Monday, November 14, 2011

I finally finished my Grandma's scarf

and promptly forgot to take a picture of it. It turned out very nice and is wonderfully soft and she loves that it is made from the same yarn as the super special secret project I made for my soon to be born niece.

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


We just finished watching the Hawkeyes beat Northwestern and I am pretty darn happy and excited about it. I love watching football, and I especially love watching smooth football plays that end in touchdowns. Nicely done Hawks.

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

Good grief I love Fall AND COLIN IS NINE!

It's so hard to believe that our youngest is NINE! Where did all that time go??? He is an absolutely hilarious kid and celebrating birthdays with him, as in most all things in his life, is a lot of fun and quite an adventure. He is such an observant, smart, funny, big-hearted, and great kid; we are blessed to know him. He will be getting a fancy new bike for this birthday and he's pretty excited about it. :)

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'm not sure

why I think that things will get calmer once school starts. You would think I would know by now that really, we just get busier. Things are a tad more scheduled than in the summertime, but we're still busy! I am having a little more downtime during the school day, but much of that is spent jacking around and not updating this blog. (Really its housework, errands, doctor visits, and rest time; but there's also a certain amount of jacking around.)

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

Once Again! First Day of School!

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

Sigh and YAY!

I can't get my pictures to upload today. And somehow, despite having successfully used texts on my old phone to update this blog, I am now unable to on my fancier iPhone 4. They appear to work, but just aren't there. I'm still convinced its user error and may have something to do with my cognitive difficulties. Blogs just seem more interesting with pictures, especially when you can marvel at my crochet and knit achievements and how cute my kids are!

The girl portion of our family went camping this past weekend with our best friends for one of their birthdays. It's now the second year we've gone-although last year the boys came along too-and we have decided its a must do every summer. If you've never been to Ponca State Park in Ponca, NE, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is stunningly beautiful and has a ton of fun things to do including horseback riding and hiking trails. The girls went on their first big hike without us and despite a little panic when accosted by a rogue cow they did really well. We relaxed, played games, had lots of campfires, ate delicious camping meals, and reveled in the beauty of nature. It's so wonderful I'd marry it if I could.

The boys stayed home and did whatever things boys do when the girls aren't around to boss them. (I try not to ask for too many details.)

School starts in a week so we're attempting to get as much lazy time in while still being moderately productive. The school supplies are mostly bought, the kids are sloooowly adjusting to new bedtime schedules and while I'm going to miss the heck out of them I'm also really going to enjoy not listening to the girls fight over the tv/computer/whatever is the focus of the day and the boys obsessively playing Xbox until I kick their booties outside. We really have had an awesome summer though and I am sad to see it end. I'm fairly certain I need to sleep for a month to recover.

On the yarn front I've been crocheting and knitting away; including a short obsession with headbands for the girls and a new toque for my brother. The best part was that I actually followed a pattern for it (found here: and then about 3 /4 of the way through I realized I should've been knitting in the round the whole time. Thankfully I'm good at seams. And it was a bulky yarn that hid it will. I will now need to re-attempt this one and actually follow the directions. Even with my mistakes it turned out really nicely and you'll have to trust me on that unless you are my ravelry or facebook friend and then you can just go look!

Next up, aside from more headbands and dishcloths are BABY THINGS! My youngest sister is having a little one in December and while I'd love to share our fantabulous news on whether its a girl or a boy I will leave that up to her. :) In the meantime I'm mapping out all sorts of fun baby things and heading to buy yarn for the baby blanket this weekend. Yippee! (And hopefully I won't have to be secretive for long because I almost typed out two different things that would've given it away, so I obviously can barely be trusted. Oh and if you are ARE a ravelry friend keep quiet if you're being snoopy.)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Long time, no post

Ahh, here you are my blog, I have missed you! Having not been on an actual computer for a number of days this poor blog has been neglected. I tried posting from my phone a few times, but for some reason they wouldn't stick (I'm going with user error.) Things have been mighty busy in our world, Vacation Bible School at SOP, a trip to Minnesota for a family reunion, and all sorts of other little adventures. I'd written a post about VBS-which got lost, and started one about the Minnesota trip-which I didn't finish, so for now you get this post!

We've probably had our busiest summer yet, seems like we are always off to do something and the next two weekends will be no exception! I'm fairly certain we'll stay busy until school starts (and stay that way including a Labor Day Weekend trip to Lifelight.) I am most definitely NOT complaining, we have been having a blast. I'll try to come back to post about some of it, hopefully. I think.

Our garden is producing like a maniac and given its rocky beginnings with some late frosts it has really surprised us. The best are the brandywine tomatoes, which come in all sorts of fun sizes and shapes and are extremely delicious. We had one so large the slices of tomato were larger than the slices of bread for BLT's. YUM. That one I named Giganto tomato and most recently we've gotten Bizarro tomato, who is an oddly shaped duck but will hopefully taste just as yummy. I love having a garden and we're looking to expand it next year. Our herbs are doing very well, this year we only planted basil, oregano, and rosemary; next year we plan to add a few more. Love it.

In yarn news I've been crocheting and knitting away (after a brief hiatus due to the many mosquito bites I had on my hands), having lots of fun making headbands and a few other things-lately I've been into instant gratification. Last night we went swimming at my sister/brother in law's and afterwards I was having fun crocheting with my niece, Jozie. At 2 she isn't quite ready for full-blown projects, but she had a lot of fun pulling chain stitches through with me and we made ankle bracelets for everyone! Here are a few shots of her, I just love this kid. (pictures to be added later, as I am having some trouble with them. Apparently I'm technologically challenged right now.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rough Day

I have debated on posting this, but given that part of me being me is that I feel its important to share not only our joys, but also our struggles. ESPECIALLY if it can benefit someone else who may be going through a similar situation. I've really been focusing on living positively, but, let's face it, we all have bad days.

I am really fortunate to be a member of a really great forum of women who all have different chronic conditions. I've been a member of this group for much of the time I've struggled with my health issues and they've been invaluable in their support, knowledge, commiseration, and listening ear. One side of having an illness is that it can often be hard for those who haven't been in similar shoes to understand how it is (as in most things in life.) It also is very, very good to have a place to go where you can share without feeling as if you further burdening your loved ones and where others understand even when you're at your basest. Another part of being sick is that you often find yourself comforting someone else about your own illness when you do share about it. Now, this I do get, it means people care and love you and what you to know that. But sometimes you get sick of being a sick person. Today is one of those days for me.

I have been down, sad, in a funk, hurting a lot, frustrated, aggravated, in tears, and downright angry today. All at my illness. I can't stand myself when I feel like this and dislike it even further when nothing seems to help me get out of it. I read, I play on the internets, I listen to music, I pray, I seek God's word and His voice, but SOMETIMES you find yourself in a place where nothing seems to reach you. That is me, today.

I posted this:
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.

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.
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!!

Sometimes online friendships/support get a bad rap. But one of the reasons I love them is that even on the days when I feel no one should be subjected to me, the days where its excruciating just moving around the house; I can pop online and talk to people. Sometimes its this message board I post on, sometimes its somebody through Facebook, sometimes its finding a devotion or song that I read or listen tothat helps me get back on track. Sometimes it reading about the Bloggess and the Big Metal Chicken. Sometimes it just posting and letting out all the bad crap, getting it out of your system with people who understand how it is.

And sometimes I find someone who can help me regain my sense of humor, and my faith that God indeed is there loving me and I am reminded once again of Jeremiah 29, that God has plans to prosper and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. (This ended up being a bit cheerier than I'd thought it'd be, would you look at that?)

Monday, July 18, 2011


Above is a little bitty hat I made for a cool little person I know. She has this big red Clifford dog and has been asking me if I could make him a hat and then waited VERY patiently until I finally accomplished it. It turned out pretty cute and I added a little string so she could cinch it up and tie it to Clifford's head. (After initially posting I realized that the picture makes the hat look GIANT, but its actually sitting on the arm of a couch and not the same size as the couch and tree in the background.)

And this is a headband I made for my cousin Alex. It's super wide and super simple. I've made another for my cousin Libby that has a little crocheted flower on it and am working on one half the width for my daughter Arenne. Unfortunately I can't take pictures because my poor, sad iPhone died this week. My sister is sending me a phone (she rocks!!!) so hopefully I'll be an iPhone addict again soon because the withdrawal sucks!!


This past weekend was spent with my Dad's family-his siblings-so, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their significant others including the previously mentioned Aunt Traci, my Dad's youngest sister, and the impetus for our get-togethers. Traci has taught and continues to teach us about the importance of living in the moment, and loving every day. Traci has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is now approximately 8 mos.-a year + past her expected expiration date. (To those of you that may think that heartless, negative, or extreme: when you have been faced with your own mortality it is often quite normal to grab it by the reigns and talk that sucker into the ground.) I am now 4+ years past my own brush with death, and not even a year since my Dad's. Skirting the edges of our earthly life MOST DEFINITELY puts the important bits front and center in your awareness of your surroundings.

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

4th of July, a bit late

We celebrated the 4th of July in South Dakota with my aunt, cousin, and parents and really just had a fun and relaxing and wondeful time. My aunt has recently moved back here and it has been so so amazing being around her and spending time with her, she's an absolutely beautiful person and a blessing to be around. She had us to her house for dinner (which was healthy and DELICIOUS) and we really just had a blast. The kids did snakes and sparklers-I was lighting the sparklers and if you've ever done it you know there is no time to take pictures because you just can't light those suckers fast enough, especially the short ones.

The kiddos are lighting snakes with my cousin Libby, boring but somehow its still fun. Especially when you stack a whole bunch in a pyramid and they start shooting out at the same time.

We also found a few roly polies, here's one all balled up.

One of the more fascinating moments of the day was when we walked over to a little festival at the nearby park and came upon this bit of ingenuity. An air conditioner in a van window. Really.

My aunt had read about the festival so we were excited to listen to the band. Except by band they really meant big speakers hooked up to this SUV. I think it might be Traci's favorite now.

And then there were fireworks. The city put on a fireworks show and it really was pretty impressive, we oohed and aahed and had a grand old time watching. The only thing we were missing were our own fireworks to shoot off risking fingers and eyes and honestly I'm not really sure I actually missed that part.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another finished project

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.

Next up are a special purple hat for a small person's Clifford and finishing the plastic bag bowl for my aunt.

I am so happy to no longer have a burning, stinging hand and will wear my gloves for future weeding attempts. I've had a horrible summer cold but seem to be coming out of it and am a little zappy from the Cymbalta weaning, but doing pretty good overall. Missing my girls who are away having a blast at camp. Still need to post about the 4th of July. Coming soon?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Another fairly benign update

Here's the most recent project, a dishcloth. I love dishcloths for their quick gratification and that they're a nice useful thing. I made this for a good friend and found a couple more skeins of the same yarn so she'll even get some matching ones! This is sugar n creme and I like how it stripes up.

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

An aside on going off meds

One of the big decisions I've made recently in regards to my health is to eliminate some of my medications and see how things go without them. One of them is a med I take for arthritis pain and the other is the one I find it MOST INTIMIDATING AND SCARY to go off of, Cymbalta. In case you don't know me or haven't read my blog before I have some significant health problems. What you may also not know is that I am of the crazy and have OCD and anxiety. For reals. I have spent lots of time in therapy and learned lots of good coping techniques and behavioral changes and along with meds here I am finally as fairly well-managed crazy person. The Cymbalta has also been immeasurably good for the considerable pain I've had over the years.

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.

Happy 4th of July!

We're having a mostly quiet fourth, until tonight when we go for dinner with family. Looking forward to spending time with them. So far this morning I've had coffee, hugged my children, done devotions (Portals of Prayer today), read more of the Apocrypha (I'm in Eccliasticus), fixed the blog links on this blog, knitted (the heating pad cover), and tried to pretend my joints aren't as achey as they really are. Oh and I started a new fun song in our house, to the tune of Whoomp there it is! when I started singing "I feel a poop comin' on! A poop comin' on!" which entertained my youngest immensely. My work was done when my husband just this minute walked by singing it and I hollered out "Yes! It's viral!" This, folks, is the sort of good times we enjoy in the Blue household.

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?

The Plastic Bag Bowl

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

Hey what's this...Oh yeah!...

I have a blog! Hold on to your hats, or get some coffee and settle in as I bet this will get rambly and long. It's me.

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

My brain

My memory is off. Others like to say it's normal; that everyone has some memory loss as they age, have children, have stress; but for me it's more.

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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gavel Nazing

The people we know and love have these entire other lives and range if experiences we have no idea of. And when we learn of them we can't really understand them. Maybe parts of them, but not their whole.

My sisters live their adult lives in an area I am slightly familiar with, but not the way I know the place I live. They have different friends and favorite places and familiar grocery stores. I haven't yet seen my youngest sister's house, but I picture them in the places I've seen. They went before away for college, making this whole other life that I only saw glimpses of.

I think of my best friend who I know so well and who knows me so well and that we each have so many experiences we won't be able to share them all.

And my children, who live here with me, that even now they do so much I am no part of it, that as much as I've known them, from their conception on, that there is still much I don't and won't know about them. What will it be like as they grow, as their lives become more and more independent? Sometimes I have this drive to know them; to know all they've done that day, all they are thinking and feeling. I find myself questioning them and stop myself because I know I can't know them so well, that it's irritating and invasive to be asked so much. That's one of things I didn't realize until I had children, just how nosy I was. I think it's because I am so open that I just expect it to be so for others. My poor kids, hopefully I can learn to let them live their lives without having to know all the details.

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.

I love the kids tromping off into the woods and coming back with handfuls of flowers that we put into cups and arrange on the counters and tables. I love that one of them found an eagle feather and another is hoping to catch a glimpse of a coyote while all are hoping the wild turkeys stay far away.

We're living now in the places we grew up, and our kids are going on adventures just like the ones we've gone on. Finding the treasures we once found. Discovering secret spots in houses and outside like we once found. Hitting trees with sticks, imagining what you'd do if you did happen upon a turkey or coyote. Climbing onto tree stumps, hiking through the woods, looking in the trees for birds or animals, taken to a place of imagination and magic.

We've been taken from a situation of chaos and plopped into the arms of comfort and simplicity and it feels very, very good.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lions, Tigers, and Urgent Care, Oh My!

I'd planned to have a fairly quiet night of picking up and doing some laundry with the kiddos but life had other ideas. Drew fell on and then off a trampoline, falling onto the edge of the trampoline-direct hit to the shoulder-and then onto the ground-direct hit to the shoulder and face. His friend's mom called me right away, and from the sounds of it it was a tough fall to watch. (I'm feeling for her because there's something about any sort of breakage of another person's kid that is enough to induce the worst of the guilt-just in case she reads this I will again say that's why they're called accidents and you have absolutely nothing to feel bad about.)

Drew was attempting to be pretty stoic, he'd already cried in front of people-something that's pretty tough for a ten year old boy to do-and I could tell he was hurting. He was emphatic that he was fine and there was no need to see any doctors or anything, all while wincing and holding his shoulder. He still had grass embedded in his cheek. I told him I'd rather go to be sure and not have to do a worried visit to ER in the wee hours of the morning, so off to urgent care we went.

The girls got out their homework and settled in for the long haul. A friend and her daughter came in, so we caught up while I filled out paperwork and waited. Then into the exam room with the boys where Drew and I joked and talked to ease his nervousness and I attempted to keep Colin occupied (and stop him from touching the spinning stool/sharps container/blood pressure cuff/light/garbage/the floor/anything else disgusting or fragile & expensive by having him count to various numbers, spell words, and then look for different colored cars through the window.

A nurse, a doctor, and an x-ray later and we learned that there were no fractures, thank you God! just some bad bruising. After picking up some children's ibuprofen and cool ice packs and food for everyone we arrived home just before 8:00pm. So much for that free quiet night where we did a few chores and went to bed early.

We crammed the chores into about a half hour, three people bathed, and got settled in only to have the power go out. Then it was assessing that no one else's power was out and after finding the breaker box and resetting the switch to the miracle of electricity, getting the people calmed down enough to actually fall asleep.

Finally, it is quiet. I laid down with my book and dozed off. Only to be awakened at 2:00am by the weather radio to alert us that severe thunderstorms were coming (not uncommon in Iowa in spring.) So far the thunderstorms aren't that severe. Hopefully they stay that way.

I'll end this fairly banal post by saying that I'm actually pretty surprised that this was our first trampoline-related injury which means that the girls made it 12 years, Drew 10, and Colin 8. We don't have our own trampoline, but many friends do and my parents had one for awhile as well. I was the mean mom when they were young who wouldn't let them go all over the neighborhood and jump on trampolines even though the other kids could. I always felt bad because I know trampolines really are super fun, but I also was pretty paranoid that the odds weren't in our favor and its hard to make sure the kids are following the appropriate trampoline rules while gallivanting the neighborhood. I find it a little ironic (and funny) that given my previous vigilance that our first injury is in a safe place with a friend who takes awesome care of the kids in spite of their penchant for rowdy boy fun. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

Saturday, May 07, 2011


I became a mom in 1999, inducted in a crazy way with the birth of our twin girls, Abbie & Arenne. It'd taken us a year and a half to become parents and we were having discussions about whether we'd look into seeing doctors or just halting the process and going back to college. We'd just about decided to move to Iowa City and choose college when I found out I was finally pregnant. My husband and I were very, very excited and more so (as well as profoundly shocked) when we learned there were two babies. I remember going to lunch and not saying much beyond wow and oh my, trying to hold back our enormous grins and the overwhelming logistical thoughts of having two babies at the same time. Their coming in to the world was quite eventful, they were born at 30 weeks and spent the first 7 weeks in the hospital. They were lovely babies and we had so much fun (between all the feeding and diaper changing and keeping them out of things); and have grown into such lovely, funny, intelligent, and individual girls.

Drew came along in 2000. Our first two and our third are 16 months apart. I remember my husband in denial that I could possibly be pregnant so soon, our twins were only SEVEN months old! I went to my parents and sat down on the stairs my mom had been vacuuming, started crying, and said, "Mom, I think I am pregnant again. What will I do? I only have two hands!" Drew's birth was wonderful, fun, and even my grandparents from California were able to be there. The girls started walking the day I went into the hospital to have him and were outside in the hallway shrieking and laughing with my parents and grandparents as their little brother was born. Drew was decidedly not an easy baby and his nickname of "Extreme Child" was well-earned. I like to joke that he got all of his angst out of the way in the first two years, he's the most easy-going kid now, as well as quick and funny.

Colin came along in 2002. We'd gone back and forth on having another child and just when the vasectomy talks began we decided we weren't done. I also insisted that we start trying asap because I wanted to do all the stages at once; I didn't want to get out of diapers & potty training only to start all over again. Colin came into the world 3 weeks early, spent a few days in the NICU and has been filling our lives with excitement and hilarity ever since.

This is us, waving goodbye to my sister in 2003 (?), its one of my favorite pictures. Four kids in 3 1/2 years and still standing. We had a lot of fun, went on lots of adventures, and now I have a hard time remembering how I did it. ;)

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.

Above is my mom's mom, my Grandma Donna, with my nephew Jackson and myself. I love this picture of her laughing and holding Jack Jack. This woman has four kids, eighteen grandchildren, twenty-some (still counting) great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild with another on the way. Unequivocally she has been the biggest supporter and encourager of my interest in literature and writing. When I was a kid she always made me feel loved, her hugs are the best; as an adult she's a tremendous example of how to love others, how to live, and to love and live even through the tough times. She gave, and gives, each and every one of us this tremendous sense of who we are and who we have the potential to be, and that she loves us all no matter what. Her cookie jar has been full for my entire life, always. Never empty. With that many grandkids and greats this is a feat in and of itself. She also remembers each and every birthday and anniversary, something I wish I had inherited.

This is my dad's mom, my Grandma Milly, with my nephew Tommy. The two words often used to describe her are energetic & youthful. She is something to marvel at. She's loved me, encouraged me, and taught me to walk with my spine straight and head high (complete with the book on the head and pulling back of the shoulders). She's taught me what it means to have drive, to be proud of who I am, and helped me get out of bed by popping open the shades and banging on the birthday bell in the mornings. (Once you've heard this sound, you won't forget it.) The rest of the grandkids heard it only for birthdays, but when I lived with my grandparents it was my alarm clock. I don't get to see her as much now, as she and my grandpa live in California, and I definitely miss her hugs. If there was one reason I'd wish for money, it would be so I could visit my family as much as we wanted-or at least more than we've been able to.

All of these women have taught me what it means to mother, to raise and love your children. They've shown me lessons throughout my life, been tremendous examples of who women should be, and that mothering never stops. I continue to learn from them and be loved by them and I am thankful that God blessed me with each of them. For as much as I love words, there just aren't enough to convey the enormity of the love I've been given and continue to receive.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I really should be better

at keeping up with people.

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

Walking by Faith?

I've really loved this song for awhile now, but was recently struck again by the words. I'd sort of been singing along mindlessly when the words I was singing started striking a chord with me. It's not that I'd never paid attention before, but I found myself really listening again and then singing with conviction. Here are the lyrics:

"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

[chorus x2]

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

We have moved

and that's my excuse for lack of posting. Our move happened quickly, we were very sad to leave our neighborhood but on to new adventures! The good part of our move was purging A LOT of junk and stuff and now most of what we own fits into a single garage size storage unit, woohoo! Feels good to get rid of all the STUFF.

We've been through some big changes in our family over the past 6 months or so and the best part is that our family has grown closer AND stronger in our faith in God. I can only hope that will continue, through any other struggles we may face.

Not much of the yarny type stuff happening right now, I still need to finish my own furry flip flop, and then we'll see what comes after.

On the reading front I just finished Water for Elephants, which I found to be as good as others had said it would be. I often find myself shying away from really popular books, but was glad I didn't with this one. And I always like to read the book before seeing a movie made it from it, so that's done! I am also doing a couple different Bible studies, continuing to read the Apocrypha-although its been awhile since I've picked it up-as well as a book called Jesus-Experience the Power and Meaning of Christ-and when I can figure out where I packed it-Twelve Ordinary Men.

The rain has been coming down since yesterday and we're expecting SNOW again tonight. This type of weather is no good for my joints so I spent this morning resting-I haven't done enough of that lately and its showing in my inability to sleep and in my brain function (or lack thereof.) I guess its a good reminder of how all of this is helped by getting good rest.

Now to attempt to get moving and get some chores done in the rain-wheeeeee!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

They really do grow up very quickly

Everyone that has children talks about how quickly they grow up, and people who know children notice it too. I don't know that I ever really KNEW how quickly until I had some of my own. Abbie & Arenne will be TWELVE next week and I'm feeling like somebody hit fast-forward and forgot to let me know. A couple weeks ago they went to a middle school dance, Arenne is above in the yellow, Abbie in the blue. They take my breath away with not only how pretty they are, but with how grown up they are becoming. It feels like we were just in the throes of baby and toddlerhood, then the grade school days, and now middle school has begun and 6th grade is practically over. What happened to the two of them tromping around in plastic dress up heels dragging the skirts of my old prom dresses behind them? Now they're in middle school in their own dresses and going to dances and in the band and into their own music and trying out for cheerleading.

Time FLIES when you are raising children, more so than you ever think you can fathom when you are having them. One minute you're pregnant and the next you're talking about puberty with them. The challenge is enjoying just where they are and not babying them while not letting them go out and take the car to the store. (HOLY COW the permit age is creeping up WAY TOO QUICKLY!)

I was recently asked if the girls are very different, a question parents of twins field quite often. And usually the answer will be yes. They are very different, just like all siblings and it seems as they grow older they really want to emphasize their individuality. It can't help to look just like each other. For a lot of years their interests were pretty similar, at least as far as sports and extra activities, but as they grow up I see them choosing their own paths (as all kids are wont to do.) A small part of the protective mom in me wants to reach out and hold them close, for so long I've had a sort of safety in numbers comfort as they've been together in most situations. But the bigger part of me is so excited to see them grow and be who they are; to watch them becoming themselves more and more. It's pretty cool to watch people grow up, to get to see them explore who they are and make their own decisions. I just hope I can allow them to do and be without holding them back, to be supportive and encouraging. This becomes especially challenging with hormones involved-my own included!-and I can honestly say I never knew how patient I could be until I had girls hit puberty. May the Lord be with us all as we keep growing, and keep me reminded to enjoy it as it happens and rejoice as these times become memories and more are made.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My devotion from today

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

Alright, so I goofed up

and maybe its my lack of brain function? My niece's birthday was actually March 19th. I KNOW this. I do, really. But somehow I decided on the 17th it was on the 17th. I have no excuse. Forgive me Jozie bird! Aunt Lisa really does know when you're birthday is, I promise! Jozie is now officially two and I may be biased, but she's just a fantastically lovely and hilarious little person. I love how she is so just herself all the time in all the moments. I think that may be why I love being with little kids so much, they really are themselves without all these filters and walls and boundaries and rules we throw up as we get older. We need some of those, but let's be honest in that we could really do without quite a lot of the parameters we put on ourselves as "grown-ups."

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.” "