Brutiful Pinehurst Life

We’ve been official Pinehurst residents for 4 months now and are beginning to find our little rhythm. It’s the strangest thing, relocating as a grown up – trying to find my tribe has been hard, mostly because of the whole ‘having a baby’ thing. There are times I deeply miss Charlotte and all the familiarity there, which is strange for me since I used to move around so much while Logan was growing up.

(Village of Pinehurst)

But this area is beautiful and I might even like it more than Charlotte, if it weren’t for the lack of having mommy friends I can hang out with. Hopefully that will come now that Harper is bigger and we are able to get out more.

Adjusting to being a mom of 4 has been…interesting.  I’m grateful for my oldest who is thankfully extremely self sufficient and for children who offer me grace on a daily basis and love me while I work to maintain even a shred of sanity during this crazy phase.

Harper has been such a joyful addition to our brood. I’ve been on edge for most of her short little life, just waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the non stop screaming and never sleeping to happen but every day she gets a little happier and a little more scheduled and I find that I can breathe a little easier and feel a little more certain that she is just a happy baby. She really only cries when she needs something and in the car. Her brothers ADORE her, especially Beckett, who would probably lay next to her all day long if I let him.

She still reeeeeeally hates the car, but I’m trying to learn how to just shrug my shoulders when the wailing starts. It used to make me crazy anxiety ridden, being stuck in a car with a screaming baby, and sometimes it still does. (18 months of car screaming with Declan has possibly scarred me for life.) But a lot of the time I just have to shrug it off because we can’t stay housebound forever.

We’ve loved exploring downtown Southern Pines. Secretly I’ve always wanted to live in a little town with a walkable main street (it’s Broad Street in SP) full of independent shops, bookstores and coffee shops. (Probably reminds me of my Burlington, Vermont days.) And the village of Pinehurst is just as charming – sort of a nod to old New England towns and little Charleston-esque alleyways.

(downtown Southern Pines)

I miss Target something fierce – the closest one is an hour drive – but it keeps my wallet in check and forces me to be creative with my kids. All mamas know that grabbing a Starbucks coffee and wandering the aisles of Target aimlessly with a cart full of kiddos is both amazing and dangerous. My mug obsession has been put on hold without my weekly Target trips, so there’s that.

(Givens Library in Pinehurst)

Some days are good – really good and it feels almost normal here and other days are hard – really hard and it feels lonely and isolating and I’m wistful for ‘before’

But I can’t live in the ‘before’, which wasn’t at all problem free anyway and was just as lonely and isolating in other ways – so I’m trying very hard to live in the now and find joy where I’m at.

We downsized significantly – losing almost 2000sq feet of living space. The littlest boys are sharing a room and everyone is underfoot constantly. I love it and hate it. It’s so much easier to keep clean and it forces us to purge on a monthly basis and I’m finding my kids actually do so much better with the bare minimum. Lots more family time, both a result of having less space to be apart and having Todd healthy and here and present with us. We’ve been able to explore so much, take day trips and do some really fun family things that we haven’t ever done before.

In the words of one of my most favorites, Glennon Doyle Melton, this stage is both brutal and beautiful. It is, as she says, brutiful.

A New Normal and 31 Days Of…

We are finding our new normal around here – as normal as can be found in our current circumstances. Harper Adeline Hahn joined our family on September 18th, the littlest peanut of my brood at 7lbs 10oz and 20 inches long.

She’s been a really great baby so far (knock on wood, fingers and toes crossed and all that jazz) She’s up at night with normal newborn needs but never participates in MOTNP (Middle of the Night Parties) which is lovely. She sleeps most of the day and cries when she’s hungry or needs a diaper change or if she’s ticked off at being disturbed.

Her brothers love her, even Declan who still gives me looks of betrayal from time to time when I’m holding her but he’s coming around. I caught him singing “Harper, I love you. Harper, I love you” last night at bedtime. Sweetest ever.

It still is surreal to have a baby girl in the house. Sometimes I find myself calling her sweet boy or buddy just because I am SO used to boys! Ha!

It’s amazing how in love you can fall with someone you just laid eyes on. I think my favorite part of motherhood is when these tiny, helpless, wrinkly creatures join your family one day as if they’ve always been there and your heart just feels like exploding all the time from the exhaustion and amazement and joy of it all. Motherhood is hard, like a holy kind of hard, but it is the best part of my life and my children are the best thing about me.

It is impossible to look at Harper and not wonder what her sister, Lilia, might have looked like had she been able to join our family. And of course there are so many conflicting emotions there – because without Lilia, there would be no Declan and no Harper. It is a strange place to be, both missing and mourning a child you never met but feeling so grateful for the ones that came after. It is a beautiful and reassuring thing to know we will meet her one day. Harper was born 3 years and one week after I laid on the table in the ultrasound room and they couldn’t find Lilia’s heartbeat – and I love that there is a little redemption that has come in the month of September. 
I can’t wait to see how Harper grows and changes, to see little pieces of her personality shine through and to watch her interact with her brothers. I think we’ll keep her.
Love you sweet Harper!

I’ve also decided to join in on the 31 Days of Writing Challenge and will be {hopefully} posting every day in October about bravery – specifically pertaining to the She’s Brave Conference that’s coming up in 2016. I want to dive more into this topic and why we use it so much with our Nourish community. I hope you’ll follow along!

Why?

We’ve been in our new house in Pinehurst for almost 2 weeks now. Moving and unpacking is the worst – I feel like things are under control and then stumble across another couple of boxes which unearths stuff I have to find a home for and pretty soon the whole house is in shambles again. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that never ends!

But other than that, we are settling in nicely. The kids and I love the house, we love the area, and I can’t wait to get involved in things once I have this baby.

So…why Pinehurst?

This is a tough post for me to write, mostly because I don’t know what to say or how to say it or even if I’m ready to talk about it. But with Harper coming soon, it feels like I should address it.

With his permission to share everything below, I think most people know Todd and I have been separated. Some really hard things led to our separation and while I have battled hurt, sadness, betrayal and fear he has been battling an addiction.

For the last 9 mos, as I’ve prayed for direction, I’ve heard a lot of “be still.”  I knew that separation was the right choice, without a doubt. I knew that Todd needed to get healthy, and that in small ways I was enabling him to stay sick. I am not, by nature, codependent – but it’s almost impossible not to adapt codependent tendencies when you are married to an addict.

The good news is that Todd has completed an inpatient treatment stay and moved on to a recovery program where he’s been since April. He’s pursuing sobriety hard and with intention and commitment and I’ve seen him change significantly. I’ve seen the Todd I knew when we dated, the one I married and committed my life to. I’ve seen a vibrance in him that has been missing for a long time.

His recovery program is in the Sandhills area, not far from where we are now living. It was a hard decision for me, but one guided by the most loving and caring Heavenly Father who has taught me so much during this process. He has taught me about unconditional love, forgiveness, grace and even empathy.

I am a work in progress on all of those fronts by the way – I am also battling a lot of other feelings: fear, anger, resentment, betrayal, abandonment, embarrassment, sadness…

And I’ve had to let myself sit right there in those feelings occasionally, because they show up when I least expect it. They’re real and they’re valid feelings and I have learned at this point in my life that stuffing them does no one any good. And you know? It sucks. It sucks to be looking back over the last year at pictures and have them trigger memories or moments that are hard and painful. I want to delete everything about the past year and fast forward to the better stuff. I hold on to hope that there will be better stuff.

So what does this all mean, really?

I don’t know.

My personal experience with shared custody of my oldest son has been a painful one in its own right. It’s a painful situation to share your child across state lines and over holidays and summers. When Todd began to take the correct steps to get well, and continued to maintain his sobriety I felt the gentle nudge that reminded me my children need to be near their father, as long as he was healthy. And I knew that with a newborn coming, I would not only need help, but that I deserved help.

So the slow process began – one of starting the healing process as a family. A process of understanding, forgiveness, grace and learning – really learning – about addiction. It hasn’t been easy. But it’s been so good to see the boys happy and excited and truly enjoying things they have missed out on for a long time.

I don’t know what this means for my marriage just yet. Todd and I are living in separate residences still. He is spending a lot of time with the family, helping out, just being with the kids, and we are slowly seeing where things go. It’s been a time of rest for me, just having him healthy and well and here to help. I know that as long as he works on sobriety, our family has a chance at surviving this. I am hopeful for him and for my children.

But I am scared. Addiction is…almost impossible to describe. It’s hell. It’s insanity. It’s indescribable. It’s baffling and mind boggling and twisted and just really, really sad.

There are parts of our story that will be painful for a long time to come. Things that will take me probably years to get over. But in all my time on my knees, searching for the peace to officially leave my marriage, I never got it. All I ever felt was that my job was to be still. To continue on the path I was on, but to wait. And I got angry many, many times. I had so many reasons to be angry, and I knew that I had every biblical reason in my back pocket to sign divorce papers and move on.

But God’s message to me was to be still. So I am practicing that as often as I can, and learning the
very complicated art of grace. For a long time, I thought grace meant blindly accepting and forgiving and ignoring what my inner self was screaming, but I have learned that sometimes before we can extend true grace, we have to be able to put up boundaries.

I hope to dig into the topic of addiction more on this blog. It’s an extraordinarily confusing issue which is often misdiagnosed as a host of other mental illnesses or problems and statistics tell us that twenty-three million Americans age 12 or older suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. 23 million is a staggering number. It’s a prevalent problem but one that very few truly understand. A problem that has directly affected my life, my marriage and my family and one that I am still working hard to understand every day. 

I remain cautious and unsure on this journey. How could I not? I know that a happy outcome is not guaranteed. I know that recovery statistics are grim. But I also know that I follow and trust an amazing God who wants healing and recovery and wholeness. And for Him, I take a giant step forward.




New Beginnings

I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to address this post, since there is so much about it that I myself am still unsure about. This blog has always been a place where I can share my thoughts and feelings – maybe sometimes too openly – but my goal here has always been to share my heart and my life with you.

It is my very real belief that the human experience here is one of the most important things we will go through – and that learning to become a mirror of Christ here on Earth is rooted in that experience – of grace, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, love, peace and understanding. (Ok, sounds like my inner hippie coming out…)

But truly, I share myself and my family with you because I know I’m not alone. I know it because you tell me privately, and I believe a great healing comes from owning our stories, sharing them and releasing the shame and guilt we feel when we keep secrets and swallow our pain. We cannot hold our thoughts, pain, beliefs inside like shameful secrets. In the words of my bestie Glennon Doyle Melton (ok really it was Mother Teresa), we belong to each other.

It is my hope that by living OUT LOUD, I can become more like Christ. Sharing my life means that you trust me enough to share yours, and when I begin to see glimpses of everyone else’s human experiences, I can’t help but learn to become more compassionate, more loving and more empathetic to those around me.

However, when your story includes someone else’s story, someone else’s pain and struggle – the line you walk becomes a very thin line. It’s tricky to balance wanting to share my life and yet acknowledge that all parties involved may not yet be on board.

So for now, I want to share this: As I’ve navigated very tumultuous waters over the last year and sought God’s guidance I felt at peace knowing that my role has been to walk through each door as it opens. And that as He opened doors, I would take a leap of faith and walk through them.

And so many things have come together in the eleventh hour – so many details that have had me on edge, stressed, in tears, wondering and pleading when I would know what I was supposed to do. And like most answered prayers, God came through, right when I found myself feeling absolute desperation.

This little band of brothers and one VERY soon to be sister and I are relocating to Pinehurst, NC in the coming weeks. (I suspect Logan is grateful he’s in Vermont and wasn’t forced to sit on the steps of our new home for pictures!)

Pinehurst is easily one of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen, neighboring some equally beautiful little towns. 2 hours from Charlotte, 2 hours from the beach, gorgeous blue sky, majestic pine trees and a slower pace of life are beckoning us. I never saw any of this coming and can only do my very best to feel confident in God’s leading.

Sometimes God gives us an opportunity at a fresh start. Not a do over, not a way to forget our past and we certainly have no guarantees that more troubles don’t await us – but a chance to clear our heads, take a few deep breaths, spend a little time focusing on what’s important and making sure all hearts are aligned with His plan.

This is a good thing for my family.

As I feel ready, I promise I’ll share more. With everything I feel I need to say, it would probably be the world’s longest blog post anyway!

But for now, your prayers for my family are (as always) greatly appreciated.

xoxo
Miranda