Mom's Baggage

Our lives have so much baggage and baggage doesn't mean just the bad stuff either–baggage is life. When you travel you take your baggage. In your baggage you have daily necessities, a few indulgences and a few less wonderful things such as pantyhose for that formal event (I consider those a negative thing in life). I think life is full of the good, the bad and the ugly. This is my baggage.

Run, Momma, run!

Run, Momma, run!

20121230-210045.jpgShe came to us just yesterday, having been rescued from the local animal shelter. She was an owner surrender. A backyard baby, along with her puppy, surrendered just before the cold temps dropped below freezing. She was a buff brown, frightened critter covered in a mass of mats. Her pup was rescued first and, when we told the rescue coordinator we were ready for another foster baby, she was rescued next. Her baby went to one home and, after a visit to the groomer, this newly freed snow-white, fuzzy momma came to us. She was freed of all the mats weighing her down and came to a warm house filled with plenty of hugs and cuddles, regular meals, a warm bed, and all the toys a pooch could ever want where she is to be loved and cared for until she has a permanent home.

Yet, in spite of all the love and attention in the world, all the material things she needs for life and then some, and security and safety in her current surroundings, she ran the first opportunity she got.

20121230-210049.jpgA friendly face came to see her loving little self and as the friend began to leave, this lost babe saw an opportunity to bolt through the first open door. She ran like the wind with those caring for her calling out her name. She ran out into the street, barely missing those fast moving wheels which threatened her very life. She crossed one side and then the other of that massively busy street. In the rain. In the dark. With flying cars and squealing brakes. With those that already love her hot on her heels, unwilling to give up, crying out her name in fear as each car missed by inches.

20121230-210033.jpgThe helpers came out of the asphalt to corral her to safety from the even busier intersection, called to her through their rolled down window, and distracted her as the one who loves and cares for her crept up silently behind her, scooped her up and hugged her with a ferocity that shouted “I’ll never let you go again!”

Life can feel like this.

Often.

We run from the safety of God’s love right into the traps and traffic of old habits, whispers of negative voices, and thoughts of some sort of freedom while barely missing the crushing wheels. All the while, God is calling us back to Him and the warmth and safety of His arms.

Don’t you wish sometimes God would sneak up behind us, grab us and hold us tight while admonishing us against these stupid things we do??

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Seasons of change

seasonsEver notice how seasons change without announcement? I have noticed changing seasons all around me of late.

Initially I fought it tooth and nail…there are drag marks all over the place from my heels dragging the ground. I fought hard and with anger and ferocity; however, in the the last week or so I finally realized it’s not fight I need, but rather prayers, many, many prayers. I was mid-way through a book, a book which helped me realize that my fighting was the wrong plan of attack. I needed to break it down into day by day, moment by moment prayers. He spoke to me through my book and whispered in my ear to lean on Him and trust Him to give me direction, words and behavior fit for one of His own.

So, I listened. I’ve been listening each day and I’ve been speaking, to him, each day. The sense of peace and acceptance for the need for changing seasons to grow us, mature us and keep us moving in His world has begun to saturate my soul.

Thank you God for blessing me with simple stories of faith and love to touch my heart and speak to my place, my season of change.

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Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Edgar Allan Poe

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Blogging in my head. Now I can cry.

I haven’t been blogging much lately. When I do it’s usually in my head. I think blogging is how we work things out sometimes and I’m better at working things out without blogging these days…mostly.

This last week may take a little while to wrap my brain around.

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Emma has been sick for two weeks. She was running a fever and had a mild cough. Chest X-rays revealed pneumonia in her right lung. We got our scripts and dug in to wait for them to work.

They didn’t work.

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By Monday this week, she was running up to 104 despite one antibiotic for 6 days and another added on Sunday. She was barely eating. Vomiting. Her pediatrician decided to send her to the children’s hospital for admission. She said some IV antibiotics and fluids would kick it fast. She said maybe a night or two.

We spent four days in the hospital.

Every time her temperature would rise, it was 104 at admission, her head would hurt and she would have vomiting. Tuesday morning in the hospital had us wake with the same thing only this time the headache didn’t go away when her temperature went down.

It was horrible.

She was writhing on the hospital bed like a child having a temper tantrum. I can see her little legs kicking in my mind. She just kept crying “my head hurts” to me and I could do nothing. I tried to stroke her hair or her temples but it only made it worse. Lights hurt. I shut the blinds and turned out all the lights and she asked me why it was so bright still.

My heart was breaking.

Once they realized this new symptom was causing her so much pain they gave her both narcotic and non-narcotic IV pain killers. Like clockwork, though, when these wore off the fever returned and the headache returned.

They began talking about a secondary infection on top of the pneumonia. Adenovirus, bacterial meningitis, staph pneumonia. They did more tests and we kept coming back to meningitis.

She had all the classic signs, except for stiff neck…the most ‘classic’ classic symptom. Spinal tap kept coming up and, at that point, I was totally ready for it because I just wanted her to stop hurting We dismissed the test one day only to have it back on the table the next day. Finally, it was decided if she woke up with a headache when the meds wore off they would do it.

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This is where I started getting really specific with my prayer requests. Pray for no headache.

She woke up without one. She’s still out of sorts, struggling with double vision and just not herself but her agony has stopped.

I sat there on her hospital bed the day before fighting back the tears that were trying to roll down my face, crying out instead in my head to God that I was at His feet, begging. I asked so many friends and family to pray over my sweet Em.

He heard us. He answered. No spinal tap. Clear head CT.

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We may never know what made her so sick but it isn’t as important as having her home.

She’s wiped out. Four hour naps. Nothing but watching movies and coloring. But she’s home.

Thank you God! Thank you prayer warriors! She’s home!!

I can let go and cry now.

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Okay, so it was probably a little stupid.

Last week was a good, bad, and ugly week.

Training in the new job is going pretty well but it’s hard when you are training with a friend who is leaving her job and her church all at the same time. It’s a boat on rough water that you want to do all you can to steady and keep it from tipping over.

There’s other things such as transitioning from having all the time in the world to wash clothes, run errands, do dishes, live life to smaller segments. I know I can’t do it all and I know it’s only part-time (hats off to you full time moms…I haven’t a clue how you mastered that!).

I won’t put my husband or my kids second to working. That was the first thing I told myself right up front when thinking about this job and returning to work. The second was there were two things I wouldn’t quit: running and helping with our church’s Wednesday Night Bite. It didn’t take long to have those last two stances challenged.

I am getting the runs done but it’s rush, rush, rush. They are my little serotonin fix for the morning that can carry me through the day. They energize me and help me keep my happy face on even when sometimes I don’t want to. MUST. CONTINUE. TO. RUN.

Helping with WNB is still going to happen but I have to figure out how to spend two hours helping with that and get payroll out before lunch on Wednesdays. Ya, um, well, that’s going to be a harder one to work out. I love helping with that…helps that a good friend is in charge of it. I don’t know what the resolution might be but surely there is one…right? 🙂

Anyway…are you wondering what was a little stupid yet? I’m getting there…don’t get your drawers in a wad….

Last week was mentally exhausting. I carried that mental exhaustion through the weekend (working on autopilot through my weekend ‘to-do’ list on Saturday) and it followed me into Sunday, to church.

At church a friend was having a bad day…Never try and help a friend emotionally when your own emotional tank is on fumes ’cause if they don’t want your help….well, it’s not pretty. Let’s just say I’ve heard a lot of “It’s not you, it’s her.” this past week. Eventually you begin to think really negative things.

So, yesterday was spent on the couch watching Netflix for the rest of the day. Woo-hoo! Yay me! I was a bump on a log all day.

Today, I was fired up to burn this angst, this negativity, the hurt, etc. out of my brain.

It’s time to run.

(And this is where “stupid” comes in…)

Mile six was smashingly good.

Mile seven was a great pace because I was headed for that convenience store that would let me refill my bottle of water for free.

Mile eight began to hurt in the hips a little.

Mile nine began to get worrisome because my phone was low on juice.

Mile ten saw the knee starting to pulling disappearing magic tricks on me.

Mile eleven saw less than 10% charge on the phone and me getting even slower by the step.

Mile twelve saw me thinking about still being three miles from home.

Mile thirteen saw my BLESSED friend show up in the BLESSED mini van to take me home.

Yes, it was stupid to feel the need to run the crap out of myself. My knee said “I quit” and I called my friend about the time the charge on my phone hit 4% but I tell you what, I no longer have sour, yucky emotions surging through my head.

I think I left them somewhere amongst the cracks in the sidewalk.

Sometimes you just gotta run.

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Jumping into to the great unknown.

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I have not worked in an office in 15 years as of this October. It doesn’t feel like its been that long at all. I stopped working a couple of weeks before my first kiddo was born.

I remember feeling incredibly lost without this thing called a job. I began, after just three or four months without an office job, working at home. I did that for the next seven years. It gave me a sense of value I didn’t know how to find without that paycheck.

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Somehow, between the birth of our third child, our move to the big city, and the diagnosis of autism for our first born, as well as growing the beautiful spirit of the middle child, I managed to find my value without that paycheck.

It’s been seven years since I stopped bringing home a regular paycheck. Seven years of learning I’m not defined by the check I deposit into the bank, but rather by the God I love, the man I claim as my best friend, and the three beautiful spirits growing in my garden.

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Seems He is never quite done with us.

He put on my heart in the last few months that maybe its time to grow again. Starting Tuesday, I am beginning a job.

Scary in so many ways considering the span of time and life in the last 15 years, but also exciting…a new adventure by a more defined woman. I am not defined by the paycheck. I am defined by my faith, my husband and the children I endeavor to raise into quality adults.

I joked that I am a “responsible citizen” again, but, truth be told, I became a responsible citizen when I found the value in me and not in a paycheck.

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Holding my heart in your hands

Our hearts. Fantastically magical things which have equal parts physical and emotional value to each of us.

Our physical heart can be damaged through years of abuse via smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Our genetics also predispose us to to certain conditions which we have little control over. My paternal medical history is a long drawn out (and boring to all but us) history of high cholesterol, carotid bypass, heart bypass, stints, heart caths, heart attack, and stroke. My great grandmother died of a heart attack around age 50, my grandfather has had multiple bypasses and stints and has been told they can do nothing more, both uncles have had bypass, the most recent seven weeks ago.

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Today my father had his turn.

He had a heart attack four years ago. His cholesterol is under control at 165 but family history works against him as well as age and other factors. This past week genetics caught up to him His heart needed the help of a surgeon to continue to do its job correctly.

The funny thing about today is how the figurative fits the literal.

His heart should function almost like new physically and the glorious thing is my dad’s heart has been figuratively functioning like new for months now.

The emotional flood gates, warmth of love and tenderness have worked their ways through his veins like the blood flow of the grafted veins today. Why? Because he has invited Jesus into his heart.

A man I’ve loved, feared, and prayed for over the years has changed to someone I don’t even recognize. A forgiving man who recognizes the world is rarely in our control and always in His. A man who says “I forgive you and if you do it again, I’ll forgive you again.” He’s a man who has completely changed his world through the in depth study of the Word and the invitation of Christ into his world.

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His heart is mending. His wounds are
slowly healing. He has much love in his heart to give. He also has much forgiveness to give when he is ready.

Much as the doctor held his physical heart in his hands, the almighty Physician, the GREAT I AM holds his emotional heart and soul in his hands too. Through His Grace I have a dad with a new heart in every sense of the word and I look forward to the blessings of this new daddy for years to come.

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Help! There’s a couch stuck to my butt!!

So, I have bronchitis and an ear infection. Yay me. I’m on day six of being sick and day two of scripts (a smidge stubborn about docs).

My couch may see this illness end with my butt indention permanently marring it’s original shape.

I thought to myself I was grateful if I was side-lined at least the Olympics were on….ya, not so much.

Yesterday I noted my husband’s underwear drawer was empty.

I’m tellin’ ya…when Momma’s down the family train track gets kind of rough.

I’m missing running but I know without a doubt it’s going to be at least a week or more before I run again, much less get a six miler in five consecutive days.

The dogs have been constant companions. Constant, mostly silent, companions. Little Red, however, seems to need lots of reassurance that just because mom can’t do laundry it doesn’t mean she’s not going to feel better. How does she seek this? Talking, lots and lots and lots of talking. When you have bronchitis the simple act of breath requires focus to not erupt into a spasm of coughing. She wants a full on random conversation. Me, not so much.

Big Red has all day band camp with a lunch and dinner break. He attempted to help get dinner going last night (seems my cooties are not welcome during meal prep). His idea of breaking up ground beef at age 14 is much different than my husband’s….think toasty, crispy brown on the outside and raw in the inside. He’s eaten on the run quite a bit but at least he has eaten.

Doe-eyed boy has received the biggest advantage of all…unlimited computer time, sleeping in cause I’m too tired to care, forgetting to remind him to play his instrument and mom not having any idea what’s on his plate at lunch.

My house is not usually run with an iron fist but it usually has some rhyme and reason to the “yes” and “no”, a plan for the day, progress on the perpetually changing to-do list.

My only plan for the rest of the week is to have a big blue comfy couch surgically removed from butt…and possibly see if my lungs are under the cushions.

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102.what?

Last week I went running and the air didn’t quite feel like it was moving through my chest like normal. By Thursday I was beginning to feel overall like a pile of poo…so much so, I actually chose not to run Friday. I was on track last week for my best mileage yet too.

Friday saw a temperature by the end of the day and my weekend was just pitiful.

A few things have come to mind the last few days, some are old news and some not.

1. I suck at sick. I’m whiney, grumpy and just pitiful.
2. I am convinced that if you cough enough your head will actually split in two.
3. There’s a difference in the cold you feel from eating ice cream and from the chills you feel from fever…it’s best to identify which cold you’re feeling before trying to fix it with a hot bath.
4. No matter how many dishes you own, it’s still possible to dirty them all when mom is sick.
5. It’s really irrelevant how many hours of TV and computer time your kids have when you’re sick….as long as they leave you alone.

I’m waiting patiently for the Minute Clinic to open this morning and praying for excellent drugs as the 102 temperature that keeps coming and going and the annoying cough is getting old but even more
Importantly than that….I want to get back to running.

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Walking on water

So we finally took Meimei to the lake yesterday. She LOVES the water. She wants to capture all the splashes she can and becomes quite acrobatic in her efforts.

Much like most of the rest of us, her recreational time is on her terms…no ball, no stick. Just water. At home fetch is obsessive but the lake is pretty much just about catching the water.

When we went, it was only to see what she thought about it. No intentions of us getting wet…yes, yes…we do see flying pigs and believe in fairies too. Jacob and Emma were soaked through and through!!

She had the best time and had no interest in leaving…either time we went. WHAT?!? We couldn’t just deny Mr. Clean the opportunity to see his water
dog in action so we went back after dinner. The benefit of having water ten minutes from your house!!

And yes, our dog appears to be walking on water…wonder if Jesus had any pets??

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