Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Have you lost that lovin' feeling?

I have historically not been a huge Valentine's Day fan. In high school, I just cringed at all the flowers and jewelry being given to girls in between classes. All that "love" in the air was just enough to make me want to throw up. I know I sound like the grinch of Valentine's Day and truth be told I probably was. My disgust for Valentine's Day was probably rooted in some jealousy and some self-protection...if I don't want it then it won't hurt as much when I don't get it. But despite that, I still felt that so many people were missing out on TRUE LOVE and reveling in the feeling of LOVE. 

When Ross and I started dating and eventually were married, we both agreed that Valentine's Day was kind of annoying and a "made-up" holiday, however we still enjoyed using it as an excuse to dress up and go out to a nice dinner. Ross, being the free-spirited one, does not like the idea of "one-day" designed for all people to express love for one another. That is too confining for him. At the same time, he still allows us to celebrate it because we do love each other.  

Fast-forward to this Valentine's Day...I am married and have an 8 month old baby. I have the two loves of my life. I am often tired, disheveled, running behind, and forgetting things. I feel like I am constantly a day late and a dollar short. And that "LOVE" feeling isn't exactly what I was feeling on Valentine's Day. I wasn't even sure I wanted to go out to dinner. 

But is LOVE really something that can be limited to a "feeling". Let's take a look at what the Bible has to say about LOVE.  

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Hmmm...that doesn't sound like a "feeling" at all. It sounds more like an action. So maybe the reason I wasn't FEELING love is because I was neglecting to ACT in love. It is sure easy to be in love when everyone is happy and healthy, the house is clean, we are well rested, and getting along...but what about when are circumstances are less than perfect? What about when REALITY hits and the dishes are piling up and the trash is beginning to stink? What about when you've been up all night with a teething baby? What about when you and your husband have been so busy that you've barely had a chance to talk outside of whose turn it is to entertain the baby? And the list of challenges goes on...

It is in these tough moments though that TRUE love can be displayed. Isn't it true that while we were still sinners, Christ DIED for us? Isn't that the perfect example of love? Wow, I've definitely missed the mark with God SOOOO many times, yet he doesn't hold it against me and even DIED for me knowing that I would sin again and again.    

A friend recently asked me, which of these characteristics of love resonates most with me. I looked at each one and was blown away that I hadn't been acting in love in ANY of these ways! Many examples flooded my mind of "being easily angered", "being envious", and "keeping records of wrongs". I realized that instead of focusing on how I'd "lost that lovin' feeling", I needed to be LOVING my family the way that Christ loves us. 

I am so thankful for God's powerful word and specifically for this reminder of what LOVE really is.  Happy Late Valentine's Day. :) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Patience and Breast-friends.

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advices - either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."

All throughout my pregnancy I knew that I wanted to nurse Julian for a long time. My mind was made up about nursing because I knew all the health benefits for myself and that there was not a SUPERFOOD on this earth that I could give Julian that would compare with my own breastmilk. It was a no-brainer!

Breastfeeding has certainly brought it's share of challenges to me and to our family, however it has also brought us a lot of JOY! Today as I was cradling my little wiggle-worm and nursing him...I thought of all the hugs that I would have missed out on if I wasn't nursing him. It's hard to keep up with my little boy who is always on the move...but I get the special privilege of having extended time holding him up against me and cuddling with him several times a day and even at night. 

As a participant in the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival:

One challenge I had in the early months of nursing was being able to wear the right clothing and being able to nurse with ease in public. One of the most simple suggestions that a friend gave me ended up being some of the best advice. Here it is: TARGET nursing tanks and breastpads. This simple wardrobe change allowed me to be able to nurse him discreetly in public and always have my torso covered. It eliminated having to take off a shirt as well as a bra. Why didn't I think of that?? Now I just lift my shirt up and unsnap one side of the tank and we're ready to go!  

My 2 best words of advice for women who are breastfeeding would be: 

1. Be patient with yourself AND your baby. You are both learning something new and it may not flow perfectly the first time. For me anyway, it took a LOT of practice, patience, and persistence. 

2. Surround yourself with your BREAST-friends. These are the family and friends that encourage and support your decision to breastfeed. They are your cheerleaders when you have a cracked nipple. They are your support group when you are criticized by un-informed extended family members. It is Kelly-mom. It is all the breastfeeding blogs. It's your LC. My BREAST-friends have been out of this world amazing and have helped me push through tough times and make it to 8 months of breastfeeding and counting.

Check out some other supportive and encouraging breastfeeding posts in my next post!