Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The New Normal

Has your month/summer/year been a bit chaotic?  Have you seen a lot of emergencies? Maybe experienced a lot of loss?  Perhaps it is regional or something, but all around me has been event after event.  Not all of them negative, but certainly all powerful and overwhelming.  Lots of sickness and tragedies, as well as my own beautiful blessings that find every possible way to make every day feel like its been served up from a blender!  'Normal' life seems like a nostalgic joke or something.

On paper I realize that moving from one kid to two is always going to have this disorienting effect.  It's just like we know that as we get older, things are going to change.  More earthly adventures come to an end.  But despite knowing that, when it happens, we just have a hard time.  If we needed balance before, it's desperately so when our life makes a drastic shift.  So, what should we do - when our world changes and 'normal' may never happen again quite like before?

I'm sure it's different for every person and situation, but I guess we start here.

When parents of your friends pass away much too soon, this is a hard task.  When lives are uprooted in a matter of moments, this is a hard task.  Even in the early morning hours when laundry needs to be switched and a baby to feed, this isn't a casual assignment.  But that is just when we need this reminder to go along with it!

Lots of parents are sending their babies off to school for the first time.  Many people are starting new jobs right now.  And lots (and lots) of us are looking for a new normal because the old one has been taken away.  Whatever your old normal was, I pray we can all find some (no matter how slight) joy in the new normal you're experiencing this season.  And normal or not, hug those that you love.  Smile big.  And let it go, even if it's just for a moment or two.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Miss Z - Why I LOVE Having a Daughter

Before Miss Z was born, I shared my reasons for never wanting a daughter and for the first time began to consider what it might be like to have a girl.  Well, surprise! It's a girl!  And before anyone starts to think I would like to send her back, I thought I'd share some wonderful things about having a daughter!

She's mine. J's mine too of course, but Z is mine even more somehow.  J adores his father and we talk all the time about how he's strong/helping/fun like daddy.  I can't say how Z will feel about me, but she'll be more like me than anyone else in the house.  It's just nice to not feel outnumbered anymore!

There's no box.  It's 2013, and while our world has plenty of problems, my daughter doesn't have a box she has to fit into.  Following the heart of God doesn't require a box, just a willing spirit.  I never felt like that was acceptable as a girl growing up.  I love that I can teach Z to see things differently than I did.

She's laid back! From pregnancy to birth, from birth to date Miss Z is one chilled out lady!  She is a constant reminder for me to relax.  Partially because I need to relax anyway, but also because I don't want to 'teach her' how to be uptight or panicky all the time.  Whatever I want her to be like in the future, I need to model now.  So, she's helping me be better already.

She's beautiful! I have always struggled with a low opinion of how I look.  I feel like I've come full circle since I was a teenager- appreciating my strengths more than I used to.  But still, it's a bizarre feeling to look at her and think just how beautiful she is, only to have everyone comment on how much she looks like me.  I don't consider myself a beautiful person, but to have her beautiful face remind someone of me is such a sweet thing.

I can't say what the future holds and what I'll think about having a girl once she can walk and talk.  But I think its a whole new ballgame for me.  And that's mostly a good thing I think! ;)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Accepting the Assignments

Monday began Mr. Butler's second year of graduate school and the second year of this thorn in my flesh.  He's not even had one class yet, but Monday evening was filled with readings, emails and school work.  It's the nature of the beast and on his time off from class his family has been his top priority.  So, all of the things I tried to accuse him of early on last school year (like neglecting us or preferring work/school over us) are certainly nowhere near the truth.  Truth be told, I just didn't want to accept this assignment where he works hard at work and goes to school (to better his career and put us in a better financial situation) and I have to be in charge of almost everything else until he has a break.  I knew all the whys and hows, but I just didn't like it.

Tuesday morning (after my first night with his school encroaching on my life) I was still.  Not leaping out of bed, but not despairing. I wanted to be mad and blame someone for something.  But I knew that I couldn't.  In order to get things done and receive the outcomes we've deemed best for our family and future, this was the season right now.  And it's a short season.  One more year and it will be done.  So it is the assignment of the hour and refusing it isn't an option.  And yet, I don't want it.  I loved having Mr. Butler home with only our life to occupy him.  Miss Z is acclimating to her new digs, but she certainly slows down my schedule.  Having a partner in Mr. Butler to tag team, well, it was wonderful. And now, it's Tuesday morning and, ready or not, I've jumped in the fast lane again.

While nursing Miss Z, I stumbled across a quote from Lysa TerKeurst that was the slap in the face that you hate but desperately need.

"God, I love You and choose to accept the assignments You place before me today with an attitude that reflects the truth that You live in me."

At that moment, I knew without a doubt that I was just resisting what had to be done and even more, was refusing to let God be glorified in any of it.  Our world is saturated with choices and when choice isn't part of the picture, we sometimes don't know what to do with ourselves.  Fits are thrown, time is wasted and God's will and beauty is overshadowed.  I hope you will join me in the work of accepting life's assignments and allowing God to work in our lives as a result!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tips for a Balanced School Year

'Tis the season for new beginnings at school and it can be hard to find balance in the midst of sometimes chaotic and stressful happenings.  These are important and special times that won't flourish without care and focus.  Here are some tips to help you and yours stay on track.

-Start your day with a prayer.  My days spin out of balance so quickly, especially when things don't go the way I want. And since we can't deny that happens every day, the best defense is beginning the day asking God to be a part of it.  Instead of staying out of balance, God will use any event to show us more of Him.  That somehow balances out beautifully!

-Require hard work and then plan for fun!  Follow through is a big issue for me so requiring the hard work is a MUST.  Non-negotiable, no questions asked, necessity! But also, to keep that motivation up, fun and reward has to be strategically placed as well.  Commit to balancing your work and play this year!

-Quit comparing! Stop comparing yourself, your friends, your family, your anything.  Take stock of where you're at and where you want to be.  Figure out ways to get there and then don't worry about anyone else.  This is often so hard when it comes to our kids.  Help them stay focused on what they are capable of and remind them how important they are - not everyone else - to you.

-Grow a plant. Yeah, I said a plant.  Staying balanced requires a lot of maintenance.  Deciding to grow a plant - and actually sticking with it - is a beautiful symbol of growing in our life.  If you neglect it, it will die.  You can't give it all the water it will need forever the first day.  And you can't put off caring for it until a day before its dying and expect great results.  With daily attention, shifting and accommodating new needs, life brings joy and peace.  If your family needs a focal point, a coming together for the new year and new goals, caring for a plant together could be a fun and meaningful project!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Local Flavor: Pickerman's

Mr. Butler and I find ourselves on opposing viewpoints more times than feels reasonable some days, but, as usual, our differences can bring about beautiful things never realized on our own.  One of those big differences is trying new things.  I'm a bit of a homebody and scared-y cat, especially when it involves trying a new restaurant.  What if I hate it? Then it's a waste of money and eating out (a guilty pleasure of mine)!  Mr. Butler is the opposite and is always game for a new experience and hopes to discover secret gems off the beaten path.  Lucky for me, he has a pretty good track record!  One of our favorite finds is only a few minutes from our house!

For those here in the Oklahoma City metro, if you're in the mood for a good sandwich shop, complete with hand-dipped ice cream, stop by Pickerman's Soup & Sandwiches on the corner of SW 89th and Penn.  There's few things better than discovering a family-owned business that is close by and good at what they do!  Everything is made fresh, with all sorts of options like an awesome potato salad, salads with (delicious!) homemade croutons and all kinds of sandwiches and soups.  They cater, make ice cream cakes and pies, and make absolutely delicious (thick and rich) ice cream!  If you're in the neighborhood, give them a try! And to really get a good feel, try them a couple of weeks in a row but ordering something completely different.

We think you'll enjoy it!