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2016 in Review

We sent out Christmas cards this year, but I didn’t include a family update with them, so consider this blog post our yearly update. 😊


It seems like 2016 was a rough year for many people. Our family was no exception to this–this past year was full of changes and transitions. Let me just bullet point a few of the major ones:

  • We temporarily moved out of our house & into my parents’ home, where we are currently living (other family is currently living at our house…long story)
  • May I add that the decision to move & the actual moving all happened within about a week and a half AND I was 8 months pregnant at the time 
  • Zephaniah was born (fast & furious)
  • Gerald & I both resigned from our jobs
  • Gerald started a new job & I transitioned to my new role as a stay-at-home mom to our 2 boys
  • We’re still adjusting to life with two kids (a challenging transition)

We also dealt with some other challenging personal things that came up earlier this year, so a lot has happened and changed in our family for sure! Though we’ve had (and still have) our rough moments, God reminds us that His timing for all this is perfect and that we need to continually trust Him. 

How has God shown this?

  • Results in our favor from the personal issue that came up this summer (though it was still costly financially & emotionally)
  • Zeph was born 4 days early, which allowed Gerald to have a full week at home with us before starting his new job (perfect timing!)
  • I wanted an epidural for Zeph’s birth but never had time to get one since he came so fast so I will remind him of how he saved our family money by not having to pay for the drugs!
  • Though it’s not my ideal situation to be living at my parents’ house again, it has actually been very helpful to have some extra hands around to help me with the kids, especially when Gerald is not home or is working overtime.
  • Our living situation also allows us to help family out while also saving some money ourselves (good especially since I transitioned to not working)
  • Although I’m not working at Tyndale anymore, I am able to stay on as an on-call employee allowing me to work occasionally from home & stay connected to the business world 
  • Gerald’s job transition allows him to be more fully present when at home (he can leave work at work) 

My word for 2016 was “comfort.” I actually forgot about this, but just remembered when I saw a draft of a post I was going to write about it but never finished. Although I haven’t been thinking about my word throughout the year, now I can see that God was still using that word in the way I intended when I chose it. I picked comfort as my word for the year because I wanted to remind myself that I don’t want to stay comfortable. I don’t want to get stuck in my own comfortable little world and miss out on things God has planned for me. 

Clearly this year was about pushing me out of that comfort zone:

  • Having to move out of my house and back in with my parents = uncomfortable, humbling & made me have to let go of what I feel is “mine” (my possessions, house, etc)
  • Natural childbirth when not planning on doing it that way = DEFINITELY uncomfortable!! But so worth it & I wouldn’t have changed the way things happened
  • I agreed to be a MOPS small group leader, which pushed me out of my comfort zone because I wasn’t as comfortable leading with people I don’t know as well. So far it has been a good experience & I’m still growing and challenging myself. 
  • Becoming a mom of two has pushed me out of my comfort zone. My kids challenge my patience, make me put my desires on the backburner, and teach me more about my sinfulness (my toddler definitely sees the not so great side of mommy quite often & I feel bad about that). God’s growing me and teaching me in this area…and allowing me to gain a better understanding of His love for me. 
  • I can no longer consider myself a book publicist (for the most part). Losing that part of my identity still hasn’t completely hit me yet (I still feel like I’m on maternity leave), but it does feel strange and almost shameful when people ask if I’m working and I say no. I’m not ashamed of being a stay-at-home mom. This is what I always wanted to do for my kids, but I have to remember my worth and identity is not wrapped up in my career. My job as a mom is no less important even if it doesn’t come with a paycheck. 
  • Even more now that I’m not working, I need to work on making more mommy friends, which is intimidating, especially for an introvert. They say making mom friends is like dating…very true!
  • After going down to one income, we need to financially make sacrifices in order to save more money. So maybe for now we can’t live as comfortably as we’d like.

So my prayer for 2017 is that I would continue to step out of my comfort zone and into God’s comfort zone (a phrase I heard in college and still remember). Here’s to 2017!


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A New Decade

On Monday, I officially said goodbye to my 20’s and celebrated a milestone 30th birthday. It almost didn’t feel like my birthday because I’ve been so focused these past few months on preparing for Jaylen’s first birthday (which is tomorrow) that 30 kind of snuck up on me. It will probably be like that for the rest of my life since our birthdays are so close together, but isn’t that what parents do? Put their children before themselves?

Gerald did a nice job planning a party for me though. It wasn’t a surprise, but I didn’t know exactly what he was planning. We had a nice dinner at our house on Sunday night with family and some friends. The party was a coffee theme and he made a cute little coffee bar with my Keurig machine and a sign idea he found on Pinterest.

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I know Gerald had a lot going on over the weekend too with an observation from the assistant principal (he’s a teacher) on Monday morning. So I’m well aware of the prep time he sacrificed for his observation to prepare for my party instead! I think it all came together nicely though and he said he thinks his observation went well.

Baby's getting into Starbucks already

Baby’s getting into Starbucks already

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My small group asked me the other day if I had any goals for this new decade. I honestly haven’t taken the time to think about my goals for my 30’s. The 20’s are such transitive years. So much change happened in my 20’s–I graduated from college, got a job (that I still have…surprising for most millennials), got married, got a pug, bought a house, and had a baby. These were all goals or things I wanted to happen (or at least thought would happen) before I turned 30–and these are just the milestone things. So while it was a great decade full of joys, I also experienced some of my hardest, most devastating moments in those years. It was definitely a decade of growth and maturity, but I know God is using all those experiences to shape me to be more like Him and into the woman He wants me to be.

So if I had to think of some goals for my 30’s, so far I only have a few off the top of my head:

  • Complete a sprint triathlon
  • Have another baby
  • Invest more in my marriage
  • Spend quality time with the Lord daily (or at least on a more regular basis)
  • Learn how to better manage my money (you’d think I should know this by now)
  • Improve running times
  • Develop deeper friendships with other women

It’s interesting how a lot of these goals now involve more personal and spiritual development rather than achieving something. Of course, I also want to continue to learn how to be a good mother to Jaylen (and any future children), which will happen more in my 30’s.

This new decade makes me think of the movie 13 Going on 30so here’s to being 30, flirty and thriving!

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My Little Monkey – Halloween 2014

We had quite the exciting Halloween here. For starters, we woke up with a light dusting of SNOW on the ground. It’s too early for snow in my mind. Anyway, this was Jaylen’s first Halloween and I was excited to dress him up even though he had no idea what was going on. I found a monkey costume for $5 at a consignment sale back in August, which was adorable on him. It was a little small on him because it was a 3-6 month size (he’s 10 months old), but it worked because he’s not very big for his age (takes after his mommy). The arms and legs were just a little too short. I also loved that the costume had a belly!

Baby Monkey Costume

 

Chunky Monkey

Chunky Monkey

Since we didn’t plan on taking Jaylen trick-or-treating (he can’t eat candy–it’d be more for us–and it was too cold), I needed a place for him to show off his costume. So I brought him to Gerald’s school for part of his class’s Halloween party and the school’s Halloween parade. The students loved meeting Jaylen and several of them came over to play with him. Jaylen seemed to be enjoying them too.

By the time of the parade, it was snowing/mini-hailing outside so they had the parade in the gym instead. Jaylen and I sat to watch (though he was getting more squirmy at this point). A few times he was waving at some of the kids. We enjoyed seeing Daddy and his class as they went by too.

Photo by John Middleton Staff

Photo by John Middleton Staff

I didn’t dress up, but Gerald and the 5th grade team were the seven dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He’s Sleepy. I also have to show Chloe’s costume. I got her this race horse costume on sale from Target.

Race horse pug

That one’s fitting for me since I used to ride. 🙂 I took her for a little walk as trick-or-treating started (and there was practically no one out there) but a few people saw her costume and they seemed to get a kick out of it. I think she’ll just wear this every year. Maybe next year we’ll actually go trick-or-treating with Jaylen and Chloe. We actually didn’t get too many trick-or-treaters this year, but our neighborhood is kind of tucked away by itself so I guess not many people would drive down to trick-or-treat there. Oh well…more candy for us!

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Baby Boy Style

Before I found out Jaylen was going to be a boy, part of me wanted to have a little girl so I could dress her up in adorable outfits. There are a TON more clothing options out there for baby girls, but there are some pretty stylish clothes out there for all those boy moms to dress up their little guys too. I like to dress my son (now nine months old) in clothes that make him look like a little man. Of course I dress him in more babyish clothes too since people have given me their hand-me-downs or bought me clothes for my baby showers, but if we’re going out somewhere, sometimes I like to make him look a little more stylish.

Last weekend I realized Jaylen’s six month clothes were getting a little snug on him, so I was excited for him to wear one of the new outfits I bought him months ago.

StylishBabyBoy

The weather was a little more fall-like, so Jaylen wore a chambray shirt and camo fleece sweatpants from Carter’s. . The pants are still a little long on him since he’s on the shorter side, so I had to roll them up a little bit. Daddy loved this outfit when he saw it.

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BabyBoy

 

It started to warm up before we left for church, so I changed his camo pants to camo shorts (from Kohl’s). I’ve gotten other stylish boy clothes from consignment sales (you just really have to look through the racks to find good stuff) and H&M Kids. You can get cute clothes at fairly reasonable prices, which is great when your child is growing so quickly.

Want Jaylen’s style for your baby boy (or your toddler)? It looks like Carter’s doesn’t sell this particular chambray shirt anymore, but I’ve linked similar products below:

Chambray Shirt (similar)

Camo Fleece Pull-On Pants (Carter’s)

This is not a sponsored post. 

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Race Recap: Long Grove Heritage Run

All the people running/walking for the Mothers' Milk Bank

All the people running/walking for the Mothers’ Milk Bank

This morning we had the perfect running weather (temps in the 50s and sunny). I’ve been running the Long Grove Heritage Run every year since 2009 (with the exception of last year because I was pregnant). It was my first running race ever so it holds a special place in my heart. This is a great local race where lots of charities participate. So when you register, you choose which charity you want to donate to and run (or walk) for. Afterwards they provide a free pancake breakfast for all the participants and this is the only race I know that does age group awards 5 deep…so that’s why the first time I ran it I got an award! It was shocking, but this particular race sure helped to build my self esteem and confidence in running since I’ve won an age group award every time I’ve done it except for this year.

The last time I ran this race in 2011, I won my age group and was definitely a lot faster than I am right now. So I didn’t go into today’s race expecting to set any new personal records or to win an award. My main goal though was to push myself to run faster (trying to keep my pace between 8-9 minutes per mile) so I might have the potential to win an award (based off last year’s results). I also haven’t run that fast consistently for a longer duration since I started running regularly again postpartum.

I ran this race for the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. As a new nursing mom, I wanted to support an organization that works to provide breast milk for mothers and babies that need it. I know how challenging and rewarding breastfeeding can be so for babies and mothers who can’t nurse for some reason, this is a great way for them to get the wonderful benefits of breast milk. I’m sure you can probably still make a donation on my fundraising page if you’d like to support this organization as well. I loved that they even had a little “nursing nook” in their tent. 🙂

Jaylen came with me to the race, but since strollers aren’t allowed on the run, my mom walked with him in the 3k walk while I ran. It was actually nice to do a race without pushing the jogging stroller though. I started out near the front of the starting line and got off to a nice start. I was going a little fast (between 7-8 min/mile), but I felt pretty good. I knew I had to conserve energy though and tried to slow down a little bit. So here are my splits for the race:

Mile 1: 8:10
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 8:21
Mile 4: 6:27 (for the .1 part…I was pushing it at the end)
Average pace: 8:17

My RunKeeper app was a little off with the race’s mile markers maybe because I started it a little early when I crossed the finish line. So according to the race results, I finished in 26:07 and 9th in my age group. I’m very happy with this result because I proved to myself that I can push myself to run faster longer. Lately on my runs I’ve just been so much slower (like 10-11 minute miles) so it’s encouraging to me. There’s definitely still more room for improvement and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to set some new running personal records.

My little cheerleader!

My little cheerleader!

My next and last race for the year will hopefully be the Prairie State Half Marathon on October 11. I’m training for it and missed my long run today, but I’ll just make it up next weekend and only end up going up to 11 miles as my longest run (which is what I did for my first half anyway and I was fine). No turkey trot this year since we’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving. Happy fall racing season, everyone!

 

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Door County Vacation + CMJ Reunion

Ice cream at Wilson's

Ice cream at Wilson’s

Last week we spent a nice few days up in Door County with my family. This was Jaylen’s first vacation and I was looking forward to seeing him experience new things and mostly to be able to spend over a week giving him my full attention without having to worry about work. Jaylen was good on the drive up there (about 4 hours) except for the beginning where he started screaming just as we got on the highway for a while before falling asleep.

We stayed in Ephraim, which is a nice little town. It’s interesting too because it’s a dry town so they don’t sell alcohol there. You don’t find many places like that these days. We took a trolley tour and also learned that Ephraim only allows buildings to be white but more recently allowed buildings to be painted off-white and gray.

Some of our highlights were the trolley tour, Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park (which Jaylen loved. He couldn’t get enough of the sand), going out on the pontoon boat, the fish boil, and just enjoying some family time. Gerald, Jaylen and I even got out on our own one morning to visit Sister Bay for smoothies, coffee, and lunch.

Vacationing is definitely different with an infant. It’s not as relaxing. Jaylen’s sleep schedule was and still is all messed up. He somehow is usually still in a good mood despite not getting good naps and being overtired. The first morning in Door County Jaylen woke up at 6 am after going to bed around 10 pm. I can’t say I was too excited about that, but he seemed pretty happy. I loved being able to see Jaylen experience new things and he got a ton of attention wherever we went. I think we’ll definitely come back to Door County in the future.

We came home right before the 4th of July, which was good so we could beat the holiday crowds in Door County. My cousin Justine was visiting from Toronto so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her and for her to meet Jaylen for the first time.

Here are a few snapshots from our week!

Family in Peninsula State Park during the trolley tour

Family in Peninsula State Park during the trolley tour

Can't get enough of that sand

Can’t get enough of that sand

Fishing on Anderson Dock

Fishing on Anderson Dock

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Jaylen taking a turn at driving the pontoon boat

Jaylen taking a turn at driving the pontoon boat

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Fish Boil at the Old Post Office Restaurant

Fish Boil at the Old Post Office Restaurant

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

CMJ + Little J at the Botanic Garden

CMJ + Little J at the Botanic Garden

CMJ Reunion

CMJ Reunion

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It was good to see you, Justine!

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

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5 Minutes for Mom – Ultimate Blog Party

I originally learned about this Ultimate Blog Party #UBP14 because I was trying to submit some Tyndale books for review on 5 Minutes for Mom. Once I looked at all the amazing prizes being offered (including a little collection from Tyndale!), I wanted to join the party myself for the chance to win some of those great prizes! So for those of you who stumbled upon this blog from the Ultimate Blog Party, welcome! 🙂 My name is Christy and I’m a wife, new mom to a 15 week baby boy named Jaylen, a pug mom to Chloe, a book publicist at Tyndale House Publishers, and an active member at my church. I enjoy running, but am working to rebuild my base after not running nearly as much during and after pregnancy. I also love reading, music, and horseback riding.

On this blog, I write about my life–so that’s anything from marriage, pugs, motherhood, faith, and running. There’s a little youth ministry thrown in there too from my former days as a youth leader. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m excited to connect with other moms and “party-goers,” so feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter!

This is our little family

This is our little family

 

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My New Normal

IMG_1618My little boy just turned 10 weeks old. That means I only have a couple weeks of maternity leave left. This time has gone by slowly (sometimes the days feel long when I’m at home all day and not doing much except caring for baby), but also too quickly. Jaylen had a rough morning at his 2 month doctor appointment by getting 3 shots and another vaccine to drink. It broke my heart to see him cry harder with each vaccine injection. 😦 But other than that, he had a great check-up and is perfectly healthy and growing well.

This week I took Jaylen to visit my co-workers at Tyndale and also to visit Gerald’s class and his co-workers. We got stopped in the hall at his school every few feet by more teachers who wanted to ooh and ahh over the baby. That’s what happens when you work in a female-dominated profession. People usually ask how we’re doing and how he’s sleeping. He sleeps about 3-4 hours in a row at night, sometimes less and sometimes more (though this only happened once so far). Apparently this is normal though for a breastfed baby according to the pediatrician. Somehow God made it so parents can function on very little sleep.

As for how we’re doing, I say we’re doing alright. We’re adjusting to this new normal. A new normal that includes:

  • Interrupted sleep
  • Letting dirty dishes sit in the sink and household chores that don’t get done
  • Staring at Jaylen’s adorable face all day (for me)
  • Getting up hours ahead of time when preparing to go somewhere because it takes twice as long to get ready
  • Lots of outfit changes for me and for baby because of spit up (or diaper blowouts)
  • Doing laundry almost daily because of the spit up and blowouts
  • Cars that feel a lot smaller because of all the baby gear
  • Enjoying lots of smiles and cooing from our smiley 2 month old 🙂
  • Getting peed on various times a day (the joys of baby boys)
  • Speed-eating during meals or taking turns to eat
  • More time with family (the grandparents mostly want to see the baby, not so much us ;-P)
  • Naps with my newborn
  • Looking in awe at this little person we created and being amazed at how awesome he is

A lot of these things seem negative, but they’re really not that bad. I think of it as our badge of parenthood. We wouldn’t be parents if we didn’t get spit up on or peed on. It’s definitely not easy being a new parent, but when we look at our little boy, we can’t help but be filled with love and joy. I can’t believe I’ve been given the privilege of being his mother. It’s a huge responsibility as I think about how what we do now will shape him (in positive and negative ways) in the future. I pray he comes out alright. 🙂 I also love knowing that I’m the main person he depends on for nourishment and comfort right now. I hope that never changes!

So while I sometimes wish I was still pregnant (I actually got more sleep while pregnant) or that I had some of the freedoms I had when we didn’t have Jaylen, I wouldn’t trade life with him for anything. He is so precious and a true gift from God. This newborn stage can be hard, but apparently everyone forgets that and still goes on to have more kids. I know one day I’ll look back and miss this, but for now I guess I’ll try to enjoy all those late night nursing sessions and how my baby won’t let us put him down to sleep sometimes. There will come a day when he’ll be more independent and won’t want to stay in my arms all the time. So I need to try to cherish all these mommy and son times while they last.

Such a smiley boy!

Such a smiley boy!

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Love my son!

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What I’m Thankful for in 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! We should be thankful all the time no matter what the circumstances, so in honor of this special holiday where we remind ourselves of this, here are some things I’m thankful for this year:

1. I’m thankful that God is in the restoration business. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may recall that this year was a particularly difficult one in our marriage. We are still in that healing process, but I am so grateful that God is in the business of taking broken pieces and transforming them into something new. He did that with my life by saving me from my sinful nature and redeeming me so I’m no longer a slave to sin. He’s continuing to do that now in our marriage by taking what was broken and restoring and transforming it into a new and better marriage. Of course, this is not an easy process because He’s having two imperfect, sinful people work to make a marriage more holy, but I’m thankful that God has given us the opportunity to work on our relationship and the desire in both Gerald and me to make it stronger. We still would appreciate prayers in this area though as it can be a struggle when life gets busy and it’s going to get a lot busier with this baby’s pending arrival!

Last week's belly photo

Last week’s belly photo

2. I’m thankful for a fairly easy pregnancy and a healthy baby. I know I’m one of the lucky ones who didn’t have any morning sickness or really any other issues (no swelling, not too many aches & pains except for lately, no real health issues with the baby, etc.) throughout this pregnancy. I know some people hate being pregnant, but it really hasn’t been too bad for me. I’m still not even that huge (people can’t believe that I’m due in about 2 weeks) even though to me I feel big. So I know that plays a big role in me not having a lot of back pain and other discomforts. I’ve been sleeping well aside from getting up a couple times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and maybe luckily for Gerald, I haven’t had any strange cravings to drive him crazy (people have been telling me to make them up just for fun). At our 21 week ultrasound, the baby had a calcification on his heart, which can be a soft marker for Downs Syndrome, but the doctor wasn’t too concerned about it. Then at an ultrasound I had a few weeks ago (because they thought I was measuring small, but baby’s actually okay–66th percentile for growth), they said the calcification was gone and the heart looks great! That was a huge praise for us because Gerald also has a heart condition that could possibly be genetic. So far everything looks good. I’ve enjoyed how easy this pregnancy has been (hopefully my future ones are similar), but I’m definitely ready to not be pregnant now. So I’m excited for labor to begin, but also kind of nervous about it because I don’t know what to expect. This is another area we’d appreciate prayers for–pray for a smooth, hopefully quick, and safe delivery of baby in the coming weeks!

3. I’m thankful for my family. This is always a given, but I have a wonderful family–immediate and in-laws. This year I’ve appreciated the grace and forgiveness both sides of our family has demonstrated. I’m also so grateful for their generosity in helping us fix up our new home, furnish it, and in providing us with things we’ll need for baby. I’m grateful that our families lives nearby because this will be a huge help once the baby arrives too. I’m also glad my family loves pugs because they’re going to take care of Chloe for us for a while when baby comes. My sister and dad also helped us care for Chloe every day for about four months when we first got her.

4. I’m thankful for my pug. This is our first Thanksgiving with Chloe and now we couldn’t imagine life without her. She brings us such joy (and IMG_0671sometimes frustration when she goes through the trash, recycling, or eats our food that she finds in bags). We love her energetic personality and I appreciate how considerate she was the one time she had an accident at home by peeing in the kitchen and not on the carpet (she stays home alone for 11 hours about 3 days a week – luckily probably not anymore). Chloe is a great companion & hopefully she’ll be a wonderful big pug sister.

5. I’m thankful for God’s provision. He provided us with a new home to call our own in His perfect timing. We have been blessed with more than we need and somehow He provides for us when finances begin to stress us out.

6. I’m thankful to work for a company that supports working moms. Tyndale has been so great with allowing me to work from home twice a week starting in September. This has helped since my commute is now about an hour and 10 minutes one way. I’m grateful for such a supportive boss and HR department that is also allowing me to work from home from now until the baby’s born. I love how Tyndale is so supportive of the work/life balance and understands the importance of family. I’m not sure exactly what my work schedule will look like after maternity leave, but I am grateful for the support and flexibility they’ve given me so far.

7. I’m thankful for my husband. Even though this has been a rough year for us, I am thankful for Gerald. He works hard to provide for our family and more specifically, did a lot of work (painting, handiwork, etc.) on our home this summer. I was even pleasantly surprised yesterday when I got home from work (he had the day off) and saw that he’d put up our Christmas decorations on his own AND did all the tasks I suggested he could do during the day–including washing dishes, which he hates. I’m thankful that he chose me and that he is willing to work with me to make our marriage even better IMG_0906than it was when we first got married nearly 2.5 years ago. I know he’ll be a great father.

I could find lots of other little things to be thankful for, but these are some of the things that have been on my heart lately. Most of all, I’m thankful to the Giver of all these good gifts. He has shown me this year how to be thankful in the good and the bad circumstances. 

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An Expectant Mother’s View on Advent

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a week away. Since Thanksgiving is so late this year, that means the Advent season is quickly approaching too. This year, at 36–almost 37–weeks pregnant, I am viewing advent from a different perspective. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was at the same stage of pregnancy I am right now waiting for her baby boy to be born. I imagine as a first-time mom, Mary would’ve felt much of what I’m feeling right now: anxious and nervous about labor and delivery (because of not knowing what to expect), wondering when I might go into labor, excitement about being able to meet my son soon, wondering how being a parent will change my life and if I’ll be good at it, etc.

Advent is about waiting expectantly. At Christmas, we’re waiting expectantly for Christ to be born. Now that He has already come and gone back to be with the Father, today we are waiting expectantly for Christ to return at the Second Coming. I think being nine months pregnant gives you a great sense of how we should feel about longing and waiting for Christ’s return. I’m longing for this baby to be born (although somewhat reluctantly sometimes when I think of the pain I’m going to have to endure for him to get here) and I’m ready to not be pregnant anymore. I know the baby can come at almost any time at this point, but I still feel like I have so much to do before he gets here. I need to finish putting baby things away, get a few more baby things that we need, get the car seat inspected in my car, finish up things at work before maternity leave (mostly trying to work ahead), etc. I’m trying to prepare as best I can for baby’s arrival, but I also know he can come before I even get to do some of these things. So in the meantime, I’m actively waiting by doing things to prepare for whenever he gets here.

Similarly, we don’t know when Christ will return and we may feel like there are so many things we want to get done before He arrives (like getting married, having kids, traveling, experiencing life the way you want, sharing the Gospel with those who haven’t heard–hopefully this last one should be more of a priority–etc). Jesus may come back before any of these things happen, so we need to be prepared too by actively waiting for Him and focusing on the things that matter most in eternity. We should be living in a way that is actively preparing ourselves for Christ’s arrival on this earth. I know I don’t generally think in these terms or live with this in mind, but I want to have that kind of focus.

To help me with this, I’m going to be reading through Ann Voskamp‘s The Greatest Gift, this December. It’s a beautiful little book published by Tyndale that traces and celebrates the lineage of Jesus while pointing to the coming promise of Christ. {For full disclosure, I do work for Tyndale, but was not required to post about this book. I’m just personally excited to use it!} I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to keep up with the readings once Baby Stroud is born, but I’m going to try to keep up as I can.

Ann actually did a great webcast today with Liz Curtis Higgs as they both spoke about remembering the true meaning of Christmas. You can watch the entire “Christmas at the Farm” webcast on-demand and I’d encourage you to do so!

So as I’m patiently waiting for Baby Stroud to arrive (still patient right now…if I go past my due date, that may be another story), I hope I can take these feelings of waiting, anticipation, and even anxiety and allow them to remind me that I’m also waiting for my Savior’s return, which should be even more exciting and highly anticipated. May that reminder help me to refocus my attention on what is most important this Christmas season.

Do you do anything special for Advent to focus on the true meaning of Christmas? 

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