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My Favorite Things- January 2014

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Sorry that it’s been awhile, but this post took longer to compile than my usual ones, and I wanted to do it justice.  All my posts so far have been pretty serious, so I thought it was time to do a FUN one! Here each month I plan to share some of my current ‘favorite things’.  Being the extrovert that I am, I love to share what is currently making me happy/ think/ laugh, etc. Half the enjoyment is really only fulfilled if it’s shared with someone else! And if you don’t believe me, you should go check your facebook and/or your twitter account :P.

I’m going to try to share the following categories:

Beauty

Laugh

Inspire

Read

Fashion

Think

Baby

So without further ado, I give you Sleepy Turtle, Happy Turtle’s Favorite Things January 2014:

Favorite Things: Beauty-

I came late to the Birchbox party (www.birchbox.com) but I fell in love with my first box’s samples of Gilchrist and Soames’ shampoo and conditioner. The subtle fresh scent reminds me of the sweet air of Charleston, South Carolina:

 http://www.gilchristsoames.com/hair/london-shampoo-conditioner-duo-2.html

Favorite Things: Laugh-

Sleep deprived mamas will get a chuckle out of this:

 http://www.pinterest.com/pin/464152305316904788/

Favorite Things: Inspire- 

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ve been scouring Pinterest for fun treats and crafts for inspiration. These Bacon-Shaped hearts are ideal for my husband:

http://thepapermama.com/2011/02/wordlessish-wednesday-bacon-of-hearts.html

Favorite Things: Read- 

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and despite my mixed feelings about going ‘electronic’, It’s been much easier to read a book that I can hold one-handed (with Turtle in the other, once again), I’ve been reading Pastor Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith for my quiet time and have really been enjoying it:

http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Prayers-Days-Gospel-Centered-Faith-ebook/dp/B005GMYADU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391038382&sr=1-1&keywords=365+days+of+prayer

Favorite Things: Fashion- 

These are my favorite ‘transition’ jeans while I’m working on losing the baby weight. Theyre ‘real’ jeans but are super stretchy and comfortable (and don’t you dare call them ‘jeggings’!)

http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/prod/Pants/Denim/Jean-Legging-Harlow-Blue-Wash

Favorite Things: Think-

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, here is some food for thought about what the culture we live in, including church culture,is perpetually telling our daughters:

 http://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/3864/prizes-and-consumables-the-super-bowl-as-a-theology-of-women/

Favorite Things: Baby- 

Do you guys know about Mama OT? It’s one of my favorite blogs, and is written by a woman who is both a mama and an Occupational Therapist. Having assisted an OT previously, I have the utmost respect for their knowledge of child development. So far my favorite post has been her recommendations for toys for baby’s first year, that you can read here:

http://mamaot.com/2012/07/09/15-toys-for-babys-first-year/

New Year, New Role, New Body

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I don’t always do well with change. In the case of becoming a Mama, though, a lot of the changes are wonderful: going from a family of 2 to a family of 3, having my sweet Turtle’s first Christmas, picking out fun baby clothes and dressing Turtle instead of just dressing myself, having a new bed time routine that includes snuggling a sweet baby rather than just reading…I could go on and on about the sweet new changes that new-mamahood has brought. But there are some changes and transitions that come along with all the awesome ones that are hard, exhausting, and confusing…you get the picture. One of the biggest changes that I’ve had to grapple with- that I’m struggling to wrap my brain around… is that of my new body, post pregnancy.

I have not been immune to our culture’s indoctrination of girls into believing that they need to strive for physical perfection. Like my peers, I have always struggled with one thing or another about my appearance. It is not surprising, then, that I am rather disheartened by the ‘baby weight’ and stretch marks that came along with Turtle. This reaction  to my extra pounds, stretched out skin, and myriad of deep purple stretch marks all around my midsection was hardly unique or surprising. It has occurred to me though, that my reaction should have been ‘surprising’.

To elaborate: as a believer, I should be finding my identity in Jesus, not in the size of the new jeans I had to buy. As a church culture we firmly uphold ideas like how, we as believers ‘should not grieve as those who have no hope’ when we are faced with death or illness. We have Jesus to comfort us, the character of our God is good, and we have the hope of seeing our loved ones again. We don’t grieve in the same way that unbelievers do. Why then, is it so hard for female believers to grasp that our reaction to our heavier, stretched out post partum bodies should also be different?

Paul Tripp, a pastor and writer in Philadelphia, likes to point out that we are often ‘Identity Amnesiacs’. What he means is that it is incredibly easy for us to fall into the worldly pattern of finding our identity in things other than Jesus. For women, that often means finding our identity in our beauty or lack thereof. Despite the fact that I am indeed a believer,  educated, and capable of understanding and agreeing with the logical conclusion that physical perfection is a lie, I am oh so easily persuaded by Satan’s voice in my ear, telling me that I’m somehow less than worthy with this new body. It is often hard to differentiate between his voice and that of my own when it comes to how I feel about myself physically. A friend of mine used to have a card taped up onto her mirror that said

“Satan doesn’t attack those that he already owns.”

It is something I have had to repeat to myself as I pull on my newer, bigger jeans. I have to remind myself that Turtle will learn from me what it means to be both a believer and a woman- that we are indeed set apart and beloved daughters of the King of the universe. That the stretch marks I have from giving birth to her are, as my sweet husband points out, a badge of honor. More than that, they are also battle scars from the results of the fall.  Rather than something to be ashamed of, as our photo shopped culture would have us both believe, they are a reminder that my identity is not in any physical beauty, but rather in my status as a cherished daughter of the King. And no princess that I’ve ever seen hangs her head in shame.

Seasons

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A common expression that you see or hear during this time of year is ‘Season’s Greetings!’- it’s a generic term that is applied to the holidays.  But that expression got me thinking this year, not about Christmas or New Years Eve, sleigh rides or noise makers, but rather about what the exact words mean- “greetings from this time of year”

. As a believer you hear a lot about how during hard times people say “it’s just a hard season”- the implication being that things suck right now, but that they will get better if you just grit your teeth and get through it. You also hear things like “God has a reason for this” and “God is just stretching you right now”. At which point I usually (secretly) roll my eyes while at the same time nodding my head, automatically saying “oh, of course. I know that.” As though an expression or platitude can make one feel better….or if nothing else, the guilt trip (intended or not) that the person is trying to give you will. Why do we have to pretend that times aren’t hard? Why can’t we own it? This kind of attitude has often made me feel like I’m a bad Christian for not ‘having it all together.’ It can also represent a false or one- dimensional picture of who God is, in my opinion. The idea that we shouldn’t admit that things are hard, paste a manic smile on our face regardless of how exhausted, sad, defeated or confused we are because “God has his reasons” weighs far too heavily on the fact that God is Sovereign and no where near enough on the counter balancing fact that God is Good. Both are true and should always be remembered together, never separate.

We often talk about how God is our Father, and after becoming a parent myself I think I understand a little bit better how when I hurt, my heavenly Father hurts too.For example, Turtle has recently developed some bad diaper rash. She cries when I have to wipe her bottom while changing her sometimes because her skin is irritated, red, and tender. I hate having to do it because I know she’s hurting- but I also know that if I don’t do it, her bottom would be sooo much worse. But I get a pang in my heart every time I see that little face scrunch in discomfort or pain- I am not removed from the situation. I don’t lecture her on how this is for her own good and she shouldn’t be upset because I have good reasons. I know why she’s upset. She’s a baby, and is in the ‘season’ of diaper wearing. It’s true that she won’t always be in this season, and I could tell her “Look, you won’t have to wear diapers forever. Doesn’t that make you feel better?”, but of course I don’t. I pick her up and hold her, kiss her little cheeks and cuddle her. She is dependent on me to know how to care for her (yikes) and she has to trust me. The same goes for us and the Lord. Not because we should blindly accept hardship because he knows what he’s doing, but rather that we have a Father who loves us, even when we can’t understand his sovereign plan.

And while God is indeed sovereign, and Mama of course knows best, let’s not forget that during hard seasons, stating the obvious is not comforting. Sometimes people just want you to know that they’re hurting, and that you care for and love them. Empathy, listening and love are traits of our God that we as believers should emulate, along with speaking the truth about God’s sovereignty. The world is fallen and things hurt. Isn’t it great that we have a creator who not only knows that, but desires our relief from pain and brokenness even more than we do?

The Story Behind Sleepy Turtle, Happy Turtle

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I just recently had my first baby. In fact, I’m typing this with one hand while I hold my sweet, sleeping girl with the other. That in itself is a great illustration of how my life has changed in the past few months- my hands, heart, and oh-so-tired brain belong to my little bundle of joy now. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. This blog is merely meant as an outlet through which to process new motherhood. My world is forever changed- and I want to be able to look back and see the Lord’s faithfulness during thus season of life- the good, the bad, and the spit-up upon. Don’t get me wrong- I’m sure I will have fun things like recipes, DIY projects, and random pieces on my views on current events- but for the most part this blog will be about my new journey navigating this glorious, difficult, blissful, hilarious time of life where I am now known as “Mama”.

On to the reason behind the name of the blog: My whole life I was told that I have a ‘very expressive’ face, and shortly after my daughter was born we discovered that she had inherited this trait. The funniest face she has yet to make is what we call her ‘turtle’ face- when she’s sleepy she purses her lips, cranes her neck forward, and sticks out her little chin just like a turtle does- hence ‘sleepy turtle’. The ‘happy turtle’ comes from how unbelievably smiley our girl is- if shes awake she’s most likely smiling or laughing. So sleepiness and laughter pretty much describes motherhood for me so far….I’ll take it.