Do you have a happy heart?

This morning at Haddie’s one year check-up I had to laugh when her pediatrician started describing the “winter funk.” I laughed because if I didn’t they would need a mop to clean up all my tears. Man, what a winter funk I’ve been in lately. Between mid-December and now we’ve had a stomach bug, the flu, hand foot & mouth disease, RSV, and another stomach bug wreck havoc in our house. It feels like just when we’re catching our breath from one illness someone else is over in the corner puking their guts out (please excuse the imagery). The pediatrician should be in my Verizon Friends & Family plan because I’ve certainly called them enough this season.

We have this saying with Sadie. After her punishment we ask if she has a “a happy heart”, if the answer is yes she may resume normal activities. I think I read it on some parenting blog, which I probably found from Pinterest. Nevertheless, I’ve been asking myself lately if I in fact have a “happy heart.” If I’m quite honest the answer is probably no. I’m a constant complainer these days. If you happen to run into me at Kroger, well shoot I even feel bad for you. I don’t want to be a complainer so sometimes I’ll just smile and say ok when asked how I’m doing. But then I’m just well….. boring, as the crickets chirp even louder because I don’t know what else to say. Between sickness, the cold weather, and the whole me, mine, my syndrome I’ve got going on, I have been a hot mess.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading through Numbers 14 where the Israelites start to grumble against God and Aaron & Moses. They say things like “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt? Or would that we had died in this wilderness…….Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (where they were in slavery mind you). As crazy as this sounded upon first reading, I started realizing “sweet heavens, this is me!” As much as I hate to admit it, I am a glass is half empty kind of girl. I love to read inspiring books & watch movies like The Blind Side where I subsequently scream “you go girl” at the TV. But the truth is I am not a “the sun will come out tomorrow” gal. In fact you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be whining about how cloudy the skies are. Circumstances get to me. I know I shouldn’t let them. I know I should look around & be thankful for all the many blessings in my life. But I just don’t.

I can’t help but feel like God is pushing me towards a deeper sense of contentment this season. More than just a shift to a glass is half full mentality. A shift towards “No matter what is swirling around me, I can trust that God is faithful” kind of mentality. Because though I do have far too many earthly blessings to count, they will one day fade away. And they don’t pale in comparison to the giver of those gifts. My trust and my hope are not in what I deem fit as “good things” but in Jesus. Over all the dirty diaper changes, the 2 am night wakings, and trash cans overflowing with tissues God is whispering “Am I enough April? Do you trust me?”

I’m certainly not going down without a fight on this one. It’s already gotten pretty ugly at times. I’ll probably wrestle all my life with not letting my present circumstances define my heart attitude. But for now I’m adding the phrase “Do you have a happy heart? Because He is faithful” to our little family saying. And sneaking a few pieces of leftover Valentine’s candy during nap time.

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And one little picture of the birthday girl eating her “birthday cake.” Because well who doesn’t like cute babies :).

 

Learning to be ok with me

Do I ask too many questions?  Maybe I should’ve stopped at “Hi, I’m April. What’s your name?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this ‘conversation’ in my head over the past 7 months.

Sometimes I think I must be really weird (Nic says creepy) because if I meet someone and they tell me their cat’s name is Joey, the next time I see them nine times out of ten I will remember Joey.  Now, do I always mention Joey? That depends on the person.  It’s the same way with people’s faces – if I see someone one time I can typically pick them out of a crowd anytime after.  Remember that movie The Devil Wears Prada, at one point during the movie Anne Hathaway is tasked with memorizing a book of names and faces so that when those people approach her boss at a dinner party, she can greet them by name.  Can somebody tell me how to find a job like that? Because I would totally nail it.

It’s sort of ridiculous actually. I spent four years & thousands of dollars on college but all I can recall some days is pv=nrt & I don’t even know when or why you would use that equation.  But that person I met back in 2006 at a graduation party, oh yea his name is John Doe, he’s from Norfolk & is an only child like me.

I think I’ve always had this “gift” (or curse, depending on how you look at it).  But it wasn’t until recently that I started getting super insecure about it.  Being in a new place, I find myself constantly meeting new people and my natural inclination is to want to get to know them. But I’m realizing not everybody desires that. Like when I ask someone the fifth question in a row about their life and I see them Googling my name on their phone to make sure I’m not an FBI agent sent to interrogate them.  I kid, I kid-but you know what I mean. We’ve all been in those situations where we’re trying to get to know someone & you realize they haven’t asked you a single question about yourself. So then you awkwardly try to assess if they even want to be talking to you & you spend the whole rest of the conversation trying to plan an escape.  Maybe that’s just me?

I don’t really know a specific name for the trait or concept I value so highly so I’m just going to go with connectedness. I want to be known & to feel like everyone I meet is somehow connected to me, even if it’s just in that one encounter. So when I start trying to find commonalities between our hometowns (even though they’re on two separate coasts) or fishing for your favorite book, it’s because I want to know we’re not alone on this big ‘ole Earth.  I realize this sounds a bit “spiritual” but it’s how I’m learning to be ok with the passions & talents God put inside of me and to appreciate those he’s put into others. It’s so true that we often gravitate towards those most like us.  Through tears a couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning to Nic about how I “just want people to care about me” and “take an interest in me.” But truthfully they probably do. They just don’t show it through remembering my childhood pet’s name. And if they don’t care, well that’s ok too. That’s not a requirement to live on planet Earth.  But we’ll just leave that whole “I want everybody to like me” post for another day :).  Happy almost weekend!

A ridiculous tale of the neighborhood squirrels

When we moved to Richmond back in July one of the first things we noticed was the amount of wildlife in our neighborhood.  You couldn’t walk out the front door without seeing at least two bunnies, a few hundred squirrels, and at least five different types of birds (I’m talking bluejays, cardinals, robins, etc).  Eventually the bunnies disappeared (maybe breeding season ended??) and seeing all the other wildlife became everyday norm so I didn’t give it much more thought.  Until Halloween.

We accrued four pumpkins from various pumpkin patches & trips to Trader Joes that we hoped to adorn our quaint little front porch with.  But the squirrels.   The Monday of Halloween week we carved our pumpkin and watched with pride as our “Cat looking over the moon” shone in the moonlight.  By Tuesday night that cat’s tail was missing and they were bite marks all around the perimeter of the moon.

Later in the week I noticed one of the littlest pumpkins was missing.  I got a little suspicious but decided to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt.  Until the next day when the other pumpkin went missing.  What the heck squirrels??? This means war.

I mistakenly told Sadie one morning, on the way to school, that the squirrels had made off with her pumpkins.  Only to hear her scream “Stupid squirrels, why you steal my pumpkins?” It was quite a moment of deja vu actually.  It took me back to my childhood. The summer we planted a garden in our backyard, and the eve before we were supposed to pick the first fruits of our garden, the neighborhood deer ate like kings.  I was so mad that next morning. I remember standing in the backyard crying and yelling “You stupid deer”,  as if they really cared.

I had hopes of planting my own garden next spring/summer.  Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate my goals.

*Disclaimer* Lest you think we’re the only victims of these “hangry” squirrels, this afternoon while walking Mabel, I saw HUGE chunks missing from many a neighborhood pumpkin. I’ll try to post pictures soon. And thank you for tolerating my ridiculousness. :)

 

The number 30 awaits….

November is the month of my birth.  Normally I’m pretty obnoxious about that, constantly reminding Nic that the countdown is on. But this year I’m tending to shy away from all that.  In just 11 short days, I’ll be turning the big 3-0.  Normally when I say that all the people who are 30+ just laugh at me, while all those under 30 gasp and cringe a little inside.

I’ve been running on the treadmill lately and the little fat burning/heart rate calculator lists target rates in increments of 10.  So of course it seems that the “30 range” is just sneering at me the WHOLE time.  Not to mention when I fill out a survey I hold my breath to see if turning 30 means I have to check a different age bracket (so far, it looks like that next jump is 34, PTL).

So the question remains why is this such a big deal?  I’ve been telling people for months now that I’m in the middle of an early mid-life crisis.  When I was 18 I never thought about turning 30, it wasn’t that I didn’t expect to live that long.  It’s just….well I wasn’t thinking that far down the road, 21 & 25 seemed to be bigger deals.  But 30, man, aren’t I supposed to have my life figured out by now?  I only have one degree after my name, I still get pimples, and what the heck I still don’t know how to use a manual can opener!

I hope to use this space to write out some of my thoughts over the next month.  After all, you only turn 30 once, right?

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