30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 8

This guy.  Two years ago today this little sweetheart was born into our chaos. In the midst of our worst times this little guy was sent to bless our mess, to be light in our dark and to begin the great turnaround God had in store for our family.

2013 was the year that we wished never happened. It was the year things all fell apart before we got the PTSD/TBI diagnosis. Before Mr. Wonderful was sent away for two and a half months of treatment so we could begin the beginning of the treatment process, the medical retirement, the the healing it would take to put our family back together.

This baby, I’m convinced, was sent in the middle of Mr. Wonderful’s treatment to show us that there was a great comeback on the horizon for our family. In the middle of the hardest, most awful year we’ve ever had came one of the biggest blessings I’ve ever experienced. This baby renewed our hope, our sense of purpose, our love, and our faith.

That’s a lot for a baby.

But every day that I get to spend with this guy encourages me, brings me joy, makes me laugh and catch my breath in awe at how blessed I am. 

 My ❤️is so full of gratitude for God’s timing, his love, and his blessings wrapped up in this bundle of energy and joy. Happy Birthday sweet boy! 

 #happybirthday #twoyearold #toddlerlife #Godspromises #blessings #gratitude #30DaysofThankfulness

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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The Struggle is Real

Ever have those days (weeks) where you just can’t quite get your flow? 

We. Are. There.

The seven year old told me this morning during a particularly rough patch of getting ready time that he wished he was being raised by wolves.

Parenting fail.

The PTSD has been more PTSDish this week, with fogginess and forgetfulness. The Mama has had much less patience with everything. And then I find something that sent me right over the edge: 

 I left a note that says “To whoever’s doing this, I will hunt you down!” 

Unfortunately there are two potential culprits who can’t read so my threats may be lost on 33% of the household but whatever.

We’re transitioning our eating to organic, real food and gluten free(ish) so I made an attempt at gluten free cookies the other night that turned out like this: 

 The four year old got into the markers: 

 And at one point last night I lost the baby. THE BABY! Turns out he was outside while his big brother was practicing the trombone (your welcome Highland Farms addition!) but my heart was in my throat for a brief moment.

There have been too many doctor appointments, therapy appointments, treatments, homework, actual work, laundry, dirty dishes, dirty floors and just messiness. At this point it may be easier to burn the house down than to clean it, and of course we’re having family over this weekend for birthday celebrations.

Crap! I have to go buy presents.

Things are undone here at the Shafer Casa but we are still holding on. I’m in need of a perspective change, a paradigm shift, a better attitude.

The only way I know how to do that is to find things right now even in the middle of the mess to celebrate. To be grateful for. So here is my list for the moment:

-My sweet baby who still runs at me with open arms and slobbery kisses when he hasn’t seen me for awhile.

-My twelve (how is he twelve?!) year old who practices trombone outside and made first chair.

-My seven year old who tries so hard.

-The sweet girl who still just sometimes wants to snuggle with her Mama.

-The partner who hugs me when things get too hard and tells me we’re all gonna be ok.

Reading over that list shows me I have a lot of blessings in my life right now. I shouldn’t waste another minute on the stuff not going right, but breathe in the stuff that is.

Good talk, y’all. Thanks!  

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Work From Home They Said

Can I tell you how much I love my day job? I’m the Director of a foundation that gives grants to organizations in our metro area that help the most underserved, forgotten and abused populations of our community. I get to see beautiful things happen every week in the most broken areas of our city. Things that restore my hope and faith. In God and in humans.

I’ve been doing this job for over a decade and it never ceases to amaze me the capacity that some have for service to others. Hugs, food, clothing, prayer, shelter, time, faith, joy and love are just some of the things I’ve witnessed passed from one person to another.

Did I mention I love my job?

On the days where I’m not out and about watching miracles and moments and mission happen, I’m working from home. With two of our four kids underfoot. Who just happen to be three and one.

After having had a succession of three year olds in my house I now know that this is the one to keep your eye on.

In my experience, the three year old is the one who floods your bathroom. Who fingerpaints an entire room with five tubes of fingerpaint you didn’t even know you had the day before you put your house in the market. Who gets stuck at the top of the stairs when they climbed the OUTSIDE of it.

In fact, just during the writing of this post I had to stop and clean up a 120 pack of wipes the current three year old had freed one by one from the package because they were “butterflies.” All over the living room.



I’m so grateful that my board of directors allows me the luxury of working from home. It’s amazing that I don’t have to punch a clock or commute into an office or have someone looking over my shoulder constantly. I could not be more grateful.

I’m finding that I just have to be much more creative with how and when I get my actual work done. Nap times, early mornings, bedtimes and times when Mr. Wonderful can corral the crazy are my optimum work times. This may be unconventional, and it certainly takes some getting used to, but it’s working for our family.

And when I’m home working, my background noise is often, as it is right this second, the sound of kids laughing. As they dump out a 100 piece army soldier set and throw them at each other. Especially the one year old-he seems to really enjoy this.





So my home office is a wreck and now my living room is too. But I will get some work done, then I will play with my munchkins for a bit before nap time. 

And I think, though this time is hard and weird and a giant mess of kid chaos most of the time, that I will look back on this as one of the highlights of my life. I think I will have hindsight to show me that the gift of both working from home and my kids being in the midst of it, was something very special.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015