Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Walk in the Woods

I was talking to my friend on Friday about weekend plans.  He is kid free as of yet and had fascinating plans like hanging out with friends and going to a party.  Then he asked me what I am doing this weekend and it literally made me laugh out loud.  My plans?  My plans included doing grocery shopping, keeping kids quiet so Brian, who works nights on the weekends can get some sleep.  My plans for the weekend were NOT exciting at all.

This weekend, filled with diaper changes, kids yelling and laughing, and coughing... lots of coughing ( recovering from the flu is no fun ) held no big plans for us.

I decided to skip church this Sunday, due to the coughing and we struck out for the park.  This was my solution for helping my sleeping husband and getting the kids out of the house we have all been stuck in for the past week.  The park didn't last long however, as Travis quickly bumped his head and Maddy grew bored.  Inspiration hit me as I saw that there were newly constructed trails near the back of the park.

We entered the filtered, quiet woods and were instantly transformed into adventurers. As I watched the kids marching down the trail, the Robert Frost poem, The Road not Taken kept running through my head.

As the poem ran through my head over and over, it hit me quickly and forcefully.  My boring weekend is in essence, the road I took.  The choices I made for the past thirteen years had led me to this day, on this weekend, of this strangely warm and beautiful February afternoon.  I was here, talking about the different trees, singing songs and marching through the sun dappled trails of this small city park with the four human beings that belong to my husband and I.  Human beings that wouldn't be here, soaking up the sunshine and getting gloriously dirty as we wound around the trails if not for the decisions I made, and the road I chose to take.  
Would it be nice to get a day to sleep in.  A night to go enjoy adult time?  YES.  Those days, those nights would be wonderful.  But the road I chose, led me down a different path.  One filled with the squeals of my two year old.  One in which I am constantly counting heads in a crowd- One, two, three and four.... over and over and over.  
I am grateful for the reminder.  I am grateful for the beauty found in the moment.  I am grateful for this beautiful day.  

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Big Picture

“Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side”

God has been sending me this message all week long.  And lets just be honest.. its been a long, hard, emotionally draining week.  I have been carrying hurt around with me for a year or longer about friendships lost and wrecked and beyond repair.

On a walk earlier this week I was talking to my friend about my theory on people.  I see it as there are two types of people in the world.  The first type have realized that there is a huge , wide world out there with people living their lives and dealing with the trials of this world, the sickness, the sadness, the unanswered questions of why things happen.  This group of people can empathize and move outside of their own lives and try to make a difference in the live of others.  The second group of people simply cant.  

I am going to be completely transparent right now.  One of my biggest fears is that I can be that second person.  That I am that second person.  I remember the day— back when I was just a 8 or 9, that I first realized that there were MILLIONS of people around me all living lives just as important as mine, just as full of worth.  In my child like mind I felt the enormity of this.  I couldn't put words to it, but now I know what those words were— It changed the way I felt about myself, I felt humbled by this realization.  

During this time in my life, I grew closer to God.  Yes, I had made a decision to accept God’s gift of salvation as a 5 year old, but I hadn't understood fully the life changing force of God working through my life.  I have tried and tried to live a life of love, giving the underserved love that I have received to others. Please understand, this doesn't mean that over the 23 years following this epiphany I have lead a good and perfect life… this is where the fear comes in.  I know myself.  My sinful nature— the feelings of selfishness and pure meanness that overcome and flow out. 

Fast forward to the past year or so.  I have felt the loss of friendships, ones that I truly valued.  It left me asking why.  The usual answer of just growing apart jumps to the forefront, but things do go deeper.  Through two situations, I have been able to see both sides of the issue. This week has left me contemplating and second guessing everything.  The full feeling of not being enough, not caring enough, not being the person I need to be has left me feeling crippled and just not good enough to count.  My fears of being THAT second person of my theory have come to life and feel like a giant boulder on top of me.  

But this morning— I realized, staying in the middle of this storm and accepting those fears and thoughts IS being that second person.  I need to go back to that 8 year old girl who first realized that there are others feeling and hurting and doubting… and DO something about it.  That means forgiving.. truly forgiving the ones who have walked away.. who have hurt you. That means showing MORE love to those who feel wronged by you.  

I was talking to another friend this week and she reminded me abruptly and fully that God forgives and then forgets.  By moving on, mending what you can and looking for more opportunities to show His love to those around me, God can do His best work.  He can turn the brokeness of the past year and a half into something beautiful.  I am once again humbled and oh so grateful for God’s love in my life.  He loves this flawed, ugly, broken person.  Things might never be the same, and that will be OK.  God has brought so many beautiful people and situations in the past year and for that I am truly grateful.  

Maybe those relationships will never be healed. But learning from them will help me learn what to do better, how to empathize more,  and how to LOVE more.  I didn't write this for any one person, I am just hoping to help someone learn from my mistakes and, or feel the all encompassing love that God displays on His own and through His children.  Moving forward, I can only try to do better, but I have the big picture to look at, and for that I am very grateful. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Turning the Page

This past week, a chapter in my life ended.  I am now turning the page onto a new one but it does not make it any less bittersweet.  Let me rewind a bit....

On March 1, 2014 my world came to a screeching halt when I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive.  So many emotions all at once surged through me.  Unbelief, shock, fear of the unknown and worst of all, embarrassment.  I hate that I felt that last emotion... but it is the truth and I will not sugar coat it.  Ever since my third pregnancy and subsequent holy terror known as Peyton entered into our lives I have been on the receiving end of comments and questions about our family planning choices by family, friends and worst of all... complete strangers.

"You DO know how this happens?"  "Did you mean to get pregnant AGAIN?" "How do you deal with SO MANY children?" I would smile, say something deprecating about our lack of planning and move on as quickly as possible.  These things have a way of seeping through you and making you feel like you are somehow less.

Four years after Peyton's birth,  back in March I found myself at this point AGAIN.  I hid it as long as possible.. which isn't very long when you are on your fourth pregnancy.. I only told my immediate family and closest of friends.  I tried to be happy and tried not to cry.  This is crazy.. yes?  Here I am with a miracle of life inside of me, not able to be happy due to the embarrassment of being pregnant with a fourth child....

As the months moved on I got over these initial feelings.  As Mason grew inside of me and I felt his kicks and wiggles, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my love for this fourth child was strong and unchanging.  He is a gift from God and he has a purpose just as my other children have on this earth.

Once again as with my 3rd pregnancy, the comments came rolling in.  One lady even asked me out of the clear blue if I had made plans yet for sterilization after this baby was born... A COMPLETE stranger asked me this...  I smiled and changed the subject but on the inside I wanted to say some insanely nasty things to this lady who had no business asking me such a private question.

Mason came into this world reluctantly on October 13th.  9 hours of labor, 2 (yes 2) epidurals and 1 push brought forth my amazingly beautiful fourth baby.  He is almost 2 months old now and he daily reminds me that he is the sweetest surprise I didn't know I needed.

(Back to the beginning of my post now)  This pregnancy was by far my most difficult.  High BP landed me with extreme dizzy spells and then medication to try and control it.  I was on bedrest for weeks before he was induced as my body could not handle the pregnancy well.  I knew from early on this was definitely going to be our last child.

All four of my babies, top left is Maddy, top right, Travis, bottom left is Peyton and bottom right is Mason
We now don't have to worry about having a 5th child and there is an immense amount of relief that comes with that knowledge.  I am so completely thankful for the four beautiful, radiant and healthy children in our lives.  I know that while they are young especially I will still face the thoughtless and ugly remarks from unthinking people who feel the need to remark on the size of my family, but I am taking a page from my husbands book and working on not caring!

As I look on the faces of these brilliant lil monsters we call ours, I know without a shadow of a doubt that each and every one of them was meant to be here and and has a God-willed purpose to complete during their lives.  I cannot wait to start this next chapter as it is sure to be a page turner!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thoughts from a Working Mommy

I have been home all day today, fighting a head cold that has not been kind.  In between sleeping, medications and laundry-- yes even sick moms do laundry-- I have had a heavy heart. 

I have reposted and read so many articles about the Mommy Wars that rage around us women.  I have always felt the need to stay out of it when it comes to real life battles, but lately it has really been an open wound with salt added every so often.  I feel the need to say something now, when I haven't in the past, and I pray not to hurt anyone or make anyone feel like they are not enough.

I found myself in a conversation the other day with a group of lovely ladies.  All but myself and one other girl were SAHM (stay at home moms- for those who might not know)  In the midst of girl talk, the subject of working/stay at home moms came up. The comment was made that Working moms get to leave during the day.  Such a small trivial comment, but to those of us who "get to leave" it is a slap in the face. 

Please understand that in this world, all of us women who are lucky enough to have the title of "Mother" have pretty much the same goals.  We want to love, we want to nurture, we want to have the very best for our children.  This is where it gets sticky... Opinions get mixed in and feelings start getting hurt. 

Some families- fewer and fewer these days, have the true blessing of one person ( usually the mother) staying home to care for the children on a daily basis. They think this is what is best for their children.  This IS a great model... in fact my mother and father chose this model for us as a family.  They sacrificed much to keep this model.  But this model is not one size fits all, and sadly in this day in age it is mostly one size fits no one. 

So what do we ( the women who don't have the choice of staying home ) do when we cant fit this idyllic family model?  We adapt.  We work 8-10 hours a day or more and rush home to spend as much time as possible with our children.  We stay up late cooking and making school lunches while looking over homework and making sure everyone is bathed and ready for another day.  We clean, we do laundry and find time to make sure our children feel the love we have for them. We crawl into bed truly exhausted and then peel ourselves back up every morning to repeat the cycle. Its not perfect, but it is our life and we are trying our best to make a life for our children that will help them grow and mature into beautiful, loving, caring adults. 

This hybrid model of mothering is the overwhelming majority of women that I know and love.  My sister, my best friends, my co-workers.  But, somehow we feel that we are still not enough.  We cant live that life of waving our kids off to school, doing housework while playing with your toddler, make cookies and welcome your children back from school while you prepare a perfect meal off of pinterest.  And because we can't, the pressure builds and we tell ourselves we aren't enough, we aren't as good as the other moms, we just don't make the grade.

As I write this, I KNOW in my head that these are un truths.  I know that my children love me and one day they will understand the sacrifices I made to ensure they had everything they needed.  But my heart cries to be with my babies every second of every day.  My heart tells me I SHOULD be at every field trip and every class project day. 

I write all of these deep and personal thoughts because I want the other women in my life to understand.  Please understand we are all mothers, we are all doing what we need to do to provide for our families, the loves of our lives.  My way isn't better than yours and your way isn't better than mine.  We are all trying our best in this broken but beautiful world.  Working Mom, you are not alone!  SAHM, you are not alone and you are truly blessed! God gave us these magnificent children.  They are an amazingly huge commitment of time, tears, heartbreak and joy.  Let's concentrate on building each other up instead of comparing and trying to measure up.

With that off of my chest, I am going to go re medicate and snuggle with my son while he watches Nick Jr.  I am even thankful for this head cold, it gives me a day to spend with my toddler.  There is an upside to everything!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Night that Pinterest Failed.....

As a working mom I battle the ever present feelings of guilt for missing out on my children's daytime moments.  By the time I reach home, I am exhausted and hungry and grumpy, with precious little left to dedicate to my babies.  With Peyt climbing the pantry shelves and Maddy and Trav fighting over whether to watch Sponge bob or Scooby Doo, my patience is quickly lost and I end up LOOSING it on one or all of my children....  AND enter the GUILT monster. 

Tonight I made a conscious decision to do better.  I can't keep falling into the same rut- or this is at least what I tell myself as I drive away from work and head out to pick up the boys.  We drive to the store with a grocery list which includes ingredients for a  Pinterest recipe I have been eying for awhile. Home made cheezits.

 There is something you have to understand... You could NOT grow up in my father's house without liking the delicious, crunchy, salty mini cracker known as a cheezit..  My father has passed this snack food addiction down to my own dear children.  He even keeps a box of the cheesy snacks in his pantry most weeks " for the kids"  sure dad... sure **wink wink**

I digress...  This evening I was determined to make it through the evening AND accomplishing a few simple things;

1.  Make dinner, from scratch for the family
2.  Make lunch , from scratch for myself ( so that I don't give into my Panera cravings )
3. Ensure that the TV stayed off for the duration of the evening
4.  Make homemade cheezits with the kiddos

With number 1, 2 and 3 accomplished, I cleaned up the kitchen in preparation for the cheesy baking to begin... 

Peyt, the wild child watching from the counter.. apparently pretending to be a puppy...

 We followed the recipe to a T... we rolled out the cheese dough... we cut them into shapes and poked holes in them to allow air to vent.  We salted them with sea salt and then placed them in the oven to bake into yummy cheesy crackery goodness...

While we waited for our cheezits to bake we went into the eerily quiet living room to listen to Maddy read to us... ( As you remember, I was very determined to keep the television OFF )

The timer dinged 8 minutes later and I pulled the crackers out to cool....

Then it was test tasting time....  Please check out the faces of my children to see if the crackers were IN FACT a success or a failure....

So, tonight Pintrest failed the Rustay family.  It did not provide us with a "healthier" non preservative filled replacement for our favorite crackers...  But we did HAVE FUN tonight, we did spend time together without meltdowns from either mommy or the kiddos... In my book, this makes tonight a successful evening.  Maybe.. just maybe... this is a bend in the road.  Maybe I can stop feeling so super guilty everyday when I look at the kids and see my failures in the form of time missed out on and things not accomplished. 

We can look back on tonight and say, Remember that night we made those super YUCKY crackers??  That was fun!  I can strive to make more evenings like tonight a reality.  Or maybe I can try to find that happy medium I have heard so many people talk about...  Either way I have a feeling there is a trip to the grocery store for real cheezits in my future!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

With Faith Like a Child

As I write this, I am sitting outside on the porch under the dappled sunlight filtering through the branches above.  I hear the gleeful laughter and shouts of my children as they take turns bouncing each other and leaping from side to side of their trampoline.  

They find unspeakable joy in the act of bouncing up and down.  They enjoy the moment their stomach flip flops as in that moment they are air born.  It strikes me suddenly and with stark clarity that I can learn from my children...

Life being the insane, wild, ever changing ride that it is, our family has been through quite a few loops over the past couple of months.  Through them, I have been "soldiering through", doing every thing in MY power to get through the day,the week and sometimes the hour...

After a month or so of this, I got to the point where I couldn't make it any further.  The mental and physical strain of sickness and lack of sleep made it hard for me to even make it out of bed.  In that terrible moment, I heard God speaking to me.  "Give me your problems Rach.  You don't have to do this on your own.  In fact you CANNOT do this, but I can."

In this supremely humbling moment, I realized something truly embarrassing and horrifying... Not ONCE had I gone to my Father for the help I so desperately needed.  For the past year, I had gone on living a comfortable existence, not depending on anyone or needing anything.  When small obstacles got in the way, I worked through them without even thinking about it.  That is, until I hit this brick wall...

After that day, my eyes have been opened.  I see God's hand everywhere and I am truly depending on him everyday.  He speaks to me in so many ways, especially through the music I hear throughout the day.  Matt Maher will be on the radio singing,

"And when I cannot stand, I'll fall on you, Jesus you're my hope and stay.
Lord I NEED You, oh I need You.  Every hour I need You."

Or as in the case of today, we sang "Give Me Faith"  I wanted to cry as I heard the words.

" I need You to soften my heart, to break me apart.  I need You to open my eyes, to see that You are shaping my life."

Do you remember wayyyyyyy back at the beginning of this post?  I said I am learning from my children.  They fully trust that every time they soar high into the air, their feet will always find a safe place to land.  They trust with no thought, they are confident in EVERY way.  As they soar in the air without aim, so do I soar through life head on with no breaks.  How is it that I find my full faith lacking.  My loving Father will always find a safe place for me to land.   I have been floating along for so long.  I am here now, admitting that without Him I have NOTHING.  

Since this earth shattering realization, life on the outside has not changed very much.  The trials and tribulations that we ALL face are still there,  but I am here to say that My God has supplied the strength and joy that I am lacking and THAT, my friends, is something to be joyful about!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Confessions from a Mommy of Three....

My mind, even on a good day is sometimes a dangerous place to be.  As I dove into a monstrously large pile of clean laundry that needed to be folded like 2 weeks ago, I found my mind wandering.  ( Anyone that knows me at all knows this is tied up with bathroom cleaning as my least favorite chore)  Keeping my mind busy while I fold endless shirts, shorts and undies is a defense mechanism against thinking about this most distasteful chore...

I found and posted one of my favorite verses this evening on Facebook.   "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6"   This verse started tumbling through my head while I was matching and rolling socks (ewwwww)  and it hit me how hypocritical I have been this summer.  I learned that verse long ago, and at times I have thought about its meaning.  But I haven't been trusting, acknowledging or looking for direction, NOPE I have been wallowing in the enormity of the situation I have been in and trying to handle the whole thing on my own. And how might you ask have I been handling this on my own???  Not well at all... shocker, I know!

The realization of all of this tonight has given me the perspective I have been lacking since June.  The endless days of kids, work, kids, housecleaning, kids, small doses of sleep and then back to kids, work, kids ... well you get the picture.... has left me frazzled, mean, distant, distraught and at the end of my rope. 

I am ending my ramblings for the evening.  The kiddos are fresh out of the bath, in pj's and tucked into bed for the night.  The laundry is folded... still on the table but folded!!  The kitchen is semi-clean and I am dragging myself to bed for the evening.  The cycle doesn't end, but my attitude sure can.  My path right now is kids, work, kids, housecleaning and kids...  I choose to trust in Him and follow this path as far as He takes me.  My blessings come from those kiddos and the journey Brian and I are on in this thing called life.