Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wildnerness Mama

Last year, after having Sadie, there were times when I felt a little bit like I was sinking. And that was so hard for me because I had done this whole baby thing before with Abigail. I was crazy about our new little one, and still felt all of those "fluttery, make-me-melt" feelings when I looked at her as I did when Abigail was a baby. There was nothing about having Sadie that made me love my role as a mommy any differently than I did the first time around.

And yet, I felt like life was chaotic, at least in my own mind. It felt like all of the little tasks of the day that should be considered normal were suddenly giants in front of me. Laundry? Toys on the floor? Getting the kids ready to go swimming? Time to feed the baby again? It felt like ocean waves in my ears. My confidence as a mother was plummeting quickly, and I was listening to little whispers of lies in my head saying my home was no better off that day for me having been there.

Then a friend of mine told me a story that has since brought a smile to my face many times....not necessarily because I have considered it, but because it shows the desperation a mother can feel sometimes. She told me about wives of the early American settlers who lived out on vast neighbors, no family, no Wal-Marts for miles. Their husbands would go off in search of gold, or to hunt, or to, um, settle things, and leave for weeks or even months at a time. They were home with kids. Lots of kids. No electricity. No running water. No McDonald's Playplaces. Every possible chore you could think of with none of the helpful appliances we have today to accomplish them. And they would lose it. They would just wander off in the vast wilderness around them, never to return again.

Okay, that is so depressing. And sad. But I told this story to my friend, Angie, and it has provided a quick little synopsis of what we see around us, or even how we may feel that day.

"She just wandered off into the woods."

"She chose the wilderness."

"It's a wander to the woods kind of day."

And we laugh at how silly that seems, take a deep breath, and get back to the (comparatively, to pioneer women) cushy, piece-of-cake work of our day. But we feel a little bit better knowing that we wouldn't really ever wander off into the wilderness.

This morning I was reading in Acts chapter 13 about when Paul addresses the Jews in the synagogue in Antioch. He is telling them the story of God delivering His people to the Promised Land, the lineage of David, and Jesus being sent as Savior. And he said these words, "And for about forty years, He put up with them in the wilderness." (v. 18)

Some translations say "He carried them in the wilderness." But I LOVE that my translation says God "put up with them" in the wilderness. Not because it was a proud moment (or forty years) for God's chosen people. Not because God was pleased. I'm quite sure He was not. But I love seeing God as Deliverer....that no matter what your "wilderness" moment (or forty years) is, God is NOT DONE.

My prayer is for more moms....working outside the home, working inside the home, be strengthened in their wilderness moments. To NOT wander off in the wilderness to never be seen again. Let's look to God as our strength that whether you feel lost right now or not, God is a patient God. He can carry us, and thank goodness, He can PUT UP with us. Let that encourage you today and make you smile as it did for me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm So Glad I'm a Part....

In Sunday School the other day, our class was looking at a list of major life happenings and discussing how we would categorize events, family, or personal. The list was extensive, including everything from war to the death of a loved one to financial pressure. There were good things, like an addition to the family or a graduation. And there were many, many stressful things.

Our teacher asked if anyone wanted to share personal experience of anything on the list that had affected them over the last year. It was pretty much crickets at that point. No one really jumping in to say, "Ooooh, me! I've got a major life catastrophe I want to share!"

Let me pause here to say that I do think we have a fairly close-knit Sunday School class. We are friends outside of church, we generally know what is going on in each other's life. We pray for each other. I can definitely vouch that they have shown my family great love through many things over the last few years.

One girl in our class answered (I guess she was the only brave one) and told about her parents going through a divorce and how it is affecting her and all of her siblings. And I admit...I had no idea.

I pointed out another thing on the list to my friend sitting next to me and quietly said, "I dealt with that last year." She touched my arm and with surprise in her voice said, "I didn't know that! I wish you had said something!"

And then it hit me....this is my church family. These are my friends....truly, my dear friends. And the rest of the class, possibly for embarrassment, or guilt, or sadness, or maybe just not wanting to "get into it" for lack of class time, stayed quiet about the list. Yet I know that the list was long, and I know that we all had faced at least one thing on it, if not many more. But how many of us knew? How many had known what our friends, our brothers and sisters, had gone through over the last year? Financial trouble? Job changes? Family members with sickness? Marriage issues? Babies, teenagers, and everything in between?

I realized I did not know what my friend was going through, and I was sorry. I realized I had not shared my struggles last summer as I faced life changes of having a baby and losing Paul's mom. I could not expect my friends to help pray for me and carry my burdens when I had not shared them. I just wondered how many of us are walking this walk relatively alone. Maybe we have shared with a spouse or a parent or one trusted friend. Maybe we don't want to lay all of our struggles out on the line for everyone to know about.

But how would that change us as a church? How could that transform our friendships, even those outside of our church? How much better could it be to link arms with people who love us and face those winds and storms of life together? Or even just to sit down in the dirt with them, to grieve or cry or pray? Or to truly, openly rejoice at life's celebrations?

It just opened my eyes a little bit, knowing that as a pastor's family, we are not void of our own struggles and sadnesses, but how often I hold myself back from sharing them with people who truly care. I really hope that this helped me see how I can trust my church family more, and I hope that they will do the same....because this life is hard, and God never meant for us to face it alone.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but A)">(A)how can one be warm alone?

12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Hello, my friends. It has been a month since I have blogged. I wish I had more bloggable moments, but February was....ICE, then SNOW, then RECORD HIGH TEMPS. It was just about all I could do to keep up on a daily basis.

I do feel like the last week has had some big moments in the Cooper home, though, so it definitely is worth sharing. If nothing else, for the posterity.

Sadie Grace had her first birthday on the 24th. It was a fairly normal, uneventful day around the house, but I'm not sure she knew or cared anyway. I think she kept looking at us like we were crazy that we kept busting out in song around her. We went out that night as a family, and pretty much just bought bedding for Abigail's new big girl bed, so you know, Abigail made out GREAT on Sadie's birthday.

Speaking of big girl beds, we now have one. A big girl...and her bed. I found a twin headboard and footboard at a yard sale last fall for ten bucks, and then was just waiting on tax time to buy all of the accompaniments....mattress, boxspring, new bedding, etc. All that to say, the lustre of a ten dollar yard sale purchase starts to dull when you add up all of the other things. She slept in it the first time on Friday, and has made a seamless transition. Which means she really IS a big girl.

Sadie has taken her first steps over the last week. We've done a poor job documenting it (2nd child syndrome, I guess). It's just, with Abigail, it was such a definite "sit on the floor with the camera and take your first steps" moment. With Sadie, it has been a little step here, two little steps there, and everyone seeing them at different times. But for sure, she is taking steps. I give her one week until she's a pro.

Sadie had her birthday party on Sunday with both sides of our family. We had a great time and she tried her first heavenly taste of chocolate. She was a pretty dainty eater, and only got "slightly" messy. Not the all out, cra-zazy messy we were hoping for. She also tried her first whole milk yesterday. She did not seem overly impressed.

Abigail came running out of her room last night, tooth in hand. She said "My tooth laid back on my tongue and I didn't like how it felt so I moved it. Then it was laying ON my tongue. And I took it out." Well, that was easy. She was SUPER excited that the tooth fairy would be visiting her that night. She did come, and she left a card and a dollar. Of course, Paul had to point out that he never got that much for a tooth. We are thinking first tooth is a dollar, and maybe 50 cents after that. I mean, the tooth fairy mentioned that. Is she cheap, or is that keeping up?

Now comes the question on whether it is time to wind down on nursing. With Abigail, I nursed for a year, and then slowly took about two months to wean. I figured I would do the same with Sadie. But Sadie seems so much more like a baby still to me. Abigail was one big chunk of girl at this age (and usually off the charts on weight and height) while Sadie has stayed just about average in the 50th percentile. She is totally healthy, just more "petite". She just "feels" like a baby still. I don't know....I will probably start to slow down soon. But then again, nursing gives me a chance to sit down for 15 minutes and watch tv. And how in the world would I know what a crazy hot mess Charlie Sheen is without those special nursing moments?

Wow, those sure are some milestones. It has been a busy, special week around our house! I'm sure there will be lots of pictures once Paul gets them on the computer. Oh yeah, he had his second hand surgery in the midst of all of this, so he's having some special moments of his own. Ah, these are the moments.