Saturday, December 31, 2011

This blog is not contagious.

(DISCLAIMER: I got this awesome netbook for Christmas, but I haven't gotten the hang of this keyboard yet. For instance, I hit====== every time I try to Backspace, so I amm =not responsible for the typos you see in the floowlloing post! :))
I don't get sick too often, thankfully, but you can bet on when I will: Christmas Break and/or Spring Break! I have had rotaviruses, a corneal ulcer, and now pneumonia, and guess when! It's like while I'm working, my body doesn't slow down enough to let me get sick, but my guard goes down as soon as I turn off my power strips in my classroom.
I specifically went to the doctor before I generally would have to avoid being sick over break, but noooo. Dagnabit that's what sick days are for. I really do hate missing school--all teachers know it's way harder to be out than just to go on to school have beaten. However, my days off are so precious, I hate spending them laid out and useless!
I must share my story that would surely put me in the running "Mother of the Year, 2011." Just in time too. Yesterday, or the day before--it's hard to remember when you haven't left the couch except to go to bed for a week--Brynn was sitting on my back, bouncing and eating Ritz crackers out of the pack. I was sleeping on and off, and I'm sure that was a hilarious sight. Anyway, I knew as long as SuperWhy was on and I was being bounced, Brynn would be okay while I dozed. The next thing I knew, I woke up to what sounded like crying. I had to idea how long I had been asleep, and my back was riderless. I shot up and yelled, "Brynn!! Are you okay?!?!" Then my precious little self-sufficient two year old peered around the tv tray that was serving as my blind spot and looked at me like, "Mom, just go back to sleep." I don't know what the noise I heard was. Maybe I was hallucinating. Anyway. Later the same day, I put the poor thing down for a nap an hour early. Accidentally. Wow. (Send your kids over for me to baby-sit, I'm obviously ready.)
Did I mention I hate being sick?? Worst line from my sweet girl this week: "Mommy, I'm sorry you don't want to play with me." Oh, baby. She took such good care of me. In spite of her words, I think she really knew how bad I felt and that I wanted to play with her more than anything.
I have been feeling some better at least part of the last couple of days. My main issue right now is my stomach from my yucky second round of antibiotics to get what the first round couldn't catch. I guess this is one way to start my New Year's diet! But never fear, school starts Monday, so I should be up and running as soon as my computer clicks on.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Ramble

“I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
Philip Yancey

This year has had so much turmoil that it really just seems like a blur looking back. At many points if you had asked me, I would have told you without hesitation that this was the worst year of my life. It may have been. But as Priscilla Shirer reminded me in the Bible study I did recently--"Bushes don't burn in the wet season. Only in the dry season." Through the desert times this year I have seen burning bushes like never before. I am learning to recognize God's voice more clearly and have seen the joy that comes from waiting on Him.
He has allowed me to see some things that make sense in reverse now--like waiting on Erick's job. Every step led him to where he is now, though in those 6+ years of wondering and praying we had no idea what was going on!
As we move into the next stage of trying to expand our family, I must have faith that God has His plans for us and let Him take care of it for us. His plans for us are good. I was planning on spending this Christmas in the maternity ward of the hospital and bringing home a wonderful present. I have prayed fervently that my favorite time of year wouldn't be spoiled by that pain. I am happy to say that I woke up today and had almost an hour before I remembered that today was my original due date. I have had more feelings of joy thinking of my baby celebrating the biggest birthday party ever in Heaven and thinking, "Boy, mom's going to love this one day!" (I hope that didn't just make me sound too crazy. You do whatcha gotta do!) And I know my Papa is right there with him seeing it for the first time, with my Grandfather who has seen it a few times (whose birthday is today--he would have been 81).
A precious family member of mine has also had some difficult health decisions he had to make, but I got to see just how strong he is by how he came through! That was a blessing in itself.
Yes, this year has held the most tragic and painful events of my life, but more importantly it has brought glorious ones as well. Above all, I know that the God of this universe loves me, and that gives me the peace that passes all understanding.

Monday, November 7, 2011


"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

I think I have shared before that I believe my baby in Heaven is a son. His life was too brief for us to know for certain, but that belief has never wavered so I tend to think it is from God to help bring me peace.
As I was seeking wisdom on how to manage my grief, I found that many people found comfort in naming their child. It is very difficult to always say "the baby" and avoid pronouns altogether (I refuse to say "it.") so I wondered if that would be good for me to do as well.
Before I finished that thought, "James" was all but audibly whispered in my heart. I would never have considered the name James myself, and still am not completely comfortable calling him that. It seems like such a grown-up name for such a small, however significant, life. I believe more than actually giving my child this name, the Holy Spirit was guiding me to this book of the Bible. As soon as I could get my hands on God's Word, I opened up to James 1 and found these verses:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I dare you to me that was an accident. I would surely distract from the power of what I experienced if I tried to spell it all out what this meant to me when I found this, but it certainly solidified my faith that God was speaking to me. He was giving me the comfort I was praying for.
Now when I hear the name James, I think of God's promise. He is teaching me perseverance.
A dear friend recently gave me this beautiful metaphor that is bringing me peace: It's like when a parent has to keep a child from doing something she knows is for their own good, but cannot fully explain why it has to be that way. The child may be hurt, angry, resentful, and that hurts the parent too, but all the while she knows it is best in the long run.
God hurts because I am hurting. He loves me that much. I just have to trust that he does know what is best for me even though I will never understand it.
I would love to find a good Bible study on the book of James to get deeper into it. I'm doing a wonderful study right now on discerning God's voice. It is helping me not only in the present, but in hindsight as well to see how God's hand has been in everything.
Thank you, Lord, for protecting me and loving me, even while I am kicking and screaming. Thank you for your peace and your joy that you have promised to those who ask for it. I will continue to seek your face so I can know the fullness of your greatness. These past 5 months have been the hardest of my life in some ways, but thank you for teaching me through my suffering. Help me to use my experiences to help someone else and bring You glory.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


My cousin/pseudo-sister is wonderful about reminding her sons (and soon her daughter too!) to obey. I've always thought that it is wonderful that she is using that word already even as toddlers. I used it on Brynn last night after she had thrown a basket's worth of toys across the room one by one when she didn't want to go to bed. I had clearly warned her and then she threw something else. She got a time out and when she calmed down, I explained to her what obeying Mommy meant. She said she was sorry and we then had our precious bedtime routine.
I have always tried to be obedient to my teachers, parents, and bosses, to the best of my ability. (Except maybe getting home right at 11 p.m. every time...sorry, Mama.) However, I've been realizing lately that there are many areas of my life that I have been disobedient by omission. Kind of like when you fail to tell someone something it's lying by omission. I wasn't blatantly doing wrong on purpose, just procrastinating and generally not doing things that responsible grown-ups are supposed to do. Things such as keeping a budget, doing housework regularly, keeping myself healthy, and not worrying.
Okay, so that last one is hard for everyone and doesn't really fit into that category, but it is something I have always struggled with to the point of believing it would never change.
I hope you read the "Welcome to Holland" story, or this isn't going to make much sense. I was definitely sent to Holland this year. I've probably been on the plane there for the last couple of years. As most of you who read this know, my husband has been looking for a "real" job for at least 3 years now, honestly longer. It has been quite a journey for the both of us. Our picture we painted when we were dating of me being the stay-at-home mom and him being the one who brings home the bacon dissipated long ago. It took some time, but I have realized that I don't think that's who I wanted to be anyway. (That was me seeing the tulips in Holland.)
After we lost the baby this year, my whole perspective on life changed, as I have mentioned before. I truly witnessed how little power we have over what happens in nature and how useless worrying about it is. If you can do something, do it. Otherwise, leave it to God. Neither I nor anyone else on this earth could have kept my baby here, so all I could do was find peace. (That was finding the windmills in Holland.)
Since that revelation, I was given the job I always wanted. Or at least since I switched my major to special ed in college. It is all I hoped it would be. It really is a ton more work than my other position was, but it is so much better suited for me. Again, I have found peace and joy in what I do. And I don't have to search very hard for it every day. That relief I know has led to my success in other areas.
I have finally started learning how to successfully declutter my house and KEEP it that way! My closet, bathroom, and most of my kitchen have been clean for over a week now. I don't know if any of you can relate, but that is saying a WHOLE lot for me. Since I was little, I would work on cleaning something all day and not be able to see any difference by the time I was exhausted. I found my kindred spirit at, and she is really helping me. I think I would be considered in the remedial class if she had a school, because I'm having to take the baby steps at a rate of about 1 per 3 days rather than one a day. BUT IT'S WORKING! Just like the worrying thing, I never ever ever thought I could have a clean, un-cluttered home. Don't get me wrong, it isn't there yet, but I suspect within the year it will be darn close. At least as close as it's going to get so long as I have children in my home.
SO here's the spiritual connection. I don't believe that the cleanliness of one's house determines your salvation. At least I hope to goodness it doesn't or I was doomed from birth. I also don't think that God loves me more because I'm eating better and exercising more. I do believe that since I have been more aware of improving myself and getting all the other junk out of the way, I am allowing God to do His thing which is so much more than I could have achieved myself. This is finding the Rembrandts in Holland.
By Thursday we should hear if Erick is getting this job that neither of us knew existed until about 4 days ago. Every single thing about it has some connection to something Erick has done before in his whole journey this far. From working at the dry cleaners to grad school to the library. It all lines up. The song "God Blessed the Broken Road" comes to mind, only it's a job, not a person. It's 90% certain he has it. We've been burned so many times that I'm afraid to celebrate too much yet, but you will hear me hoop and holler when we get the final word.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me the perseverance this year when I thought I was just giving up. I realize now I was giving it up TO YOU. Help me to always remember what I have been learning, even when my motivation isn't strong. You are good, and Your love endures.

Welcome to Holland

I'm not usually into mushy gushy inspirational stories, but this one was too wonderful not to share. I think this beautiful illustration could be applied to any change that life brings you unexpectedly. I'll give my update and response in a separate entry so it's not a gazillion miles long.

Welcome To Holland
By: Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.
It's like this...
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills.... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things.... about Holland.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

You can tell that school started! I told you I didn't know when I would have blogging time. This week was the first week with kids, so when I got home, fed everyone, and got Brynn in bed, all I felt like doing was lying on the couch and watching a half an episode of Star Trek Voyager before falling asleep myself.
One night I did go to the grocery store. That was just so I could feed everyone and THEN go to sleep.
I have a lot to be thankful for though.
I LOVE my new position. I got into special ed in college because I wanted to teach resource, and 5 years later, I'm finally doing it. I'm very thankful that it is all I hoped it would be. I've got to figure out how to cut down my planning time. I stayed until 5:00 Friday just getting ready for Monday. I'm not used to planning for 7 groups of kids. It is so worth it though! I love that I'm getting to work with more of the teachers too and not so secluded in the way way back of the school. I really hope I'll be able to make a measurable difference in these kids' academics.
Totally changing subjects and possibly rambling...
I think I'm going to look into The baby steps about cleaning my house...Erick helps a lot while I'm working, but I've never really known how to keep my house nice and neat. I just read what you're supposed to do on Day 1, and it's about making your sink shiny. The only thing is I don't think I even have the stuff she says to use to clean it. Like bleach and an SOS pad. Is that a bad sign? I just hung up the phone with my sweet grandmother, and she was talking about this morning going around with her flashlight checking for dust and spiderwebs.
I'll never be that person.

Dear future grandchildren of mine,
I promise I will always make you feel better about how you keep your house. Please don't talk too badly about the condition of my house after I die.

I'm in a really weird mood apparently. I think I'll go find something to wash, if not the sink.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ready to celebrate a new year already....

Excuse my language, but this has kind of been a sucky year. I enjoy leading a somewhat boring, uneventful life. There has been too much drama this year. I don't like being on every prayer request list I can find.
First I lost my baby. My father-in-law has had three eye surgeries and still isn't in the clear. Just this week I lost my Papa to Alzheimer's.
They say bad stuff comes in threes, so maybe this family is done.
Even as I say that, there have been some great things happening too. I unexpectedly got the job I've wanted since I switched majors to special education in college. I'm really excited about starting this year and have great ambitions to finally get better at the paperwork I've been muddling through for the past 5 years.
Brynn is growing into a real live person who doesn't (always) pitch an all out conniption fit at every request. Just last night in the car she asked for a juice box, and usually telling her I don't have one leads to a useless tantrum being that I cannot create juice boxes out of thin air. Instead she grunted once and then started talking about something else. I was so happy!
The events of this year so far have changed me. I feel weathered. Like I have been forced to grow up a little faster than I was ready to. I pray that God will give me opportunities to make the best of the sorrows I have experienced, and I hope He will be pleased with how I'm coming through this time.

My family and I will be walking in the Alzheimer's Association's Walk to Remember in memory of Papa. Please support us with a donation at Thanks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Change is good. Right?

So today was my first day back at school this year. I was most dreading the imminent "get-to-know-you" activity. Remember those from school? "Find someone who has a dog with the same name as you and get them to sign your paper in their favorite color."
I hated them then; I hate them now.
The one today wasn't too bad. We just had to go to one side of the room or the other according to our preference of a given option. (Coke or pepsi, boxers or briefs)
I don't mind meeting new people. I was looking forward to meeting the new folks at school. I think I just hate being forced into a situation that already makes me a little nervous. Why is everyone always forcing you to get out of your comfort zone? It's called a COMFORT zone for a reason. Haha.
I'm guessing it's because nothing would ever change without a little discomfort. I'm not arguing the validity of the get to know you games--I still think those are still ridiculous. But actually meeting and talking to someone for real is a good change out of your comfort zone.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thoughts on marriage by a still pretty newly-wed

Let me preface today's blog entry by saying for some reason my contacts are refusing to settle, so I have a bit of double vision. If I have weirdo typos, I apologize. I can't see.
Erick and I celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday. Yay! It's very sad to me that many couples who got married around the same time we did have already parted ways. I have never thought of considering the d-word in our 6 years, but there have been some very tough times that I believe has given us experience beyond our years. Why is marriage so hard?
Well, for starters, life is hard! I know my tendency when things around me start going wrong, I look for trouble everywhere. Does that make sense? Like in high school (Erick and I started dating when I was 16) when I would be bogged down with tests and papers and band, I would be absolutely certain Erick was going to break up with me. I would beg him for reassurance. Poor guy.
Problems change after high school, but they just get bigger. That's hard to deal with by yourself. But it's even harder to deal with problems with each other. Erick and I have gotten some help communicating with each other in the past couple of years. It's the best thing we have ever done. We now have a tool when something needs to be discussed between us. We have used it to settle issues from who should clean the toilet to why one of us is depressed. I'm by no means a psychologist, so don't take this as official advice, but dialoguing goes a little like this:

Person 1: I want to talk about ...blah blah blah. pause
Person 2: I hear you saying..blah blah blah (they don't give any advice or interpretations, just say what they heard) Is that right?
Person 1: No, I meant.... or Yes, that's all.
Person 2: That makes sense to me because......
How I think that must make you feel is.......

It's so simple, but means so much. You're validated and really heard. Usually you switch once the first person has finished.
It feels really silly when you first start, but then it's a more natural way of talking.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
James 1:19

Again, I'm not an expert on marriage, I just know this has helped us. One of us needs to be reminded when to keep the mouth shut, the other needs to be reminded when to open it. I'll let you guess who is who. :) That's another thing that makes marriage hard--it's run by imperfect humans. Those imperfections tend to try to drive people apart. I believe you have to have some, uh, God Glue? to hold you together.

Marriage takes work. If you aren't moving forward, then you're moving backward. I am blessed to be with a man who is willing to do that work, and to have God on our side!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Greatness גדלות

'O Lord GOD, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours?
Deuteronomy 3:24

I kind of segued nicely into today's topic at the end of yesterday's post about there being a lot we still don't know. Know-it-alls are excused from reading today's entry. It's for those of us who don't have it all figured out.
If you're still reading this, I'm glad I'm not alone. You know the phrase about if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? The first person who said that knew me.
I have diagnosed myself with adult-onset ADD. I'm crazy disorganized, at least to the naked eye. Just ask either of my principals. I wish I had a picture of their faces when they come into my classroom. It's that look that you get when you see a booger in somebody's nose and you don't want to tell them so you kind of overdo the eye contact. Anyway. In spite of my apparent disorganization, I'm quite the perfectionist and really like to know what my future looks like. Erick is always hesitant to tell me about jobs he applies for, because once he mentions it, as he says, "In your mind I already have the job!" I just like to imagine the whole scenario out. When something happens to my little life path I have laid ahead of me, I don't really handle it well.
I especially struggled with this through college. I was not one of those who changed majors "just cuz." It was a really difficult, although much needed change.
As I've gotten into this different phase of life and there aren't so many huge decisions I have to make (college: check, marriage: check) God is having to resort to different measures to show me just how big He is.
Two things have always been constant reminders to me how vast God is: the ocean and thunderstorms. Two things that men cannot tame or predict with 100% accuracy that are ever-present in our lives.
I didn't realize how much I still took everything for granted though until the doctors told me that dreaded phrase during my last pregnancy, there's nothing we can do.
Excuse me? You're a doctor. You're where I have always gone when something is wrong to get it fixed. I'm sure there is a pill or a shot or operation you've forgotten about.
"I'd tell you to stand on your head for the next 7 months if I thought it would help, but sometimes this just happens."
My baby still had a heartbeat when he told me that. It just felt like a death sentence. My baby was not going to survive and all I could do is wait? What a horrible answer. But it was true.
Unborn babies aren't the only ones who get this answer. Many diseases and medical issues remain enigmas. There is nothing we can do.
God is still bigger. Even with all of our advancements and technologies, there are some things we haven't begun to touch. I learned in the face of that terrible time all I could do was pray. I prayed for a miracle. That somehow the doctors were wrong, my little guy was a fighter and this would just be a cool story to tell later in his life.
Before it was all over, I heard God telling me my way was not how his story would end. I had to pray what has got to be the hardest prayer for a mother to pray--that God would take my child and keep him safe in Heaven, and to please let him know how much he is loved, even though his time on earth was so short.
God is bigger than life itself. I have promised myself I would learn from my experience. I have been humbled. I know so little about how God works that I just have to trust him all the more. If we knew everything He knows, He wouldn't be much of a God, would He?
I am blessed to be in the care of such a great God. I am blessed to know that He has a plan for me even though I don't always know what he's up to.
My experience also made me that much more thankful for my precious baby girl, and that my pregnancy was so uneventful with her. She was always special, but I really do look at her with new eyes.
God, help us to trust you and know that your love is greater than anything we can imagine.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just say no to drugs! (Unless you really need them,)

Just a side note (before I even get started with my head-on note!), I don't usually have a clue what I'm going to write about until my wonderful blog time of day comes. Which I'm trying to figure out when that will move to after school starts next week...Anyway. SO let's see how this goes.

I'll just be completely open and decide when I'm done if I actually want to publish this or not.
I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (I think GAD is a really funny acronym for some reason, btw.) I just looked up on the Mayo Clinic website to find an official definition, but everyone knows what it is, because I'm pretty sure everyone has probably felt like it at some point. I'll just tell you my story.
My anxiety started when I was young. I threw up a lot for no apparent reason, and my mom took me to the doctor several times for it until I was diagnosed with a "nervous stomach." I don't know when GAD became a popular term, but I guess not in the early 90's. I had some pills to put under my tongue when I started getting nauseated to help me relax. I know now they were just sugar pills, but at first they did help some. Yay for the placebo effect.
What was I anxious about so young? Oh anything really. A test, what to wear, and endless what-if's I came up with.
I managed it well in high school and college as I loved being with my friends and I loved school. Then the real world came *dun dun DUUUN!* I got my first "real" job as a teacher and my anxiety reached an all-time earth shattering raucous high. I no longer just had butterflies in my stomach and a few worries, I literally got sick every morning and couldn't go to sleep at night. I cried on the way home from school every day to the point I couldn't breathe. Sunday nights were terrible. I would melt into a terrible depression by noon. One day at school I completely lost my voice because I was in such a panicked state. I still don't know how I survived that day. Something had to change.
I went to a therapist who was absolutely wonderful. She totally validated my feelings and made me feel like I was normal instead of a crazy lady. I was totally opposed when she mentioned medication though.
"Why?" she gently asked.
I gave some lame-o reasons that don't make sense when you say them out loud, like I don't need it, I can cope without it (yeah, I was doing a GREAT job of that..), I don't like swallowing pills..
Then I went back to what I had told other people I love in the same situation--I believe God gave people knowledge about medicines to help people get better. Why suffer if you don't have to? Who is going to be impressed? Nobody gets a medal at the end for the fewest pills taken. (Unless you're an addict, but we're not talking about that side of things, lol.)
So I gave in. My doctor described my medicine as this: it makes you like a pan with Teflon. Stuff doesn't stick so much. It's easier to let it slide off.
I still had normal anxiety when I started on it, but I wasn't throwing up every day and driving with tears in my eyes. Isn't that better for everyone?
I know there is the opposite argument and not all drugs work for everyone, but I know it has helped me. It doesn't keep me from feeling things, it just brings them to a more manageable level. I can see reality rather than a world of what-ifs. I have gone off the medicine at times, like during my pregnancies, but when I see those symptoms creeping back, I know I need help.
Thank you, God, for giving people the knowledge to create medicines that can help people live longer, happier lives. Thank you for getting my pride out of the way and giving me courage to ask for help for myself. Please continue to fill the right people with wisdom to improve the medical field, because there is still so much we don't know and can't do. (but that's for another blog....) :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Orange toes, green neck

Brynn and I went to Hearts of Clay a couple of weeks ago (formerly known as Flying Saucers). It is one of my very favorite places to go, and I was ECSTATIC that Brynn loved it too. I didn't know how she would do with us each working on our own pieces, so I just let her choose one and I sort of helped her. (Mostly I just got her what color she asked for.)
Notice her tongue in the picture. Since she was itty bitty we've said she has Mema's tongue. My grandmother does that when she's doing anything from ironing to cutting tomatoes. That's how you know that she (and Brynn) are concentrating.
Brynn chose her lion and said she wanted it to be "ya-ow." She carefully painted every speck of white she could find yellow and put her paintbrush down. "Are you finished?" I asked, secretly disappointed that was it.
"No. I"
So I went to get red and she painted his eyes and tongue red. After that she would name another color and paint his toes or his tail, his back, whatever she thought needed a splash of color.
Maybe some mothers would have preferred the all yellow lion, but I LOVE her lion how she painted it. It shows every color she knows right now and all the body parts she could name. (We're working on "mane.")
Now to tie this all up and make it appropriate for my future devotional book I've been told I should write. :)
I am so glad that God doesn't stop when he starts making people. We're not plain yellow. We have everything that he could think of that we needed to make us unique. Just like you may think Mr. Lion's blue back is a little weird, I think it's beautiful. I thought the red eyes were a little evil, but Brynn thought they were perfect.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. --Psalm 19:1

I am so thankful that I am God's handiwork!

Monday, August 1, 2011


My blessing today is sleep.
Absolutely nothing else makes me into a monstrous crazy-lady faster than me being sleep deprived, and apparently my daughter took after me as well.
Because of some fun stuff happening the last few days interfering with her normal schedule, she apparently has gotten a little off. She is never unbearable, but all this morning she was a little more spastic and wallowy than usual. (If you are a mother you know that wallowy is a word!) After a trip to Costco went just a wee bit too long this morning, she was starting to grow horns. She doesn't make sense when she gets tired and EVERYTHING is a tragedy.
This was one of our conversations on the way home from said Costco trip:
Brynn: He gave me a smiley face! (referring to a drawn smiley face on the receipt)
Me: Yes! Wasn't that nice?
B: Here you go Mommy.
M: You don't want it?
B: It's a smiley face!
M: Yes it is!
M: I can't get it while I'm driving sweetie.
M: What would you like to watch?
B: (silence)
See? Makes no sense.
Thank goodness, she didn't fight her nap AT ALL and is still sleeping now about 2 1/2 hours later. Hopefully she'll wake up back to her pleasant, intelligent self. Thank you, God, for making sleep that re-focuses and mends our tired brains!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend Catch-Up

So I've gotten be honest I've been grappling to try to hold onto peace and contentment in my heart the last few days for various reasons in spite of wonderful things continuing around me. Maybe the "I" in that sentence is the problem. Anyway. I'm not up to my usual essay-style, so I'll make a list to catch up on my blessings.

Friday: Day Out With Thomas!

This is us on the train. For those of you non-parents of toddlers, Thomas the Tank Engine is a he, not an it. Erick ran into a dispute over that, lol. He's a real steam engine converted in 1997 to look like Thomas. We were too cheap/too hot/didn't want to wait in line to get a picture of Brynn with the front of Thomas, but we did ride him. It was so much fun watching Brynn's face when she saw him. We were looking for where to park and saw him. When we went past (still trying to park) meltdown ensued. We assured her we were going back. It was a lot of fun, in spite of the heat. (I thought surely it being in the mountains it wouldn't be 100+ degrees, but I was wrong.

Saturday: Fun Meandering

Erick had to work yesterday morning, but fortunately he works at a pretty cool place that is kid friendly: the library. Brynn and I went to visit him and turn in her summer reading paper. She got to choose a book to keep, and what was there--none other than her new favorite Mo Willems book the we had just had to turn in! We were both very excited and have read it several times. In addition to library fun, Brynn got to go play with Mimi and Papa while Mommy and Daddy went to Costco and just wandered around looking at stuff, wanting to buy it. Always a treat.

Today: Happy birthday, Dillon!

I was 8 years old when I figured out/Mama and Daddy told me I was going to have a sibling soon. Once he was born on July 31 19 years ago, I didn't know what I had ever done to entertain myself without him. He annoyed me quite a bit when I got a little older, and I him. Once I went to college and he was a little older, we kind of came to an unspoken truce. Now I know I can depend on him for anything, and even though I don't see him every day anyway, I miss him something awful when he's off at college. Dillon, you are the best brother anyone could have. I love you so much, and I am so proud of you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT)

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. (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (English Standard Version)

This has always been my favorite verse. It's the one that whenever I have some Earth-shaking change that has to happen it comes to mind.

I like looking at the different translations of the same verses to compare them and see what makes the most sense.

For example, in this one, I prefer DECLARES over SAYS. It sounds more like He meant business. I can believe Him.

Next, he has plans to for me to prosper. For my own good. For my own welfare. I need to hear it all those ways sometimes when I'm thinking, "Really? You sure about that one, God???"

Last, His plans will not lead me to DISASTER, or EVIL, or to HARM. I can be sure (since He declared it) that if I stick to the path I believe is right, it will have a good ending.

James said "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3)
Translation: what doesn't kill us will make us stronger.

Notice that all 3 translations promise the same outcome: a hope and a future.
When I am hopeless about a situation, it makes me physically sick. (As you may have read in earlier posts, that tends to be my reaction to many things.) Without hope, there is no reason to continue.

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope." --Hal Lindsey

So what do we do in the meantime?

Jeremiah 29:12
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

And just hold onto whatever hope you can muster. Addison Road put it into a wonderful song. Thank you, God, for the blessing of promising us hope.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Nate Berkus said that the way your home looks is a reflection on how your mind works. Or something like that. And I'm guessing he wasn't the only one who said it. Whatever.
I heard that and thought, "Yeah. That sounds about right." (After my first very 90's thought of "Bite me.") I look around my living room, which is where all three of us (5 if you count the cats) spend 90% of our waking hours. Let's start with the walls. They are a fabulous design and color scheme that a professional handled. Hanging on those walls are snapshots of my family (mostly Brynn) that capture various happy memories....Halloween costumes, bathtime, picking out a pumpkin, the beach. Totally digging the brain/room metaphor so far.
Then I get to the floor area. We have two couches nabbed at a great consignment store price. They will be our couches until we no longer have toddlers and cats with claws. I'll just put it that way. There is a beautiful toy chest that the magnificent cousin Heather made for Brynn crammed as full as possible. Then strewn about in no particular order are Brynn's current favorite things...a jar of marbles, a box of play-doh, paper dolls, Barbies, and blocks. We do our best to pick up these things at the end of the day, but if they don't make it back into their "homes" that this organizationally-impaired lady came up with, I really don't stress about it. It stresses me way more to try to keep it neat and tidy and watch Brynn "destroy" it.
Could this really be what my brain looks like? I didn't even mention the basket of stuff waiting to be labeled for an upcoming consignment sale and a bag of beads I'm determined to do something with. Yes, my brain is a bit scattered, but it is filled and covered with what is important. I was created by a Professional, and all the wonderful things that fill my mind are from others. I have my memories displayed neatly, while the present may still need a little sorting out. I have a few things wandering around on my to-do list, but they're not as important as the time spent with my little one.
Much like this less-than-organized blog post, I'm not the most streamlined thinker-housekeeper-mom-teacher. Thankfully, I'm blessed with those around me that fill in my gaps and love me anyway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I do it MYSELF

When does doing things all by yourself stop being so much fun?
Yesterday, Brynn, Erick, and I went to work on my new room at school. Aunt Iris is right next door and was there working too. I gave Brynn something to take to her, and she said, "No, Mommy, you stay here," when I went to follow her. Same thing when we were getting ready to leave, and I said we needed to tell her bye. "No, Mommy, I go aaaaall by myself."
She doesn't want me to hold her hand going down steps, she is trying her darnedest to figure out how to get her clothes on without me, and doesn't like when I put her toys in the wrong place. "I do it, Mommy!"
I like having help, though I don't always know what kind of help I need. When faced with tough decisions, I go through everyone I think I might can talk to. Someone else to make the decision for me. I ask God, but He usually doesn't answer quickly enough for me, so essentially I say, "No, God. I do it aaaalll by myself." But that's no good either.
What ultimately happens when I have to make some sort of decision like this is that I can't do it myself, so I just waste time crying and throwing up until I'm ready to listen. When I look back, I realize it's wasn't too bad and promise next time I'll be more trusting. (Yeah, right; I can almost hear God smirking. It's not in scripture, but I assure you he smirks.)
The other day I turned around to see that Brynn had rolled down (2) steps and was crying not because she was hurt, but saying, "My baby fell down!" referring to her baby doll she was holding. I told her, "Mine did too! Are you okay? Let me help you up this time." I guess this is like what God does with me. I demand to walk up hard steps on my own, which means sometimes I'm going to fall. Thankfully, He'll always come back to pick me up and dust me off and get me where I need to go. That's enough blessing to count for my last couple of days.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just Brynn

My child is a lot like me. She's also a lot like her daddy. But mostly, she is JUST like herself.

Ways she is like me:
1. She ALWAYS fights sleep and says she isn't tired even if she obviously is. For example, she just fell asleep (I think) after being in her room for 2 hours. Am I mean? She was happy, why bother her?
2. She likes jewelry, but it pretty quickly gets on her nerves. "My nekwace is bodderin me, Mommy. Geddit off."
3. She gets delirious when she gets tired.
4. She loves carbs and would prefer that be all she eats.

Ways she is like Erick:
1. Oh my gosh those two are fussy about getting situated in bed. B: Not that bwankie, Mommy! Cubber my feets! No! Socks OOOFFFFFF! E: Put something over your clock, it's too bright. Something is ticking. The sheets are bunchy. Did you put on lotion?
2. The way she looks at you like she's thinking about how she is totally right and you are totally wrong. (Yet in a somewhat humble way?)
3. Routine routine routine. Don't leave anything out or add anything without 24 hours notice.
4. Nothing is more fun than aggravating Mommy. (It's always in a fun way until I let them know they've crossed that line.)

But like I said, mostly she is herself. Erick and I left the McDonald's playground when other kids came. She wants to leave if no one is there. She introduces herself to everyone. It's like we're in a parade all the time with Miss Congeniality.
It's easier now, but at first it took very active work on my part not to stifle her outgoing-ness (as if she would let me). But I am so thankful that for whatever reason God gave us this little girl who does not fit the mold I imagined she would be. She won't leave bows in her hair, hates to wear shoes outside, and her favorite toy right now is a foam axe (in the style of Fiona from Shrek). I wouldn't trade her for any Fancy Nancy anywhere.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Blessing a day...or at least more often than not

A while back I was at a cutesy little store with this tiny journal called "mom's memories" or something, with a place to write one memory of something your kid does every day for 5 years. Awesome! I had to have it. $20??! Seriously???

So instead of buying it, I decided to instead go home and use an empty journal I already had to do the same thing for cheap. So I went home and that night...did nothing. Here I am like a year later with "I've got to write that down"s floating in my head.

It has been two months ago today that my second baby has gone to Heaven. In that time I have come a long way, though my grieving is seemingly far from over. I sang Laura Story's "Blessings" Sunday at church, and that combined with a God-inspired worship focus from a friend reminded me that God has continued to bless me, even though I haven't appreciated them.

I don't think He expected me to.

I'll be honest. Church has been really really hard since losing my baby. I do okay through the week and then leave church feeling depressed to the point that I'm paralyzed the rest of the day. I thought God and I were on speaking terms again, but I think I was just able to be in the same room, but not ready to listen yet to anything He had to say. My feelings a couple of weeks ago at church reminded me of having a boyfriend who did something really dumb trying desperately to win me back. Realizing that actually made me stop and think.

God wanted me back.

I couldn't sing the words myself, but the song "Oh How He Loves You and Me" flooded me with emotions. He gave His life. What more could He give? I realized then that God knew what it felt like to lose a child. He did know what I was going through, and He had already done everything He could do to earn my trust back. He was just waiting patiently for me to come around. He was not mad at me, just sad with me.

Not that I left church feeling all better, but I was getting there. I did feel like I was understanding more how it could be true that God didn't allow or cause my child to die. I believe it was just the corruption of the world and free-will and all that...whatever. But God is there. Heart breaking with me.

So back to my main new goal is to post a blessing a day. Or at least more often than not.

Thankfully I have more than one today, since I need to catch up.
1. I am able to share this with you and really believe I am getting better.
2. I had an awesome morning out with my sweet girl. We went to the library, McDonald's, and painting at Hearts of Clay. She is learning so much so fast, which means she is also well behaved more often than not!
3. Brynn is down to 1 or fewer accidents a day after a week and a half of potty training. SUCH a blessing!
4. I am actually kind of excited about school starting, I'm planning on a great year with my new position. It feels like a fresh start.

Thanks for reading. :)