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

 

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.

Why I Take Classes

I have mentioned before that I am taking a class this semester on the Yalta Conference that helped end World War II.  This is the third course I have taken at the Harvard Extension School over the past year and a half, and I’ve loved it!  I’ve only taken one class each semester, and at this point I’m not planning to complete a degree with Harvard Extension (that’s a post for another day).  A few different factors have influenced my decision to take a class each semester:

It is an intellectual outlet for me.  I am so grateful I get to be a full-time mom to Audrey, but I still love the academic world and, let’s face it, reading “Going to the Zoo” for the four hundredth time doesn’t quite scratch my intellectual itch.  Taking classes is really my (strange) hobby– I’m not a fan of running or scrapbooking but taking a class is something that I love to do.  It gives me a chance to write, think, and converse with other adults. It’s great!

It’s an opportunity to take advantage of being in Cambridge.  The Harvard Extension school features some phenomenal professors.  While I am not trying to get a degree while we’re here in Cambridge (that would be biting off far more than I could chew right now!) I know I will look back and be so glad I took advantage of the academic and intellectual resources while we were here.

It is an investment in my future academic life.  Someday, whether it is five or twenty-five years from now, I would still love to get my PhD and teach at the university level.  Taking some classes that pertain closely to my research interests (Cold War history) is an investment in that future, even if it is a long way off.

If you’re a mom, I would LOVE to hear how you balance your passions and your calling as a mom.  It’s still something we’re very much trying to figure out and I am so grateful for the chance to have taken classes while Alex is in law school.  What do you do on the side to keep your heart, mind, and body active?

To my friends who long for children

To my friends who long for children:

I have thought of you often in starting this blog.  As I’ve written about finding meaning in motherhood, and savoring each moment with my child, I have often thought of you, my friends who long for children.  Some of you have shared your desires with me, while others have made your tears and longings known only to God.

I don’t have a magical message for you and I can’t even say “I understand,” because while I want to understand, I know I fall short.  When I talk of the struggles of parenting, I know I talk of the struggles you long to experience.  When I post photos of sweet moments with my daughter you rejoice with me, but maybe part of you is aching too.  I wish it wasn’t.

I am not sure what to say to you except to say: you are not forgotten.  I long with you for the fulfillment of your deep desire for children.  I pray for you and I pray for an answer to your longings.  Thank you for sharing our joy.  But please, please know we love you and we weep with you and long with you for children.

_______

If you are one who longs for children, I’d consider it a deep honor if you would let me know how I can be a better friend to you in this season.  Would you be willing to share, even anonymously?