Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We Sorrow Not As Others...

Brian's Dad was able to spend Christmas with us this year, and I am so glad he did. I tried to redirect my thoughts every time my eyes and mind wandered to the empty space on the couch next to him. Brian, his dad, and I quietly wrapped gifts Christmas Eve, and my throat kept going dry as I watched him lovingly wrap the gifts he picked out for the children...I eventually thought I would choke if I had to watch anymore. I asked Brian to put the radio on to help us along...the cheerier the music in the background, the more it was obvious that someone was missing. Then there were the meals..each meal I prepared, there was the empty spot where she would have been bustling along next to me to get food prepared, how my heart ached. I had successfully put off dealing with much of the grief since she passed away early this summer, because, well, things have been hard, and very busy with Brian's schedule and homeschool. Then came Christmas break, and there was no escaping. Each night after the day's events came to a close, there was no getting away from my thoughts, my memories...reality.

I thought back to the day I got the call, Tuesday, June 1st. We had just moved into base housing and I was trying to finish up the school year- (the girls were attending our church's school since Brian had been deployed) and unpack the house with Brian gone on trips for training and work. Brian's parents had flown out and spent time with us in April and we moved soon after that since the owners of the house we were renting would be returning early. The move was only a couple of miles away, but a move is, well, a move.

Now, I am not one to believe that the Lord uses signs and wonders,like He did during Biblical times-not that He can't or won't, we are just in a different time. So, without getting too off track or putting too much emphasis, as it is probably coincidence, I will say this, the Lord will use what He will and in this case,certain circumstances prompted us to pray more than we would have without being prompted. We were petitioning the Lord for help that we didn't even know we would need, isn't God GOOD? I don't pretend to understand, I just do it.

So, here it is, call me crazy, but when we moved, it was onto the street, New Orleans Way. I immediately didn't like it and huffed around about why we had to live on a street name after a place I have no plans on visiting because of all the awful things it brings to mind. I told Brian as such and he proceeded to tell me how odd it was that he would be taking a trip to New Orleans, for work...though he had never had to before. I was sick and rebuked myself sharply for the knee-jerk superstitious thought: "it's a sign". I did tell Brian that I really felt to pray about this trip like never before, except for his deployment, and I shared that I was worried for him. I thought perhaps my worry stemmed from knowing he would be surrounded by filth which could cause a stumble in thoughts or be a temptation to the eyes. So, I pushed and asked if the trip was absolutely necessary, because I didn't feel peace about him going. There was no way out of it, so we just prayed over the trip. I was still uneasy and fervently praying, even as he left, that the Lord would protect him.

We sent my beloved off to New Orleans, and couple days later, he called...unable to get the words out that his mother had passed away. I was shocked to disbelief and immediately crumpled to the floor wishing I could be with Brian in his sorrow. I told the children that their Grandmom, whom they had just seen a couple months before, went to heaven, and there we sat, amidst boxes and chaos from the move, crying and praying that the Lord would help Daddy and Pop-pop and bear the loss. The much needed prayers we had been lifting up, I believe, were prompted and blessed because of how everything worked together so we could get through a very trying time. I'll just briefly mention how the LORD helped me though the anemia I was dealing with at the time, there is no explanation but the Lord's provision. I was so very weak and He showed Himself very strong in my need. Psa 63:1 "O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;"

The call came Tuesday; the children and I attended Wednesday night Bible study the following evening. The love and support from our church family was overwhelming. God is so good to put people in place so that we don't have to bear our grief alone. The offers to help were so loving and I felt lifted and strengthened, though my heart was aching to be with my husband. We weren't sure how things would work out to get him home and to his parent's house to be with his dad. The Lord had plans.

Brian was originally going to fly out alone from New Orleans to meet his Dad,but when my parents offered to keep the kids for us, and front money for plane tickets, Brian said he really wanted me to be with him. There were to be no services held at all for her memorial, but Brian insisted on seeing her and saying goodbye. She had put in her will that she wanted to be cremated and that was that. I remembered when she had called to discuss her will with me...Brian was deployed to Iraq at the time, and though I told her that I did not like it or agree or want to think about her dying...I would respect her wishes. Looking back I wish I had convinced her otherwise, but the burden at the time of Brian's deployment loomed in my thoughts and the last thing I wanted to talk about was death. Funerals and memorials are for the living..and I now know how necessary it is to have that as part of the grieving process. I had no idea we would be facing the loss of her only a year or so after we had that conversation...she was only in her 50s.

Plane tickets were secured with the help of my sister and my dad, I had to focus on how to be a support to Brian and comfort the children. I was still dealing with the house not being unpacked, so I pleaded for strength and help from the Lord and tried to put all else aside to focus myself with packing our things for the immediate trip so that when Brian was able to fly back to Virginia, we would be ready to make the 10 hour drive to Ohio and fly out to Arizona the same day. I had never left my children with anyone before,for a weekend...but I knew I needed to be there for my was going to be hard, and I had my fear of flying to face (and distract), but God is bigger than all this. He was there and supplied our every need, every step of the way. I look back amazed at His provision.

We arrived in Ohio, got the kids settled in about a half hour and then my dad drove us to the Columbus airport. Brian and I were truly as one person through it all, the Lord knitting our hearts in support of one another. We flew, enjoying a rest after the long drive and prepared to meet Brian's Grandmother and Dad who would meet us in Las Vegas. I know we were exhausted, but we were so raw with emotion, we didn't notice...even when there was still a 3 hour drive to Lake Havasu ahead of us upon arrival. We embraced Brian's dad, rather than trying to put anything into words. Words, there are no words for such times as this.

I couldn't talk for almost the whole trip to the house...I didn't know what to say and neither did anyone else, it seemed. Brian and I silently held hands in the back seat and looked at the starry desert was so big and a comfort to remind me again of God's greatness and my smallness. We stopped to get a bite to eat and my tears finally decided to course down my face as I ate...but I was numb.
The more I wiped, the more they flooded out.

We had been traveling for almost 19 hours straight by car and plane, when we pulled up to the house where we had shared many fond memories. Oh, how my heart ached for my children just then, since they had always been with us when we would visit. It had been 4 years since we had been to their house due to our being stationed overseas for 3 years and then Brian's deployment when we had gotten back. Did I mention how difficult military life is...esp the part about always having to say goodbye?

We entered the house and their little Westie dog, Daisy, quickly rushed up to greet us. I sucked in my breath to control tears as I looked around the house...not wanting to see. I saw her jacket and purse were still on the counter, as if she had just stepped out of the room for a minute. Pictures everywhere seemed to jump out at me, her face with the children and was more than I could bear. I could almost hear the giggles and splashing out back where the pool was..more memories of wonderful times. I finally allowed myself to look over at the recliner where just days earlier her husband had found her...already with Jesus. A single red rose rested on her chair. Hurrying on to the guest bedroom I couldn't contain my sorrow. The room was still all decorated, just as it had always been for the girls...she had been so excited to show us. The children's toys, still in the closet, stared emptily back at me and also seemed to sorrow. Even now, I can barely think about it without tears and the sick feeling of loss.

Weary, Brian and I laid in the bed that night and just cried...there were many things unsaid but understood. Our hearts ached over the questions and "what-ifs" that just could not be voiced...closets of pain that could now never be opened. At least we had each-other and the Lord holding us both through the night so that we slept peacefully...tears stopped still on our cheeks til morning.

We woke to the news that Brian's Grandmother had gotten the wrong bag at the airport
and we would have to make a 6 hour roundtrip voyage to remedy the situation. None of us complained...the drive seemed to provide comfort to us..and we were together. There was some discussion as to whether we would *see* her or not, since there was not to be any service or memorial and no viewing service arranged. It was decided that they would arrange Brian's mom in a small room where we could see her one last time. The sooner the better, were my thoughts...face the grief head on. I can't remember if we saw her upon returning from the airport or the next day, but we all braced and readied ourselves. I brought along an old hymnal...because singing is comforting when your heart can't find the words. Brian asked if I would sing "In The Sweet By and By". We arrived at the funeral home and the kind attendant led us to a room that barely fit us all...and there she lay. She was on a gurney covered in a quilt, but I could still see a hospital gown peeking out at the top...she was not "made up" like you typically see them during a funeral, but very much looked asleep...the lamps helped disguise the blue tinge to her face, but it was traumatizing to see her that way. I started to block it all as reality when Brian suddenly fell upon her chest sobbing and crying "why" her, not the Lord. There we all were, faced with the very raw "real-ness" of life and my whole being shook inside trying to hold on as I saw my husband crumbling before me...his Grandmother lovingly stroking her daughters hair and talking of her love for her... Brian eventually turned to me and asked if I could sing the song we decided on...I wondered how I could utter anything, but suddenly a great peace and strength lifted my voice and carried it out of my mouth "There's a land that is fairer than day...and by faith we can see it afar, for the Father waits over the way, to prepare us a dwelling place there..". And the ugliness of this world faded away as we turned our thoughts to where she was now residing, she was no longer in sorrow...and we no longer sorrowed as the world, but were in prayer lifted to thoughts of the truth. The truth that she had asked the Lord Jesus to save her and though we would be facing the sorrow of was only temporary. I don't know how long we lingered at the side of the one who I had known since I was 16...who had taken pictures of Brian and I together before prom, who sat and cheered with me for Brian during his highschool wrestling matches. She was there to watch us say our vows in marriage and then had been present in the delivery room for each child's birth (except Ayden's because he arrived early while in Japan). I allowed my thoughts to animate her face into her beautiful smile and recalled how she had looked into the face of each of my children and called them by the nicknames she made up for each of them. I remembered the joy when the children would climb onto her lap and she'd smother them with kisses. I thought of the late night card games we'd play, how she'd help the kids splash me in the pool...our trips together...I let it all play out in that room. We had a celebration of memories...and then we all kissed her goodbye.

I left there changed. Proper perspective about what matters and what doesn't, had been reinstated. I left determined to LOVE more and to LIVE actively in each moment. I knew it all had to count, these moments, this life, and it all had to be for His Glory if it was to be anything at all. There is no emptiness like the the one you feel when you know you could have done more...and the opportunity is gone. There is no going back. I hold on longer, listen more, talk less...lift up that which matters most and tear down facades that lead to ruin.

I didn't think I would be able to write this and share it with you, but now that I have, it is like I have had a burden lifted. God is bigger than any hurt, sorrow, pain, loss that this world has and He can comfort when no one else can understand. We spent the next couple of days going through and sorting her things...tears flowed throughout as we huddled over the "mother's" journal I had given pass down to the children. Her thoughts and memories my children can know her. The burden and grief of it all would have been too much if it hadn't been for the truth that this life is but a vapor and that we are just passing through. Heaven is our home when we know Christ. We bagged up her clothing...and there it sat, and I thought of how this life is so fleeting. I thought of all the petty things we worry over, and how the end of all those things is nothing...leaves no mark. I thought of how no one can prepare you for all that is contained in what we refer to as -grief, it is something you must rely on the Lord to get you through. And He more than just gets you through it, He abounds in His pouring out of grace, and peace comes just when you think it never will. So much more...but no words to say it.

Brian left for the airport with his dad a few hours ago...and there is a temporary emptiness that we feel, because we know we will see him again. We spent this Christmas, remembering Christ and making new memories, loving one another, laughing, reflecting...thinking ahead to when we will all be reunited with our Lord. There are always bright roads ahead when you know the Lord, because there is always hope. So, we sorrow not, as others...

1 Thess 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

Friday, December 24, 2010

They Will Know Us By Our Love Towards One Another

Sharon doesn't approve of Janie because Janie wears pants, Janie doesn't approve of Sharon because Sharon drinks coffee, Angela doesn't approve of Sharon or Janie because they eat pork. Sharon doesn't approve of Angela or Janie because they celebrate Christmas...and the issues go on and on. They are so concerned and busy comparing themselves and debating issues that their children got lost somewhere in doubtful issues and threw out the whole gospel as disputable. We should keep doubtful issues to ourselves and focus on furthering the Gospel. I was once one who disapproved of some of the above issues..until I saw a trend in those that became distracted with doubtful things. Their lives fell apart and children fell away...confused as to what TRUTH really is. God is not the author of confusion. Now, I read God's Word and depend on Him to make my paths straight instead of worrying what my friends do or don't do. Always lift up and point to Christ in your heart and life. Christ was in all likelihood not born on December 25th, but hearts are tender and often ready to hear the Gospel this time of year. We should not sorrow or celebrate as the world does, but in all things be set apart. This will apply differently to each of us, let us do that which lifts up Christ and draws others to Him.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's usually this time of year that I start to think of my relationships, the events of the past year and how once again, I let myself get too busy to enjoy my family and friends as much as I had intended. I think about the pictures I didn't take, the bedtime kisses I forgot and that sick knot forms in my you know about that "knot"? It's that knot of longing for bygones. We can never get this time back, the moment to hug and comfort that friend, the bonding with a tween girl, the phone call to a sick church member, a visit to the dying...the bed time chats, prayers, kisses.. I want to rekindle the desire to live in the moment. I want to breath it ALL in by looking into the eyes of my children when they talk to me instead of frantically loading dishes as if they would eat me up if I didn't. To neglect friends is a heartache, but to neglect time with my fast growing children is heartbreaking. Snuggles, hugs, kisses, active has to take priority EVERY day until they leave our home...I don't ever want this lap of mine to grow cold.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Does This Happen?? :)

by God's Grace...
... Friday, babysat 2 babies from 7am-4pm and homeschooled 4 children

...Saturday, Cantata practice 9am followed by teen activity which involved decorating the outside of a house for Christmas..and getting home by dinner

...Sunday worship, Cantata followed by teen Christmas party

...Monday's usual school schedule til 3:30 and a birthday party at 4 that goes til bedtime

....Tuesday, today...woke up at 6:30am to make cookie dough, icing and two loaves of amish bread to take to a friend's house to share in the joy of cut-out cookies with our children, we had yummy potato soup and my bread for lunch...while intermittently fitting in a meeting about our upcoming CoOp's spring season. Then I finally mailed off my homeschool paper-work to Abeka Acadamy, returned overdue books to the Library and picked up some new ones. Thoroughly enjoyed a quick chat on the phone with my best friend and I am now staring at the stove where dinner should be cooking and wondering when, if ever, we will pull out our Christmas decorations and get a tree...*sigh* which is not gonna happen tonight because I have to go grocery shopping, yes tonight, since it's pay-day

...Wednesday...homeschool and a visit to some shut-ins with another family, soooo -no Good News Club due to the Public School having a half-day, then I'm off to church for my Pee Wee's Christmas Party

...Thursday, Homeschool CoOp and Christmas party

...Friday, babysit 2 babies and homeschool

...Saturday....KEEPING IT CLEAR!!! Hoping my husband doesn't have to work! :)

What does your schedule look like? Is this about normal for this time of year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reminding Myself: "Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God..."

Living the military life, especially the Marine life means that there is a constant struggle to keep things in balance... God, Husband, Children, Others, Church activities... Yes, extra church activities outside of our day set aside for His worship, need to be kept in their place. We are called to relationships that stem from our relationship with Christ, we are not called to merely going through the motions of religion. People are not going to always understand the decisions we are led to make, and that's okay- they aren't going to be the ones who have to answer to God about the ministries and talents He's given to us!

My husband has a most unpredictable schedule which means sometimes we need to put our neglected family time, due to the needs of the Marine Corps, ahead of extra things going on at church. I've had to disappoint people with saying "no" to taking on this or that extra ministry, because they don't know my schedule or list of other ministries I have already committed to, that's why they *ask* and it is my responsibility to consider and respond appropriately. Why agree to take something on that the Lord has not led me to take only to later be embittered about it and not have that ministry blessed? It's not worth it to operate outside of God's will for your life. Titus 2:4,5 "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

Now, I don't agree with skipping the 3 times we need to be in church during the week, 2 on Sunday and 1 on Wednesday, or skipping that week of revival the whole family needs, that's not what I'm saying. But, when our small children are spending more time with someone else in the church nursery, than in our arms and in our that we can teach them diligently to love the Lord with all their hearts...our priorities are out of order. Our relationships come first, and we are accountable to God for our first ministries: our husbands and then our children. It grieves my heart when I see well-meaning wives attending every extra-curricular activity at church, staying late to chat with friends and leaving their husbands at home to sit. I have been guilty of this, and I know it is not pleasing to the Lord. After my family, I am often led to minister personally to others in the way of babysitting, providing meals, letters of encouragement.... all that I have learned through the godly example of other dear ladies who love the Lord and His ways. Having people in my home to see my every flaw is very intimidating to me, but the Lord calls us to be hospitable and I am ever working (struggling) to work on my relationships with others in this area.

The quickest way to lose peace and joy in the home is to jumble the Lord's intended priorities in our lives. Well meaning Christians can often pressure and lead others to rearrange their priorities- I sure hope I am never found to be a stumbling block in that area! I am ever in need of being reminded to seek His righteousness first and everything else will fall in line- whether others approve or not. If I am seeking to please others ahead of God I need to ask forgiveness and put things back in balance, with His help, today. I want the LORD's blessing upon my life even if it means forsaking man's approval.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Little, Every Day...or Two or Three...

(The passing of my dear Mother in Love, who faithfully read my blog to keep up with the kids and what was going on makes this a difficult place to come...knowing that she will no longer be reading. She is so greatly missed.)

I've decided to try and write a little every day, nothing profound or gut squeezing, just raw.....something.

I feel like I have kept this whole past year in a bottle. The cork is ready to fly off...correction *has* flown off- the pressure beneath it is so great. My thoughts go back and forth between thinking, "I'm just weak" to "WOW, if it were not for the Lord carrying me..." to, "Why did I drag my feet while He carried, and why did I let go and will my way through?". Yes, you can indeed will your way through trials and tribulations. It isn't pretty. There is an inner trembling that keeps your hands and jaw clenched when one doesn't take the time to purposefully give every care and anxiety over to the Lord. Some things are too big to be put on a shelf in hopes we can sort it out later. Those things eventually come crashing down onto our heads, doubling and tripling what might have been a simple trial...skewing the simple into a mutated mess. I shoved the biggest cares and worries and hurts into a bottle and stuck a cork in it...for safe keeping until I "had time". That cork has flown off that overstuffed bottle of cares too many times to count and blasted on those I love and care about. It's time to sit down and take the time to unfold the crumpled hurts, losses, worries...failures I have stuffed away and give them one by one to the ONE who can take care of it all.

Friday, July 02, 2010

If Only My Heart Could Write

There's much to be said. If only I could open the door to all my soul has been witness let you into my mind's eye...all of it. If I could let you see the good and the bad, how the Lord used it all and how He was so close like a shadow on my hand, how he bound my aching heart, planted my every unsure step, righted my every wandering thought, forgave the wrongs and made the bitter waters sweet, turned my fears into strength...oh, if I could somehow pour it right out onto this page so you could see that the LORD He is my everything. He is my strength, my unchanging unmoving ROCK. When everything around me was shaking and no-one else could understand, it was only then that I would really lean on only Him. It is His peace that wraps my countenance even when my heart melts with sorrow and regret, if only I had the words to lift up His worth. Yes, there's much to be said about my Lord who has sustained and continues to sustain me. He draws me ever close. I don't have the words at the moment, not sure I ever will, but I may make an attempt here soon to tell of His latest generous pouring out of grace and mercy to my ever thirsty soul.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Keeping Out The Damp

*I found this in my saved drafts from back in January-I had partially copied it from my prayer journal so, I finished transferring and thought I'd post it* :)

The charred remains of yesterday's fire sat lifeless and gray in the fireplace while I looked at them over the rim of my coffee cup. The large round log that had proved damp was still there in the iron grate. I thought of the night before and the blaze that had lit the room when the pile of quartered logs burned and cheerily and performed their crackling, popping and glowing puppetry. The children imagined they saw lions and dragons amidst the pile that served well as a stage for our family's entertainment. Earlier, we had watched, as Brian got the fire going. The kindling and log quarters hungrily leaped and licked at a large log he had placed in the fireplace -uncut. We thought it may have gotten a sprinkling outside and had hoped that it would dry out eventually, catch fire, and give off it's heat on that cold January night. Alas, there it still was the next morning, the whole of it -all black and charred on the outside from the tireless attempts to rouse it into a blaze.

The initial appearance of the log was deceiving. It hadn't looked wet when we brought it in and it didn't feel wet, but as the heat intensified we heard the tell-tale squeals and screams of the water escaping in a vapor. We tried to encourage it by blowing at the base of the fire. Some of the outer bark would glow when we blew on the small blood orange embers dotted with flickering blue tongues of flame, and from a distance the log appeared to be all wrapped in ribbons of flame and blazing heartily with the rest of the timber. However, upon closer look and after expending the surrounding fuel's efforts to ignite it, it was obvious that the log was too water laden burn. It didn't matter how hot or brightly the quarters burned around it, or that we added more dry wood to make the fire burn hotter-it was too big and too damp to to do anything but sap the energy out of everything around it. It just sat alone in the end-ugly and disappointing.

I'm sure we all have someone, (I'm thinking of myself in times past) if not ourselves at some point, who comes to mind who have taken on a "dampness" due to offense or lack of love, sin.... They show up to church and give the appearance that they are on fire by blending in or appearing "large", but eventually, the tell tale "shrieks" of offense are heard like the water escaping in a vapor from the log. Bitterness doesn't go quietly when pressure is applied-neither does pride. The offended or embittered saint who appeared to hold so much promise ends up sitting idly by- perhaps smoldering on the outside, but they have no life or fire on the inside. Instead of bursting into radiant warmth they suck the life out of anyone who gets near them. Criticism and complaint- puffed up prideful vapor is emitted instead of love and exhortation. Rather than promoting others to good success, they let the "damp" in their lives waste the energies of those around them. With subtle words they hurt the testimony of those closest to them and plant slander and seeds of doubt about fellow Believers, or our husbands... our own family. The actions and words of those around the offended suddenly appear warped and take on accusing and judging tones and they are deceived into thinking it's everyone else's problem, not theirs. Wondering how I know this so well? Uh, yeah...guilty of it in my own life so it becomes easy to see in others as well. Eventually, everyone else falls away- being accused a hypocrite. Finally, the Lord lets them sit, alone...(that's the hard part)in the ashes to see for themselves what the issue is. The result isn't pretty, but it isn't hopeless either. God is the Author of restoration. He loves and draws us, His children, to Himself over and over-chastising when necessary. He never gives up.

As I sat with my warm coffee staring at the ashes, I wondered how much I had in common with that large wasted log that remained. Many things came to mind. I have, as I mentioned before, been the big damp log left alone with the ugly truth...just me and the damp sin of my life. Whether it be attitudes or offenses, lack of being in the Word->it *all* wastes and hinders our service to the King. I thought carefully and a little fearfully: Have I allowed anything to dampen my testimony or my service to Him? Do I skew the world around me to position myself as the perpetual victim? I know that deceivers will be deceived themselves-am I deceiving myself and others? Am I giving myself to be used as fuel only to have the sin in my life or the cares of this world sap the energy of those around me? Am I so busy pointing my finger at those "burning" brightly in service that I don't see that it is MY attitude, MY spirit of contention that is hindering the Lord's ability to use me? How long will I sit in an offense taking on the "damp" of it...allowing it to spoil my thoughts and actions and waste the actions of those who try to help.

When the heat comes, that purifying fire of trial, the resentment and bitterness will all come shrieking out giving away its ugly presence for all to see. Yet, the only way to be emptied of ourself and to be filled with His will is to remain in the trials that will come to either ignite us into a brilliant fire that yields forth all that is true *or* shamefully send us running for cover. As painful as it is-that beautiful, life-giving and purifying fire...yes, it is painful,- we should welcome its revealing and cleansing presence. The Holy Spirit will not let us continue in our sin, no matter how small we may think it is. I *want* to emptied of that fire resisting damp that renders me useless to Him. Empty me of anything, Lord that won't burn brightly in service of You. I don't want to be that big ugly wasted charred log sitting unused in the ashes come day-break.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Through The Wardrobe

Remember that part in Chronicles of Narnia when Lucy suddenly found herself in another world by simply walking through the Wardrobe belonging to her Uncle? That's sort of how I felt yesterday when I walked through the sliding doors of Oncology-except time slowed. And, just to be clear, I don't have any sign of cancer, it just so happens that I was referred to Oncology for Hematology. My little worries were left behind and I got a teensy little reminder of how blessed I am.

My morning, as usual, included getting myself showered and ready to include my "face" and the actual ironing of my clothes, dragging four kiddies out of bed, getting two ready for school ie "doing" hair, brushing teeth, feeding bellies, sending fish oil down the little hatches which was followed by subtle (probably faked) gags, and signing off homework assignments that I should have done the night before, but such is life. Normally I would just stick the littlest two sleepy heads in their car seat "as is" but I needed to get them ready and lectured for their stay at my friend's house. (Little bunny trail..hold on) I wonder if Drs realize what we as Mom's go through to get to their offices...especially the ones who seem to think I quite *enjoy*it! Like I don't quite have enough going on in my life, why not throw in the random Dr visit just for good measure, ya know?
;) So, paperwork, and children with baggage in tow, I headed out- a little nervous by the labs results I was to deliver to the Dr I was referred to.

Kiddie stop number one was made at the school after a quick detour for some caffeine to clear my head. After two little kisses goodbye I was off to my friend's house with short instructions to my friend..."DON'T let Ayden destroy your house" ;) lol okay I didn't really say that...she knows already. Then I scramble with the GPS that doesn't want to tell me where to go's cheap, so I wing it and make it to my appt in plenty of time. And *that* takes me up to the "Wardrobe Effect". I don't know what that means just sounded interesting ;)

Now, I've lost loved ones. I've been to the hospital and seen the sick and dying- and time always seems to stop for me when I am there. Life suddenly reveals itself to be just as fragile as it is. This experience was not unlike that except I didn't know these people and I could see a little clearer without having the fear for a loved one or friend involved. So, I walk through the doors , got checked in and instantly "felt" everyone looking and probably wondering, like I did about them, "I wonder what's wrong with her?", "Is she going to get good news or bad news?"...time seemed to slowwww down even as I found my seat.

I was being referred to the clinic for a previously diagnosed auto-immune disorder called Anti-phospholipid Antibody Syndrome (which may or may not currently be active) and Anemia, but most of the people there were waiting for a 4 hour long chemo treatment. I picked up a magazine for some distraction and happened to pick up one that was covering a young lady's addiction to plastic surgery. I read for a little bit and then looked up to see a man enter the clinic who was so white he almost looked transparent. The man's cap covered his bald head, he wore grey sweats and looked to be in his 50s. I didn't see a wedding ring as he carefully placed his fragile self in the chair across from mine and I suddenly felt lonely for him. I glanced down at the young beautiful face in the magazine marked up for all the "nipping and tucking" she wanted done on her already "perfect" face and became sick to my stomach. Oh, the vanity of life. I was guilty- I hate my nose...does it really stinkin' matter???? I was disgusted with both the girl in the glossy print and myself. I put the magazine down, not having the stomach for it after seeing these people, they are living a reality far different from mine. They don't care what they look like physically, they just want to LIVE, to be HEALTHY, and have a day that's not consumed with thoughts of how to stay alive.

A nurse came out after what seemed an eternity and asked the man across from me how he was doing. The man smiled genuinely and said he was doing great *tears*, he was doing great. The nurse smiled back, that knowing smile that I'm sure she couldn't help, but it made me cringe.

I then looked across the room at a lady who hadit her bag packed with things to pass the time for the lengthy treatment. Her rumpled looking husband balanced a laptop, paperwork, and a phone while his wife busily worked to get some information from the nurses at the desk. I can't even imagine what all goes into getting health-care coverage and referrals etc for cancer patients. I watched as the husband quickly moved his phone call outside...his hair was ruffled from running his hand through it as he talked. My throat clenched. I looked at each one of the handful of people spread around the room and just prayed for them- partly for the selfish reason that it made me feel like I was somehow doing something. Time seemed to drag on though it was only a few minutes since I had entered this seemingly other world.

Finally, the patients to receive chemo, those precious people who could educate me very quickly about my priorities and worries in life, were shuffled out with their pillows and bags of magazines for their morning of treatment- my prayers follow them though I will most likely never see them again.

They were gone and I was left waiting and staring at blood-work that no longer worried me. I silently thanked the Lord for my health and the health of my husband and children and His grace and mercy that is ever-new and flowing for us all. He meets us where we are. My appt went well and while more tests still need to be run, my problems are far from life threatening. I need to make the most of what I have right now and not waste a single day worrying about things I have no control over. My problems are so small, and I'm so thankful that I left eye opening "Narnia" with a refreshed perspective.

Monday, February 08, 2010

That Place (a smattering of thoughts)

It's where I search, wait, pray and wonder. Is it me? It has to be me, mostly...or in part, at least. How did I get here? How did I get out of here last time? Is it bitterness? Is it disobedience? Both, I'm afraid...sometimes. But this time? It *has* to be a bad place...right? He wouldn't want me here...or would He? Is this my island or my wilderness where I will "see" what He wants me to do? My Patmos? Or, are the depths really swallowing me up for my hardness of heart or, is it too much emotion?...both? Why do things look so blurry? I WANT to see!..or do I? Flat, I feel flat and gray. Verses flood my mind and I just hold on to them like playing a hand...trying not to drop them for the enemy to see. Oh, when will He come and lead me from this place? Patience, I must have patience in the valley. Surely, someone else is here that would understand, but everyone is just smiling and waving like they don't see, can't see....won't see? But they are lonely. I know they are, because they tell me so. Maybe *I* won't see. I have nothing to comfort them with so I just tell them to wait. I feel defeated, like I can't keep up with it all, like it's too late, but it's a lie. HE has overcome. Waiting, praying searching wondering...doing the first things. I know He is with me even in "that place" where I am tempted to think I am all alone. I KNOW the mountaintop is just around the bend and I will be disappointed in my lack of patience. Help me Lord. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help..

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"The BEST Mommy In the WHOLE World"

...that is who I am, according to Lily. She tells me every day during our snuggle time-it never gets old. She pops her thumb in her mouth and nuzzles her head in my neck while I smother her little cheeks in kisses, squeezing and rocking her. It doesn't matter what happened just an hour or two either of us. Her little thumb comes out long enough to hold my face against hers, "You are the BEST Mommy in the WHOLE world". Do I deserve her love? No way, but it is not a matter of deserving her love or her deserving mine...we just DO. I squeeze her back and tell her she is the BEST Lily in the WHOLE world and we just sit snuggling- enjoying the love we have for one another. Isn't that how it should be with God? Today, I'm going to enjoy simply LOVING Him and His tremendous love for me :)

Picture by Mary Cassatt Art Prints
"A Goodnight Hug"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This, That and the Other

Life these past few months has been...GREAT :) And I say that after back spacing over "going", as in, "Life has been...going". Because, when I think about it, it really has been great. It was chock full of trial and hardship these past couple of months, but it was MOSTLY filled with the Lord helping us in the midst of that hardship and trial which resulted in building our faith. There was the tremendous blessing of being able to spend Christmas and New Years' with my family (my Parents, brother, sister and brother in law) in Ohio. We enjoyed family game nights, stories, dinner, absolute SILLINESS which included "planting" an OPEN can of sardines in my parents family room (in my Dad's absence) while playing Trivial Pursuit...and blame it on the fact that perhaps it was the fish oil capsules my mom and I had taken earlier that day. Blasting Air-horns on New Years Eve...which didn't even wake the kids LOL :D So, we really did have a most blessed holiday.

Before we left for my parents, I had begged Brian to take 30 days leave so that I could "recover" from his deployment. I'll tell ya somethin' else too, this whole transition from homeschool to school and still homeschool has been, well, alot harder than I thought it would be! So, anyway, my body took the opportunity during Brian's time off, to completely go haywire on me and so did a few things with our vehicles, but you know, a few or dozen blood tests with few answers, and a few hundred dollars of auto care later...I can say, God is so good and saw us through. He knew, planned and equipped us with the time off and the means to get the vehicles fixed and me some much needed REST. Brian was home to help me get the girls dressed,to and from school, homework, housework Lily and Ayden "schooled" etc. it was still tough, but we did it :) Money is ummm something that we definitely have been tried on since Brian came back from Iraq early (Praise the LORD) and we still had 3/4 of the school year to pay for. Both of our parents have been a help to us in this, which has been such a blessing. We made it to our pay day this past 15th on in Brian had to bring a gas can to the church parking lot while also on empty so that I could get our car to the gas station the next day, which was pay day. It has been a FAITH tester and builder. I have been a coupon maniac these past few months in saving about $30 each $100 or so trip to the commissary which has been something very new for me in learning to be a good steward-so a trial def. equaled a blessing in this instance. This is the best part, GOD is SO good in that we will be getting the largest tax return we have ever gotten back...and will be able to pay off their school bill with it!!! Folks...that is HUGE as it is almost $700 per month that we agreed to pay for 12 months prior to Brian's deployment. God is so good!! So, I would love your prayers since I am still struggling with this exhausting battle with anemia, but I have been referred, finally, to a hematologist, so even that situation is under control. It's tough out there my friends, but we are learning and growing in and through it all, praise the Lord!

As far as Face Book, my blog and such...sorry :/ not sure what else to say that doesn't sound like just an excuse, lol. But this is my reality right now: CLINGING to the Lord and waiting on Him to provide my every need. Love you all!!!