later...more failure.

And that's where I was failing when it came to potty training my daughter.  I was the one who was ready.  I was feeling "mommy-peer-pressure".  I looked around and felt like an inferior mother compared to the rest.

Comparison.  It's evil.

I thought she'd never learn to use the potty.  {I mean...of course I knew she WOULD...but after failing felt that way!}

Then I moved to Rochester.  And met my internship mentor.  She has 5 kids (ages 4-18).  I think it's safe to assume she knows what she's doing when it comes to this topic.  And she does.  A lot.

She gave me the greatest advice:  wait until after her 3rd birthday.  She'll be older...she'll understand...and that will make it easier for her. {Notice it would be better for HER...NOT neccesarily me.}

My "peer-pressured-mommy-brain" couldn't fathom that thought.

But what did I have to loose?  A little pride?  I had already lost that twice.  So there's wasn't much left.  And I was desperate.

So I did.

I waited about 2 months after her third birthday.  I did one last google search.  And I typed in something like: potty training a child who likes to be in control.  Because I figured out that this potty training thing was more about a battle of the wills than about pottying.

My new plan was this:
I'd put her in underwear at age 3.
I'd set a timer.
When the timer went off...the timer was telling her to go to the potty...
not me. 
And then I'd let her go... herself.
That's right.
I was willing to accept the gross potty Apocalypse that could potentially occur in my clean bathroom.

I wanted to see what would happen if I didn't HOVER over her.  Or PESTER her with questions like "do you have to go potty?  do you have to go potty? you have to go potty???"

{Disclaimer:  Since I had already been through this "process" with her twice before...she knew "how" to do it.  She knew the "method": walking into the bathroom...sitting on the potty...trying to "go"...using TP to wipe...getting off when done.}

The only thing she wasn't sure about was pulling her underwear up and down.  But I had some faith that she *might* be able to figure that out.  Hopefully.

But like I said...I wanted to see what would happen.  I was willing to accept that the learning process is messy and confusing learn.

And it worked!

She loved having the power over her own body.  And by the end of that week...we no longer needed the timer.  And by the end of the next week...I RARELY had to remind her to go.  We have had barely any accidents. And we both got away emotionally unscathed.

And now?  It's like the kid never wore a diaper in her life.  Unbelievable.

Sally Clarkson said this in the book she co-authored:
"Clay and I found that the more we walked with God,  the more we felt called to live our own puzzle according to the integrity of the...parents God had made us, within the limitations of our own personalities...I see so many young women today who live by fear - fear of what others will think, fear of how they might ruin their children, fear of the expectations of other people...I also see women who are afraid to be themselves...It is vitally important for women to learn how to think...for themselves instead of being enslaved to other people's thoughts and opinions.
Do you think that with such diverse families, as each of us is bound to have, that one single formula could possibly [work]?" (emphasis mine)
The answer to that rhetorical question is NO.

What I'm trying to say is this:
  1. Don't compare yourself to other Mommys.  
  2. Every kid is different.
  3. Do whatever works for your family.
It takes a lot of the pressure off of us Mommys when we approach ANYTHING in our attempt to child-rear our kids this way.

So go grab yourself some iced tea and relax.  You are a good Mommy.  And you're the only Mommy they've ever known.  God gave them YOU for a reason.  So no matter what you do "well" or "not-so-well"...all you do is the "right" thing to them.

So get out there and proudly rock your individual "Mommy-ness" today!
Your kids deserve nothing less.

Monday, February 11, 2013

an item crossed off my bucket list {and too many pictures}

I'm pretty excited.


One of my photographs was featured HERE.

It's always been a secret hope of mine to have one of my pictures get noticed by her.  And it happened!  

It may not seem like such a big deal to you...but it's a pretty darn awesome accomplishment to me!

You see...I love photography.  Now I don't have any aspirations of going professional any time soon {I don't do well with things when they are "forced" upon me}.  I just love to excel and do all things well...for the sake of excellence.  And it's challenging.  Once you turn those settings to "manual" are in charge.  You are in control.  And a picture comes out good {or bad} because of your choices and quick thinking.  I love that.  In fact...I think I like the challenge more than the medium.  

I think my ultimate dream when it comes to photography is to be able to represent what my eyes see BETTER than what my eye sees.

And I feel that she does that.  And her.  


Until then...getting my name mentioned is a pretty close second.

I'm so excited about that!

And here's a bunch of too many pictures.  I decided to share {only} a few of my favorite pictures I've taken over the years...

Great job!
I'm impressed you kept with it for this long!
Now go take a 20 minute nap. You deserve it.
{Scrolling for all the time must have made you exhausted.}