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(A note to the mom who feels like she doesn’t measure up.)
It seem like the moment I became pregnant with my first child a seed of doubt was planted and forever grew in my mind.
Should I let my baby sleep next to us in our bedroom or over on the other side of the house in their own bedroom? Should I feed them vegetables first or just fruit? Should I hold them when they cried, or let them cry it out? I read books about parenting, talked endlessly with my husband, friends and older women about the right way to parent.
I watched other parents and their children, and no matter what the situation was, I always wondered. Was I doing the right thing for my child? Maybe I should change what I was doing. Was the way I was parenting going to ruin my child forever? Then I felt guilty for questioning myself. Now I was a bad mother for questioning and worrying!
Nine years later, I think I realize that this is the heart of a good mama. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
I have felt guilty for years because my children often wake up and find me still resting in my bed. Even now, with older children, they still wake up to me in my bed, still in my pajamas. So many great mothers I know post on their Facebook, or their blog, about how the early-morning is the time they get to prepare for their day. They show beautiful pictures and tell sweet wonderful stories that I envy of how wonderful the morning hours are for them, and how they couldn’t survive their day unless they got up early.
And every time I read a post like that, I question, whether I should adjust my schedule again and try, yet again to do the early-morning mama thing.
This morning, Jeremy’s alarm went off very loudly and very early. I woke up, made my bed and got a few things done. Here’s a picture just for the proof!
As I made my bed, however, I felt some regret. This morning I would not get the giggles and snuggles and hugs of three adorable children in my bed. I would miss out on relaxed sleepy conversations this morning when they woke up. I would very proactively and efficiently set them to task on their morning routine, and the possibly most important connections of our day would be missed. We would finish homeschool early, we would get more done, but still we will have missed out.
So to you momma, the momma like me, who always wonders if she’s doing it right, take a rest, make sure you leave time in your day to accomplish the most important things.
A wise mother once told me that one of the most important lessons we can teach our children is how to rest. And now, as a mother of children who love relaxed time with me, I can say wholeheartedly that I agree with her! You see, it is in those times when we are relaxed, that we are emotionally present enough to give our children some of the things they desperately need the most! They need us to pay attention to them, and not anything else, to sit quietly with them, and let the thoughts of their little hearts pour out to us in a way that they only can when things are restful and quiet.
They need us to pray for them, they need to find us reading God’s word, not in a rush, but in a way that teaches them that God’s word is something to feast on and delight in and “waste our day away in.”
And since we’re on the subject, I don’t usually read my Bible in the morning. Usually it’s later in the day, when my mind is sharp later. One benefit of that as a mother, is that sometimes my children get to see me read God’s word during the day.
Now for those of you amazing mothers who wake up early in the morning as the proverbs 31 woman does and prepares bread for her household and is busy at work, enjoy the place and routine that God has called you to as well!
I will be the proverbs 31 woman who stays up just a little later preparing for the next day.
Either way you go (or if you are something completely different, or in between), remember that God gave you the children you needed and gave your children the mother they needed. He ordained every day for them before there was yet one of them (Psalm 139) including today.
Relish today in the fact that your family has been called to care for and love each other in different ways than other families – different ways that are beautiful and sweet. . .in ways that no one else can completely know or really understand, except of course the very Creator God who ordained your days together before the beginning of time.
Such a boring title, however, somehow it just doesn’t seem fair to give any one of the events of the past few months the honor of the title of a blog over another. As if homeschooling, or traveling or life back in the military, or any recent event deserves the title more than the other.
Our God has been faithful to confirm the call that Jeremy felt starting last year to return to the Air Force over and over since we began our journey out West here to Utah.
Here is some of the beautiful country we drove through on our way here:
Within hours of arriving on base, after a sweet long trip across country visiting friends and family (after a hectic DITY – Do-it-yourself move, AKA “the best way to find out how much you really can do in 48 hours”) we were assigned a perfect house on base, next to neighbors with children our kids’ ages, and even a few homeschooling families. Within minutes of getting keys, the children had all assigned rooms. Elijah got the smallest room with a view of the Great Salt Lake and the mountains in the West, so he can watch the sun set from his bedroom window – AMAZING!! (Yes that is his screen. . .another story and another blog about that sometime soon.)
We prayed hard (it wasn’t long, we really didn’t have long before school started) about what to do about school for our children, we decided to homeschool again. In another blog I will share more about that for those who wish to be tortured with all the fun details! Simply put, we are LOVING it to no end!
Jeremy has been able to stay busy and is adjusting well to life back in active duty. He preaches most Sundays at the Chapel, which he has been most thankful for, and has met some godly men who he can learn from and grow with.
We are learning a lot about the culture here, as it is predominately and historically Mormon. We are so thankful that we serve a God who does not live in temples built by human hands, and who is not limited in His work by our ideas or understanding! My heart has grown more thankful in the recent months for the grace and mercy of God . . .
Until next time, grace and peace.
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After two and a half wonderful years in Emporium, Pennsylvania, God has called Jeremy back into active duty military as an Air Force Chaplain. We got the news of his acceptance several weeks ago, and then very recently he was given orders to Hill AFB in Utah. For those who want to keep in touch with us, please subscribe to our blog on the upper left-hand side of this blog, and you will get an email sent directly to your inbox whenever I post a new blog. I wish I was one of those great bloggers who spam people with a daily blog, but I’m not that efficient, so you have nothing to fear.
Life has been a whirlwind as we have enjoyed time away with family as my last little sister married this past weekend (welcome to the family Chris!) We will report soon to our new assignment, so our upcoming days will be filled with lots of visits with friends, very sad goodbyes and lots of “lasts” that we will remember forever!
As always, God has been far more gracious to us than we deserve, and the church Jeremy is currently serving in will have no gap in leadership as we leave. We are excited to see what God will do through the next pastor, Jonathan, who is also my youngest brother. He and his wife Hannah were unanimously called here very soon after Jeremy announced his resignation.
Of course, I know that some of you read my blog mainly for the pictures, so here’s one of our extended family at my sister’s wedding. Jonathan is on the far right with his eyes closed. . .hopefully his congregation won’t be following this example as he preaches :-)
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Elijah announced to me a few days ago that he wants to climb Mount Everest some day. My knee-jerk reaction was, “NOOOOO!” which I quickly adjusted to, “No you can’t . . .unless you train for it.” We did some searching and I decided to show all of them the 1998 Everest movie. Just 43 minutes of information that would either convince him that he must try it someday, or scare him away.
As we watched, he was horrified at some of the feats of strength and amazing acts of work, danger and training, and in the last few minutes of the film, announced to me his decision:
“Well, Mom, I’ll call you from the top when I get there to tell you I made it, just in case I die on the way down.”
“Awww, thanks bud.”
That’s my boy. . .my boy growing into a young man who will do things I have no desire to do. And I’m thankful I get to be his Momma.
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As the children are growing older and more verbal, we are enjoying conversation with them like never before. I wish I could freeze time some days so I could take it all in! They are each precious children with sweet and individual personalities that bring joy to so many.
Tuesday at school, I overheard Micah (I get to spend lots of time in his class) say to a classmate, “Have you met my sister, Merry, she’s kind.” It made my heart happy to see his honestly beautiful opinion of his sister come out to a friend.
As we have talked with our children about gifts we are making, buying or finding for each other as Christmas (and birthdays for a few of us) arrive soon, Merry said, “you get me whatever think I should have, I always like what you get me.” When pressed further, she asked for new gym shoes and an alarm clock; she’s such a practical girl.
Micah on his way to school the other day received good big brotherly advice from Elijah about how to deal with some issues at school. Elijah’s maturity baffles me sometimes, and makes me thankful I get to be his mommy.
I am amazed at how God takes our feeble attempts to serve Him and blesses them in ways we could not even think to ask. My children are proof of that. God is good, and He is at work. . .all glory to Him!
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Some of our fun family activities of the Autumn include Niagara Falls, fun with friends, playing outside in the treehouse, making apple cider, watching mountain sunsets, Halloween parades and this morning. . .catching snowflakes on our tongues!!
Photos of friends and family!! We are truly blessed!!!
The majority of the photos are from a recent trip to Wisconsin for the beautiful wedding of my baby sister Risa to an amazing man Stephen.
If you wish to download a copy of any photo, just click on the photo and then drag the large file onto your desktop.
This first photo is of Risa and all her sisters (bio, foster and in-law), the second is Risa and Stephen having their last hug NOT as husband and wife on the night before their wedding.
The third photo is of Risa’s sisters and friends who attended her bachelorette party the night before her wedding.
The photo fourth from the bottom is a photo of seven out of the eight Ahlgren siblings.