Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

trading reluctance October 1, 2013

Filed under: Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 3:00 am

Here I am. Just here.

I know that You want me here and I’ve been putting it off for so long. Always balking and nudging my other “to-do’s” to the top of the list.
I know You’re telling me not to overcomplicate things.
That it’s unnecessary for me to try to figure out exactly what You’re going to do. Or attempt to plan it out myself.
Because I would only smudge up something really beautiful. Or make it all about me. And of course, You know it isn’t.

Don’t I know by now that when I do what You ask of me in Your timing, that You run to help me with the rest?
That you smooth out the time-consuming wrinkles in a mind-bending, time-bending way? That the weight gets thrown off and the real race can be run.

When my eyes are on You, the Author, somehow you always perfect the timing and the task.

So here, right now, I will obey.

Yes, I’m pretty sure we’ll need to reach backwards a bit. I think we have some catching up to do…
And I know without a doubt that we’ll be pressing forward. Because you’re the only Way I ever do.
But for now… tonight, I’m thankful that you always deal with me in the present.

Yes, Lord. Establish the work.

 

that thing i wish i knew when i turned thirty… January 18, 2012

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Milestones — dayna @ 12:00 am

Oh, how I wish I could do the title of this post justice. But, try as I might, I simply can’t come up with that thing. That thing that would have guided me into my thirties with ease.

I definitely can’t offer any sort of sage advice or words of wisdom that a certain girl (ahem) woman doesn’t seem to already know in her very self-assured being. You see, the lovely Stephanie turns the big 3-0 today. (Sorry Steph, if you were trying to keep it “hush-hush.” I’m pretty sure Darcie and Nicole have other plans…)

I’ll never forget that particular birthday. For months, I’d been determinedly proclaiming my excitement about entering this new decade. “My thirties are going to be great!” I would assert, certain that this would be my era of confidence, purpose, of something beautiful.

And then the actual date. The details of the entire day are a bit hazy, but I vividly remember that evening. And a rebellion in my closet. Literally.

My husband was taking me on a date to a high school musical.  I was mildly underwhelmed by the glamor of the destination, but still determined to look my best. Finally through my first trimester of my first pregnancy, I stood in the middle of my closet.

And smack in the middle of a perfect storm of hormones and nothing-fits-right.  As I flung aside yet another cute clingy wrap dress that was now wildly immodest, I wailed “And I’m thirty!”

In that moment, it sounded so much older than 29. I’m certain that I stomped my feet, clenched my fists, and shed more than a few flushed selfish tears before pulling it together. Then I sighed, grew up a teensy bit, and we went out.

I suppose I do wish I could have hugged my tantrum-having, newly-thirty, mom-to-be self and whispered: “Shhh. Shhh… Do you know you are on the brink of beautiful? Yes, it may get messy… but it will be magnificent.”

Almost five years later, I’m in awe of the lessons I’m still learning and the way life marches out. I never would have guessed that all those high school extra-curricular events would now figure so prominently (and happily) into our family life. I never would have guessed that pregnancy and birth could provide such body image healing. Or that the experience of mothering two girls would demand careful scrutiny or joyful rejection of so many beauty ideals.

I would have told myself “Yes, these next few years might age you a lot, but what you gain will be just so priceless.” I would’ve breathed a reminder that the truest self-discovery is the journey towards selflessness.

This is the confidence, the purpose, the something beautiful.

So today, as I look at my friend who is gorgeous inside and out, I know that she already embraces this life most full. She has learned lessons well beyond her years.

Although she ponders much and has ideas that keep her restless, she steps into her thirties with rare confidence and grace. She has a third little girl on the way to punctuate a third decade. She has countless joys, experiences, and memories already beautifully chronicled.

She dreams fearlessly, gives continuously, and loves with sheer abandon.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what thirties look like on you, Stephanie! The very happiest of birthdays to you, my friend.

Got thirty? How’s it treating you?

 

Blogiversary October 24, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Milestones — dayna @ 11:55 pm

I’ve been kinda busy over here.

Busy…procrastinating. Again.

Yup, that’s right. Some things don’t change much, do they?

You see, I’ve been trying to come up with the perfect post to mark my first blogiversary.

Well, perfect post this isn’t, but I do at least want to acknowledge the month so I can move on forward.

In October of last year I went ahead and hit that publish button after tentatively typing out my very first post on eerily similar subject matter. It was my little secret, really.

And it was another few months before I actually told anyone about my “Mommying Grace.”

Over the past year, I’ve learned some, (but not nearly enough), about the blogosphere, motherhood, faith, life. Here are a few of the many humbling lessons:

1. I’ve learned that blogging is way harder than it looks. But even more fun. So, if you maintain any sort of blog on any sort of regular basis… then you, my friend, are seriously amazing!

2. I’ve learned that I am actually an idiot when it comes to grammar. I thought I knew. In reality, I have a few rules that I pretend to know well enough to get all snobbish about. But, most of the time I (mis)use dashes and parentheses, and then tell myself that blogging is a more conversational style of writing… right? I never thought I would say this but, I miss my high school English teachers! “Where for art thou, Ms. Guttwalt and Ms. Neff?”

3. I have learned about perspective. Although I still struggle with priorities, this is the main reason I don’t want to give up on this endeavour.  Somehow, when I see my life and world in snippets of stories to treasure or choose to relay, it looks vastly different. This perspective helps remind me what I have to laugh at, pray about, rejoice in, and give thanks for.

4. I’ve learned that there is no shortage of incredible people walking the planet. They are raising children, giving in huge ways, changing the world, and often living right next door. I’ve met, and virtually met, some folks whose words, wisdom, and perspective I truly cherish. Even if I shut this puppy down, I will never be the same. Spend some time exploring that “blog-roll” over to the right if you want to meet some of them. You won’t regret it, promise.

5. I’ve learned that I am never alone. Not in my mommy-musings. Not in my celebrations or crises of faith. Not in my weakness and failures. Not even in the desires of my heart. And definitely not in weird habits or sense of humor.

6. More than anything, I have learned that life really does pass and change in the blink of an eye.  This is actually my 75th post! Can you believe it? I know, at least half of those posts are just images of the little pixies we’re raising, and another quarter of them are probably books we have enjoyed, but it is our swiftly moving life. I look back at the pictures of the girls last year and then see them this year. I remember how much we have experienced, learned and changed.

And I am so thankful for this place of chronicling.

Even if the baby books sit still unfilled in the closet, there is this place.

 

DownEast fashion fun October 3, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Stuff — dayna @ 5:30 am

Have you heard of DownEast Basics? Until a few weeks ago, I never had. Now I can say that I’m officially a fan.

A couple of Mondays past, this mama enjoyed a real treat: a night out shopping with some fashionable and fun ladies!

DownEast Basics was launching its new store here in the Old Pueblo and wanting to spread the word about their LIVE for Pink campaign. They invited some notable Tucson bloggers ,(who then graciously included me!), to check out some of their fall fashions.

In searching their website, DownEast Basics was described as Anthropologie style clothing with Target pricing. That sounded great! I was also impressed by the fact that now through October 16, they are donating 50% of all proceeds from sales of their Live for Pink tee line to the cancer awareness organization Needs Beyond Medicine.

So, after a fun crosstown carpool with the lovely likes of Becca, Kelly, Darcie, & Linsay, we descended upon the little boutique. The staff welcomed us with gift bags containing $25 gift cards (I KNOW!), chocolate, and promotional pricing. Uh, brainwashed much? (Just kidding. I vow to always give my completely honest opinion over here, even if the goodie bags start flying around).

The clothes were adorable basics with lots of vintage-inspired details. They were reasonably priced, and I got the impression that the company regularly offers sales and deep promotional deals. They were doing buy one, get one half off on accessories the night we went.

I planned ahead of time to take full advantage of the child-free, opinionated-friend-heavy shopping night if I fancied any of the clothes. DownEast Basics didn’t disappoint. And neither did my friends. I was glad to see Nicole, Chelsea, and Karen and happy to meet the stylish Val, the glowing Leah, and Sharla with her gorgeous newborn in-tow.

Unlike my usual shopping companions, these ladies managed to refrain from urgent “Mommy!”s, hiding in clothing racks, or deconstructing elaborate displays. There may however, have been some delighted squeals which served to put me at ease 😉

I brought home clothes with just enough pizzazz to invigorate my standard jeans and t-shirt wardrobe. I may even be inspired to play dress up a little more often.

My resident paparazzi was out-of-town when I went to model, so I learned a lot of lessons about taking bad self-portraits in my first solo fashion shoot. I’m sure you’ll notice that my head is cropped out of all these shots. The squinty eye and camera strap thrown over my hair just didn’t look so hot with the cute fashions.

Here’s my haul:

They had this lacy overshirt in unexpected colors. I chose “kangaroo”. I also got a turquoise capsleeve t-shirt to go underneath.

I think I may wear it with this copper flecked snap cuff because I am trying to look grown up and accessorize lately.

I did cave and grab my one of my uniform t-shirts with pretty details. But this one is super-soft indigo and has a velvet ruffle on the scoop neckline.

Maybe I’ll dress it up with these romantic looking chandelier earrings.

BTW: Do you know that it is pretty much impossible to take a picture of your own earrings while they are on your head?! Oh well, I still thought they looked more interesting here than just laying on their merchandising card;).

And finally, I brought home this little black dress with rosette skirt that makes me want to channel my inner Audrey. Updo and ballet flats, if you please…

Now, I’m not quite sure how these clothes will hold up to my laundry boot camp; it is pretty much sink or swim around here: no special treatment.

But I am happy that my choices still thrilled me when I tried them on the next day after the glow faded. No returns necessary, thank you!

I like my purchases so much that I am not-so secretly excited to explore the little girls clothing and home goods on their website.

All in all, it was a lovely experience and I can’t wait to get together with this fun bunch again.

 

hello out there July 2, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Motherhood,sisters — dayna @ 12:31 pm

Hello? Hello? Had you given up on me? I sure hope not.

I am well aware that this bloggish space has been languishing for a couple of…

…weeks!?  Has it really been that long?

I guess our household has been all caught up in summer-ness. Less structure somehow sometimes feels like more busy-ness.

I’ll admit, there may have been a few rough patches and some aches and pains keeping me away. But mostly, it has been the fun mini road-trips and unexpected transitions.

Not that I haven’t had anything to write about. Trust me. I’ve still got my lists. I just can’t seem to crack the computer open as often as I’d like.

Hopefully in the next week, at least a few of these posts will march themselves on to completion.

For now, I’ll leave you with a shot of our Thursday morning.

It was our first “at-home-all-day” day in way too long. ( Our little family just needs these sorts of days. Does yours?)

Happiness is…

Playdough on the kitchen island. Playdough on the kitchen floor. Playdough on favorite pajamas. (Yup, still in ’em).

If you could only hear the Jack Johnson flowing in the background and enjoy the smells of butter and coffee wafting through the kitchen- then you would truly get a feel for the bliss.

All day the little girls and I were belting out and clapping to  “This is the day! This is the day…”

(In the spirit of disclosure: there may have been a second pot of coffee brewed that morning. I confess that I seem to be a much “funner” mom when adequately caffeinated. How about you?)

 

list-maker May 23, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 11:55 pm

I hope you will kindly excuse the silence around this bloggy place.

I’ve been somewhat buried lately. Buried in mounds of laundry, buried in love for the babies, buried in… my lists.

Yup. I make lists.

I wish I could call myself a list-maker in the elegant, organized sense of the word. I wish that my lists were series of tidy tasks lined down a fresh, smooth piece of paper; items waiting to be carefully checked off or lined through.

But, no, I’m more the crazy, frenzied type of list-maker. The “heaps of post-it notes overtaking my house” type. The “half a dozen little notebooks in half a dozen strategic locations” kind of gal. These wordy scraps are often remade into more comprehensive lists, but sometimes they are desperately relegated to a bin to be gone through..ugh… later.

I know I’m not alone in my penchant for lists. In fact, I’m pretty sure that entire books have been written on this topic. Seriously, check out some of these. Not that I’ve read them, of course. They’re on my “to-read” list;).

Don’t get me wrong, I think there may be some value to all my lists. At times I know they help alleviate some churning worry, or help me to prioritize more appropriately. Some of the lists are even kind of fun. In addition to the too long “to do” lists, there are often lists of friends to call, songs to remember, ideas to write about, things for which to be thankful.

But sometimes I suspect that my lists are merely a highly evolved form of procrastination. A way of sophisticated self-enabling, if you will.

Writing down as a way of putting off.

Because I know that my very best days, the importantly productive days, are the ones when the list lays ignored on the counter.

On these days, I move forward doing the best I can, from moment to moment. I may have a general plan in mind, but I am forced to pause; to think or pray about what is the very next right thing to do. I sense my dependence with every breath- learning to lean on and in.

These are the days in which I am suddenly available to help a friend in immediate need, to write a note or send a message to someone who happens to cross my mind. On these days, I put down whatever seemingly essential chore I am doing, to read right then to an infinitely more essential little girl (or two) with book in hand. These are the days I turn the van and take a detour from running errands to play at a new playground or have an unexpected adventure.

And I never regret these days. Miraculously, on these days, the things that really need to get taken care of, somehow do.

These days have divine rhythm and a timing all their own.

So for now, I will probably keep making some of my little lists. But I look forward to days with fewer lists and a lot more listening.

Do you make lists? Of what? Do you think they help or hinder you?

 

How do you DO that? March 28, 2011

Filed under: Blogging — dayna @ 12:00 am

Last week I had the privilege of attending Tucson’s very first Mom It Forward event at the courtyard adjoining the Ben’s Bells studios. (I hope you will return tomorrow for a very special post on the oh-so-unique Ben’s Bells. Both their story and their “be kind” message are beautiful.) As for today, the mommy part…

Our Hostesses

Mom It Forward is an organization that strives to bring moms together for worthy causes through social media and hosted get-togethers. Moms gather, have a good time, and help their communities- both local and worldwide. This is “girls’ night out” with a purpose.

It was simply a lovely event. Our hostesses were the ever-connectors and gorgeously gracious Becca and Linsay. They thought of everything! While enjoying the blissfully spring day, we painted bits of pottery that will eventually be part of a finished Ben’s Bell. There was tasty food from Creative Catering, some fun giveaways (check out these adorable bags from Kelly’s 31 Gifts), and even some divine freebies (Gadabout and t-shirts from Big Frog).

Now for the best part: the company! I got to spend a little time with my sweet friend Amanda , who somehow even manages to pull off unexpected bird droppings with the perfect mixture of hilarity and class. I’m also pretty sure she toned down her crafty talents so she could join me in joking about our painted pottery winding up in reject buckets somewhere. “Who painted that?” 😉

Components

We were surrounded by so many amazing ladies. All these mamas chatting, painting, laughing, and helping one another. So many of them juggling multiple roles right before our very eyes: mother, friend, philanthropist, entrepreneur, teacher, blogger. It was inspiring and invigorating.

So, to you so many mama-types in my life, I just have to pose the question:

“How do you DO that?”

Juggle it all, that is. How do you find balance? Is it always a matter of prioritization, or is sometimes more complicated? How do you maintain normal life when you are feeling motivated by dreams or inspiration?

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the balance thing.

This little site is an outlet for me. It’s intended to be a way to document and share in the journey of living a better life and raising kids. And I find it just so exhilarating and exciting. The ideas for improvement and material for musings seem endless. The time to devote however… not so much. Sometimes I find myself so consumed by the fun details and possibilities of it all, that I start to neglect those important day-to-day activities like dishes, laundry, or, um, sleep- ouch.

I know that some of the struggle may be in the newness of the blogosphere, and that once I get  systems created, I will be able to mostly just write. (Or am I wrong on that too?) I also know that at the point in which this venture gets in the way of me being present for my girls, it is simply no good. They are my main passion. I intentionally don’t get online when the girlies are up, so I basically have nap time (if!) and nighttime (hence the even darker circles).

So to all my mommy friends:

I really want to hear from you! How do you balance pursuing your dreams, hobbies, & passions with enjoying and caring for your family?

To all the bloggy mama friends:

I would love specifics on how you make it work ladies. Do you have a schedule? Do you have certain days or times you write, manage photos, reply to comments, maintain your site, learn!? How much do you read and comment on other blogs? Aren’t there just too many good ones?

* Come on back tomorrow to learn a bit more about Ben’s Bells on their very special anniversary.

The Mom Crew

Even more thanks to Becca for permission to use just a few of her lovely photos 🙂

 

Well on their way March 8, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 11:58 pm

…and giving each and every day. 

Do you know these people? They’re pretty great. I’m devoting this post to them because I’m sure you will agree.

This is the Sheaffer family and some months ago they had a little dream. Ok- a big dream. More like a family vision. That turned into a mission. That is now an actual adventure. A very real reality.

While living their fairly “normal” life here in southern Arizona, they started feeling like their little family could live in an even more radical way and Give Every Day. So, long story short, they sold almost everything they owned, bought an RV, and committed to this journey.

Sounds crazy, right? Maybe not quite as crazy as you would first think. You see, this crew has already been successful at some pretty amazing things. (Check out Stephanie’s incredible blog for example). They are entrepreneurs, planners, and great parents to their delightful (and portable) little girls.

So, a little more than a month ago, off they went. It has clearly not been easy thus far.  It started with a blown transmission on… um, Day 1. Ugh. Some dental emergencies, homesickness, some real sickness. But still, somehow, they have found a way to literally give every single day. (And write about it- beautifully). It may not be easy… but it continues to be inspiring.

They have given in some of those wonderful “bigger” ways like feeding the homeless and volunteering at food banks or shelters. They have often highlighted some really amazing organizations like Mercy House Kenya, Morgan’s Wonderland (you have GOT to check this place out), Kiva, and World Vision.

But some of the smaller ways have been especially inspiring in their “do-ablity.” Stuff we can all do right where we are, right now. Stuff like donating blood, surprising the next person in line or a cashier, remembering birthdays, letting a spouse sleep in, baking cookies, calling grandparents. When they give like this, I am reminded that there are really no “small” ways. I am reminded that all giving makes a difference.

So I hope you’ll join me in following their journey, encouraging their compasssionate hearts, and applauding them in their sense of adventure, courage, and determination.

Please excuse my link-littering here, but the blog is just that good.  And I wanted to catch you up :). I hope you will support them by leaving them a comment, doing your Amazon shopping through their button, or inviting them over when they hit your town! Seriously.

Hmmm, how am I going to give this day?

Comments are closed here so you can go on over and say “hey!” at giveeveryday.com.

 

Trust February 20, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 1:23 am

There are things I want to write about. Things I need to write about. Some of them I should probably even post about. But I am a worrier. And a scaredy-cat sometimes.

These are things writhing in my past, bubbling in my present, looming in my future. They are memories, mistakes, triumphs, losses, hopes, dreams. I think about them. Pray about them. And sometimes there is this urging.

Sometimes, when I am finally overcome, I scribble about them so swiftly that I know that it is coming from somewhere deeper. Somewhere else. It is not the methodical “Oh! I should write about that” and sitting down with the intent to converse and chronicle. While that type of writing is becoming so valuable to me, there is this other kind of writing that changes me.

These are scribbles of surrender. Finally giving up mulling, and realizing that in order to listen, to be obedient, I just have to get it down. And that, in and of itself, is a wonder and a relief. It is a deep sigh of my soul and a clearing and lightness.

But then sometimes, the urging continues.

Now what are you going to do with that? I am asked. And suddenly I am afraid. Self conscious. Timid even. Fluttering at the edge of a windy cliff.

And then a quiet word.

Trust.

Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.

And nothing else. Nothing is more worthy of trust all the time. And I know why this writing changes me. Because it is part of a plan. It forces me to document the plan that I am trusting. I am documenting a storyline that is not completely my own. It is one that I often can’t see. That I frequently obscure with my silly scratching busyness.

It seems such a treacherous tiny path to try to decide what to keep inside and what to put out there. What is of value and what is vulgar. To balance transparency and discretion.

But I know that although I am not able to strike the balance, I know the One who can. I know that He knows what He can use, (and He can use just about anything).  Most of all, He can use my weakness to reassure me, and maybe you, of His strength. He has got this.

If only I will trust Him with all of my heart, lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge Him in all ways, He will make my (tiny treacherous) paths straight. 

I am reminded that when I read about those things from others, I am changed. I remember all of the times that I have been moved by reading someone else’s honest account of doubt, tragedy, monotony, or victory.  My heart soars when they are courageously sharing the tough stuff. The messy stuff. Because… we connect. I am forced to recognize the completely-knock-me-to-my-knees-with-tears-in-my-eyes beauty of it all. I know that there is a way through it.

I know that this comfort has a purpose. That I was comforted (and am comforted still), so that I may comfort others. I am reminded that I have every reason to trust. Mine is the life vividly redeemed. When I have really trusted, I have never been let down. I will never be let down. We will never be let down.

We are promised that when we trust in the God of hope we will be filled with joy and peace. We will overflow with hope.

Well, sign me up!

So I will trust. And I will probably share. After prayerfully handing my pen over to the One who should really write the story, of course.

 

Inspiration December 29, 2010

Filed under: Blogging,Favorites,Motherhood — dayna @ 4:37 am

My sweethearts...

Motherhood took me completely by surprise.  Becoming a mother was, without a doubt, the second most transformative experience in my life.  I never expected to be so madly in love.  To feel so alive, so challenged, so creative, so keenly aware of the beauty and pain of this existence.

Life suddenly became endlessly more complicated and simultaneously so simple.  So pure.  Priorities so true and clear. 

Laundry basket tickles

So the main inspiration for this blogging venture is right here… flowing from these two wiggling, giggling, squealing little girls. You’ll have to excuse me if this blog first and foremost attempts to document our lives together. It is going by way too fast and deserves to be recorded!  So chalk some of this up to the virtual scrap-booking category, because I sure can’t seem to get to the actual thing…

This gorgeous job of mothering is not without its glitches. One of them being the sort of surreal isolation that can creep in.  Especially after the arrival of my second daughter, I found that a mom can find herself missing some of those good old “heart to hearts” with a girlfriend. Ok, a girl can miss finishing a complete sentence, let alone a thought, sometimes. In the midst of all the doing, saying, teaching, one realizes she doesn’t know what is really going on with her mom friends, and they may not know what is really going on with her.  I am thankful for so many great “in the flesh”  friends to love, but I sure do enjoy reading what is going on with the cyber moms.

The blog world is a place for the complete conversation. While reading around out here, I found an amazing dialog, a sense of humor, and a fresh perspective on the significance, (and sometimes silly insignificance), of what we are doing.  I have found my faith strengthened & my hope renewed. Here mommies can formulate a thought, share their heart, and weave a tale that makes me laugh out loud, weep, or just nod in agreement.

While there are so many fabulous blogs I have peeked at, my two “go-to” blogs, (the girls I simply can’t get enough of), are Stephanie at Metropolitan Mama and Darcie at Such the Spot. You’ll have to excuse me if I’m not hooked on your blog just yet. Give me some time & please feel free to share a link…

Stephanie’s Metropolitan Mama is a resource for all things mom. She is a fantastic writer, an amazing mother, and a woman full of determination and daring. Oh yeah- did I mention that her family is changing the world? Check out their new adventure at Give Every Day as they travel the country in their RV living out l-o-v-e. In real life, Stephanie is just as savvy, pulled together, kind, and generous as you would expect.  To quote E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer” (emphasis mine).  Stephanie is both. 

Now over to Darcie at Such the Spot… this girl can WRITE.  As a lover of fiction, I’m here to tell you that Darcie can tell a tale like no other- even her true ones read like the very best fiction! If she wrote cereal boxes I would devour every word- oh, who am I kidding?  I read those anyway.  But if Darcie wrote them, they would be really gripping!  I recently had the privilege of meeting her in person, and she is a delight; just as warm, witty, & literate as you would expect from her “spot”.

As for Mommying Grace… right now- nothing more ambitious than chronicling our lives, gaining some perspective, processing my jumble of ideas, and connecting with you in your phase of life. Yikes! This may be a bit ambitious after all…

Thanks for reading.  Hang in there.

What are your favorite blogs and why do you read them?