Monday, December 10, 2012


From the time I found out I would be a mother, I wanted advice. Parenthood was something I was looking forward to. Babysitting in high school and college was fun to me. I enjoyed being around children (not babies, children).  Even though I had experience being a “mother”, I wanted advice. Before Harper was born, I would ask mothers, whom I respected,

How to you parent Biblically? What books should I read? What blogs should I read? What did you do wrong that I can learn from? Did you let them watch a lot of TV or not? What routines were best? And on and on and on…

I was searching for methods on how to raise Harper. I was wanting someone to tell me what to do at every second. "What do I do if she cries? Is she hungry?"

Anyway, when Harper arrived, everything clicked. I wasn’t worried about teaching scripture, but just keeping her alive (haha) and loved. That was not very hard. I had received the God given instinct to care for my child.

As time went on and Harper started to learn about the world, I would constantly be entertaining her. Let me back up. My undergraduate degree was in Human Development & Family Studies. In other words, I spent 4 (expensive) years learning about children’s development and how they react with the world around them. I memorized multiple theories on child rearing from great psychologists. I wanted to stimulate Harper’s brain at all times. I would never let her play by herself. I was always there stimulating brain development. I thought this would make her smarter. It made her very active and attached. (Now, she is looking for constant entertainment and me.)

As time went on, I began to question my ability to be a mother. My child cried a lot, wouldn’t sit in a car seat, wanted me to hold her at all times, wouldn’t nap without me, wouldn’t do anything without me there. She had me tied around her finger. I had conditioned her to be very attached. As I became weary, I thought many times to just put her in daycare. I obviously can’t regulate a schedule, nor can I take any more crying. I had no time to myself, or along with Daniel. When I mentioned daycare to Daniel, he was against it. He said that would be the easy way out. Mary, you have to think and figure it out.

For the past year, I have been reading parenting books. I have been so obsessed with parenting advice. I want to read every little bit of it. The bad part about books is, I was letting them do the thinking for me. When I couldn’t get Harper to sleep, I would Google sleep schedules or read Baby Wise. That didn’t work. I even called The Sleep Lady to see if she could help. She certainly could help for about $1000. Daniel laughed for a day about that suggestion. Anyway, I was not thinking for myself. Since Harper was so wild, I trained my mind to think I was inadequate for my job. If someone would say, “Awe, she’s so happy!”, my response was, “It’s because we’re out of the house, and she can look around.” The fact of the matter was, I was doing a fine job of being a mother, but undercutting my ability. Harper Lee Sims is perfectly normal. After telling so many people she wasn’t as well-behaved as she looks, I believed it. The devil, right then and there, stole my joy with her. From then on, I was enslaved to what I would call, parenting sin. I judged my ability to parent. “Am I doing this right? Is she hungry? Is she laughing? Am I being too hard on her?” I would overthink things instead of just enjoying her and discipline her in the Lord. I had lost all confidence. ALL CONFIDENCE.

Daniel and I (Harper, too) have been visiting a new church in the Jackson area. We love First Pres, but lived far from the church. I started attending a women’s Bible study on Wednesdays and putting Harper in the nursery. She did great (after the 1st Sunday). Last Sunday, we got to stay for the entire service – a treat! Yesterday was a different story, I got buzzed early on and then again at the end. We heard other buzzers going off in church, but not ours. Evidently when Harper cries, the rest of the children cry (so the nursery worker told us). When Daniel and I picked up Harper after church, I could tell the lady over the nursery was semi frustrated that Harper’s crying made the other children upset. I asked her what I should do about the situation. Would Mother’s Morning Out help? Could I get someone to come over and keep her? I sounded like a teenager who knew nothing about parenting. My mind was just so tired and worn out. I just wanted her to say, “Keep bringing her! It will get better!” Daniel and I headed home and he looked at me and said, “Why do you act so stupid? You’re smart! You just don’t think.” He was a little annoyed I stood there and asked advice from 5 other women. I understood his point. I don’t think. I lack confidence now and run to books or respectable people. I feel like I’m brain dead, because I overthink.

Daniel reminded me that this period in Harper’s life is easy. She’s not a teenager. And if we teach her now, she won’t be a rebellious teenager. All we need to do now is love on her, spank her when she disobeys and keep her alive, haha! I used to think if Daniel died, Harper would know nothing about the Bible, because I am not equipped to teach her. Wrong again. That’s just another lie I have been sucked into. I believe one leading factor to me not thinking for myself, is my phone. My handheld computer, who can entertain my mind with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and shopping takes absolutely no thinking. The only thing I think about during the day is when is Harper’s nap, so I can sleep, too. Honestly. My mind is not at work. Daniel will often times talk to me about scripture or business ideas and he asks, “So what do you think?” and every time I say, “I mean, I don’t know.” (or something unintelligent). I feel like I’m just going through the motions of every day life without using my brain.

Back to the phone issue. My time spent on my phone is unhealthy. Along with not using my mind, I sometimes (although I do love taking pictures and letting others enjoy her!) fall into the sin of pride. Sure, I sew, I embroider, I dress Harper in cute clothes (thanks to my mother), I eat at restaurants, I weigh less after a baby than before, I have the perfect family in the nicest town of Mississippi… sure, I do. I just finished Tim Keller’s 46 page book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. Life changing. Buy it ( . Anyway, it talked about pride. I’ll just take a short exerpt from page 18,

“In his famous chapter on pride in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that pride is by nature competitive. It is competitiveness that is the very heart of pride. ‘Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about.’ Pride destroys the ability to have any real pleasure.”

Truth. Wow. C.S. Lewis hits the nail on the head. How profitable is it that all 4,000 of my friends on Facebook know I have a wonderful life? None. It’s not good for the family unit, nor Harper. (I need to delete a lot, but it takes forever.) Nothing is private anymore. I am often times upset with myself when I forget to bring my phone in the back while feeding her. What am I supposed to do while I feed her for 20 minutes? ENJOY HER. Pray for her. Love her. Ask God to save her. Like a child, folly is bound up in my heart, also (Proverbs 22:15). The devil attacks us daily. We would be going down the wrong road if he didn’t attack us. He is real. Praise the Lord for a loving husband and child. Daniel and I are reminded when the devil shows up how important it is to memorize and meditate on scripture. THAT’S what Harper will see. She won’t ask me methods on parenting, but imitate every step I make. My relationship with the Lord should shine so bright; she knows I’m a believer without asking (reminds me of Kelli Dart – you can see the love all over her!). THAT’S what she’ll learn form me. Not that I read my daily devotion and parenting book, but that I showed her grace.

I am reminded this is a learning experience. I won’t be perfect at raising her. I will fail multiple times, humble myself and ask for forgiveness. I will sin; that’s a fact. I am looking forward to the freedom in parenting. Being enslaved entertains your mind in a negative way. I pray God will hear my prayer, I will meditate/ memorize and put my relationship with Him above all. Harper was made for God. Now I’m going to enjoy her J

To all parents/ grandparents, I would highly suggest you read Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. It has been very eye-opening! I talked to our Children’s Director, John Kwasny (LA people might know him, from Plains Presbyterian), and he recommended it, also. I am so thankful to have him in Jackson!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. 

(I'll add pictures tomorrow. Daniel is home alone with Wild Bill. I know he's secretly stressed.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Motherhood and the Gospel, according to Mary

I believe in this picture, the reason I don't have earrings on, is because 30 minutes after I had been at this event, I realized I only had 1 on. I fed Harper in the restroom where milk covered one side of my dress because I knew a stick on bra would be appropriate while nursing (fail). After I fed her, I looked in the mirror only to see the pattern of my undergarment showing through the dress. Could I be any more of a mess? Welcome to motherhood, Mary.

Motherhood, it’s indescribable, but here goes my description. There are days when I can’t believe this is actually my life, because I’m so overwhelmed with joy… then there are days when I cry (with Harper Lee) because I just want to sleep in peace (or take a shower). The past 7 months have been a learning experience. The rest of our lives, will continue to be a learning experience. Just when I feel like I have her figured out, she changes.

 Harper Lee has been very attached to me, will not take a bottle, nor will she sleep well. Last week, I found myself being very negative about motherhood. Harper would not stop crying (because I tried to force her on a schedule and she was never full). For the past 7 months, she has “cried-it-out” for every nap and bedtime. Do you know how mentally frustrating that was for me to listen to my baby cry for 20 minutes before she finally gave up and went to sleep? One of my many meltdowns was last week. Wednesday morning, I went to Mrs. Mary Gresham’s (my sewing mentor!) to make a dress. I put Harper in her pack-n-play (knowing she was tired), and she cried for a solid 30 minutes. Needless to say, I got overwhelmed, picked her up and started to head home. Mrs. Mary Gresham, who’s a nurse, and Cindy Boyett, college friend, saw I was struggling to keep it together. Mrs. MG asked me, “So, what time does she eat lunch? What time did she eat breakfast?” I just stood there. After 7 months of trying, I still had her on no set schedule.

My pediatrician is not very good, and she told me to feed Harper baby food twice a day when I think she’s hungry. That did not work. Of course, I’m still nursing her every 2 hours, but I was clueless. I’d look up schedules of 7 month old babies online and try to make Harper fit to one. That was also a bad idea. Anyway, after I broke down at Mrs. MG’s, she reminded me this is my child. I have to do what’s best for her and me… to not listen to everyone telling me she’s spoiled. It’s a good thing she wants to be with me all the time. After that chat, I put Harper in her carseat and headed home. She fell asleep before we could get out of the driveway. Little girl was so exhausted from crying. I got to my house (maybe 5 minutes away) and just wept in the carport. I didn’t want to move Harper, because I was scared she would wake up. I needed a short break and if that short break called for sitting in the car with her asleep, I was fine with that. I finally got the nerve to move her inside to her bed. She went straight to sleep… and slept for 2.5 hours!

I just remember feeling so much guilt on that day. I felt as if I had been starving her for the past 7 months. I wasn’t cut out for this whole motherhood thing. I wanted to get a paying job. Babies thrive on a schedule and HLS was on no set schedule. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I couldn’t remember the last time I blow-dried my hair. My hair was falling out. My gums are not healthy. I wasn’t getting any sleep. I would eat whatever was around the house, because I didn’t have energy to think of a meal plan for Daniel and me. Poor guy. I’m sure he just wants a good meal every now and then. It’s been Hamburger Helper or pizza since she’s been born… ok, with a few good meals in-between… because someone from church, family or friends supplied them J With ALL of that (pity party) to say, I have changed my attitude.
Hurricane Harper

When people ask about Harper and how she’s doing my response is, “She’s so good, but sometimes really hard.” I feel like I’m always downing my life or her. She really is the best thing in the whole wide world, but I would always throw myself a pity party. I would talk about the big responsibility, she won’t take a bottle, so I haven’t been able to leave her with someone, she’s often fussy, she doesn’t sleep well, and on and on and on. What I fail to mention is, the sweet times we have in the morning, the laughs that warm our hearts (which make me think she has asthma, ha!), the smiles she gives Daniel and me, the juicy kisses all day, the way she does beg for me, the security she has when I’m holding her, the way she and Daniel play on the bed every night, hilarious bath times, the fact that she has not been sick a day in her life, how thankful I am I’m home with her and not in corporate America, our walks in the park, a healthy baby! My goodness, I could go on and on and on about how thankful I am! Why can’t I find joy in that??

A couple of weeks ago, friends came over to hang out. Brett and Tyler Jeter stayed a while after and asked about Harper and how we were doing. I replied with my usual, “She’s great, but I’m just so tired. We have no time to read, and when we do get a free 30 minutes, we just want to sit down and talk. And, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a great parent since I’m home all day with her. If I do read, it’s usually my parenting book.” Brett could see how stressed I was and reminded me I could not do it on my own. I needed to ask God to help me. Everyday. Every second of everyday. We need the Lord’s help. THAT, my friends, was so refreshing. The good news is, we can come to Him in filthy rags, exhausted, not bathed in 3 days, hair in a mess, tears pouring down, and He’s there with open arms saying, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Why do I feel like I can do it on my own? Pride. Why can’t I ask for help? Pride. She’s my child. I can do it. Why is asking for help from the Lord so hard for me? It’s probably a little awkward and humbling. HE WANTS us to ask for help! I firmly believe being a stay-at-home mom is harder than your job. If I don’t have the Lord’s help, I am slowly weakening myself. 

"Hmm... a foot."

We, as Christians, do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Now to answer my question above of, “Why can’t I find joy in that?” talking about how awesome my little girl is… I CAN find joy! A lady reminded me (in line at JoAnn’s craft store… she could probably look at how exhausted I was) that this only lasts for a short time. Harper Lee will only be a baby once. ENJOY IT. If she won’t eat from anyone else, ENJOY IT. EMBRACE IT. She wants to be with you. That completely changed my attitude. She was right. Harper girl will only be small for a short period of time. We, as humans, will only be on this Earth for a short period of time. She’s only small once. This is where selflessness comes into the picture, and also a beautiful comparison with the gospel. I love this statement by Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child’s Heart, “The gospel enables you and your children to face the worst in yourselves—your sin, your badness and your weakness—and still find hope, because grace is powerful.” We are God’s children. We frustrate Him, we do the opposite of what He has taught us, we cry, we’re hungry, we’re in need. Our loving/jealous God never gets frustrated with us. He finds joy, because we run to Him. He overflows with mercy, grace and love (Exodus 34:6). We should remember to have childlike faith (Matthew 18:2-4) for we are also children. How thankful am I that God does not send his wrath on me! 

She is so busy! Crawling and pulling up on everything!

He is disciplining me daily and entrusting me with His little girl, Harper Lee Sims. Since Wednesday of last week, I have felt so refreshed. I find joy in sweet little Miss Harper when she cries. She has gone to bed without crying almost every time. I am more relaxed and letting her fall into a schedule rather than making her a schedule. With the Lord’s help, I can be the mom she needs me to be. Through Him, I can enjoy and care for her.

7 months (September 2, 2012)

As Christians, we are to glorify the Lord in all we do and ENJOY Him forever. The familiar first question of the Shorter Catechism is,

Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Of course, we are also called to suffer for the gospel, but bask in His mercy forever. We are to ENJOY him. He will change our hearts. He will help us. Like I was doing with Harper (being selfish), I wanted my own time. I wanted to have a break, we also do that to Christ. I have this vision of Harper and God pleading saying, “JUST ENJOY ME! Be still and enjoy me.” (Psalm 46:10) On that note, I am also reminded of Matthew 10:37 (second part) “…anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” We are to first love Jesus Christ. As a mother, that’s a daily battle for me. I am often times guilty of putting her down for a nap, then picking up clothes, doing the laundry, dishes, sewing, etc. I need to be still and enjoy the Lord’s presence. I am such a Mary (compared to Martha who was washing Jesus’ feet-- My sweet husband made that comparison one day when I was running around cleaning up, and he was reading his Bible. I couldn’t understand how he could just sit there while I was cleaning up. I need to be still. So thankful for a God fearing husband.) With all of that to say, there is forgiveness. The Lord wants us to run to him when we’re weary. I write this not to let you in my private life, but to give encouragement to other moms. You’re not alone! We all have a beautiful gift from God, but sometimes we will fail as parents. It’s okay. God has given us this responsibility, because he KNOWS we can handle it. Take the stress off and ENJOY your children… and ENJOY the Lord… forever.

One of our many trips to the park

Ezekiel 36 expresses well the fullness of the gospel, (verse 25) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. The grace of forgiveness is found in the gospel. (26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. The grace of eternal change is found in the gospel. (27) And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. The grace of empowerment to live is found in the gospel. (Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child’s Heart)

Matthew 10:42
If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.

To cap off my meltdown week, Daniel, Harper Lee and I had a great time in Starkville this past weekend! It could’ve have been better. 
Stopped by my old place of employment, Starkville Manor. I have missed this place so much!

Mr. Charles

Dinner at The Veranda

my little bulldog :)



Those dang cowbells were way too loud!


Go State!

Cutest bulldog ever!

Harper Lee's friends

Auburn folk :)

She got sticker attacked. I was ok with it.
Tired girl! (Btw, this NEVER happens! She was so tired.)

(GOT TO GO. We turned our internet off a few months ago, so I'm at the library trying to type as fast as I can. I left Daniel and Harper home alone, and I'm surprised he hasn't called me yet. As a matter of fact, I might stay until he does call. Ahhh... a free 30 minutes to myself...)

Thanks for stopping by, even if this was a diluted version of the Gospel :( I'm learning. Everyday. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Distressing Furniture

Thank you for all for the positive feedback from the headboard. It was a lot of fun to make! I can now see where jobs could consume people. When I did work, I dreaded it (I was also pregnant). I loved my coworkers and clients, but it wasn't my absolute passion. Now, I can't sleep, because I'm thinking of my next project. This is terrible, because I desperately need sleep. 

As I'm leaned against my headboard (at 11:46 at night), I would suggest you put the extra 2x4s on the bottom to make it even with the 2x4 on the top (unless you use the metal french cleat). If you do use the metal one, let me know how it works.

On to my next project.

Since mom bought me this great fabric to make pillows, 

I needed to change up our living room. (It's SO MUCH better, let me tell you. It needed a good rug.) I have enjoyed rearranging it. I told Daniel on Saturday night that I really wanted to paint the big, red... thing. I guess it's a ... TV stand? Anyway, it's huge and did not match. 
I can't believe I let that rug stay for so long. (This was taken in January)

Saturday night - Anna and Juju came over! Like look at Big Red in the back. Huge. 

Back to my story... my husband looked at me and said, "No." That "No" as in, I know you're already going to do it. Sunday morning, Harper Lee woke up at 7:45. At 8:45, after some good "Johnny Mac" preaching (John McArthur), she was ready for a long nap. I start moving the TV, unload books upon books, DVDs, etc. 

Daniel can obviously hear me, but decided to stay in bed. He gets up with her 99.9% of the time and lets me sleep, but I decided I would get up with her (so I could get a head start). Once I finally did all of the hard work, I ask him to help me move it outside. He said, "This is ridiculous." I already thought of my response, because I KNEW he would say that, "I don't think you buying a rent house is ridiculous." HA. He got out of the bed and moved the piece in no time. 

So here we go! 


For a drop-cloth, I used our shower curtain. It was old, and I had already bought a new one ($3 at Wal-mart). At this point, I was feeling really thrifty (and hoped no one pulled in the driveway). 

Sand pieces that are flaking off. There were only a few on my piece, but they were in the dead center. 


I painted the first coat a darker grey (same color used on the outside of our house, like in the garage). Use a brush to get the corners and small spaces. Then use a small roller ($2 at Hudsons) to finish the big pieces. I like the finish of the roller better than the brush. I am not a good painter, by any means. 

I painted the second coat a lighter grey. I just mixed white in with the darker grey. 

I didn't have a paint tray, so I used a lunchbox. Where I come up with these things? I don't know. Daniel's reaction when using the lunchbox, "........go ahead." as he was shaking his head. Also, notice the wooden spoon I used as a paint mixer. He had the same response when I grabbed that, too. 

sleepyheads. HLS hates a flash, can you tell?

Let the 2nd coat dry for awhile. You're about to sand this baby.

STEP 4: 

Sand very liberally. I learned from Kelli! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! My stepdad let me borrow his sander, so I turned it up as high as it would go and got after it. You can't do it on a slower speed. It will make circular designs... just turn it up. Sand all of the edges... and everywhere you think! I sanded the front of my piece and it looked like it fell and got a bo-bo. Terrible. I just rolled over it in a lighter grey. 


Hobby Lobby - Rub 'n Buff

Best purchase. This little tube is probably $15, but will last a long time. We used it on my coffee table, side table and dresser in my bedroom. It's great! I've kept it in the console of my car, just in case. I put a little on my finger and went along some edges. I tried to cover as much of the red up as possible. 

STEP 6: 
I bought the semi-gloss

Just brush it on, wait an hour and DONE. DONE. DONE. I left mine outside overnight. The smell was too strong for me to bring inside. 


How simple was that? Now we have a TV stand/bookshelf that isn't screaming at you. It matches our living room perfectly. I'm still hunting for a good chair to put in here. Hmmm... the Salvation Army IS having a huge furniture sale this Saturday. Too bad I just spent $40 at JoAnn's fabric store for my next project! I never impulse buy like that (anymore). What has gotten in to me???

distressed side table with antique gold
personalized coasters made by Lucy Baird

distressed coffee table
can't wait to get a new recliner!

photo gallery

Aspen Bay candle & great vase from my friends

old law books I found in the library's trash. since we live across the street, I have accumulated a lot of great books.
the colored balls are from the croquet set from our wedding. 

fabric for pillows that I will make... sooner or later

mom and our wedding invitation- invitation needs to come down a good 2 inches

frame in the back was $5 from Gates' in Crystal Springs. Jason fixed it up and I bought the matting from Hobby Lobby.
a Mustard Seed bulldog "piggy" bank.
yes, I need to make coverings for the wires.

Jason made this frame, too. birds were $3 each at Clinton Beauty Shop. 


Next Tutorial (if I decide to keep blogging- time consuming):
tablecloth turned to pillows

Stay tuned.