Monthly Archives: October 2017

On Grace and Why I Need it Every Day

I meant to stop and take a real life picture of my kitchen/dining room this morning but I ran out of time. Let me give you a little word picture instead. I had made a feeble attempt to dust mop the floors, but the pile of dirt, hair and leaves remained in a heap in front of our fireplace for at least two days along with the mop. The final step of actually sweeping it up alluded me.

Our dining room table is covered with papers from the kids, dried up, spilled food chunks and sticky juice glasses that hadn’t yet made it to the dishwasher. The kitchen island wasn’t any better, cluttered with books and toys and papers….it was all threatening to overtake me.

A few days ago I was voxing with my best friend about the work God had done in my life, the dramatic changes He had done in my spirit from the really awful year of 2015 into early 2016. It was ugly and if you thought things were ok then I did a good job of wearing my “I’ve got it all together mask on” well. The reality was I was holding on by a thread for months.

But God. There was some really hard heart work that took place during that time. Some letting go of the things that had held me in chains and I did find freedom because of it. But it doesn’t mean that I am perfect! By no means!

I still need grace, I am constantly learning how to give and receive grace every day.

Case in point. This week has been brutal and it is only Wednesday. We have more final delivery meetings at work this week than we normally schedule, and it has kept us at the office longer in the evenings than we would like. We are getting some new carpet in the office space that we lease next week but as an agreement to get this done, we committed to the removal of the old carpet ourselves. That is happening this weekend. Isaac is coming back home to help and since he will be home for the first time in a long time we are sneaking family pictures in there somewhere.

And it is going to snow and be cold and windy….but that is for another post.

I have been stressed. Overwhelmed really and feeling like we are just barely hanging on to keep everything in order so that we can accomplish all that we have on the calendar in the next few weeks.

I share all of that to give you some background to why I had a mini nervous breakdown a couple of times this week. Yes it IS only Wednesday. On Monday night I got home at 7:20pm. Our evening delivery went longer than we hoped and when I arrived home I discovered that the kids had not even eaten supper despite the fact that there was a crockpot full of warm soup ready and waiting for them.

Something about that set me off. I just was so mad. It was bedtime and they hadn’t eaten. Karlena had not read her book, we needed to practice spelling words and the house looked as I described above. I think at this point all sanity went out the window as I started to stomp around. I’m not kidding either. I really was throwing a fit, ask my kids, they will attest to it!

I opened up the recycling drawer and the two cans were overflowing….”I guess I will take these out myself”, I said. “And I will do all the dishes, and all the laundry…and I make dinner and you don’t eat it. And everyone leaves all their junk all over the place and no one cleans it up…”

Stomp, stomp, stomp…

It was pathetic really, the kids started to get food and Gabe hauled out the recycling. I went into the laundry room to fold something and calm down. While I do think that at times my kids struggle with a bit of selfishness and not recognizing how easy they have things…they really are great kids.

I knew that I was tired and stressed and I was taking it out on them. So I marched back into the kitchen to apologize. Moms make mistakes too. I told them how sorry I was, explained that it had been a rough day at work, but that wasn’t an excuse and I shouldn’t take it out on them.

We also set a new rule that in those times that I do have to work late, that they will all eat together at the same time, at dinner time, because I always make sure on nights like that there is something ready and easy for them to eat.

Here’s the reality though and something I need to remind myself again and again. While I can teach our kids about being responsible and taking care of their things and putting things away…they will not ever care about the tidiness of our home like I do. I never did as a child! I can place something on the stairs and expect that they carry it up…and then get angry each day that passes that they walk past it unbothered by it.

Isn’t it easier if I just say please carry that up to your rooms?! They do, it’s done and I don’t have a reason to allow a resentment to fester. Sometimes I set myself up for problems by not communicating my expectations well!!

Monday night I needed grace. I am sure that tonight and tomorrow and into this busy weekend full of furniture moving and carpet ripping…I will need grace. I need to be willing to freely give it to others and grateful when they are gracious back to me.

And when I voxed my friend on Tuesday I laughed as I recounted the horrors of the night before. How funny it was that I had talked up all the ways I had changed and then how completely downhill the evening had gone just hours later.

But the difference I am starting to see is that I am not holding on to the anger for days on end. Yes I used to do that. It was awful and miserable and thankfully I am quick to recognize when I have failed and much quicker to apologize. God has done a work in me and while I am not perfected, I am a work in progress and that is a gift.

There I was sitting on my pity potty….


Oh friends, I hope you are all having a good weekend.  Yesterday I found myself in a bit of a rut. I reeeeeaaaaalllly don’t do this laying low and resting thing well. By Thursday I was boring myself. It is ridiculous I know. Friday it was cold and rainy, the perfect curl up on the couch in a cozy sweater kind of day. And while I was doing just that I found myself frustrated and angry that I couldn’t do more.

Apparently, I don’t do recovery well.

My pain level was still pretty high on Thursday so I was taking 1 pain pill as needed every four hours. The lovely side effect of said pain pill is that it pretty much dries everything up on the inside, so going to the bathroom is all but impossible.

Too much information? I know, it probably is but here’s the thing…I said I was going to be open about this process and so here I am being open. So while I haven’t had much of an appetite, I also have not gone the the bathroom since Monday. For me that is a long time and I think Dominic best described it when he said you start to feel like you are full of concrete.

On top of all that loveliness, I am still really swollen from the surgery. I feel I look about 3 months pregnant and basically none of my regular pants fit. So I was wearing leggings as pants, which for me is a strict no, but I really had no other choice.

Thursday night I decided that I would stop taking the pain pills to see if that would help get things moving again. Friday morning when I got up I spent about an hour walking laps around our home trying to help “wake up” my intestines. {It didn’t work} Neither has any of the other recommended over the counter “products” that are supposed to help alleviate said problem.

So I was bloated, uncomfortable, full of “concrete” and feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I called and voxed my best friend and cried “I’m bored and miserable and sitting on my pity potty.” Then I realized what I had said when I meant to say pity pot and we both laughed over that one!

I told Dominic that I just wanted to go to Walmart to get a few things, I couldn’t stand being in the house any longer. He said he only wished he could just sit and hang out in the house and relax. Why is it so hard to just be still?

I knew that I needed to remember this time, appreciate it because very soon everything would be back to normal and I would be crazy busy and probably stressed.

Then I got a message from my most favorite friends here in Marshall. They were headed to the church to set up for the ladies night event that is happening later today and asked if I wanted to come along and watch. I wasn’t allowed to help at all, but could sit and visit with them while they worked.

And it was just what I needed. We talked and laughed, and I was able to just relax in a different setting for a few hours. Nothing about my situation had really changed…I still was dealing with pain and being uncomfortable but by getting off of my “pity potty” I was able to change my perspective.

How quickly I forget.

Instead of continuing to celebrate the fact that the news after my surgery was better than I had hoped, I was caught up in how slow the recovery seemed to be going. I should be focused on the fact that there won’t be any additional treatments, surgeries etc. after this! I have so much to be grateful for!

It was a reminder to me again how quickly I can get sucked into the negative. It isn’t ever a good place for me to be. I am so grateful for the few hours away last night that helped me gain a better perspective. There is always beauty to be found. Goodness can happen when we allow ourselves rest, and joy comes from time with friends.

If you are stuck on your pity potty today, try something different for a few hours. Seek to change your perspective and count your blessings. I am sure there are many to be found!! Have a happy Saturday friends!!

 

Photo Credit: d’s2nd

How Your Prayers Made a Difference

Well I am home and recovering from my surgery on Tuesday. The night before the surgery I had a terrible night’s sleep. The dog’s collar kept jingling when she would move and we had heavy rain and storms come through as well. Maybe it was nerves too, but I tossed and turned that night.

We arrived at the surgical hospital about an hour before the procedure and they got me in their system, handed me some pretty fancy hospital wares  and then we waited. My Dr. is an OB/GYN and apparently there was a potential labor emergency during the time the surgery was supposed to start so we had to wait almost an hour longer than we expected.

Dominic and my sister Beth kept me company until they brought me back. We had some laughs so it made the time pass pretty quickly. Once in the operating room they hooked me up to a heart monitor and started the IV. They said the meds would kick in pretty quickly and in one moment the ceiling was moving above me and the next thing I remember was waking up and asking the nurse if they had to take the ovary or not.

She said I needed to talk to the Dr. about that and honestly if I did, I don’t remember that conversation! But eventually they brought me to a second recovery room and brought Dominic and Beth back in.

Everything went better than I had imagined it would. No cancer, the ovary remains, my tubes are gone and the ablation was successful. Praise God!!!

In the weeks leading up to this surgery I had steeled myself for a different answer. I really did have a peace about all of it and knew that if the news wasn’t great that God would be with me on whatever path I would walk next. I had even stopped praying for specific requests for myself and instead just thanked God for giving me peace and for being my strength.

But so so many of you did pray those specific prayers on my behalf. It was incredible really, people from my community and local church rallied around me. Women that my mom knew from another prayer group she is in emailed me and told me that they were praying. So many of my Facebook friends sent encouragement and positive thoughts my way. And my parents drove up to make sure that we had someone to be with the kids while we were gone!

Each prayer, comment, text message…they made a difference and I am just humbled that you would step in and support me in that way. At a time when in so many ways our country seems like a dark and sad place, you my friends brought me light. Oh and a few of my dear, best friends from church worked it out with Dominic to come to our house when I was gone to redecorate the built in shelves in my kitchen/dining room AND the tackle the chair recovering that I just had not been able to complete!! Seriously it is overwhelming to be loved on like that!!

Thank you doesn’t seem enough, but it is what I can offer right now. That and the promise that I will intercede on your behalf if and when the need arises.

The last time I had a surgery I was so very sick from the meds, that recovery and coming out of the surgery were the things I feared the most. But my Dr. was proactive and prescribed a little patch that I placed behind my ear 3 hours before the surgery. In addition they offered me a pill to take right before the surgery, that when paired with the patch usually resulted in very little nausea.

So thankfully when I woke up I wasn’t really sick. I am uncomfortable today and need to stay consistent with my pain meds, and I already over did it this morning when I got up to help the kids get ready for school. It proved to be too much and I have since spent the majority of the day in bed.

I don’t “rest” well. I don’t accept help well either. Ha! But we have friends from church scheduled to bring us a few meals, and our neighbor brought us over a meal this afternoon as well that we can have later this week. What a gift that will be for our whole family!

I don’t remember if it was my dad or someone else that said to me that when we deny  people the opportunity of helping us, we are denying them the use of their spiritual gifts. I like that way of looking at it and so instead of believing that I should be able to manage it all, I step back and am humbly accepting  the gifts of others.

The anesthesiologist said that they would make a list of everything the used to help control the nausea  so that next time we could do it again. I told him that I would prefer there not be a next time..but if there is I will remember this experience too. How so many people gave us support and encouragement.

Because we know that there will be trials, we often don’t know when they will come, but they will come in some shape or form. I know that next time I can hopefully be that gift to someone else.

This experience has reminded me that when I become ready and willing to turn all of it, whatever it is (fears, worries, doubts etc,) over to God, that I can walk through a situation confident that He is with me even if I can’t comprehend what will happen. I have this hope that is an anchor to my soul….

This experience has also reminded me about the value of community. Of having a church family, good neighborhood relationships, family and friends that you can confide in. So that if there is ever a time when you don’t have the words to pray, you can know someone else is interceding on your behalf.

Once again I have been a bit long-winded, thank you for sticking with me. And if some of this doesn’t flow well, I am blaming it on the meds I am taking. I feel a bit foggy with my thoughts and my words. But it was important to me to take a few minutes and post an update here.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to me and my family. I am so very grateful for each and everyone of you!!

Photo Credit: ThienLong

The day before, the rock, the flowers, community and more…

So as I write this it is the day before the big day. It has been a long week of waiting. I have been ready but the time has passed slowly. It hasn’t helped that I haven’t felt great for several days. For multiple days I have said I feel like I am pregnant. Tired, nauseous and a little out of sorts. Of course there is no physical way I could be pregnant…so these week-long symptoms have been irritating. I am hopeful that after my recovery period I will be back to myself again.

I had good intentions of getting so much done this weekend before I am bed-ridden for a few days but the majority of it just didn’t happen. It’s ok though, overall we had a good weekend. On Sunday after church I had a chance to visit with several of my friends and a few of them prayed over me. It was such a beautiful gift. A few of my other friends were conspiring with Dominic about something behind me too while the praying was happening…I am pretty lucky to have such an amazing church family!

Then later that afternoon another friend from church texted me and asked if she could put me on the “meal train” list. I have to admit it is reaaaalllly hard for me to say yes to help. I am good at trying to manage it all on my own (even if I am not doing a great job as evidenced by something I will share later) but one of the girls that prayed over me specifically prayed that I would have a heart willing to rest and receive. So I thanked her for arranging the meal train and know that my family will be blessed by it.

Today I had BIG plans. Like get all the work done I possibly can in the office kind of plans. Except it didn’t quite turn out like I had expected. At about 12:30pm I got a call from our elementary school. It was the nurses office. They had Karlena there and somehow she had a rock stuck way down deep in her ear. She was crying and the nurse said that we needed to take her to the Dr. to get it out. {Of course}

So off to the school we go to pick her up. When she gets in the car she initially tries to tell us that a “mean boy” from her class put the rock in her ear. Why would you let someone do that we wonder out loud? And then through sobs she admits that she did it. So awesome, it was her fault and she was lying to us. Parenting win #1 for the day. Wait for it #2 is coming!!

The Dr. couldn’t see her for a few hours so we had lunch and went back to the office where I got the most beautiful flowers delivered. Ahhh, sweet blessings in a day that was going down the drain. My best friend wanted me to have something pretty to look at all week and had them sent to our office today. They are so perfect. I rarely get flowers and I have gotten them twice this week! What?!

While we were waiting for the Dr’s appointment my calendar alarm pops up. It is a reminder for Gabe’s ortho appointment in 10 minutes. The one I had COMPLETELY forgotten about. The one that was supposed to be extra long today so they could do a bunch of replacing of wires and things. The kind you don’t want to have to cancel, but I had no choice. I called the office and apologized profusely, telling the receptionist that I have a surgery tomorrow and I had completely forgotten the appointment and there was no way for me to get a hold of Gabe to get him there. Parenting win #2.

Thankfully they were so grace-filled with me and we were able to reschedule for a better time next week. This time I will NOT forget!

Besides all of this, I was impatiently waiting for a call from the pre-op nurse to give me the lowdown on what not to do and what to do before the surgery. {Finally they called!!} Like I get to shower tonight AND tomorrow morning. I will be clean! Ha! And I thought I might get to have food up to 8 hours before the surgery…so I was planning on having a protein shake at around 3:30am. But apparently I can’t eat after midnight. Boo. I am going to be one hungry mama come noon tomorrow.  Somehow I am sure I will survive.

Through all of this though I have been reflecting on this amazing community of people that I have surrounding me. In person, in prayer, with meals and flowers, encouragement and laughter. All of it is such a gift. I don’t take it for granted, I really don’t.

So thank you. I will do my best to provide an update when I am able. But know that your prayers and encouragement have been felt and are so very appreciated!

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