Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy
Sad
Smooches
Silly
I'm on a date with Libby so I will keep this short. Samuel's been in pain a lot the past two days. It kind of makes life intense and stressful. You tend to lose patience really quickly because you're so frustrated you can't do anything... and you're helpless... and the healthy kids have needs too :)

Libby has a wiggly tooth. One of her front teeth. She's excited and looking forward to a visit from the tooth fairy.

Samuel keeps saying that "The bad guys are punching my tummy."

I've been thinking about writing about contentment... post will come eventually on that. So right now I should get back to my little girl and enjoying her!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthday Blues


My birthday is in almost a week. I don't know why but I'm kind of dreading it. Somehow it seems to sneak up on me but this year it feels even more so. I'm a planner and I get really anxious about dates. That's goofy huh? What do I mean?

I'm the kind of girl that likes to celebrate her anniversary on the actual date of her anniversary and valentines on valentines day. So my birthday is kind of the same thing... it's like I have to do everything I've ever wanted to do on my actual birthday. It's quite exhausting actually... and also embarrasing to confess.

Now truth be told I have gotten better. I need to give myself a little credit. I've learned to relax and unwind and spread out the joy and fun for more than just a day. I'm good about waiting til the week-ends or a better time to celebrate if the "real" day doesn't work.

I guess part of it is it's kind of like a coupon that you can only use for one day. It's the "I can do anything and practically get away with murder" day of the year. Or maybe it's just that I feel like I can demand attention from the people I love the most and wear an "It's all about me" smile for the day. Did I mention I like attention....

Okay, so I'm being a little over the top. Fortunately for me God doesn't let me get too consumed with myself. Often on days of importance and significance something goes wrong... and at times... really wrong.

I have had Easter "ruined" as well as Libby's birthday, Samuel's birthday, Mike's birthday,the twins birthday, Valentine's Day and an anniversary due to hospitalizations. Vehicles have broken down. I've gotten a severe burn on a Valentine's Day and also was in hard labor for several days... also on a Valentine's Day. I have been violenty ill on my birthday. I have gotten into heated arguments with family and I have cried myself to sleep on my birthday.

You know what the problem is? The problem is this: That somehow I think that everything is going to magically be different on "this" day. As if somehow if it's Valentine's Day everything is going to be sweet, happy and rosy all day... and significantly romantic. I have had countless Anniversaries (okay, you can't say countless if you've only been married almost 8 years) get flushed down the tubes. I remember one year I was so depressed because Mike was working several jobs and he worked our whole anniversary... from 6:30 in the morning til 11:30 at night. I was so upset. Just because it's my birthday doesn't mean that all will go as planned.

Oh to let go. Let it go. Kids will throw up. People will disagree. I might even get insulted or punched or kicked in the face (on accident, by one of my kids)on my birthday. Because honestly, it's just another day. I am a birthday celebrater. I love birthdays. Not just mine... but anyone around me. My husband and children's birthdays are so important. I feel for Mike every year because his birthday (March 10) comes a few days after my sister's passing(March 7th)... So every year I'm very emotional and it's hard for me to concentrate on his birthday and it means so much to me because He is my love and my best friend. And I want it to be special. And he is so sweet and kind and focused on me and I want him to be blessed.

And with my children I want them to feel special and significant and loved... because they are. I want everything to go right for them.

I have come to grips with the fact that life is disappointing and more often than not it won't go how we predict or want or plan for it to go. And it's okay . Instead of trying so hard to do every thing I've ever dreamed about doing (or that pops into my head at any given moment) I try to pick a thing or two that I'd like to try to make happen and be flexible about the rest of it. I also try to just let the day play out how it will even if it means that one thing doesn't happen. And I've learned that you can turn anything into a special day, special place... based on your attitude. Learning to laugh at myself and at times my circumstances has been challenging but as I've grown in it I find that I'm a lot happier... and a lot nicer to be around.

And when you have low to no expectations you won't get disappointed and you will also enjoy the things that do occur. I have learned to be thankful for the little things that happen and not upset about one specific thing that did not take place or the weird, crazy unplanned things that popped into my day.

Yeah, I'm weird. I know.

I think everyone though has the desire of wanting to know that they are loved, valued, appreciated and that they make a difference. So be reminded of this. Your birth was not an accident. God knew and planned YOU even before the foundations of the world... your very existence. He knew the color of your hair and eyes. He knew and made you the way you are. And He even had your day go the exact way He planned. So embrace this day... birthday or not. Enjoy and savor the sweet things. Spit out the pits... and let go of the hurts, disappointments, and unmet expectations... Hey, we're not in Heaven yet. One day we will be... but til then be reminded that earth is not our Home.

So, all that said, if you see me next Friday (June 3rd) I will officially be 31... and I will be enjoying free pancakes at IHOP... and a free Starbucks beverage... Mmmm... maybe I won't be so blue after all...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Do you have life figured out? I don't.

It's crazy how complex and simple, hard and easy, weird and normal it is. So full of sin and redemption. Full of joy and pain.

Right now I'm exhausted and rambling. rambling. rambling. Maybe it's because it's after midnight. Maybe it's the dark chocolate reeses cup kicking in. Maybe it's because I have spent the past few hours philosophizing with my husband. And maybe it's the perfect time to write.

There are no inhibitions.... no bars held. Wait is that even the right expression? I don't know. That's the dangerous thing my Mom used to tell me... She'd say midnight is like having two alcoholic beverages and every hour after was like having an additional drink. She's right. She is talking about how you lose your guard and because you're tired you share more than you should. That's not good. I don't want to share more than I should... but I do want to share honestly.

So here goes. Honestly....

Life is pretty hard. I recognize that i have it good. I recognize I'm blessed. I recognize God's faithfulness. But it's still hard. It's hard getting up and facing the day and changing the diapers and making the meals and getting the kids up and dressed or dealing with the guilt of I let my husband get them up and dressed and to the bus stop without my participation. It's hard changing diapers over and over and over again. And emptying the trash. And wiping boogey noses. It's hard seeing Samuel throw up or see him grimace in pain or clutch his stomach and tell me how bad it hurts or see him do his dance of pain. Where he sways back and forth and then arches his back and tells me his bottom hurts. It's hard when he tells me it's itchy on the inside and there's nothing I can do. It's the tumor dying... and it's uncomfortable and hard.

It's hard getting the stares... having to explain my life or not being allowed to explain my life. It's hard when I don't get my way... and when I do get my way. It's hard watching others suffer. It's hard seeing the kids throw a tantrum or scream in frustration because they can't communicate through speech. It's hard to change the wet sheets on a child's bed... again. It's hard to fill and refill and refill again sippy cups. To be the last to eat breakfast or the first to start on dishes... of the never ending laundry pile. Of dishes that get chipped. Of possessions that break, rot, leak, ruin, shattered... Of a.c. to be repaired and washer and dryer to be fixed. Of promises of help that didn't come through. Of unexpected help that wasn't asked for. Of the blessings and joys and laughter and tears that somehow come all mixed up and let out in various times and various ways. Of the cavities that need to be filled. Of the discipline of exercise and eating well and preparing nutritious meals. The question of what supplements... what alternative medicine do we follow for Samuel. Of juicing carrots. Of hoping for a cure... to hear it's been five years... no cancer...

Driving. Driving. Driving. To chemo and labs and bandages changed. Of hooking up feeds to two children nightly. Filling the food bags and priming the pumps and setting the rate and dose. Were medications distributed? Whose allergies are flaring? Whose asthma is acting up? An EEG appointment coming up this week. A reminder to reschedule opthamology. 6 month well check-up on Tuesday. Field trip for Libby on Thursday. Scholastic book order due. School pictures purchased. Appointments made and kept. Trim their nails... how do they grow so fast. Making games while in the waiting room. Distracting in the midst of suffering. Practicing sight words and numbers and birthday dates. IEP meetings. Broken vehicles. Is that my container of bread dipping seasonings all over the floor? Is that sprinkles crushed into the carpet? Cracker goldfish found in the fish tank. Shredded toilet paper. Blinds broken by little hands anxious to see through the slats out the window.

Lollipops at 8 a.m. Flipflops that must be found because tennis shoes just won't do. School project. Purchase poster board. Purchase Graduation gifts... who is graduating again? I know I forgot a birthday somewhere... Drink water and breathe. The tension in my neck and back is intense. The days mingle and linger and I want to savor them like the last bits of frosting on my fingers on a chocolate cake. I want to engage the now. Be present. Aware of the miracles of life around me. Of survival. Of fighting spirit. Of hope found in a six year old who would give of herself so that her brother wouldn't have to suffer. Of Ian being anxious to come home so he can "see Michael... my brother."

Of expressions mixed up, mispoken, and jumbled coming off the tongues of my children and at times out of my own mouth whether it be exhaustion speaking or just confusion of an overworked mind.

I yearn to be like Paul... to know how to be content in all things... whether with plenty or with nothing... with sickness or health... with gain or lack. With winning or losing.

Mike blessed me by reminding me... there are always those who have it better and always those who have it worse. He reminded me of a beautiful woman we saw a few weeks back. Not beautiful by the worlds standards but beautiful in my eyes and God's. She was severely burned and she had no hands... and she was laughing and her eyes were full of light. I have a whole body. With no burns. I have all my limbs and faculties. I have so much. I am cradled by grace by a Father who knows best. Who holds me in the midst of my self-pity. Who wrestles me in the midst of my despair. Of my false humility. of my self-hatred. Who loves me and knows me and loves me in spite of knowing me. Who created me and has plans for me that are beyond what I can know and imagine. Who created the earth and the fullness of time. Who knows the hairs on my head and every star in the sky. Who isn't afraid of my anger, sadness, worry, or lack of faith and at times disbelief. He is so good. He is beyond my understanding.

And He who faced Job and spoke truth to Him also speaks to me. He speaks to me through His Word. Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit I can know Jesus. I rest in this. I place all my imperfections, failures, and worries before Him and I ask Him to fill me. To empty me of my pride, selfish, self-centered, worried, hurting soul and to fill me up with His love. His joy. His strength.

To serve my children knowing that I do this unto Him. Of sharing the Gospel... this beautiful, sweet, rich good news of redemption... He has saved me from myself. He has made me a new creation. And there is much renewing and redeeming that is still happening even now.

Even as I type on my husbands laptop. Mike lays sweetly beside me at rest. Peter is sleeping also.His hands above his head with no worries or concerns pressing on Him. My tired eyes droop. The bags around my eyes are dark circles. My earplugs are in. I'm nodding off.

This rambling. Rambling. Nonsense that is sense to me. This life that is so hard... and so important. It's worth living because He wants me to live it. And this pain in this world... if I could just comfort... comfort one weary soul... He cares. He sees. He knows. He accepts. He loves. He adores.He enjoys. YOU!!!! Rest in that today. Whether your head be about to hit the pillow... whether enjoying your morning cup of coffee... whether downcast in Spirit. He is with you. He is there in your midst. Open your heart. Give Him your burdens. Fall at His feet in awe and in worship. Arise knowing He is your strength for this day and for always. He will guide your paths... and HE never lets go.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In a recent e-mail to a dear friend I wrote the following...

"I feel guilty. I feel like I should be happy but I'm not. I'm sad. I'm so grateful for everyone showing up Saturday. For the generous hearts of those around us. For the multitude of people who served. I am very thankful. But right now my heart is sad. I feel a little overwhelmed and lonely. I know God is near me. I know I have friends who love me and a husband who is precious and crazy about me and children that are wild but very dear.... and yet, I am reminded that I need to be filled with God's love. Only He can truly satisfy the needs and desires of my heart.

And even if my house is clean and the dishes are done and the laundry is done. And even if the car is working, clean, and full of gas. And even if my children, are clean, fed, and well-behaved. And even if my husband is romantic and passionate and serving me. And even if I were to own the house I live in and have the right furniture and cutlery and dishes... and every kitchen gadget I'd ever want... Even if all was perfect and ideal... my heart would not be satisfied. It was not made to be satisfied by these temporary things... only God. Only He can meet me and love me and know me fully. He knows why I'm sad even right now. I take extreme comfort in that.

And although I recognize that I'm struggling with hormones and the after effects of having a great event and then having a low after... and also wishing I had some delicious chocolate to munch on... even though these things play a part in my sadness... I am thankful that I am once again reminded of my need for Him... and also to be able to recognize that what needs to change is not my circumstances... what need to change is my heart."

I wrote this e-mail last night. And it's true today. Not so much the sad bit but the sweet reminder of my need for God. My need to be filled and to recognize that I was made for another place. And it wasn't here. And not all my problems are solved... nor will they ever be until I reach the other side.

My hope is in Jesus. I know that He is continuing to change me and one of the beautiful things He is doing is reminding me that this is not it. My hope doesn't lie in this world. It rests in Him and spending eternity with Him.

I miss my precious sister. I so wished she was alive and could have been at Saturday's event. It was such an amazing time and such a blessing. I can envision her there with a baby on her hip and a smile on her face talking to others and I could imagine she and I spending time together this week and reflecting on God's goodness and the generosity of others... and so many other things.

But that's not to be. She's in Heaven. She's already run her race. She is already present with the Lord. She sees Jesus face to face. She has no need for hope... because she can see with her eyes. I am trusting in what I have yet to see.

And oh what kindness to be reminded that even if all were ideal and together... even if every material possession were mine and every relationship fantastic it would not be enough... my heart would long for more. Because what I need is eternal... it's not temporary or momentary.

And it's a good thing I am reminded of that because last night my computer went kaput. The screen is blank and would cost between $500-$1,000 to repair. Bummer. It's not worth it.... I've had my wonderful Mac for 5 years now and what a blessing it has been! How many countless stories I have told because of it... and how many pictures were stored. I'm hoping to be able to get all the material moved to an external harddrive. Fingers crossed.

Trusting God. And again thankful... it's just a thing. A thing I loved and valued and appreciated because i use it all the time and it allows me to be creative... but a thing nonetheless.

Tomorrow is a new day. I sit in a comfortable room on my comfortable bed. My children are alive, sleeping peacefully in their beds. There is food in my cupboard. There are clothes on their bodies. My cup indeed runs over...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

THANK YOU!!!!

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed & grateful.

We were so blessed this Saturday by the outpouring of love, generosity and support at Samuel's Barbecue Benefit.

It was wonderful to see so many faces we know and also to meet people for the first time who have been praying for us and loving on us without having even met us. So many people volunteered to serve.

The food was delicious, the music was fun and lively, the kids had a ball. Between their faces getting painted, running from bounce house to bounce house, eating cake and then more cake, and dancing up a storm, I don't think we could have made a better day happen.

The joy and excitement on their faces was beautiful to behold.

Team Napier went out in style. We each wore a different color shirt expressing who we were on the front along with our relation to Samuel.... but also expressing "Team Napier" on the back.

Did I take a picture? Not a one. I was having too much fun. BUT for those of you who did take pictures please pass them our way!

For those who were there, thank you for coming, thank you for giving, thank you for praying, believing, and hoping with us!

For those unable to attend... we loved and missed you!

It's taken several days to recover from that amazing time. We are so thankful for God's goodness to us. And although we wish that Samuel didn't have cancer we are so thankful for the good work that we see in the midst and are thankful for God's people standing with us in the midst of this trial.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Barbie & Ken: The Break-Up and Getting Back Together.




Okay, so apparently there was this dumb thing where Barbie and Ken broke up... and I remember thinking, that is just so wrong. They wanted Barbie to be "single & independent" blah, blah, blah. Silly I know, here's the info. below.

Libby was able to purchase this set of dolls. We had some credit and this was her choice. She wanted me to take pictures of them.

Entertainment weekly said the following this past Valentine's Day. I don't really care about them but they explain the break-up, etc.

One of America’s most epic romances is back on: Mattel is announcing today (Feb. 14, 2011) that, after shocking the world with their break-up in 2004 and rekindling their love on the set of last year’s blockbuster Toy Story 3, Barbie and Ken have decided to give love another chance after seven years apart. The pair’s plastic love is red-hot once again, just in time for the most romantic of holidays, Valentine’s Day. Yesterday, Barbie hinted that something might be in the works on her Facebook page with the status update: “Who knows…maybe I’ll have a Valentine this year.” Early this morning, Barbie changed her status on Facebook to “In a Relationship.”

EW called up Mattel to get a little context on the news. “They were reunited as costars, as you know, on the set of Toy Story 3,” explains Lisa McKnight, vice president of marketing at Mattel. “As we like to put it, they found they were kind of missing each other. They had a lot of fun together. Now a little time has passed since the shoot and all the premiere noise around the movie and all that good stuff, and I think they both realized that they’re made for each other.”

In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s a quick refresher on the couple’s storied romance: Barbie and Ken met on the set of their first commercial in the spring of 1961. They were together and happy — winding their way through the sometimes-hilarious trends of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s — before tragedy struck on Valentine’s Day in 2004: The couple surprisingly announced that they were going to spend time apart, and Barbie began dating the charming Australian surfer Blaine. In 2006, Ken made a play for Barbie’s heart again with a Hollywood makeover and while it scored him big points with Barbie, the two just remained friends. Their casting in last year’s sequel Toy Story 3, however, brought them back together, and things began to rekindle for the pair, leading to today’s announcement. The full story of the couple getting back together has been well documented.
So was their seven-year split just a blip on the radar for these star-crossed lovers? “To be fair to them, they have been together for about 43 years, so you know, I think everyone needs a break,” says McKinght. “So they took a little break and had fun out on their own and were certainly out and about, but I think ultimately, again, they were destined for each other.”

Die-hard Barbie and Ken fans were apparently clamoring for the pair to get back together, according to Mattel. “In 2004, we certainly got a lot of feedback when they did break up,” McKnight says. “People were devastated and we made the evening news and it was crazy. More recently, when people saw them together again on the set of Toy Story 3, people were really pushing for them to get back together again. We got a lot of formal petitions from brand fans, Barbie fan groups, asking for them to get back together. I think there was one group that sent in a three-page letter, expressing how they felt and how they never should have broken up in the first place and they’ve just got to be reunited. So there’s a lot of passion there. They really are the sort of ultimate ‘it’ couple. So everyone’s rooting for them to get back together.” A poll that Mattel has been running on www.barbieandken.com found that fans were more than in favor of them reuniting, with the Love-O-Meter results reading “Give Him a Chance!” yesterday afternoon.

Wikipedia gives Barbie's history here:

Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He was unenthusiastic about the idea, as were Mattel's directors.

During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli. The adult-figured doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel. The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Die Bild-Zeitung. Lilli was a blonde bombshell, a working girl who knew what she wanted and was not above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially sold to adults, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.

Upon her return to the United States, Handler reworked the design of the doll (with help from engineer Jack Ryan) and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler's daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also used as Barbie's official birthday.

Mattel acquired the rights to the Bild Lilli doll in 1964 and production of Lilli was stopped. The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers. Around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.

Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest, which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.

Barbie was one of the first toys to have a marketing strategy based extensively on television advertising, which has been copied widely by other toys. It is estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls are sold every second.

The standard range of Barbie dolls and related accessories are manufactured to approximately 1/6 scale, which is also known as playscale. The standard dolls are aproximately 11 1/2 inches tall.

Barbie products include not only the range of dolls with their clothes and accessories, but also a large range of Barbie branded goods such as books, apparel, cosmetics and video games. Barbie has appeared in a series of animated films and is a supporting character in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.

Barbie has become a cultural icon and has been given honors that are rare in the toy world. In 1974, a section of Times Square in New York City was renamed Barbie Boulevard for a week. In 1985, the artist Andy Warhol created a painting of Barbie.

So, that's a lot about Barbie, isn't it. This was my Mom's beloved childhood past-time. She loved Barbies. I remember while growing up and talking about her childhood and she would tell me, "They were my friends." Barbie made up her imaginary world as a kid. I'm sad her dolls are no longer with us. They were thrown away unbeknownst to her... sad. But the tradition continues today with my Libby girl. Barbie spends a lot of time at the hospital these days... giving shots and chemo... and helping cure cancer... at least according to Libby.

Being Together.







Hanging out in the hospital is something we do as a family. It can be a little crazy logistically at times but we love being together as much as we can. This is from our last 5 day stay back in March. It makes me smile to see their little faces... they were watching a movie.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Team Samuel/Team Napier...

The kids are at school... well, they're on their way to school. The washer and dryer are humming with their second loads of laundry. Peter's in a diaper playing on the bed. And me? I just finished the most delicious whole-wheat scones. (Thank you Jessica!) I don't understand how they could be "healthy" and taste THAT good! :)

I got less than 4 hours of sleep last night. I'm trying to put my mind on auto pilot because I'm clearly not thinking too clearly. Um, wow, case in point. I bought t-shirts to embellish for Samuel's Benefit on Saturday. I want people to know who Samuel is and his family. His shirt will say, "Hi, I'm Samuel" and his siblings will say "Hi, I'm Libby (Samuel's sister)" etc. What I'm trying to figure out is what I write on the back "Team Napier" or "Team Samuel"? This Benefit is for Samuel but I know the rest of us are his support team and we're a family.... so maybe I'll go with Team Napier....

What do you think?

Oh and even Peter will be attired as well... but in a onesie. I will have to show you pics because it should be pretty stinkin' cute.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don't Forget!

Samuel's Benefit

Saturday, May 14th from 12-6 p.m.

Hickory Ruritan Club
2752 S. Battlefield Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23322

You can purchase tickets at the door or through our friend who is heading up this event Debbie Billips at dbillips@cox.net

You can also contact her if you want to bake something for the bake sale or donate to the silent auction.

We hope to see you there. This will be a fun event... I can't wait to take pics of the kids. There will be face painting, bounce house, music, a firetruck, bake sale and silent auction.

I'm excited for Samuel to see how many people love and care about him!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I'm a fan of Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like). One of his recent blog posts struck a huge chord with me.

It's entitled "Miserable God." Read the full post here.

This post resonates with me deeply. I am so caught up in the midst of trial and suffering that sometimes I think it's the only way God works. I forget that He is a good Loving God who is also joyful... and desires good things for me... I mean, come on, how can I forget his plans are good for me with verses like Jeremiah 29:11.

This is what got to me specifically:

"Why can’t I teach you in the midst of joy? In what better way could I reveal the heart of who I am, goodness, then in the midst of something good? You believe I can only teach you in the midst of great hardship and hurt. But failure is not my only laboratory. Does not a father learn something profound about my miraculous goodness when he holds his newborn baby for the first time after delivery? Does not a bride not see my glory when she walks down the aisle toward her groom? Life and lessons cannot be limited to heartache.

This is what I am wrestling with right now, the continued realization that I’ve made God into an emo god. I know how to cry with him, but not laugh. I know how to mourn with him but not dance. And I think the enemy wants that. He wants us to be ashamed or embarrassed by the great ways God blesses us and reject compliments and think that God can only hold us and mold us in times of great hurt.

But when we do that, we miss who God is.

That he is the God who loves us so much he sent his son to die for us.

That he is the God who longs to be gracious to us and rises in the morning to show us compassion. (Isaiah 30:18) That he is the God who satisfies our desires with good things. (Psalm 103:5) That he is the God who delights in the well-being of his servant. (Psalm 35:27)

Does God teach us in difficult moments? Have we not been promised that in this world there will be trouble? Without a doubt.

But when we confine God’s love and lessons strictly to a classroom of misery we create a miserable god.

And that’s not who he is."


So today, I'm rejoicing in God's daily provision and thankful that He uses happy things to help me grow and change. Conversations with friends even if it's just a quick text. Time with my cousins. Celebrating birthdays. Balloons. Sunshine with cool winds. A walk by the ocean.

Smile.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

So, here I am eating banana nut cheerios. They're really good. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the last time i posted and think of what needs updating on. I'm covered in some kind of bug bite.... fleas, mosquito, chigger, spider? I don't know. But they itch and hurt like mad.

Yesterday I was at the clinic with Samuel and he was watching movie previews. One came on with this band... kids singing and drumming, etc. Samuel turns to me and says, "Mom, I wish I could be a rocket star." I loved it. Today he told me while jumping up and down on me that he wants to be a cowboy.

Samuel's been having a lot of headaches recently. In fact he asked me to get a cloth and get it wet and put it on his head to help his "Heck-aches" as he calls them. Poor babe.

Ian has been telling everyone that he has a big head. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. He has then proceeded to tell me, my Mom, and our friend Kelli, that we have big heads. So if he tells you, "You have a big 'het'." Don't take it personally. I think it's some sort of compliment.

Ian was "interviewed" today for Reverse Mainstreaming at Grassfield Elementary. I don't think he showed his brilliance. Which is sad and frustrating for me but I have asked for God's will to be done and I need to trust Him. I really would love for all the kids to be in the same school this upcoming Fall. I really think Ian would benefit from structure and from interacting with other children, etc. We will see what happens.

I've been reading several good books lately. In particular I've been enjoying the children's series, "100 Cupboards" by N.D. Wilson, son of Douglas Wilson (author of Classical Christian Education, etc.) The story line is imaginative and a little creepy. I wouldn't just toss this series at anyone, it really might scare some. I love the classic good vs. evil theme and I like the Christ themes I see in the stories. Plus it's just really fun. I'm on the third book now called the "Chestnut King".

I'm also reading "Gotta Have It!: Freedom from wanting everything RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW" by Gregory Jantz.
"The point of this book is to learn to distinguish between true needs and wants. We'll talk about life's excessities- a made up word for a very real situation for many people, when excesses become necessities. This book is about the compulsion to overindulge in any number of everyday behaviors, including the bizarre, comical and the not so funny. Excessity is the impulse that throws caution to the wind and demands immediate satisfaction. It is the blindness that occurs when comfort becomes more important than consequences. Excessity is about feeding our wants and desires, while at the same time starving our true needs. The more we starve what we really need, the greater our hunger grows, causing us to stuff ourselves with more and more of our wants. After stuffing ourselves full of wants, we find that we're still starving, empty, and desperate- and the mad cycle repeats."

Some of the excessities are kind of no brainers.... drugs, alcohol, etc. And some I kind of already knew like shopping, gambling, work. But some kind of surprised me... caffeine, exercise, relationships, money, anger, guilt. It's not an all encompassing list nor is it limited to those things. But we each have our own brand and sometimes very particular brand of "never enough".

I was surprised to find one of my particular excessities to be guilt. Jantz explains that, "Guilt, when worn by the person, however, is generally quiet, like a shroud. Whereas anger is retaliatory, guilt is preemptive. Guilt says, You don't need to hurt me; I'll do it myself. By administering a self-inflicted blow, guilt seeks to control the level-if not the presence-of pain. Guilt is a way to make yourself responsible for and thus in control of the pain in your life. The guiltier you feel, the more pain you expereince. The more pain you experience, the more apt you are to attempt to control it through guilt." Ironically, I'm guilty of that....

He also gets into the topic of comfort/discomfort. "Sometimes, excessities are used to produce comfort-while at other times they are used to distract from discomfort. So it's not enough to just look at what you do to provide yourself comfort. You also need to examine what you do ot distract yourself from feeling uncomfortable."

Anyway, really enjoying the book.

I also am enjoying "Organizing your day: time management techniques that will work for you" by Sandra Felton (the Organzier lady) and Marsha Sims (from Sort-it-Out Inc.).''

It's helping me learn how to change and what needs to change. It's also helping me to identify what's important, what's priority, and eliminating the rest... but not giving in to the tyranny of the urgent. The breakdown is in the 10 management choices:
Dream Big, Focus: keep the main thing the main thing, Do It Now, Take Control of your projects, Delegate, delegate, delegate, manage interruptions, distractions and time wasters, make and use an effective schedule, use the right tools, hang on to a few powerful habits, and finally organize your space.

Although they don't tell me how to manage five children 6 and under I am hoping to glean what I can from this book. It cuts the chase and gets right to the point.

Anyway, long loop de loop there... back to Samuel. He had a CT scan earlier than we thought, they did it last week and yesterday we received the results. Things are looking good. He has a lot of scar tissue but that is all that seems to remain. Nothing cancerous seems to be growing! So yay! Good news.

And now to bed. Exhaustion is kicking my butt.