Friday, February 28, 2014

What Motherhood is Teaching Me

As I sit here and write this entry my sweet, little man is playing on the floor with some cars and a race track. Every time he is ready to release the cars to make them go down the track he turns around, looks at me, and waits for me to say, "Ready, set, GO!" and off the cars go down the track! He wants involvement, he wants approval, he wants to feel like I care about whats important to him. He is only 21 months and these things are so important to him. Lesson # 1 - I can be the one cheering him on and encouraging him and as a result I am a first glimpse to him of what Christ is to us. Cheering us on for good! Cheering us on in the race of life. I often look to my Lord for love and approval and I find it every. single. time. So thankful for the opportunity to be that example to my son.

As I sit here I feel the kicks, jabs, and what seem to feel like stabbing pains these days, from a sweet, little girl who will soon be a VERY big part of this world and our lives. If I stop and think about labor I cringe. I have heard of some people that "like" labor. I even know some people who like pregnancy. I am so not one of those women. Labor? No thank you. Pregnancy? Not a fan. So what made me do it again (and even a little faster than some)? Well, it's the after result. I am totally and completely willing to endure the pain and discomfort because of my indescribable love for the little person growing inside of me. Lesson # 2 - Oh the love of my Heavenly Father! He knowingly (totally aware of the pain he would go through!) went to the cross for me so that he would have the opportunity to have relationship with me! That's a seriously wonderful thought!

Granted, I have also learned things like:

- The "Mom look" totally works.
- Just because someones kid looses it in public doesn't make them a bad parent. (Oh, you just wait you non-parent people...)
- I can go longer than I thought without washing my hair. *thank you dry shampoo!*
- Baby gates and child locks are a genius design.
- I may never be able to go a day in my life again without getting drool, spit-up, poop, food, or some other product like these (that didn't come out of my body) on me again.
- I don't need as much sleep.... as I thought.
- T.V. is a luxury...

Really, the list of things I have learned could go on and on. But the thing is, all of those "little" lessons can't compare to the lessons motherhood has taught me about my Heavenly Father. What a wonderful gift to be able to have children and love them. It daily gives me a small glimpse of the Fathers love for me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Growth. Seasons. Resting. Living.


I feel like I am doing a lot of it lately. Yes, in the literal sense (I am almost 31 weeks pregnant) but I really mean in the spiritual sense.

Do you remember when you were about 9-12 years old and the awful, achy feeling of growing pains? If you did not experience these count yourself lucky. I remember being in bed at night and just aching. I remember my mom saying, "You are growing into an adult. It hurts to grow." Amen and amen. It hurts in the literal sense *amen*. But it hurts in the spiritual sense too *amen*.

Our spiritual journey is similar to the physical in so many ways. Our pastor has been leading us in this thought process for awhile at church and the Lord is leading me through this process now. The biggest difference in our spiritual journey is that, in this life, we will not reach full maturity. Soooo, the growth process continues.


They change. Spring, summer, fall, and winter. Seasons change in the literal sense (especially in Oklahoma), but we experience them in life as well. They look different. Some seasons feel longer than others and some fly by. I am learning to love the seasons. Even the hard ones.

I am in a hard season. Young mom, pregnant, toddler, trying to do ministry, trying to be a good wife, trying to maintain my walk with the Lord... It feels like I try. a. lot.


After the growing and the seasons (especially with all that "trying") resting seems like a ridiculous idea. Or at least an impossible one. I have heard mother after mother tell me; "Good luck having time to yourself" or "You just think you're busy now, just wait till you have more kids" or "Just wait till you have teenagers". I feel like the message generally communicated from mother to mother is that it just gets harder, I will never rest and I better just brace myself for it. Rest no longer exists.

In my brief time as a mother I have learned one thing - opportunities for physical rest may be far and few between but spiritual rest (sitting before the feet of Jesus and letting Him renew) is of the utter most importance. It may come in the form of praise and worship music playing in my home throughout the day. It may come in the form of 10 minutes in my bible study here, 15 here and then 5 later to finish it off. It may come in the form of crying out to Him in the middle of a training moment where I think I may possibly loose my mind and scream. But come, IT MUST! I am fighting the lie that rest is impossible because I have learned that without it my success as a mother is not promising.

So, I am growing, changing with the seasons and learning to rest. In the meantime I am trying to remind myself of what brings my spirit the most rest and renewal. Here is a small list I am trying to incorporate more in my life:

* Music - Whether just have it playing in my home or me taking the time to sit at the piano and make it myself.
* Writing - In a journal, on the notes section in my phone or even *fingers crossed* on here. Writing makes me feel like I am putting feet to my thoughts.
* Fellowship - With other moms. With other ladies. With people that will push me forward and challenge me.
* Ministry - I need this. It fills my tank to invest in others. It pushes me in my walk with God.

I know that February is almost here and the fad of making "New Years Resolutions" has come and gone. Here I am though, on January 24 and I am thinking of this next year, what I am learning, the challenges and joys a new baby will bring, and what I need. I need to continue growing (despite the pain). I need to continue on in the seasons (even if it is long and hard). I need to rest (sit at the feet of my Jesus. The one who replenishes and fills).

But this is my resolution: To not fall into the mindset that my "life" is over as a mother. To remind myself that my life comes from the one who is the life giver. To continue seeking that life. Abundant life. The life that I crave and desire. The life that He desires to give.


It's what I plan to do!

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Little Man

Little Man - You are 10 months old. Hold the phone - that is just way to crazy! You have now been out of my tummy longer than you were in it. You are approaching one year old so fast! Where does the time go? Everyone says it will get faster and I know I have to believe them but please stop growing so fast! :) 

Here are a few fun things about you: 

You have two teeth and are working on two more. 

You could live without your bottle, unlike most babies it's not your favorite, you want the real thing! 
You are crazy long! Clothes "fit" everywhere but not in length so up a size we go! 

You LOVE, and when I say love I mean REALLY LOVE, the song Liberty by Shane and Shane. It is often my salvation when you are cranky. 

You also LOVE t.v. waaaay too much. I have to limit how much you can watch. You will watch anything and everything. 

You are starting to learn to like solid food although you love anything mashed up! 
You roll and scoot like a wild man but no crawling for you yet. I think one day you may surprise me and just walk! You love to be on your feet. 

You are a super chill baby. I have a feeling you may not get that trait from your mamma. ;) 

You sleep between 10.5 and 11.5 hours at night. I love you for that. :) 

You say dada, wave hello and bye-bye and give high fives! I think you are pretty talented! And the other day you said Bye-Bye but I have not been able to get you to do it again. 

You can sign "All done" and we are working on "more". That one is a little more tricky. 

You LOVE bath time and it is my salvation in the evening! 

You are growing. Two months ago you couldn't do most of these things. It is amazing to me how quickly you change and learn. I am trying to soak it in. It happens so fast! You are one of the most loved little boys I know. Between mom and dad, grandparents, uncles and aunts, your adoring little cousins (Katherine really loves you and coos over you!) and ALL of the college students who think you are pretty cool - You have a great life and a lot of people who love you. As much as I want time to slow down I can't wait to see what kind of boy, young man, and than man you will turn into. I hope that you have your dads compassion and love for people and his selfless heart. I hope that you are clam and chill like he is. He is stable - I love that about him. I also hope that you have a daring wild side like mom. I hope that you love adventure and change like I do. Lets go on lots of adventure together! More than anything I pray that you will come to know Jesus at an early age. Life with Him is the most exciting adventure of all. As much as you are loved by people here His love for you blows that kind of love away! I hope that you experience that love soon and all the days of your life. 

Your my favorite little boy and you are loved! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Journey of Motherhood

One of my greatest struggles of motherhood is not what I expected it would be.


Not because my little man isn't one of the best things that has ever happened to me and not because I don't love him and being with him. Simply because I am alone. A lot. Yes, little man is here with me but how much company does a 9 1/2 month old baby really give. I often crave adult conversation. 

The easy solution might seem to just go out and do more. The problem with that is that we are first of all a one car family. Secondly I still have things I have to do (cleaning, laundry, cooking, school...) and little man still takes two naps which tends to make things like going out more challenging. At first I still thought going out was the solution and I would look for every opportunity that I could. 

Now I find that the solution is being okay with where I am in life and understanding that it is a season. Learning to love the quiet and not so quiet (crying happens people!) moments at home with just me and the little. Learning to love to be a mom. I knew I would love it but it's a big change and a learning curve for sure. 

Everyone always tells you that marriage is one of the biggest life changes you will face but I would say that motherhood even one ups that. 

It's a change. A big change. A good change. A hard change. A worthwhile change. 

I've always said I love change...

And good grief he is totally worth it! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Water in the Desert

(an older photo but perfect for this post)

I spent the majority of this semester (We work with college students so I tend to break my year into semesters) feeling completely and utterly dry in my spiritual walk. Feeling as though God was barley there. Feeling as though He may have moved on without me. I was stuck. As a believer I know these things to be lies but when you are in the midst of it they are so easy to believe. Satan is so crafty.

There were days where I wouldn't even open my bible because I knew that God wouldn't speak. At least, I thought I knew. That's really how I felt. Not something that you hear a "good christian" admit but there it is. The truth. I was in the desert.

Almost two weeks ago now I had the amazing privileged to go on a retreat and listen to a lady (Margie Atwood) speak. Oh goodness. Did she encourage my soul with the truth that she shared. I wish that every woman at some point in their life would have an opportunity to hear her. A-maz-ing woman of God!

I also had an opportunity to speak with her and Cyndi (One of my hero's)  one on one. They were so encouraging to me. I poured my heart out to them. In the process I began to discover a lot of burdens that I was carrying that I needed to let go. Cyndi shared a picture that she felt like the Lord gave her for me. I was standing under a fountain and water was washing over me and I was happy! Boy oh boy did I ever need that water to wash over me. The Lord began to do a work in my heart there.

My times with Jesus have been sweeter. I am still being renewed and washed but honestly, that's a daily thing anyway. Margie shared two things that weekend that have been stuck in my mind. They were for me to hear. 

1.) She shared a truth that the Lord taught her and it's this simple. She heard the Lord tell her one day,

 "It's not a change in you but a reliance on me." 

Ding, ding ding! We have a winner! I mean, hello and duh! I am a doer. A fixer. I can come up with a plan and make something happen. The thing is, I can't make myself perfect. I can't make myself more like Jesus. I can't renew and replenish my own Spirit  It's Him. It's all Him and it's always been Him. I just have to rely on Him. *deep sigh of relief*

2.) Habakkuk 3:17-19 (Amplified Bible)

17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!
19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

My version:
 When things are bad. When it seems like you can't move forward. REJOICE in the Lord of your salvation! He is your strength, your bravery, your army. He helps you to keep walking, not to just stand there and do nothing, but to keep walking and make progress. Not just physical progress but spiritual progress even in times of trouble, suffering and responsibility. 

Oh glory hallelujah! I seriously need that truth in my life. I have spent the last week and a half letting these two truths soak in. There are moments when I am still in the desert but let me just say that as these two truths have washed over me like a gushing fountain and I am totally renewed. God is so good. SO faithful. He knows just what we need. When I was in that dry place, He didn't love me any less. He is good! 

I felt a need to share this. Maybe because I just needed to write it down or maybe because someone really needed to hear it. Either way, there it is. I hope you are encouraged as I am! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Baby and the Bank

Did you know that a baby doesn't have to break the bank? I didn't really know that. All I ever heard is that babies cost sooooo much. And yes, in a way that's true but it doesn't have to break the bank, or even come close. 

When I began the journey of motherhood, you know that glorious day I found out I was going to be a mom, money never even crossed my mind. All I saw were sweet giggles, lots of cuddles and I could already smell that sweet, sweet baby smell. I am sure some dollar sings crossed my husbands eyes though $$$$. Within a few weeks of the initial shock and excitement I started to think about it to. Money. This baby will not be free. In fact, this baby is going to cost us money, for a long time.... 

 We are a one income household. On top of that we are a support raising, one income household  There is not a lot of extra money floating around and the money tree in the backyard, well it doesn't exist. I began thinking, what will i do? How are we going to afford this baby. For a brief moment I didn't see the sweet face, those cute giggle and that wonderful smell. I started to have this image in my mind of a baby, sitting in a high chair, eating and eating and eating. Then I saw diapers, wipes, rash cream, medicine, clothes.... it was all looking not quite so...simple. 

I pulled myself together and the research began. I was going to save us money. I was not going to break the bank. I had 9 months to figure this thing out and dagnabit I would! 

So how have a saved all that money you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked because I am going to tell you!

Ladies and gentlemen, what you have all been waiting for, the money saving tricks of Lauren Clay! 

It started with a vision for cloth diapers. I posted a status on my blog saying something like: "Disposable or cloth diapers. Go!" Then the comments flooded in! A few from moms who cloth diaper, a LOT from moms who don't and none from moms who had done both. It looked something like this: 

Mom who cloth diapers: "We love cloth! Couldn't imagine doing something different. Message me for details!" 

Mom who doesn't cloth diaper (and never has): "Nasty! Don't do it! Way to much work!" 

I almost decided to just drop it and listen to the people who have never tired it but then I took two steps back and thought, "Wait, if they have never tried it how do they know?" So the research began. The questions flooded. "It is really that nasty?" "How much extra work would it take?" "Do they still use those white looking dish towels and safety pins?" "A lot of things have change over the years, have cloth diapers changed too?" 

Here is what I found out: 

It really isn't as nasty as I thought it would be. It's quite simple. Granted you get that one in a million diaper every now and again but I have never once thought, "This is just to nasty!" Come on, whether you use cloth or you throw the dang thing away either way you still end up dealing with poop. 

It takes me, on an average, about 15-20 min extra time each WEEK. Not bad. 

Cloth diapers have come a loooooong way. Totally easier and totally cute! 

I began the research of what kind of diaper I wanted to use. People, let me just say that when it comes to cloth diapering there are about 18 million options and everyone thinks the way that they do it is the best way! I had to take the route of saying, "What do I want out of my cloth diapering experience." For me I wanted simple, easy, something that would last through multiple kids and a diaper that would fit all the way through their diaper wearing years. 

This is what I ended up with: 


I LOVE them. Bumgenius is the brand that I decided on and I have ZERO complaints with them. If you want to know more about them just let me know. 

When it comes to cloth diapering one of the "pricey" things is the detergent you have to use. I found that I can use this: 

It is wonderful and super cheap! The thing is that detergent can't have softener  perfume, and other things. But 2 teaspoons on this and I am good to go and my wallet looks pretty good too! 

I have already MORE than paid for the initial investment I made in my diapers and they will last multiple kids. It doesn't get much better than that! We're talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars saved! 

Another way that I have saved crazy amount of money is by making my own baby food. This has not taken at all the amount of time that I thought it would! I normally take a little time on either Wednesday or Thursday afternoon and whip up a weeks worth of food to put in the fridge. I normally make it while I am in the kitchen cooking lunch or dinner and it is way to easy. 


I have also found that making fruit is a lot more difficult so I have opted for this: 

Bananas mashed up are super easy and cheap. This brand of apple sauce has no added sugar of any kind. You can buy fruit packs in the baby section but they cost around $1.50 each or you can go to the grocery section where the applesauce is and get a box of these (the only thing in it is fruit. Nothing else!) and the whole box is $2.50! 

Last thing - Now that baby is not nursing and I need formula I found this little treasure: 

This is from Sam's. If you don't have a Sam's card I bet you know someone that does! This is compared to the Enfamil and Symilac brands and we love it! The whole thing cost $23. If I went to Target or Wal-Mart a thing of formula that is about 1/3 of this size cost $25. It is a GREAT deal! 

So that's it. My baby saving, bank saving tips. Thought I would share how great it's been for us and I am happy to answer any questions people have. I know every family is different and you just do what you have to do. I also know that I have been doing most of this for close to 9 months and it has worked great. It is easy enough that I will do it when I have multiple kids no problem. I am serious! It really is not bad! 

Happy Saving! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Trusting God. Something that I desire to do with every fiber of my being and yet my flesh is continually battling me and saying to trust in it (myself) and not God. This battle is truly not against flesh and blood. This is a spiritual battle. One that I am determined to lean on God for. It's funny to think that I can't fully trust Him without Him. 

Right now I am trusting him with my future. My families future. This past week was difficult to say the least. From the Election to having to give away my little dog and everything in between. Some things seem so much bigger than others and yet they all require trust. Not trust in myself. Not trust in my husband. Not trust in my circumstances. Not trust in my success. Trust in my Savior - the only one who is faithful, steadfast, never changing, always there.

Britt and I are looking to buy a house right now. We have been at the renting game for 3 years now. It feels like it is time. It is a leap of faith on a lot of levels for me but we feel like it is the wise decision for our family. Once I get my mind used to an idea I can't help but just say, "Let's do this!" But just because we decided we are ready does not mean the right house has come along. We thought the perfect house came along and the day we went to make an offer it went under contract. Trust. God has something even better in mind for our family. I am excited to see how God will provide.

Working at trusting God. It's what's going on with me these days. Thankful that I don't have to work on it alone. The flesh is weak but the spirit is able. So thankful.

I feel like I can't leave you without some cuteness....

Oh, this little boy. He stirs up this desire of mine to trust the Lord more and more. I am completely aware that I cannot be the mom I need to be without fully trusting this little man to the Lord. It's a daily thing and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I am thankful for that though - Thankful that I have a need to daily surrender to my Lord.