Monday, November 14, 2011
I've been adjusting to my new role as a stay at home mom/homemaker/sick person with no job. It's been really good focusing on my family and the important things and being able to be there for my husband and kids. Between that and church I stay pretty busy. I've also started doing some odd job type things to make a little extra cash, but its a tad disheartening to see how long a writing project takes me now. All of this has made it easy for me to forget what's been happening with me cognitively; to pretend it maybe isn't as bad as I thought. Maybe people were right when they suggested it could be normal.
But it isn't. I was reminded this past week when I had a whole bunch of stuff going on and by Thursday was feeling it. It started with forgetting to press the button in the elevator. I was with my Grandma who can't see well and is also not a big fan of elevators and my forgetting to push the button caused her a bit of anxiety when she thought we were stuck. Later that day, as I took my husband's Grandma to the doctor I told her about this on my way in with her. And then forget to push the button AGAIN as we left. I joked with them both that it must be reassuring that I'm the one taking them places.
That same day I found myself in the grocery store, overwhelmed and confused as I tried to find things on a list from my husband. I was muddled and couldn't figure out why. I couldn't remember how to find things, how to look for them. And then I ran into someone I knew, except I didn't realize I knew him at first (despite actually knowing him quite well.) Thankfully when he talked to me my brain kicked in and my focusing on our conversation helped to sort of reset my brain.
This weekend I again I saw someone I knew very well a few years back. I haven't seen her in awhile, but its someone I would normally know right away and was very happy to see her. Except I couldn't figure out who she was. I used to try to pretend my way through these moments, but now I just come out with it and admit I am not sure who they are. If the opportunity presents itself I explain the whole disease thing.
The hardest part, I think, are my own reactions to these moments. There is this huge awareness that I'm doing something wrong and it absolutely unsettles me. I then get flustered and upset. Instead of trying to hide it I just acknowledge it. It seems worse when its someone I know well and I feel like its hurting their feelings when I can't figure out who they are.
At the moment I'm reading a book called Still Alice by Lisa Genova, about a women in her 50's who learns she has early-onset Alzheimers. I don't have Alzheimers, but I sure do have many of the same moments as the woman in the book and have found myself close to tears reading about a fictional character experiencing it. In a way its comforting to see what I feel written down.
The good news is that I'm learning how far I can push myself, and at what level of activity I should keep things, before I get too tired and befuddled. I'm also getting motivated to once again start the medical process rolling in the hopes of getting some sort of help. I seem to get stymied each time I try, but its better to keep trying than get complacent.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I'm pretty excited because I finally logged back into Ravelry for the first time in a bit and had requests to feature some photos on a pattern page. It's the second time its happened to me and each time I feel like I've won some sort of big award or pageant and I walk around showing the computer screen to each member of my family-who've now learned to give me big grins and congratulations, commensurate to my own level of excitement and pride. So thanks, for featuring my pictures, I really dig it.
I'm currently knitting a scarf for my Grandma, that I really should've finished in time for her birthday on Sept. 23rd. Thankfully she KNOWS me and loves me and pretty much understands procrastination is my middle name (its silent, after Michele.) I still remember when my other Grandma asked me if I knew what the word procrastination meant back when I was a kid-I didn't, but boy do I embody it. So, at some point-hopefully this month-I will get it finished. What doesn't help is when I knit while watching the Hawkeyes and get distracted and k, p the wrong row and have to frog a few rows and go back and do them again. I also forgot to send off the surprise stuff to my sister in time for her baby shower-so that'll end up being a new baby gift instead. Which means I should really send it tomorrow, since the baby is due in a month or so-WOOHOO my niece is coming soon! Hooray!
In other news my health funk has continued in bits and pieces, but I'm fairly certain I'm regaining my perspective and getting back on track. Still looking to God and holding on there. Tightly, mostly.
So I miss my family out in Cali and wish I had been there for my sister's baby shower and am VERY thankful for our other sister for putting on the baby shower and just being full of awesome. I'm thankful for my brother who keeps me honest and laughing and puts up with me and my kids. I'm thankful for my in-laws for allowing us to live with them and loving us-I mean, really, there are SIX of us. I'm thankful for my parents who rock and are there for me in ways I don't expect and comfortingly in those I do and are pretty cool grandparents. I'm thankful for my friends and other family, thankfully, of whom there are many. I'm thankful for my online friends, who still like me and put up with me even when I'm absent and not involved and not all that great at holding up my end of the friendship. And I'm very thankful for God, for all His love and blessings and for sustaining me and reminding me to be happy and loving in spite of the rest.
And for those of you who have lost children, you've been in my thoughts and my heart and mind today and I've prayed for you. As someone who has had a miscarriage I know the significance of today and my prayers are with you.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Colin's birthday coincides with fall, which is my most favorite season. I absolutely love all the colors and the weather and that it gets cold enough enough some days where wrapping yourself in a blanket by the fire with a good book is wonderful, but still hot enough for short-sleeves and sitting in the warm sun. I'm outside right now, the weather is gorgeous and leaves are falling. There's a nice breeze and its just really, really beautiful and I am absolutely loving it. (Until one of these leaves falls in my coffee or I forget to make sure there aren't any in my hair before I leave the house. But it will still be beautiful and I will probably still enjoy it.)
I have a hard time coming to post here because I am seeing so many changes in my cognitive abilities. It can be hard to write sometimes and hard to see when I make mistakes I would never! have made before. More recently I am using the wrong forms of words (to/too; their/there; know/now, and even more weirdly: and/an). For other people this may not be a big deal, but for me IT'S RIDICULOUS! It drives me batty and frustrates me to see it happening and there's not much I can do to stop it. I've been shying away from writing anything lately because I've hard a time facing this, but I'm trying to get back into it. Use it or lose it-and if I am going to lose it I may as well use it well I've got it. So, I apologize if I use a wrong word or leave letters out or something else my self of five years ago would be aghast at, I can't help it. I can usually catch it after it happens-but not always. (As I typed that last sentence I left out the i in it and went back to fix it. lol)
Last week was pretty brutal for me-and as I'm talking to more people-it was for quite a few of my friends too. I caught a cold bug and it laid me out for a week. I was able to go do a few things, but it was downright ridiculous and I was VERY tired of being down for the count. I found my patience waning and my empathy plummeted. When I'm in that place I find myself being sad, angry, and resentful and then I feel even worse because that is absolutely and totally not who I am, or how I want to live. I become resentful that things that are so easy for others can be downright impossible for me. I become resentful that I am sick, resentful at having to deal with chronic illness, and angry at my cognitive decline. I feel guilty, angry, and useless. I do not say these things here so that others will feel the need to talk me out of these feelings. I KNOW I do not need to feel guilty and I KNOW I am not useless. When you are sick, however, these ARE feelings you have and in my mind it is so much better to be out with it and deal with it, because when you don't they fester and feed off of each other and that is no place anyone wants to be.
As I became more and more mired down in all this negativity, God threw a few things my way to pull me out of it. At first I didn't notice. I had stopped reading devotions or my Bible, I had pulled away from those things. I was having a hard time talking to God, and when I did it was mostly angry or pleading. I had lost my thankfulness, and lost sight of my hope. The good news is that God doesn't quit. He doesn't get tired of our surliness, or of us pushing Him away. He's still there, reaching out and patiently waiting for us to step back into His arms. The way he reached out to me last week was through the Bible verses I have up in my room-I have Jer 29:11-14 on my wall. It was there, I would look past it. In other times I read it, I savor it, I let it swirl around in my head. When I'm stuck in the muck I avert my eyes from it. He reached out through my Bibles, the ones in my bookbag, the one on my bedside table; through my devotional books and emails; and through Bible study books I have on a shelf. I couldn't bring myself to open any of them. He worked through my children-and this is one of the best ways. They loved me, they hugged me, they made me laugh and feel lovable and loving again. I was finally able to get out of the house for the girls first marching band performance in the homecoming parade. There God reached out through friends, through my parents. Things were still tough, I was still feeling horribly, my body was still wiped out and exhausted and it was really, really hard to make myself make an effort. I almost stayed home from church. But God reached out again through my Grandma Donna and my Aunt Traci. Was I going to church? Could I pick Grandma up? It will be so good to see you! I waffled on Sun. morning-I could call Traci and ask her to pick up Grandma. I could stay in bed and not expend the energy. Thankfully God kept prodding me, kept urging me to get up and go.
I went, and it was amazing. People smiled and hugged me and asked how I was. Some of the little Sunday School people were there and made me smile. I hugged my Aunt Traci, hugged my Grandma. I worshiped God-I felt His love, listened to His Word, sang my heart out and felt his forgiveness and took Communion. I talked with others, I hugged others, and I felt genuinely loved and more importantly-LOVEABLE. I loved others. My empathy was back and it felt very, very good. I went to Bible study that Sunday morning-which I don't get to do often as I am usually teaching Sunday School. I wasn't meaning to speak, I didn't intend to talk. I mainly wanted to just be there and listen and absorb. Instead I spoke and then, as usual, got choked up. I shared my basest feelings, I shared how God had reached out to me, and I let other people know I was hurting and I let other people comfort me. I didn't want to do this-in the beginning. I can be so outward, TOO open as some people say. I bristle at that because I've been a strong believer that we need to let others see our struggles and our hurts-to let others know we all have this and we all fail and are miserable and we all need that forgiveness and love and to know that its okay to fail-its okay to be miserable-its okay that we struggle and aren't always positive about it. We are human. That's why we have God. We have God and other believers to pick us back up, to reach out and love us, and to care about each other even when we don't feel very loveable, or deserving of that love.
It's been an emotional week or so. I'm struggling with my illness, I'm struggling with my limitations, and I'm struggling with my own reactions to it. I am thankful and so very blessed, though, to be where I am and to know a God who loves me. To have others who respond in God's love even when I don't think I need it or think I want it, or even deserve it. To have others to remind me of hope, and of love. I used to have this in my email signature when I was working for the church, from Hebrews 10: "23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." I had lost sight of it, but I'm so thankful that the Body of Christ is there to love me and remind me.
If I know you, I've prayed for you this week. I may not have specifically said your name, but I've asked God to be with and love and uplift all those I know-He knows your name. I've prayed for myself, as well. I know we all need it, and I know I need it. And if you've been used by God to love me, to reach out to me-Thank you for responding to His prompting. I appreciate it more than I express-and if I try to I will probably start crying all over the place and I think I do too much of that as it is. ;)
Friday, September 16, 2011
I've been doing a lot of crocheting of all different sorts as well as working on BABY STUFF. I'm pretty excited about it all, but I won't be able to blog about it until AFTER my sister's baby shower as I don't want to wreck the good surprise. I found some great and easy patterns on Ravelry that I'm using and of course making some of it on the fly.
I've also made headbands, bookmarks, dishcloths, and something else I can't think of at the moment. I'm enjoying it and just wish I had a bigger yarn budget! (Or really any sort of yarn budget at all.)
We had such a busy summer and as usual life is passing by far too quickly. We're back into the swing of things with school and have started Sunday School and Confirmation again at church-I am again teaching both and I LOVE it. Next up will be Bible study, starting in a week, I'm really looking forward to it and still trying to figure out where to stash the kids while I'm there.
This is such a boring update. I'm sorry. I hope its better than nothing? In the meantime, look at this flower I made!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
It used to be that I looked forward to-or dreaded-the first day of school because I was the student. The kid going into a new grade full of nerves and trepidation and the excitement of seeing my friends and wondering who would be in my class and if I would like my teacher and would I ever, ever get math class. (The answer to that last one was a no.) Would I somehow get lost or screw something up or embarrass myself. (Those answers are no, yes, and oh definitely yes.) As I got older it became even more about the social aspects of school; wondering if maybe I'd be like the girls in the movies who blossomed into raving, hip beauties over the summer only to stun everyone back at school in the fall. (Um, also no.) I became adept at pretending to be happy in my self and my quirkiness and eventually I was happy as I grew into myself. Eventually.
Now each year I look forward to my kids starting school. We get supplies and shoes and haircuts and clothes and talk over what they're excited or nervous about. We label things and organize them and go to the open houses and meet teachers and bring all the stuff and then finally comes the NIGHT before the first day of school. Picking out clothes, talking about what time we need to get up and OH WOULD YOU PEOPLE PLEASE GO TO SLEEP BECAUSE YOU HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW!!!!
Our first morning of this school year went amazingly smoothly. We'd picked out clothes and done baths the night before, scheduled who would use bathrooms when, and were actually ready a half an hour before we needed to leave. I was really proud of us. Very proud. It's the first time it's happened in 8 or so years of school in our family. I'm still in shock. The girls were troupers about taking the FDOS pics, standing nicely and smiling while I tried not to totally lose my temper while hollering at the boys to PLEASE stand up straight and no don't make that goofy face and please, please smile. I ended up begging, reminding them that their aunts and uncles and grandparents and little cousins would be so excited to see their FDOS pics! Please. And they humored me, sort of, and the girls were so patient and we got our pictures taken. I think my favorite part of these pictures is seeing how their personalities come through, even when I'm talking in that exasperated mom voice and biting my tongue and trying to make them laugh and not lose my mind over a picture.
They look pretty awesome, don't they? I love my kids and they had a fantastic first day of school and I hope the rest of the year goes well. In true us fashion, this morning was crabby and chaotic so at least I know they haven't been taken over by zombies or robots. Whew.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 08, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
I really shouldn't be so down about this because I've been doing a lot better and living healthier, but I overdid it this week-I pulled weeds and cleaned bathrooms (really scrubbed them) and tried walking on the treadmill. I'm frustrated because I am in a ton of pain, because I couldn't sleep, and because I've been reminded once again of my limitations and it just really pisses me off.And I got a reply pretty quickly, which is one of the reasons I felt a little better. Thanks L, I needed it, and it helped to know I'm not alone, especially given the week you've had!!
I'm sure some of this emotional shit is because I have fully weaned from the Cymbalta and still feeling some of the withdrawal, but I am having a hard time being positive and seem to keep thinking of every negative and poisonous thing I can. I don't like it.
I am having a hard time talking to God, not connecting with His word and these are things that usually sustain me.
I want to continue and just be normal and I know that really isn't possible because I have a disease, but right now I just am very unhappy about it. Last night I spent time reading funny stuff while I couldn't sleep, but even that isn't helping.
Blargh. Off to let myself have a good cry, because sometimes you just need to.
Monday, July 18, 2011
As many of us who could came together this past weekend and we really just had a blast. Went to old haunts, danced like nuts in public, and just genuinely enjoyed each other's company. It was way too much fun and I wish we could do it all the time.
I love being with my family, especially those I don't get to see often (but seriously the rest of you are NOT chopped liver), and this time was pretty cool because I got to meet the significant other of one of my cousins. My cousin Alex is genuinely one of the most awesome people I know and I am tremendously happy that she is with someone who truly loves her. Al has been a pretty cool person since she was quite small and one of the better parts of life has been getting to know her as an adult. She's more astute than many more experienced or older people I know, putting into focus the stuff we all should be paying attention to and letting the rest roll on by. At some point I will FINALLY post the pics we took of her last year, which may only be funny to the two of us, except we don't care because it was funny to us.
In case I haven't said it before my parents really rock and we had a great time with them, I want to be Aunt Terri when I grow up, and I love that my husband and my Uncle George are totally on the same wavelength-and we could all gain some I.Q. points just listening to them talk. Wish my cousins Aaron, Jamie, and Andy could've been there BUT life happens.
The picture at the top of this bit of wordiness is of my Dad, also known as Tom, Tommy T, and a few other names (including some I probably don't know) and his dog Pete. Petey is one of the coolest dogs ever and is pretty much people. In the pic above he is forced to stay in the backseat with the womenfolk and demonstrates his need to be in the front with the men by leaning over the backseat and eventually resting his head on my Dad's shoulder. This dog is hilarious and that's one of the few reasons why.
That's a bit of my family, and praise to God that I have so many more people who fit in the category.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
After a yarn hiatus due to the stinging nettle, I finally picked up some knitting and finished the cover for my heating pad. It's nothing fancy, but its soft and I made it out of leftover yarn. Two knitted pieces, crocheted together on three sides and sc edging on the open end. It worked up nicely and is MUCH handier than the oversized pillowcase I was using.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
I've started another plastic bag bowl for my aunt, using bags from our trip to Walmart while we were with her and some she had already. Unfortunately when I was pulling weeds in the garden I grabbed a stinging nettle and OW that is no good for holding a crochet hook. So I'm on a slight hiatus until it heals. I also realize I have no clue how long it will take to feel better and really should do an internet search on possible remedies. Stupid stinging nettles. (In true me form I thought about going to get some gardening gloves, decided not to, and promptly grabbed the stupid weed.) We're getting some tomatoes growing as well as some strawberries and our cucumber plant that we thought would die is taking over the garden and trying to choke out the rest of the plants. That dude is insidious. I really think our garden is going pretty well as this is only one of a few attempts at growing vegetables and the other was a container garden (which did really well.) It's cool seeing our plants growing and eating food we've grown, next year we'll probably do a few more plants. Our poor yellow and red peppers are not doing so hot though. Between the deer munching on them and the aggressive cucumber they are looking pretty sad.
So on my hit list today are stinging nettles, garden destroying deer, and punk cucumbers. Off to google remedies.
Monday, July 04, 2011
But. Cymbalta has some side effects I'm not so excited about. I've figured the benefits have outweighed the risks but I'm really feeling as if I've plateaued with it. Not only have I learned how to handle myself as a person with OCD and anxiety, I've also grown immensely in my faith and responding IN faith to things in my life. I'd like to think I've come far enough to be able to do this without meds, which is what I am attempting to do now.
I'm oddly excited about this. And MOST DEFINITELY YES I am doing all of this with my doctor, who has me on schedule to decrease and is managing my care. And the other caveat is that I know people with these issues often need medication to close the gap and do the job my brain doesn't do correctly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being on medication for mental health issues, in fact there is everything right about it.
I'm just in a place where I am trying a new approach to my health. I am choosing to live a healthier lifestyle, a more natural lifestyle and this feels like the right decision for me now.
In the meantime as I wean off the Cymbalta I am finding myself in these edgy moments, crawl out of my skin kind of moments and the pain is coming through more and more. Thankfully I'm not having a lot of the brain zappiness which comes with weaning from Cymbalta. I'm apologizing more to my family and afraid that all those old horrible things like raginess and anger may come back. That maybe the anxiety will become so horrible again, that the OCD will rear its ugly head and I will become consumed by it. These are my fears. I have plans in place in case of this, but it still isn't a fun thing to contemplate.
On the flip side my hope is that while the road will be bumpy as I do this, I will see improvements in other areas. Maybe I won't sweat so much. Maybe the tremors will be better. Maybe I will actually be able to lose weight which will lead to better health and ease of the arthritis. Maybe I'll be able to do things I've written off because of the current state of my body. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to handle my craziness without meds.
In the meantime I'm finding ways to contain myself as I go through this. I'm thankful for my family and their patience. I'm hopeful for the future. I'm still crazy, but maybe a little bit saner or more managed kind of crazy.
As is usual for me I didn't update to the new blog template/design thing on blogger until yesterday. I was pretty partial to my design from suckmylolly except I should've asked her to give me dark brown hair ages ago when she made my loverly header. I always figured I wasn't skinny either so it worked. Finally yesterday I decided it was time for a change and I can't stop playing with the design button. I also updated the blog links, something I hadn't done since probably 2009. All in good time my friends, all in good time. I'm really digging the new look.
Overall we've had a fun and relaxing weekend and man am I happy for that.
If my hands cooperate I plan to do some more knitting and finish this heating pad cover, then crochet some more dishcloths for my friend. Simple, easy and quick is where I'm at for the moment.
Our 4th will be a little different this year, in the past we've gathered at my Grandma's with whoever is in town to barbecue and do sparklers and snakes and shoot off bottle rockets and maybe some other fun fireworks. This year we'll be going to my aunt's for dinner, as always its great to spend a holiday with family and friends.
And for the most important part of today's blog, which I won't muck up by being too wordy: Thank you to all of the soldiers out there, all of our military members and veterans. We have many in our families and I'm thankful for these people who sacrifice for the rest of us.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Here are a couple random pictures from June, which whipped by very quickly. I'm afraid July will be even faster as it will be a busier month for us.
This first picture is of something kids in areas where tornadoes are a regular part of life are used to, holing up in the basement when the sirens go off. Here are my kids and my nephew all cozied up in a small space. Thankfully we didn't have a tornado, but we did have some pretty extreme winds. We were fortunate to not to have any damage here, but thunderstorms and tornado warnings are a common occurrence here in June.
We got the first harvest from our garden-Radishes! It's great to see the garden producing, especially with the friendly deer who like to come and eat off the tops of all our plants. Today we got our first cucumber, wow do those suckers grow fast.
And in case you haven't noticed I played around with my blog design today, really liking how it turned out, what do you think?
As promised, pictures! I apologize in advance for the blurriness, I'm taking pics with my poor, sad, cracked iPhone.
I hadn't worked with plastic bags in a looooong time and have been thinking of trying to make a few things so off I went. Unfortunately my large P size crochet hook is in my storage unit so instead I worked with one strand of plastic and the largest hook I had, I think it was a J. I know there are various tutorials on cutting up the bags but I was too impatient to try to figure them out so I cut off the handles and bottom of the bags and then just cut the bag in a spiral into one long strip. In my impatience I wasn't always straight and ended up with a wonky strip, but it worked anyway. Basically I crocheted the same way I would to make a hat, starting with the circle and increasing until I had the diameter I wanted, then I worked in the round, using sc all the way through. Super easy and surprisingly fast, it took me a few hours to make. I think cutting the bags into strips was the longest part and my girls helped with it. It took about ten bags (given our mistakes in cutting). There were two brown bags which made the stripe around the bottom.
I'm looking forward to doing some more projects with plastic bags, I'd really like to do a rug. I'm also saving bread bags to do something with those, although I'm not sure what yet.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
Another month has passed, time flies when you're having fun and even when you aren't. We've been busy, although its hard not to be with four kids. Of course the kids would probably say we haven't done enough, but that's because they're kids and always need something to do-unless I ask them to clean.
As I type, from the back patio where I've got my coffee and did my devotion, my youngest has come out to ask me random questions and proceed to pretend he doesn't know how to pronounce words. Don't ask, I really have no idea. He's 8 and he's Colin, enough said. The other day as we watched Tom & Jerry he asked if I'd ever noticed that Tom is big but has a little name and Jerry is small but has the bigger name. I hadn't. He then said, "Tom is big but has little ideas and Jerry is small but has big ones. Did you get that yet?" Man I love that kid, very astute.
I'm continuing on my path towards healthiness and eating right-much more fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding preservatives (don't faint, I know!), and changing my diet in good but not rigid ways. The book Crazy Sexy Diet is phenomenal, I highly recommended it to anyone looking to change their health through their food. The author is smart and witty and has so been there and explains it all in great ways. I've gone from a preservative meat-loving queen to eating asparagus. I know!!! I'm also changing things up with my meds and exercising (okay for others it wouldn't be a lot, but for me its like the old cross-country days except I can't run anymore lol). I can feel the changes in my body and it feels pretty good.
I've finally figured out that because I am so open people often feel its okay to give advice, tell me what I'm doing wrong, etc. and its lead to me having way too many cooks in the kitchen. I've tried too hard to listen to everyone, I've felt pressured to do so (my own internal pressure), and am constantly feeling as if I don't measure up somewhere. I'm learning to live and be who God created me to be, to follow His prompts in my life and to not worry so much about the rest. I'm being me and there's so much freedom in that. I really cannot emphasize enough how much healing and growth have come my way and I thank God for it. He is good indeed.
On the yarn front I've been working away. My biggest project recently was kitchen towels and dishcloths and my first ever hot pad as part of a wedding gift for some friends. Unfortunately I forgot to get pictures! Other than that I've made a bunch of dishcloths, a bowl from plastic bags-must remember to post pics-and am working on a cover for my heating pad. I lost the cover for it somehow and had been using a pillowcase that was far too big until I realized that Hey! I could make a new one! Oh yeah! I hadn't knitted anything in a bit, and forgot briefly how to-hang on need to look up the correct term-cast off?, Yes!, cast off and that was unsettling. I've cast off so many times but simply couldn't remember. Thank goodness for the internets.
In June my husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary-where did the time go? Aren't we still in our 20's? We ended up doing a delicious dinner about a week after with the kids in Okoboji. We cooked together (I know! Only fourteen years to get us working together in the kitchen again), had some delicious wine (thanks mom and dad!), yummy food, and a lot of fun.
As for what it means to be married fourteen years, I give you this little anecdote: At a friends wedding we were dancing to some slow songs at the end, I couldn't remember the last time we'd danced together, and as we danced our boys came out on the dance floor. For two dances those boys just sort of hovered around us waiting anxiously to get to the pool, reminding us that we'd said 3 minutes until pool time. That's what happens when you've been married awhile and have kids. You dance with your kids hovering about and laugh at how funny it has to look and just feel blessed that you have each other and your kids and good senses of humor.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Today I went to light a candle and instead tried to light my mug of coffee. Not in an offhand picking it up without looking at it way; I actually was paying attention and picked up the mug of coffee and then tried for a bit to light it. Usually when I have these kinds of moments I'll get a feeling that's something's not right and try to figure it out. I looked again and after a second or two realized I was in fact trying to light a mug of coffee instead of the candle.
There's something about all of these memory issues that is just really off and I know it. I don't always realize right away what specifically is wrong, but I get a sense that there is something definitely not right and I have to work to figure it out. I now understand the confused or blank look I've seen older people get. It's because you know you are doing something off but you're just not sure of what it is. Or you know that you know something but you can't access it.
So far today I have forgotten I was folding laundry, tried to light my coffee like a candle, and forgot to return a phone call. All in all, not a bad day. I have lists all over, reminders, and sometimes I wonder how I'll be in a few years if I'm already like this at 35. I wonder if this is permanent or if it could get better with some kind of treatment.
I've always been a little scatterbrained, I used to joke that I'd read so many books that my mind couldn't keep up. Now I read books to keep my mind working. I play games on my phone and the computer and can tell by my scores what kind of brain day I'm having. The tough days are when I can't understand what I'm doing, can't process what I am reading or watching. I crochet and knit but some days I have trouble remembering how.
Now that I am finding more balance and getting more rest I see that I have less of the really bad days. I have more of a sense of my limits and can mostly stay out of that endless cycle where I burn myself out and then have to rest for days to catch back up. I'm finding my new normal and it's helping. I have more peace about my situation, I'm not as scared or sad or frustrated. I still have those times, but not as much. I feel sometimes like God has given me permission to slow down, to simplify. God knew I needed a change, that I needed to accomodate my health better and he gave me that change through friends, family, and others. It doesn't always seem that way at first, but when i continued to talk to God, to seek Him in my struggles (mostly!), I found peace and comfort. I found it through the words of the Bible, through that voice in my heart, and through loved ones and strangers. I can only hope and trust that God is taking care of me, of us, as He has promised to do.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I really, really love the peacefulness of hearing all the different birds outside as the breeze and their whistles and chirps float through the window. I love that summer is coming and spring is here, complete with thunderstorms, although I'm not as fond of the tornadoes. I love seeing all the bushes and trees grow from sparse, barren sticks into full bundles of leaves and flowers. I love hearing the wind rustle through the tree leaves, feeling it come through the open windows and hit my skin in soft, cool waves.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Saturday, May 07, 2011
This is my mom, Laurel, with Abbie & Arenne on our Memorial Day camping trip last year. My mom has taught me so much about being a mom and about being a person. She's given me love, strength, independence, faith, and a sense of humor. She is incredibly funny and quick-witted and showed me how to laugh at life. She has done things in her life that have shown me how to be strong, to put yourself out there, and to perservere. She's shown me how to win and how to fail. She made sure I grew up knowing God; something that means more to me now than ever. She taught me how to love my siblings and how to love my children. She worked in a non-traditional jobs for woman program when I was a baby, working on a road construction crew and later worked her way up in the business world and taught us how to golf, love the Hawkeyes, and appreciate wine. She is a great mom, but an even better grandma. I love that my girls will learn how to love and mother from their grandmas.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
I am no good at sending out letters or emails, cards or notes or even school pictures of my children. I put them up so that I can sit down to cut them out and write the name and year on the back, except I never really get around to that cutting out bit. And then at some point I move them to my photo storage bin (one of many) and then forget until one of my sisters reminds me that I haven't sent pictures in a long, very long, time. I'm thinking I may just give them all at once when they graduate. More efficient, no?
Facebook is helpful for people like me, those of us who think often about sending someone a note or birthday card or pictures of the kids concerts. For when I think, I wonder what so and so is up to, but never get around to emailing, or calling, or even texting.
At one point I won this handy card organizer at an alumni banquet and I was pretty darn excited. I remember sitting down to write everyone's birthdays and anniversaries in it and putting cards in the proper months and getting all the addresses into the handy address book. I was ready, I was organized!
I found that handy card organizer as we moved a few weeks back. With most of the cards still in it, waiting to be written in and mailed out. I also found all of the files I'd once made for the kids' school paperwork-three of them, the girls were in kindergarten and Drew in preschool. I don't think I've had an efficient filing system since.
So, I'm thankful for Facebook, and email, and cell phones. But mostly for my loved ones and friends who still like me no matter how forgetful or scatterbrained or absent I can be.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
"Walk By Faith" by Jeremy Camp
Would I believe you when you would say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day
Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me
Help me to win my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do
yeah, yeah , yeah, yeah, yeah, ya
Well I'm broken- but I still see Your face
Well You've spoken- pouring Your words of grace
Well hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
Well hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
I will walk, I will walk, I will walk by faith
I will, I will, I will walk by faith
and a link to a youtube video of it.
Some of my favorite worship time is singing loudly and passionately for God, whether I'm in church, the car, the bathtub, or with my best friend Laura at LifeLight. I've found my volume and passion increase depending on my own comfort zone in each place. Sadly, I've been most subdued in CHURCH. In God's own house I temper myself, something I decided to put a stop to this past Sunday during Easter worship. I had a cold, but I sang out anyway, loudly and passionately in worship of my Savior. It felt good, great, AWESOME. (A friend later said she could hear me through Pastor's microphone, but I was in the very front.)
At LifeLight, Laura and I worship with our whole selves-heart, mind, body, soul-and it is so wonderful. It feels good to fully worship God in song, in prayer, and in praise. Then we come back home, to our Lutheran church home, and we subdue ourselves. We're not so much afraid of what people will think or say, but more of possibly scaring them away-admittedly we can be sort of scary together.
Singing is just one place I do this, this hiding our light thing. How often each day do I shy from walking by faith, of being who God has called me to be? How often do I resist sharing something because I don't want to be all holy roller? Or maybe its as simple as resisting that urge (otherwise known as prompting from the Holy Spirit) to pray with someone, to say hello, to stop and take time to talk?
The reverse of this is how often do I actually rejoice in my sufferings? How often do I lift that cross and walk with it? How often do I pretend to be doing better than I am? I know in my heart that I have been incredibly blessed by the challenges in my life, that they've shaped and formed me as a follower of God, but do I share that?
Am I walking in faith no matter where I am? No matter what's happening in my life?
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.~Romans 5:1-5
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
March 30, 2011
The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.
Psalm 138:8, NLT Every person dreams and makes plans for the future. Then they work hard to see those dreams and plans come true. But to make the most of life, we must include God’s plan in our plans. He alone knows what is best for us; he alone can fulfill his purpose for us. As you make plans and dream dreams, talk with God about them.
(from the Life Application Daily Devotion email)
I always love these moments where I definitely see God speaking to me through His word. Or maybe I should say those moments where I hear and recognize God speaking to me through His word! This devotion is one of those. God has brought some big changes our family's way over the past few months and as we adjust and try to chart our course I need to keep reminding myself to seek God and His will for our lives. I may not know where He is leading us, but I do know He is taking care of us every step of the way.
Last night we had some big discussion about what our plans are in adjusting to my no longer working and seeking help from Mayo, as well as other pretty big things going on in our lives and I love that I can openly talk with my kids about how we all need to pray as we face uncertainties and fears and that before I can even finish the verse we said Jeremiah 29:11 together:For God has plans to prosper and not to harm you!
I'm blessed to have my family and so blessed to have my faith in God. Praise to you Oh Christ!!!!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
In that spirit, I'll keep on blogging and throwing out there the stuff others may try to hide or hold back. I have a quote on my wall in my office that says, "People don't expect you to be perfect-they already know you aren't. What they want you to be is honest! So let them see your struggles, not just your successes. We usually grow as much from others' weaknesses as we do from their strengths." I read that in a devotion (possibly Purpose Driven Life) and immediately typed it up and put it on my wall. We sometimes try to hide all those things about ourselves but I've been much too open in my life to let that hold me back. Thankfully I married someone who has helped me to learn when I should hold back, unfortunately I don't always listen to him.
I've really been dealing so much with the ups and downs of my physicality and health and although I know I've grown so much in relying on God rather than myself, I still struggle with it. I can say honestly that I have never trusted God as fully as I do at this point in my life, everything really is in his hands. I know from the Bible that it all definitely is in his hands, but I know I have most certainly deluded myself for a lot of years into thinking I have some sort of control over things. BUT I DON'T and I am now in a place where I know that absolutely. I don't even know from day to day how my brain will be functioning, much less trying to micromanage everything around me.
I had a pretty rough day on Monday. I couldn't get out of my funk, I was just sad and defeated and IN A FUNK. I continued to get pulled down, more and more. I was down, tears fell, and I could feel myself infecting the rest of my family with my doldrums. I kept turning to things to try to distract myself, or somehow feel better and nothing seemed to be working. I finally sat down and picked up my Bible Study. And then one of my girls sat with me and picked up her Lenten devotions and read me a question from it, "What things in your life turned out easier than you expected?" First of all, I stopped short because I realized that the entire day I'd been searching in all the wrong places. I'd like to say that I turn to God first, but in reality I still turn to places I know won't help. But I am growing and can say that I turn to God a whole lot more now than in years past and I'm very thankful for that. The second thing that struck me when Abbie asked the question was how difficult I found it to actually answer the question. I could think of lots of things that were harder than I expected, those answers popped up right away; but thinking of things that were easier left me really searching.
It speaks to my focus and where I'm at. Some days its easy to answer that question, I can find tons of things that were easier than I thought they'd be and a great example would be my latest batch of testing. I'd expected to be there for much of the day and for things to take a long time and be a lot more difficult to get through. Instead, the nurses and doctor were fantastic and they had me in an out of there in just a few hours. It went much BETTER than I'd expected. Which again, speaks to where my focus is. I could argue that in expecting things to be tougher I am pleasantly surprised when they aren't, but in reality I know that if my focus is on the more negative aspects how can I expect myself to really be looking at my life through eyes of faith? Am I continually expecting to be disappointed by my circumstances, and in effect by God? Am I only positive on the good days? How can I be positive on the rough ones? Or at the very least have some better expectations?
Oh how I need to continue to cling to Jeremiah 29:11-14. BIG TIME. 11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” "