Jul 31, 2015

Flowers Fade Friday: Battling Lies and Living for the Legacy

thoughts on motherhood

Two kids is hard. Two under two is really hard. I have nothing to compare it to but more experienced mothers ensure me that I am definitely in a draining season with a 22 month old and a seven week old.

However, these days are also good.

Even when my infant won't sleep or my toddler has a fever or we are perpetually late going anywhere and I break a sweat just trying to get my kids out of the house - these days are so good.

thoughts on motherhood

These are truths I am speaking to myself on the days I am still drinking coffee at 4pm and in the moments I want to cry because I feel so overwhelmed...

Just because it's hard doesn't mean it isn't good. Some of the hardest seasons of my life have also been the times when God has been doing a mighty and holy work in my heart. This time with small children at home is one of those times. Every morning I pray that I will die to self and serve my children well, without resentment and with great joy. I often fail at this. My sinful nature whispers to me that I deserve time to myself. That I am right to get frustrated when nap times don't align. That I'm entitled to more time with girlfriends and a clean house and that these kids are getting in the way of those things. Those are all lies. Thankfully, in Christ, I wake up to new mercy each day and learn to battle the lies in my head. The truth is I am blessed with two beautiful daughters. They are gifts. They are beautiful, needy gifts the Lord has entrusted me with. Each day, by God's grace, I learn to serve my children more sacrificially and love them more deeply just as the Father loves me.

Live for the legacy. The recent trend in mama-hood {at least according to social media} is to "live in the present." And I get that to some extent. It's so easy to overlook the beauty of this season because you are wishing for the next - when the baby sleeps through the night, when the big kids head off to school, when you can resume your career, start a new ministry, have five minutes to yourself, etc. etc. The present is very special and truly the only moment God guarantees. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, so surely we should be living abundantly today. However, there are aspects of motherhood that are so utterly tiring, heartbreaking, and humbling that I think it's actually essential and quite good to look at the bigger picture and what the years down the road might look like if God so allows. No mother thinks, "Middle of the night nursing is so sweet. I hope I never sleep through the night again." That's foolish. In the midst of blow-out diapers, night feedings, tantrums, fevers, and toddler discipline, I sometimes imagine what my Thanksgiving table might look like thirty years from now. I see my daughters, and hopefully a few more children, gathered around with godly spouses and perhaps babies of their own. I see a new generation of people who love and fear the Lord and serve His kingdom with joy and boldness. I am a grandma and as I wash up dishes after the meal, my hands more wrinkled from age than from the sudsy water, I praise God I got to be a part of the legacy and thank him for the hard years and humbling moments when this family tree was taking root. 

This season is hard, mamas, but it is good. Enjoy today, but live for the legacy.

Jul 25, 2015

Saturday Snippets

Wisdom to consider when commenting online...

I'm intrigued by this online healthy grocery store of sorts...

This crossbody bag will match any outfit...

Love this "Write the Word" journal concept...

And also this smart app to help you read your Bible first thing in the morning...

Fascinating read on a year-long shopping ban...

These art pieces are amazing!

As someone who had a diary named "Trista" in second grade, I could relate to these journal entries...

Sheets with zippers! This is genius for young kids...

An interesting read on the role of sports agents...

When the headlines get crazy turn to the Word of God...

Jul 21, 2015

When your baby throws up on you outside Trader Joe's...

When your baby throws up on you outside Trader Joe's, do not go inside.

Do not think for a minute, "Okay this is gross, but we are almost done with our errands and if we pick up these last few things I will feel so accomplished for the day. And my toddler loves pushing that little cart so much..."

Seriously. Banish all thoughts from your head. When you have a five week old and a 22 month old and you already did a monster shopping session at the big grocery store down the street and you are on the brink of lunch time and nap time and an infant meltdown and your baby pukes on you, do not go inside. Abort mission. Go home.

This is the lesson I learned today. And in case you were envious after my last post... thinking I'm handling my transition to two kids so well, I tell you this story today to clear up any such illusions.

My Monday started out great. I was actually able to get up a little before the kids to read my Bible and have some coffee. Micah and I are implementing some big changes in our diet and I was excited to tackle the grocery store with my heavily researched Paleo-esque shopping list in hand. Micah offered to do the shopping for me this week, but I turned him down. Never mind that I would have two kids with me for the first time at the grocery store. I had a baby wrap, a toddler that needed to get out of the house anyway, and a long, detailed list to help us overhaul our health around the Russum household. This trip would be a piece of sugar free, gluten free, dairy free cake.

The first few errands went fine. I picked up cash from the ATM, filled my gas tank, and we handled the big grocery store pretty well. I wore Talitha in the Solly Wrap and told Zianne she could ride a car-cart for the day {yes, that obnoxious contraption where there is a plastic car affixed to the front of your shopping cart and you run into things all over the store while your toddler hangs out the side of the vehicle dragging their hands on the ground}. Never mind that the first car she got into was missing its steering wheel. After we juggled carts three times, we finally got Zianne in the "green and yellow!" car and we were off through the store. Talitha slept the whole time and I only bought three processed foods. Win. For the first time ever, I accepted the offer of help out to my car, and a kind grocery store worker pushed my cart for me and loaded my trunk with groceries. Why have I never taken them up on that service before?

Things were going perfectly and we had just one more stop - Trader Joe's, where we would round out our supply of Paleo-friendly food staples. Talitha was due to eat, so I kept the AC blowing while I nursed in the front seat. Z started to get crabby in the back, but I provided her with a perfectly timed "pouch" and preservative-free cereal bar and all was well. For the mom that usually forgets to pack snacks for crucial moments, I was pretty proud of myself. This grocery shopping with two kids thing was a breeze. I decided I would wear Talitha again and jumped out of the car to slip her into the wrap. As I was dancing around the car in 100 degrees, trying to juggle the toddler and grab my purse and remember the list, I suddenly felt a little lurch from my baby bundle and then the alarming feeling of warm liquid dripping down my chest all the way to my stomach. Baby vomit. The projectile-from-the-pit-of-that-tiny-infant-stomach kind where they puke out all the milk of their last three feedings. I cringed and pulled Talitha out of the wrap. This was a setback but it would not stop me. I would put T back in her car seat and finish buying the items on the healthiest shopping list known to man! Never mind that the entire front of my shirt was covered in regurgitated breast milk...

We made our way into the store where I dumped Talitha's car seat into a "big" cart, while Z gleefully picked out a toddler-sized cart to push around the store. Please keep in mind that Trader Joe's is a small store. If you've never been in one, they pretty much all look the same. Produce on one side, wine and beer on the other side, and about three aisles down the middle. To match their small square footage, they provide small-sized carts, because how much could you possibly buy at a store with three aisles? They also provide even smaller carts for kids to push around the store, because what could possibly be more convenient than erratic toddlers with tiny shopping carts underfoot in a small, yet always crowded, grocery store? Zianne has only had her own TJ's cart once before and she did great! We were picking up a few items, I put them all in her cart, she pushed it calmly around the store and unloaded the whole cart by herself at the checkout counter. That was when life was easy and one of my kids was still in the womb...

Today, Zianne did the opposite of last time. She pushed the cart all around the store and half the time I had no idea where she was because my other daughter was so busy screaming her head off. Every time I bent over to frantically shove Talitha's pacifier in her mouth, Z would turn a corner and disappear out of sight. At one point, I left Talitha crying in the dairy section and found Zianne two aisles over stuffing her cart full of all-natural health supplements such as milk thistle capsules. I kept trying to steer Zianne toward me but I physically couldn't keep track of two carts. Since Zianne's cart was so full of items we weren't actually buying, I had to start piling food on top of Talitha's car seat. Usually I wouldn't set a package of ground turkey on the canopy of my child's infant carrier but these were desperate times. I had to put the eggs underneath the cart on the little rack that is usually reserved for large items such as dog food and charcoal for the grill.

Eventually Zianne's cart, which was filled with supplements and coconut oil and whatever else she could get her tiny hands on, got too heavy for her. At one point, she was trying to walk on her knees while pushing it through the produce section before she eventually abandoned the overflowing cart in the back of the store and walked around saying "I poopy. I poopy." Turns out she was accurate. Sorry kid. 

Meanwhile, Talitha was still screaming as I crisscrossed back and forth across the world's tiniest grocery store because I couldn't keep track of my list and why the heck were we eating all this healthy food anyway? Half the customers were looking at me with sincere pity in their eyes, a few were surely disgusted with me, and a couple of kind older ladies tried to convince Zianne to push her cart to the front of the store {bless you!}.

We finally made it to the checkout where Zianne somehow found room to stuff a few more items into her cart. Who can say no to the candy bait while you wait in line? I monitored as each item came out of her cart and told the attendant which items we were not actually buying. We made our way out of the store and into the hot car where our other groceries had now been sitting in the 100 degree trunk for close to an hour. 

I made it home with both girls and put Zianne down for a nap almost instantly. It was time for T to nurse again, so I let the world's healthiest grocery items sit out on the counter for almost another hour before I got them put away. They say fermented foods are healthy for you, right? As I emptied the final bag of Trader Joe's items, I pulled out an unexpected package. Plantain chips? They were not on my list but somehow made their way home from Zianne's cart. I served them for Zianne's snack later that day and she gobbled them all up. I think her antics were just a ploy to sneak home a Paleo snack of her own.

So in case anyone thought I was transitioning to this mom-of-two thing gracefully, I hope this clears things up for you. Next time Micah offers to grocery shop for me, I'm taking him up on it.

Jul 20, 2015

Postpartum life and a shout-out to my husband

I am a simple girl. I've figured out I have a short list of things that need to happen consistently to keep me feeling sane and healthy...

Time in the morning to read the Bible
The opportunity to work out 3-4 times a week
A relatively clean house {bathrooms cleaned weekly, bedding changed bi-weekly, kitchen clean, caught up on laundry, house picked up at nap time and bed time... and who really cares about the floors?}
A social event with a girl friend at least once a week
A date night with the husband once a month

That's about it... anything else is extra. Everyone's list looks different. Some people need time to be creative or need to decompress by watching TV or movies... if those things happen once or twice a year for me, I'm fine with it. Some people love to bake or cook, but don't care at all about having a tidy house. Some people love to read or seek out alone time. I really think everyone should make a list of approximately five daily or weekly activities that are essential to their well-being.

Here's the thing... postpartum life messes up all these rhythms that keep me sane. I am way too exhausted to get up before my kids, so my Bible reading happens as quickly as possible with Talitha draped across my lap nursing while Zianne watches Sesame Street in other room. My house is relatively clean but all the baby stuff increases my blood pressure just a tiny bit. My social calendar is a little more sparse, although I'm getting better about leaving the house with both kids.

And working out? This is probably the game changer for me. If I am exercising, I feel so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally. I reactivated my gym membership a couple of weeks ago {I froze it for a month around my due date to save money}, and I'm hoping to maintain some kind of light work out schedule for the rest of the summer. I plan to increase my exercise in the fall when I'm back to teaching and done with the feeding-every-3-hours infant nursing schedule. However, my mom is my go-to babysitter and she's gone on a month-long trip. Talitha is too young for gym childcare and it's way too hot to consider exercising outside, especially if I have kids in tow. I was feeling stuck. I want to get back to the gym on a regular basis so badly but couldn't figure out a way to make it work. I was expressing my frustration to Micah one day and he came up with the sweetest solution. He offered to meet me at the gym on his lunch break and hold Talitha while I work out. Zianne would go to child care, which she loves, I would get on the treadmill, and Micah would hold Talitha in the gym cafe and feed her a bottle. I was hesitant at first. "You would really do that for me?" Micah shrugged it off. "I've been wanting more bonding time with Talitha anyway..." 

So the whole Russum family had our first gym date last week. Zianne played, Micah and Talitha bonded, and I ran my heart out for 14 minutes and did a quick abs and legs workout... bless my husband!

We are figuring out how to juggle two kids under two. Some days feel like we are in survival mode, but when I'm running at the gym and see my husband across the room snuggling our infant, I am tempted to think we are actually thriving!

Jul 18, 2015

Saturday Snippets

{via Bast + Bruin}

Seven subtle symptoms of pride

The cutest kid decor you ever did see...

31 summer crockpot recipes...

The cutest little cacti postcards...

A cute tank with a subtle pattern...

A nursing friendly dress...

A new car seat concept...

Be careful not to take God's promises out of context...

A casual summer tee...

I read this article on pregnancy "rules" a couple years ago but it was fun to revisit...

Lovin' this new shop of unique wall hangings...

A shout-out to my fellow liberal arts majors...

Yay Target! Breastfeeding moms love ya...

Jul 16, 2015

Talitha Joy - One Month

Growing // Talitha came into the world at eight pounds even. On her three day appointment with her pediatrician, she was 7 lb. 15 oz. - just an ounce below her birth weight. On day six, she was 8 lb. 6 oz, and at her one month well check she clocked in at 10 lb. 15 oz. (approximately 92nd percentile). She was 21 inches at birth and at one month she is 22.8 inches (95th percentile).

Eating // Talitha eats super well, as evidenced by her weight gain, but she is not a bottomless pit like her sister. With Zianne, I was a stickler about her getting a "full feeding" on both sides, but sometimes Talitha can't keep up with that. I try to nurse her on both sides, but sometimes she can only handle one and if  I feed her too much she will literally puke on me and fall asleep instantly. I'm learning to back off my rigid sleep/eat schedule and let her be "Tiny T" for awhile...

Wearing // I took full advantage of the fact that Talitha was not quite as big as her sister and I squeezed her into any and all newborn size outfits I could for the first two weeks {but honestly, we only have like 5 items in NB size since Russums don't typically make small babies}. Now she is wearing 0-3 month items and I'm sure we will be transitioning to 3-6 months within the next few weeks, since she is already 11 pounds. We moved from NB to Size 1 diapers around 2 weeks.


Doing // Other than the eat/sleep routine, Talitha enjoys being held. If she starts crying in the bouncer, she will stop the second another human picks her up. She prefers to be propped up on the left shoulder if she's trying to fall asleep, and if she's fussy she calms down as soon as I put her in the Solly Baby Wrap. We introduced Talitha to the bottle right at two weeks. She takes a bottle a few times a week and doesn't seem to mind it. She likes the pacifier much more than her sister ever did. I don't use it at night, but it helps when she is fussy or hungry and mom needs a couple more minutes to get to her. Talitha also attended two movies at the theater in her first month of life. When she was about ten days old, Micah's sisters convinced me to go see Inside Out with them. Talitha was a champ in the movie. We held her the whole time and she nursed once. She did such a good job that a few days later Micah and I decided to go see Jurassic World. We had planned to see it before she was born, but when she came one day early our plans were foiled. I was worried it would be loud for her, but we kept her bundled up with a blanket over her ears and she slept the WHOLE time. I couldn't even convince her to eat during the movie. The girl is completely indifferent to dinosaurs. 

Loving // Being held, the Solly Wrap, looking at Dad, the ceiling fan, having her cheek stroked

Loathing // The hours between 7-10pm, being fed too much milk, when sister puts toys in her face or swats at her head {we are working on being "gentle"}

Nicknames // Tiny T, Sweet T, Squeaky T, T-Rex, Baby

Mishaps // We've only had one super rough night in our transition to a family of four, and it happened when Talitha was about 4 or 5 days old. It was around 10pm and Talitha was hungry. She was starting to cry right when Zianne woke up in her crib bawling. Z happened to get a cold the weekend Talitha was born, so our toddler was a worse sleeper than the baby those first few days we were home from the hospital. Zianne has never woke up as upset as she was this night. She only wanted mom, of course, and Talitha needed to eat. My hormones were crazy and Micah was stressed but couldn't really help and all three girls just sat on the couch crying for a few minutes.  Thankfully, this was our only instance like this. I was expecting the first month to involve way more tears than it did!

Milestones // Met Grandma, GaGa, Pa, Auntie Kayla, Aunt Malea, Cousin Haaken, Aunt Wanda, Krunkle; umbilical cord fell out with ease {much better than Z's}, newborn shoot with Shal-Shal, first two movies in the theater; lots of smiles; has already slept a six and a seven hour stretch at night! {although it's still not the norm}; goes to church every week; went for a brief swim in Ga and Pa's pool

Jul 15, 2015

Dear Talitha {one month}

Dear Talitha,

I had forgotten what it was like to have a newborn. I forgot about all the squeaking noises and the gurgling milk and the coos and the cries. I could vaguely recall "womb knees" in my mind, but I had forgotten what it feels like to have them folded up against my chest. I forgot how tiny you would be, even though you are not very tiny at all compared to most babies.

In some ways, you are so familiar. You are big like your sister, though not as big. You are a good eater and sleeper. You are pretty relaxed and you love to smile, unless it's between the hours of 7pm and 10pm. You wear Zianne's hand-me-down clothes and sit in the bouncer and are as easy as can be most of the time. I've slipped back into infant mode almost seamlessly. This tired, slow season is familiar and good.

But in other ways, you are unfamiliar. For all the similarities you have with your sister, you also have so many differences. I love watching your unique personality unfold. You don't like too much milk and quickly throw up on me or cry if I try to overfeed you. You are strong and alert and have been pushing your head up on your own since the day you were born. You love to be held or worn, and we spend your fussy evening hours doing housework together. I clean up dinner and your sister's tornado of toys with you strapped to my chest. I feel your breaths slow and calm as you listen to my heartbeat, and I savor the fleeting days I can fold you up like a newborn and press you close to me in your little cocoon. Your dad and I are learning new things every day as we juggle a toddler and a baby. We literally swap your little body back and forth as we tackle bath time and bed time each night. We are learning to communicate better and are giving each other more patience and grace than ever before. This is just the start of the many ways we will grow and change and learn now that you are a part of our lives. This busy, changing season is unfamiliar... like the best mystery just starting to unfold.

I love you, sweet baby girl. I cherish this season with you and eagerly anticipate the seasons to come.

All my love, 

Jul 14, 2015

Running While Pregnant {Round 2}

My original "Running While Pregnant" post has recently been popping up on Pinterest, so I thought it might be time for an update now that I successfully ran throughout my second pregnancy.

Many things were the same... I didn't run long distances or particularly fast. I am not one of those women who runs a half marathon at seven months pregnant. I ran 4 days a week until my third trimester when I dropped to 3 days a week. I usually did light weights after running at least two days a week. I ran on the treadmill because I am gym rat... and I live in the desert where it is way too hot to run outside most of the time.

Some things were different this time... although I've been a consistent runner for over ten years now, I went into this pregnancy in very good running shape. I got super motivated after Zianne was born and was running some of my fastest paces ever before I got pregnant again {which again is not fast, but I was running around a 8:30 mile pace for 3-4 mile runs, which is fast for me as I'm usually a 9-10 minute miler}. I also ran much more in my first trimester, but tapered off my distance earlier in my pregnancy. However, I actually ended up jogging until almost the very end of my pregnancy this time, because I was in better running shape overall and I didn't deal with severe hip pain this time around.

Weeks 0-14: I ran a lot. I ran a 5K on the day I missed my period {4 weeks pregnant} and was disappointed that my time was about a minute slower than I was hoping for. I had no idea I was pregnant and thought I was sluggish due to traveling and not eating well during the month of September. I immediately signed up for another 5K happening a few weeks later, determined to beat my time, and convinced a bunch of my girlfriends to run it with me. A week and a half later I found out I was pregnant and had committed myself to running another race on the day I would be 10 weeks. Since I was already in good running shape, I just laughed and went with it. I did not beat my time like I wanted to, but I was only 2 seconds slower at 10 weeks pregnant, so I considered the whole ordeal a success. I continued to run 3 miles at a 9:15-9:30 pace until the end of my first trimester and then I cut back to 2.5 miles.

Weeks: 15-28: This is where I tapered off more quickly than my first pregnancy. I ran 2.5 miles for a while, but then dropped down to doing 20 minutes runs by 20 weeks. I was running just under a 10 minute mile pace, so I would run just over two miles each run {example: 20 mins, 2.03 miles, 20w5d}.

Weeks: 28-34: During this time I reached my goal of running up until two months before my due date. I dropped to 15 minute runs and slowed my pace, so I would usually run just under 1.5 miles. Up until 30 weeks, I ran a 10:15ish pace, and after 30 weeks I dropped to a 10:30 pace.

Weeks 35-40: After I hit 34 weeks, we went on trip and I told myself I didn't have to run any more when we got back. But then we returned and I still felt like running. I dropped down to running just one mile at a 10:45ish pace. At one month before my due date {about 35 1/2 weeks} I planned to stop running and move fully to incline walking as I had done during my first pregnancy, but in those final weeks before my due date, I still felt like jogging a little bit {which I think is due to the fact that I was running so much before pregnancy}. I would often only do cardio two times a week at the very end, and I would walk a lap, jog a lap, walk a lap, jog a lap for a total of one mile. The last day I did my jog/walk cardio was June 8th at 39w2d. Talitha was born four days later on June 12th.

Postpartum: With my first pregnancy, I took a full six weeks off from all exercise. I didn't even consider it, since the doctor told me not to. I had third degree tearing during my first delivery and was completely overwhelmed by breastfeeding the first time around, so running did not even cross my mind during those first few weeks. However, on the day of my six week check-up with my OB, I went directly to the gym afterward and ran one mile as fast as I could. This time around I thought I would take a full six weeks off again, but I found myself feeling antsy to start exercising after just two weeks. My delivery was much easier this time, but I retained more weight and just felt ready to get active. I waited until 3 1/2 week postpartum and returned to the gym. On my first day back, I ran for 12 minutes at a 10:03 pace (1.19 miles), did planks, lunges, and a light leg workout. I will probably continue to do short distance runs and light weights for the next couple of months. When Talitha is three months old and can attend childcare at the gym {and breastfeeding is less demanding}, I will ramp up my running again. I'm hoping to do a half marathon this winter at seven months postpartum.

I never imagined I would start running again so soon after labor, but every pregnancy is different and every woman in different. I would encourage you to do what feels healthy and safe when exercising during pregnancy. Go fast if it feels good; go slow if it feels more comfortable. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about what types of exercise are safe for you, but also know that a lot of it depends on your own body and your previous exercise regimen. I was able to run faster and longer this time around because of my running habits between pregnancies.

If you have any questions, please ask below!

Jul 11, 2015

Saturday Snippets

Two sound and wise responses to the marriage ruling - here and here..

An excellent and helpful post on grief...

Down with the annual review...

White denim for summer...

Love this classic striped shower curtain...

Three ingredient shortbread cookies...

Add some beach-inspired art to your home...

Powder to creme blush {at Walmart!}...

Five things you should do every day to keep you sane even when life is crazy...

Jul 10, 2015

Flowers Fade Friday: Clinging to Good News in the Face of Bad News

Just over a week ago, I received a scary letter.

The doctors who processed Talitha's cord blood found an abnormal result in my own blood work taken at the hospital when she was born.

But because of HIPPA, their letter told me nothing more. "Abnormal... call your doctor... for more information... and treatment..."


Over the next few days, I went through a few different levels of anxiety. The worst was the first twenty or so hours after receiving the letter when my doctor's office hadn't received any paper work on me and no one could tell me what the "abnormal" result was. A quick Google search informed me I did NOT want any of the diseases they screen for during a donation, so those hours of not knowing anything were the very hardest. Then came the results. I might have a disease. A disease that would change my life forever. However, because false positives on these tests are common, I found myself flying down the freeway with both kids in the car on a Friday morning to have my blood re-tested at my OB's. Then came the waiting. Our 4th of July weekend was fun, but in the back of my mind I was pleading with the Father... "Please let these next results be negative. Please tell me it was a false positive. Please protect me." But also... "Please equip me and prepare me if the results turn out to be positive."

I tried not to dwell too much on what positive test results would mean... Would we be able to have more kids? Would insurance cover treatment? Would we be able to move or could I start in a new job in the next year or two? These thoughts fluttered through my mind and I would try to squash them with faith. "Please, Lord, confirm it was a false positive."

The test did, indeed, turn out to be a false positive. Two more in-depth screenings revealed that I didn't have this disease. But all is grace... the scary letter on Thursday, the flying down the freeway on Friday, a holiday weekend sobered by the possibility of a life-altering illness, calls back and forth with my OB office all day Monday, and the kind nurse who called me after hours, at 5:18pm to be exact, with good news... all is grace.

Five days of living in the unknown made me cling to what I do know. In those days of waiting, in those moments of anxiety drenched in prayer and pleading with the Father, this is what I remembered:

Nothing can happen to me that hasn't been sifted through God's hands. My Father is working for my good, always. And if it's his will, his goodness can be bestowed upon me in the form of a disease. He cares far more about the state of my heart than the wellness of my body. Brokenness in my body might be the way he leads me to experience more of his love and share that love with others,

We are never safe. Last week my sister-in-law left on an eleven month mission trip around the world. She will serving in some of the most broken, corrupt, and poor nations on earth. She will work with sex-trafficking victims, HIV patients, and people whose lives have been torn apart by disease, natural disaster, and poverty. Although she received a gamut of vaccines before she left, she knows she's not truly safe. She could easily pick up a disease as she serves abroad. But this week, I remembered that I'm not safe either. Although Kayla's chances of illness or injury or even death are higher as she travels, my little life at home is not safe either. Although my comfortable bubble of grad school and mothering and working mostly from home in a good community might make me feel safe, that is all illusion. I could die in a car accident at any moment. I could pick up a disease, even if it's statistically unlikely. God never promised my safety. He said to lose my life for his sake. He said I would suffer, but he would uphold me. He said no matter what sickness and trial come on this earth, my future glory makes the troubles of this world light and momentary. I am not safe in this world, but I am loved and certain of an eternity with no sickness, pain, or tears. 

I already have good news. All weekend long I prayed for good news. I wanted the follow-up test results to be negative. I wanted to hear that I did not have a disease. I prayed constantly and desperately for this. But then I realized something. I already have good news. The gospel of Jesus is all the good news I need in my life. I am sinner, hopelessly unable to make myself right and unworthy to stand before my Creator. But God, who is rich in mercy, sent his Son on my behalf. Jesus lived the perfect life, died in my place, and stands next to the Father advocating for me in heaven. That is good news. All I have to do is believe. That is good news. I am washed clean by Christ and my sins will never be counted against me. That is good news. Nothing and no one can separate me from the love of the Father secured for me by Christ Jesus. That is good news. I will live in the loving presence of God the Father and his holy Son for all eternity. That is good news. No test result can change that. No disease, no matter how crippling, can change the security of my soul. No trial on this earth can tarnish the treasure I have in heaven. I have all the good news I need.

But by God's grace, he gave me an extra dose of good news when that sweet nurse called me on a Monday evening. I praise God for my health, and I praise him for giving me a few days to test my faith, to meditate on his promises, and to remember that no bad news can separate me from the love of Christ.

Jul 6, 2015

July Goals

A quick overview of last month's goals {I think I did pretty well considering I had a baby!} and an easy, fun list of goals for this month...

June Recap

I accomplished... 
sent encouragement notes
ordered all wedding gifts
finished chapter 5 of my dissertation!!!
pre-labor brow wax and pedicure
got a Solly Baby Wrap and linen ring sling and learned how to use them 
applied to the IR16 doctoral colloquium
recorded prayers and answers
June dates with Micah and Z

What didn't get done...
Z's baby book - although I did work on it
Finishing my June book for fun
Memorizing Romans 8:12

July Goals
Encouragement notes to Micah and a friend
Finish Z's baby book
Start Talitha's baby book
Fall syllabus
Organize Dropbox folders
Memorize Romans 8:12
Record prayers and answers
Read a book for fun
Date with Micah {5 year anniversary!}
Date with Zianne
Send out Talitha's birth announcements
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