Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (Why This Is So Important to Me!)

Over the past 5 months, I have had the distinct honor of participating in the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker's newest book entitled For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (henceforth called For the Love or even FTL). Find it on Amazon at this link and get it for half the price!

My book review will follow this post, but for now I feel like I need to preface it with some explanation about where my heart has been over the past year.

Jen doesn't know me, but she wrote this book to fill a place in my life that I so desperately needed. 2014 was one of the most difficult years of my life to date - quitting college, anxiety, health issues for my baby boy, losing so many friends and forging new relationships when I have trust issues, and generally feeling like I was lost. I started counselling and began working on myself, but I decided that 2015 would be my year of Hope.

Shortly before the start of 2015, the enemy (Satan, the Asshole, whatever you may call him) hit our family HARD. The stomach virus for my baby and husband caused us to cancel my son's 2nd birthday party which I had put so much effort into and then the flu caused us all to miss Christmas. That was one of the most lonely days of my life - sitting around the Christmas tree just the 3 of us while I waged an internal spiritual battle, I had never felt so far away from God. I had never felt so forgotten and left behind. And believe me, I've had my share of rejection.

Around that same time, we found out we were expecting our 2nd child and Hope sprung up again in my heart. I spoke life and love over this child and declared him my light. My gift. He was due August 18 and at the time, I had no idea how special this day would become.

In March, the Christian author Jen Hatmaker put out a status on Facebook declaring that she would be putting together a Launch Team for her new book - essentially that instead of asking a bunch of her author friends to endorse her book, she was going to pick 500 normal people to read and review it! I thought, Wow that sounds so awesome. She will never pick me, but I've got to try. So before I could overthink it, I pulled up that application and wrote a truthful description of what I had to offer her - this blog, my Facebook following, and my church connections. I waited a long few weeks and one morning as I laid in bed with morning sickness, I pulled up my email on my phone and just started bawling. YOU ARE ON MY LAUNCH TEAM! I never win anything. I never get chosen. I had just come off of an agonizing year of rejection and failure that had crippled me, only to have one of my favorite authors pick me. My God had seen my pain and sent me a gift like only He can. The launch date of the book would be August 18. It was written in the Heavens for me to be a part of this group.

We soon assembled the #500 on a private Facebook group and started sharing our testimonies and prayer requests. We found out that a huge number of us are a part of the most rare personality type - INFJ - and that we are all so alike! God had sent me another blessing. Friends. I have about a dozen great friends from church that were certainly put in my life at the beginning of 2014 to show His provision, but after losing so many friends in my past, I had often struggled with feeling good enough for them, even when they were there to reassure me time and time again. I felt so full of life and joy that these people from Jen's Launch Team were now in my corner.

Since then, I have poured out my heart to these ladies (there are only 4 guys on the group and none of them talk much!) on so many issues and have been met with grace, affirmation, and advice. From my husband losing his job, to my own pregnancy health issues, to triggers from my past being brought up by mainstream media, they were there for me.

Community is important to God. He wants us to know and be known. This has come to life through the Launch Team and I will truly never be the same because of it.

Now read my book review to find out what For the Love will do for your life!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Nolan's Nursery - Part 1

Welcome to Nolan's room!!

You are greeted at the door with his bedroom theme - woodland! I made this wreath using a $3 twig wreath from the Dollar Spot at Target, some felt animals from a diaper cake that was given to me at my shower, and a cheap wooden N from Hobby Lobby. 
Walk in the door and to the right is his nice sized closet with a GroVia Perfect Pail cloth diaper wet bag hanging on the back. I will get into the items you see later!

As you can see, he will have no shortage of clothes! Starting from the left are newborn clothes, of which we only have a few because babies tend to grow out of this size so quickly. I know our first, Roman, was out of newborn by 1 month old. If you look at the hanging rod, you see the circular clothing dividers. These are a great help to me so I never lose track of where the right sized clothing hangs. We have up through 6 months hung up right now and the larger sizes are either in cardboard boxes on the closet floor or in plastic boxes in the attic. 

Back outside the closet, we have this handy diaper caddy. With Roman, we got tons of use out of this for his disposable diapers and wipes as well as other miscellaneous items like burp clothes, medicine, pacifiers, and accessories. 
In the bottom center we have most of our Kissaluvs size 0 fitted cloth diapers laid out flat. The remaining few that didn't fit are on the top center beneath 2 GroVia Newborn cloth diapers. In the bottom left cubby are burp cloths. In the bottom right cubby are cloth boosters for extra absorbency. In all of the top pockets are misc. items like breast milk storage bags, cloth breast pads, infant medication, and pacifier clips. 

In the Moses basket, we have the same set-up we used with Roman - infant bath towels, infant wash cloths, and bibs.

The dresser/changing table combo has turned out beautifully! My parents got this dresser with a bedroom set they bought off someone and gave it to us after Roman's dresser fell apart. I love the lengthy surface area to store all of our needed items plus a few decorations. 

From the left side of the dresser first - The glass tree was a wedding shower gift and has lived in various places around our homes. The little fox beneath the tree was an inexpensive find from the current (2015) Fall collection at Hobby Lobby. In the striped basket are all of my dry cloth wipes. I'm not sure if I will spray as I go with a bottle of water or if I will make up a box of pre-moistened wipes. It will be trial and error. Laying out on the dresser is a comparison between a disposable newborn diaper and the cloth diaper covers from Thirsties that we will be using. I have a small stash of disposable diapers that we will definitely use for random occasions.

In the center of the dresser is the changing pad with a gray minky cover from Target over it. In the middle is a washable protector with a waterproof backing, so any messy changes can be easily cleaned up. In the center is a sneak-peek of his coming home outfit. I won't reveal any more than that until he's here!

On the far right is the 'necessities' box - Aveeno unscented lotions, petroleum jelly for newborn circumcision care, a few samples of natural rash cream that came with our cloth diaper package, pacifiers, wipes, and some Vanilla Lavender Glade spray. This is my favorite scent for a baby's room to freshen up after a nasty diaper. Of course Lavender essential oils would work better.

Inside the dresser: 
No pictures that I took here turned out well, so I will just list how I have things organized.
Top Left: Socks and smallest size shoes
Top Middle: Hats, swimming diapers, and breastfeeding covers
Top Right: Wet bags, extra changing pad covers (the small white ones)
Middle Left: Sleepers, sleep sacks, and velcro swaddle sacks
Middle Right: Pants
Bottom 2 Drawers: Cloth diapers that will be in our regular rotation after our Newborn package is outgrown. 
The Mr. Owl rug that went from Roman's old room into here ties the whole corner together. 

The next segment will detail the color of the walls, our wall decorations, the crib bedding, and the rocking chair corner!