Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lake people

A few updates.
Kate will be THREE in September!? 
Kate- I don't even know where to start with this girl! She is WILD and happy and hyper and so loving. What touches me the most is her gratitude. She is always thanking me for playing with her or cooking for her or reading to her. It melts my heart to hear "sank yew" for any little thing. I love her constant hugs and giggles. Today she asked- mommy can I annoy you? Haha! Then she started waving a pom pom around in my face. This girl loves to have fun and is just entering the magical world of make believe. She casts spells and regularly plays with monsters and dragons. Her mind is a steel trap and so I have to watch what I say and explanations I give because she keeps them in that little vault. She knows quite a few teasing tricks that Daddy will have to un-teach her before she goes to school. She can ride a bike (w training wheels!) and swim (w a life jacket!) and loves to swing. She could swing for an hour if Jack and I would let her. She is quite in love with Jack, which is a huge relief to me. Because we are keeping him. 

Jackie boy is almost 6 months old. I know he's growing up fast but friends I have felt every single day of that 6 months. ;) He's a tender little soul. He seems so laid back and happy compared to my spirited Katie bug. I love his sweet smiles and how he always wants to hold my hand. He loves to hang out with me at night and party through the wee hours of the morning. I keep hoping he will sleep through the night! Someday. Over the rainbow. 

Our summer plans are pretty awesome. In a month we are moving into a friend's garage and being gypsies for awhile! We get to go to the infamous Ft. George (many pictures will to come.) Then to Utah for a week (too short, I will eat Costa Vida EVERY DAY) and then on to Colorado to crash at my parent's house for a month. We just wanted to be there to get the results of all my dad's hard gardening work! And to love on Yaya and Gpa. Poor Zach has to drive cross country again *CRINGE* and I thank him 1000x over for not making the kids and I drive too. Thank you Wright brothers from all of us mothers of young children. 

At the end of September we are going to call Salem, SC home sweet home. My Father in Law's Fred has a Lakehouse there and while he serves a mission for our church in San Antonio, Texas we get to enjoy it. 

Though I am excited for a new adventure, Kennesaw has already felt like home. We will really miss our friends here. Not to mention my family! For the first time in my 29 years, I live 30 minutes away from family! I have a cousin and his wife in my very apartment complex and My grandparents and 4 out of 5 uncles within an hour! That means a lot of cousins to miss. And I'm going to miss this wonderful place. But hey if I never left every place I thought I'd miss I'd still be in Boulder. Bring it on Salem. 

Grandma Wilkin with Jack
Uncle Chris, Grandma & Grandpa Wilkin with Jack

Lake Keowee in Salem, South Carolina.
That will be our dock on the right. 

The Backyard

The Lakehouse

My favorite dog in the world, Mack

 Sold 35 minutes away (nearest grocery store...gasp) but worth the drive. I think Kate will be frequently bribed with these. And Jack if his teeth EVER come through. 
A waterfall about 15 min away
Zach towing Princess Kate and her 2 loyal subjects
(the dogs)
A little walk. Little Kate.

So y'all have to come visit and stay with us. 

After that? As much as our plans change WHO THE HECK KNOWS! But we will probably move back to Kennesaw to keep working. Of course by then we will then be loaded (with sand from the lake) and will move to Tahiti. 

Prison Break

This talk is really short and simple but describes something I am experiencing. Especially this quote:

There are many who find themselves in circumstances similar to those of Jim and Ed—not necessarily confined to a correctional institution, but nevertheless in prison, a prison from which legal authorities cannot release them, a prison of personal habits such as alcohol, drugs, immorality, selfishness, dishonesty, laziness, aimlessness; yes, these can be more confining and damning than any state prison. Yet there is a way to escape to a freedom that surpasses anything designed by man—the kind of freedom Jim and Ed have found.
This freedom can only be found by accepting the divine plan and keeping the commandments of him who gave his life for each of us that we might find eternal life—even Jesus Christ. For did he not say: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”? (John 8:32.)
Towards the end of my pregnancy with Jack and the months following his birth, I felt like my personality was changing in a way I did not like. I felt trapped. I was more angry, way less patient, never content. I was grasping at straws trying to find happiness or feel peace. I thought it was because of pregnancy and the impatience to be done with it. I thought maybe it was because Zach's job was so frustrating. I thought it was because Kate was getting so stubborn- probably terrible two's. I blamed it on being so tired and never getting time for myself. Then once he was born, I blamed it on the slow recovery or post partum depression. Maybe even PTSD because the traumatic delivery.

About two months ago, Zach and I had some real slap in the face conversations that showed me this decay in my happiness, when it really came down to it, was not from any of those external sources or hard experiences. It was coming from within me. 

My soul was starving and I was feeding it with Modern Family, Pinterest, Facebook, texting friends, and food. I couldn't find the source of the problem so I was trapped in this cell of discontent.

Zach always talks about going to the wrong wells for relief. I think I'd heard him say it so many times that I was blocking it out. After an honest look at our day to day, and seeing how much my unhappiness was affecting my family, I knew I needed to reboot internally. I know my external pressures and responsibilities may transform over the years but will never go away. Life is an upward climb, my friends, and no sense in waiting for it to get easier or slow down. My kids need more and more of me and I can't pretend spirituality to them or fudge through the day waiting for bedtime so I can have ME time. I have to actually change inside to be the woman I want to be for this next chapter of our lives. Coming to accept my happiness as my responsibility was my first step. Accepting that I needed to quit feeling jipped if I didn't sleep or did a lot of work around the house. I had become so selfish, to the point where service wasn't even fun, just a duty. I felt jaded at the end of every day. I wanted to find ways to get out of service so I wasn't so tired. I think that's because my heart was in the wrong place. I had slipped into thinking the Universe owed me something and that my ideal life involved a whooooole lot of free time. Accepting God didn't OWE me for raising these kids or being a stay at home mother was quite a slap in the face. I cringe at the things I was taking for granted. 

So once I saw that I was a lot farther from where I wanted to be than I realized, I was pretty motivated to change. Change is not easy. Especially if you are trying to change habits you have developed to protect your weaknesses. My answer first lie in 2 things: praying every time I felt myself getting cranky and taking alone time to read my scriptures and think about them every day. The longer the better. I remember the first day after five minutes I felt like I was done. I had become so used to little samples of spirituality that I thought I was full. So wrong. Personally I need a solid 30 minutes to feel filled now. It's like when you start running and want to die after the warm up. Oye. Mornings are best for me to do that, before I start serving my family. Sometimes it doesn't work out and I do it during naptimes or night. Before, Zach and I were just listening to a conference talk before we went to bed. That kind of "scripture study" was totally not cutting it to help strengthen me for the mounting pressures life is giving us. Interestingly, the ME time I was craving isn't as frequent a need now that I have this meditation time with God every day. My friend Vera gave me a "40 Days Closer to Jesus Christ" thing that has about 10 scriptures and 2 quotes for every day. Each time that I read one, I'd have these thoughts I knew I needed to write down, and WOW does writing help release that tension that builds up from stress. 

I have noticed that since doing JUST these 2 things- praying a lot and spending time thinking and reading with God, so many things have fallen into place. My marriage is SO much happier because I am happier. Though I've been tempted many times to flip a lid, I find this strength coming from within to stop myself and find respectful ways out of it. Kate has been so much better behaved- I think because I play with her more and we are so busy doing positive things we just have less contention between us. I'm way less stressed. I'm not killing myself with unrealistic expectations of a clean house or perfect schedule. I recognize the HUGE privilege it is to be a stay at home mother. I could go on and on about that one but naptime is almost over so I'll have to save that for another day. I can even communicate better with Zach when things are sliding downhill. It is plain crazy all the benefits that come out of just doing these two things. Have other people already discovered this secret? It is probably the 30th time in my life I've had to rediscover it and surely not the last, but I'm so relieved I've put in the effort to do it because I finally feel like myself again. I've got dreams again- that's a big contributor to my happiness. Who stops dreaming? Ugh. Not me please. It also provides this structure for me to lean on for the upcoming changes. We are moving in a month and traveling for a good part of the summer, which can be pretty *special* with 2 young kids. I feel at peace anyway because I know when I start to feel dark inside I just have to go draw the right water from the right well and I can navigate through it. A quote I've got hanging in my bedroom is Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.

I know this is getting long but it's been a huge deal so I'm having a hard time shutting up about it. I noticed that I was BLIND to so many great things I almost missed. My kids are treasures and growing up fast. My husband is willing to cook and grocery shop and clean- I was controlling all those things so he hadn't even had the opportunity to help ease my burden. I had no idea he wanted to help out with that. All in all, none of our circumstances/pressures have changed and yet I feel like I have nothing to complain about now- I can see so much more good than I could before. I ask God for energy daily instead of more sleep. I ask him to help me anticipate Kate's needs and cherish this time with Jack as a completely dependent little boy. Someday they won't need me every minute and it will crush me, though it seems so overwhelming in the time. I am an imperfect individual but these little testimonies give me confidence that Christ really can help me reach my potential as an awesome woman, wife, mother, and human being in a crazy part of history.