All posts by Jessica

Dear Me…a letter to my teenage self

Dear Me,

Let me just start by saying, you’re not going to die an old woman and never having been kissed. I know that was on your mind a lot.

*Stop being so tough. It’s ok for people to see the soft, vulnerable side of us. Yea, you probably will get hurt more that way, but people might like you better knowing that you probably aren’t going to kick the crap out of them.

Dear Me...a Letter to my Teenage Self

*Stop being everyone else’s matchmaker and bodyguard. Worry about yourself. If people are making mistakes in their lives, tell them, don’t try and protect them from the consequences. And for GOODNESS SAKE: STOP TRYING TO HOOK YOUR FRIENDS UP WITH THE GUYS YOU LIKE!

*That plan to never get married or have kids, to move to California and become a Photojournalist. It’s a great dream. But God has something better up His sleeves.

*Stop wasting so much time on trying to get guys to notice you. Stop wasting so much time on the guys who do notice you but treat you like garbage. (Oh, and that one guy we crushed on for YEARS, he’s nowhere near as cute anymore.)

*Give your parents a break. They have no idea what they’re doing and they still have 2 more kids to raise.

*Stop giving in to our sister: You’re not doing her any favors by cutting her so much slack. Oma’s right: You’re spoiling her. Our brother: Protect him. Yea he’s a pain in the butt, yea it’s hard being a senior and being know as “Beckmann’s sister”, but someday you’ll wish you had a relationship with him .

*You’re going to lose a lot of people that you love (Oma, Opa, Mama), it’s going to suck, you’re going to miss them, but the pain will slowly get more bearable. You’ll still start crying at the thought of them sometimes; the holidays and all those big moments will be the hardest.

*Put yourself out there. You did it once, in the high school musical (Music Man) and look what happened…you got to be on center stage AND do your Irish accent. You’re going to miss out on so much (and regret it) if you don’t.

*Don’t stop writing. Ever. Or painting.

*Those parties that you were mad about not going to (even though you never even bothered to ask your parents if you could go) they weren’t worth it anyways. Who wants to sit around and watch a bunch of dumb people getting drunk and doing stupid things.

*That body of your’s, the one you are so tough on, because it isn’t as skinny as everyone else’s: You’re really, REALLY going to miss it some day.

*Don’t keep trying to smoosh yourself into everyone else’s mold. You’re not them, you’re you and there is so much that you have to offer. And when you’re not fitting in their mold, don’t take the crap they’re going to dish out on you. Just hold your head high and carry on.

*College: Just stay at Oneonta. There’s no point in transferring a bazillion times, because you’re going to end up back there anyways (even if you did manage to graduate in 7 semesters).

I can’t tell you to do anything different than what you already are, because it was all those things that got you to where you are today. Yea, there’s pain. No, you’re not still friends with most of those people.

Oh, yea, that kiss you were so worried about? It’s going to be great, and so are all the others you’re going to have: You’re going to end up married to that guy with a crazier-happier life than you could ever imagine. God had your back the entire time. All of that worrying and tears about not having a boyfriend? Totally wasted.

Louisa May had it right: “You don’t need scores of suitors. You need only one…if he’s the right one.” {Oh, let mom go with you to see Little Women in the theaters…because 18 years later, you’re still going to regret not having let her go see it with you.}

Love,
You {at 30}

What would you tell your teenage self?
Linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for her new book release, Graceful.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10

Waiting tables at Saturday’s Bread (a local soup kitchen): I think I was 8 or 9 years old. Twenty years later that still is in my mind. One of my desires for our children is that they be socially minded. While it would be great to raise little Mother Theresas, it’s more realistic that we raise children who are kind hearted and willing to serve and help those they may often overlook….Neighbors.Avie

We’ve lived in our house almost 7 years now and, honestly, we’ve not had much to do, beyond casual hellos, with our neighbors, if that. In the book “Cleaning House” one of the things Wyma had her children do was focus on helping others. I decided that this is something that even Ave can do.

We had some zucchini from my mom: I whipped up a triple batch of zucchini bread, wrapped them nicely, put the kids in the stroller and off we went. {Of course it had to be the hottest day of the summer} It was a lot of fun. I made Ave go up to each door and knock, say hello, and give them the zucchini bread. It took a bit of coaxing and translating from me, but she did  it. I was so proud of her. At one point she looked up at me and asked, “Mommy, am I shy?” No, my sweet-child you are certainly not shy.

Our neighbors were excited to receive the zucchini bread and see the kids; most of them had heard someone had had triplets, but hadn’t yet seen them. We didn’t discriminate, we gave a zucchini bread to our 9 most immediate neighbors, even if they haven’t been the nicest. We even swapped baked goods with one neighbor, then received a thank you note from another.

And what did it take of us? Not much. I had a couple of hours in time baking the breads and packaging them, we spent about an hour-and-a-half walking around. I figure we’ll work on this a couple of times a year, being sure to have interactions with neighbors, then eventually work on doing the good deeds WITHOUT the response of neighbors (surprising them).

How are you teaching the children in your life to serve others?

These Feet of Mine

They have carried me, through time, over months and years.
They have walked along sandy shores, rocky beaches and grassy knolls.
They walked me down the aisle to my husband.
Horses have stepped on them, they have stepped on rusty nails and shards of glass.
They have carried me into and out of hospitals with the births of our children.
They pound the ground, chasing after squealing giggles
or elusive numbers on a scale.
They have walked across the {now} dirt sky of friends and family that have gone on.
They have burned on sun baked stones and cooled in mossy brooks.
They have walked me across stages and danced me across rooms.
They have been cooed over and tickled.
They have been pinched and blistered in shoes and luxuriated, barefoot, in the lush grasses of Ireland.
They have been beaten, abused, neglected and still they march on.
They have been and they will be.
30 years, 10,950 days; over a million times have they
been slapped to the ground, ever on ward.

~on the occasion of my 30th birthday

These Feet of Mine - 30 Years of Life at JessicaMWhite.com

Thoughts on Turning 30

Tomorrow is the official day: At 3:15pm I will be precisely 30 years old. I’ve been having all these deep, introspective posts over the past few days, but I haven’t really shared much about my thoughts on actually turning 30.

I sat at my desk before writing this post, just kind of mulling over my thoughts: All the little things that flit in and out of my head about turning 30. There are quite a few, some of them are a bit more “mature” and others are less.

two roads 2By 30 you’ve really become more of an adult; an adult in ways that aren’t tied to children, home-ownership, jobs, etc. You’ve {obviously} survived your teens and 20s and are a lot more settled in your life. There aren’t as many life-changing unknowns, such as colleges, careers, and such.

When I was a teenager, I never wanted to get married or have kids. I was content to fantasize about being a photo-journalist for National Geographic Magazine or an architect. And at times I believed myself. But, that was my defense mechanism: I was afraid that I would fail at getting married and having kids, it felt safer to say I didn’t want those things. Then I almost didn’t have those things.

I had it all figured out: Married at 23, first baby at 24, second at 26, third at 28, fourth at 30, then the 5th at 32 or adopting. I wanted to be done with having kids before I was 32. I wanted to be a young mom who could enjoy her children and then grandchildren.

I had plans and why couldn’t God understand that! At 27.5 we had our first kid. My timetable was out the window, there was no way we would have the family we had wanted.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and
not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.
Jeremiah 29:11
 
Then last year there was that  little ultrasound that showed we were having 3 babies.
Now, I’m turning 30 and have 4 kids; which absolutely amazes me! It certainly wasn’t my plan to go through several years of infertility, have Ave, and then have triplets, but God did a phenomenal work in my life, our life, and created a wonderful testimony to Him and His goodness through us.
This birthday could have been very different for me. Thirty would have been devastating to be turning and not even have had one child, and it happens to people, it happens all the time. I can honestly say that it would have been a very different birthday celebration tomorrow.
My 20s have been incredible! If it had not been for the ups and downs I would not be entering this new decade as I am; stronger in my faith, trusting in my God, relishing my children and my husband, having had the memories and experiences that I have.
“I would have despaired, had I not believed in the goodness of the Lord.”
Psalm 27:12
What a wonderful work He has done in my life, drawing me ever nearer to Him! I look forward to this new decade in awe and wonder if what lies ahead, knowing that my Lord, God, goes ever before me!

Routines in the White House :: Bedtime

The other day my grandfather was asking me about our bedtime routine, and I realized that most people probably have no clue what daily life entails with a 2 year old and triplets.

There are two ways for bedtime to go down:

1) I do it by myself (which sometimes happens when Matt is working late and my mom isn’t here helping)

2) Or I have help {My mom comes over on Tuesday nights, when Matt is busy loading the trucks for the week}

The process is pretty much the same both ways, it’s just that one way results in a slightly less exhausting and slightly more peaceful ending {and that result is not contingent on whether anyone else is here or not}.

Sleeping Babes copy[10]
6:30-7:00 Dinner time
: Ave and I (and whomever else is here) sit down and eat dinner. Sometimes there are babies playing or screaming (they then get bottles, propped, while we eat) and sometimes babies are sleeping.

7:00-7:30 Bath time: If I’m alone Ave showers by herself or takes a bath, depending on if the babies need baths too.

If I’m alone {or my mom is here} and they need baths, this is where I get my workout, because it’s in and out and up and down with 20lb babies in hand. Ave goes in the tub, and I bathe each individually with her. If babies don’t need baths, then they proceed to play or have bottles in the living room, while I do the necessary things with Ave in the bathroom.

If Matt is home, then one of us showers with Ave and if the babies need baths we hand the babies in one at a time to be showered {which is the preferred method of bathing}.

7:30-8:00 Bottles, Books and Prayers: After everyone who needs to be scrubbed is scrubbed we all head upstairs.

If I’m alone, I get Ave dressed and she runs around playing or doing whatever upstairs while I get the babies dressed, bottled {if needed}, and into their cribs. Once they’re down {and hopefully content} Ave and I go in her room, where we read a couple of books, say prayers, and then sing a few songs, before she climbs into her bed. Of course, just as we’re getting in to bed there is the usual “I need to go potty” request.

If my mom or Matt is here, then I deal with Ave while the other person takes care of the immediate needs of the babies’. If someone needs extra attention, I’ll help with the babies while Ave continues to play or run around crazy {which is the more likely thing — We say “stop jumping on the bed, you’re going to hurt your brother/sister” quite a bit}.

Usually, everyone is in bed by 8:15-8:30, then we/I come downstairs and get things cleaned up from the day and dinner OR we collapse on the couch and watch a movie.

And THAT is what an evening routine is like in the White House!