Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taking this next step

years ago, when i saw the trajectory of my adult life starting to take shape and direction, i realized that one of my dreams was not likely to come to fruition.  i had not taken what might be considered a typical route post university (i.e. work, save money, marry someone who had also been working and saving money since he graduated, buy a house...).  God had different plans in mind for my life and that included moving half way across the world, volunteering for the better part of three years (saving NO money) and then marrying a wonderful man from the country i had come to love.  

and so here i am, 9 years later. working full time, two kids, married to that dear dear man. and, until recently, no clear way out of the inevitable 9-5 working mom shuffle/juggle thing.
however, two years ago my sister introduced me to an opportunity that was starting to drastically impact her life.  a business, all her own, with a company called arbonne.  initially i thought what most people likely think; thats cute, and thats all well and good for you, but there is no way i would ever ________ (insert 'sell to my friends', 'sell lipstick', 'start my own business', or 'be able to succeed'...).  but i watched and waited and realized that i was making my decision NOT to start my own business based solely out of fear and uncertainty. and i hated knowing that my primary motivator was fear.  as a believer in an all powerful and all knowing God, how could i justify letting fear rule over me?  and why was i so convinced that although many others had succeeded with their arbonne businesses, there was no way i could?

after some patient but persistent encouragement from my sister, i decided to take a huge step and launch my own arbonne business. thankfully the start up cost was incredibly reasonable and i was able to join my sister in her great adventure.  i have worked and learned and made mistakes (and continue to make mistakes) over the last two years. but what started as a little dream to start a little business and make a little extra money has now finally been an instrumental piece in me being able to walk away from my 9-5 job and be home with my daughters.  

and i guess i am writing this because i have received such a wide range of reactions since launching two years ago.  so many of you have been incredibly supportive, and i want to thank you.  some of you have been very skeptical, and i want to encourage you.  and some of you have seemed to be as turned off to the idea as i initially was, and i want to tell you that i understand.

but this 'little' business is changing my life and the lives of my family.  and im just bursting with desire to share it with those of you who have a dream that you think could never be a part of your journey. maybe its staying home with children.  maybe its paying off debt. maybe its saving money for the future, or caring for a sick family member, or just not being a slave to the clock at your job. or one of a million other possible needs.  

ill finish with a thought from a book i have been reading recently.  the book talks about how we work hard to steward our time and talent and money but fail to think about being good stewards of imagination and opportunity.  i want to be a good steward of the dreams God has given me.  i want to steward this incredible opportunity in a God-honoring way.  

i am so thankful that He gave me the courage to do something that i never thought I could. 

i am taking this next step and joining the ranks of stay at home moms.  

and I am holding fast to Him.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Etta Mae is One Month Old

i remember reaching this point with eden and being flabbergasted that an entire month had already gone by.  but somehow this time around i can't believe its only been one month. when i think of how natural it feels to have etta mae in our family, and how easily she fits right in, i can't believe she's only been out here for a month!  and when i think of the time before she was born, it seems like ages ago.  so far in the distance. and almost foreign now. 
so we have reached a month, and it feels like so much longer.  in a good way

a few things...

on sleep: etta mae has only ever woken once a night to feed (with an 11 o clock feed before i go to bed).  it has ranged from the 2:30-3:30 hour and sometimes even come closer to the 5:00 hour.  on the whole, she is a great sleeper at night, but i am ready for her to get some consistent 5 hour stretches.  hopefully by the time i report back after the end of month two, she will be sleeping through the night with no problem!  
on her personality:  she is super chill and also very intense.  she stares and stares at whoever is closest to her.  and she always looks like she is about to say something; her little mouth open and poised to chat.  she is always content unless she is really really hungry or she has gas.  other than that, she is just happy to be doing..whatever.  

on sisters:  eden adores etta mae and wants to help as much as she can.  when etta mae cries, eden goes running yelling 'dont worry etta, im coming, im your big sister'.  she wants to change her diapers and hold her and snuggle her.  its incredibly sweet.  there are a few moments where i see eden frustrated at my preoccupation with the baby, but those moments are few and far between.  and short lived.
on being four of us:  we are figuring out our new rythm as a family of four.  robert is a terrific dad of two.  he so endearingly loves to hold the baby and snuggle her.  i often find him sitting with her on his lap or chest.  its incredibly satisfying to have him come home from work and give such attention to all his women.  
one month, so far, so good

Monday, May 23, 2016

On Having Two

so i have been a mother to two for three weeks now and these are my random lists of thoughts and observations...
-its harder.  there is still only one of me and i have all the same amounts of hands and feet and brains that i had before (though i possibly have less brains now, its up in the air) but there are more demands on every part of my person than there were before.  math is not my strong suit, but i can understand the basic 2 > 1 thing we have going on here.
-that being said, its no where near as hard as i thought it would be.  i think a large part of that is because of eden. she is the most darling and affectionate big sister i could ever have hoped she would be.  she loves her baby a huge amount and is constantly asking to snuggle her or hold her or coming running as soon as she hears etta mae cry.  she sings songs to her and pets her on the head.  its enough to make a mama's heart curl up and die of happiness.  in addition, she is also just a really delightful kid.  she listens and obeys and mostly trusts my words.  and when she has disobeyed, she is genuinely apologetic and desires reconciliation.  i get tears in my eyes multiple times a day because im overwhelmed by her sweetness.  having a second with her as my first makes all the difference.  
-eden is still a two year old.  and since i am not used to the necessity of her managing herself more and me being able to be present less, i am more worried that she will do something that she shouldn't.  so im really on her case, alot.  and i can see that it exasperates her and makes her discouraged.  she looks at me like 'really mom, you have something to say about THIS too?'  and i feel her.  i know i am just telling her 'no' and 'stop' and 'dont' all day.  and im praying that God will help me put the brakes on that so that i dont drive her to disobedience and frustration.   
-sleep is a beautiful thing.  not sleeping...less beautiful.  i can't complain, etta mae has never woken up more than once a night for her whole three weeks of life.  but even that amount of sleep for me; staying up till 11:30, followed by the 4 hours followed by the 3 hours, is not enough to be as energetic as one needs to be to bounce through the day with eden. homegirl b-o-u-n-c-e-s through life.  she has only one level of energy...100%.  she has one volume..max.  and the sleep im getting is not the sleep i need.  ill just say that.
-like all my friends told me before etta came, my heart has expanded in ways i did not know were possible.  and its weird because my love for them is so very different, but equally strong.  my love for eden is this special thing that ill never have with any of my other kids.  she made me a mother, and there is nothing else that can be like that.  but etta mae has made me into a totally different mother.  i mean, i am the same me but i am in a place of personal growth and maturity that i could never have approached without etta mae.  and im only just beginning to figure out who this me is.  and i owe all that to etta.  so both of them have changed me in ways only they could.  and i love them both equally but uniquely for those reasons.

photos by the incredible christine lu 
  

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