the art of being a woman

In a world where so much of who you are seems to be wrapped up in the external – in accomplishments, in appearance, in possessions – it is immensely refreshing for my soul to be reminded of what true beauty is.

Growing up, I had subscriptions to your typical teenage girl magazines – Seventeen, YM…I cut pictures out of them to make collages – collages full of photoshopped women, advertised beauty products, and the like. I’m happy to say our subscriptions have grown up since then. We now welcome Kingston Life and Spacing into our home, in addition to my professional magazines. About a year ago, my husband introduced me to a magazine called Darling. I was moved by its mission and intrigued by the way it distinguished between eight female personas. I promptly subscribed to their online content, and I will admit it is probably the only feed that I read in its entirety.

I’m someone who has often found her worth in achievements and in an ability to get things done. This has served me well on a number of occasions. However, it has also left me utterly devastated more than a few times.

At church today, our speaker touched on the reality of our brokenness as people and our deep need for healing and restoration. I was challenged to consider the reign that God has (or doesn’t have) over all aspects of my life, and I couldn’t help but be convicted of the fact that I have yet to allow him to make an indelible mark on my life. When people see me, do they see someone whose life has been transformed by Christ? Sadly, I don’t know that they do.

All of this brings me to the ideas of identity, worth, and beauty. What does it mean to be a woman, and to live well? Undoubtedly, all women are unique, with different aspirations, different values, different needs. However, I believe there is a certain something that we should all be striving for, to live life on earth with purpose and meaning that extends beyond just the here and now. As a mother, every day I am learning to understand and accept the changes that have occurred in me (mentally and physically) since taking on this new role. I have some seemingly abrupt new ambitions. I have a slate of new responsibilities. And simultaneously, I have a new image of myself to either accept reluctantly or work hard to reform.

In short, it’s a tough act to balance.

And so, I am thankful for the care and thoughtfulness that goes into a magazine like Darling. For curating content that inspires and uplifts and is authentic. In an attempt to foster what I think is a very healthy mindset, I’ve ordered the most recent issue of Darling and I can’t wait to receive it.

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11.

This was one of those weeks during which I was reminded of God’s sovereignty and goodness in our lives.

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Andy had his 2-month check-up (a little late, yes…) on Wednesday, and this big boy is in the 97th percentile for weight! At our appointment, our doctor had trouble getting his red reflex, which is a test they do to make sure that optically everything is okay with your baby. She told us not to worry, and referred us to the ophthalmology department at one of our local hospitals. Worst case scenario? He has something called retinoblastoma and he will need surgery to remove his eye.

Naturally, that’s one of the last things you want to hear from your physician.

It’s times like this that we are so thankful for the people around us who support us, encourage us, and most importantly, pray for us. We sent messages and emails out right away to let our small groups know the situation. This was at around 11 am. God works in amazing ways, including placing great friends in our life (including one who is a resident in the ophthalmology department!), and by 1 pm, we were seeing the paediatric specialist at the hospital. We praise God that Andy is indeed okay, and at the same time, we are also reminded of the inevitability of one day having heartbreaking circumstances to deal with.

While I was waiting for the ophthalmologist, I got talking in the waiting room with a couple from Brockville whose daughter was born quite premature. She was 3 months old and had just been released from NICU. For the last few months, they had been staying at Almost Home, a local charitable organization that provides “a place of comfort and respite for families whose children are receiving medical treatment in Kingston area hospitals”. My heart goes out to families in that position, and I’m going to find out more about the organization so that I can nominate it at our next 100+ Women Who Care meeting.

Beyond this, Andy is sleeping for about a 6-hour stretch at night, which is marvelous for me :) I finally get a chance to rest in the evening and do things, like write this blog post. And read. I love reading. I went a little crazy last night and requested about a dozen books from the OCT library. I’m looking forward to receiving them.

On the note of PD, this is the last week of a MOOC that I’m taking. I completed the assignment and posted it for feedback on a discussion thread…but didn’t submit it. Super fail. Especially because that process is worth 45% of my grade. I was seriously bummed on Monday (like super grumpy and angry at myself), but I attempted to right my wrongs by submitting my final assignment for another MOOC that I’m taking (which ends next week) about 5 days early.

I’m also beginning to plan for our trip to Nashville (should we rent a car?). Suggestions for restaurants to try and places to visit would be much appreciated.

5.

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Doing the laundry with a baby in a carrier is easier than doing the laundry with a baby in a sling. But man, loading the washing machine without a child strapped to me at all is the easiest of all.

My sister is back in town for the next few weeks, so we have a built-in babysitter when she’s home. It’s great! On Thursday, we left Andy in the carrier with her while we went downtown to pick up pad thai for dinner from one of our go-to asian places. Even though it was only a 45-minute jaunt there and back (including our in-restaurant time), it was glorious. This morning, I got a load of laundry in while she held him. It will be harder come the beginning of May when she is back in Toronto for good. Not looking forward to that.

Looking back at the last few posts, I realized I talk a lot about how Andy is such a good sleeper. And he is. Sometimes. Usually during the day…which is not when we need him to be a good sleeper. The past few nights have been pretty rough, with me not getting much more than 45-50 minutes of good solid sleep at a time. So, we have decided we are going to start introducing some semblance of a sleep routine. Right now, that consists of him being in the carrier with daddy from roughly 9:30-midnight while I nap, followed by an inconsistent few hours, then a big nap with daddy between 7 and 9 am and sometimes a continuation of said nap with mommy until 10. No more. We will attempt to start to wind him down around 9:30/10 (and by wind down, we mean wind down for the crib, not for the carrier), then have him up for a change (new diaper, and out of his PJs) at around 8/8:30. That will require that I am also up at 8/8:30. Hmm…that may prove difficult.

Now time for those random things around the internet that have piqued my attention this week.

I got domestic and made this pasta and these muffins.

I also follow an online magazine called GOOD and a few days ago, they made published this post about poetry. I wrote a poetry about parenthood. It’s an acrostic poem.

People told me that raising
A child would be both tough and
Rewarding. I’ve found this to be true.
Every day, my baby has
Needs that must be met;
There are times when he’s poopy,
Hungry, gassy, or fussy.
Other times, he just wants to be held.
One thing’s for sure, I’ve never known
Days as full of joy and love as these.

Last but not least, these illustrations about the life of a new mom made me laugh. I proceeded to share them with a number of other new moms around me.