Oh, How He Loves Us

This whole journey to a real relationship with God that I have found myself on recently started with a random trip to the Hope Spoken conference a few months ago. I wrote a little about how I ended up there and my thoughts on it, but I'm not totally sure if I really wrote about my experience there. It is what changed everything for me. I saw a different side of what Christianity could be, how supportive Christian women could be, and the atmosphere was just amazing. I mean, it was beautiful outwardly, but the feeling throughout the entire conference was just so pure and comforting and welcoming, so many things that at that point I certainly did not relate with Christianity or God.

But even as amazing as it was, I still didn't feel it deep down in my soul the way I knew I could. Or should. I loved it so much, but I wasn't feeling that deep God connection that I had felt years and years ago when I was in that place, and on the last morning I was feeling a little let down at that. I thought, maybe it's just been so long that I can't get there? Maybe it's just not for me anymore? There was a time of praise and worship that last morning before the conference ended, and I was sitting at a table by myself, listening to all of these worship songs that I had never heard obviously, because I had been incredibly anti-Christian music for a solid 12 years. Some of them I really liked, and I would make note in my phone to download them. But none of them were touching me deeply.

And then finally, very close to the end, it happened. And I broke. And I cried. And cried. And all I could think was, God, I am so sorry. I am so incredibly sorry. Because the song that finally touched me and let me feel his presence was the song Oh How He Loves Us. And until that moment, I don't think I had ever truly thought about the fact that God actually loved me. And the fact that I had completely turned away from him for over a decade. Obviously as a mama, I thought about how I would feel if my boys walked away from me, wouldn't speak to me, said they didn't need me, didn't want me, didn't miss me - for 12 years. It broke my heart, just the thought. And I did that, I did that to God. Who loves me more than I can even imagine loving anyone or anything.
It blows my mind. All of it. I'm a super logical person who needs to understand things to believe them, I'm a researcher, I like to know the details about things. So it's been easy for me to just not totally believe for all these years. My thing was always, well, IF there's a God....because who can really truly prove to me that there is? 

But then, you feel it. For me, it's hard. It's super hard for me to feel that love, and I'm not sure why. But now that I'm a mama, I can understand it. I can feel it in that way, as a mother loves her child, God loves me. Really? Yes. Really. Once you've felt it, I think you always have a longing for it. Once you've felt the true love of God, there's always a yearning to get back to that place, to experience it again. And it's hard. I'm hoping that's something that will change as I continue down this path, that I don't have to try so hard, to seek so hard, before feeling it deep within. Because I know it's there, surrounding me all the time. It's something in me that's blocking it. And I'm working on identifying that and breaking that down.

Still, the times when I start to feel that stirring in my spirit - which if you've experienced it you know exactly what I'm talking about - seem to always be when I'm listening to music that is focused on God's love for us. For me. Another song that seems to move me every time is Broken Vessels. I keep saying I feel blocked in some ways when it comes to going deeper in my relationship with God, and I think it's because I'm not totally able to accept and feel that love for some reason. So that's where my focus is. And what's working for me is finding some quiet time (which is so hard to come by in this season of my life) and listening to the songs that sing of God's love.

I sometimes feel ridiculous asking questions at the end of a post, because I've been away from this blog for so long that there's a chance no one is reading - but I'm genuinely curious. If you're a believer, is feeling love from God a struggle for you? Or does it seem to just happen organically? If it is a struggle, how have you worked through it? I would love to hear about other people's experiences.

Thankful Thursday

Well that was a bit of a break, wasn't it? Something I'm trying right now is to only do things as I feel like I'm supposed to be doing them, and I haven't had the urge to pick up my laptop and blog lately, to be honest - so I'm taking that as a sign that I need to be focusing on other things. Which I have.

But today! Today is a new day, a glorious day, and a crazy day, because TODAY - I am sitting at a Starbucks about five minutes from my house while our new babysitter is at home taking care of my littles. My sweet dad has been encouraging me to do this for quite awhile, so I finally bit the bullet and found a babysitter that I trust, and I will now be getting out of the house five hours a week to write. Or read. Or do whatever, really, because I have FIVE HOURS a week to do whatever I want! It's kind of blowing my mind a bit.

If you don't have kids, five hours probably sounds like nothing, but to a mama of two little bitty needy things, five hours feels like five years. And will probably pass by in about five minutes. Because on a regular basis I am on the clock literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This. Is. Amazing.

So today, I'm here to be thankful. So Happy Thankful Thursday y'all!


I think we basically covered this above, but I am so thankful for this time to get away and be Celeste instead of mommy, to work on the things I want to work on, to brainstorm and daydream and listen to music or podcasts or blog or read or do WHATEVER. Man, am I thankful for it. Thanks dad, because you made me do it. And you're funding it, which is AMAZINGLY nice of you.

2. My Hilarious & Happy Kids

You guys, I have been so overwhelmed lately with how dang lucky I got in the kiddo department. I will preface this by saying they certainly are not saints, and sweet Grayson makes me want to actually rip my hair out of my head in frustration multiple times every day because HELLO THREENAGER, but - for the most part they are awesome. They are so insanely happy, they are so excited about life, they are so funny - like, make me cry laughing funny. They are just full of joy, and it is contagious, and when I can focus on that instead of the tantrums and the constant mess-making and the sheer exhaustion of mommy-ing all day long, it feels me up to the tippy top with love and joy.

3. My iPad

My super amazing and under appreciated husband bought me a new iPad for Mother's Day (since Grayson took mine over and then the husband accidentally shattered it) and man, I forgot how awesome those things are. It's really hard for me to find time to sit down with an actual book, because - well, kids. They always need me to be doing something (gah, how selfish), and when I do get a chance to sit down for five minutes, it's kind of hassle to get out a book and sit and read. Plus, kids destroy things made of paper, so any actual book I read would certainly be disgusting and covered in food and bodily fluids. But I can just grab my iPad during lunch or while we're outside or when I'm in bed at night and get to reading. Super fab.

4. The Rain

This one was a struggle, because I hate rain. But I'm going to turn my annoyance at the constant gloomy weather we seem to be having in North Texas right now into being thankful that it's not 1 billion degrees yet. Because it's almost June, and technically it could be like 105 by now. Stranger things have happened. So I'll enjoy not sweating to death 24/7 and still being able to take walks during the afternoon (when it's not raining) and Grayson being able to play outside without me wanting to cry (when it's not raining).

So there you have it! I hope you are having a great Thursday, and thanks for sticking with me through my random starts and stops of blogging. I really do want to be more consistent, but who knows. My life is always a surprise, even to me. Have a great, long weekend!

Gavin - Six Months

Half a year already?!? Are you kidding me?? Man, time flies when you've got a teensy baby, doesn't it? It is so hard to believe that we are less than six months away from a year with this guy. He is such a sweetheart, and I still swear that he's the best baby in the entire world. Such a joy!
Oh my Gavin, I'm pretty sure there's not much to say that hasn't already been said. You, my dear, are a true delight. You are smiley and always happy and silly and full of giggles. And oh my goodness, those giggles. You have a good belly laugh, but when something is really hilarious you do this kind of weird throaty cackle kind of laugh. I actually have no idea how to explain the sound, but it reminds me of an old man more than a baby. Maybe a chortle? Not sure what that is really, but that sounds right. It's so, so funny. You LOVE people, and you make sure they know it. It doesn't matter if it's family or friends or people you lock eyes with at Target, you are guaranteed to break into the biggest smile and let that person know you are so HAPPY to see them! I absolutely adore your little personality. Adore.

Even though you are an absolute joy 99% of the time, you are starting to show some other sides of who you are. You aren't the most patient baby (surprise), and you are starting to grunt and squeal in protest if things aren't going your way. You are also starting to protest loudly by either screaming or crying when Grayson takes a toy that you are playing with - which happens at least once a day, of course. If you don't want to be somewhere, whether it's the floor or your swing or your jumper, you will definitely let me know that you would like the situation dealt with immediately.

We've started trying some solids with you, and so far you are less than impressed. I started with homemade purees of avocado and banana, and you felt kind of meh about it. So I gave up for a bit. Then I talked to your pediatrician about your lack of interest and my lack of time to prepare your food, and she said there is nothing wrong with feeding you store bought organic baby food. I must tell you, I never would have done this with your brother, but in true second-child form, you are now being served store bought food. And to be honest? You're still kinda meh about it. If you can physically hold the pouch in your tiny little paws and jam it into your mouth on your own, you will eat a few bites. If I try with a spoon, you press your tiny lips together and I get a big no thanks. So. We're working on it.

At your six month appointment you were just a serious charmer, flirting with the doctor and nurse nonstop. The nurse kept saying you were making her feel terrible about her job, because you got three yucky shots that day. Your doc also said we may have to watch out for you, the way you use that smile of yours. You very well could use it to your advantage, which is scary. Two flirty boys. I see years of worry in mommy's future.

We have no real routine at this point, every day is just too different with your big brother's activities and social life. You typically are up anywhere from 6:30-7:30, eat, play, and then nap again about two hours later. If we are out and about you'll sleep for an hour or maybe even two if you're in your car seat, but if you're home it's more like a 30 or 45 minute nap. Then you'll be up until around lunch time, and the length of the nap totally depends on if we're home or out. You always need one more afternoon nap, but if you've taken a late lunchtime nap and didn't wake up until 2 or so, then you sometimes totally skip the late nap, making our evenings loooooong. You are just like your brother and I can't let you sleep before 7:45 - at all - or you will treat it as a nap and wake up at 9pm, ready to party.

You are finally sitting up on your own, just within the last couple of weeks (and hello, I'm almost three weeks late with this post, so you were just over six months when you got that down).  You absolutely have had the ability for weeks now, but you are so busybusybusy that you never sat still long enough to actually sit. The second we would sit you, you would dive out for whatever object was nearest to you. You are sooooo right on the verge of crawling, too. You are up on all fours, rocking, picking up a hand and putting it down, moving each of your knees forward individually - you just haven't put it all together yet. You always start to go, then just lean over on one of your hips and kind of rest there. But you get wherever you want to go by either spinning around in circles, doing a slow army crawl of sorts, or just kind of lunging forward and sliding.

Even though you are sweet as can possibly be, you are also just a tiny bit crazy. In fact, I tell you how wild and crazy you are several times a day. You are fearless, and attempt to dive out of my arms regularly. If I'm holding you and anything at all is within reach, you will 100% of the time grab it and throw it on the floor. You never, ever sit still, you are constantly trying to get ahold of things that you don't need. And you watch your brother like a hawk, and the crazier, rougher, wilder he his, the harder you laugh. Again, years of worry for mommy coming my way.

One thing that is absolutely hilarious is the way you show excitement. You get sort of still and stiff all over and then you start moving your little hands like crazy. The reason this is so funny is because your brother did the EXACT same thing as a baby, and he still does a version of it to this day, and I've never known another kid to do that. So there is something that your dad and I produce that makes kids have a hilarious, over the top reaction to excitement apparently.

Right now the things that you love most are Grayson (obviously), jumping in your jumper, "jumping" on the bed with Grayson, chewing on anything and everything, bath time, and the Hot Dog song from Micky Mouse Clubhouse - no matter what you are doing, if you hear this song your little head whips around and you stare at the TV intently before starting your excited hand moving thing. The only things that seem to upset you are getting dressed and diaper changes, because you are forced to stay still for more than two seconds, and when you can't have exactly what you want when you want it. Which basically means you fit right in with the rest of us ;)

Every day I think I can't possibly love you anymore, and then you prove me wrong. You truly bring me so much joy, and watching you and your brother develop a true relationship is making me a big puddle of emotions on a regular basis. I'm so very glad that you made your way into our family, and I just can't wait to watch you grow into the amazing little boy I know you're going to be. But don't grow too fast! You're too perfect of a baby to rush this part!


Happy Mother's Day, All You Mommies ;)

I've been wanting to try something new around here, because Grayson is basically hilarious, and I really want to capture it on film to remember forever. So I dreamed up a little recurring post that I plan on doing called Conversations With Grayson. Of course, this was a few months ago and I'm just now getting around to it, but that's beside the point.

Since Mother's Day is this weekend, I decided to focus on Mommy for our first conversation. And I can say that I learned a couple interesting things. For one, Grayson is super shy in front of the camera. I'm thinking it's because we've never done it before, so I'm hoping he'll warm up to it and be a little more himself next time.

I also learned that apparently I say no A LOT. To be honest, he and I have had a bit of a rough week this past week, and he is in a phase of asking me for the same thing over and over and OVER, even after I've already said no. So yes, I have been saying no on a regular basis, and apparently he's made note of that.

So I hope you enjoy our first conversation! Please ignore my laugh, it's not my cutest quality. And Happy Mothers Day to all you mamas, grandmamas, mamas-to-be, and hopeful-to-be mamas out there!