As a little girl (with no brothers), I saw my mama’s bare belly plenty of times. But never for very long….because of the stretch marks. Those pearly-white lines etching patterns into her body. Like rivers on a road map. Like a tattoo that she never really signed up for.
I’d ask about them (because I didn’t have any yet – surely I needed those to be a beautiful woman like she was (is). She also had a big, puffy C-section scar – twice cut open. I needed one of those too…) and she’d laugh them off and say something along the lines of,
“You were worth it.”
I never understood what that meant until now, in my third trimester, with my third baby.
They weren’t something ugly, like my mama thought but would never say out loud. No. They were a bartering tool.
My mama, like all mamas, traded her body for my life.
What a precious, flawless thought.
And that’s exactly what this journey of pregnancy is. A handing over. An act of trust. Submission to whatever may come. Stretch marks, c-section scars, the swollen ankles, nausea, the acne. All of it – simply part of the deal. Some women go through the journey unmarked, while others take on a heaping bag of stuff. And the truth is, nobody goes into pregnancy and SIGNS UP for this stuff. I won’t pretend that I, like many other women, haven’t sought out ways around the stretch marks and cellulite.
When we devote time (too much time) worrying about how we’ll look after that baby comes or whether we’ll be marked up, we miss out on the beauty of submission and what the end result provides us with. New life! A small chance to play a bigger role in something beautiful.
I would challenge us all, myself included, to look at our bodies with a little more grace, pregnant or not. And THIS is why I won’t be sharing any anti-stretch mark tips with you. Because in doing so, I would in a small way be contributing to the idea that our bodies, squiggly lines and all, are things that need to be changed.
And they aren’t.
Disclaimer: Intentional Living is not meant to judge, persuade, condemn or change. It is merely a sharing of ideas, thoughts and decisions.
Oh, homeschooling. Where to begin?
I prayed long and hard about how I would present this decision because like so many other parenting issues, the choice to homeschool (or not) is so very touchy. When we tell others that we’ve chosen Option A, it comes across as a bashing of Option B. People become defensive. The word “judgment” is thrown around. It’s amazing how quickly someone can become offended when another hasn’t chosen an identical path.
To be quite honest, our decision to homeschool really has nothing to do with you (unless you are my child reading this post, in which case, you are very smart to be reading so early and must have a rockstar teacher). It’s simply an educated choice that our family has made with regard to how we spend our day. I’m sharing it on the blog because I feel as though many young families are seeking alternatives to traditional schooling. Homeschooling is certainly an alternative option.
First, a bit of history:
I was raised in public school. My parents both worked and my sister and I went to school during the day. I excelled at school, even receiving college credits for a couple of AP classes I took. I had some stellar teachers and some not-so-bright ones. I LOVED playing school sports and competing against other schools. I had many friends, some of which I still keep in contact with to this day. Public school served me well!
Travis was raised in a homeschooling family. His father worked and his mother stayed home and schooled the children (at the time, there were nine!). He excelled at school, even receiving college credits during his high school years at the local community college. Travis played soccer competitively up until he attended college. He received a scholarship to UNC (where we met!)! He’s a bit of a genius but still has the ability to interact beautifully in any social setting. Homeschool served him well!
As you can see, the paths were different but the results similar.
Stick to the positives!
The negatives about public school really didn’t play into my decision to homeschool. (read that again – it is KEY! Because golly jeepers, I can’t think of a worse way to present this discussion – or any discussion for that matter, than by focusing on negatives!)
Rather, our decision was based on all the POSITIVES we saw associated with homeschooling.
- I get to stay home with my children.
- I get to teach them! I get to experience their firsts!
- I get to learn about the way they learn. Are they more auditory?? More visual??
- I get to choose the curriculum.
- I can talk about God freely and without restriction. I can make “Bible Study” an actual class!!
- And my kids?….they get to spend the day with their mama. They have a say in what we’ll learn about this week or next (I prescribe the fundamentals and they choose everything else based on what they want to learn about. It’s HONEYBEES this week btw.). They have flexibility written into their day. AND they could (but we rarely do) spend the entire day with bedhead and pajama bottoms.
All great things!
Some days are easy. Some are hard.
Some days I question myself and my parenting.
Sometimes I want to run away and escape.
Some days I wonder what it would be like to send them off and go to work.
Some months it would be nice to have that extra income.
Sometimes I wonder if they’ll succeed later on. Be “social awkward?” Smart enough?
But then I straighten up, stop questioning myself, and find comfort in the fact that most mamas feel this way about their kids, homeschoolers or not. We all just want the BEST. What does that look like exactly? The definition varies from family to family.
As for the Wright family, we’re aiming to raise loving, ambitious, independent children who run after God and HIS plans…His heart. We’re taking it one day at a time. We’re covering this decision in prayer. We’re being intentional about it. And that’s the best we can do.
**If there is interest, I’d love to write more about the day-to-day logistics, curriculum, our co-op, etc. Please let me know if these topics interest you!!**
More “Intentional Living” posts
Disclaimer: Intentional Living is not meant to judge, persuade, condemn or change. It is merely a sharing of ideas, thoughts and decisions.
When the thought presented itself to begin this Intentional Living series, I immediately knew that my first post had to be about my FAITH. Every single decision I make as a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, even a blogger, has pieces of my faith tied into it. My intentional living springs from my faith – it feeds everything in my life. And in turn, I am fed by it.
God so lovingly nudged me into this post, not once, not twice, but SEVERAL times over the past 2 years. To publicly share one’s faith can be a scary thing, especially on a blog where that isn’t necessarily the “theme”. It seems as though the world is going in so many different directions and choosing to be a Christian isn’t the norm. I’m called to be OBEDIENT. I’m called to share LIGHT. So as an act of obedience to Him, I’m handing over this platform willingly, publicly and intentionally today. This is a statement of my faith and a testimony of how much that faith rules my day-to-day life, thoughts and actions. In this sharing, my intent is not to exclude or judge anyone else, but simply to share what I personally believe to be true.
So what DO I believe?
- I am a Christian who believes in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
- I believe the Bible (Old and New Testament) to be the true, living word of God, applicable yesterday, today and tomorrow.
- I believe that Jesus is my personal savior and that by His blood on the cross, I’ve been provided redemption from my sins.
- I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, died on the cross, was resurrected three days later and now resides at God’s right hand.
- I believe that we are called to have a PERSONAL relationship with God through daily prayers and conversations.
- I believe in abiding by the 10 commandments and when I go against God’s word, I’ve sinned.
- I believe that to receive God’s grace, I can neither DO enough or BE enough. It’s simply given to me. It’s all HIM and it’s a gift that I’m ever grateful for.
A little bit about my walk with the Lord –> I grew up in a Christian household and I was saved when I was 11 years old. I’ve had years when I was close to God and many years when I wanted nothing more than to hide from Him. The thing about God is that He never, ever moves away from us – we move from Him. I’d say that it wasn’t until I had children that I really grew to KNOW God, to grasp the depth of His love for me and to fully grow into an adult relationship with my Abba (or Father).
How do I apply these beliefs to my every day life?
- I regularly attend church (non-denominational). Travis is the worship leader and I sing on the worship team with him.
- I regularly read my Bible. Side note: It wasn’t until 3 years ago that I finally read the entire Bible from cover to cover (using this plan, which I hope to talk more about come January. Would anyone be interested in a 90-day reading plan?)
- I talk to God several times a day, through prayer or just seeing something I’m thankful for and thanking Him for it.
- I read a daily devotional (currently Jesus Calling).
- I put God first in all of my decisions, whether it be where we send our money, how I treat my husband (Eph. 5:22), how I raise and discipline my children (Matt. 19:14, Proverbs 13:24), and how I treat my neighbor (Matt. 19:19, John 13:34-35). In most of these endeavors, I often fall short.
Now listen, because this may very well be the MOST important takeaway from this entire post. The list above are things I DO. But doing them does not make me a better Christian, more pious, more likely to be “saved” or anything to boast about. They are simply ways that I try to draw closer to God.
A works-based faith plan will never work BECAUSE GOD HAS ALREADY DONE ALL THE WORK FOR ME (Ephesians 2:8-10)
When we place value on our OWN efforts, we fail to see WHO God really is. We can never be enough or do enough for Him. He doesn’t require that. All He asks is that we seek and follow. To put the World (possessions, lust, money, hierarchy, etc) aside and follow His path. That’s it – so simple. How freeing?!!?
So what about YOU?
Maybe you have an awesome relationship with God. Maybe you’re an atheist. Maybe you were raised in the church and have fallen away as an adult. Maybe you feel like there’s something more for you but you don’t know quite how to get there.
I can’t convict you about your life and your faith. All I can do is share what God’s done for me in MY life.
I write product reviews for companies all the time for this blog. I *think* you guys trust me to be truthful when I like or dislike something – heck, you might even go out and buy that product if I said it’s a good one. I’m telling you today….
PLEASE know that there is a great God who loves you desperately, who sent His son FOR YOU, who fights for your well-being and will never forsake you.
A God who knew you and named you in your mother’s womb.
A God who is constantly trying to get your attention if you’ll just slow down and look.
It’s all written and explained in the Bible. Some of it makes no scientific sense, but some of what makes faith so real and amazing is the actual FAITH it takes to believe in something you cannot see. And actually, when I think about it, I see God in SO many things. My children, my relationships, nature, answered prayers and even UNanswered prayers!
My faith is something I’ll never deny.
And it’s something worth sharing. Intentionally. And with passion.
P.S. If you’d like to share YOUR faith story, please write a post and leave the link in the comments! I’d love to read it!
P.S.S. If you’re looking for a place to start when it comes to Christianity, here are some books Travis and I truly love:
- The Bible (obviously) – I typically read the NIV.
- Staci & John Eldredge’s Captivating
- Francis Chan’s Crazy Love
- Brent Curtis & John Eldredge’s The Sacred Romance
- David Platt’s Radical
Good morning and Happy Monday!! I hope you had a spectacular weekend (we did! lots of great food, fellowship and a head injury for Travis. good times!). It always takes me a good day or so to ease back into the week after having time off with Travis and friends/family who are normally working. One perk of being a homeschool/stay-at-homer is that I don’t have to return to a job today. The downside is that I never really get a vacation from my job. A trade I’m totally willing and happy to make.
Right now, it’s Sunday night. Travis and Henry are across the street at bible study – Clara and I stayed home tonight because …well, I didn’t want to leave the house (even to walk across the street). We participated in our town’s Christmas Parade earlier this afternoon – great fun, although the kids were a little disappointed that the onlookers weren’t throwing candy BACK at them (makes sense). I just pulled a Canadian bacon/spinach quiche out of our teeny-1970s oven and it seems a bit wobbly in the middle so I’ll stick it back in. That oven typically cooks all wonky-like so this isn’t anything new. Pandora’s Christmas station is playing on my phone – Harry Connick Jr. sings “Sleigh Ride.” I’m typing at the kitchen table in my flannel pajamas, the only ones that fit over my belly. Clara is playing with cardboard blocks in the living room and singing to herself – I’m not sure of the song, neither is she – it’s definitely not Sleigh Ride.
Tonight is a good night. In fact, most nights are good nights.
I sat down to write because I haven’t posted anything new since last Thursday and even that post was just a re-post from last year. Even though this blog is just a hobby and not something I make a living off of, I still feel pressure to post at least a few times a week and ALWAYS on Monday since I never post on the weekend. Anyway, I feel like I have a gazillion things I want to write about but I rarely ever make the time to actually sit down and write them. It’s like this: I want to share how awesome or hard life is but I’m too busy LIVING that life to write it out. Or I want to share a candid picture of something that happened in our day, but, since I’ve yet to get that eye-camera-blinking-thingy into a working prototype and I’m too busy enjoying that candid moment for myself, there is NO picture to share.
I guess all this is to say that life is good. Overflowing to the brim. And when real life is really good, the desire to share it online dissipates. And this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s all I want to write about today.
P.S. The quiche is still wobbly in the middle, but that didn’t stop me from having a piece. Here’s the recipe I use (subbing in canadian bacon, skim milk and sharp cheddar.)
P.S.S. Happy birthday, sister!
On this particularly uneventful Thursday, I feel compelled to write a “Blessings List.” You know – a list of things I’m thankful for. In the midst of homeschooling a 5 year old, catering to a budding movie star (that’d be Clara) and trying to keep my computer geek feeling on top of the world, life can get…frazzled. I can get frazzled. When this happens I try to redirect my stinkin’ thoughts and focus on the GOOD because, inevitably, (and thank you God for this) there will ALWAYS be something good to be found.
It’s called “Intentional Thinking” and it’s something I always need more of in my life.
Today I’m thankful for…..
2) being blessed with children
4) all four seasons (but especially Fall)
5) this house
6) a best friend (who just happens to be my sister)
8) black coffee
10) the Sunset Restaurant and our Saturday morning breakfast affair
11) quirky, smart people
12) the ability to stay home with my littles
13) this blog
14) central air conditioning
15) family dinners
16) this small town
17) stroller walks
18) walks all by myself
19) my parents
21) Sour Patch Kids
22) the ability to MOVE/JUMP/DANCE
23) curly hair
24) lavender scented sheets
25) breakfast for dinner
26) debt-free living
27) Clara’s freckles
28) willing mentors
29) laughter during sex
31) all the things
Yep. I’m thankful for all the things. Even the not-so-great ones, like this 11-week morning sickness stretch. Because, ultimately, the hard times make me rely more on my Father. And there’s never any bad in that.
Happy Thursday! (P.S. I’m thankful for you guys too! Thanks for hanging in there for the 2+ years that I’ve been journaling!)
QUESTION: Name one thing you’re thankful for today! How can we live more graciously??
Be excited. I’ve invented something.
I’m pretty good at inventing. (And driving backwards in my car.)
Let me tell you about an amazing new thing – An Eye-Blinking-Camera-Thingy!!
(Yes. Yes. I know that Google Glass is basically the exact same thing but I’m pretty sure that I had the idea first. And MY invention wouldn’t have those odd looking glasses….you’ll see (or no you won’t because I have no idea how this would work. Blast you, Google, for being better at inventing.)
Imagine if you could instantly take a picture just by blinking your eyes! Gone would be the days of seeing something so precious and then yelling, “Wait! Wait! Wait! Do that again so I can send this to Daddy!” To be able to capture those truly CANDID moments, the ones that would get messed up were you to reach for a camera or iPhone. That’s what I wish I could do…on multiple occasions…every single day. Gosh, I love this stage we’re in right now and I want to REMEMBER everything, but also be IN the moments as they’re happening. With the blinky thing, you could do BOTH!
If I had an Eye-Blinking-Camera-Thingy, I’d “take a blink” of:
…my kids when they’re playing SO nicely together and for a mere moment, they hold hands or rest a head on one another.
…Travis laying out his clothes for the next day. I’d blink as he blows on the collar, “ironing” his shirt via steam breath. (Almost as inventive as the time I “ironed” with a heavy plastic tub filled with heavy stuff).
Thanks to T for taking evidential proof.
…that SAME unique red bird comes to sit right outside my bedroom and looks straight into my room. That bird is really very strange.
…anytime I hear Clara singing a made-up song and I sneak down the hall to find that she’s lined up about 15 stuffed favorites (because they are all.her.favorite), each one covered up with a washcloth (because they’re cold) and is serenading them (because they “wike” her voice).
…Henry in that moment when you can actually SEE the learning taking place while he’s doing one of his puzzles (puzzles are currently just the coolest to him – he’s doing 100 and 200 piecers!)
And so many more to count!
Sometimes it’s hard for me to live in the here and now. To walk through the daily, mundane tasks and not want to fast-forward to the next exciting holiday/vacation/event. But then God reminds me that He’s blessed me so richly with these little moments – they are LIFE. He reminds me to pull out my eye-blinky thing and SLOW DOWN. To sit still in those most amazing moments that I have the opportunity to witness. To remember that life, the here and now life, is just so SO good!
QUESTION: What would YOU take a blink of??
I remember the exact Sunday back in June.
We both knew we needed prayer, knew that the other one needed it too. Sisters are like that. They know what each other needs before it’s even spoken. Kindred mind readers.
I took her hand and we made our way up to the front of the church.
“We want babies.” Spoken in unison.
Heads anointed with oil, hands laid upon us from every direction.
Tears. There were so many tears.
Of unspoken worries.
Fears of the unknown.
(Fears of the KNOWN happening yet again.)
I’ve talked before about what happens when God DOESN’T answer prayer.
…..You share of His marvelous deeds, of His unfailing love!
Those are OUR babies. A mere FIVE DAYS separating them! FIVE DAYS!!! Strong. Healthy. Perfect.
I remember that exact Sunday back in June.
And I remember, with all of my fears and doubts, putting God in a small box.
And with a bold, grand, sweeping gesture, He exploded out of that box and blessed me (and my sister) with more than I could have ever dreamed.
Psalm 9:1 – “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.”
Not for my glory but His…Happy Weekend, friends!
In the spirit of tradition, I decided to again write a love letter to this ol’ body of mine (expect 3 more of these as we’ve got 3 more birthdays coming up in the next month). 31 may not seem like many years to some, but to me it’s the most I’ve ever seen and so I’ll honor this birthday (it’s tomorrow) and this body that’s made it this far.
Because she’s a beaut.
Because she works hard for me, every moment of every day.
Because she deserves a little respect. No. A lot of respect.
Because she’s me.
In your 30th year of existence, you’ve dealt with:
- plantar fasciitis in your left foot. An injury that still hasn’t completely healed.
- countless piggy back rides and trips to the park (…that included trips over bricks, roots and rocks. This body…she’s a bit clumsy.)
- two pregnancies. …And two miscarriages.
- daily workouts and not enough rest days.
In the past year, you’ve carried me through:
- five shows at the theater.
- a 10-month house renovation and move.
- 27 Track Star workouts (yes, I keep track of the track.)
- four seasons of ups and downs
You’re strong and I like that. Yes, my mind has MADE you get up and go to the gym, repeatedly lifting, sprinting and jumping – pushing you farther than you thought possible. But it was YOU who did the work for me. You body, with arms and a back that I’m proud to show off. You body, with thick thighs that touch when I walk. Heck, I’m just thankful that you’ll walk. Thick thighs are becoming a thing, I hear.
Respect and thanksgiving from me, for a baby from you. Whole, nourishing foods from me, for the promise that you won’t transport my weekly brownie fix straight to your gut. Face paint and some sweet calf socks from me, in return for a few adventure races from you. Sunscreen for supple skin. Fiber supplements for…well, you know. I love a good deal.
Happy Birthday, Body! I’m stuck with you.
And I really, really couldn’t be more happy about that.
QUESTION: If you could write a letter to your body, what would you thank it for?