Monthly Archives: July 2013

To Fellow Mamas of Multiple Little Ones {When You’re Stretched Thin}

To Fellow Mamas of Multiple Little Ones | Faith and Composition

I called my husband a few weeks ago on the brink of tears. It was 6:15 pm, and those long afternoon hours that precede his evening homecoming (that time any stay-at-home mom knows full well) had already stretched into infinity. Sometimes I think the clock spins backward between the hours of 3 and 6 pm.

He answered at his office. “You’re still there?” I blurted out. Realizing that it would be at least another 30 minutes before he was home. Home to take the baby from my hip, home to wrestle with the boy, home to break-up the sibling argument, home to give me a moment to breathe, just breathe.

“I’m just about to leave,” he said. “What’s up?” And then the dam broke; tears that had been welling up just below the surface all day spilled over into an ugly river running down my cheeks.

“I can’t do it all!” I cried. “Someone has a need at all times. One is hungry, two are fighting, one is bored, one is wet, one is poopy, the house is a mess, the dogs are barking to go out, then they’re barking to come in, they’re shedding all over the floor, the baby cries when I put her down, dinner needs to be made … I can’t meet all their needs!”

It had been one of those days. You know those days too, when you’re stretched so thin it feels as if your skin has become threadbare, your patience worn out. When one more child clinging to your leg may just cause you to collapse into a heap on the floor.

The truth is, I’ve had more than my fair share of days like that lately. Days when a simple t-shirt and jeans qualify as dressing up, when Starbucks is sanity in a cup, when a drive to the grocery store is a reprieve.

To Fellow Mamas of Multiple Little Ones | Faith and Composition

This mothering of multiple little ones isn’t for the faint of heart.
It’s a standing appointment in the refiner’s fire, a harsh pruning of selfish desires, a tearing down of individual independence. Yes, it’s chubby toes and dimpled smiles, hugs that drape around your neck and eyes that melt your heart, but it’s also diapers changed, mouths fed, tears dried, cries quieted, lessons taught, babies carried … all with nary a thanks.

I remember sitting in the rocker with number two shortly after she was born. She was wailing, and I was trying to quiet her while tears fell silently from my own eyes. Tears of intense love, exhaustion, frustration and guilt, all in one mangled mess.

I hadn’t expected the transition to multiple little ones to be so difficult. I was stretched in more ways than I could have imagined. My time was divided and yet my demands had doubled. But slowly sleep-deprived nights gave way to less-sleep-deprived nights. She grew from tiny tot to precocious toddler, and I grew (quite uncomfortably at times) into the new role of Mommy to two, complete with its new set of trials and joys.

And then just six months ago, number three came along, and that intense stretching began again. The heat turned up on the refiner’s fire, the pruning of selfish desires commenced. Number 1 needs help with his Legos, Number 2 needs a diaper change, they’re both hungry, my phone is ringing, the dogs are barking to go out … and all this while the baby is nursing.

The reality is, no matter the number of children, mothering is never easy. It’s a daily (and all too often nightly) laying down of yourself. It’s watching your heart take on flesh and walk around with a mind of its own. It’s a tempering of the spirit: boil, cool, repeat. It brings us to our knees and softens the rough edges.

Those of us who have little ones, we’re knee deep in the trenches and elbow-deep in macaroni and cheese. There are Cheerios underfoot, spit-up on our shoulders, and battle scars in the form of newly discovered crow’s feet. Our knees are bruised from stooping to tie shoes, and our arms ache from lifting up babies.

And yet, we awake each morning, and we do it all over again because our heart swells with more love for those little ones than we ever thought possible. We look at them, and we’re amazed that we have the immense of privilege of hearing them call us, “Mom.” But sometimes, when the days stretch long and the nights longer still, we need to know that we’re not alone in this high calling of motherhood.

So if you’re feeling tired and discouraged, stretched thin and worn out, let me just say that we’re right there with you, and it’s ok. There’s an army of young moms—your comrades in the trenches—counting the hours till bedtime too. And while tomorrow is a new day and those days will  eventually  stretch into years … It’s ok to be worn out now, it’s ok to shed tears. After all, you’re doing the hard work, the sanctifying work. And sanctifying work is nothing if it isn’t gritty. Just know, sweet mama, that you’re not alone!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

THE WINNERS OF THE GREEK KEY BRACELETS (according to ARE: Meredith Carter and Hanna Deland. Congratulations ladies! Send me an e mail with your address (shalene(at)shaleneroberts(dot)com), and I’ll ship one to each of you!   


Praying God’s Word for Your Family

Reminder: TODAY is the last day to enter the contest for the Greek Key bracelets! I’ll announce the winner on Monday!

Praying God's Word for your family | Faith and Composition
A few years ago, I completed the Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed Bible study by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur. These women proclaimed the truth with conviction, transparency and an engaging sense of humor. The study was encouraging in many ways, but there was one take-away that really stuck with me. Beth Moore is a firm believer and avid proponent of praying God’s word. In the study, she encouraged participants to pray God’s specific word for each of their family members simply by choosing a verse and reformatting it into a personal prayer.

There was such power in her simple suggestion, so this was something I tried to practice. Recently though, with the demands of three kids and the must-do tasks of a full home, I have admittedly let my prayer life grow stale. My prayers now are arrow prayers, cast toward the heavens with a heaving exhale of breath in just a few seconds when the baby is one one hip, the other two are bickering and the dogs are barking to go out. My prayers are not focused; they are prayers of survival.

And yet, I crave that focused time with the Lord; my spirit needs it, longs for it. So I’m going to try to begin to reincorporate this practice of praying God’s word for my family. The beauty in praying scripture is found in both its simplicity and its rich depth. 

Would you like to join me? If so, simply select a few verses and reformat them into a personal prayer. Then try to commit the verses/prayers to memory. That way while those quick arrow prayers may still be prayers of survival, they will be specific, focused prayers of survival. Here are a few verses and sample prayers that Beth Moore suggests. These are just a jumping-off point to get us stated. Won’t you join me?

“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”
– Proverbs 2:7-8, NIV

PRAYER: Dear Father in Heaven, in accordance with your powerful, life-giving Word, I ask you to keep us upright so that you might be our victory and our shield. Guard the course of (insert each family member’s name), and protect our way.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
– Proverbs 4:23-27, NIV

PRAYER: Dear Father in Heaven, in accordance with your powerful, life-giving Word, I ask you to protect the hearts of (insert each family member’s name). Keep them unto you, and keep our hearts trained on you. Keep perversity and filthy talk far from our mouths, and let us fix our gaze on you. Give us a level path where we may follow you and not be tempted by evil.

Have a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back on Monday to announce the winners of the Greek Key bracelet giveaway, so be sure to check back to see if you won! Next week will also be the start of a new series that shares the details of our unprocessed, whole-foods diet. I have some great posts planned for you, including a host of informative resources, an entertaining whole-foods book review and some of our favorite quick, frugal, whole-food recipes. See you Monday!

The Future Mrs. George Alexander Louis {A Free Printable}

Free printable, the future Mrs. George Alexander Louis | Faith and CompositionPrince William and Duchess Kate announced the name of their newborn son today. And in honor of the little prince of Cambridge, I couldn’t help but have some fun. I designed this 5×7 art print as a fanciful addition to my baby girl’s room, and I’m sharing it with you! It’s a little whimsical charm for any little girl who dreams of being a princess! Click here to download the free print. And if you like it, I’d certainly appreciate you sharing the link!

A Painting and Deeper Truth

A Painting and Deeper Truth | Faith and Composition
Throughout the past few days, I’ve been working on an abstract painting. Though I should preface that statement by admitting that I’m not an artist, at least not in the realm of painting. I strive to see the beauty in the everyday, and I find immense joy when I’m stringing along words or pulling the viewfinder to my eye. But painting … let’s be honest, I barely know the first thing about it.

Nevertheless, we have a large wall in our dining room that really needed a statement piece of artwork. And when I couldn’t find anything similar to what I had in mind, I decided to try my hand at my own creation.

So I pulled out my set of cheap brushes, the handles splattered with paint by the hands of inexperience. And then I selected a few tubes of acrylics from my meager collection, primary colors that blend into subtle shades of pastels and earth tones when mixed with pure white.
A Painting and Deeper Truth | Faith and Composition
I originally opted to recreate this abstract DIY, but it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. My blending was rough and unnatural; the top three-fourths of my canvas flat and uninteresting. So I set it aside to dry, and then I came back, wielding a paintbrush once more in my inexperienced hands. And this time, I decided to approach the canvas with more of my own emotion, rather than attempting to mimic a formula. Slowly I dipped the brush into the paint and began layering on color, covering the old that was underneath. I rinsed the brush then reapplied, blended colors on a paper-plate palette and watched as they bled together, revealing subtle tonalities and interesting nuances. In some places my brushstrokes completely covered the original creation, and in other places the layers beneath showed through, creating depth and texture. The rhythm of it all was soothing—mix, dip, paint, rinse, dab, blend—and slowly a new abstract creation began to take shape.

A Painting and Deeper Truth | Faith and Composition

And isn’t that kind of what God does in our own lives? The canvas of our life is marred with mistakes, feelings of failure, shortcomings, disappointments, anxieties, deep hurts, regrets. And the master artist, He who painted the flaming sunset in brilliant shades of breathtaking hues, He who splashed mountains out across vast plains, He begins to paint our canvas in shades of grace. In His hands, the marred ugliness that was within is transformed into a moving masterpiece. He paints over abandonment with the brushstroke of eternal adoption, over loss with new life, despair with hope, fear with protection, heartbreak with joy. The old passes away and the new is revealed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

A Painting and Deeper Truth | Faith and Composition
I need to be mindful of this truth, committing it to memory, burning it upon my heart … this passing away of the old, this revealing of the new. I’m so thankful that He paints over the ugly, that He makes beauty from ashes, that He turns mourning into singing, that He transforms despair into joy.

If you’re hurting or discouraged today, this word is for you: In His hands, the old has passed away, the new has come. Behold the beauty of the new creation!

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
– Isaiah 61:1-3

Don’t forget that Faith&Composition’s FIRST GIVEAWAY is going on right now! Enter here for your chance to win one of two Greek key bracelets! This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winners!

Curious about the final version of the painting? You can view it on my Instagram feed

A Giveaway {Win 1 of 2 Bracelets}

Win one of two bracelets | Faith and Composition

Good Monday to you all! Today I’m excited to announce the very first Faith&Composition giveaway! Up for grabs are these two Greek Key-inspired bracelets. These baubles are so fun, I really had to try hard to resist the temptation to wear them around last week.

The bracelets come courtesy of Edit, a Kansas City-based boutique with fun accessories and chic clothing. The company was started by a close high school friend, her sister and her mother, and I love that the women of the family have banded together in an entrepreneurial business venture. Edit’s collection is both whimsical and classic; I love nearly all of their jewelry, and their clothing racks are filled to the brim with fun and eclectic ready-to-wear pieces! The company sells items online, hosts trunk sales and recently opened a brick-and-mortar store. If you happen to be near the Kansas City area, stop in, have a look around, and tell them that I said hello!Win one of two bracelets | Faith and Composition
Lucky for you, the ladies at Edit are giving away two bracelets to two lucky F&C readers! Entering is easy, and there are extra entries for sharing.

To enter you must:
Become a subscriber to Faith&Composition simply by entering your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click on “I want to Follow F&C!”. Click on “Confirm” when you receive the follow-up e mail. If you’re reading this on a mobile device, you may have to scroll to the bottom for the subscribe box, depending on how your device displays the content.
“LIKE” Edit on Facebook.
– Then come back here and leave me a comment saying you did both. That’s IT! You’re entered!

For extra entries, pin the top image to Pinterest or Share this giveaway to your Facebook page. You can earn 1 extra entry for a pin and 1 extra entry for a FB share. Just be sure to enter a separate comment for your pin and a separate comment for your FB share.

There will be two winners. Each winner will win one bracelet, so start sharing! I will announce the winners next Monday, July 29. Please note that I can only ship within the United States, so this giveaway is closed to international readers.

Good luck to each of you! Have a blessed Monday!