dreams

About the Girl With the Sparkle(s) In Her Eye(s)

When we're young(er), we never dream of the hard times that could squeeze in between our dreams eventually becoming fulfilled. 

The girl in the picture is ten years in the past, and ten years more ignorant and unaware than she is now. 

Sometimes I daydream to a fault. Always have. Maybe I always will.  

Little did I know then, that almost every one of my "daydreamy dreams" would eventually come true.

I can't live in a fantasy world. Life doesn't always jump from one dream to the next, seemlessly. No, Sir. I can attest that as my ten year anniversary rapidly approaches, I look at this girl and I think I would simultaneously love to be (and not to be) her again.

I hardly look at myself in the mirror lately, as I don't like what I see. I may, unexpectedly, be the same size again as the girl in the photo, but my glow/my sparkle, isn't there anymore. 

A dreamer never pictures themselves as spiraling into a pit without remembering the lyrics to "A Dream Is A Wish (Your Heart Makes)". But sometimes, dreamers do fall. And we do forget the lyrics. We stop dreaming. We stop hoping. And we begin wishing that we could just simply dream unconsciously. Dreaming whilst asleep. Sometimes, the world is even more cruel and sleep never comes, except in snippets. 

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My goal, this year, this month, even, is to get my sparkle back. To remember how much I have to live for and with and to. There's a dreamer still in me. There's a hope that's bigger than my despair, because of the hope I've been so graciously gifted. I am clinging to that hope. I'm going to eventually look at this picture and say "that's still me!...I know that girl!...that is me!". Right now, I look at her, and I recognize her, but we are not the same.  

In the meantime, I am pushing to stay close to His voice. And to remember that "When (I) pass through the waters, (You) are with me; And through the rivers, they will not overflow (me). When (I) walk through the fire, (I) will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn (me)." Isaiah 43:2 

To the mother who's only good at motherhood.

A few weeks ago, I realized something about myself: "I'm only good at motherhood"

 

You see, I suffer from the SAHM syndrome where mothers, once an integral part of society, become further removed from the outside world. The newborn phase of our firstborns quickly catapult us into a life that is almost hermit-like.

 

Afraid to expose our freshly birthed offspring to any germs outside of the comfort of the home, we spend weeks and months "off the grid". 

 

I've never actually come out of that existence. Homeschooling, homebody, homemaker....that's what I've become. A professional SAHM. Devoid of real relationships and filled to the brim with dreams and self-pity. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my children, my home, my blessings, my marriage. I've just allowed all of those things to completely turn me into a submissive robot which has no time for anything else. 

 

Not worthy of socialization. Not worthy of achieving anything outside of weekly grocery shopping and keeping them all safe and happy. 

 

My mother and I. Summer, 1984. 

My mother and I. Summer, 1984. 

A friend that's been a sister to me since 2004. 

A friend that's been a sister to me since 2004. 

My only love. Summer, 2004. Engagement photos.  

My only love. Summer, 2004. Engagement photos.  

My first and last selfie, fall 2005. The days I could still rock the side ponytail. 

My first and last selfie, fall 2005. The days I could still rock the side ponytail. 

I've done myself and my family a disservice with my lack of ambition. 

 

I've become a professional SAHM "I'm-not-good-enough-for..." excuse-maker. 

 

It's like I've become allergic to taking risks. 

 

I'm tired of it. 

 

I'm tired of waiting for the community to come to me. 

 

I'm tired of wishing I had a bigger blog, a better body, or a creative way to pay off my student loan. 

 

I'm tired of waiting for everything to just fall from the sky because I honestly only think I'm good at one thing and one thing only: motherhood.

 

So I'm taking risks. 

 

I plan on taking shy and burying it in the ground. While I may never be a social butterfly like I was in my childhood years, I can purpose to step out and simply just introduce myself.

 

In fact, just today, I went on a field trip without my best friend and her children. That's not normal for me. I feel like the elephant in a room full of tiny mice, everyone just glaring at me. "Who's she?" they think as they all converse in their homeschool mothering clique. At least, that's what I tell myself they are thinking. I feel out of place in the place I should feel the most "in place". Mothers, just like me, surrounded by more than your average number of children, we're all living carbon copies of each others' lives. 

 

I'm making a point to do the hard work to make my dreams come true. Blogging, writing, authoring, making money that way and actually having a large audience for my work, that's my heart right now. It's not happening naturally. It's discouraging. I've spent many a night in tears over the 1 or 2 views on the blog I may have received that day. 

 

I'm tired of feeling sorry for what I can't accomplish. I'm tired of being timid and believing "I'm just never good enough." 

 

This picture of my sister and I being program passer-outers at our cousins wedding is just funny. 1990.  

This picture of my sister and I being program passer-outers at our cousins wedding is just funny. 1990.  

One of my best friends from college. One of the best times of my college days, the Yellowcard/Something Corporate concert at Longwood University. 2004.  

One of my best friends from college. One of the best times of my college days, the Yellowcard/Something Corporate concert at Longwood University. 2004.  

 

"But you're good at so many things..."

 

That's what I hear from the closest ones around me. I never believe them. Beyond baby making and having perfected my grandmothers chocolate chip cookie recipe, I don't believe them. 

 

The sister and I. I can't do life without her. Spring 2003. 

The sister and I. I can't do life without her. Spring 2003. 

So, this letter is for me. It's for you, too. If you're that mother, like myself, that honestly believes they've lost everything about themselves sans motherhood. It's for us. We have to stop believing that we aren't when we are. We can. We have so much to offer beyond our houses. All of those things that make us shine in our households, well, those things can be used to encourage the world. 

 

I encourage you, mother who believes she's just "not much" lately, to go bury the lies and live with vitality and fervor. I'm taking baby steps. Let's learn how to walk together. And then, we will run. 

 

Love, Alicia 

Junior year of college. My best friend/roommate and I had matching yucca plants. We gave them Korean names because I always wanted to adopt from South Korea. This is Joo-Chan.  This is also when I had collarbones. 

Junior year of college. My best friend/roommate and I had matching yucca plants. We gave them Korean names because I always wanted to adopt from South Korea. This is Joo-Chan.  This is also when I had collarbones. 

My wedding day and my dear friend from college who was lovely enough to play violin for us.  

My wedding day and my dear friend from college who was lovely enough to play violin for us.  

ps. Go find a few pictures of yourself before motherhood. If you've lost the sparkle in your eyes, find some pictures where you have it in full display. A picture of you laughing with friends, one from the happiest day of your life, etc. Then remember what it was like to be that girl with eyes wide open and dreams stacked to the ceiling.  

 

Sibling love. 2011

Sibling love. 2011

Newlyweds, 2005.  

Newlyweds, 2005.  

My sister loves this picture of me so much. It reminds me how much I LOVE to laugh. I mean really laugh to the point where you're spitting out your drink in your hand. Sometimes I don't laugh as much as I should.  

My sister loves this picture of me so much. It reminds me how much I LOVE to laugh. I mean really laugh to the point where you're spitting out your drink in your hand. Sometimes I don't laugh as much as I should.  

My best friend from college. We were quite the pair. I actually have no clue how we got marshmallow in our eyes. We were mostly absolutely crazy.  

My best friend from college. We were quite the pair. I actually have no clue how we got marshmallow in our eyes. We were mostly absolutely crazy.  

My sophomore year dorm hall. They threw me a surprise lingerie shower. The most fun/embarrassing time. Spring 2004.  

My sophomore year dorm hall. They threw me a surprise lingerie shower. The most fun/embarrassing time. Spring 2004.  

www.amamasstory.com

www.amamasstory.com

 

 

Moving on.

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I'm writing this post mostly for myself. Mostly so I don't forget the incredible way ways that God worked during this time in our family. We're moving.

After at least three years of talking about it, hoping, and praying for it, it's finally almost upon us. In four more weeks we will spend our last night in the only home our family has ever known.

It all began almost 10 years ago this coming fall. The fall before Mike and I were to wed. It was so exciting to prepare this home for our new life together. To really make it our own and hopefully start a family here.

All of those things happened and as we grew in our marriage and began to truly know each other, we began to voice various dreams we had for the future.

I had always loved a big city, and, at one point, even visioned us living in the middle of it all in an apartment or town home of some sort never having to drive anywhere. Being in the middle of the action is what I wanted, well, it's what I thought I wanted.

Then Mike began voicing his dream about country life: trees, nature, a place to spread out and become removed from ultra convenience. I loathed the idea.

Our dreams collided. And hard.

We stayed put in our home and voiced our various dreams every now and again but felt zero desire to be apart of the others dream.

As we grew and the months and years passed, our family size grew as well and God began to change my dream. When Mike would speak of the possibilities that country living could offer us, I no longer felt annoyance at the sound of his words. Instead, I listened and imagined, and before long, we began to share the same dream.

We dreamed and pondered and hoped for a couple of years before we decided to take the plunge. But the timing never seemed to work in our favor. Something was holding us back...God wasn't ready to move us just yet.

We actually got busy the beginning of 2013 updating various areas of our home aesthetically and we got rid of A LOT of clutter. We moved anything we owned that was utterly superfluous into a storage unit less than 1/2 mile from our home and gave away a bulk of it too. But although we had plans to put our house up that spring, it didn't feel right. We pushed our dream aside for the time being and spent another year here.

As soon as 2014 began, Mike really felt like this was our year. We finished up some odds and ends and really tried to get our home show ready. We announced the pregnancy of our 5th child during this time and received comments about "you'd better move" more than once. We never felt like this home couldn't accommodate a fifth child at all and didn't feel anxious about adding another into this space.

Within 5 days and 3 showings of putting our house on the market, we signed a contract.

That's God. That's Him affirming to us that now we can move on.

But it seemed like every home we visited, every home we wanted to visit was another door slammed in our face. We didn't have a lot of time to play with in terms of finding a replacement home and life began to become stressful.

God, you sold our home, but now where are we supposed to go...

I longed to live in the Rock Hill,SC area. There are so many reasons for my longing, but every door was slammed shut there. I got discouraged. So did Mike.

We looked in various country settings no more than an hour where we currently live, it just didn't feel right. It felt foreign and we couldn't see ourselves living in these towns forever.

On the morning of what would be our final day out looking at homes, Mike stumbled upon a home that had just came back onto the market after a sale fell thru. He quickly called our realtor to see if seeing that home today could even be possible. We heard nothing back until we were on our way home from seeing two homes that were essentially, a bust.

Out of the blue, we got clearance to see it and I started to beam with excitement. I honestly didn't even know what I was so excited about except I knew that Mike was very excited about this home this morning so it must be worth a look.

To summarize, this home has absolutely everything [and more] that we had been dreaming of for years. It's almost as if God took everything on our lists, added a few more goodies, and handed it back to us in the form of this home/property. Mikes dreams included: ranch acreage shop building extra storage front porch with rocking chair room secluded wooded lot without view of neighbors or no neighbors at all

My dreams included: ranch (cause stairs in a home are pure evil when you have small children) updated kitchen huge laundry room mud room wood swingset front porch with rocking chair room or a swing large homeschool area wooded lot seclusion acreage able to have chickens

How about God said yes to every.single.one. of those. He also added in some extras that I'm so thankful he thought of: the exact gun safe that Mike always wanted, a trampoline, a smoker/grill, a large deck with an outdoor shower (perfect for stinky boys that have been playing outside all day), garden boxes, and a garden fountain that I'm actually pretty fond of.

Whoever thinks that God doesn't care about our dreams/details should feel proven wrong at this point.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking this home has got to be huge to accommodate the 'yearly' baby they always seem to have. It's not. And if you saw it, you would be surprised at how modest this home really is. And even though it may not be large for a family our size, it's absolutely perfect in every way. And when we walked in, despite the hideous hunter green and maroon 90's dated wallpaper in the entryway, and despite some updating we know we will have to tackle, we knew, I mean knew this was our next and hopefully, final home on earth.

We've run smack into various hiccups between that showing and today on both homes. But when we thought the worst, God always always always came through and then we felt foolish for even worrying in the first place. The final obstacles are on the schedule and as long as things continue to move forward, we will be saying goodbye to this home and starting fresh in the home we always dreamed of, in a place I had never heard of before, a town called Faith.

Just so happens that tiny town has the absolute most amazing July 4th celebration around. Another God-move because if you know me at all, you know I'm hopelessly in love with the holiday. More than Christmas, more than Thanksgiving....I just love it. And we will move there with time to spare, and I cannot wait to celebrate this years fourth!!

I'll miss this house, but it's never really felt like home anyway. It's always felt like just a space with our stuff in it. I know this home we have waiting for us will feel like home because it's both Mikes and my dream in a tangible form.

And until God reveals His eternal home to us, I will forever be grateful for the heaven on earth He has provided for us, while we wait.

Thankful for all the lessons we've learned along the way. Thankful for the growth that had to take place before He could move us. Thankful for the waiting we've done so that we could allow Him to give us His best. We are not settling and that's what makes this so sweet. We waited and He honored our waiting.

All glory to Him.

Love, Alicia