Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 3

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 3 |theprimarilyinspired.com|

This weekend marks the last weekend before Thanksgiving and how is it that it’s already almost Thanksgiving?! It truly does seem like time is constantly in a state of fast-forward and keeping up is difficult at times. But, nonetheless it’s been a fun few days that kept us busy and even Greyson decided to thrill us with something new – crawling! My heart is full and never a dull moment in this house…so here are the scenes from our weekend!

weekend running partner and views

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 3 |theprimarilyinspired.com|

It’s been about four weeks since I began running with C25K and although I’ve had to go back and forth between intervals, I’m beginning to see a change! I’ve lost about 2 lbs, my endurance is beginning to improve, and there are a few pants where the waist doesn’t feel as snug. I personally loathe running, or really any kind of activity, but I hate the way I was feeling about my postpartum body more – we all have to have that first day and I’m glad I’m finding the inspiration to push through.

This weekend, however, I started noticing a pain in my left knee which has caused a slight derailment to my running routine. I’m thinking I need one of those knee compression thingys to help with putting pressure on it and to keep me from doing more damage. If anyone has any recommendations for knee support please pass any advice along!

Crawl so hard…

You guys, my mommy heart just can’t even contain my excitement for this moment. Grey had been doing his army crawl for a little while now and I knew he was on the cusp of getting up on his knees and just the other night it happened! He’s still getting used to his newfound skill and is very excited to move around on his own. He also has learned to go from tummy to sitting on his bottom and back again! Soaking it all up before he really takes off!

celebrating Rooted, a baptism, and the church nursery!

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 3 |theprimarilyinspired.com|
Image Source: Janet Baucom

I can’t believe 10 weeks has passed since I began Rooted, a Bible study of sorts, at my church. I was seeking community and looking for a way to become more connected with my church, and the wonderful people that fill it, and Rooted allowed me to achieve just that. I had an amazing time with these people (although not everyone could make it to our celebration dinner/photo) and had the honor of listening to their stories as well as sharing my own. Rooted was a great experience that deepened my faith and understanding of God in my life and gave me the opportunity to gain new friendships with these lovely people.

It was also a privilege to be standing there in support of a friend from our group who was baptized at this past Sunday’s service. What a deeply moving opportunity to be a part of. I could barely keep it together as tears filled my eyes witnessing everyone from children to the elderly accept Jesus as their savior. It’s such a powerful moment for us as a family and for me personally.

Oh! And Sunday was our first time putting Greyson in the nursery during services. I knew Grey would do amazingly well as he’s so comfortable with new people; it was me that had the separation anxiety. Nonetheless, I prayed for a calmed heart as we successfully dropped him off and enjoyed our first uninterrupted service! Besides, I knew Grey would love to play and socialize with the other babies a lot more than being stuck with us. We’re both excited to continue placing him in the nursery every Sunday from now on. Yay for a successful Mommy Milestone and praises to God for His calming hand on our initial anxiety.

#verydanielxmas planning

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 3 |theprimarilyinspired.com|

All weekend I’ve been so excited to get started on the planning of our #verydanielxmas movie menu and activities! Be sure to follow along on Instagram using the #verydanielxmas hashtag to see what we’re up to this season! I first narrowed down the Christmas movies and from there I’ve been browsing Pinterest for appetizer and treat ideas as well as themed cocktails. We loved the food/drink/movie pairing from Halloween this year and thought to continue the trend into Christmas.

…speaking of Christmas

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 3 |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Can we go back to how amazed I am that it’s already Thanksgiving this week? Well, it definitely crept up on me and usually by November 1st I’m chomping at the bit to start decorating for Christmas. Every year I always try to convince my husband to allow me to decorate early, with no avail, until this year. This year November just cruised right past me and it was this weekend that I actually noticed that we’ve arrived at Thanksgiving. So, in my shock that I actually almost missed my opportunity to grovel and persuade the Christmas cheer early, I was able to sneak it in and begin decorating!

I’m excited to share a more in-depth holiday home tour like I did last year, so stay tuned for that post later on!

Linking up with Emily.

 

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When Church Challenges Your Faith

When Church Challenges Your Faith |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Has your faith ever been challenged? Either by someone or a set of circumstances? I would like to take a guess that the collective answer would be ‘yes, of course!’ However, when was the last time your church challenged your faith?

A couple of Sunday’s ago this happened to me. I wasn’t expecting it nor was I prepared to confront the messages I heard during that particular Sunday’s service. First, I just have to say how wonderful my church is and how grateful I am to attend with the hundreds of other families that walk through those doors. My family and I have been met with open and welcoming arms as we continue to grow in our faith, but freely doing so at our own pace and without judgement. Second, this particular Sunday’s service was not lead by our pastor, but lead by the president of our denomination and his name is Steve Jones. To be frank I had never heard of the guy prior to that service but considering he was the president I was excited to see what he was going to speak about.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

That day’s message put simply was all about making your faith visual. For others to recognize and be able to visually see how God is working in your life so that you may have opportunities to share His love and Word with others. After all, He calls us to live in a way that sometimes goes against the grain of our worldly culture and oftentimes Christians can feel scrutinized or judged. Steve Jones compared this to being under surveillance and that the world is constantly waiting for the church to misstep and so it’s our responsibility to have a Christ-like attitude whether it be through our thoughts, actions, or words.

However, he didn’t lead with that. No, instead he began with an undercurrent of judgement against a group of people who, perhaps, needs to hear of God’s love the most which is the LGBT community.

He began his message discussing various news articles that related to Christian business owners and professionals who were faced with spiritual moral decisions.

He mentioned a plastic surgeon who could easily tell an anorexic patient who wanted liposuction that he could refer her to a counselor citing she didn’t need the procedure. Meanwhile, if someone came in wanting gender reassignment surgery the same doctor couldn’t tell them, “it was a bad idea“. He goes on to say that the doctor could lose his medical license if he were to refer a counselor or try to talk that person out of making such a “radical decision.” Another other example he uses refers to Christian colleges and schools who are being told they could risk losing their state aide if they don’t accommodate the (his air quotes) “living desires” of certain groups of people. Read here: the LGBT community. (To see the remainder of his message you can watch here).

I found his statements were offensive simply because they were judgmental towards a group of people he clearly had his own opinions about. This subject is a tense one only because everyone has their own ideas and opinions about how they relate to it. Some welcome the LGBT community openly while others choose to remove themselves. Some advocate or identify with being an ally whereas others condemn and shun. I believe he, like anyone else, is entitled to their opinions but I don’t need them in my church service.

I find myself on the side of welcoming all who are different openly and without judgement because, as my pastor put in his service prior to this (when discussing favoritism), we should not treat different people differently. It is, and never will be, my duty to worry myself with the business of others, however it is my responsibility to demonstrate the love God has for each and every one of us and to reflect that onto others as best that I can.

Steve Jones had me more than just pissed…he directly challenged my faith.

My immediate response was frustration, sadness, and worry. I was frustrated because I felt Steve Jones misused this opportunity to speak to us as a congregation. He opted to ostracize and judge a group of people he’s probably never truly encountered or walked a mile in their shoes. To come to understand the discrimination that community faces every single day – especially by the church.

Then I felt sad because who is to say that someone who identifies with the LGBT community were to walk into church for the first time and heard a message like this? I don’t imagine they would return or continue to seek a God he described.

Lastly, I was worried because this church of ours has become a welcoming and loving place that we intend on establishing roots as a family. We are excited for Greyson’s future there once he’s ready for school and, not to mention, our responsibility and roles for raising him within the faith. Is this a message we want him to be learning? Is this the image of God’s love we want him exposed to? Short answer: no.

Leaving church that morning left my husband and I with a bad taste in our mouths. I had never felt that way before, especially at our church. I prayed on it and brought all of my feelings and ideas to Him in hopes for clarity on the subject of His love. I had the opportunity to speak my heart to my Rooted group (a Bible study groups of sorts at my church) and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t let this go. I couldn’t sweep those comments under the rug and our lead pastor needed to know, at the very least, what my husband and I felt on Sunday.

And then I found my voice…

This past Sunday he met with us and after meeting with him over lunch I am grateful that he affirmed our understanding of God. He thanked us for bringing our honest hearts to him, which only made us fall that much more in love with our church body at Ventura Missionary. Spiritually, he met us where we were and guided us to understanding and relief from the hurt and confusion we initially felt. Almost two hours were spent not only sharing, but we all got to know each other more intimately and for him to know us as a family. My husband had an opportunity to connect and share his heart as he navigates what faith is to him. In the end, I’m grateful for a community that takes care of one another and we felt that this week.

The irony of it all, and quite possibly God’s hand at work, is how much my faith was strengthened from this experience. Although in the least likely of places, my beliefs and understanding of God came into question and through it I sought Him. I was challenged spiritually, but also challenged in my own voice which happened to be the original message to begin with. By speaking up against what I believed to be a misrepresentation of God I learned to connect with my church in a deeper, more meaningful, way and be vocal about what God’s love means to me.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

It is not up for us, mankind, to determine who is entitled to God’s love. He gives it freely. It is not up to us, as Christians, to determine which sin is greater than others. It was Jesus who exclaimed that all sin is equal in the eyes of God. We have no place to play favorites – even when faced with people or ideas that challenge our own understanding.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Romans 15:7

Has there ever been a time where your faith was tested? How did you overcome it? What was the end result?

Linking up with Emily.

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Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both

Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both |theprimarilyinspired.com|

First comes love, then comes marriage, then…down the road and a couple years later when you’re somewhat financially stable and settled from your move across the country you take a vacation and here comes baby.

Well, it at least worked out that way for us.

My husband and I were very open with each other about family and our desire to have children – eventually. We looked forward to when we would become parents and couldn’t wait for that next season of our lives together. Now, as we parent our eight month old and sit in reflection of it all, our marriage has changed a bit. It’s to be expected and a tad unavoidable; and not so much in a bad way, but just different as we find ourselves with a new circumstance within our union.

Speaking for myself, I have found I am quite picky about how to care for our son. Brand new things annoy me that never bothered me before, after spending all day at home with a constant teething son my patience has dropped significantly, and overall I just have my way of doing things at home and with Greyson.

However, I’ve learned that there’s a way to preserve the relationship you have as a wife and mother that leaves room for yourself too…

Keeping my husband my #2 in our marriage.

Not number one? Hear me out.

One of the biggest worries my husband had right before Greyson arrived home was that I would give my son more attention than him; that he would be bumped to the bottom of the totem pole in our family. However, that couldn’t be farther than the truth. My belief is simply that God comes first, my husband second, and my child(ren) third. Keeping that in mind has allowed my husband and I’s relationship to become stronger even having our little Greyson around. Having God first allows His word and teachings to guide my life and marriage, which affects who I am as a woman and wife to my husband, and thus a reflective living example onto our son.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:6

I’ve personally seen how strained a marriage can become when one partner, typically the mother, becomes more affectionate or wrapped up in their child over their spouse. I love my son so much and I would love nothing more than to dedicate all of my waking hours to him, but there are other people (and responsibilities) that demand my affections and time as well. Learning to balance baby and my husband have proven to keep our marriage as strong as ever and (hopefully) keeping my husband feeling loved and attended to.

Continued time for each other without baby.

Time was precious even when we didn’t have kids and now that we have Greyson it’s vital in our marriage that we make sure to spend quality time with each other. These days our time is divided up between my husband and his work, taking care of our Murphy (our pup), and caring for the baby. That leaves just a smidge of time for each other and it’s so important we make the effort to resume our relationship even with the addition of the baby.

We’ve gone wine tasting, to happy hour, dinner, and enjoy snuggling up to an episode of Game of Thrones – all with baby in tow (follow our adventures on Instagram). To us, that’s our new normal and I’m thankful I have a husband who stretches himself to make time for his needs as well as the needs of his family. Our alone time is equally important as it is us, the two adults, that form our marriage and time away from the baby helps remind us we’re more than just parents.

“In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.”
Acts 24:3

Making time for intimacy in our marriage.

Oh, sex. Getting back on this proverbial horse was a difficult one for me. Not because I didn’t miss being intimate with my husband, but for what sex would be like after healing from a vaginal delivery. Things shifted bit down there, breastfeeding makes things interesting, and it was is definitely painful. Connecting with my husband again in that way just makes me feel so much more in love with him even amidst the diapers, spit-up, and tiresome nights. Never mind the scent of breast milk that lingers between my boobs #justsaying – nonetheless, it’s intimacy that keeps us grounded as husband and wife.

Talking about sex…

Besides, you know your husband deep down can’t wait for this day either and talking with him about your feelings on the subject definitely alleviates any kind of pressure or self-consciousness going in. Just because your doctor may give you the go-ahead after 6 weeks doesn’t mean you’re ready – I know I wasn’t. However, discussing how I was feeling and making sure to affirm my husband in other ways kept our bond strong within our marriage and made those more intimate nights special.

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.”
1 Corinthians 7:3 NLT

Which brings us to…

Communication.

Having a baby can definitely make or break a marriage due to the newfound stress, sleepless nights, and new roles in which each person plays. I have always prided our marriage on my husband and I’s ability to talk and discuss what’s on our mind. Even if the conversations are uncomfortable or deal with hurt feelings. Ensuring we’re both on the same page about the baby helps us discuss what’s on our minds. Even if it’s about my husband’s habit of throwing soiled diapers on the floor when changing the baby instead of using the Diaper Genie, which is this innovative little contraption that is designed just for soiled diapers. But, you know.

Don’t let new mommy stress take control…

Maintaining your communication is so important, but it’s also in how you communicate too. Being up with the baby at night or during the day can cause a new mom to be stressed out by the time dad gets home from work. Words can be said and tones can become snappy, but try to keep in mind the day your husband may have had and how excited he is to be home with his family – just to clock into another full time job: parenting.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Learning to let go of the control.

This one is important for me as the mother. I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other day called The Beginning of Life and there’s a portion of the film in which new dads comment about having a baby and their care-taking dynamic versus that of their wives. They talk about how they are less likely to help out with certain things because their wives do it a certain way and they’d just rather let them do it. Not because they don’t want to participate in caring for their child, but because they perceive they won’t “do it the right way.” The irony is we all know there is no real right way to care for a baby.

Allow husbands and fathers to figure out this parenting thing on their own with little intervention from us moms. It’s no secret that I definitely have a way of caring and doing things for Greyson that differs from my husband’s and I just need to learn to let him care for our son. No matter what form that may look like (see diaper story above). I am guilty of trying to have him conform to how I do things, but the fact of the matter is I don’t want my husband to feel inadequate or feel like he needs to get my approval on how to do things as a father. Because after all, I do need his help and am grateful for his role in Greyson’s life.

You’re already fantastic parents…

Parenthood, especially as new parents, is a journey and one in which can switch from exhausting to exciting as quickly as your little one’s temperament. Just remember that you and your spouse are on the same team and if you can survive infancy you’re all set for toddlerhood and beyond. Just keep these few things in mind as your cross the threshold together…I’ll let you know how it goes for us 😉

Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both | It IS possible to maintain both your identity as a mother and wife. Here are a few ways I’ve been able to stay sane within the first three months of being a mom. |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Until then, any words of wisdom for maintaining your sense of self as a mother and wife to share?

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Celebrating A Closed Chapter In Love

Celebrating A Closed Chapter In Love |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Love and relationships come and go from the time our parents allow us (and for some sneakily) to have them. To understand our adult relationships one must acknowledge how the past has played a part in who you become as a partner and what you value in others especially as it relates to love. So, let’s start from the beginning…

My first ‘boyfriend’ was in elementary school and the extent of it was that we held hands and saved a seat for each other on the bus. I shared my first kiss with him and he was the first I really had feelings for that extended beyond our friendship. It was a young love that wouldn’t last, however, and we broke things off practically weeks later (read: sarcasm there). Throughout middle school I didn’t get into the whole dating thing. I chose instead to involve myself in soccer, my schoolwork, and eventually my part-time job at Movie Starz, which was the local video store in town.

During my sophomore year I did meet a boy who shared a few classes with me and ended up winning me over with his humor. After some time we became ‘official’ as boyfriend and girlfriend – a momentous occasion at that age. We did everything together from talking on the phone for hours, walking each other to class, and he was even my first. Although we loved fast and there were many positive memories from early in our relationship, things began to shift.

I began to notice a different side to him. He became controlling and verbally and emotionally abusive. He would check my phone or accuse me of things I never did. It even got to the point where I had to lie to him just to keep myself from an argument. I knew then I had to get out and that even at 16 this wasn’t a healthy relationship. I ended things only to be met with retaliation from him and his friends- having bitch and whore written on my locker, mutual friends choosing sides, and even though I was the victim somehow I was the shameful one.

I recovered from that, although difficult at the time. I continued to focus on my schoolwork and job and eventually I graduated to then head off to college. I had this refreshing mentality of a fresh start – something new on the horizon to look forward to.

During my freshman year I happened to meet an older guy from the area through my sister and mutual friends. He wasn’t in college, but I enjoyed conversations with him, he made me laugh (see a trend here?), and I felt that since he was older I could connect with him in a way that I had difficulty with people my own age. After a number of years, I finally realized that I spent that time falling for someone who couldn’t love me in the same way back. And although we certainly had a lot of ups and some pretty heartbreaking downs, our tumultuous relationship didn’t last – and looking back it was for the best.

I’m not going to sprinkle sugar over how toxic we had become both during and after our breakup. Rather I can only speak for myself and share that although I refused to acknowledge the wrong while we were together, my own character came into question. In fact, I made mistakes, I treated people wrongly, and I threw caution to the wind. I wanted to find value so badly in others that I forgot to even look for it within myself. I had lost a lot of myself, not because of the person (or people) I was with, but because of me. It took me years to process my hurt and anger, but the results all circled back to me. The responsibly of finding value and self-worth were all mine.

I am a huge believer in the ability that God uses people and places them in your life at specific moments. Moments that at first seem unassuming. Meeting my husband when I did was His way of reassuring me during one of the hardest seasons of my life that I was worthy of true, everlasting love. It was a two-fold sense of love because Philip, from the very beginning moments of our first conversations, enveloped me in his compassion, intelligence, matchable quick wit, and most importantly the love he had to offer me. To love and be loved was never work, it flowed naturally. I had never experienced a love like that before and even though it’s four years and a baby later he has never wavered in that same sense of love for me and I him.

The other sense of love I received was from realigning my life in Jesus, giving up that control, and opting for His plan for my life – especially as it relates to people and relationships both with friends and strangers, as well as, in my marriage. Ever since I made that choice to seek Him amidst the challenges in my life I’ve gained so much more and have become a better person because of it.

Did I somehow celebrate the end of such a difficult time in my personal history only to revel in the love I share now? No. Instead I choose to rather celebrate a closed chapter in my life that I can go back and re-read if I so desire through reflection. Although I have made my fair share of mistakes or handled past situations poorly, I don’t look back with regret or even shame. I simply look back as a means to recognize where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and where I have yet to go in my current relationships.

Have you celebrated or commemorated your divorce or a significant breakup? Would you ever?

This post is also a part of a series called NaBloPoMo 2016 hosted by BlogHer. NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month and it challenges writers and creatives to post on their blogs once a day (at least) for the month of November.

Feel free to join in and share your post either here or on my Facebook comment thread for each day’s post! I’d love to see my fellow blogger friends join in!

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