Hello, Mommyhood. Goodbye, Perfection. (NICU Style)

A 2 minute read about embracing mommyhood and releasing fear @ AuthenticVirtue.com

It’s an interesting thing being a first time mom. Even more interesting is learning how to care for your first child in the confines of NICU walls. Between the breathing tubes, alarms, flashing lights, and wires there is a beautiful, tiny, precious soul yearning for your love, care, and touch.

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Resting after Surgery // Our NICU Journey

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It’s a quiet, early morning at our Ronald McDonald House. I’ve found my way into the large kitchen and brewed a pot of hot coffee. This is my quiet time to reflect on all that life has involved. I’m sitting by the lumpy, lit Christmas tree reading Psalms 9 by the twinkling lights.

We’ve made it. Uriah is 19 days old today and it feels like we’ve made it. His shunt, meant to drain the build up of cerebral fluid, was successfully placed yesterday afternoon and already his head has decreased in size by .9 . I’ve been told that children who are old enough to speak often say their heads feel better the day of surgery. I imagine Uriah may be feeling some of the benefits of the decreased pressure. (This makes my mommy-heart want to weep with joy!)

We’ve made it. We’ve walked through premature rupture of membranes, bed rest, infection, a placental tear, and a labor/c-section that wasn’t typical. We’ve made it through 19 days of intubation, iv lines, a TE Fistula surgery, a newly placed NG feeding tube, and now, finally, the shunt placement.

And all I want to do in my quiet, coffee-filled, Christmas tree lit spare moment is cry and laugh and sing and cry some more.

God has been amazingly, wonderfully here and good. “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee; I will sing praise unto thy name, O thou most High. When my enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at they presence. For thou hast maintained my right and my cause …” Psalms 9 

We still have a journey ahead of us. Shunts fail and get infected; they need to be replaced and sometimes frequently. Uriah’s still recovering from pneumonia-like illness and his little right lung is still healing from being mucous-filled and occasionally collapses. We have no idea what amount of damage was caused by the pressure build-up and we have no idea how much his brain will “fluff”.” (Although we have very high hopes and have been given a good prognosis). And along with the recovery from the CF build-up our little one may face difficulties reaching milestones since he was born early.

But all of that can wait. All of those unknowns can be faced one step at a time. Because today our little boy has less pressure in his head than ever before. Today, our little one has conquered his last foreseen surgery (although realistically there may be more). But for today, we’ve made it. Today we get to focus purely on recovery and growth and feedings and milestones and being weaned from the ventilator. Today, the sun is shining brighter than it has all week and my heart feels lighter than it has in a long while.

Thank You, Father, for caring for us. Thank You for giving us such a brave, strong, sweet little boy. Thank You for his Hydrocephalus and for his pneumonia and for his TE Fistula. They are things I wish I could take away and never make him face but they are things You have been Victor and Healer in and You are wise in all that You send to us. Thank You for caring for us through other people; thank You for the financial gifts, encouraging cards, and sweet messages and visits you’ve sent us through friends and family and strangers. We have never been without and we have never seen You fail and I trust You in this journey.  

What journey are you facing today? Are you at the beginning, middle, or end? Have you seen God carry you through or are you in a waiting phase? Comment below — I’d love to be able to pray for you.

Love, blessings, and coffee (and a chocolate cupcake) 😉 ,

Frannie

Quiet, Summertime Changes: Currently Series

Currently Series with Authentic Virtue Blog

I am thankful for the seasons life brings us. It’s summertime and the days are passing by as quickly as July’s rainstorms roll in. Our vacation time is over, we’ve settled in our new rental, and the fears of my first trimester and the misdiagnosed miscarriage are beginning to look more like memories instead of terrifying, first-hand experiences.

Life is quieting down and I’m finding new ways to make the most of my given time. I will not be teaching this year which means I’m not scurrying around decorating a classroom or writing lesson plans. The timing of baby’s birth did not combine well with the year’s contract. So, now is a season of letting go and preparing for what’s to come. Change is always difficult for my personality so there were quite a few emotions as I cleaned out my desk and put away lesson plans and curriculum. I’m going to miss the routine of being a part-time teacher and all the benefits that come from being in the student’s lives; I am looking forward to substituting though.

Dalton gently reminded me to focus on baby and all the joy this new season brings. I was a bit embarrassed by that — of course I’m loving baby and all that pregnancy means. But his words also reminded me that change is good and should be embraced. Now isn’t the time to mourn over a part-time job or be sorry over my changing routine and schedule. Now is the time to begin planning, dreaming, and investing in the new life which will forever change ours

I’m so glad I have time to plan for our new family member. His/her bedroom is slowly turning from a guest room/library to a garden and Beatrix Potter themed nursery combined with the guest room. Baby clothes have been folded and set into different categories. Blankets are being washed.

In the kitchen I’m trying new recipes, looking at freezer meal recipes (in preparation for our busy, recovering time), and trying to discover the best ways to accomplish meal prep a head of time. (Since waking up – cheerfully – and making breakfast for my Darling Man is a bit difficult these days.) I think I need to take a second look at my morning routines for being successful. 😉

Our new home is becoming more nest-like and comfortable. I finally have enough energy to weed through closets, the motivation to toss what I no longer need, and the desire to find the best ways to decorate our home. I’m hoping with each change I make it becomes more peaceful and welcoming.

Most importantly, I’m endeavoring to bring more focus on the Lord into my heart and home. Hymns and worship music are filling the air, negative thought patterns are being weeded out, and Scripture themed prayers are becoming more common. We have loved ones who need God’s grace in their lives, relationships which need treasured and protected, and a little one to raise up for the Lord; these are all things which come from God and are accomplished through His good will. They’re also things I can ask for in confidence knowing my Heavenly Father hears my pleas and understands my heart.

AuthenticVirtue.com // Currently Series on homemaking, pregnancy, and the grace poured into every day life

What beautiful things have come your way this week? Are there any changes you’re trying to adjust to? I love your comments and growing together as friends. Let me know what you’re thinking! 🙂

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Three Ways I’m (Trying) to Bloom Where I’m Planted

AuthenticVirtue.com

Around here we believe in blooming beautifully in the place God has set you.

And whether you’re a college student barely shuffling her way to class (or celebrating summer break?), a young mom needing her coffee every morning, or a sixty-something soul dealing with family sickness we all need the reminder that this season of life you’re in? It’s perfect for producing beauty and great things.

Currently, my season involves the slow, methodical workings of keeping home, loving and serving my Beloved, and preparing for our little one to arrive in December. Eventually, I’ll need to begin planning lesson plans for school in August but until then I’ve got a summer which is as slow as a hot, July breeze.

But I don’t want that to keep me from growing. Here are my three, favorite ways of (trying) to blossom where I’m planted.

Rejoice in every day

Blooming in the season God has given you is as simple as rejoicing in the day He made. Every so often I find myself in a funk, a drink coffee all day, do nothing but watch Netflix and struggle with getting dinner prepared on time.

And while there’s nothing wrong with relaxation and Netflix binges, being in a funk keeps us from growing where we’re planted.

Stop the funk by choosing to rejoice in your Lord and the day He has made. Celebrate the day he made and rejoice in His love and presence. Pursue a grateful heart and enjoy blossoming in the meantime.

Set goals

Setting goals for ourselves is vital to our growing and blossoming in life. Goals don’t have to big or impressive, they just have to be attainable. What do you want your summer to involve? Write down your hopes, dreams and to-do’s and get excited about them!

Some of my goals include eating nutritious, yummy meals for baby, enjoy my sister’s coming into town, blog frequently, exercise weekly, and take advantage of Jefferson City’s beautiful downtown.

Try something new … often

I’d love to say that I learn and try something new every day but that would overload my little, goal-driven heart and lead to discouragement. So instead, I’m aiming to try something new every week this summer.

When we adventure into the unknown and challenge ourselves to do life differently we blossom. Suddenly, there’s a little more gumption in our spirit tied in with an adorable I can do this grin. (You look cute, I promise.) 😉

It’s as easy as cooking a new recipe, learning about cloth diapering, taking up jogging or attending a new church for the first time. We blossom when we keep growing. 

How do you bloom where your planted? Are there any steps you take to avoid falling in a funk? Share below in the comments! 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Easy, Every Day Ways to Create a Peaceful Atmosphere in Your Space

AuthenticVirtue.com // 5 Ways to Pursue Peace in Your Home

We live in such a busy, heart-bruising world it’s easy to mistake busyness for prosperity and chaos for peace. I know from experience that an atmosphere of peace in our homes and spaces does not happen by accident.

The last two weeks have kicked my butt in more ways than one. I spent a week out-of-town, deep cleaning seven smallish houses with a friend. My Darling Man made sure I had a few quiet, rest-filled days before I jumped back into my school schedule (which was so sweet!) but no sooner was I  physically rested than an emotional storm hit. We had to make some tough, life-impacting decisions which left me crying for 2+ days and bruised my heart deeply.

Needless to say, a peaceful atmosphere has been a challenge.

As Christian women, we have the amazing opportunity to live life in a way that we *reek* peace. The beautiful thing is that living peaceful lives looks different for every home and person; but, there are key things we can do to ensure our homes are less chaotic and more enjoyable. It just takes a little practice.

Here are five ways I’m pursuing peace in our space.

AuthenticVirtue.com Decluttering is key to emotional and physical peace. The great thing about decluttering is that it can be done right here, right now. Don’t know where to start? Wash the breakfast dishes. Put away the cereal box. File those random papers on your desk. Call the next person on your list. When life feels crazy look around you — is there something you can donate or giveaway? Throwaway? When we declutter we begin to feel sane … even in the midst of the storm.

Pressing play on my favorite Christian radio or Pandora station is one of the first ways I transform our home from crazy to calm. Early in the morning while I cook breakfast and Dalton gets ready for work we’ll often turn on our favorite worship music. Almost immediately my soul is blessed and my spirit is lifted (even if I’m washing last night’s dishes!). 😉 Press play to whatever lifts and encourages your heart and your one step closer to a peace-filled space.

Writing a to-do list is activity I must do when life overwhelms and our home feels out of control. Earlier this week I struggled to fall asleep, so, I rose from bed and wrote a schedule and to-do list for the remaining weeks of school. Ah … having goals, to-do’s and responsibilities handwritten and hanging from my fridge immediately gave me a sense of rest and control. I may not get everything on my to-do list done and that’s okay. It’s not about letting my list control my life but my using self-control and completing what I need to get done.

Saying no to unnecessary activities and requests is super important when creating a peace-filled home. Some days you can take the kids to the pool, carpool with other mommies, schedule a lunch date, babysit your neighbor’s cat, blog, fold laundry, paint the shutters, and lead a Bible study all in one week.

But then there are days when you need to say no. Our homes and spaces are our first priorities and if random, miscellaneous activities are spoiling the atmosphere you desire then it’s okay to say no for a while. 🙂

Choosing peace is, ultimately, the most important thing we get to do. As Christians we are promised peace — even when the world is ripping apart and destroying all that we love. The first part of this week involved me bawling my eyes out but during the hard things I knew peace. Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

We can write schedules, say no to miscellaneous activities, declutter our spaces and listen to encouraging music but if we forget to choose and pursue a heart of peace our homes will continue reeking of a chaotic atmosphere. I know because I’ve been there.

Choosing to believe “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” is the most important and effective way to create a peace-filled space.

AuthenticVirtue.com

How do you pursue peace in your space? Is there one thing you love doing that helps bring calm from the chaos? Tell us about your peace-keeping powers! We’d love to know! 🙂 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie