Monday, September 15, 2014

a hello (meet and greet for #influenceconf)

Woah, I cannot believe that in 10 days Rainier and I are hopping onto several planes and heading to Indianapolis for the Influence Conference! Even though I've been before, I'm still a little nervous. Incredibly excited, but nervous - how will things go with bringing a 5-month-old? We shall see. 

Today the women who are attending the conference are doing a little "meet and greet" to get acquainted before we all meet in person. We're sharing a recent picture of ourselves, what we're most excited about, and what we can't leave home without. Here goes:

1. I'm Mackenzie, and this is me and my hubby Brian. We've got 2 boys - Nicholas who's almost 3, and Rainier who is 5-months, and coming with me to the conference! Brian will be holding down the fort with Nicholas while I'm gone :)

2. I am most excited about connecting with women! I'm going to hug the heck out of the Thrive Moms team gals, I can't wait to spend time with other women in ministry, spend time in the prayer room, and hang out with other mamas in the Mom's Suite! And I also cannot wait to worship and learn together. The refreshment and spurring on that comes with worship and listening to inspiring men and women, can't wait!

3. I can't leave without...all of Rainier's baby gear? (How do you fit stuff for yourself and your baby in a small suitcase? HOW?!?!) I'll be that tiny girl with a baby on her hip and a overflowing diaper bag, probably sweating from lugging all our stuff around but still excited to see everyone! 

Are you going to the conference? Share your little meet and greet at the Influence Conference link-up, whether it's on your blog or Instagram!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

i'm not brave

There's a lot of encouragement going on around the interwebs for women to be brave.
And I think that's amazing! (I actually have Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs on my to-read list, I know it's going to encourage me a ton from what I've heard about it.) I love seeing women being encouraged to pursue what scares them and to obey God's call. That's stinkin' awesome.

The thing that has continue to crop up in my heart when I've read these phrases or thought about bravery, is that I really don't feel brave. I feel the opposite. Most of the time, I'm scared. Like deep, I don't think I can do this, pit-in-my-stomach scared. I am not brave. Even when I hear the word "bravery" I want to run and hide because my future, even the very near future, looms in front of me and I just don't know if I can do it.

When I look at the things God is handing me, I have literally questioned if He knows what He's thinking, and why He would give that to me - doesn't He know I am NOT that person? I mean He's God and all so I'm sure He does. But even still - I think He may have gotten it wrong. I am NOT BRAVE. I am not a go-getter. I, most of the time, am a scared little girl who wants the easy way out and to just watch Netflix all day because the future makes me want to burst into tears. (Sometimes that's exactly what happens.) Why doesn't He choose someone else who jumps at adventure, who loves "new", who rolls with the punches like it's no problem. My second nature is to stick my heels in the ground of "security" and hold on for dear life - not to jump in with both feet.

I say all these things, totally still scared. I have no idea how the things that God is asking of me, right now, today, are going to turn out. I am gulping, taking deep breaths because I can't control the outcome. Yet there is a light in my heart, a stubborn "yes" that knows that there is HOPE because of Jesus, and I can't ignore that He promises to be faithful. I cannot forget the truth even though I'm terrified. I am not brave, but He is so incredibly good.

This fear is in my throat, threatening to totally take over. But in the same breath, I will speak this: Jesus is with me wherever I go. He will not leave me or forsake me. I am His beloved. Nothing can separate me from the love of Jesus, not height, or depth, or anything else in this created world. I am in the palm of His hand, under the shadow of His wings. And He is worth it. And even when I cannot see, He goes before me.

Friday, August 29, 2014

giggling with my kiddos, taking lots of breaths, digging deep with my savior

Well it's probably obvious that life has been a little bit full the last few weeks, considering I haven't blogged since the 13th. It's been a good and crazy busy! Trying to soak in the summer days with my boys, went on a family vacation with my siblings and parents, and now we are moving to a new apartment. We also decided to try a month of no grains, no sugar - which is excruciating when I think about chocolate but is also a great reboot after a very snacky summer, and so I'm spending more time in the kitchen. My blog hasn't been the only thing that's been neglected; Brian's birthday banner (from July 11) is still hanging in our living room and it took me almost TWO WEEKS to put away my laundry. So. Busy and crazy, but full of lots of good things.

I've found myself taking a lot of deep breaths, trying to enjoy the busyness instead of feeling plain overwhelmed. I can't help but enjoy Nicholas' hilarious personality (he's been asking for "Taylor Fwift" lately and making up some awesome dance moves), or swell with joy over Rainier's newly found giggle. Yet in the next moment I'm wondering, how do I do this all and do it well? Not like the "I can have it all" mentality, but more like the reality of - how am I going to brush my teeth and help with the church plant and start packing our home and raise my babies, and sleep ever, and not yell 
at everyone?

I mess up on this pretty much several times a day. I get way too task-oriented and my kids and my stress levels pay for it. I find myself having to take deep, prayerful breaths to continually keep perspective. I'm also asking for help, though my people-pleasing self cringes at the thought of "inconveniencing people" - because I actually CAN'T do it all and I need someone to hold my baby so I can put things in boxes or pee once in awhile. If I can alleviate some of the pressure/busy, I will because my relationships, my family, is worth it. Actually living in the sweet moments with my kids and putting down my laundry so that I can look at Brian's handsome face is worth it.

As my wise friend Rachael says, I'm digging deep. In many areas, I can't just quit (cleaning the house, packing, being a grace-filled mama, etc.). I've just gotta keep going. So I'm asking Jesus for an abundance of His grace. I'm continually on my knees before Him, saying sorry and receiving grace, over and over again. He's showing me His faithfulness in big and little ways.\

And now you know what's going on if I don't blog for another few days :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

a little face lift

As you can tell, my blog is getting a little face lift and might be in process for a few days! So please excuse the bumps and issues that I'm hoping to fix as soon as I can. You know, in between taking care of my kiddos :) Thanks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

nicholas-isms :: enjoying my sweet, mischievous boy

Life with Nicholas is never boring.
(Or quiet. Or without me wondering what else he's going to sneak into his mouth without me noticing - pen caps and tiny tires, all day long.)

My blonde boy is SPUNKY, joyful, creative, sneaky, determined, and moody. I love him. And I've become an expert at taking deep breaths. (See second bullet.)

A few of my favorite Nicholas-isms, as of late:
  • Before telling a story, he clears his throat. It's the best.
  • "Are you fwus-wated, Mommy? Take a deep breath. Like dis. *Breathes in, real dramatic like.* See? You feel better." He's stealing my lines for when HE is frustrated. Thanks kid.
  • He asks for the "Jesus Rhino" song. Jesus loves me, this rhino...
  • Upon accomplishing a difficult task he excitedly yells, "NUMBER ONE!" No idea where he learned this.
  • He can't help himself with Rainier, he adores him. He uses this very high pitched, endearing little voice and tells him, "You're my favorite boy, Rainier!" "You're my sweet baby!"
    (This mostly makes up for all the times he whacks his little brother in the head or belly.)
  • Tackle hugs. Ow, and also, adorable.
  • For all his non-stop energy, the dozens of times he purposely wakes Rainier up from naps, and how many USB sticks & Sharpies I find behind his back in clenched little fists, this boy is polite. He is never without a "dank do" or an "I'm sorry, Mama." My sweet boy.
And one that wasn't my favorite, but that is just so telling of his age/mischief:
  • At dinner one night, I turned my back for no more than 20 seconds, and found two (fully cooked) noodles in Rainier's mouth. I'm a pro at the finger sweep, I tell ya. Near heart attack for me and a big timeout/talking to for Nicholas.

Honestly, parenting such an energetic, mischievous 2-year-old can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. I won't gloss that part over. But Nicholas is also so much fun, and FULL of personality. I'm so grateful for this boy and that God has allowed me to be his mom.