We've been very busy in the Coffman house recently. The end of the school year brings a lot of projects for Jake; not to mention, he just when through the application-interview-accepting the job process for a job down in Bluffton, SC. Although these things are blessings and very good, they take time, energy, discernment, and a little stress. Poor guy is exhausted, but happy, I think.
I, on the other hand, have been filling my time with another session of online teaching, the usual part-time nannying job, chasing the K babe, and recently trying to give my health and fitness another jump start (hopefully to stick this time!). The discernment process and now the moving process has also been stressful for me despite the fact that I am extremely excited for this next chapter of our lives.
I get stressed very easily. I feel crushed by to-do lists, yet make them constantly. I get easily frazzled when I have things to get done and a lack of organization skills to figure out how I will get them all done without forgetting something. Even the thought of having responsibilities tends to stress me out - it's ridiculous, I am aware. It is also something I am often down on myself about. "Geeze, Megan, anyone can easily get through life doing the things you do without being so rude to their husband or losing their -ish every five minutes."
I have been reflecting recently on my vices; a practice I have been inadvertently doing since my last confession. I have been reflecting on my vices in a different way than I usual do, however. I usually think about all the ways I have failed and I become defeated, wondering how on earth Jake could love me so much, how I even have friends, and that Killian is destined to be doomed. That is NOT what God wants me to do when I examine my conscience, however! I think He gave me the grace to change my self-reflection through the grace of confession a few weeks ago.
The way I have been reflecting on myself most recently is by recognizing where I am weak, scared, hurt, overwhelmed, impatient, reactive...all the things, and I have been trying to understand why I feel that or those way(s). It is a journey I am on as we speak, so I don't really have any resolution quite yet. The journey is great though. Allow me to elaborate...
I am realizing that it is important for me to challenge myself beyond what I think my capacity is. I am seeking to better myself physically through regular exercise; I know this is the best lifestyle for me both physically and mentally. I have made small goals toward living a better spiritual life. Actually, I made a list of several of my goal there other day. Writing out my goals rather than a to-do list transformed my attitude from, "Oh my gosh I have to get all these things done or else I am a failure" to "These are things I am striving toward whether I execute them perfectly today or in many years from today." Wow. I cannot tell you how much of a relief that was to my perfectionist, anxiety-striken self.
I don't give myself much room to not fit perfectly into whatever mold I have expected myself to fit into, and that is foolish. How can I actually be a better person if I am always beating myself down, or not allowing myself a chance to strive toward perfection or, let's say, my goal. Moreover, how proud I am to think my idea of who I am suppose to be is the best. What about who God wants me to be?
On Easter Sunday, our pastor gave a beautiful homily talking about how we have struggled and sacrificed all Lent (maybe some of us realize now that we really didn't struggle as much as we should have), and that was suppose to transform us in the risen Christ. He asked, "How has Easter changed you?" I wondered...
He also reflected on the faithfulness as well as the failures of some of Jesus' closest friends; namely, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John, the Beloved Apostle. Peter, the rock of the Catholic Church, failed Jesus after he promised to go even to death with Him! Mary Magdalene, a woman who had been so enveloped in a life of sin that she was possessed with seven demons, and John, a simple man, stuck with Jesus throughout His entire passion and were among the first to see that Jesus had risen from the dead. All three of these people were changed by Jesus. Peter, if you recall, dedicated his whole entire life to proclaiming the risen Jesus from that moment on! He was transformed by Jesus too! Our pastor said this: "Jesus does not call us because of who we are, but He calls us because of who we will become." Boom.
So, how has Easter changed me? Well, hopefully into a woman who is striving to be transformed by Christ into the woman God made me to be - be it a woman diligent about her fitness and healthy eating so she can be kinder to her family and those around her, be it a woman of prayer so that she can grow closer to God, be it a woman who allows herself to achieve her goals without becoming crushed by the idea that she's simply not perfect enough. Whoever it is, may I always remember that I am called not because of who I am, but because of who I will become, transformed by Christ.
Happy Easter! Alleluia :)
I think it was my junior year in high school when I gave up bread and peanut butter for "Lent". I remember bragging to all my friends about it because we were basically all in a competition to lose weight and be the skinniest, prettiest person around. (Ironically, those women were and still are some of the best people I know, but it doesn't mean we didn't go through a very hard struggle battling satan's grip on our self image and vanity.)
I promised I’d let you all know how our experience with Whole30 went, so I have been pondering all the hairy details I’d like to share. I have to say, as a nursing mother I heard lots of resistance to Whole30, along with lots of positive encouragement. I heard of women whose milk supply decreased to almost nothing and of women who felt their milk was more nutrient-dense, and saw their baby thriving. I have also heard of women who were so eager to get rid of their baby-weight that they were not terribly concerned if they were forced into weaning the baby, or in some cases, they were ready to stop nursing. It’s all up to them, I say, but for me I wanted to keep nursing, and as a matter of fact, I was hoping Whole30 would improve nursing for me and Killian. If you spend any time with me and my family, you know the dirty diaper would hit the fan if I suddenly chose to stop nursing. Killian simply loves nursing, and I utilize it for more than simply feeding him.
Before I explain how I approached Whole30 as a breastfeeding mother, allow me to tell you how the Coffman family got into this to begin with.
Everyday I get the readings emailed to me from the USCCB. I usually hold onto the email until the next day, rarely taking the time to read it. Yesterday I had a few minutes to sit down with the readings and pray with them.
"Blessed are those who hope in the Lord" was the responsorial psalm, and it basically sums up a conversation God and I have been having for the past several days.
I've struggled with anxiety since puberty, I'd say, (just think: 13 year old girl. *shutter*) and I have struggled with being a perfectionist since I entered the world almost 25 years ago. (Mom, I know you're laughing and nodding your head.) I've been really torn up inside about the things in my life that aren't perfect (to me), and I have been putting this unnecessary burden on myself to "fix" all-the-things. I get like this a lot; I start to feel suffocated by the unfixable imperfection I see. I allow myself to become overwhelmed by the challenges life throws at me; my dusties, as I like to say on here.
Allow me to invite you into some of these anxious moments I have had the past few days and show you how the Lord has held my hand through it all.
After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, they were filled with knowledge. This knowledge was of good and evil, and they were cognitively and spiritually brought to a lifelong cross road of good and evil. This is why they hid and clothed themselves. In short, they saw and felt the possibility of not being loved as they are. I could go into this on many different levels and down several avenues, but what I realize strikes me most about Adam and Eve’s reaction to the Fall is how insecure they were in their bodies. They were afraid of being seen, and they were ashamed of themselves.
I have always felt this effect of the Fall. I have had a hard time feeling accepted for the way I look physically and for my personality. We all feel this effect in one way or another, I believe. I had an outstanding experience early in my college years where I tangibly felt God’s grace relieve me from years of heart-wrenching, self-destructive physical insecurities. Sometimes I forget that He showed me His mercy, love, and truth so clearly some short years ago and that, to this day, I do not suffer as deeply as I once did. But, although I believe He healed me, I am still a fallen human who can choose God's will one moment and choose against it the next. What I mean by that is: I can choose to follow His commandments or not, and I can also choose to believe His truth about myself or not.
The new titles I have, namely “wife” and “mother”, stir up new challenges in my life, and they call me to be much more selfless than I ever have had to be. With this new territory comes fears and, in all honestly, failure. I can't help but feel ashamed and insecure at times, and I can allow it to cripple me. So, I have decided to work toward self-love in these times of self-doubt. I must recall that, despite my human nature, I am more than I sometimes believe. Moreover, I need to love myself to really let others see and love me. I need to remember the truth and good that is in me and in others. So, I challenged myself to write down five things I wish to be better at, things I can slowly work on. And, I challenged myself to write down ten things I realize are good about myself.
And here they are:
One of Megan's favorite things to do is write down her thoughts. She loves to write me notes for my birthday and special holidays. You can find pieces of paper all over the house of all her thoughts from budgeting notes to workout plans. She finds comfort in putting her thoughts on paper. I am not that person. But one day as we were sitting around I had this great idea that Megan and I should blog together. So here it is.
Since Megan gave a wonderful introduction to our a blog, I figured I would give the introduction to our story. Most people know that we went to college together and figure that we met in college, dated, and fell in love. Well love never seems to be that simple. Actually, it took about 3000 miles and a year for us to fall in love. I still remember those moments that I began to fall for her.
April 2012: Megan and I never actually dated in college. The one time we had a chance to date was my senior year and i was in a very different part of my life at that time. It was the first sign that she was the woman i was going to spend the rest of my life with. She was a small group leader on a retreat i was running and gave one of the best testimonies I have ever heard. I remember the feeling of amazement of how strong and holy a person she was. For the next couple of weeks after the retreat I would go to her room after cheer practice (another story for another time) and just sit with her as she did her homework. She was amazing, but something didn't feel right in that moment. I walked away and never gave her any good reason. Looking back I realized that I wasn't prepared to be the man she deserved.
February 2013: I have lived in Alaska for about 5 months. Megan and I were speaking again and I spent the last 2 months talking to her about the struggles of moving to Alaska. I slowly began to realize that she was the only woman I wanted to talk to. We talked every single day and began to get very close. We were at the point of our relationship where we either try this crazy relationship 3000 miles apart or I could just let her go. We talked about our relationship about every night, but I was scared to take the leap. There came a moment in February that I felt i should truly tell her how I feel. I remember it clearly on Tuesday February 12th, I had decided that I wanted nobody else but her. I had decided to buy her flowers for V-Day and I was going to tell her in the morning that I wanted to be with her. Little did i know that the next morning would be one of the hardest days in our relationship. Looking back I realized that I wasn't prepared to be the man she deserved.
May 2013: Megan and I haven't talked for almost 3 months at this. She didn't talk to me all through lent. I remember when we first started talking again. The feelings of anger and frustration came back, not because she didn't talk to me, but because I didn't tell her how i felt sooner. I was in love with her since that Wednesday morning when she called to tell me she couldn't talk to me. We talked for about 2 week before I decided to take the leap and finally ask her on a date. At the time I lived 3000 miles apart and there was only one chance I would get to see her. I told her I would be in DC for a retreat and would love to see her. We spent that whole day together going to lunch, the zoo, and I even got to meet her parents. The days after that were hard. I remember vividly the time I spent in prayer trying to find ways to tell her how i feel. I remember the night at the retreat I called her and told her she was the only one I wanted to be with. Then, on June 7th, 2013 I asked her to be my girlfriend 3000 miles away when I was in a little town in the middle of nowhere Alaska because I knew there was no one else I wanted to be with. I felt for the first time that I had become the man she deserved.
That was the easy part of our relationship now we had to figure out how to date 3000 miles apart. But that is a story for another time.
My husband is incredible. He kindly listens to me when I bemoan the beautiful life we have and he encourages me to do the things I am (or seem) passionate about. This year alone (and it isn't even 60 days into the year) he has successfully accomplished a Whole30 with me! That is a huge deal for a man who's veins use to be 50% blood, 50% Dr. Pepper. Now, after I whined about my failing blog, he told me he'd like an in on the blog. So we're taking this thing on together. Husband and wife. Father and mother.
I hope you enjoy our musings; Killian seems to think its a dandy idea^. We hope to bring you our thoughts on our lifestyle as passionately Catholic people. I will definitely have one or both of us let you know what we thought of Whole30. And, I'll let you know what this wanna-be SAHM's life has been up to lately (mainly, chasing Killian around, pulling whatever non-edible thing he has placed in his mouth). Stay tuned while we attempt to bring you our dusties!
Sheesh, I really can't stay consistent with my posts can I? Welp, here are some current thoughts and updates on my blessed life.
I have been struggling for almost 4 months now with the idea of sleep training Killian and getting him on a schedule. I graviate so naturally toward attachment parenting styles but there are certainly times I desperately need a handful of minutes to myself; not cleaning, not exercising, not cooking, not bathing or nursing or what have you. Jake and I decided to sleep train Killian about a month and a half ago using the Ferber CIO method. Honestly, I put him to sleep nursing and then let him cry when he woke up from me putting him down and he wimpered for a couple of minutes. It was so easy! We had a great three weeks of that and then he learned to stand and got better at crawling and developed some seperation anxiety and all went to heck. I had also gotten up to nurse Killian in the night. I figured going from co-sleeping and nursing practically all night to nothing at all would be a little tough on the guy so I eased into it. Once this fussy monster came around though, I was missing the nights alone with my husband in our bed.
Turkey time is mere hours away and my house is ridden with illness. Yet, we're still grateful. Being sick is miserable. Having a sick baby is very miserable. But moments when we all sit sniffling in one bed reading books to the tune of some relaxing music or watching an easy film makes for warm hearts. These moments cause Jake and I to look at each other with a simple smile and say, "I like today. I love you."
I also love the holidays. I love the time for family and relaxation. I love how the holidays bring about kindness and generosity. This year I am blessed to spend thanksgiving day with the Coffman clan and the surrounding days with the Fitzpatricks, my side of the fam.
This thanksgiving I am definitely most thankful for the gift of my beautiful son and for my amazing husband. I am thankful for the ways having a baby have made Jake and I grow more into the people we are called to be.
November marks six months since I gave birth to my first baby. SIX. WHOLE. MONTHS.
Can you believe Killian Jacob Coffman is a half of a year old already? I can't and yet I can. He can do so many big baby things now! He crawls, pull himself to standing, babbles all the time, sits up by himself (not the best at this for some reason, but it can be done). He was sleeping in his crib - I attempted to sleep train him but nursed him to sleep and when he woke up (which was once a night except for a few whimpers that lasted mere seconds). Nursing your baby to sleep is a no-no when it comes to sleep training but he was able to put himself back to sleep after crying for a few minutes unless he REALLY wanted to nurse. However, when we thought our heat wasn't working (oh, by the way, Jake and I simply forgot we hadn't had the gas turned on. Adult fail.) we had him snuggle with us in bed for at least half the night. On November 11th, this dear one's half birthday, he decided no more crib for me! And it has been ten days of co-sleeping and napping in mama's arms (or the carseat in the moving car). He will NOT sleep anywhere but next to me and he has to nurse to sleep. I am grateful that I nurse him because it is a magic soother. I figure he's developing a lot right now (crawling, standing, probably ponder walking [please, no.], sitting, eating a few solids....) not to mention he is probably teething so he just needs a little extended mama/breastfeeding time. Jake is getting tired of nearly falling out of bed because Killian, although not even 17lbs, takes up so much space. We head to the pediatrician tomorrow for K's 6 month check up so we will discuss sleep training methods then. I just have such a hard time with cry-it-out. I have tried it so many times but give up so quickly (except for that magical time when he randomly didn't fight sleep in his crib). I give MAJOR props to moms who are successful with this method. You are strong and wonderful. Maybe one day I will be successful with it or maybe I'll let K grow out of this precious snuggle stage. I am definitely not going to even try while he's sick; poor boy.
And then he stopped sleeping in his crib and starting truly crawling, and crawling well, and pulling himself up to standing all at once. Love this boy.
I am embarrassed by how poorly I have kept up with Fitness Fridays. *Blush* I am not sure what I weigh right now; probably the same as the last time. I have not been eating exceptionally healthy, but not horribly either. I have not worked out since Thursday with the exception of a slow 20 minute walk on Friday. Before this wretched cold attacked my system, I just started the third week of a "Flat Belly Challenge!" I found on Pinterest. I am not a huge fan of this challenge. It is very repetitive, although scrambles up the workouts throughout the week, and they are short - 15:40 to be exact. The exercises are challenging but seem too short to be very productive in my opinion. In any event I'd like to see the challenge through once I feel strong enough and possibly add a little extra to the workout.
Jake and I have been looking into Whole30 recently. A friend of ours read the book and did Whole30 with her family. She said it was life changing and encouraged us to read the book. I got the book from the library and I was amazed with how different Whole30 is from what I had thought. Its not another "fad" diet. Its more or less a cleanse to heal your body (gut) and help you find what food fuels you best. We are considering tackling the challenge January. Whole30 includes so many challenges that will be good for Jake and I. Namely, meal planning and being very intentional with what we eat. I am excited and very nervous all at once.
Well there you have it folks! Happy Thanksgiving!
Do you recall in my first post how I described some of the dust I kick around in my day to day life? Namely high utility bills and bugs in my house? Well the list has expanded exponentially since that post. Okay, maybe I am being terribly dramatic but I am beginning to feel like I cannot catch a break. I have been pondering the stress of buying a second car recently. Not because we need a second car or are actually looking into purchasing a second car but because I am afraid that we simply will not be able to ever afford one. I can't imagine adding another monthly payment to our tight budget. More car insurance, a possible car payment, another gas payment...I shutter. God must have been poking at my heart, giving me the opportunity to mentally prepare for the day when we would just have to buy a new car and not a second car, one to replace the only, single car we own. Unfortunately today is the day...or hopefully a few days from now (fingers crossed that I can make it to and from work tomorrow!).
It seems eery to see that I have been thinking about how stressful this day would be and here it is. I struggle to understand what God's promptings upon my heart were asking me to do. I know I am suppose to simply trust Him. We always seem to make it through some how or another but my "trust" feels more like not reacting to the situation at all. I feel kind of numb like I am refusing to face reality because I don't want to shatter.
A few weeks ago the new pay laws threatened my family with an unfavorable future and I started to panic. The day we found out the Gospel was, "Ask and you shall receive." I find that this theme must be turning these worrisome days in to a spiritual journey blessing. Trusting God and His mysterious ways is not easy for anyone. I for one have trouble with even knowing how to trust Him but I feel as though right now in these trying times (did I mention our heat doesn't work either?) I am called to ask God for help. I might not even know what he wants me to ask him for but I still must ask and be in relationship with him through prayer. I can ask him for the money to fix my house, or for a new car without financial strain, I can ask him to win the lottery and I can also ask him for the grace to accept his will and for the grace to unite my suffering with His. I can ask him for peace and for the grace to thank him for these trials because of the mysterious blessing they probably are, unknowingly to me.
Oh God, you make beautiful things out of dust. Make something beautiful out of me and all my duties. Amen.
Wearing Killian while he naps so he doesn't freeze to death in his crib.