Sweet Karoline, You're Four

Karoline, when I was pregnant with you I walked to the mailbox every day. Ashamedly, I felt like this counted as exercise. After you were born, the first place I went on my own was to the mail box. I felt free and a bit of normalcy in that half of a block walk. I had a very hard time leaving you or anyone leaving us at the time, this was a big step for me.

When we moved into our condo in Golden you and I would walk to the park every day and grab the mail on our way by. I would read it as we sat and you watched the world go by in your stroller. Eventually you learned to play on the toys. You took yourself down the slide at 10 months old and my mail reading had to wait until we returned home.

After another move and getting settled into our house we would walk to the mail box around the corner.  Most of the time you would ride in your, "beep beep" to go get the mail. Over the last two years you have evolved to helping me push your sister in the stroller, when she will let you, or riding your bike. A few weeks ago I thought I saw something when we were getting the mail but I somewhat refused to believe it.

Low and behold just a few short days later you had figured it for yourself.

Before turning four you have grown tall enough to open the mail box! I wasn't prepared for this to effect me like it has. These pictures force me to realize you really are growing before my eyes.

Today, on your fourth birthday, I'm reminded that you will continue to grow as the years pass. My darling girl, you are kind, compassionate and loving. You have become a beautiful young lady, inside and out, and we love you so very much. Happy birthday, Karoline!

Bathrooms, Pop Icons, Hungry Babies and My Goliath

For weeks I've been trying to find a way to eloquently voice my opinion about hot topics in our society...

I was sitting in church listening to a teaching on David and Goliath. "We all have our Goliath," Pastor Jim said. In my head I'm thinking, thank goodness that I am not struggling with what so many around me are. I've been extremely fortunate, we are not dealing with sickness, infertility, abandonment or estranged family members. Even further, I know I will be able to provide food, water and shelter for my children. An extreme luxury compared to many around the world. 

I know my Goliath and I know it well. It's haunted me this month more so than it ever has in the past. Worry, my Goliath is worry. Worry about the state I live in, the state of my country and the world around me. The world I am raising my girls in.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the death of pop stars receiving more attention than the children who are hungry, beaten and have nothing. The anger and frustration about politics that spews from social media outlets baffles me. So much hate. Bathroom controversy is a double edged sword. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't agree or disagree with the current bathroom arrangements that are taking place in our country. Gun control, gay marriage, home school vs public school, breastfeeding in public and so many more touchy subjects clutter the social and mass media portals with opinions laced in hate and distain. 

Do I have an opinion on these matters, of course. If I voice my opinion, am I viewed as someone who joins a movement or hates? Maybe I view some things one way and others on the opposite side of the spectrum. If my opinion isn't the popular opinion, or what if it is, am I spreading any good by stating it? Does engaging in a Facebook argument about a bathroom and it's occupants on either side (for or against) worth it? What if I'm silent? Do I then get put into the category of people who don't care or try to sweep the dust under the rug?

Last week I was so upset about all the changes in our world that I had to stop and realize that it was negatively impacting my day to day. I was worried, fearful and scared. On a personal level, my husband and I worry about having more children. We want more kids. But, we don't know if we can take care of them if things in our world take a turn for the worst. Wrestling with this is robbing me of the unexplainable, unsurmountable joy of my future children. I had to remind myself to look for the helpers, look for the good and find the lights in the world. As a mother to two girls I know that emotions and worry will one day find them. They will turn to me for guidance and help. What will I say to them? 

Back to sitting in church, in the midst of my thoughts Pastor Jim reminds us that the world view of David would never have been enough to conquer Goliath. But with God all things are possible. God is the same every day. God has gone before us and He is behind us and He IS with us! As these words and the message surrounded me my heart was lifted, my worry started to dissipate. It felt as though God had his hand on me and His message was loud and clear. It's all going to be okay. Don't worry. I know the way in which you will go and if you have put your faith in me you know where you will end up. Whatever you may encounter here, on this earth, will be part of my plan. Be still and know...

That is what I will tell my girls. That is what I will teach them. We will look for the good and focus on the positive plan we are not in control of. Should hard times and misfortune find their way to our doorstep we will turn to God and find comfort in knowing where we will end up one day.

In the closing of the sermon, as I wiped tears of joy and relief from my face, there was one last message. Pastor Jim somewhat pleaded that we stop comparing ourselves to others. What a great thing for a pastor to say. There is no one on this earth worth comparing ourselves to. He continued, "Focus on Jesus, be like him, be the good in the world and shine a light on to those around you."

If I don't compare myself to those around me then I don't need to make a bold statement about a bathroom or a politician. Instead, I can focus that energy on taking the good I see and spreading it back out to the world.