Monday, December 23, 2013

Good intentions: Apply Inside.

Yesterday was a day full of good intentions.

My kids were all dressed in their Christmas best. My hubby was working it in his awesome jacket and tie. I was dressed in purple sequined bling tank overlayed with a light weight, tasteful black top. Heck, I even wore make-up.

We were going to do it. We were going to be there on time. We were going to church.

And then we weren't. I had this horrible emotional break-down. Kids were going beserk. I hadn't eaten breakfast. And things just sort of spiraled from there.

Mike tried to give me a break and told me to meet him after church. But then I couldn't get the vehicle I was driving to turn off properly and he had to come rescue me. And so no one was at the service.

And this has been life. Trying so hard to do what we set out to do and missing completely.

I'm the one with the "brilliant" idea the day before to take our family out to Norfolk and hit our favorite spot, the book exchange, on top of the necessary errands we had to run: gas the car, go to the bank, library returns, etc. And kids are whining and ungrateful and Mike and I are frustrated and tired. And my husband is giving me this look of "wouldn't-it-have-been-better-to-just-stay-home" and I know he's right and I'm fighting it.

Which reminds me of my Caregroup Christmas Party where I'm barely hanging on and I'm falling apart. And I'm angry because really I'm usually okay but I almost always end up emotional and fragile and broken going to Caregroup and I'm proud and I don't want my friends to see me like that and think, "Wow, she really can't seem to keep it together, huh?" and I'm kind of mortified. Because I want them to see me as strong and not emotional and maybe even logical. And before we start our Christmas carol singing my brother-in-law gives me a look and I know it means he wants me to open in prayer and I'm thinking, "Gee, really God, you have a weird sense of humor."

And there's this beautiful moment where the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and the truth comes flooding out as I pray, "God thank you that you love us and accept us as broken messy people..."

And I realize that this is part of what my life is. Being messy and broken and dirty and ugly and God still coming for me. God still rescuing me. God still loving me. God still calling me and holding me and saying, "You are my precious daughter. Give up trying. Just surrender. You belong to me and you can't  escape it. You don't have to put on an act. Or get better. I love you."

What a great Amazing God. Not for a second intimidated by my inability. Not scoffing at my efforts but kind enough to release me from my imperfections.

And there's wrapping paper on my floor. Presents wrapped. Some yet to be wrapped. And it's messy, messy, messy in my room. And it's okay. It's okay I don't have it together. It's okay that I'm weepy and emotional and depressed and missing my sister. It's okay that I'm unable to face my room and just deal with the disorganization. God still loves me. Mess or not. God still accepts me. Imperfect and struggling. God still gave me His son Jesus. This God made flesh in the form of a wee babe.

Beautiful. This God that came to us. Lived a perfect life. Died a horrific death. Rose again. Conquered death. He came for me. He came for you. He came for us. Our broken humanity. And He made a way. He is the way, the truth, the life. No one can go to the Father except through Him.

So thank you Jesus. Thank you that you love me. Thank you that you came. Thank you for setting me free. Help me to surrender to you. All my thoughts, worries, obligations, fears, responsibilities, hopes, disappointments, concerns, pressures, anxieties, feelings... I give them to you. Thank you that you grace  is more than enough. It covers all my lack. It covers all my sin. It covers all my inability and brokenness. Thank you for your love. That fills my deepest needs. All my gaps. Fill me with your love so that I can give to others out of the overflow. Thank you for being more than enough for me.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Boy Surprises

Yesterday, Peter was crying and clutching his butt. I looked down his diaper to see what the problem was. Pink princess ice pack. Ian had arranged this surprise in Peter's diaper.  I never thought I would hear myself saying, "Don't put icepacks on your brother's butt!"

Monday, December 09, 2013

Putting Out Fires...

It's 1 p.m and I still haven't gotten around to eating today. What with packing lunches and stuffing my kids with breakfast and lunch it felt like I must have surely eaten something. Nope. Just a double pack of emergen-c.

Last night Peter finally learned how to turn on the stove. There was a cardboard pizza box on the stove and it caught on fire. The downstairs filled with smoke and my grandmother told the kids to quickly go upstairs and get Papa. He went down. I was napping but woke up quickly with bile burning my throat from the smoke.

Mike opened the windows and aired out the house. The cardboard box went outside in the rain. I cleaned up the burners.

It was as I was telling my Mom this morning, "that I felt as though I'm constantly putting out fires..." that I realized the irony of it and started laughing.

This morning Ian brokea framed picture when trying to retrieve his backpack. Glass all over the floor. Michael went to school with 2 mismatched shoes (an oversized army green croc and one black patent leather church shoe) and I didn't realize til he was about to board the bus. Peter jumped in puddles and had muddy water all over his clothes.

And Murphy Bear (my parents chocolate lab) added to the scene his muddy paws all over the interior of my car. Clean car or dead dog? Would rather keep the dog alive. He always seems to know when I'm taking the boys to the bus and goes and finds us at the end of our loooooong driveway. The traffic is enough on Ballahack to kill him which scares me so I put him in the car and drive him back home after the boys get on the bus.

It's never-ending. The messes. The broken items. The boys have broken 2 lamps in just this past week alone! The out of sorts normal that is my life.

Peter is napping and then it's off to get the kids from the bus and go to the doctors in VA Beach which will take an hour for an hour long appointment and then to drive home and make dinner and do homework and clean dishes and pack lunches all over again.


Some days I wish I could just pull the blankets over my head and stay in bed.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Missing her.

My husband told me something I needed to hear. I didn't need to try to hold on so hard. I'm trying so hard to not forget. He told me to not worry that I would never be able to forget someone so important and altering to my life. My life without her. I don't have to try so hard.

My cousin Sharon (Left) Me (center) Libby (right)
There is a part of me that clings and desperately won't let go of my sister. Her memory. I'm afraid of losing her. I'm afraid of forgetting.

Mike told me that I'm not responsible for maintaining her existence. My memory isn't what keeps her alive. Her life is with Christ. The Lord sustains her being. She continues on. Not dead. But alive with Christ. In His perfect presence. Free of all sin, sadness, pain, sickness, hatred, and all the devastating affects of sin.

I don't need to be afraid of people forgetting or not remembering.

Tomorrow would have been my sister, Libby Anne's, 31st birthday. I can't believe it. The last birthday I celebrated with her was her 21st. I had bought her a special jewelry box. She was pregnant and glowing. Radiant. Happy. Her dark hair was shiny and silky. Her eyes blue. Observant yet full of mirth. Her skin pale, almost alabaster white. She always got really white in the winter. But her cheeks were flushed and she was so very much engaged with life. Vibrant. Alive.

I miss her. so. much.

I miss her smile. I miss the way her hands held her guitar and she would strum and open her mouth in song. I miss the fact that I always had to catch her by surprise to hear her sing. I would stand outside her bedroom to hear her play. She didn't like to play "in public" AKA in front of anyone.

It's funny as we got out of our teen years and became young adults she was the one who was encouraging ME to relax. To be less fearful. Less anxious. She would tell me to stop worrying so much. She used to be the one who was full of fear. Afraid even to say the word cancer. She would call it "can" she couldn't even say the whole word out loud. She was afraid of dying. Afraid of getting older. That changed only months before she died. She wasn't afraid anymore. She looked forward to Heaven.

So many times I've wished I could just tell her about Samuel's cancer. And what the experience had been like. So many times I wanted to call her in the middle of the night when the tears wouldn't stop coming and I didn't feel like I could go on breathing anymore. I wanted to tell her about the anxiety that was squeezing me in a vice and suffocating me like I was being smothered by a pillow.

I've wondered how many kids she would have had. And when she would have gotten wrinkles and stretch marks. I wondered how she would look aging. Getting older. I wonder how she would have treated my kids and the kind of Aunt she would have been to them.

I found the birthday card I made her for her 10th birthday. I was congratulating on her for entering her double digits. I drew all these funny pictures. (Keep in mind, I was just 12 myself, at the time).

It's strange. December 7th. Never the same for me. Our family tradition was we used to get our Christmas tree on that day and decorate it. Libby didn't care for cake as much as she did ice-cream.

I had bought boxes of Lucky Charms in her honor for tomorrow but my kids already plowed through them earlier this week.

I wanted to go by her grave site but had Peter in the car today. And I don't think I could have handled him running around happy when my heart was so sad.

December 7th
I listened to her sing, The Harbor, a private recording that I had of her, a gift from a friend. Her voice so so pure and sweet.

I wish she was here to celebrate with in person. Instead, I want to fill my day with happy memories of her. I'm so grateful that I was allowed to have a sister like her. Thankful for the beautiful example she was of a woman who loved and feared God. Who was compassionate and kind. Funny and smart. Gullible and faithful and trustworthy. Someone who was quick to comfort me in my sadness and quicker to make me laugh at myself. I'm a better woman because of her.

Thank you Libby. And Happy Birthday. I know you're enjoying some chocolate and ice-cream right there in Heaven. Mwah!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

How to Sanitize with Sick Kiddos...

I know you've been hearing me talk a lot about Melaleuca. I've been using their products for over 2 months now and I love them. They're safe and effective. No harsh chemicals or toxins. Good for the environment and save me money!

One of the things I've learned with having kids with special needs (cancer, cerebral palsy, asthma) is that I have to try and keep things disinfected to the best of my ability. In comes my new product from Melaleuca Sol-U-Guard Botanical! I love how Melaleuca concentrates their formulas allowing you to create the mixture at home. I can make several bottles and not have to pay the cost of water added to the cleaner like you do with so many other cleaning products!

Getting run-down? Boost your immune system!

I have always been a fan of emergen-c. It's always a boost when I'm feeling run down, beginning to get sick or just surrounded by sick kiddos. Can't wait to place my next order with Melaleuca. They have  Activate-C which is more than just vitamin C!

As Melaleuca states on its website :

Activate is a natural blend of the ingredients you need most to help boost your immunity. This powerful supplement includes:
  • Vitamin C— long linked to boosting immunity, this nutrient stimulates the production and function of white blood cells, and protects them from oxidation*
  • Zinc— a mineral crucial to white blood cell development* powered by Oligo for maximum absorption and antioxidant protection
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)—powerful antioxidant that increases antibody formation
  • Astragalus—one of the most extensively researched ancient Chinese herbs that helps strengthen the immune system and acts as an immunostimulant*
  • Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry)—powerful antioxidant that helps regulate immune function of white blood cells*
Why Is That Important?
In a world where your defenses are constantly being stressed, Activate Immune Complex helps support, rejuvenate, and refresh your immune system—to help you stay well, be active, and enjoy all the important things in life.
It Works Because
Activate Immune Complex is a combination of key nutrients designed to help your body defend itself. These all-natural ingredients work synergistically to give your body the help it needs to maintain a strong immune system.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What's in Your Vitamin?

Are you taking one a day or centrum? Do you miss taking your vitamins because you can't tell a difference when you're not taking them? It's because you're body isn't equipped to absorb the nutrients. Centrum or one a day absorb less than 10%.  Even one of my favorite brands, Shaklee only absorbs 23%! With my vitamins at Melaleuca my body is absorbing 85% of the nutrients. That's nutrition that I can feel! Why? Because it's using Oligo. (O-lee-go)

I mentioned in my past post that I am currently taking Melaleuca'sVitality 4 essentials for women which contains four patented or proprietary formulas for
My Vitamins

1.)  Energy and well-being
2.)  Bone Health
3.)  Antioxidant Protection-
4.)  Digestive Health

This is what that is included: 30 AM & 30 PM packets with the following: You want to know more?

vitality multivitamin and mineral- 24 essential nutrients to enhance well-being, with patented Oligo technology, scientifically proven to deliver maximum mineral absorption and antioxidant protection.

My husbands vitamins
vitality calcium complete- Helps strengthen bones with a 4-source calcium plus magnesium and vitamin-D powered by Oligo to maximize mineral absorption.

cell-wise- Patent pending broad spectrum antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals and protmotes healthy skin using olive and grape seed extracts, lycopene, mixed tocopherols and carotenoids, and vitamin C.

florify- Two strains of probiotics to help improve the absorption of nutrients and maintain good digestive health.

You want to know more? Ask me. Call. F.B. Text. E-mail. I'd love to help answer your questions!

Why I love Melaleuca...

Recently I found a new way to shop. It’s through a wellness company called Melaleuca (Mell-ah-Luke-ah)  It saves me time and money, and offers products that are safer and healthier for my family. I have found cleaning supplies that are free of harsh and toxic chemicals at a fraction of the price.

E.G. One bottle of concentrated MelaPower tub & tile for  $5.60 makes 6 spray bottles of cleaner.

But it’s not just cleaning supplies, I LOVE their vitamins. They give me real energy. Maybe that’s because my body absorbs 85% of the vitamin (compared to less than 10% with a Centrum or 1 a day). I don’t feel buzzed or jittery just awake and able to function. Last month everyone got sick and I didn’t. Hm, maybe it’s because I was taking the vitamins? 

This month Mike started on them as well. He’s taking the men’s Vitality 4.

If you're wondering, hey, why are you sick now??? It's because I went 2 weeks without my vitamins. I'm telling you- they make a difference! What's funny is Mike's been taking them... and he didn't get sick like the rest of us.

This month Mike started on them as well. He’s taking the men’s Vitality 4.
I am currently taking Vitality 4 essentials for women which contains four patented or proprietary formulas for

1.)  Energy and well-being
2.)  Bone Health
3.)  Antioxidant Protection-
4.)  Digestive Health

I love the way I feel. More energetic. Able to sleep better. Able to get through my day without falling apart. Not groggy in the morning. I’ve noticed an improvement in my skin, hair and nails.

My vitamins come prepackaged for me with an already packaged dose for AM & PM. No counting out my vitamins and separating them into containers. And they’re packaged for convenience so I keep some at home, some in my purse, some in my diaper bag… This way I don’t forget to take my vitamins!

Because they manufacture their own products (made right her in the USA) and they don't use marketing and advertising (which inflates the prices of products)  I am able to get great prices for great products.

I love Melaleuca! Try it- I bet you'll love it too! 

Feel free to ask me any questions!!!! F.B./e-mail, phone, etc.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Strep throat anyone?

So, Ian has strep throat and I believe I do as well. Michael and Samuels asthmas has flared and they seem to have strep throat as well. Peter has an ear infection. Another round of antibiotics for all. Craziness.

Waited an hour and a half at Target for prescriptions that would never get through the system. Took the boys home. Literally it was 3 hours later before they had received the scripts!

Thankfully I  had made a huge batch of broth from our turkey this past Thanksgiving. Soup is simmering in the crockpot and cornbread is baking in the oven.

Feel lousy but thankful God is still with me in the midst of this. Feeling like I'm in the trenches today.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Please pray for Michael

In the past few days Michael has had an increased difficulty with breathing. His asthma has kicked into hyperdrive. We've been vigilant about giving him his inhaler and keeping an eye on him. I realized it's been a while since we've had this bad of an asthma flare up. Hoping to keep things under control and keep him out of the hospital. Please pray for his lungs to strengthen and the wheeze to dissipate. Our plan is to go to church as normal. Hoping he will continue to improve!

A letter on Thanksgiving to my Daughter

I don’t often like to include my personal notes/letters in my blog. But when I wrote this letter this morning I felt Holy Spirit inspired. It made me wonder if the truths of what were written would bless someone else. I hope that person might be you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Asking God to richly bless you in unexpected ways. So thankful for our Savior today and always.

“My Dear Libby,

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for you! I missed you so much when I was in CA. It is my hope that someday we will all go as a family and explore the west coast together! There are many beautiful places to explore.

I know that you think having 5 kids is crazy and some days it is a bit wild but I wouldn’t give up having the five of you for ANY THING!

I hope to grow as a Mommy in loving you and your brothers better. I am still learning how to be a parent. I don’t have it all figured out but God is faithful! He loves you perfectly. He never messes up. He is NOT angry or disappointed with you! He says YOU are amazing!

He loved us so much that He gave us Jesus. Jesus was perfect, without sin in every way. Can you imagine never disobeying? That’s what He did. He never disobeyed. He lived a perfect life and then He died in our place.

We will never have to experience God’s anger at our sin (our wrong doing and living) when we accept Jesus. He took our places and suffered the consequences we deserved. And then He did not stay dead. He rose again.

He came back to life. He beath death! Death has no victory- Jesus overcame even death.
And that is our hope- we never truly die! Our spirit (our inner being, who we really are) never dies. When these earthly bodies die we go to be with Jesus.

And here is more amazing news- God the Father gave us Jesus and Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our comforter. He gives us peace. He tells us which way to go. He helps us to love and obey God.

Isn’t that great?! God is on our team! He loves us and is for us. We are on the winning team with Jesus!

God gives us such amazing blessings. I am so happy to celebrate Thanksgiving with you- my precious lamb of God.

I love you.