New mercies every morning.

Isabel is now 3 months old, and one thing that the Lord has been putting before me as a motif throughout this postpartum season has been the fact that each day I get a chance to start fresh.  No matter how the day has gone, whether it started off rocky or got messy in the middle or the evening ended up being just okay, God’s mercies would be new the next day.

God’s mercies are new every morning.

As someone who grew up in a Christian home, this phrase has always washed over me.  It was something I heard all the time and knew in my head that it was true, and was so familiar with it that I didn’t even know from what part of the Bible the phrase came from.  So I looked it up:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

–Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Ah, Lamentations.  What an appropriate book for this phrase to come from.  I didn’t know how I would feel when Isabel was first born and how that might change over time.  I had heard/read that it could take some time to bond with your baby, but I had also heard that parents can feel such an overwhelming joy that they had never experienced before, and that they can’t imagine life without their little one.

I feel like I’ve been somewhere in between.

For one thing, I felt immense relief when Isabel was born.  I was both tired and excited to meet this new little person.  And since then, I’ve been a bit all over the map.  For a recovering perfectionist like me, it’s especially hard as a first time mama to figure out how to thrive or even survive when you’re not sure how to communicate with this little person and she doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

There are days where I feel like I’ve messed up over and over and over again.  I constantly have to apologize to Isabel when I don’t know what she needs, telling her that Mama’s doing her best.  Not only do I often feel as though I’m failing Isabel as a mother, but I often find myself failing as a wife in the process.  I constantly need to ask Nathan for forgiveness because I’ve taken my frustration out on him, or am resentful about him not serving me the way I want him to.  I have to really stretch myself to ask him for help when I don’t want to in order to take care of our family.

Each day is a breach into the unknown, and each day seems to be filled to the brim with worries that re-open like old wounds and facing my inadequacies as a human being, with a sprinkling of hope and joy.

But that’s the beauty of receiving new mercies every morning.

After looking up the Lamentations 3 passage, I thought it was appropriate that verse 23 ends with, “great is your faithfulness.”  Again, it’s a hymn that is well-known but has not meant as much to me as it does now.  The last verse and chorus particularly resonate with me in this season:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see!
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” Lord, unto me.

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My first Thanksgiving Menu

Apparently, due to some of my family’s indecisiveness (we know where I get it from), I am now preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my mom’s side of the family.  While I’m not thrilled about the roundabout way we got to this plan, I am excited to make lots of yummy food!  I’ve never had the chance or time to make anything for Thanksgiving in the past, so I’ve been trying to brainstorm a plan for our meal.  Here are some ideas I have:

  1. Gruyere Mushroom Caramelized Onion Bites or Cranberry Bacon Jam Crostinis or Savory Pumpkin and Bacon Dip – Right now I can’t decide between these 3 for appetizers.  I’m thinking the cranberry bacon jam crostinis would be a nice way to include cranberries without making a cranberry sauce.
  2. Slow Cooker Maple Dijon Chicken and Broccoli – I was thinking, since I am making an entire meal to feed 11 people, I should probably minimize as much work as possible.  What better solution than a slow cooker recipe?  And while I would love to cook a special red meat (no way am I attempting a turkey), my aunt does not really prefer red meat, so I thought I’d go for Thanksgiving chicken.  Self high-five.
  3. Green Bean Casserole – I love making it from scratch, and it can be made ahead of time.  A great Thanksgiving vegetable!
  4. Cornbread Stuffing – I’ve always loved the idea of this, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten it.  I do love me a good cornbread, too.
  5. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Balsamic Reduction – If I decide I need a second side, I’ll make these beauties.  Love brussel sprouts.
  6. Dinner Rolls or Sour Cream Horseradish Mashed Potatoes – I’ve never tried making rolls before, but now seems like a good time as ever.  I can’t decide if I should make rolls or mashed potatoes, though.  I made these mashed potatoes for Easter and they were a hit.  Or maybe I’ll just end up making both.
  7. Pumpkin Pie – I have not had enough pumpkin food this fall.  I’m an eat-pumpkin-all-year-round believer, but I enjoy the concentrated season for pumpkin, and have certainly not yet had my fill.  I definitely have to make maple whipped cream, too!
  8. Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider – A cocktail, perhaps?

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Math, Maybe.

Yes, I did check out an SAT Math I book from the library.  Yes, I know I was an English major and that I’m not in school anymore.  Nor am I tutoring anyone in math (as if).

I checked out a math book from the library because I have noticed more and more how much I am losing my math skills, and I don’t want them to disappear.  I haven’t done any formal math since my AP Stats class my senior year of high school.  No wonder why it takes me so long to do some simple addition or subtraction.

It’s the sad truth of “use it or lose it,” and while I know perfectly well that I will never purposefully enter an industry that involves a lot of math, I don’t want to rely on my husband to help our non-existent future children with their math homework for their entire educational career.

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Now, you might be thinking I’m crazy for giving myself unnecessary homework in life.  But if you knew Tammy of Younger Years, you wouldn’t really be that surprised at all.

I’ve always loved playing school with my stuffed animals, and I’ve always been that oddball child that enjoyed giving myself worksheets of homework (mostly math) to do during the summer when school wasn’t in session.  I was a weird child indeed.  I think it was the fact that it was something I could challenge myself with minus the pressures of deadlines and grades during the school year.  I wasn’t disciplined enough to necessarily keep up with something weekly or regularly – I wasn’t THAT crazy – but I was internally motivated enough to do something like that every summer.

In any case, I’m not doing so well so far.  I worked on 10 questions almost every day of the first model test to see what I remember and what I need to work on, and it turns out I basically skipped half the test and got a whole bunch wrong of the ones I answered.

It was a little disappointing, given the fact that I was so good at Math A (close to Algebra I?), and had a more difficult time with Math B, which is not the math this practice book is covering.  Sigh.  But hey, it’s just further proof as to why I need to work on this.

Now comes the fun part of going back through the questions, why I got them wrong, seeing if I understand what I did wrong, and then going back through the beginning of the book to review the different types of problems and rules.  Fun, because no one is requiring this of me.  Fun, because I like to get better at things and keep my mind sharp.  Fun, because my husband is a math machine and loves helping me with my questions – which means that he won’t be annoyed by my slew of questions 🙂