Beauty In All Things

A single mom loving Jesus and surviving suburbia

Day 31 – Reflections on 31 Days

31 Big ShoesI have loved writing my single mom life for 31 days. I should do this post tomorrow, but tomorrow is halloween and I will post one last fun pic. Here are a few observations….

Observation #1: I should have called it 31 days of my toes. It is still so warm in Southern California that each pick has my toes.

Observation #2: No situation is as depressing as it seems when you have to figure out how to type it up for a blog post and try to give it meaning. To others and yourself.

Observation #3: It is hard to be totally raw and I was surprised at how easy it was to gloss over many of the tough things. I will need to go back and elaborate on some of my posts to share more accurately the raw and real.

Observation #4: I was a little crazy with the feet pictures. Most specifically at Beth Moore and the Airport. 🙂 People must have thought I was crazy.

Observation #5: We are a really, really busy family who does a lot of cool things in October.

Overall, It was so healthy for me to look at my days and see all the ways that God’s hand covers our family. There were fun days and then there were rough days. I realized that my rough days are always filled with some joy. I can choose to look at only the hard parts, but that would be dishonest. It is a lie to label my day without looking at the positive too. Both are evident. Both are worthy of acknowledgement and process. And through it all my kids and I….

 …are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes for the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Still processing all of this,

alison sig

 

Day 30 – Halloween

IMG_1227Holidays are hard. Many families have two to share the load of the common place of the day and the excitement of day. Halloween for example means that I have to coordinate buying the pumpkins, overseeing the carving, cleaning up the carving roasting the seeds….you get the idea. One great thing after another that is hard to give up. Thanks to a sweet friend, I am happy to say that, Halloween is one holiday that I have finally dialed in. A few years ago she started inviting me to her Halloween party and it has changed our holiday. We gather in the afternoon and all carve our pumpkins together, in community. There are tons of parents to supervise and clean up and manage our brood. She orders pizza and the kids play. At 6 we head out and trick-o-treat all together. Again, tons of parents to manage and coral all our kids. I know they do it for fun, but it ministers to me so greatly. It meets a need for our family in a special and unique way.

Until next year,

alison sig

 

Day 28 – Walking Together

IMG_0980Today I went to my small group of single moms. We get together to encourage one another and study God’s word. It is so nice to spend this short time with women who live my experience daily. I am so blessed by their understanding and wisdom.

On the journey together,

alison sig

Day 27 – Horses

IMG_0972This picture is perfect. It’s not my feet, but the feet of Hershey the horse, my little cowgirl, and my baby who never wears shoes.

Enjoying today,

alison sig

Day 25 – Surprise Beach Day

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Today was a surprise day. An impromptu trip to my parents led to an impromptu drive up the coast with just my dad and my daughter. I am blessed to live an hour drive from my parents who just happen to live at the beach. Our drive ended in Malibu at a lovely restaurant on the water. It was such a treat to spend the day with my dad and my girl enjoying a gorgeous Southern California fall day.

Cherishing Special Times,

alison sig

Day 23 – Pumpkin Patch

IMG_0821Family trip to the pumpkin patch. Complete with family photo. See my feet above. Family photos used to be hard for me, but now 1 adult and 3 kids is our norm. I love seeing their faces next to mine. We are family.

Loving Family,

alison sig

Day 21 – Amazon Prime

boxesAmazon Prime has saved my life. I receive all of my bulky grocery items, paper towels, toilet paper, etc in a big box once a month. I also order all birthday presents and some household supplies. And occasionally some basic clothes, and….and… you get the picture. Amazon Prime comes right to my door and if I need to return I just go online and schedule a pick up. So easy and it fits into my busy schedule and life. I have to search a little bit for the best prices and use the subscribe and save program to get 20% off. Makes trips to the store with 3 kids manageable.

Shopping from home,

alison sig

Day 19 – 13.1

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13.1  I did it. I finished a half-marathon.

Dreams.  Broken dreams, shattered dreams, the death of dreams. These have been my close companions. Today, I have fulfilled a dream.  I almost can not type. There is so much emotion tied up in todays dream. So much. So much pain, so much joy. I’m not un-athletic. I am up for a fun hike or bike ride around town, but I am not a runner and I do not seek out physical activity. I am not one to push myself phyisically when the same end can be accomplished at a sweatless stroll. But years ago I got it in my head that if I was strong and healthy emotiionally I could run. 6 long years ago.  Honestly, when I said it it was as likely that I would climb mt everest. My kids were 9 months, 2 and 4 and I was suddenly an only parent. Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew I would never actually do it.  Each year the sign ups came for this race in SF that ends with a tiffany necklace. I thought for sure if I was going to run this would be it.

When I actually signed up this year I was a little shocked. The funny thing was how casual my sign up was. Sitting poolside with a friend, she mentioned that she was gonna sign up. I had 24 hours to commit. And I committted. 6 months out I wondered if I would actually make it as I went on an occasional walk or swim. Then the horrible news about “the sweep”. I mentioned it in my earlier post. The idea of getting picked up for running to slow motivated me to train. And train I did. Enlisting the help of a great friend and serious runner I worked hard. It became my part-time job as I scheduled runs and cross training into my already busy week.

At this same time my bible study started the Life Of Moses. Having studied Moses before I didn’t think much of it, but God’s word never comes back void and He is using this study in powerful and practical ways. Something I had not noticed about Moses is that he did not think he could do it AT FIRST. At first is the important part of that sentence. For those familiar with Moses his brother Aaron spoke to pharaoh for him, at the beginning. By the end of the plagues MOSES is leading the people out of Egypt, leading a nation through the wilderness. Moses did not think he could do it, but God showed him he could.

As I sat on the plane home it hit me, God needed to show ME I could do this. I COULD find support from a runner friend, I COULD fit this into my schedule, I COULD run 13.1 miles.

I thought I was just fulfilling my dream, but God in his tender grace was also showing me more and using his word to do it. He can and will use me for his glory no matter what my past. His word is living and active. Sharper than a two edged sword. Yes indeed.

Running,

alison sig

Day 18 – Trolley Cars and Big Shoes

IMG_0818Can’t believe it, but I am in San Francisco. I haven’t been here since before kids. But here I am on a girls weekend preparing to run a half marathon. Traveling changes when you leave pieces of your heart behind as you adventure away. While I had a blast in the 7 story Nike store all I could do was take pictures of everything to send to my 10 year old boy. I love having a 10 year old boy to think about while on vacation. I love my 3 sweet babies and seeing all the things they would enjoy here, like giant feet at the Nike store.

Day 16 – Digging

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I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves and the great expanse of deep blue stretching as far as the eye can see.

Last summer my littlest and I were digging a hole at the beach. We dug and dug and then woosh a wave came and covered our hole filling it with sand. We dug again. Again a wave. Then my son had the idea to build a wall to stop the waves. Great! But the mighty ocean took down his wall and his hole. Finally, we moved up shore a bit and started anew.

For the first several years of my single mom-hood life felt much like that day at the beach. I’d work on my hole until something would come fill it up. I’d find a new plan a new wall and again, life would thwart my plans.

Working outside of the home and scheduling was my biggest hole. I was coordinating dropping off covering child care expenses, etc. etc.

Finally, I “moved up shore a bit and started anew”. Now I work from home and it is an amazing blessing. I can throw in a load of laundry between emails and client calls. It is not perfect. Working for yourself makes budgeting difficult and challenges my self esteem daily. (but that is for another post). God has graciously brought new clients every time my plate looks empty. He is provider, caretaker and boss.

Working away,