Thursday, August 30, 2007


When Mike and I were driving to the hospital he had a funny perspective on what Samuel might be thinking. We're on the highway and Mike starts saying, "You know Samuel probably realizes that whenever we're driving this road that we got to one of two places, the hospital or the zoo. He's probably thinking in his head, 'Please be the zoo. Please be the zoo'." It made me laugh so hard to think of that. If I were Samuel I would have been hoping for the zoo and not the hospital.

Libby is saying some crazy things these days. While I was on the phone last night discussing Samuel with my mom she said, "Excuse mom." I said, "yes, baby?" And she informed me, "It's getting dark outside". We were sitting at Starbucks. i don't know if she was trying to keep me informed with the time of day or if I had been on the phone too long. She then said, "It's okay. It's all right mom. It's okay." I was trying not to laugh.
Martha, my mother-in-law, had a great suggestion that I take Libby out last night. I had been in CA for a while and then with Samuel's surgery she and I haven't had much time to ourselves. So we went to Target and filled Samuel's prescription and wandered around. We ended up with a couple new shirts for her that were on clearance... they were so cute. And of course a new DVD, Elmo on the Potty. She's pretty excited about that. So we're going to be hearing a lot of "potty talk" daily in this house. We had some pizza together and then went to Starbucks, her suggestion. I enjoyed a caramel apple cider and she had a chocolate milk and a rainbow cookie (her favorite). She was so fun to watch; singing at the top of her lungs and running around her chair and dancing spontaneously; she loves the echo it makes in Starbucks. Don't you love my grammatical punctuation, or the lack there of.
Libby told my mom about "Mama's owie. Samuel's owie. Papa's owie." We three had come back wearing identification tags for the hospital. Isn't that funny? She thought they were owies. I let her wear mine.

One of the recently funny things that has been happening is whenever we feed her spaghetti. I told her as I set the bowl before her, "Please eat your spaghetti." "Mom, it's octopus!" Thankfully she ate it though, octopus and all!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

He's Home!

Hello all! Samuel is home... early! We brought him at 11:30 a.m. and got seen at 1:00 p.m. He was given some "giggle juice" (something to help him relax-he acted like he was drunk-it was hysterical) and was taken away at 1:45. He had surgery starting at 2:45 and they were done at 3:10. We got to back at around 4:00 and they gave us some surprising news... he was being sent home. He was very angry when he awoke from surgery and his face was red and hot when we saw him. But he had stopped crying and was sucking down some apple juice... he quickly fell asleep in our arms. Since we've been home he has slept and slept and slept. We just gave him some ibuprofen but we'll see if he needs stronger drugs... we have Tylenol with Codeine if he needs it. So now it's rest and recovery. He can get sponge baths tomorrow but for the next 10 days no water immersion (soaking in the tub).

We are so grateful that all is well. They made a nice incision and we're just praying he continues to heal well. Thanks for your love, prayers, and support.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Surgery: No Food For You.

Samuel's surgery is tomorrow. We need to be at the hospital at 11:45. He can't eat after 11 p.m. tonight and he can only have fluids till 9:45 a.m. So he's going to be one hungry boy. My concern is he's already a really tough stick and I want to make sure he's well hydrated because he's going to need a lot of blood drawn in addition to an IV. Usually takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half for him.

Please be praying for all of us. For Libby that she would have peace with all of us gone. My mother-in-law will stay home and be with Libby but I want Libby to know that she's okay. I've been gone for several days so I'm praying this doesn't create any anxiety. For Samuel, that the surgery would go well and that his breathing would be stable after surgery. We will be staying overnight with him... For me, I'm a bit sleep-deprived and trying to get used to East Coast Time. For Mike, that God will give him grace and strength. He just wrapped up his last summer class. And for Fafa/Martha (my mother-in-law) that God would give her grace to deal with Libby in spite of being very tired.

I look forward to sharing more about my trip to CA as well as pictures. I also look forward to telling you that all is well with Samuel!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Heading on a jet plane...

So I need to get up in about, oh, 6 hours or so. I can't believe it's finally that time. I'm leaving for CA tomorrow and will get in to LAX at 1:16 Pacific Time. Yay! I'm happy to go and yet feel sad leaving Mike and the wee babes behind. Kissing them goodnight tonight was kind of emotional. I am thankful that Mike will be here to care for the kids as well as the Napiers (Thank You!)

My hope and prayer is that the time will be relaxing and refreshing but even more so that I would experience God in a new and deeper way. I'm hoping for some time to cry. Time to unwind. Time to give stuff back to God. To lay down my rights and embrace the freedom that comes from surrendering myself to God. My hope is that I will draw near to God and that He will draw near to me.

I am so thankful for my dear husband letting me go and have adventures without him for a few days. I'm so thankful for his support and love. Well, off to bed... if I can sleep, I feel too excited...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm a Mac. I'm a PC.

I just want to apologize to Mike's Dell. It wasn't it's fault. The pop-up setting wasn't right so I wasn't able to upload the picture. I am sorry Dell. Thank you for letting me use you right now. Even though Mac will be at home with you, I feel sad leaving it behind. Please take care of my friend. Even though the Mac is better I am thankful that I can check my e-mail on you and post on my blog... because of you.

Mac Down.

We've got a Mac down people. My laptop isn't working. The one I planned on taking to CA. Oh yeah. This happened to me before. Like right before my trip last year to Sweden. Dang. I think it knew it was going with me somewhere and decided it just wanted to stay home or maybe it just freaks out in August. So, I don't know how updates/e-mails will go. Please be patient. I will try and get it fixed soon. All my beautiful pictures I can't touch....

BTW- I don't like my husband's PC- it must be possessed or something. No wonder he loves my Mac...I can't even post a picture on my blog because it's not working.

Monday, August 20, 2007


We had a serious battle trying to get Samuel set up for surgery. We had a lot of hoop jumping to do. He had to be seen by a cardiologist to verify that he didn't need a cardiac anastheologist. And we have had a time and a half with the surgery coordinator. We also had to see a regular anasthesiologist which Mike took Samuel to see. But this wouldn't have been set up if it were not for our incredible doctor. She contacted me and found out that we hadn't been responded to by the people who were supposed to be in touch with us and she got the ball rolling. The coordinator would NOT call us back and was ridiculous time and time again. She couldn't find our file. She didn't get the response from the cardiologist (who had sent her the report 3 weeks prior). I had even went and saw her in person....This was supposed to take place in June!!!! Oh well... God is so good to give us such a great Primary Care Physician for Samuel. She was angry at the very least that we weren't taken good care of and wanted us to see a urologist instead of a general surgeon.... so she made some calls and 15 min. later the coordinator calls us back with an appt. with the anasthesiologist and a surgery date.

So it's set for Aug. 29th. I am leaving for California this Thursday (the 23rd) and will be flying home one the 28th. So he'll have surgery the day after I return. Whew... didn't plan that but at least I will be here. We don't know the time of the surgery yet. We call the day before surgery and they tell us what time he's scheduled for. So I will update you with that soon.

My dear mother-in-law will be staying and watching Libby for us. Samuel is to have a hydrocele repaired (this is to prevent a hernia). This should be normally outpatient surgery but because of Samuel's breathing issues he will be admitted and spend a night so they can monitor his breathing. So nobody worry, it's very minor but necessary. The procedure itself takes 25 min. I will keep you all posted.

We are so blessed to live in a a country that has such great medical technology and to be so close to a wonderful children's hospital.

(Isn't he a cutie? he usually smiles for every picture but since I was talking about surgery I was trying to find a more "serious" looking picture.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mouse: foe not friend, right?

We still have mice. They have eaten through our bread, nuts, cereal, peanut butter crackers, chocolate, etc. And all of it wasn't even open to start with. They're aggressive. I'm sitting her in Mike's oversized plush chair (with my feet tucked Indian style) and watching this little mouse. he's so dang cute. he keeps popping up and looking at me. Maybe it's just watching Stuart Little with Libby for the past several days. I have to keep reminding myself that this little guy keeps wreaking havoc (with his buddies) on my home. I think if my feet were on the floor I would have felt differently, but feeling "safe" makes me think they're cute. I mean these mice have been in my diaper bags (mulitple diaper bags, mulitple occasions), in my laptop bag, and even in my purses. They have been in my bedroom, the office, the kitchen, the living room, and dining room... and have nibbled on some expensive things... we really need to call our landlords...

Crap, I hear them squeaking in the kitchen... several of them... what do they think this is, a conference?

And they're smart. Only 3 have fallen for the mouse trap (even covered with peanut butter)... since Feb. or so.... oh dear.

My haircut.

I was trying to think of a way I could show you all my haircut and since Mike isn't home to take my picture I decided that I would do a photobooth shoot and then try and post a picture. Of course you can't see what it looks like from the back or side, but it was the best I could do. I really love this cut... now if only I could keep getting the same hairdresser to keep cutting it this way. Probably should have been on some make-up or a cute outfit... oh well, not trying to impress you :)

Spa Night.

This past Tuesday Night I had a Girl's Night Out for the women in my Bible Study. I had so much fun getting to serve my group of girls. I did facials and foot soaks and hand scrubs and thought you might enjoy some of the recipes I used. The evening concluded with French Crepes and I was able to share with them a women's project I am involved in and promoting called Eternal Threads ( It's an organization that provides work for village women in the Southern part of India. The women make these beautiful totes and purses from nylon. I look forward to sharing more about the organization at another time.

Here are some fun and natural recipes!

Milk and Honey Scrub

The almond cleanse and exfoliate your skin, while the milk and honey moisturize it. Use nonfat milk if your skin tends to be whole milk or even cream if your skin tends to be dry.

1 Tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. milk or cream

Mix all the ingredients together in a small dish,
Then apply to your face as usual.

Basic Facial Steam

*Start by washing your face with your regular cleanser, or with a scrub.
*Choose a steam recipe. Pour it into a medium sized bowl. The
steam should be warm enough thatyou can feel the heat rise of it. Any-
thing over 140 degrees F is to hot & could burn you.
*Pull your hair back off your face & lean over the bowl. Drape a towel
over your head and lean over bowl to catch the steam. Relax & enjoy
your steam for about 10 minutes.
*After the steam, splash your face with cool water, then pat dry.

Minty Steam

This is a refreshing, energizing steam. It’s especially good if you’re under the weather.

4 cups warm tap water
4 mint tea bags (herbal tea only) or
a handful of fresh mint, slightly crushed

-Bring 2 cups of water to a boil then remove from heat.
-Add the mint and let it steep for a minute before adding the remaining
two cups of warm tap water.

Sugar Foot (Hand) Scrub- wet feet & apply scrub

This recipe is a great way to soften your feet. The sugar and lemon
exfoliate and revitalize your skin while the oil moisturizes. Halve the
recipe if you want to use it on your hands as part of a manicure.

½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. oil (almond, canola or olive)
juice from ½ lemon

Intensive Moisturizing Hand Soak

This Mediterranean hand soak will soften
Your cuticles and moisturize your hands

¼-1/3 cup olive oil

Pour some olive oil into a small bowl & soak each hand in it for at least one min.
Gently pat your hands dry with a tissue. If any oil remains rub it into your hands

I hope you can take the time and give yourselves a little TLC. I'm about to go soak in the tub with some epsom salts. this will help pull the lactic acid out of my sore muscles.... and a little bit of pear blossom to smell sweet!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Dear Friends, You have a very dorky blogger on your hands. I have thought of a hundred different ways to post this blog. I'm not joking. This is my 100th post and I've been kind of excited about it. Excited that I have been keeping up with this blog. So in my silliness I had come up with all these ideas of how to present this post... 100 beauty tips, 100 books you should read, 100 places you should visit, etc. I think you get the idea. Instead of all those things I'll discuss my day... pretty normal.

I slept in till 11:00 today. Can you believe it? Mike took care of the kids this morning and I slept and slept. I made eggs, bacon, and toast for brunch. I got to go out and get a cute haircut. I came home and weeded the garden, planted my rose bushes, and used stakes to help my drooping tomato plants.

It's been a relaxing night. I think we're going to get some ice-cream...mmm, good night.

So there it is my 100th post. Nothing grand. Very simple. now done.

Wait, in looking for a fun 100 picture, I stumbled upon the following...

On the Number 100

1) The 50th even number = 2 x 50 = 100
2) The 10th square number = 102 = 10 x 10 = 100
3) Product of the 2nd & 5th square numbers = 22 + 52 = 4 x 25 = 100
4) Product of the 1st prime number & 34th composite numbers = 2 x 50 = 100
5) Product of the 3rd odd & 10th even numbers = 5 x 20 = 100
6) Product of the 5th even & 5th composite numbers = 10 x 10 = 100
7) Sum of the 6th & 8th square numbers = 62 + 82 = 36 + 64 = 100
8) Sum of the 8th prime number & 9th square number = 19 + 81 = 100
9) Sum of the 9th and 10th triangular numbers = 45 + 55 = 100
10) Sum of the 1st four cube numbers 13 + 23 + 33 + 43 = 1 + 8 + 27 + 64 = 100
11) Sum of the 1st ten odd numbers = 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 + 13 + 15 + 17 + 19 = 100
12) Sum of the 1st nine prime numbers = 2 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 = 100
13) Log 100 = 2 (logarithm to the base 10)
Ln 100 = 4.60517 (natural logarithm to the base e)
14) The 854th-856th digits of pi = 100
15) The 3036th-3038th digits of phi = 100
16) The boiling point of water = 100o Celsius (centigrade)
17) Pearls are composed of the same substances as oyster shells:
90% calcium carbonate, 5% conchiolin (an organic sceleroprotein), and 5% water.
Molecular weight of Calcium Carbonate =
Ca + C + O3 = 40 + 12 + 3(16) = 40 + 12 + 48 = 100 (100.09)
18) Pythagoreans considered 100 as divinely divine because
it is the square (10 x 10) of the divine decad (10).
19) 100% represents wholeness, purity, or perfection
(no error in a test or no contaminants in a product)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bedroom Make-over?

15 minutes is good enough. In 15 minutes it will be Friday. Earlier today while washing dishes I had a brilliant question to pose to you. Unfortunately, I didn't write it down so you'll be left with something I make up at the spur of the moment. Aha- here it is....

My bedroom is the worst room in the house. It is the most cluttered and most blah room. Before I would paint and then I would love it. We can NOT paint... so do you guys have some ideas.... I had this thought of doing a before and after photo shoot to show you guys.... What can I do to change my bedroom and not let it be the junkiest room in the house? Also, I want to make it look romantic and inviting. a place of rest, relaxation, and intimacy. Any ideas? Help me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

at 2 a.m.

(This post was originally written on August 3 at 1:33 in the morning. I am now posting it on August 15. I was up way past 2 last night and am struck at the irony of having written this almost 2 weeks ago when I was also up late. Last night I was caring for Samuel several times... ha ha, again, the irony.)

Okay, so it's 1:33 in the morning and Libby is yelling. Let me go attend to that and come back. Pacifier retrieved. I'm utterly exhausted and have been laying in bed staring at blogs all night. It's late. And I'm doing that stupid thing I do... compare. "Why don't I do this? Why don't I take my children there? If I was a better mom I would ______________" I kow most of you are thinking, "Um, Jenn don't you touch on this subject a LOT?" Yeah, I still keep trying to beat this thing down but it keeps rearing it's ugly head. I feel never "enough". Never complete. The perfectionist in me wants to do all, be all. The crazy thing is this, it would serve me better to sleep right now but I know I can't. Instead I'm sitting, crying in bed and pouring out my heart to what, a computer screen? Or maybe all you morning coffee drinkers? I guess it's technically Friday so I will ask a question at the end of all this but until then you are forced to put up with my ravings of madness.... or maybe just a simple woman who makes life more complicated than it is. I'm just laying this all out on the table. Getting these things of my chest. I should probably burn this later(hard to do when it's online)... but I made myself a deal when I started this blog... I'm going to be who I am. I am not going to pretend to be someone I am not. That might have sounded redundant but what I am trying to say is that I want to be honest, open, and real. I'm not pretending to have it all together... because I don't. I covet control...of my life, of other people. I want things to run smoothly. I hate dealing with pain, suffering, weakness, brokeness, etc. My concern is that maybe I'm saying too much. Maybe it's just so late that I'm willing to share the stuff I hide before... but I'm tired of hiding. Tired of hiding my imperfections like some type of chunky concealer that is failing to do it's job. My mom use to tell me that every hour after midnight was like having a couple of drinks, meaning you start to lose your inhibitions, etc. I haven't been drinking but I'm losing those inhibitions. I'm making myself vulnerable... something I hate to do, because I've been so hurt before, but here I go again....

Factors: the things heavy on my mind: AKA: struggles, weaknesses, worries, fears, etc.

Money struggles- I am not saying this so that people start a collection. It was just especially difficult today. Which in all truth is ridiculous because God has been providing for us in CRAZY ways. We've been given money unexpectedly time and again. right now we have no income. Well, let me restate that, it's been several years of little to no income and it's starting to wear on me. I'm tempted to look at other's homes, lives, cars, clothes, etc. and wish or think, "I want that (said with the inflection of the woman on Napolean Dynamite.) Today, it just about broke me. Mike lovingly comforted me that we're going to be all right but we were scraping up money to pay rent... and I was just mad. "Why the hell are we doing this? When is enough, enough?" We had been living off the sale of our home and now school loans. We had planned on some loan money coming in several weeks ago and just found out today that it won't be here till the end of the month. I keep telling God that I know He's faithful. We're doing what He asked us to do. I know we're where He wants us to be. Sometimes though, it's just hard. It's hard to trust Him. Hard to believe that He is who He says He is. Please don't tell me to go start selling something. Please don't give me ideas or suggestions or tell me what Mike "needs" to do. Believe me we've been preached at a lot. That's why I'm praying this job thing goes through for Mike. that's why I'm trying to save money and do things differently. Right now, though, as uncomfortable as it is at times we are doing what God has told us to do. It's just hard to lay down my life at times. I'll want a cute outfit for the kids or some cool toy for them, etc. etc. Or let's be honest some type of crafting supply or book, etc. I keep praying and asking God to give me wisdom and help me discern my needs from my wants. Starbucks is not a need, it's a want... but I'm blessed with many gift cards to go there (thank you!)

House- So do we move and try to save money? Where can we live that's safe? We like the area where we live and are so comfortable with the space... but what does God want? Do we move in the city where it's cheaper but more potentially "dangerous"? Do we stay and trust God for the provision? Decisions are coming up that we need to make in the next couple of months, we need to decide if we'll stay another year or go....

Baby- For those of you who don't know, I had been wanting to have another baby since November of last year (2006). Crazy, yes. Absolutely. Do we have money... no? We do have insurance coverage. Mike and I have gone back and forth on the idea of bringing another child into the world. The funny thing is we have never had the opportunity to "plan" before, God just let it be. It's weird actually having to think about when would be a "good time". I went through so much with my last pregnancy/birth/baby but I love children and pray that we will someday in God's good and perfect timing will have more. It's a trusting God issue. sometimes I get afraid and think, "What if I'm pregnant?" I really can get freaked out by it. But so far, no pregnancy and we're trying to wait until... I don't know when. But for now, we're waiting. And yeah, I know my kids can make me crazy... but I love them...and yet in my insane moments think, "how could I handle one more?" Complex.

Weight- One of the reasons I would like to wait (on getting pregnant) is to deal with my health.... and to lose weight. Oh this struggle of mine. I try and try and get frustrated and give up. I feel very motivated for a time and then just forget about it. I feel afraid that I can't change. Afraid that I will always "be like this". It is such a seriously deep struggle for me. sure, I could lose weight fast by doing weird diets, etc. but I want a lifestyle change. I exercise regularly but it's not enough. So much of it is my heart. I turn to food instead of God for comfort. I'm stressed so I eat. I'm sad so I eat. I'm angry so I eat. Catch the pattern? I need a heart change.

Panic Attacks- Oh these sad but true issues. I really struggle with panic attacks. Right now I'm on no medication for anxiety or depression but we'll see how that pans out. It's horrible when they occur. It can be over something big or small. My chest tightens my breathing becomes labored, I feel like I'm going to die, and I can barely move or function. My body goes into fight or flight mode. this has been a re-occuring struggle since Libby's (my sister's) death. Sometimes I can go weeks without having one. Sometimes it's a couple times of day. I try and fight them. I repeat Scripture to myself and pray out loud. Sometimes it helps and honestly, sometimes it doesn't. I know God is bigger than my fears and I tell myself that often.

Church- We're going to a new Church. We still need to tell our former church that we're switching. Awkward. Hard. Uncomfortable. Our home group really disbanded last month but we feel awkward telling them we're trying someplace knew. They were so good and kind to us. Mike and I are longing for community and I think we've found a new home church for us. We feel guilty leaving our old church because we really liked it. We prayed about whether we needed to "stick it out" and if God was really calling us to go. We feel led to go. confirmation after confirmation... but still it's another change.

Suicide- You're probably thinking suicide? What's up with that? I'm revealing myself deeply here. I have long wrestled with the idea of suicide and have at times thought of ways to kill myself. Sounds terrible doesn't it? Before you all have me committed let me share the issue. Sometimes when the pain is too bad, too much I just want it all to end and stop. I just want to be with Jesus. I just want to see my sister again. I just want to meet my nephew. It's rough. It is. I know ending my life isn't the answer, at times it just seems a convenient way to make the sin, sadness, tears stop... but wouldn't I be creating that for so many others?... my family, friends, etc. I remember a time in my life when things would get so busy that I would pray to be in a bad car accident so I could be in the hospital and my life would slow down. Sometimes my life seems so crazy, hard, out-of-control that I just want it to slow down. I'm tired of being responsible, tired of doing what is right, etc. etc. Since my sister's accident/death I have stopped praying for a car accident... instead it tends to lean towards suicide. All that to say, Thankfully, this is not a struggle at the moment. But it's a fairly recent struggle. So pray for me if you think of it. This struggle seems especially hard during the winter months.

Grief- to follow-up. I have not stopped grieving. I don't think I'll ever stop here on earth. The pain is sooo much at times. I wish I could put it into words. It's like living my normal day to day life and something I remember just makes me stop. Maybe I found an old photo. Maybe it's just thinking about ice-cream (which always leads me to thinking of my sister). Maybe it's just seeing my daughter do something my sister used to do. It can be something simple or complex. Hearing someone on the radio who sounded like my sister's voice. A movie she used to love to watch. Because my sister was so vibrant and loved life it's hard not to find something that reminds me of her. I miss her so bad. There aren't words for it. I'll leave it at that.

So now, that I've let it all hang out, now that I'm sitting here vulnerable, I guess you see more sides of me. The ugly side, the weak side, the struggling side. But please know there is hope, even for me.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, "As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good."

Psalm 9:18, "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever."

Psalm 33:18, "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,"

Psalm 39: 2-8, "
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing [1] they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.

So though I be just a vapor, I know my hope is in God. And this vapor is going to continuing seeking, trusting, and knowing God for the rest of her days.

I hope I didn't put any fear or alarm in you. I just ask for prayer. I ask for your understanding. I'm being vulnerable with you and trusting that this was the right thing to be at this time.

I also hope that by exposing myself you can realize that you're not alone with whatever your struggling with. You are not alone. God walks beside you and is with you. I hope that you realize we all have problems, and weaknesses, and struggles. My hope is that somehow by sharing I can make your load a lighter or encourage you in some way. Blessings on you dear friends.

Monday, August 13, 2007

When All Hell Breaks Loose...

It's been one of those days that I wish I could have just skipped. Bear in mind that to you this day is not going to probably sound that horrible or dreadful but to me my emotions kept me feeling like a woman on the brink of insanity. Let me also say that I am aware that I have so MUCH to be grateful for. That I'm a blessed woman and this is mostly an over reaction.

With all that being said, I really lost it today. I lost what little of my mind that I had left. The kids were fine this morning but it was just those little things. I started the day off feeling panicky and out of control. Mike helped me so much by hanging up some pictures and installing a broom and mop holder in the kitchen pantry. It was just a feeling of general stress and being overwhelmed. Samuel had an appointment with his physical thereapist at 11:30 today. Mike was running around and gathering dirty laundtry to be taken to the laundromat. I was bathing the kids before Lori (the therapist) arrived. I felt discouraged by the words that were meant to be encouaraging. Samuel hasn't made much progress. The good thing is this means his monthly appointments with her will be moved to weekly (the desire of my heart). But I was still sad and frustrated. Samuel just doesn't want to walk yet. Lori is a wonderful means of encouragement. She's a Christian and she's also a part of our church. I can tell she really cares about my son and is really working with him to help him him walk.

Libby was supposed to be napping during this time but was yelling and screaming "booger" through the monitor. I grabbed her and finished the session with Lori and Samuel. He went down for a nap and I spent the next hour and a half trying to coax Libby into eating her PB&J. Left me frustrated. She finally went down for a nap (without lunch). I made myself lunch and tried to finish knitting a scarf. Samuel wakes up. I feed him and manage to keep knitting while passing graham crackers to him to munch. I'm tired, my head hurts and I feel overwhelmed. I need to get groceries. I need to make sure I have everything for the girls' spa night (tomorrow). I try to put Samuel down again. No luck. He and Libby are both screaming. I get them and try to coerce Libby to eat her sandwich. Discipline soon follows. Samuel knocks over the cup of tea I had been trying to drink since 9 in the morning. Thankfully it's cold (it's now 4 p.m.) but I had still hoped to some how finish it. The remains of the tea are all over the diaper bag and carpet. Libby's sandwich remains untouched. Mike's on his way home with his brother John in tow. They were just getting back from the airport.

I don't remember what the final straw was but I left the kids in my husbands' able and willing hands and walked out the door. Into my car. Tears streaming down my face. What is my problem? Why can't I keep it together? I feel so out of control. I feel alone, frustrated and forsaken. After a good conversation with a friend the tears subside. She's encouraged my heart by her listening and understanding. She doesn't offer pat answers or make excuses or even tell me I'm wrong. She just reminds me that it's okay to be desperate. That I'm not the only one who has asked these questions of God. She encouraged me to look at Psalm 73 and kind of soak in it for a while. I hung up the phone feeling a breath of grace. I had two unsucessful attempts at my errand. I was trying to get my nose pierced and the places I went didn't do it or were closed. Pierced nose you might ask? It's not a whim. I've been wanting to for about 7 years now and I decided for my 27th birthday that was what I was going to do. So, now I know who I need to call and make an appt. with....

I spilled soup on my white blouse. I still have a screaming headache. But somehow I know it's going to be all right. I still have groceries to buy and I still feel sad and depressed and forlorn, but I am reminded that I am not forsaken. I have been questioning God lately. Wondering where He was when my sister died. Wondering why my son had to come prematurely. Wondering where certain people were when I desperately needed them. I've been jealous of others, comparing myself with their lives and situations. Frustrated that they don't experience a son who has yet to walk or really talk at 18 months. Afraid because I wonder if God can really save me from myself. Is He big enough to hold me in the storms? Is He strong enough to deal with my weaknesses? Is He able? Will He be there when I need Him? Can He truly heal me?

This is my answer... I know that I've put it on my blog before but I need it again...

Psalm 73
1A psalm of Asaph.
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong. [a]
5 They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity [b] ;
the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance. [c]
11 They say, "How can God know?
Does the Most High have knowledge?"
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always carefree, they increase in wealth.
13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;
in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been plagued;
I have been punished every morning.
15 If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise, O Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

So amazingly enough, even when all hell breaks loose in my heart. He is there. I am not forsaken. I don't have all the answers. I doubt I ever will. But I am continuing to put my hope in Him. I have hope that He can change me, heal me, and hopefully make me more into His image.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Are you missing Fridays?

The past two Fridays have slipped by without me posting my usual "advice question"... so now that it's already Sunday I'm going to try and catch up. I'm going to ask two questions to make up for lost time.

What is your best hospitality tip? This could mean how you prepare for a company/party/dinner or a cleaning tip in preparation. It could also be a favorite recipe for appetizer or a fun theme you enjoy.

Do you have any special traditions as a family- one that would be up for sharing? It could be a special plate you use for special occasions, a morning wake-up song, etc.

I'm looking for ideas to become a better hostess as well as traditions to use in my family/home. I hope you had a great week-end. I sure did. We had Michelle and Jeff come visit. It was a great time!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Being brave.

Okay, so I'm being brave even writing this knowing that there are menfolk out there reading my blog. So men, feel free and released and even encouraged NOT to continue reading this. But in case it's too much to resist I will try and "edit" this portion. But really you don't want to hear about this.

I had a women's appt. You know what I mean ladies. That special yearly exam where you get to feel like someone is checking you out as if you were a Buick. What's going on in there? Awkward. Doubly awkward since I don't know the medical profession up here and I have to choose someone that's on our insurance. I was a good girl and made the appointment without any prompting. No one reminded me or encouraged me, etc. I just called and set up the appt. Here's the deal... no female doctors in the whole practice. Yikes. Honestly the only guy I want touching me is my husband. I really miss my midwife in VA. Debbie was the best. So here I am thinking some random male is going to be checking my body way out... aaaggghh.

Mike prayed with me several times. Encouraging me. Comforting me. He's so loving. so today I went and I brought my knitting with me. I knit in the waiting room. I knit in that oh so comfortable and fashionable "gown" and sheet they give. And to my relief a beautiful Japanese woman walks in... and it's she that does my exams! I was so happy to have a female doctor. She smiled when she saw me knititng and commented on my efficiency of using my time. I told her it's a nice way to make use of my time and also was honest and said, "it helps me keep from getting too nervous". She laughed. In fact it was funny I kept her laughing throughout our time together, which is pretty impressive when you consider the types of "exams" I was receiving.

Mike took me out to lunch at chick-fil-a (one of my favorite treats) as a prize for being such a good, big girl. I even got an oreo milkshake :) He had taken me to the doctors and took the kids to Target during my exam. He also had bought me a Target gift card as an award. Forget cookies or stickers, I get fun prizes!

So doing something like this may not mean anything big to you but I was fighting panic attacks all morning and the whole way over to the medical practice. And the moment I got in the elevator I was flooded with peace. I trusted God. He heard my pleas. He answered my prayers (for a female doctor) and showed kindness to me.

We serve a good God. Who is faithful in small things and big things, who even cares about womanly exams...
By the way, my blood pressure was great.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Morning Reflections.

I woke up this morning to my son screaming in my ear. Screaming through the monitor. For a while it was actually a part of the dream I was having and then slowly very slowly I realized it wasn't a dream; it was my son. So I woke up abruptly with a raging headache and pulled myself out of bed. I got to the kid's bedroom and listened. Not a peep. I opened the door and could see him peacefully sleeping. What a mean prank. I get back in bed. He starts yelling again. It's like he knows the moment I'm in bed. So now I'm sitting downstairs with a few minutes of wake-up time before the kids wake. My headache is still there and I can hear the rain outside.

I had been trying to contemplate why I have such a bad headache and then I remembered. I had cried myself to sleep last night; missing my sister so bad I could hardly breathe. It doesn't go away. The pain of loss is still fresh, still present, still heavy on my mind. Sometimes I'm able to push it back, to keep it under control. Other moments overwhelm me too much to not give in. It is often when I am lying in bed talking to Mike that I feel vulnerable enough to cry. I still can't cry as hard as I want to or as long as I need to like I could when she first died. Now I feel more like a fish gulping for air but I can control the body-wracking type sobs. I hold it in. Mike encourages me not to but I don't let it out. It's as though I fear that if I do the grief would be all-consuming and would never let me go.

I often think of the cousins my children are missing. first there was Sam. I imagine him loving my daughter and them being the best of friends. I know my sister loved children and I know she probably would have had at least one more by now, if not two. It's hard to imagine at times what life would have been like if she lived but I think so often of the ways I'm robbed by her not living. I missed her like crazy at the family reunion. I miss not talking to her on the phone. She always had a way of encouraging me and whenever I was crying knew how to make me laugh.

One of the things that continually breaks my heart is Libby (my daughter) having no friends. Everytime we are in the doctor's office or go to a play ground and she sees children she says, "my friends." She has Samuel which is a wonderful help but she has no one her age or older to play with or learn from. I'm almost tempted at times to put her in the nursery school at church during the week just so she could spend several mornings a week for a couple hours with other children. I have no idea how much it costs but it would be nice just for her to experience being around other kids.

When Mike is finished with his Master's the main plan would be to go to the U.K. (United Kingdom) for his Ph.D. In thinking about it we have discussed a little bit the idea of our children's education. When asked by someone if we would homeschool while we were over there I realized that I didn't want to if there was no community for it. I want my children to be able to interact with other kids. I don't want them to be alone and isolated in another country. It's very strange to even THINK about. We probably won't even be over there till the fall of '09 at the earliest. Which would put Libby as an almost 5 year old and Samuel at age 3 1/2.

As you can see my thoughts are scattered about this morning. I better make a cup of tea before this day wears on. My mom recently gave me a cute mug that has a picture of a tea bag on it and it says "Steep". I love it, especially as a tea drinker.

May this day be a day of peace. May this day be filled with joy in spite of the gloomy weather. May this day be a day of rest.

Monday, August 06, 2007

California Dreamin.

This picture is probably of Mexico or elsewhere but if fit the mood.

So, I'll be in California soon. Soon being in two weeks and two days. I can't wait. Right now I'm sitting in a very loud boisterous Panera and attempting to read my book and study and plan "leading" tomorrow night's discussion. Ha ha. I'm not even finished reading and I'm super distracted. I also feel nervous. It's been a while since I've "led" anything. With the exception of crazy children, I don't feel much of a "leader" and even then I wonder who is really in control.

I will be flying out to California to spend some time with my friend and little "sister" Kelsey. I am imagining some long, long uninterrupted conversations filtered intermittenly with coffee from Starbucks and lots and lots of laughter. I am also looking forward to time to clear my head and think. To reevaluate and pray. To let myself relax and unwind and sleep.

I do realize though that the likelihood is that I'm going to miss the kids like crazy and Mike way more than that. It's been helpful to have those moments away from it all and to realize what I really love- my family and to be thankful that I have them. It is also helpful to know and see myself apart from the roles of mommy and wife. to remember that first and foremost I belong to God and to dwell on my first love, Jesus Christ.

With all that said I am packing the "bare minimums"- sunglasses, knitting bag (I've recently taken up knitting), some books, and my laptop, some clothes and flip-flops...

God is so gracious and kind to give me such a lavish break and such a wonderful husband to support me leaving and encouraging me to rest.

Until then I will return to my book and try not to be California Dreaming...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

One earring. One flip-flop.

One of those days. At the beginning of the day we had some friends over for breakfast. Tosha made the yummiest pastries ever and we enjoyed them with eggs and bacon. I realized as soon as David and Tosha were over that I was just wearing one earring. Yep, I had taken the other one out a couple of days ago and realized I wasn't able to take the other one off becaue it was attached funnily. So that means when I was out last night at Trader Joe's and running other errands I was wearing only one earring.

Later this afternoon I discovered I was only wearing one flip-flop. Am I crazy? No. Not terribly. Okay, just a bit. I had been chasing the kids around and things were getting nutty and Libby's been acting up today. In a moment of attempted relaxation I kicked off a flip-flop meaning to kick off the other one. Libby had managed in that moment of kicking off the flip-flop to be playing with a toy that spins. Well, this spinning toy managed to wrap itself around Samuel's beautiful curls. I had to cut his hair. He was screaming. For all you panicking people out there I didn't have to cut much, his curls are there still. I just had to cut a SMALL piece. But still... not what I was planning. so I realized maybe an hour later that I had been only wearing one flip-flop the rest of the day.

Oh the life of motherhood. A headache. a neck ache. children screaming. Throwing tantrums. Disciplining again and again. Sweet kisses and little chubby hands wrapped around the neck. "Mommy, I love you's" in my ear. Toys scattered on the floor. Furniture slowly destroyed. Hair appts. carefully planned around times when someone can watch the kids. Diaper changes. Wet bathroom floors from baths gone wild. No make-up. Forgetting to shower, eat, or even get out of PJ's at times. Picking up the toys. Cleaning the dishes. Kissing the boo-boos. Praying together. Cleaning up yucky stuff. Left over cheerios glued to the highchair. Another brand new shirt destroyed within 5 minutes of wear. Little hands tugging on my skirt. Little teeth biting on my hand. Little feet kicking in opposition. Oh the madness and oh the joy. Contradictions flow out of mommyhood. Asking the question, "Where am I? Who am I? What on earth am I doing?" Proceeded by "Thank you God for these little ones." Make-up on the floor. Attempts at eating play-doh arrested in action.

so, what I can say. One earring. One flip-flop. One crazy family.

What happened to my "Angel"?

So, several Sundays ago was a bit of a day for us with Libby. Mike and I woke up to find her covered in my expensive make-up... the stuff Mike bought me for Christmas (Bare Minerals). It was also on the bathroom floor. Mike woke up and was quite worried when he saw her face... "What's on your face?" I don't remember if she answered or not, I still had my earplugs in. That would have been enough for the day. I cleaned up the bathroom floor and wiped off her face with baby wipes.

But it gets much worse.

That night, I don't remember what I was doing. Mike was in the living room with the kids and I think I was making dinner. I was in the kitchen. And I hear this, "Libby, NO!" But it was too late. She had taken a SHARPIE marker and drew lines on our new red couch. I was so frustrated. She was disciplined. Mike had told her she may not have the sharpie and she disobeyed. It was hard to explain to her though why the couch was a bad idea. She had never drawn on anything before that wasn't paper. I had been so excited thinking that my child was not destructive. There goes that idea!

She's been throwing toys, books, etc. What happened to my girl?

Here is one funny thing though. When she went to look at herself she stood on her bench on tip-toe. Well, it showed the ball of her foot and her little toes which ended up looking like a doggy's paw. The next day she came back and saw her stool with the doggy print on it and said, "Clue. A clue." She thought it was one of the clue's from Blue's Clue's. Cracked me up.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Body Fluids.

Warning: You are to be warned. If you are eating do not read further. If you are about to eat do not read further. If you get grossed out, do NOT read further. Consider yourselves warned.

The thing about my kids is they have a hard time keeping things to themselves. Especially when they get carsick. On the car ride down to VA Samuel threw up everything he had possibly consumed in the past week. Thank God Alexis was with us! We stopped at Starbucks and I stripped the boy and threw the clothes away- they could not be salvaged! And Mike and I bathed him in the sink. But the car stunk so badly. I thought I would pass out and it was everything Alexis could do to keep from turning green. she had her head buried in her pillow but I know it wasn't enough! We were able to keep Samuel hydrated and so all was well.

The ride back... we stop at dinner for Chick-fil-A. Libby desperately wants some ice-cream. I told her to eat her chicken and fries first. Well, she tried. And then it all came up. Two chairs and the floor... completely covered. GrOSS!!!! Why didn't anyone tell me being a mom could be so gross! After she was sick she begged for ice-cream. She didn't get the fact that throwing up elimnated the dessert option.

Today...Libby pushed Samuel back into the doll house. He banged his head. I first thought the crying was from the pain and then I saw it. Blood on his curls. He had scraped the top of his head. Nothing that a wet paper towel couldn't cure but I could hardly handle it. It's not that I'm normally squeamish... I just think I want everyone's bodily fluids to be kept to themselves!

I do look forward to sharing some pictures of the time with Alexis, our trip in VA and family pics, etc.... Another time. When I don't feel so nauseous.