Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Problem with Believing Lies.

I am starting to wonder if there is something truly wrong with me. What I mean by that is that I think I have believed a lot of the Enemy's lies- hook, line, and sinker. I've always been a kind of gullible gal. Quick to believe what anyone says. But lately, I'm starting to realize that some of the assumptions I've always made are incorrect and are in fact very wrong.

Now for those of you who don't struggle with people pleasing (fear of man), perfectionism (not accepting you're an imperfect creature), being a control freak (trying to play God) then you will think wow, she's just a really anal retentive mess... but if you find yourself relating on some level or another... read on.

I have what I like to call a Martha Stewart Complex.... what I mean by that is I get a hundred really great ideas. Creative, inspiring, whimsical, cute, thoughtful, etc. The problem is unlike Martha Stewart I don't have a huge team to implement these plans. But probably like Martha Steward I expect others to fall in line with my ideas of what I'm thinking... and I get my priorities jacked up. I tend to focus on the idea of something rather than the people. I get caught up in making a delicious meal... and an attractive table, as well as prettily wrapped gifts and place cards as opposed to knowing that I'm overdoing it (or practically killing myself) in order to obtain an image. And the problem is that everything might look pristine on the outside it's in the inside where I'm having a melt down. Not only that but people (especially my husband) would rather have cold cereal and have a happy, joyful meal, then a 5 course meal with a grumpy, frustrated wife.

I overwhelm myself and overload myself with expectations. Often these expectations do not come from others... but myself. I'm my own worst critic. In a day I will criticize myself over and over if everything isn't just right. I can clean the bathroom, feed the kids, do laundry, write cards, play with the kids... and feel like it's not enough if I didn't accomplish "everything else"... such as a great dinner (or any dinner) or working with the kids on something specific (bible memorization, fun songs and crafts, learning how to read, you get the gist).

I think I need to be the most creative, capable, thoughtful, loving, caring, hard-working person ever. I want the kids to always be clean, fed, and attractive (cute clothes, hair fixed, etc.) I want my blog to be regularly posted and updated with cute pictures and cunning thoughts. I expect my car to be cleaned and vacuumed and wiped out. I never want to eat fast food (ha)... I want to exercise. (ha ha) I want the house to be impeccable. I want everything to be clean, organized, labeled, fixed, and well, perfect. I want to be sure Michael always gets his physical therapy and the kids get their meds and that I'm working on solid foods with the twins. And that the kids get outdoor play and plenty of music, art, and creativity. And then of course there's ME- I need to grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally.... so I need to read the Bible, pray, fellowship, read academic books, history, biography, philosophy, and other books with a focus on spirituality (preferably the Puritans).... And then there's being a wife... but I'll stop now. Okay, are you guys following me?... Doesn't this sound ridiculous....

It should. Because it is.

I get so wrapped up in my worth being found in what I've done, what I can do, and what I'm capable of.

I find myself DAILY needing to hang up the wonder woman cape and say, it's okay to be me. Jesus Loves Me. He doesn't love me for getting things done or for being efficient or for trying so hard. He doesn't look at my to-do list and say, "Why aren't you striving more?" In fact His words are a far cry from my own!

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

So, sorry to disappoint you but I'm putting my Martha Stewart self on the back burner and instead will take up rest, trust, hope, and maybe even Joy! Hoping that you can do the same. Rest in God's love and delight in you! Rest in knowing He knows you and loves you. He doesn't grow faint or weary and He is ABLE to carry ALL your burdens! So lay them at His feet.

I'm thinking of just waking every day... giving thanks to Him and then saying, "Lord, what do YOU want for me and my day? I lay down what I want... I want to have your eyes, your focus, and your purpose."

So Happy New Year to you and yours. Blessings on this New Year. Thank God he loves the wanna-be-perfectionists... and that He is still working, even in me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ears, Tears, & Birthdays

After much crying and screaming the truth comes out... Michael has a double ear infection. Poor baby. He's usually the most content and joyful baby so when he's yelling something's wrong. He's on amoxicillin and on the mend. still fussy but who's going to blame him.

Samuel managed to get some home fragrance, Romantic Cinnamon Christmas oil, on his hands as he attempted to open the bottle. he then rubbed it into his eyes. That was fun flushing his eyes out as he's screaming. Thanks dad for the help! The oil managed to make Samuel and I break out with red splotches all over. yes, very attractive.

I managed to fall asleep at 4:30 p.m. on the couch yesterday. I then crawled into bed at 6 p.m. and slept until I needed to nurse. And then slept until 9:30 or 10 a.m. Yes, I'm still exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for a week!

So, Mike is gone for the night and I'm taking the opportunity to burn some candles, work on crafts, write thank you notes, and just sit and be. I know I need to hop into bed soon because two sleep deprived parents is NOT going to work tomorrow :)

On a happy note:

Today is my Father-in-law's birthday! Happy Birthday Dad/Daddy Mike/My Mike! We thank God for you! We are blessed to have you in our lives and to have you as an example of fatherhood & manhood.

Tomorrow is my Dad's Birthday! Happy Birthday Dad/Gwampa! I am so thankful and blessed that you're my dad and for instilling me a desire to love God, be real, embrace life (even when it sucks) and to be a ragamuffin. I'm also thankful I inherited your creativity & adventurousness and not your spelling ability-although that's creative too :) ha ha. I love you so much! You are my dad and I wouldn't change you for the world! I love you and am proud to be your daughter!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

quick update

Mike was sick throwing up yesterday. He was really, really unwell.

We went to the E.R. yesterday to get his packing removed. The incision looks clean.

He's feeling better today. Tired and worn out but keeping food and fluids down.

I'm burnt out and exhausted and don't think I can do another dang thing. I managed to hurt/twist my hip and knee (on my left side) and my right foot is still really hurting. I feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I'm sad to have canceled a family party last night... and I don't think we'll make a family event today. But the way we're feeling... I don't think it would be good to be around anyone.

So we're resting today. Literally in bed chilling out. I think a little back to the future movie watching and a little Screwtape Letters reading... and some sleep are in order.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mersa Christmas and Ham Prayers.

Mersa Christmas Everyone! Or should I say Merry Christmas?

Mike and I landed in the E.R. last night at 11 p.m. He has a bought of Mersa and is on vicatin and strong antibiotics. I've been up since 4 a.m. He was very brave through a very painful lancing. I was glad to wish nurses and doctors and security guards merry christmas and blessed to have a rite aid across the street where we could pick up Mike's prescriptions.

All in all it's been a great Christmas. Fun time. Family. Good food. We had a big breakfast of coffee, juice, eggs, bacon, sausage, and cinnamon rolls... thanks Annie for the rolls!

The kids are enjoying their gifts. They were few but I think it makes it ever more fun and special. Not Christmas overload. In particular Libby is loving her princess tea set and Samuel has blocks and is building like crazy... and dinos that are everywhere. Mike bought me a watch and a lovely chunky metal and onyx like bracelet... and a massage from the kids :)

I got him some books he wanted... and a few other prizes (from the kids of course).

I prayed earlier this week for a ham. I really wanted a good yummy ham... you know the kind with a honey crust... Well, some one from the church brought us a gorgeous ham. Completely out of the blue. They didn't know my prayer. Isn't it amazing how God cares and even answers ham prayers?

I'm looking forward to gathering around the table tonight with my family and Mike's family and enjoying turkey, ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, yeast rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn fruit salad, a green salad, and apple pie for dessert. Super yum.

All in all, it's been a wonderful Christmas. We are blessed! Mike is recovering and will hopefully spend this afternoon resting.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Needing Jesus.

I lie in bed unable to sleep. It's nearing 1 a.m. and I've been up since 4 a.m. So you think I'd be sleeping but I'm not. My mind has been heavy and today has been a mix of a good and difficult day. Church was great and I felt tremendously encouraged by receiving prayer from many people. I was so thankful when at the end of the message they asked if any felt burdened or heavy hearted to come and receive prayer. I felt like it was me that they were talking to.

I feel so desperate to see God move and at work. This waiting. This slow process of trying to see God in the midst of so much turmoil, anxiety and fear. I want to believe God. I know the truth and I'm trying to base my actions on the truth, not how I feel.

Somedays it is literally putting one step in front of the other.

I feel like I'm doing well and then I speak sharply to one of the kids. I finish reading the Word and I go downstairs and complain about something. The worst is being in the car and singing worship music til the guy in front cuts me off and then I yell, "Jerk!"

What's that all about?

Oh the struggle and fight of being in this body. Of dying to the flesh and living by the Spirit. It's a battle.

Christmas is coming. I'd rather it not. I've done Christmasy things and could congratulate myself in terms of the fun things I've accomplished but I think I'm aching for more and am empty inside. It's the need to pause and be reminded what this time is about. It's rejoicing in this beautiful amazing Savior, our God in all His fullness becoming flesh... and restoring us in relationship to the Father.

Emmanuel... God with us. He knows fully and intimately our pain and struggles. He knows what we face. And He loves us.

O Sweet Savior, Come in Me
How I long to be with thee.
Dwell inside this broken being
Give me eyes, eyes of seeing.

You alone are all I need
My everything to be complete.
I cast myself down at your feet
Use this dead and lowly seed.

Grow me, make me truly thine
I am the branch and you the vine
I cling to you but you hold me
Let me see your glory divine.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What We've Been Up To.

Gingerbread House. Thanks Jill!

Final Exam.
Decorating Gingerbread men. Thanks Debi.

I have been blessed in the midst of not being able to do much to have people come and do fun things with me and the kids or just the kids. I made candy-cane reindeer with them yesterday and "Snow" pictures out of miniature marshmallows. It's been fun to do crafts with them. Mike's final is done. Can I get an Amen?! Yay! My foot's doing much better. I can still tell when I "push it" but I feel significantly better.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

American Auntie.

Thea & Elias.

One of the joys of having a close friendship with my friend Sara from Sweden is getting to be an American "Auntie". Sara and I have been friends since 2000. We met in Australia and started to become friends there but it was in East Timor where we served together that we became very close. Sleeping in the same quarters... laughing at the mosquitoes.... breaking plates with the German Ms. Hildegarrd. Eating cheese and crackers. Savoring oreos. Singing Christmas Carols in the heat of the jungle while traveling through guerilla warfare in the mountain villages... we've had our share of adventures.

Sara has walked with me through so much. She's been to America for my wedding and just recently after the birth of the twins. She has often been willing to lay down her life and come to my aid during times of crisis... her willingness means so much to me. And I've had the joy to visit her... remember trying to find a bathroom in Denmark? Spending time on the island off the coast of Goteborg. Eating your grandmother's Cinnamon Buns... mmm. And then Mike and I coming after my sister Libby died. And you let me cry. And you hugged me. And you took me to beautiful places. And you felt Libby kick inside me.

And then sharing with you in the joy of your wedding. I was so honored to photograph your wedding... and your beautiful daughter, Thea.

And now little Elias. He's beautiful Sara. I love my little niece and nephew. I am so thankful for your friendship... a friendship that was born over 8 years ago... and now we're married and between us we have 6 kids!

I love you girl and am so proud of you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bath Time.

Ian Christoph
Michael MacLeod

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Books I love.

Okay I think I picked up this book at least 6 times or so at Barnes & Noble and looked at every single page. And drooled and was inspired. Thankfully I had an amazon gift certificate and was able to purchase this and the creative family... and get free shipping. Did I score or what? I love the ideas in this book and it's helped me to stretch and think outside the box.

I'm well over halfway through this book. I don't really know what Amanda believes in terms of God/Theology but I love her desire to be with her kids and explore and be imaginative together. I'm really enjoying the book and am looking forward to applying some of her ideas but in my own way and for my family. Looking forward to showing some results of this book... when things settle down. ha ha.

Oh what sweet relief. I need to be reminded that I don't need to be perfect. God is perfect. I am not. This book has brought deep encouragement to my soul and a healthy reality check and reminder that I need to STOP striving!

Let me give you an excerpt.

"Perfectionism wears many faces, includes all personality styles and cuts across cultural lines. It doesn't always line up canned goods in alphabetical order on the kitchen shelf, wash a car in freezing weather, shine shoes when they don't need it, refuse to leave the house if one hair is out of place, or insist that a report be edited endlessly. Perfectionism is more subtle thatn that. It has to do with unreasonable expections-how we belittle ourselves and others for having human (we translate that word as 'weak') thoughts and emotions, inconsistenet faith or less-than-excellent plans, accomplishments, families, bodies or dreams.

The problem is that when we try too hard to make it just right, eventually we get bone tired-and then we become candidates for physical, mental, emotional, social and/or spiritual burnout. Perfectionism and increased anxiety are kissing cousins. When in active mode, the cousins tend to alienate others with their overworking, overdoing, over-caring, over-giving and trying-too-hard behavior. It's ironic. In the push to have and be the best, we often fail to enjoy life, God and others.

The Relief of Imperfection is for women who try to do everything, anything or at least something perfectly in order to make sure their lives turn out the way they should. It's for the many caring women (me included) who believe-at least at some level- that it is possible to accomplish textbook-perfect emotional responses if we just do life right. This books offers hopeful relief for those of us who attempt to be more than excellent in our marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, church or ccommunity involvements and spirituality."

This book is to dangerous for the common person. my father purchased this book for me. It's a book to help me break out of the bounds of myself and just write. Not let myself get bent in knots trying to "do it right". (See previous book). It's also not just about writing but about living. About a third through and am loving it. Thanks Dad for the book!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Learning to Laugh.

I've always been one of those people who have taken themselves too seriously and taken things way too personally. So I'm learning to let go. Let go of my unrealistic expectations I have of myself. (Yes, I ordered my Christmas cards two weeks ago but have not mailed or even addressed them. ) I'm learning to laugh. Laugh at the irony of my life... and the constant build up of things... or more how one thing after another seems to happen.

Samuel fell on blocks on Sunday and has a small cut and bruise on the corner of his eye area... not the eye itself but the part below the eyebrow (will post picture soon). Kids are constantly bumping on my foot. Libby fell and scratched up her arm today. Ian has a blow out... all over clothes, etc.

But I have so much to be grateful for. I didn't break my knee or hip. Mike not working has enabled him to help me with the kids. God is meeting our needs. Our caregroup is bringing us meals. The Napiers got us some things from Costco (thanks guys)... and God is providing in amazing ways through some amazing people. And then there's the obvious: clothes, coffee, shelter, warmth, cute socks, Twizzlers, books, a Christmas tree with lights on it, beautiful children and a wonderful amazing husband.

Today is 39 in my 40 days. He is meeting our needs.

Mike was given an ESV Study Bible (which I wanted for Christmas) from a friend at church... and he let me have it. So I'm starting to read the Introduction to Ephesians. This is the first study Bible I've ever had. And of course I will share it with him... I'm just excited to study the Bible in more depth. (Thank you Wayne! Mike and I are excited to read it!)

Today, God brought me a friend who came by with a book... and a blessing inside- thank you Tambra!

I was feeling lonely yesterday and falling into self-pity and I just kept praying for God to change my heart and my attitude. And I got a good dose of truth from Mike: How blessed I am to have the people who have been helping me. And how being stuck sitting and laying around can make you feel low. And how I should focus on others and not myself.

I hate being needy. Especially because I feel like we're perpetually in a place of need. What about other people? I know other people are hurting and suffering. I tend to get caught up in the drama of my life and I need to stop and to look around and see how others need help and care. Okay, there's not much I can do physically but I can write encouragement or e-mail or PRAY for others.

I'm also knitting.

There. That's what's going on. The pain is getting much, much more bearable. I see the orthopedic guy tomorrow.

so hm, laughing more and letting go of that which isn't important. Yep, that's it.

While I was working on this post Samuel and I did photo booth on my laptop. So you could see his face. Looks a little more dramatic in person.

Friday, December 05, 2008

forget the beach.

Well, Libby and Samuel had been with my mother-in-law overnight so that Mike and I could focus on caring for the twins and my foot. Unfortunately, Libby has been throwing up all morning. Thank you Faf for caring for her! (and Samuel too)!

This means no beach.

Whoever said "life is a beach" doesn't know my family.

Another "7th" postponed. In March this year Samuel and I were both hospitalized. Last December 7th... Samuel was hospitalized and we found out were having twins (yes, in the same day).

Will we ever get a break?

Okay, please keep encouragement coming... we really need it!

More than just a broken foot...

I just realized from the angle of the picture that it looks like I injured my left foot.... well, it's actually the right. I can't drive. I've woken up in agonizing pain several times through the night.

It's interesting having physical and emotional pain at the same time. This week-end (the 7th) would have been my sister Libby's 26th birthday. I've been grieving all week. Just needing God in such a deep and desperate way right now.

Please pray for us. It's been a real hard week. Mike is officially out of a job. Yesterday with the foot injury and then the battery died in the van...and well, missing my sister more than words can say. I've experienced burn out this week but now I just laugh because as Mike puts it, "this is absurd". It really is.

I'm getting some blood work done this morning. So I'm fasting. Did I mention I'm hungry? And grumpy? :)

Hoping to still get away this week-end. We're hoping to go to Mike's parents beach house (thanks Faf & Daddy Mike (mom & dad!) I know I might be crawling up the steps but I think I need the ocean to heal. To heal my foot. To heal my heart. To heal my mind.

I'm so raw and sensitive right now. Emotionally, mentally, physically.

So would you guys please pray for me? And if you feel led could you drop me some encouragement? I really could use it.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bad to the bone.

So. What is going on in these pictures. I am showing you my latest development actually. I managed to fall into a hole and injure my foot. Actually one of my tendons snapped off a piece of bone in my ankle. So voila. I now have a splint and will be seeing an orthopedic doctor (you know foot doctor). I am trying to figure out how to use crutches... and also wondering how in the world I'm going to take care of the kids. Yes, these things are real challenges.

just when I figured things couldn't get much worse...