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Showing posts from 2017

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

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My fingers smell like Frankincense. I doused the kids with oils before they headed out the door for school. The older two are home with me. Still schooling at home. We're all still part of this crazy journey called life. With mixed schooling. And mixed feelings.

Samuel's MRI showed three cysts in his brain. One seems to be something he got when he was born or in the NICU. One is on the pituitary and the other an arachnoid cyst. Side effects include headaches and nausea; cue the aha moment.

This kid is going to be going through it. He's supposed to start growth hormone injections this week. Which is why we're working with neurology and endocrinology to keep close tabs on those brain cysts. In addition to getting his hearing aid which had to be postponed because the Dr wasn't available the day of our original appointment, we will also be reviewing the MRI's... and getting braces (orthodontist). Fun, fun.

And it stirs up all these past traumas. The life inside the…

Broken Hallelujahs.

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35 years ago today I became a big sister. My instant built in best friend, Libby Anne "Joy", was born. Her pale skin and rosy cheeks and blue eyes. She called me her "Gi-Gi" when she couldn't say the word "Jennifer".

A couple years later, Mom even gave us our own baby doll Christopher to play with. We could take turns rocking him in our little wooden rockers. So we had a third partner in crime. All boy. Blonde hair buddy with blue eyes.

As kids we had lemonade stands, played hopscotch and scraped up our knees getting our first "summer stamps" as our Mom called them.

In my teen years she stole my clothes and shoes. She would be indignant that I borrowed her sweater when she would be wearing a whole outfit from my closet.

Her dramatic eye roll and loud gasps of surprise.

Her strumming the guitar.

Her voice lifted up in sweet praise.

Her 21st birthday. She was married and pregnant. I gave her a jewelry box.

I didn't know it would be her las…

On the Days You Can't.

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I just can't.

You ever have one of those days?

You feel like you can barely breathe and the thought of doing one more thing leaves you beyond undone. You're paralyzed. And you've hit a wall.

That's today.

Life has caught up with me. All the busyness. The appointments and therapies and specialists. The memorial service. The broken relationships. Bathing the dog. Buying the cats food. The inability to keep up with the needs of my home. The car collision center for estimate. Renewing the library books. The wedding present purchase. The wrestling tournament. The husband out of town for a week and I still have another week to get through. The diagnosis for Mike's grandmother (acute leukemia). Facing the daily realities of dementia for my precious mother-in-law. The weight of all the things that accumulate and build.

So I'm stopping. Resting. Breathing. My legs feel like lead. I hope to get to the Y so I can release some of the pent up struggle but for now I stay und…

Out of Hiding. Phoenix Rising.

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The frazzle. The beauty. The sweet ecstasy. The terror. When I write. It comes to me. The real me. The real feelings. The depth. The reality. So I seek to avoid it. When I write I know myself… and that can be a very frightening thing.
my days are so full. Medical appointments. Tests and more tests. Therapy. Homeschooling. Follow through. Laundry. Dishes. Washing machine not working right. Garage door busted. The steps that need repair. The lawn that needs mowing. The math problems to assist. The reading a loud. The bathing of 5 kids to oversee and manage. And my best friend and beloved gone over 80% of the time with work.
So to sit and quiet my heart… Please let me do anything else. Let me scrub the floor. Wipe the poopy butt. Distract myself with FB or Instagram. Berate myself for not keeping up. For making a mistake.
To still myself brings confrontation. Damn it. I hate it. The silence that seeps in. Quietening my heart and catching my breath.
Do I really believe I’m enough? In my …

Jesus in the Dark.

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So what do you do when you have a setback?

Things are progressing in a certain way, onward and upward, and then you find yourself tumbling backwards with your pail, falling down the hill.

I find myself in this dark moment. Post concussion syndrome. Apparently when you have had PTSD and then you suffer a trauma (even a minor one), like my car accident it can re-trigger some pretty big issues like increased depression and anxiety and irritability, etc.

I found myself in Target having a panic attack about which spaghetti sauce to purchase. The one on sale? The cheapest one? The organic one? The one that has been more locally sourced? The one that will stretch the farthest? And that's just spaghetti sauce.

Making decisions feels very overwhelming. I feel thrown by the most minor things. I have over 600 emails in my inbox and oh about 20 voicemails... some of them from my lawyer. And I am paralyzed.

Physical pain is debilitating. pain in my legs. Numbness. Tingling. Pain in my shoulder…

Knee Surgery, Car Accidents, Book Club and God's Goodness in the Midst.

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Life doesn't happen the way we plan. I had laid out great plans for this summer. Excited to be getting PT to strengthen my knee after I had knee surgery. Hoping to join the Y so I could start stationary biking, swimming, and elliptical. Was hoping to take some pilates or yoga classes.

In 10 days I have a book club at my home that I'm leading on suffering. "A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament" by Christina Fox. I have some experience with suffering. Loss of my sister and nephew. Loss of jobs for my husband. Struggling helping him through his undergraduate and then graduate degree while having small children. Having 5 kids in 6 years. A child on a feeding tube for 5 years. A child with cerebral palsy. A child with cancer. You know those things... those things in the past. And some things in the present. Still working through grief, 6 hours of physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy a week for my kids. My husband traveling f…

Flipped Out By Faithfulness

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I love how in those moments... those deep dark moments. The moments that you are afraid will last forever. Those moments that suck you down into the depths of despair. In those moments God breaks in.

His faithfulness is amazing.

I don't always feel amazing... but I'm always amazed by His faithfulness. I'm not always sunshine and roses. Often there is pain, adversity and struggle... but I'm thankful that He has not left me to my own devices. He points me upwards and outwards.

I reach up to Him and reach out to friends and share my emotions and ask for prayer and for help and for love... and I receive it. Friends directing me back to Jesus. My husband reading the Psalms out loud to me while he was in Florida and I was in VA. A friend sending pizza to us for dinner.

Recently I was confronted by my desire to control my image. I was angry that I couldn't exercise because I was not able to make the progress that I had been making and I found my body softening up. Found m…

Putting perfection on the shelf.

I've been awake for almost 22 hours. I stepped on a vacuum cord plug with my bare foot. It hurt. I made myself a protein shake and left it in the kitchen only to come to the bedroom and wonder where I put my drink.

Sleep deprivation is a crazy thing... it literally makes you crazy. Your brain starts misfiring. I completely expect myself at this point to right something ridiculous, perposterous or horribly misspelled. Case in point... how does one spell proposterous? perposterous? You get the point.

Thankful my worth doesn't come from my ability to be eloquent or poignant. To have the right thing to say... my worth comes from Jesus. I'm so glad I can rest, truly rest. I don't have to have it together. I don't need to be perfect. I can come messy, broken and needy, desperate for grace. desperate for an encounter with Him and He's faithful to meet me.

It's been a month now that I've had to bow out of Crossfit. My knee injury has put my ability to exercise …

Surgery, Seals and more surrender.

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Tomorrow morning I intend to wake up early...To pack my bag for the hospital, finish the last minute odds and ends and double-check Michael packed the necessities in addition to his birthday cards, a fortune cookie, and a 5 pack puzzle of Paw Patrol. I'm up late switching laundry. I just put the larger than life overstuffed seal into the dryer along with puppy (also a stuffed animal). They have been thoroughly washed and hopefully will be sufficiently dry for the morning.


Michael is going into CHKD for cleft palate repair. He hasn't had a surgery on his cleft palate for almost 8 years... so it's been a while. A little nervous but I know he's going to do great. I wish I could say the same for myself. I mean, I will be fine. It's just this continual process of letting go of my fear and worry and anxiety and trusting God... you know, that's all.

We've been pushing for this procedure for over a year. With the help and advocacy of Michael's speech therapist…

When The Fog Won't Lift

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I would like to just karate chop depression in the gut right now.

I won't lie. I'm quite the mess. But I'm going to keep it real. I'm not a faker. At the checkout line today the cashier asked me how I am. I told her, "I'm just plain crazy." I then laughed and said, "How are you?" It doesn't mean I tell every single person I meet my struggles... but it also doesn't mean I fake it with my friends.

I know it started with back pain that led to not being able to work out.... and was coupled with the weird knee pain that had me down for almost 3 weeks and still won't go away. The no exercise thing stunk... because I couldn't release my emotions. No endorphins.

Couple that with a little anxiety about Michael's upcoming cleft palate repair surgery and my husband being out of town for a while and you get a whole new special mess. Pour on a little bit of hurts and disappointments. Confusion. Rejection. Criticism. Missing my sister. Dang…

Peace in the Waiting...

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I pull the covers almost completely over my head. Can’t I just stay in bed? When will all the hurt and pain just go away? I'm so frustrated... by my limitations, my inabilities, my lack of control. 
I’m discouraged. I hurt my back last week and am still recovering. I’m doing all the right things. Been to the chiropractor 3 times. I’ve been icing, and stretching and using biofreeze and arnica gel and essential oils for sore muscles. 
And I still can’t safely work out yet… So I must wait. 
Waiting is never a fun thing for me. I hate being still. I’d much rather get something accomplished because I feel worthy if I’m productive. Scary, right? So when I’m unable to be productive and get things done then I feel worthless. Yikes. 
What if my value isn’t from a clean house and a perfectly made meal? What if who I am isn’t based on the car I drive or how well behaved my children are?

So what if our worth doesn’t come from what we’ve done. What if it comes from something greater and deeper. Wha…

Self Hatred vs. The Art of Loving Me Now

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I have stretch marks. I have rolls. My body has been stretched from giving birth to 5 children in 6 years. It has carried and sustained me in the tragic loss of my sister and nephew. Has born the grief, stress and challenges of having a child with a feeding tube for 5 years and a child who has walked through cancer treatment. Cerebral palsy. Cleft Palate. Orthotics. Audiologist. Cardiologist. Oncologist. ENT. Cranial-facial. Radiologist. Pulmonology. Developmental Peds. NICU. PICU. blah,blah,blah the list never seems to ends...

The list goes on. But that's not the point.

The point is my body is damaged and broken. And I hated it. I hated my imperfections. My inabilities.

My self-worth was never great. I never looked at myself as a teenager and thought I was beautiful. The scars of sexual abuse made me see, "ugly" "worthless" "fat" even when I was outwardly gorgeous. I never saw it.

And now when I look at myself something wonderful has changed. I look …

When all you see is failure...

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When all I could see was my failure.

The panic sets in. The crushing waves pour over me. Failure. Failure. Failure. This vague condemnation drowning me.

This morning I see so many shortcomings. I should have worked more on this. I am failing my kids in that. The laundry hasn't been done. Which means the kids are wearing dirty clothes to therapy.  I didn't help one of them do the homework this week for therapy and so was given  the disapproving look. I forgot the thing I was supposed to return. And my list of to-dos exceed the confines of time. And I feel paralyzed.

And the fear that haunts me most whispers in my ear... "I'm not enough"

And I'm not.
In and of myself I'm not enough.

My hope must come from something better, something bigger and something greater than me.

I need Jesus.

I need someone who is perfect and sinless to rescue me. Jesus who knows what it is to be human. Jesus who knows what it is to be broken, exhausted and overextended. Jesus who ho…

The Mysterious Gift of Special Needs.

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I was always afraid of having a child with special needs. 

I might have been 11 or 12.  I remember looking into the eyes of a little boy I watched at a summer camp called Helping Hands. He was beautiful- Sweet boy. Wonderful smile. And completely blind.

I looked around the camp and saw children with all sorts of disabilities around me. Wheelchairs. Orthotics. Unable to talk. Unable to hold their bodies upright.

And fear gripped my heart.

I remember being afraid of what I couldn't understand.

My Mom taught preschool children with special needs for a while and later taught children with Autism. I was always in awe of her tenderness and gentleness with her students. Sometimes students would scratch her, kick her, bite her, lash out at her. My Mom was a saint. Kind, compassionate, patient. I could never be like that.

I knew I didn't have what it took to take care of a kid with special needs. 

I was pregnant with my second baby. We didn't know if it was going to be a boy or a gi…

Broken hearted.

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Today, I'm feeling broken hearted.  My husband uses the German word to sum it up well, Weltschmerz. It literally means world weariness. I'm weary of this world. Broken hearted how my idle thoughtless tongue has hurt someone I love. Tired of seeing people I love face cancer and difficult diseases. Looking at the political upheaval and turmoil that has brought father against son, families torn apart. People misunderstood. People used. I see the longing in people's eyes. A hunger to connect, to be accepted, to be known and to still be loved.

The temptation to run to food to fill up my empty spaces or to tune out to a Netflix show or buy something to fill up the longing is strong. To learn the importance of resting when needed but not to slip into depression like an old comfortable nightgown. Ratty, but familiar and worn.

I hurt for those hurting today. Those who feel alone, less than, not enough, abandoned or discouraged.   Those feelings can be so real... but they are not al…