Monday, August 13, 2018

Worst nightmare.

I faced my worst nightmare the other day, guys.

The make-up aisle.

It is the closest thing to hell that my mind can conjure up currently.

I don't know how many of you get paralyzed by excessive choices, but I DO. When I walk into a restaurant for a nice dinner out and they hand me a menu that's really 4 volumes of a freaking World Book Encyclopedia put into one, I go blank. Instant overload. I'm all


I'm not quite sure how to cure that or if it's even possible. All I know is that usually I end up eating whatever Ben has ordered for me. 

But, this time, in the make-up section I was alone. ALONE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Did you see the picture???? And that's just ONE of the aisles! Multiple aisles, guys. Multiple. Aisles. Encyclopedia-kind-of-full aisles to choose from. 

*hides head in shame* It took me 45 minutes to pick out a foundation. And all the while I'm coaching myself, "Okay, you can do this. Just breathe. One thing at a time. Don't even look over there." And, let me tell you, that coaching was not happening in my head. Oh no, right out loud. Right in between vol 6 and vol 7 of ALL THE  COLORS between classic ivory and buff beige foundation. 

*whispers* So many colors.

I feel my anxiety rising just thinking about it. I'm truly praying that before I need to buy make-up again a big bag of it appears on my doorstep from some God-sent angel. 

And to make matters worse, I had to choose one of those million colors without a mirror. Let me say that again. I was tasked with choosing the exact color, the only one, the PERFECT one to match my skin tone without a mirror. No pressure, right. If I can't pick what I want to eat for dinner one night how in the name of Kronk am I going to pick out the foundation color I wear on my face every day?!?! Who thinks of this stuff??? Once my tunnel vision semi-cleared enough to hopefully have chosen wisely, I grabbed the first mascara I saw under $10 and ran.

I didn't even get the few other things I needed. One more minute and I would have been on the floor in the fetal position. If not for the choice overload, for the pure shock of prices. I just want to wear a little make-up, I'm not a freaking billionaire! 

So, here's to you weird people who handle choices like it ain't a thang. And to those of us who don't, I'll understand if I see you pulling a Kronk somewhere. It's okay.  

Saturday, August 11, 2018

WIn some/ Lose some


It's Friday night. We've just returned home from taking the kids to the 4-H fair. A trip I was especially able to enjoy because I had the confirmed knowledge that Theodore's nurse would finally be returning to work tonight after 2 1/2 long weeks of vacation. Two and a half weeks of 24/7 Theodore care for me; long nights on the not so comfortable couch, long days because of the long nights. But tonight was THE night.  My bed, my glorious bed awaited. 

And it WAS oh so glorious.

It's Saturday morning. I slept better than I had in, well, 17 days. I go to greet our sorely missed nurse, wanting to ask about her vacation home, but before I can say a word, I hear, in her Tobagonian accent, "I tink you have dose fly eggs all over your kit'en floor."

I did.

But at least I had slept in my own bed.

It's 10:30 am on Saturday morning. The kitchen has been thoroughly scrubbed, washed, vacuumed, cleared out, disinfected, lit and burnt to a crisp. Theodore is the only other person awake. 

Blueberry pancakes are being eaten. Alone. Coffee is being consumed. Alone. And for 2.5 minutes (while Theodore is otherwise occupied) I can enjoy the quiet and the breakfast I have most definitely earned (albeit also had to make). This morning wasn't 100% a win. But last night was and I'll take what I can get. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Game-changer

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied. - Matthew 5:6

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen you in the sanctuary beholding your power and glory.
My soul will be satisfied....
Psalm 63:1-2, 5

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing it all wrong. All of it. No matter how hard I work towards accomplishing something, it inevitably falls short in one way or another. I have been weighed. I have been measured. And I have been found wanting. Over and over again. Whether it's parenting or wife-ing (????) or teaching or organizing - you name it, I claim it. And even if all goes smoothly I'm left with a feeling of frustration or emptiness, wondering why I even put my hand to it in the first place. Did it really matter? I mean.. let's be honest. Did it REALLY matter? 

Because if I were doing it right there would be satisfaction, some feeling of accomplishment, some sense of peace. Right? So this emptiness and unworthiness and uselessness are my fault. There is no peace here.  

And those verses that seem like they should bring comfort instead bring condemnation. I'm doing it all wrong. I don't thirst for God enough. I don't desire Him enough. I don't love Him enough. That's why there's no peace. That's why I'm not satisfied.

But.

What if I haven't been doing anything wrong only understanding this all wrong?

What if those "thirst for" verses are not about "need tos" but about "already ares." The void isn't because we aren't thirsting enough for God but the void IS the thirst. 
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled." Maybe in other words, blessed are you who feel empty and along for God alone will fill you. 

We already have the thirst naturally. We need to learn to quench it- actually. Or, more appropriately,  we need to LET IT BE QUENCHED. In the only place it can be. By the only One who can.

"He created us to need Him even when all we want to need is ourselves." - Sara Hagerty

Holler. Amen. Hands up.  If I could just DO more, HAVE more, BE more I would be filled.

We can't.

We will never be enough. The world and all it holds will never be enough.

 "Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water {the deep physical, earthly well} will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" John 4: 13-14

All my striving will get me nothing. Take that in. Breathe and let the pressure go. But my thirst naturally can be quenched actually by only One. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


"We want our work to be known and our impact
to be memorialized. And it will be, but by God alone.
No human can give us accolades that will satisfy the 
deepest longings of our hearts. We search vainly from
others for the acclaim that only God can give."
- Sara Hagerty, "Unseen"

I don't know about you, but the older I get the more my life seems to be filled by disappointment after disappointment, one unsuccessful venture after another, failure followed by failure. And up until about 5 years ago I could have listed you a MYRIAD of things that qualified as my biggest fears, I could guarantee you that unsuccess was not one of them. 

But now it is. Top of the list, number one for x weeks in a row. 

Unsuccess.

Under appreciated.

Unseen.

I'm still surprised by this. By the fact that it is. Surprised at how deeply and coldly it runs through me; how it has a hold. 

It's not because I'm a mom (stay-at-home) or because I homeschool (which I L-O-V-E ........ 😣) or because I don't have a career so to speak or even because the hobbies I have and am skilled in have amounted to just about nothing (though, let's be honest, I do really like to think it's because of that most of the time.) It's not because I see other people around me succeeding in things I KNOW I can do. *whispers* and I know I could do better.  

Those things all play a part to be sure. They help prop up the fears and emptiness that already exist and, man, they build a wall. Before I know it I've got freaking Fort Knox happening inside my head and heart and it takes tanks and all sorts of artillery to knock some of it down just so I can get to the real issue. By the way, that little crack I've made in the wall WILL, inevitably, be built back up by some random occurrence and I'll have to start all over again. IF I'm not too frustrated or tired or angry to restart.

And it's this vicious cycle that continues even though I know that those things are not the real issue. They are not the cause. They will not be the cure if fulfilled.

So I have to remember. Every day. Every second sometimes. This void can only be filled by One. By the One who made me. 

The One who sees me.

And when I remember that and accept that and surrender to that, my wall comes crumbling down- not piece by piece with tedious work, but effortlessly. And EVERY TIME I wonder why it takes me so long to do the one thing I know will bring that wall down before it gets built so large, or at all.

It is not a one time thing, to be sure. It's a second by second thing. A keep-your-eye-on-the-prize thing. It takes some training. And some believing. And it's worth it every time. Because instead of feeling like my life is just taking up space in this big wide world, I feel purpose. Not my purpose- but a it-really-matters purpose. And that is not a small thing for one like me.   

  



Monday, May 21, 2018

Anybody's guess

Theodore, do you want to go upstairs or to your bedroom?

*Points indiscriminately in the middle.* 

Theodore, where does it hurt?

*Points to his wrist.* Which is definitely NOT where it hurts.

Theodore, is that what you want to watch? *Yes* Or is this what you want to watch? *Yes*

Theodore, you DO NOT pull things off of the counter. Go sit on the steps for time-out.

*Opens up hallway door, picks a step, and sits.*



I think he's messing with me. 




Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

In case you were wondering, I DO still have a son named Theodore. He IS still simultaneously adorable and a pain in the butt. Lots of changes have come his way and are still coming for this little man, but here is where we are currently:



Per the doctor's orders, he has been trying new foods so that we can hopefully accomplish a swallow study. By "try new foods" I mean, we are attempting to get him to put anything in his mouth and swallow it. Theodore acts like he wants to eat food; he gets very excited when he sees it and asks to have some. However, all that leads to is maybe a tiny lick off the spoon and then instantly wiping his mouth with whatever he can find to remove said food from his mouth. 

Despite this, though, we have started to accomplish our goal. We have found a great sippy cup for him, we are experimenting with puree type foods and different drinks, and even succeeding in getting something into his stomach. 

Great, right? Well, I guess it depends on who you are. Great for the swallow specialist. Great for hopefully gaining some results from the upcoming test. And great for Theodore who is finally getting to experience some real food. Not so great if you are home with him for an extended period of time. 

His digestive system is in an uproar. Whatever is happening inside his stomach and bowels is pure chaos. It's taken about a month to catch up to him, but catch up it has. 

If he's not sleeping he's pooping. And pooping and pooping. It is wearing this poor boy and his butt out. Now every time he sees us coming with a diaper he cries because of his insistent diaper rash (which is on the mend, thankfully). We have taken away all extra food for the moment, and are rationing out his normal Pediasure feedings so that his body is actually maintaining some nutrition. And, quite honestly, he does not appear to be missing the real food at all.

Finally, after a week, his body is recovering. The doctor and I might be on different pages at this point, but I'll let the doctor have a say when she's the one here changing his diapers and dealing with his aggravated behavior. (Not that I blame him for being aggravated.)

I, more than anyone, look forward to his decanulation, but not at the expense of the rest of his body. (I guess I should say that a swallow study is one of the first steps, at least for Theodore, in working towards getting his trach out.) He never has done anything on anyone else's time frame - especially the doctor's - and he's not changing that now.

Slow and steady continues, but it is forward motion.      

Friday, May 18, 2018

If a tree falls

Sometimes I'm the worst. No, really, don't try to stop me from saying this.



**************************************crickets*************************************************




Wow. Really? No one? 
That hurts, guys. I guess there's no point in going on with this. I'm going to anyway. I'm the worst, what can I say?

Despite the many protests from the audience I just received, I must admit that sometimes I am the absolute worst person. Okay, not really, I'm not a mass murderer or a puppy killer or a fan of Nickelback. But, in the past, if my cup got tipped at just the right time I may have been known to slam a door or crush my childrens' hopes and dreams with just a word. Hypothetically.

Unrelated: I may be starting to see why no one tried to stop me earlier..... 

But there's something that I've been wanting to get off my chest. Deep breath. And go.

When the kids were little, Israel the eldest, like Gandalf the Grey- very distinguished, would be getting his breakfast or possibly even helping the younger two get their breakfast. At this time they were all under the age of 5, so we could receive WIC, therefore, having gallons upon gallons of milk in our house. And even with 3 children, drinking THAT much milk is a challenge. So (drumroll please, mommy moment of the millennium coming) I would make Israel check and see if the milk was good by tasting it. 

*Hides my face in shame* Don't look at me.

But, I mean, I didn't want to taste nasty curdled milk! Can you imagine?! *nudges you* Israel can, know what I mean??? 

TO BE FAIR, nothing makes you feel more worthless or useless than being a mom. Why do we even speak, moms? Nobody hears us. I will literally repeat everything I have said today and yesterday and for the past 5 years over again until I'm dead. And the trash will still be on the floor and the dishes will still be scattered around the house and my daughter will still look at me directly after I have answered a question that SHE asked and ask me again. Instantly. As though I never answered her. And the daily routine will be written down, talked about, and stapled onto their faces and they still won't do it. 

And my anxiety will rise and my life crumbles. And who cares about curdled milk anyway?

*Shouts from the rooftops* I will no longer feel bad about the curdled milk!! (Actually, I probably will. That's something that you can't untaste. Poor guy.)

And the age old question remains: If a mom talks to anybody, does anybody really talk? 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Acrobat.

I'm 20 stories up stepping out of the window that's almost as tall as myself. The adjacent building is so close I can almost reach out and touch it. In fact, I am certain I could make it through the open window facing me with just a jump. But I can't. The powers that be do not allow it. Instead, I have to walk a tight rope that I'm not entirely certain will even hold me. All the while people from the surrounding rooms are throwing anything they can find at me to trip me up, make me lose my balance and retreat back into the room from whence I came. 

Hours upon hours are spent here, nay, days upon days; until the thought of falling to my death is far more appealing than sitting on the stupid phone any longer to coordinate one more doctor's appointment for Theodore. 

I would literally rather fall to my death. I'm not sure I could explain it any more clearly. 

I- would rather- die. 

I don't know whether it's bureaucracy or stupidity that makes it so difficult. Probably a little of both, but it really doesn't matter. There is no getting around it, no jumping is allowed. There should be a sign that says "Common sense not permitted."

Thankfully we are to the stage where the appointments and trips are far fewer than just a year ago. It still isn't something you get used to, or find less annoying over time, however. Actually, it is the exact opposite. 

Follow-up reminders that appointments are due come in the mail and while I peer out at the stupid tight rope knowing I have to make my trillionth trip, death quietly whispers to me, "Just jump."   

Sunday, May 6, 2018

War wound.

Two words:

Sewing injury.

Six words:

Sewing injury not involving anything sharp.

Did you even know those existed? I didn't. I do now.

I've been suffering with this war wound for two weeks now, and I'm pretty certain I'll never have full function of my hand again. Okay, that might be pushing it -- a little. 

For those of us who aren't seasoned seamstresses/sewists, let me warn you, you can seriously hurt the joint in your thumb. The girls and I worked furiously for 5 days, measuring, cutting, pinning, sewing, more pinning, more sewing. I am still paying for it. In fact, I think it's gotten worse. What started as a tight, muscular cramping is now a constant, dull, hot aching in the joint.

I know what it needs, but the creator in me is not willing to do it. I have so many ideas swirling around in my head that if I stop accomplishing them I may implode. I wonder if that really is the cause of death for most artists- the inability to produce their inspiration.

So, I'm left with a dilemma. Deny who I am and DIE (I'm pretty good with the exaggerations today) or push through a little pain. No, there is no in-between, don't be ridiculous.   

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spring cleaning.

Boo.

*whispers* It's me.

It's time for some spring cleaning. Digging this blog out from all the boxes and things of life that have piled up on top of it, sweeping away the cobwebs, and getting real. 

This past year has been a tough one. Down to the bones tough. And I've had some pretty rough years- times I would never ever choose to relive. But this one tops the cake. 

(Theodore is phenomenal, by the way. And other than making me rethink a few life choices as he now enters his "threenager" stage - yes, he's 7 - he is the man. So no worries there.)

This past year left me falling. Unsure. Questioning. Crying. Everything, literally EVERYTHING that I had stood on before, everything I KNEW to be true, was suddenly pulled out from under me. I was like those cartoon characters who run off a cliff but don't realize it right away, and once they do it's a fast fall straight down.  

I have been a Christian, a Jesus-follower, a Bible believer, WHATEVER you want to call it, for almost as long as I can remember. And I've seen and been through some tough stuff. And thanks be to God he has been faithful to comfort and guide and redeem and work and love. Up until, it felt, this past year of my life. I became confused, hurt, and even felt deceived by God- into my core. 

I walked around for months with nothing below my feet. No foundation. Zero. And, yet, I had the conviction that God was true. I couldn't make sense of anything. I didn't know how a relationship with God even worked. The dichotomy was this: 

                                                       Something inside of me absolutely knew that Jesus was the only answer and option to it all  BUT  it didn't appear to be a good one.

                                                        And knowing that I am saved eternally from Hell, never questioning that, I felt like a puppet and God could do whatever He wanted, if He cared, because the ends justify the means. 

That's hard to say. To put into writing and admit it. But there it is. The past year of my life in 2 sentences. 

Maybe you can relate? Maybe you've felt this in some way? Feeling deceived by God was the worst. I was like an animal in a race with something dangling in front of me, trying to get to it. Believing that I could- indeed, even that I had already been given it. And then it was taken away. No rhyme or reason- just gone. That started a cycle for me of blaming/questioning God every time something went wrong. Of wondering why, "Why, God, would you do that?" "Are you serious?" that eventually turned to "No surprise." "Of course that would happen."

I became callous without actually wanting to be callous. And critical without wanting to be critical. I was tense. And I was tired. I started noting how, even when I was trying to be open to God it would backfire. I would purposefully stop and pray about something and the exact opposite would happen. Sometimes almost immediately. I would put my hand to a task and be accomplishing things and would stop and pray about letting the Lord accomplish it in me and then, and only then, would I stop being productive, or EVERY. LITTLE. THING. would go wrong. 

"No surprise."

Slowly, and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y did my conviction turn once again into baby steps of faith. Teeny teeny tiny steps that I can only assume the Lord renewed in my heart and I started disciplining myself to spend time with Him once again. And I'm going to be honest, it wasn't because I was getting anything out of it. I felt no different. I was still confused and hurt and pretty closed off to anything He had to offer. And that's how it remained. For quite a while.

A few weeks ago we had one nice morning of weather. Winter had ceased for the moment and I was enjoying my coffee on the deck, unbothered, alone, content. I stepped out in discipline, not sure it was in faith, but thanked God for the morning weather and accepted it as His gift to me- a personal gift because He says He is personally invested in my life. INSTANTLY, I'm not even kidding, wasps started buzzing and landing all around me. I had not seen a single wasp up until then. It may seem stupid but that was the picture of my life. Something good instantly gets rescinded by something bad. 

"No surprise."

But, almost just as instantly, God said to my heart "Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy." That truly was the first thing I felt God speak to me in almost a year. And it got me in the gut. 

That was it. That was the key. That was the truth that had eluded me for so long. 

I so easily forget that Satan has real power in this world. I forget that his one and only goal is to get my eyes off Jesus. I forget that the closer I get to God the harder Satan presses in. I forget that he prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. 

If we don't claim to live our lives for God Satan is unconcerned with us. But when we do he is very invested in us. He speaks lies. Lies that make us callous and critical. Lies that make us blame God and believe that He doesn't have good things for us. Lies that He doesn't care. Lies that He is a bad option. Lies that the ends justify the means. 

The harder I press into God the harder Satan presses into me. "No surprise" that the exact opposite of my prayers happen instantly because Satan wants my eyes off Jesus, or on Him in the wrong way. 

I thank God for revealing that truth to me. And I pray for well trained eyes to see that when it happens and a well disciplined faith to accept it as truth. And I'm thankful that the year of falling is over.