“So We Remember” Has Moved!

When I started this blog earlier this spring, my goal was to record family memories, especially the little things that would otherwise be forgotten in the days to come.

Since then, it has also become an outlet for my writing and a place for me to process–along with you– this thing called “motherhood.”

As a result, I have decided to move my writings, and family memories, to a new site:

courtneylynnharris.com

I hope you’ll visit and let me know what you think!  Once you’re there, you’ll find that almost all the old content from “So We Remember” is there, too.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Thanks, Dad, for Dreaming Big for Me

Dear Dad,

Thanks for dreaming big for me.

Thanks for getting to know me– to know my strengths and weaknesses, my abilities and giftings.

Thanks for showing me those strengths and taking time to talk to me about them.

Thanks for telling me so long ago that I should do debate, and then being there to watch and give feedback as I argued and for financing countless trips to tournaments, too many file boxes and dozens of legal pads.

Thanks for being honest with me about my weaknesses, but also compassionate, and willing to show me where and how I can fight against my sinful tendencies.

Thanks Dad, for being willing to see my dreams take a different shape, or be postponed, when I became a mom.

Thanks for cheering me on as I’ve sought to keep my intellect alive as a young mom.

Thanks Dad for helping me have a vision for my life, for who God has made and called me to be, and for how He might use me for His kingdom purposes.

Thanks, Dad, for dreaming big for me.

Happy Fathers’ Day.

Love always,

Courtney

 

Favorite Finds

Extraordinary Work and Ordinary Means.  Just substitute “mom” or “parent” for “worship-leader” and I think you’ll find this a very encouraging article (at least I did!).

Slow Cooker Greek Gyros. I love Greek food and slow cooker recipes so I was so excited to find this!

Free online biblical womanhood class.  I love a good class and this looks intriguing (and it’s free!).

Why I chose to be a stay-at-home-mom.  An encouraging read of why one woman is glad for the choice she has made.  I love her encouragement to make a list of why you are glad you have made your choice to work, be at home, or combine some of both.

 

 

Dear Audrey {Messenger}

This post is part of “Five Minute Friday.”  This week’s topic is {messenger}.

Dear Audrey,

The other night we went for a walk, you, your Daddy, and me.

Your little legs are getting so long and I watched as you ran ahead of us on the sidewalk, as fast as they would carry you.

I told your Daddy that I was afraid you would fall.  He said that falling was part of childhood and that if you did, we’d pick you up, take you home, and bandage you up.

As your mommy, I wish I could protect you from every pain in this life: every scraped knee, every unkind comment, every devastating disappointment.

But I am reminded that–for some mysterious reason–pain is often God’s messenger to us for our good.

One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, said:

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains.

In my own life, I’ve seen God use pain to show me that He alone is my greatest joy, and treasure, and fulfillment.

So, dear Audrey, if I can’t spare you the pain, I pray it will be a messenger for your good and for your joy.

I love you,

Mom

When the (Sleep) Books Just Don’t Work

By the time Audrey was 4 weeks old, I had a pile of infant sleep books that stretched probably twice as long as her little body.

And none of them (really) helped.

Looking back, I can see what tips would (and would not) have been helpful, but what I primarily remember from those early days is frustration. And lots of tears.

I read all about wonderful, predictable infant sleep schedules in routines, about putting your baby down for a nap in the crib 1 hour after waking, about not making baby dependent on nursing or rocking or swinging to fall asleep. About following a baby’s sleep cues (Audrey didn’t have them) and having predictable time to yourself while baby slept.

But what I had was a baby who wanted to nurse to fall asleep.  A baby that woke up like clockwork 20 minutes after I laid her down (asleep!  A big no no!) for her nap.  A baby that woke every 45-60 minutes at night.  A baby who would scream for an hour as I rocked her, swaddled, feeling like a failure because I could not comfort my child and because I could not get her to stick to the schedule.

I cried because my baby would not sleep and I cried because she wouldn’t follow the books.

I cry now because I wish I had thrown the books out the window (retaining a few helpful tips, first) and just nursed and held and treasured the sweet newborn days with my little one.

But I wonder if there are other mamas out there who are in the exact same place I was.  Trying so desperately to do this mothering thing well, to follow The Books. But they are failing.

You know what, it is—and will be–okay. Read a few helpful tips and then follow your instinct about what works best for you and your baby and your family.  Buy a swing or a bouncer or a carrier and let your little one sleep where he or she sleeps best. If you can, reach out to some experienced fellow moms and ask for their advice.

But don’t blame your little one for not following The Books.  You know what?  Children weren’t made to be controlled by books, but to be known and cared for and loved.

You’re doing a great job, mama.  Keep it up.

Finding the “Why” in Diet and Exercise as a Busy Mom

Ever since becoming a mom I have struggled to improve my eating and exercise habits.

But while I’ve worked to be more disciplined in my eating, I have struggled with the why of healthier eating and exercise.  Maybe I’m alone in asking this, but why should I deny myself that chocolate chip cookie?  Why should I find time to workout in the midst of busy days?  What does God think about all this?

Maybe the answer is obvious to you, but it hasn’t been obvious to me when confronting a bag of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (it is okay to eat them by the handful, right??) or when faced with the prospect of going for a run with the jogging stroller while being peppered with questions like “Mommy, why did my friend cry?”  “Huh?”  “Huh?” over and over again.

Enter Gary Thomas’s book “Every Body Matters.”  Some of you might recognize Gary’s name from his book “Sacred Marriage,” in which he encouraged readers to view marriage as a means to holiness, not just happiness.  For me, Gary answered the “why” question of diet and exercise.  Here are two things I took away from “Every Body Matters”

1) My body is an instrument for God’s purposes. I am blessed that the hands, feet, lungs, heart, and eyes He gave me are called to be used for His good works.  Eating well and exercising help me function at my best now and also help guarantee that my body can be around for the long haul.*   I want to do what I can to ensure that the instrument He gave me is functioning at its best so that I can fulfill the purposes for which He put me on this planet.

2) Self-discipline is a spiritual issue.  If I give into every craving for Milk Duds or muffins, there are implications not just for my body but for my heart as well.  God wants me to be satisfied in Him and not meet every craving for rest, relief, or happiness with a trip to the refrigerator.  My lack of self-discipline is a symptom not of taste buds out of control but of a heart that needs to grow in self control.

How do you think about diet and exercise as a mom?  What motivates you to choose the whole-grain pasta over the oh-so-tasty white flour pasta?  More practically, how do you find time for healthy food choices and exercise?

 


*I am well aware from my own painful family experience that diet and exercise alone do not guarantee that I’ll live to be 100.  But I know that they can help.

Five Minute Friday: “Hands”

This is my first post for “Five Minute Friday.”  I hope you enjoy!!

I love your sweet little hands, Audrey.  How small they are and yet how much they have grown in two short years!

And I find myself wondering: what will your hands do in this life you have been given?

Will they be like your Aunt Tiffany’s and care for hurting children?

Will they be like your Dad’s and write books to inspire a generation?

Will they be like your Nonna’s and your Great-Grandmother’s and your Grandma’s and show others how to read and write and tie their shoes?

Will they get dirty in gardens, in slums, or at playgrounds?

Whatever you do, I hope your hands serve.  I hope your hands grow lined with love and creased with the toil of devotion to God and compassion toward those around you.

You have been blessed with two precious, perfect little hands.

May you use them well, little one.

 

New Feature: Favorite Finds!

For a little while I’ve been thinking of taking a day each week to share some of my favorite finds with you and this week I decided to take the plunge!  I hope you enjoy!  What have you found encouraging or interesting this week?

1. What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades: a fascinating look into why handwriting is so important to helping us process information.  In college, I almost always took notes on my computer.  Sounds like I was doing it wrong!

2. Gloria Furman’s Affirmation for Moms: I struggle a lot with finding a good time for my daily devotions and I love Gloria’s encouragement to a weary mom who still hungers for God’s Word.

3. What I’ve Learned in Twenty Years of Marriage: this one has made the rounds so maybe you’ve already seen it.  As someone who got married pretty young (23!) I appreciated Russell Moore’s reflection.

4. Begin Living Now: As someone who has spent all of 4.5 married years living in apartments (3 total so far) I appreciated this encouragement to stop waiting for something permanent to make a home.

5. Becca’ Garber’s Italian Home Tour: my friend Becca was featured on Designmom.com!!  I loved reading about how she has embraced quiet days with her two precious children– it inspired me to do the same!

On Not Tying Up Heavy Burdens

The cheerful mother and chipper daughter who had started out the morning on a Costco run were no where to be found.  We were both tired.  I think Audrey was teething, and I had a horrible sore throat.  We were in that awful hungry-but-not-quite-lunchtime zone.

To make things worse, Whole Foods did not have the two items I had stopped, specifically, to buy.  Audrey was confused about why I had told her she was going to walk, when instead I ended up carrying her and pushing her in the cart.

As I strapped her in her car seat for the third time that morning she began to fuss, ever so slightly.  I don’t remember what exactly went down, but I was far from patient.  I’m pretty sure I snapped at her to stop crying.  I just didn’t want to deal with her tears.

In the midst of the frustration this verse came to mind:

“They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” (Matthew 23:4)

As you will remember, these words were Jesus’ description of the Pharisees, but in that moment in the Whole Foods parking lot, I think they were for me too.

Why did I require obedience in a little thing (“stop fussing!”) when instead compassion was needed?  Had I already forgotten how just a few minutes before my little two-year-old had told me she wanted to go home to Boston?  Why did I have no understanding for her fatigue, her sore teeth, and her emotional confusion?  Why did I tie up a heavy burden of obedience on her little back, without lifting a finger to help?

I know why: because I’m a sinful mother desperately in need of the grace of the Spirit to lovingly parent my little girl.  Because I need (and have!) a Savior who doesn’t tie up needless burdens on my back.  When He calls me to obey, He gives me the strength to do it.  May I give the same grace to my little girl.

It’s not (all) about the to do list

I am a pretty task oriented person. I love a good to do list and checking things off of it.  I can view my parenting in the same way: feed Audrey breakfast, check.  Do Bible time, check.  Put Audrey down for a nap, check.

But what if a big part of the important part of parenting isn’t just the tasks I can check off a list (essential as they are) but also the moments that fill the days between each task?

I’m realizing that the little moments are just as important as the big tasks.  That the environment I create with my words and actions matters very much to the little person I am cultivating.  That the tone and mood of my home matter.

It matters to Audrey that she has a (semi) predictable routine to her little days.  It matters to Audrey that I take the time to look her in the eye when she wants to tell me about her train.  It matters to Audrey that I am slow and patient as we go out the door rather than rushed and irritable.

And, I believe, if it matters to Audrey, if it makes a difference in her life, it matters to God, too.

I can’t check any of those things off of a to do list.  I won’t sit down at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment for having spent 5 minutes rehearsing with Audrey what she did in her new Sunday School.  I won’t rack up productivity points for having tossed the ball to her in the hallway or played “doctor” with her baby.

But, I am realizing, it doesn’t have to be on a to-do list to matter.