Obsessed with Picture Perfect

Fall is here and that means Pumpkin patch season!! I love going to our local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins and pick apples. I’ve been twice in the last week! As long as it isn’t raining, I’m game to go! Shopping local is awesome and I love to support local. Plus, the fruit always tastes better and lasts longer as it’s straight from the farm!

The other day I was on a field trip with Lily. I was struck by how many people were snapping photos after photo after photo of their kids rather than just enjoying the time with their kid. Moms were stuck behind their cameras or cell phones moving their kids around and telling them to sit still to get the perfect picture. Kids were fidgeting and trying to run away making moms more and more upset.

Are we so obsessed in today’s world with getting the perfect picture to put on our social media rather than the moments in time we get to spend with our loved ones? We’re so concerned about portraying our perfect life on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter that sometimes I think we forget to enjoy the time we get to spend with our kids. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of it too. As soon as I snap a cute picture of the girls I start thinking about how I can put it on social media. If I don’t like the picture, there is no chance I’m posting it! We “airbrush” our lives to make them look how we want rather than actually connecting to people on a human level and relating to them in our struggles and weakness, joys and strengths. He wants us to be authentic. It’s sad really how disconnected our world is becoming. There are more and more ways to connect with others, but is having a device in our hands or in front of us really connecting with people?

When Christ died for us, He did it so He can have a relationship with us and we can have one with Him. God is all about relationships, that’s why He’s 3 in 1, that’s why He created us in the first place. He wants us all to live in relationship. His greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31. There is nothing more important to God and there should be nothing more important to us.

I just pray that as I snap my pictures my images won’t be more important to me than the subjects I’m taking pictures of!

xoxo

   Caroline

Overcoming Mom Guilt

This is the time of year my “Mom Guilt” kicks into high gear. It’s almost Lily’s birthday, she’ll be 4 next week. I still can’t believe that, but it’s true! You can read all about her miracle birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle.

First time holding my precious baby girl!

4 days before Lily was born, I was in the ER with severe upper right abdominal pain. It was my third time in the ER in the 6 and a half months I was pregnant. I had gallstones and the way Lily was sitting in my tummy was causing them to be pushed out. Talk about pain! I was 13 weeks pregnant when it first happened and I was sure I was miscarrying. The pain was unimaginable. Thankfully it was just gallstones and not the baby! Anyway, when I got to the ER that third time, they did the standard tests of temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. My blood pressure was through the roof… I remember seeing 184/something. When I was in at 19 weeks, the nurses had told me that after 20 weeks any woman who comes in to the ER with stomach pain automatically gets sent up to the maternity ward. Even though I was almost 29 weeks, I was not. I was kept in the ER. That was my first mistake. I knew they had said that to me on my last visit, but everyone just kept putting my high blood pressure off as being from the pain. I should have pushed to go up to the maternity ward. Both of my sisters also had early deliveries due to preeclampsia (Don’t know what Preeclampsia is? Read my post: What is Preeclampsia?) Not 11 weeks early, but still early. I should have known better. I knew the symptoms of preeclampsia. I wasn’t having some of the more common symptoms, such as headache and vision problems, so I guess I just ignored it.

There are so many “what ifs” that run through my head! What if my preeclampsia was caught earlier? Would they have been able to keep Lily in longer? What if I didn’t have a routine prenatal appointment 4 days later when it was finally caught? What if I had a seizure, or a stroke? I was at home by myself for those 4 days. Anything could have happened in those hours Pete was at work. What if, what if, what if…

What if’s cause guilt. We second guess what we did. We think of all the ways we could have done things better. We strive to be perfectionists (at least I do!) and when something doesn’t go perfectly as planned, we heap on the guilt. I believe we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We need to learn to have some compassion on ourselves as well.

So, how do we move past that Mom guilt? Thanksgiving.

I am thankful Lily is a lively, active, smart and challenging. She is a completely typical 4 year old! I am thankful nothing happened in those 4 days between when I was in the ER and when Lily was born. I am thankful I had that doctors appointment set up already. I am thankful for Lily’s safe delivery and for my safety that day. I am thankful for our time in the NICU, I really am. It’s not how I would have planned things to go, but we were so blessed by our time there by seeing our family and friends come around us and support us, by feeling God right there with us and being completely confident He would provide for us no matter what the outcome was. We had the best possible outcome, but I know there are others who do not. But there is always something to be thankful for. There is always something other than guilt that we can focus on and be thankful for, even if it is just the fact that God is walking through this time in our life with us. He will never leave us or forsake us and for this reason we can be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6).

So, if you are feeling Mom guilt today, think about all the things you are thankful for. Write them down! Start a gratitude journal! Tell them to someone! Tell them to God! The more we are thankful for, the less we feel guilty for.

xoxo

Caroline

Lessons Learned while Whale Watching

Do you do daily devotions? I try to. I’d love to say I do it every day, but I don’t. I should, but it doesn’t always happen. Lately I’ve been using the First5 App. I set the alarm on it to go off at 7:30am. I’ll admit though, I am NOT a morning person. My First 5 minutes of my day are not my best minutes to give to God! So, I usually do my reading at night, I’m much more coherent then.

The other night the devotion was based on Psalm 42 with focus on verse 5: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”

Basically it was about not fixating on our emotions or anxious feeling, things that are forever changing, but instead to fix our eyes on God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8.)

When I was in my early 20’s, I went off to Bible School (Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre) for two years of Biblical studies. That was a big time in my life of learning about the Bible and myself as well as a time of God revealing His character to me. As part of my second year of studies (Leadership Training) we went on a retreat to Tofino, BC (which is one of my favourite places in the entire world! The beaches are gorgeous and there is so much to explore!) One afternoon we went on a whale watching tour. I’d been on another tour out of Victoria before, but not Tofino. Tofino boasts seeing some amazing grey whales and we saw one after a bit of a bumpy ride out of the sheltered cove.  Now, I tend to get a little sea sick from time to time. I was fine on our whale watching tour in Victoria, so I thought I’d be OK on this one. I was wrong, terribly wrong.

We were quite far out, so after I got sick, we had to go all the way back with frequent stops for me to “feed the fish” as they say. As we headed back, our tour guide told me to keep my eyes focused on the mountains on the horizon. He said the more you keep your eyes focused on something that was not moving, the less sick I’d get. He was right, if I focused on the waves around us, or my friends on the boat or the other boat, I’d start throwing up everywhere.

The Bible often refers to God as being our rock (2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 18:46, Psalm 40:2, Psalm 94:22, Isaiah 26:4.) As I was focusing on the mountains, those beautiful unmovable rocks, I was reminded of this. God is our steady rock. As long as we fix our eyes on Him, it doesn’t matter what else is going on around us, we won’t “get sick.” God is like a rock, unchanging, steady and immovable. His character is always the same, and He is always faithful, even if we are going through emotional turmoil or an anxious time in life. Keep your eyes on the Lord, He is our refuge in times of trouble.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:2-3

What are some things you do for daily devotions? Is there anything you use to remind yourself or keep yourself accountable? I’d love to hear what you do… it’s definitely an area in my life I’d like to improve on.

xoxo

Caroline