Saturday, June 27, 2009

article: The Great Mommy Escape.

My recent article on Ungrind.

I hope you moms out there find it encouraging.

Father's Day.

Last Sunday, on Father's Day I had the honor and privilege of honoring my husband, Mike, publicly at church. This is what I had said:



Today, I want to honor my husband Mike as a wonderful father, husband, son, student and friend. In the Bible it talks about giving honor to whom it is due... and this is long due.

Mike, when I take time to think about what we have been through and experienced in the last 7 years I am undone. I know you are not comfortable with being publicly honored but this isn’t entirely about you. It’s about God’s faithfulness to us. It’s about Him working in you and in me and in our family. It’s a testimony of God and His goodness. About hope instead of despair. About joy in spite of pain. About beauty for ashes.

You have stood by my side through so many trials and sorrows, hopes and joys. Where would I be without you?

Your continual reminder for me to put God first and to let go of everything else… to rest in God, to trust Him and put my Hope in Him… has brought great and deep joy in the midst of great and deep sorrow.

We never knew what we were getting into when we got married in September 2003. We had bought our first home and didn’t know that you would lose your job 3 months later. Your grandmother, Mom-Mom, would pass that first Christmas. You went back to school full time in January to finish your Bachelor’s. We would find out I was pregnant in February…. And that my sister, Libby, and nephew, Sam, would die in a car accident that March. We didn’t know 9 months after our first child, Libby, was born that I would get pregnant with Samuel. A complicated and difficult pregnancy…. Pre-term labor. Bed-rest. Multiple hospitalizations. Samuel, in the hospital for 5 weeks after his birth. Home on oxygen and an apnea monitor. We moved up to PA so you could pursue Graduate School at Westminster Theological Seminary. we had no idea that we would experience such extreme issues with Samuel. Watch him nearly die. See him hospitalized 10 times by the age of 2. You stayed with me while I was in and out of the hospital. You were there for each of the births of our children. Even driving from Philadelphia to be with me for the emergency c-section with the twins. We have shared the pleasure and stress of having four children in 3 and a half years and moving 6 times in 5 years.


You have always been willing to work at whatever job was necessary to provide for our family. Paper routes. Waiting tables. Working at a book-store or serving coffee at Starbucks… you always have and continue to work with excellence and purpose. You bless those around you with your kindness and gentleness and hard work.

You have prayed with me and walked with me through many dark valleys.
You comforted me in the midst of heart-break. You walked with me in the loss of my sister Libby, and nephew, Sam. You have spent countless nights holding me while I cried myself to sleep.

You helped me when I was on bed-rest during my pregnancies.

You are the most intelligent person I have ever met and yet you continue to remain humble. Willing to learn. Open to input and suggestions. Looking to the wisdom and counsel of others. You have made us, your family, a priority in the midst of going to Graduate School. You made it specifically a point not just to learn theology but to put into practice what you were learning. You sacrificed yourself for us but also for others who were in need… friends and fellow students. You showed me what it was to have an attitude of gratitude and to give thanks for all we have been given. You are dependable. Trustworthy. Loyal and honest. You are also so generous. Willing to give of your time, money, energy, and abilities.


You have changed diapers, done laundry, washed dishes, made breakfast. Bathed children. Cleaned up throw-up. Wiped noses. Dispensed medication. And yet you still have made time to make me laugh. Tickle and wrestle our children. Take the kids on dates.

We have experienced the trauma of seeing our children almost die on multiple occasions. We have spent countless times by the sides of our sons while they were in the ICU, when they were hospitalized after surgeries or for breathing issues… we have seen them intubated, with machines breathing for them, strapped down with wires, put on morphine. We have taken them to specialists and doctors and surgeons. We have ridden in ambulances. We have walked through Samuel being on oxygen for six months and are walking through Michael’s cleft palate, feeding tube, cranial shaping helmet. We know all about apnea monitors going off in the middle of the night. We have had three pre-mature babies. You have stayed in the hospital dozens of times for me, during my pregnancies, and with our 3 boys Samuel, Ian and Michael.

The thing I am most grateful for is your love and passion for our Savior, Jesus Christ. You continue to point me back to God and His faithfulness. Even in the midst of heartache and much suffering you would pray for me and display God’s love in such practical ways.

You are a faithful man. A wonderful husband, father, friend, son, brother, student, and employee.

I am proud and blessed to call you my husband and my best friend. Thank you for loving me and caring for us so well. Happy Father’s Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Days like this.

me and michael.




just finished exercising... great time for pictures.






I have to remind myself that I won't always smell like some mixture of Desitin and sun-screen. I won't always have to change diapers... or buckle them into car seats or feed them with a spoon. My kids are going to grow... and change... and leave. So I want to savor these moments. The random cheerio I find as I'm undressing for the night. The oatmeal clumps clinging to my hair. The smell of spit-up on my shoulder.

Some day life will be boring. The house will be clean and in order. The carpets cleaned. I will have time to paint my nails or take long showers. I will be able to serve others because my kids will be grown.

So, I know this season, just like all the others in my life, will pass. So savor. Drink deep. Enjoy the noise. The boisterous laughter. The loud chaos that surrounds me.

Play with the kids. Tickle. Laugh. Hug. Run. Chase. Drink some tea... and when it gets cold... pour it over ice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Latest.

The events of the last several weeks leave me feeling overwhelmed if I attempt to convey all that has happened :)

Good things.

My birthday was great. The VA Aquarium was fun. the kids loved the sea turtles and sharks and looking at all the fish. We had lunch at Chick-fil-A and were able to meet up with my aunt and cousins while the kids played. It was wonderful spending time with my family. I got some really great books I wanted.

i was surprised by my friend and adopted little sister Kelsey. She flew in on my birthday but got stuck in D.C. She surprised me in the morning... I came downstairs and there she was... all the way from CA! It was a wonderful trip, albeit too short (in my opinion) but we definitely made the most of it. Thanks Kelsey for coming and for surprising me. You and Mike did a great job keeping it from me!

the last couple of weeks have been full of doctors appts. Michael is now officially free and done with his helmet! Yay! Yesterday he was scheduled to have an MRI but it was canceled... again. They forgot to call and let us know that the insurance wouldn't process it. So I found out as I'm waiting in Day Surgery... waiting to see the anasthesiologist. A three hour visit... but the insurance got straightened out... and he was able to get some much needed medicine. And so we will re-schedule, again, his MRI. So, frustrating, but hey, insurance is finally re-instated.

My dear friends from Charlotte are in town. And we will get to keep Alexis for two week-ends!

I finally finished an article recently. It will get published on Ungrind on the 21st of this month. www.ungrind.org


Not so good things.

There are still some issues with Michael's health that we are trying to work through. There is still more testing and such that needs to be done. One of the major concerns is in regards to his eating by mouth and also his torticollis (Torticollis, or wry neck, is a condition in which the head is tilted toward one side, and the chin is elevated and turned toward the opposite side). If it doesn't improve in the next 4-5 weeks... the dysphagia and rehabilitation clinic would like to hospitalize him for 4-6 weeks... to do intense and rigorous, exercises and feedings with him. We would like to avoid that if at all possible. Of course we want whatever is best for him... but we would much rather have him home than in the hospital.

The suburban conked. We weren't sure what's going on.... but GOOD THING is a mechanic from our church checked it out and it's just in need of a new alternator. Yay!

My computer won't let me download more pictures at this time. I need to clear space or something. But I have all sorts of fun pictures I can't wait to share... and soon :)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Zoobilation.

During Spring Break this year we went to the zoo. What fun it was to bring our friend Hannah with us. We had a great time.







Wednesday, June 03, 2009

29.

Okay so it's just a little after midnight. I'm 29 and spoiled ROTTEN! I have already had friends give me gifts, take me out for meals and coffee... my fabulous in-laws had a special dinner for me on Sunday... fried chicken, mashed potatoes, baked apples, cole-slaw, and biscuits... topped off with ice-cream and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Not to mention their incredibly sweet and thoughtful gifts. Thank you mom and dad!

tonight. (or should I say last night? okay on Tuesday night) Libby got me flip-flops. Samuel gave me earrings. Ian and Michael gave me a sewing book I wanted. Mike took me out to dinner... we went through a thift store and found some great finds. And then we hit Starbucks... we talked and dreamed and planned.

Today (well, 8 or 9 hours from now) we will be going to the VA Aquarium. What a birthday. It's like birthday week.

Thank you God for your kindness towards me!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Last day at 28.



Okay, so tomorrow I'm going to celebrate my 29th birthday. Next year I will celebrate my second 29th birthday :) Ha ha.

I get really weird and sentimental about birthdays. It's as if everything I do is a reminder of the passing of time and I must make it count. It's how I get about New Year's. I don't know. It's like I smack up against a wall and realize I can never go back to that age again. I will never be 28 again. Just like I will never be 13 again.

Time passes in strange ways. Days can feel so long and full and never ending and yet the days turn into weeks and into months and into years. I never understood as a kid why adults said time went by fast... it felt like ages.

Someone explained it to me recently. The concept of time passing being relative. To my daughter, Libby, when I say Christmas is coming it will feel like forever for her. But she's only had 4 Christmases. Now I on the other hand have had 28. I've had so many years behind me that it will feel like a drop in the bucket when a month passes. To her though she's only experienced so many months so it feels longer. For her everything is still relatively new.

Sometimes I wish I could capture the wonder of being a child again. Really noticing the rain when it falls. Viewing things from their perspective makes life seem almost magical. Instead I'm quicker to notice the faults with the world rather than the joys. I notice the clouds instead of the silver lining.

I've been reading a lot lately. A book I'm keenly enjoying is by Joan C. Webb- The Relief of Imperfection. It's reminded me of so many important things.

"Coming to God with expectancy and faith will help us understand His love, experience self-worth and know the joy and freedom of transformation. God asks us to come out of hiding, risk revealing our pain and flaws, and trust Him for the future. In imperfect release, we find satisfaction and relief."


Accepting our imperfections and Christ's perfection.

One story in particular struck me, a woman was trying so hard to make a ministry happen. She went and talked her pastor. This was part of that conversation.

" 'What am I going to do?' I asked. 'Lauri, look at your hands,' he said. I did. 'Are there any nail prints in them?' 'No,' I admitted while staring at my upturned palms. 'Well, you're not Jesus then. He is perfect, not you. Go easy on yourself.' he said. 'It's not your job to save your friends. Neither is it their job to meet your needs. Only God can do that.' "

Accepting your feelings

"Each man's life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro; He bustles about, but only in vain...But now Lord what do I look for? My hope is in you. (Psalm 29:5-7)

Perhaps you believe you must put on a happy mask so that others will think you are a strong spiritual person. Even when you are hurt or depressed, you smile and attmept to prove to your world that all is right. Perhaps as a child, your role models gave you the impression that it was inconvenient, cowardly or ungodly to admit to disappointment, sadness, discouragement or anger. But what you learned is a misconception. Althought there is nothing wrong with maintaining a postive outlook (actually, it's a worthwhile approach to life), you need not pretend you never hurt.


'The Scriptures are much more realtistc and kind to us than some Christians are, as they clearly show that it is possible for a Christians to be very depressed,' writes Dr. David Seamands.

Many nations looked up to King David, but he made major mistakes. He sinned. He experienced the rejection of trusted co-workers. He felt angry, jealous and hurt. Yet David was a truthful man who allowed himself to think, feel and be. Often in his psalms he expressed sadness, discouragement and confusion. His acceptance of reality and the resulting feelings of disappointment and pain led him again and again to God. And God called him 'a man after his own heart' (see 1 Sam. 13:14 and Acts 13:22). Sometimes we feel happy, sometimes we feel sad, hurt, disappointed or angry. God never rejects us because we feel."

"Honesty before God requires the most fundamental risk of faith we can take: the risk that God is good, that God does love us unconditionally. It is taking this risk that we discover our dignity." Gerald G. May, MD Addiction and Grace





Anyway, I think that my hope for this year is that I would be able to let go of my perfectionism. That I would embrace how God has made me and to become who He has created me to become. To let go of these ideals and "right ways" that are truly only in my mind. To stop trying to live up to MY expectations but to do what the Lord has set before me. So, here it is. Here I am. Willing to be vulnerable. Willing to change. May I always cling to God and be pointed back to Him. I thank Him for my frailty and weakness because in it I am reminded how much I need Him.

Thank you Saviour for making me me. For changing me and redeeming this fallen creature.... and for calling me your daughter!

Monday, June 01, 2009