Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet Wonderfulness. That's my Astrid. She is an artist, a dancer, a singer, a smiler, a hugger, a dreamer, a flower grower, a horse lover. She is a bundle of love and fun and imagination. She is a high pitched voice of abundant excitement. She is a writer of thoughtful notes and a draw-er of happy pictures. She is a performer. She is spiritual. My magical little muse in front of my camera. She is bright shining eyes, rosy freckled cheeks, a delicate nose, and pink pouty lips.

And now, she is 6.

The beautiful tiny baby who was once hardly big enough to fill my arms, has spent six years filling my heart with so much brilliant Astrid-ness that it's nearly bursting.

Astrid, April 2006

Astrid, April 2012

Birthdays are very exciting when you're 6. Astrid counts down the days until her next one starting around 11:59pm of the current one. This girl loves attention so there's nothing that can beat a day that's all about her!
This year, we were invited to ride horses at the home of one of Justin's co-workers in celebration of our aspiring cowgirl's big day. It was a complete surprise to Sweet Little Miss and she ADORED her time in the saddle.

There is nothing like seeing your child living her dream.
I am blessed beyond measure to have this little girl in my life.

Happy #6, Sweet Wonderfulness. Your Mama adores you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One of my favorite friends is in one of my favorite places. A magical place of anticipation that verges on impatience. Excitement with a twinge of fear. The wonder-filled final days (maybe even hours) of a swollen womb bursting at the seams with a baby who is ready but not quite yet willing to emerge. I am eagerly awaiting her call to say that the new little one has begun his transition into the world. I will grab my camera and rush to her house, excited for the opportunity to photograph the unfolding of another miracle. With the excitement, though, there also comes a hint of longing. Just 20 short months ago, this friend was beside me with her fully round belly on the day I had Juni. And two days later, my baby girl and I were there with her to meet her precious new son for the first time. And though my heart, and hands, and days are full, I can't help but feel like I am missing out on something.

In all honesty, I don't often examine my feelings and wonder if God is trying to teach me something. I'm just not all that reflective in my every day life. That's part of the reason I blog. It forces me to really think about things. To step back and look at the bigger picture and see circumstances for what they might really be. Writing causes me to come face to face with my own heart. And I don't always like what I see staring back at me.

I saw a quote the other day. It was attributed to Theodore Roosevelt and it said "Comparison is the thief of joy". I read that and I literally brought my hands to my heart, dropped my shoulders, and sighed. Every minute I am living encircled by these blessings overflowing, this energy abounding, this breath surrounding...and I am not allowing myself to be content. And here's why: I am racing. Racing through the days, racing through my life, and most shameful of all, racing with other moms. I doubt any of them even know that we are neck and neck in this thing and that I am pushing my limits to stay in as a real contender. The events in my personal mommy olympics include homeschooling, home birthing, extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, organic eating, nutritional supplementing, sewing, hobby farming, and even blogging, to name a few. When did I begin to let myself believe that life is a competition? And why do I always think I have to be the best?

So I sit here. Reflecting, and writing, and learning my lesson. Taking notes on the gentle lecture the Lord is giving to my heart. I am feeling the weight of my sweet toddler on my lap as she nurses herself back to sleep. I am hearing the rhythmic breathing of my very nearly 4 year old dreaming beside me. I am picturing my little girls snuggled together in their covers surrounded by stuffed friends and bedtime books. I am thinking about my strong boys sleeping peacefully in their bunks. I am realizing that God knows what I don't know. He sees what I can't see. And his plans are better than mine.

I am in a race. But there is no one trying to beat me, no one passing me by, no one receiving my medal. Because it's not a race against anyone, it's a journey TO Someone. And when my route intersects with other runners I want to be able to cheer them on to run their best race, rather than kicking it into high gear in an effort to leave them in the dust. It's not going to be an easy lesson for me to learn. I am naturally competitive, so walking hand in hand with my fellow Mamas is a challenge to my nature. But I am finally seeing that pursuing life as a competition to win rather than a journey to share is the ultimate exercise in comparison. And I'm tired of letting it steal from me.

I love my life.

Gotta go lace up my running shoes and reach out my hands to my teammates.

Go, Mamas, go!