I Hate Pink

July 23, 2014

“What would you like to wear today?” I asked my four-year-old daughter as I opened her closet doors. Bouncing over, she announced: “Something pink!” 

A few minutes later, I heard her rummaging through her underwear drawer. 

“What’s the matter?” I asked. 

“I need pink panties!” she exclaimed. “Mom, I can’t find them!” 

Sighing, I walked over to look. I had returned from vacation only to find my typically rough-and-tumble daughter had entered a new phase. 

When You Just Need a Break

July 21, 2014

I sit down while smiling at the other ladies around the table, fumbling to put down my baby’s car seat, diaper bag, and favorite toy. I let out an audible sigh. I'm glad to see these lovely women, looking forward to a night of planning for an upcoming conference.
Exuberant Eleanor

Eleanor is a wonderful baby, but at seven months old, she is not quite a sweet, sleeping infant anymore. She loves to move. And although she hasn’t figured out how to crawl just yet, she finds ways to get around a room.

As we order our meals, Eleanor shows everyone at the table her two new tricks, spitting and screaming loudly. After each outburst, she smiles exuberantly at me, like she’s just done something spectacular. I instinctively tell her to “shhh” (ridiculous, I know), as I attempt to hear the conversation.

I collect my thoughts to add to the dialogue and feel something warm on my leg. Looking down, I see leftovers from Eleanor’s dinner — green beans — now spewed all over the clean jeans I threw on before heading out the door. I quickly grab my napkin to cover the mess, trying to keep my thoughts — and dignity — intact. As the meals come and we continue to plan while we eat, Eleanor does not want to sit in her car seat, and so she wiggles and squeals all through the meal, juggled on one of my arms while I try to eat with the other. As dinner comes to an end, Eleanor is getting more and more fidgety. Nothing will please her: not a bottle, her favorite toy, not even me holding her.

And just as I’m trying to think of what new thing I can pull out of my bag of tricks, I again feel (and smell) something warm. Oh no, not again! Please tell me she hasn’t blown through another outfit!

When You're In the Middle of It

July 14, 2014

I look down at the pregnancy test, bracing myself for one line, not two. We’d been trying to get pregnant for several months, and so far, it just wasn’t happening. Today was no different.

No doctor would categorize this season in my life as infertility. But right now, in the middle of it – it feels like it. And it’s hard when people ask, with the best of intentions, when we’re having another child: “Don’t you want more?” Um, yes, actually. Now let me find an excuse to end this conversation so I can go cry in the car, thanks a million.

I knew that I’d been bottling it up, but I just couldn’t bear to talk about it. I think it’s partly the feeling that if you do talk about it, you jinx your chances of it actually happening. Or that, maybe, it’s not really a problem unless you talk about it, and then it becomes a problem – so ignoring it is a better option. Plus, when you already have two children, it’s hard to not feel petty talking to those who have been trying longer with less success.

But the other day at a playgroup, while my children poured sand out on the deck and snitched muffins from the kitchen island and climbed too high on someone else’s backyard playground, it just felt like too much. And as I watched a group of amazing women talk about what it means to live in God’s will and how that plays out in their lives, I felt like I was on edge. I made up excuses to go inside and check on my children when the conversation got hard. I rifled through my purse for Altoids that I know perfectly well weren’t there to distract myself. And when they asked for prayer requests, I promptly burst into tears over something that should not spur that kind of emotion (a vacation, for the love of Pete. Who cries over a vacation?)

The thing is, I wasn’t crying because of the vacation.

I cried because, in that moment, it just felt like too much.

And I cried because, sometimes, life just feels disappointing.

And despite all of the good things in my life, this one hard thing is taking over like a gigantic, lurking, silent elephant in the room. When you're in the middle of it, whatever that "it" happens to be for you? Let’s face it: It’s one of the hardest, loneliest, downright ugliest places to be.

Feeling tired and worn at the end of the day, I fell into bed and woke up to only good things. Sneaking in to check on the girls, I found them tucked into Elise’s bed, reading The Pout-Pout Fish and Fancy Nancy to Wonderheart and Funshine Bear. Playing house together, I heard Noelle (as the Pretend Mama) call everyone in sight “sweetie.” Kneeling down to get a hug from my daughter, it lasted so long that the carpet made swirling patterns in my skin and my calves fell asleep.

No, this season of life may not look exactly like I’d expected. But I've found that my expectations of this life determine my attitude toward my circumstances. And I know that there’s sweetness to be found, located just past the bitterness of my emotions, if I’ll only stop and pay attention.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Meet Our Storytellers {Giveaway Winner Announced!}

July 9, 2014

It's no secret that we at TRE love stories. And to celebrate our 200th post, we thought, What better way to celebrate than by sharing some of your stories?! Five amazing women sent us a story; one snapshot, if you will, of a picture of their lives. 

Some are warm and dear, others are hard and heartbreaking. But they are all real. And they are all life. And, as people, we can relate to the emotion conveyed through their stories.

But, as if sharing stories wasn't enough, we are also partnering with Broken and Beautiful to create a one-of-a-kind storyteller necklace for one lucky (randomly chosen) entrant! You'll find more of their story, as well as the winner of the necklace, at the end of this post.

Now, here are the five lovely women who have shared their stories with us:

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