Six Small Things {Guest Post}

Hi everyone! My name is Courtney although I answer to a collection of names that include – Hey, Honey, Babe, Momma, Mom, Court, Chele or just plain AGGHH from my children! I am a professional napper, part-time writer and marketing assistant, full-time wife and mother and I love stories of hope, change and of people making a difference. 
Six Small Things via When at Home Six Small Things via When at Home
Has anyone seen Frozen yet? When Anna is standing on the cliff about to jump and says “What do you mean am I ready? I was BORN ready.” That’s me. Although most the time I’m actually not really ready to jump. But I do anyway. Onelyric is a place that I share my jumps off the cliff that is my life and I hope to make you laugh, encourage you, or scratch my head with you about the things we just don’t understand. You will find music, scripture, hope and Jesus throughout my ramblings. You are welcome always.
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This year my good-looking husband and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. 8 years isn’t a fancy number for celebration or really any reason to get ready for dinner. But for us-we have endured, looked at, lived with, survived two high-risk pregnancies, moved across the country three times, hated and loved each other for over 2,920 days. That matters.

We wanted to submit this anniversary to history with a bang, so we did what most couples do; we wrote a rap. It is the story of our marriage melodically recorded to one killer beat. We also compiled six small things that have made massive differences in our marriage, and kept us laughing and together thus far.  Let’s be real- marriage is tough. In no particular order this is how we navigate our story, and our love.

Six Small Things via When at Home

ONE: WE FIGHT

There is no other man, much less person that can irritate and upset me more than my husband. He knows exactly what buttons to push and when to drive them home; and you better believe I know how to retaliate. We fight, often, but there is a method to our madness.  We fight it out so the issue doesn’t fester. You will find no unsaid hurt or misunderstanding swept under our rugs. We handle it.

There are rules to our fighting that we try to adhere to: Not in front our children, not in public and we don’t take cheap shots.  We address the issue. Our marriage counselor challenged us to fight holding hands (try it) and keep it fair. We know when each other needs a breather, then we settle it. If it’s bigger than us, we seek help from professional counselors. We settle it.

TWO: WE HAVE SEX

This helps with number one. Right?!

Remember those days before marriage when all you wanted to do is have sex? Where does that desire go? Ugh! There is a myth that Josh and I can’t keep our hands off each other because of how frequently I was pregnant. (including our miscarriages) Real life- I am just fertile. And we were lucky. Real life- we have had times in our marriage that we call “droughts”. During the times we weren’t actively pursuing each other sexually we were fighting constantly. Days of the silence treatment. Weeks of bickering. Everything was off.  There is a reason God told Adam and Eve to become one flesh, before the fall of man, before Eve snacked on the apple; God knew. He knew we would need it to survive, and live together for an extended amount of time. It was his gift.

I wish we had twenty-something libido these days-but the reality of our hectic, small children camp is that we have to pursue sex.  Because at 9:30 when the house is quiet and we are done with the daily routine it is all we can do to tell each other goodnight. I don’t even have to use the proverbial headache excuse. We are both equally exhausted. When we have gone a bit without- we know-and we remedy. That’s fun.

Lastly, we don’t use sex as a bargaining chip or form of manipulation. For the love husbands, get to know your wife and talk openly about what she’s got going on.  You will be pleasantly surprised how willing she will be when it becomes a team event. Wives, get busy. Pursue your husband (he will freak out). Try hard to push through your to do list for a minute and re-connect with your man. Sex is important to a man. Intimacy is important to a woman. Find the balance. It’s important to your marriage.

THREE: I AM JOSH’S ONE NIGHT STAND

Has anyone ever asked you “I mean, come on, If you could have a one night stand with anyone-your number one, who would it be?” Usually the answer is a celebrity of sorts. I’ve been asked that countless times, and have answered countless times…but my husband. My husband always chooses me when he is asked. He always says “Courtney.”

For the longest time it annoyed me that he wouldn’t just answer like any normal person and pick a celebrity. A few years into our marriage it became one of my FAVORITE things about him.  I am his number one. That sentence means he chooses me, over every other woman in this world. That sentence gives me the push to get through the days with our kids. The knowledge that I am his number one rests my mind when he is gone longer than expected. I don’t second guess him.  I am his number one.

Following his lead, I want him to be my one night stand, my every night stand. (when we are awake). It protects us. It leaves no wiggle room for temptation. We are human and accident prone. There are beautiful people around us constantly, but we are each others number one. We work at this.  Let your spouse be your one night stand. This will rock people’s world in your circle of friends. Totally unexpected.

(Husbands-wanna see your wife deflate on the spot? Call another woman hot in her presence and the company of others.  She may put on a nice front-but your killing her. Same with wives- words matter.)

FOUR: NO MORE BUS TRACKS

Have you ever been the couple that takes the dinner party from slammin’ to awkward in the moment you choose to hate each other in front of everyone? No? Yes? Yeah- don’t be THAT COUPLE. Josh and I have been that couple. It was the worst. I know our friends wanted to crawl under the table. We have learned to stay away from triggers that will erupt into a fight in the company of others. One HUGE trigger is throwing each other “under the bus.”  It’s basic disrespect. A good laugh at the expense of the other. Belittling or challenging a thought or statement. Bringing up an issue that isn’t completely settled. You know, stuff that has no business being shared or dealt with outside of your home.

Josh gives me a look now when I am getting too close to the line OR we just step out of the room to do a quick chat about what’s going on. It has really helped. Don’t be that couple. You won’t be invited to dinner parties anymore.

FIVE: WE CHANGE

My husband works for a church and we are not quiet about our faith or love for Jesus. Many
Christians rest in the assurance that with God in the center of their marriage it will stand the test of time.  Though I don’t disagree, I challenge that assurance simply because if your not open to change, even God will have a hard time with your marriage. As a matter of fact, he is in the business of change. Positive, renewing, life-giving change.  And your gonna need it to love your spouse day in and day out. Marriage will pull the dirty out of you, lay it at your feet, and make you decide to claim it or toss it. God does the same. He wants your marriage to beat the odds, but it will require self-sacrifice, self-reflection and hard work. You can do it. You can change. (yes, you-not just your spouse)

SIX: WE LAUGH. AND FREQUENTLY BUST A MOVE.

No explanation needed. Just dance. And RAP.

I could write sub-topics to each of these; write about communication, honesty, MONEY & budgeting, parenting, grace, forgiveness, etc but it starts with genuinely being each other’s number one fan. Equally.

I love being married to Josh.  Even on the days we can’t stand each other, I love being married to him. We surround ourselves with people who are for us, and for our marriage (also important) and we dig in and choose each other every. single. day. Cheers to the marriage soldiers reading this and pressing on. I hope the rap makes you smile. I’m proud of you. Your making a difference.

L.O.V.E. Anniversary Rap

(lyrics to rap found in description of video on YouTube)

Disclaimer Time: Josh and I are not marriage counselors nor do we claim that our marriage is the blueprint for every couple. We know that every marriage, and situation is different. This is what has worked for us. Thanks for reading friends.

Follow Courtney and her white girl rapping ways on facebook and check out her blog at www.onelyric.org

They Were Mine First

“If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.”

 

It started when Jonah was a baby. We brought him home from the hospital and I thought for sure there was some kind of mistake. They don’t just let you walk out of there with these innocent, fragile human beings, do they? No one follows you to make sure you don’t drive too fast? They don’t come to your house and check the bed, the floor, the air, for contaminants? No one comes to check in on you and make sure you’re being responsible and putting your kid first and that you don’t forget he’s in the car seat, or that you don’t walk out when he’s in the bath, or that you don’t give him something he’s allergic to, or that you don’t let him roll off the bed? They just … let you go?

That’s when the fear started.

The fear that I would lose my precious little boy. The first time I fell asleep with him in my arms on our bed, I panicked. The first time he slept through the night, I was terrified to touch his body when I ran to his crib. I was certain it would be cold. The fear didn’t stop as he became more independent and mobile. It just grew. What if I didn’t buckle him in right? What if Zach was playing with him and broke his neck? What if I fell while I was holding him and he hit his head? What if he gets sick? What if he gets cancer? What if someone steals him? What if someone murders him? What if? What if? WHAT IF?

And then Emery was born and the fear continued to grow and multiply and make itself at home in my heart.

Every time he catches his breath in the middle of the night, I am wide awake touching his chest to feel the steady rise and fall of his beautiful lungs. Every time I put him in his car seat, I check the buckle a hundred times to ensure it’s tight in all the right places. When he naps on our bed, I check on him no less than 10 times to make sure the blankets are no where near his face and there’s nothing that he can tangle himself up in. Sometimes when I tuck them in at night, I think to myself, “What if this is the last time I ever hold him?” Sometimes at the end of the day, when I’m laying in bed with nothing but my thoughts, I try to think of what I did with them that day and if it was the last day I had with them, would I regret anything?

It’s morbid. It’s immobilizing. It’s heavy. And it’s so, SO wrong.

I am absolutely terrified to lose my children. I think there’s a part of me that believes that I don’t deserve them. That there’s no way these two precious little lives are mine. Forever. So I buy into the lie that I’m not good enough. That God won’t let me keep them. That he made a mistake giving them to me. Zach is a great father, but I’m the problem. My kids deserve better. All these lies just pound my head and cripple my heart and God’s been dealing with me about it. The other night, I was driving home alone, and a wave of fear came over me. As my heart starting beating faster and that familiar knot in my stomach started making itself known, I heard the calm voice of the Father whisper,

“They were mine first.”

As quickly as the fear came, it was gone. Because the truth in those simple words is so profound. They were always His. Before they were mine, they were His. They are still His. How can I think that I could ever love them more than their Creator loves them? And how can I think that fearing losing them will somehow ensure they never leave me? Fear accomplishes nothing. All it does is add weight to my life and a morbid cloud over my days. Fear is useless and it’s not healthy. Fear is bait.

And so I struggle with that statement, “They were mine first.” because I know that’s it’s true and sometimes that bothers me and sometimes it gives me peace. Knowing that their lives are in the hands of the one who made them is incredible, but the control freak in me has a hard time accepting that. I know I can only protect them to a point and then after that … well the rest I just have to trust. And that’s the part where I come up short because I stake some claim on their lives that isn’t mine. They are my children, but they don’t belong to me. They belong  first to their Heavenly Father.

So I’ll rest and breathe and find peace in that truth and every day I try to release the death grasp that I have on their souls.

Because they were His first.

They Were Mine First -- Via When at Home

5 Questions For You

You guys should know by now that I LOVE getting to know you. I really do. I’m not a blogger that likes to put out content for the sake of views or comments or whatever. I LOVE hearing from you and dialoging with you and getting to know you all. I’ve seen some bloggers do Q & A’s where you can ask them any question you want in the comment section and they’ll answer it in a blog post. I’m switching that up a bit. I’m going to ask YOU five questions in a blog post, and I want you to answer them in the comment section. Aaaaand…to show you how much I appreciate and love you, I’m going to buy one of you a cup of coffee! I’ll send a virtual $5 Starbucks gift card to you and we can be BFFs. Kind of. Ok so here we go! Keep your answers as short and sweet as possible.

1. How would your friends describe you?

2. What are you afraid of?

3. Are you a coffee or tea person?

4. What is your favorite book ever? The one that you can read over and over and over again and never get tired of it.

5. How did you find my little ‘ol blog & how long have you been following?

And just for kicks and giggles, if you have a question for me, go ahead and ask away. But you have to answer my questions first!

Being Childless in a Mommy Filled World

This post is a part of the Share Your Story Project, where anyone can share their heart with the When at Home community.
Do you want to share your story? Click here. 

Share Your Story @ When at Home. If you have a story to tell, but no platform to share it, well now you do! Click for more info.

Some days are easier than others.

The days where I don’t sit in the teachers’ lounge, the days I don’t go to church, the days I don’t talk to my friends. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Shouldn’t those be my encouraging encounters?

Most days I am bombarded with social media reminding me of all the happy parents: the mamas and the papas. I giggle at the photos, share them with my husband, even repost some of them.

Let’s roll back the clock before I get ahead of myself.

I am the second of three kids that eventually became four. My youngest brother joined our family when I was 12 years old. He easily fit right in seeing that he had the eyes to match his sisters and the red hair like his brother. There was no denying he was our flesh and blood. I immediately took to him.

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My dad was a carpenter and he constantly remodeled any home we moved into. With the addition to the family, we obviously needed to up-size our home. It was a simple choice – hold tools for dad or entertain the baby. Hmmm. He quickly became my best friend, my companion, my baby brother. I knew his first words, witnessed his first steps, and shared his adventures as he discovered this new world.

When he turned 7 the world stopped on a dime… I felt my chest cave in when I heard my parents explain what Type-1 diabetes meant (the kind that never goes away, the kind you can’t prevent, the kind that requires shots, counting, shots, blood tests, shots, finger pricks, shots, counting carbs, and shots). I was 19 and I was grieving just as much as my parents. That’s when I realized I had assumed the role of another parent to my brother. He was more my child than my sibling.

Rachel – it means “motherly”, it means “gentle like a little lamb”. These were the encouraging statements my parents would tell me growing up as they watched me interact with him. Statements that were meant to build me up, I’m sure.

May 18th, 2014 – My 26th birthday. The age my mother was when she had her first child. The age that pushes me closer to thirty. An even number that craves balance and stability.

July 4th, 2014 – Our 5 year wedding anniversary. My favorite number. Halfway to a decade of marriage.

582,212 – The number of times I’ve been asked if I have kids, the number of times I’ve been asked WHEN I’ll have kids (as if I could control it), the number of times people assume I have kids because I am married, own a house, or teach middle schoolers.

Zero – The number of people that think before they ask.

What if I had ovarian cancer? …How would you expect me to respond?

What if my husband and I were getting a divorce? …What would you say then?

What if he couldn’t father children? …Would you be embarrassed?

What if I was sexually abused? …Would you change the subject?

What if I had a miscarriage? …Would you try to comfort me?

What if we wanted to adopt? …Would you try to mask your surprise?

What if we didn’t want children at all…?

 As I sit in the staff lounge, mingle in church, interact at family gatherings, or browse social media, I am bombarded with the BORING details of “motherhood”. The pregnancy selfies, the creatively unique announcements, the baby showers, the nursery inaugurations, the hospital bed pictures, the breast feeding debates, the diaper sizes, the sleep patterns, the developmental stages…

Honestly? Will those things matter in 5 years? Is this why children are born? So women can role play? If this is motherhood, then I don’t want to be a mother.

I am the outcast. I know nothing of being in labor, giving birth, losing sleep, or tending to the needs of an infant. I just got to watch my brother for a few hours. What do I know about children? Does this discredit me from contributing to these conversations?

I am the outsider. I don’t have cute baby things to buy or post online. I’ve bought enough baby shower gifts to create two nurseries of my own. When I go to baby showers I want to crawl under the chairs and play with the toddlers to escape the “mommy mob”.

I am the outlaw. I don’t want to be a mom. I want to raise children. I want to see them run and jump and reach and grow and imagine and create and pretend and learn and try and fail and laugh and play and love. I want to pour my heart and soul into a little miniature mixture of me and my husband and watch it flourish in the Son. In 1 Samuel, Hannah prayed for a son so she could “give him back to God”.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

I was born to love and be loved. I was born to become a daughter, a sister, a student, a teacher, a follower, a leader, a wife, and – one day – a mother. It’s in my blood. It’s who I am. My heart aches for my students. I’ve taught kids in school who don’t have a mother or a father. My soul cries when I see kids and teens in orphanages or foster care. They have learned to believe they are unwanted. My body craves to be a mother. I long for the days to come where I hear midnight giggles down the hall, I see tiny tops of heads peek over my bedside, I receive surprise tickle attacks.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. - Psalms 139:13

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Through our interactions at church and work, my husband and I are constantly told how we’d “make great parents”. As if we decided against it and should change our minds. Since we were engaged at 19, we have crafted a list of boy names and girl names, names that are clever or carry a legacy. One by one they have been stolen by others around us. We have created house rules that we enforce on our puppy as if he could fill this void. We watch parents and swear we will never be like that. He is my soul mate, my best friend, my favorite. I know he will become a great father and I will become a great mother. These things don’t happen the second a child is born, they are roles we learn about , train for, and practice.

He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Psalm 113: 9

When? Is that really any of your business?

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Rachel grew up a pk (pastor’s kid), rebelled for a few years, then fell in love with Christ. She married her high school crush from 7th grade and will be celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary on July 4th. She works as a middle school English teacher who has 134 “kids” of her own. You can often find her running 5k’s, reading trendy young adult novels, or wrestling with her dudley lab, Bogart.

The Most Awkward Easter Photo Ever and A Giveaway!

First, I would like to show you a photo from our first Easter as a family. I had big ideas about getting cute family photos, but what actually happened was this. I grabbed my friend, told her take a photo of us with her camera (because I forgot mine, naturally), and awkwardly held Jonah because I was proud of his outfit and wanted to show him off. Not what I was envisioning, exactly. We ended up getting a somewhat nice family photo, but this is the one that keeps me laughing to this day. Holy moly. So many words I could say.

A history of easters

And then the next year, I had just given up on doing Easter things at all because it SNOWED. But on the way home from church, I was like, “crap. We should do something.” So we picked up some eggs, I tossed them in the yard and Jonah, my sister, and I went outside for a literal 5 minute egg hunt. And then I realized his shirt was buttoned wrong the whole time and it annoys me to this day.

a history of easters

A history of easters

The next year, which was last year, we had just moved to Knoxville, I was exhausted, emotionally drained, 20 weeks pregnant and living in a small bedroom in my parents house. Oh and it SNOWED that week. I moved to Tennessee to escape the snow and it followed me here. Story of my life. We did another after thought egg hunt, but Jonah had so much fun and we had egg hunts every day for about two weeks. It turned into the game that never ends until the eggs disappear. And I made sure they disappeared. {insert evil laugh here}

A History of Easters

I haven’t even given a second thought to what we’re going to do this year. Probably something random and chaotic, and if it snows….. I’m going to hurt somebody. I really am.

Looking back on photos from my first two Easters as a mom has me thinking and feeling so many things. I wanted so badly for Jonah to catch up to all the other kids. I wanted him to be older, bigger, more alert, more mobile, more everything that he wasn’t. He was such a little thing for so long (preemies have that way about them) and I just didn’t take advantage of it. I wish I had given up all of my efforts at rushing his development and just enjoyed those sweet, precious, and quiet baby days. But I didn’t because all of my friend’s babies were developing faster and they were older and I didn’t want Jonah to be left out. At 3 months old. Nice, Kristen.

I wasted so much time not enjoying his baby days and just wishing he was older. I’m a totally different mom to Emery than I was to Jonah. Is that bad? You live and learn, I guess. If I could go back and smack myself in the face and change just ONE thing about how I did the mom thing back then, I would get a baby carrier and carry Jonah around everywhere. He was so little and I didn’t know much about baby wearing and I gave up on the Moby because I just couldn’t figure out the wrapping thing. I really, really, wish I would’ve worn him a lot more. I mean seriously, that first photo. He’s sleeping, you fool! Wrap him up, hold him tight, smell that new baby smell and relax

If you have a new baby, or are currently cooking one, please just trust me when I say, don’t rush things. Just let your baby be a baby and enjoy the stage. You’ll blink and they’ll be three years old and telling you that you stink like poop. Invest in a good carrier and wear your baby all the time. But before you go on the hunt for the perfect carrier, how about taking your chances at winning one?? I’ve teamed up with Nesting Days to bring you an AMAZING giveaway!! This is the best giveaway I’ve ever hosted and I’m so SOOOO excited about it. If you have a baby on the way, you need one of these. You really, really, do. Enjoy the newborn stage. Don’t rush it. Wear your baby. Smell their heads. They smell really good. Now let’s get to winning some stuff, shall we?

Tell a friend and get those entries in, ya’ll. Let’s do this thing! {Read my review of the carrier & see it in action right here!}

So many well wishes and good lucks to you all!!

Newborn Carrier Giveaway at When at Home

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