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The Time I Almost Killed My Husband

Sometimes text messages can be a bit confusing and misconstrued.  A quick reply without an associated emoji can almost come across as being snippy. Wait too long to reply, and someone might think you’re purposefully ignoring them.  Reply too quickly, and it might arrive in the wrong order.  Like the time Matthew wrote: “I am so in love with you, Amy, and so very proud to know you as my bride!”  Which came through just as I was hitting “send”, in reply ANOTHER message which required me to apologize.  It read, “I know.  I’m sorry.”  And thus miscommunication is born.  Thankfully, we were able to laugh about that one, but there have definitely been times where miscommunication almost killed us.  Literally.

We were married for only a few months when the first instance occurred.  Matthew had been working so hard and was exhausted.  Naturally, he fell asleep at bedtime like any normal hard-working man would do.  I had been home by myself all day, rather hormonal, pregnant, and having loads of things to talk about.  (This was before texting, for all of you young readers out there).  He lay there next to me, his deep and steady breathing signaling to me that sleep had overtaken him.  I, on the other hand, just lay there wide awake.  I started to think things like this:

Doesn’t he KNOW I’m here?  Doesn’t he KNOW I want to talk to him?  Doesn’t he realize I have things on my mind?  I huffed and turned as noisily as I could, flopping this way and that, hoping my movement would make the point my thoughts were screaming.  He just lay there.  Breathing so peacefully.  Blissfully unaware of my needs.  The more I focused on how insensitive he was to fall asleep when I wanted to talk to him, the more angry I became.  Finally, I rolled out of bed, stormed out of the room and slammed our bedroom door as hard as I could.  I heard a huge crash and quickly turned around to open the door I had slammed.  Matthew was sitting up in our bed, looking dazed.  The gigantic bookshelf which had been above our bed, full of VERY HEAVY books, had fallen.  On his head.  Strong’s Concordance was laying on his pillow.  He looked at me and yelled: “Are you trying to KILL ME?!”  Immediately, I burst into tears.  Of course I wasn’t trying to do such a thing.  I just wanted him to wake up.  Well, he was awake.  And thus began lesson one of many called: My husband doesn’t know what I’m thinking unless I speak it out loud.

Then there was another time during the same first year of marriage when we were driving home at night in our white Subaru station wagon.  We lived in a tiny apartment in Northeast Philly.  We were both really tired, and Matthew was driving.  As we were approaching a stop sign, there was one person ahead of us.  At this point, Matthew closed his eyes for “just a few seconds”.  In those few seconds, our car drifted forward and hit the car ahead of us.  It wasn’t a huge accident, but it warranted pulling over to make sure the other car was fine.  I was about eight months pregnant at this point in time.  I remember looking over at him and probably saying something unkind.  Then, I opened the door, got out of the car, slammed the door (see a pattern?) and walked home.  Looking back, I can hardly believe I was so rude.  Matthew was left with the owner of the other car, dealing with the small fender bender, while his pregnant wife walked home in the dark to our apartment, a few blocks away.

There have been many miscommunications since then as well.  They have made us stronger and more determined than ever to be open and honest and gentle in sharing our hearts with each other.  It seems so simple, but the less time we spend on hoping the other person will catch our emotional drift, the more time we have to actually voice what we’re thinking.  Not assuming what the other person is thinking could actually save you from being hit on the head with a five-pound concordance.  And if all else fails, try yelling the word “Bubbles” in the angriest voice possible.  It’s impossible.  And you might just start laughing instead.  And the best part of every miscommunication, argument, or disagreement is making up again.

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Sometimes I’m Not Okay… and That’s Ok

Sometimes Friday comes around, and when Matthew gets home from work, we shake hands and introduce ourselves.  Does this ever happen to any other married couples?  It only takes a few days of work and collapsing into bed each night before the distance between our hearts starts to grow.  When we were dating, we could talk for hours on the phone.  Back then, we had to wait until 7 o’clock in the evening, when the “long distance” between Coatesville and Philadelphia was less expensive.  Yup.  When the time on the phone with him got excessive, my dad would highlight my conversations on our phone bill and I’d have to pay him back.   It was always worth it.  And it’s still worth the lack of sleep, to sit on the front porch to refill our emotional cups and reconnect again.  To get past the handshake stage and dig deeper.  If we only ever give each other the dregs of our day, this will eventually make us forget what it’s like to really know the other person.  Dregs are not as delicious or fulfilling as the freshly made batch of coffee or tea, or some freshly squeezed orange juice.  Allow your spouse more than just your dregs.

It’s been a tough couple of months for us.  I’ve actually been avoiding this blog.  Because I WANT everything to be okay.  I hate fake, so as to avoid writing truth, I don’t write anything at all.  But it’s been 11 doctor visits in 4 months and I completely broke down yesterday.  After our initial positive visit with Matthew’s specialist, things went slowly downhill.  He started to lose his voice and has had some sinus infections which have been incredibly persistent in nature.  Long story short, we are almost at a turning point.  Yesterday he had a biopsy taken of his sinus tissue to see if it is indeed Wegener’s flaring up again (bloodwork was iffy and inconclusive) or just a really bad infection.  Given the permanently scarred and damaged sinus cavity he has, from twelve years of surgeries and disease-damaged tissue, we know things will never be “normal” again.  It makes figuring out if a “stuffy nose” is something which warrants buying a box of tissues, or getting a round of blood work done.  I should call it LWW.  Life with Wegeners.  Remission is so fun, because this stupid disease is not the first thing people chatter to us about when they see us.  It’s awesome to feel “normal” and not like you’re wearing a t-shirt that says, “ask me how I’m feeling.”  Don’t get me wrong, we totally appreciate people’s concern for us, and how Matthew’s feeling.  But it’s so exhausting to be sick.  It’s lonely too, because you want to act like nothing is wrong, all while fighting something that is very wrong.  So I’ve somewhat angrily been avoiding this topic, because I’m so over it.  Wegeners took a back seat for two beautiful years.  It is never welcome, in my book.  Which is exactly why I’m not the one writing the story.

Someone close to us recently asked me how I was doing with Matthew being sick.  It kind of threw me for a bit, because I realized I’m not really okay.  I want to kick and scream and order a large pizza.  I’m jealous of people who can eat whatever they want and get a stinkin’ cold without worrying about it turning south.  I’m jealous of people who don’t have doctor visits flooding their calendar and drying up their bank accounts.  Then all of a sudden, I realize where I’ve gone wrong.  My eyes have completely turned from Jesus to the waves.  Like Peter, I’m sinking.  It’s not the first time.  These churning waves and I have met before.  They’re scary and ugly and as my focus turns to their depths, my faith gets lost in their darkness.

So our late night porch talk covered a lot of this, and Jesus has reminded me again of His faithfulness.  He hasn’t moved.  It’s okay to be weak, because then He is strong.  And believe me, we’re not weak in the sense of giving up.  That phrase doesn’t belong in our vocabulary: Give up.  We’re weak in our OWN strength to get through what this storm-filled life throws our way.  Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus.

When you pray for us, pray for our faith to be strengthened.  For Jesus to be glorified.  For us to be bold.  No fishy handshakes or wimpy hugs and sighs.  He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind!  Look us in the eye and remind us not to give up.  To rest, not quit.  You can ask God for healing if you want, but more importantly, please pray for our eyes to stay focused on Jesus, and our marriage to grow even deeper in love and grace.  We already know a day is coming very soon where we will be completely healed.

Now I need to go and enjoy a fresh cup of tea with my love.  It’s Saturday, and we have two full days together, and I still haven’t run out of things to talk about with him.  And there’s no long distance bill to worry about anymore.

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A Permanent Paint Job in My Hair

“Is that paint in your hair?”  He grinned.  I think I glared.  He knows perfectly well that even though I am the one to get paint in my hair while painting, that none of this has been going on for a few months. He kept grinning and then said, “I LOVE your grey hairs.”  He actually gets kind of giddy about them.  I guess they are factual of our journey from teenagers to pushing forty.  It is a beautiful thing to grow old with someone and know your grey hair makes them excited.  He’s actually getting a tiny swath of grey himself, which I find very attractive.
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I could name a handful of reasons for a few extras which may have popped up this month.

Earlier in July, Nadine came downstairs one morning with an incredibly stiff neck.  We had done massage, chiropractor, essential oils, and more, but she steadily got worse.  More sore, feverish, and absolutely exhausted.  A few doctor’s visits later and bloodwork drawn, I noticed a nice red circle on her leg.  And her shoulder.  And her arm, and torso and so on.  The number hit 17 bullseye rashes.  Her body felt and looked like it was shutting down.  We had spent so much time in prayer over her and Lymes kept running through my head.  As horrible as those bullseyes were, at least they showed up to confirm my thinking and get us on a path of treatment for her.  Just 24 hours later of being on strong antibiotics, she was sitting, standing up, and walking without having to collapse into bed.  She even swept the floor!  If people think I am anti-medicine because I’m a crunchy-granola-Plexus-mama, then they’re misinformed.  There is a time and there is a place, and I thank God for the ability to research and choose and make informed decisions.  I do not take antibiotics lightly.  So thankful too to have a quality probiotic to counter the nasty effects it will have on her good gut flora!

A few days after she started feeling nasty, I was grabbing some groceries and meeting my mother-in-law to pick up the youngest two who had been having a week at grandma’s.  We were waving goodbye as we backed out of our parking spot when all of a sudden the gear shift popped out of place and the whole gear shaft just started spinning around.  Thankfully, Linda hadn’t driven away yet, so we pushed the van into a safe spot and we all piled into her car where she drove us home!  Thankfully, it was not a huge fix!  Yesterday something else happened and we had to tow it again, but it’s fixed already.  We’re getting to know our local tow-truck drivers!
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I spent a lot of time sitting still and being quiet that first week of July.  Not my strong point.  Our front porch is my summer haven, and it gets a lot of love.  Between a broken arm, a broken vehicle, and a broken down body… I was pretty broken myself.  But God.  He’s in the business of fixing and providing and healing.
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One of the biggest blessings of this trial was seeing the rest of the kiddos rise to the challenge of taking over Nadine’s chores and jobs and serving her in many different ways.  From getting her icewater, to cleaning the kitchen, to hanging out with her while she couldn’t do anything but lay there.  It was refining for us all!  We also saw her faith grow in Jesus by leaps and bounds, as she audibly thanked Him for the sickness, and acknowledged He knows what’s best for her.  Do you know how hard that is to do?2016-07-13 14.19.53
As her body started to heal, God did another amazing thing for our family.  Because of the many broken things which needed money to fix them, we had to tell the kids they weren’t going to be able to go to soccer camp this year.  It was super difficult to tell them that, but we reminded them how God had the power and ability and means to provide for them if He wanted them to go.  So we laid it before the Lord without telling anyone else about the need.  On Saturday, one week before the camp would be starting, Elijah said to me, “Mom, camp starts in 7 days.”  I told him to keep praying and trusting God would provide if they were to go.  The next day, we recieved a phone call from someone who wanted to pay for our kids to go to camp if that was something they were wanting to do.  Seeing their faith grow when we told them the news was incredible.  At that point we weren’t even sure if Nadine could go!  We didn’t shop for her, until two days before they had to leave, when she was showing signs of having enough strength to handle a week at camp.  God provided in more ways than we could imagine!
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Now camp is over, and we are on our second day of school!

We are still celebrating summer, with later nights and a bit of sleeping in, but I always need a week or two of slowly easing into what our year will be looking like for the next ten months.  This gentle beginning also gives me room to purge from last year.  The last couple of days have seen six trash bags exit our house, lockers cleaned out, shelves re-organized, new books introduced, and a general feeling of newness and anticipation for the year ahead.
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I’m incredibly thankful for these amazing blessings entrusted to us for a time.  For the five independent ones downstairs eating icecream, and the one who is sending me love kicks from my womb.  We actually decided to find out whether “Baby Chip” is a boy or girl.  Here is the video of the kids’ reaction to the news:

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There is so much more I could write, but I have a few things left to do with my quiet evening, which my greying husband gifted to me tonight.  Thank you, love!


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Let Freedom Grow

A word which has shaped and defined this year is freedom.  I’m seeing it played out in so many ways throughout my every day.  For instance.  Today my skirt fell off.  Under many circumstances, this would have been categorized as one of my most embarrassing moments.  Thankfully, I was *only* outside in the front yard, having just walked out to our van to grab something and bring it inside.  The mailman wasn’t there.  No one was walking by.  The neighbors weren’t mowing their lawn.  I speedily pulled it together and ran inside.  This can be categorized as freedom, though not exactly what I had in mind on January 1st.  My box of wrap skirts have taken center stage in my wardrobe.  And I will not let a small setback, such as one falling off of me, deter me from wearing them.  My twenty-week-belly loves the wrap skirt idea.  2016-06-30 17.31.40This week the kids have been able to feel baby Chip move so much.  Their faces are priceless!  Jack sat there with his hand on my tummy for a couple of minutes when all of a sudden his hand shot back and he looked at me with his eyes and mouth about the same width.  It was great!  As I sit on the front porch this evening after a busy day of mommy-ing, attacking the weeds in my garden, and doing the regular mounds of laundry, I feel some kicking.  Baby Chip most certainly had a growth spurt this week, because all of a sudden I make a funny noise when I bend over, forgetting my front has expanded into my ribcage when in that position.  That, and I keep stubbing my toes when I walk upstairs.  I think it’s because I don’t lift my legs as high right before I take a step.  Pretty much on the dot, every night around 11pm the gymnastics starts, and I sit with my hand on my belly, in wonderment at another life bursting with joy inside of me.  Freedom.
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For the past six weeks, Elsie has had a cast on her right arm.  After about a day of figuring out how to do stuff with a perpetually bent arm, she quickly resumed life with a cast, almost as if she had none.  She literally lets nothing hold her back.  Even without the use of her thumb, she figured out how to tie her shoes, do monkey bars, climb, ride a bike and even play baseball!
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Monday was a big day for her, when she was liberated from its confines.  Freedom.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words:
IMG_8590[1]This week I had to say goodbye to a dear, sweet friend.  Our husbands met at a spin class about 8 years ago, which was definitely a God-ordained meeting, since I don’t think either of them have been to a spin class ever since.  Our kids are the same age, and we’ve watched and prayed eachother through some mutually serious health issues.  She is the friend who introduced Plexus to me, and after watching her journey to health and freedom, jumped in to join her.  She has been an incredible source of joy and encouragement and wisdom to me the past few years.  I love how in Heaven others will truly find out how much impact they’ve had on your life.  Thankfully Tennessee isn’t too far, but knowing I can’t just pop over makes me get a little teary.  Letting loved ones go and be and do what they’ve been called to is one of the hardest things on earth, I believe.  Yet, letting them go gives you more freedom to love stronger and deeper and further than before.
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Once a week Nadine has been getting back into the saddle.  It’s the highlight of her week.  She gets to ride with one of her best friends as well, which adds all sorts of amazingness to her week.  To me, it’s scary.  To her, it’s freedom.  She continues to be a huge source of help to me around the house and is growing in her babysitting abilities.  nrw
Today our not-so-bitty-Betty lost her first tooth!  She is growing up, embracing her big sister role already, and is somwhat of an old soul.  Sometimes I look at her and wonder on what wavelength she communicates to God.  He must tell her things I can’t quite fathom.  If you’ve ever had a conversation with her, you might understand what I’m having a hard time putting in to words.  Growing up requires a little bit of pain, which usually results in more freedom.
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Speaking of growing up.  There are these two characters who live in the attic, who often sound like a small herd of elephants when they come down the stairs.  But they are in actuality, boy-men.  Boys trapped in bodies which are swiftly becoming men.  Boys who dream of motorcycles and ammunition and muscles and big stuff like jobs.  Jobs that pay money so Elijah can get his pilot’s license and fly his friends wherever they want to go.  It’s fun to listen to their dreams and know that many of them will come true if we never plant seeds of doubt into their fertile minds.  Freedom.
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Apparently there is a “look back and compare an old picture of you and your spouse to now” thing going on over on facebook.  So, for fun I decided to do just that.  I practically died when I pulled out this doozy of a photo from nine years ago!  Matthew had been sick for about a year and a half, was on high doses of toxic meds, and I was barely surviving as a mom of three.  How incredibly blessed and grateful I am for the road we have traveled, and for the way the Lord has helped us navigate the stormy path.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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We don’t even know how many prayers have gone up for us on Matthew’s behalf.  So many.  There were times we literally felt like there was no way to go on.  We praise the Lord for the gift of health.  We know we are never guaranteed another breath.  But for every breath we are given, we praise Him!  Matthew is out running right now, his reflective vest on, heart pumping, lungs breathing, windpipe open.  Not something we would have thought about before.  It is the storm which has made our love so strong.  It is being in the pit which has made the air above so clean and worth savoring.  2016-06-28 23.14.09
We pray for open hands to receive both the sickness and the health.  The richer and the poorer.  Til death do us part.  In doing this, there is great freedom.

 


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Saying Goodbye to Try

The other day Betty said to me, “I want to do something I’ve NEVER done before!”  I literally blinked my eyes and stared at her in wonder.  Not for the first time, either.  This girl seems to say things which I feel like have come from somewhere deep inside my own heart.  Unspoken.  Then they find words  and come out of her mouth.  “Really?”  I answered, playing with her hair.  She’s been on big rollercoasters and flown inside a cessna airplane.  I could tell in her eyes she had a hunger to experience the thrill of something new.  Just like her mama.  So, even though she’s done it before, it had been a long, long time.  We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and she asked to bring her bike.  It’s been about a year since she rode it, and she was nervous about falling down.  My favorite thing about our time together, wasn’t the fact that she did in fact ride the bike without me holding on.  No, my favorite thing was how she talked to herself while she rode.  “I can do this!  I can do this!  I can do this!” she breathed over and over while I slowly let go and ran beside her.  Cheering her on.  Watching her fly alone.  In her hounds-tooth dress and polka dot rain boots.  Her fear lay in a pothole somewhere between our house and 8th Ave.IMG_8061There’s something incredible about what we say to ourselves.  I dare you to listen to yourself when you’re thinking.  It’s incredibly enlightening.  Do you say things to yourself that you would never allow someone to say to your child?  Or to you?  Changing negative thinking has totally transformed my life and is transforming the lives of our children.

Interestingly, Paul didn’t say, “I think I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Nope.  We should never say we will try to do this or that.  Every time we try, we make a small exception for ourselves to fail.  And you know what?  You might mess up and fail.  But that should never keep us from picking ourselves back up and getting stronger.  I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I am so proud of these kiddos.  We completed our school year a couple weeks ago.  They have all grown and accomplished so much!  2016-05-06 14.08.57
Being out of school has been just what we all needed.  There has been a lot of imagination and rearranging and purging that comes when Mommy’s brain is free from thinking of school for a couple of weeks.  We started our vacation out right with a broken arm.  Broken in three places, no less.  That girl is incredibly tough. This is the second time this has happened in her short little life.    She doesn’t complain, and she really hasn’t let it stop her from doing anything.  When I told her to be careful on the playground, Betty piped up: “At least I can jump!  Because I have two arms and two thumbs and two elbows!”

New neighbors just moved in next door, and the boys had no qualms about asking them if they could have a bunch of their huge furniture boxes to make a small town with them.  The rest of the day was spent cutting and creating tiny houses.

Earlier this week, Elsie let out a big sigh in front of me and said,”I just want to run a business or something!”  She kept persisting, and finally her dream became a reality.  Older sister and a friend all chipped in to squeeze lemons and taste test the perfect lemonade.  We had some very enthusiastic salesmen and women, who were not afraid to ask the UPS man, the neighbors, and any passersby’s to buy a cup of refreshing lemonade.  Why?  Elsie, broken arm and all, determined it was to raise money for gymnastics.  This has been a huge dream of hers, and I’m so proud of her for looking ahead, past the “impossible” and seeing her arm healed enough to take gymnastics. IMG_8156
Many days are spent gardening and cutting fresh flowers, enjoying delicious berries, and being amazed at how my belly has popped out with pride and joy.  At 17 weeks, baby Chip is kicking and loving the berries I’m eating.  Most recently, Matthew put up a new fence on the one side of our yard.  It was an exhausting day.  But one of my favorite kinds of tired.

So very thankful and daily more in love with this guy.  He takes good care of us.  He feels great, which is something we never ever take for granted.  Once your health has been on the edge of survival wondering at the surety  of your next breath, you never go a day without praising God for one more day to enjoy this thing called life.  Every day my passion grows to help others who are hurting and sick and tired of being sick and tired.

For the next coupe of days I need to get my game on and face my least favorite past-time: packing.  The motivation of having five whole days with Matthew by my side, along with some of the most motivating, loving, encouraging people… I’m not going to TRY.  I will take a lesson from my sweet Betty and whisper: “I can do this.  I can do this.”  I can confidently face my suitcase and smile.

 


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There Is No Way on Earth Those Pants Are My Size (and other snippets of my day)

There’s a bowl of pretty-well-licked-out melted chocolate chips next to me.  I’m on my third cup of hot tea for the evening (decaf of course) and my head has a slight ache (chocolate helps that, right?).  It’s been one of THOSE days.  It began well.  Very well, in fact.  I came downstairs to find the children playing school.  I mean, we homeschool, so I thought the possibility of PLAYING school was out of the realm of possibility.  It helps that as of yesterday evening, after finishing our first term of school without one, we finally have an actual school table.

We had a blast at IKEA yesterday, picking out our school table!

We had a blast at IKEA yesterday, picking out our school table!

A new table apparently makes doing school super exciting.  I even overheard the teacher telling her students: “That test is going to be very severely graded!”  It was all fun and games, but then I turned my body and saw a huge pile of STUFF in the corner.  Something went off in my head, and picking EVERYTHING UP OFF THE FLOOR THAT ISN’T FURNITURE became top priority.  (That is my favorite thing to say, by the way.)  I may have gone a bit crazy.  End result: full trashcan, clean floor, settled mama.

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Somehow in there, the clock decided to jump ahead a few hours to it being the time we were supposed to be headed out the door for Elijah’s guitar lesson.  Thankfully, his teacher is super flexible, and we were able to scoot out the door a couple hours later.  Meanwhile, because time likes to be ornery, I couldn’t figure out why everyone was yelling and crying and not getting their math problems… until I actually looked at the clock and saw it was way past noon.  Everything stopped.  Eggs were cracked into frying pans.  Sriracha sauce was uncapped.  Avocados were cut.  Bread was toasted.  Bellies were filled.  Math made sense again.

I do love how every day is different.  Though there are some things that happen almost every day.  Like, a cup of hot tea in the morning.  And Nadine cleaning up the kitchen every night.  She has become quite proficient at it.  I encourage all you mamas of pre-teens… get them started!  Nadine has been hard at work doing this job for over a year, but has it down to a perfected science.  I am usually at my most exhausted, and she somehow almost always gets a second wind around 9:00.  Win, win!  I found that she does a much better job when I leave the room and don’t micromanage how she does it… because, surprise of all surprises… we have VERY different approaches when it comes to how we get it clean.  The end result is pretty much the same, however.  Thank you, darling!  (She can read this… because she’s a teenager now and subscribes to her mama’s blog… I am BEYOND touched and love her so much!)

In the midst of the chaos that was today, I did chisel out thirty minutes of quiet, alone time with the Maker of the Universe.  How’s that for a date?  I think sometimes I only see Him as that and get all nervous to lay my requests before Him and wait in expectation.  So, today I did just that.  The peace which overwhelmed my soul was indescribable.  Before, the sky was cloudy and cold.  After, the clouds were stunning with glimpses of sunshine pouring out like beams of pure gold.  He has a way of reminding me of how close He really is, even though my heart strives constantly to do and go and accomplish.  He says to just be.

A few other chaotic things happened today after that peace, but isn’t that life on this side of Heaven?  One of them was disagreeing strongly with the man at Goodwill that the pants I was buying for Elsie were in fact for a child and not for an adult as he was ringing them up to be.  I even took them from his hand, held them up to my body and told him that there was no way on earth I would ever fit in these pants which clearly fit on my daughter… and I held them up to her.  He didn’t budge.  My blood was boiling inside because it was very clear who was right and who wasn’t.  There was a long line and so I chose… peace.  I mean, I wasn’t really upset that I was getting them for $2 instead of $1;  I was just upset because I was right and he was wrong.  Yeah.  That’s super.  Anyway, I didn’t blow up and I even made out with an amazing $2 necklace… which goes great with my plaid, don’t you think?
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By the time we arrived home, supper was zero percent away from being started, I was hangry, and it was 5:30 and dark outside.  I threw ROCK HARD FROZEN chicken into a pan with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and miraculously didn’t burn it.  Matthew always can tell when I don’t cook with a little bit of love poured into the food.  I think it’s because my dear friend, with her beautiful smile and loving self, walked into my kitchen at that exact moment and the love started seeping out my pores and into the pan of chicken.  It didn’t burn, and tasted amazingly delicious all chopped up in our salad.  The evening was spent with my friend, dreaming and building our business together.

Now my third cup of tea is cold.  Time is playing tricks on me again, because it keeps telling me hours have passed since I last looked at the clock.  My children keep getting taller and making food non-existent in our refrigerator and cupboards.  Betty said the funniest thing the other day.  I have no idea what was going on, but she told me: I have a feeling of myself.
Really?  What do you feel?

Like Jack and Elsie are going to find a real mouse.  I have a bad feeling.

Then, the other day Elsie and Betty were playing house, complete with pretend money, and I overheard this very upset showdown between mother and daughter:
You  bought a dog?! You just wasted all our money!– Elsie
But she gave me a change! said Betty cheerfully.
It’s still not enough! -Elsie

Now my fourth cup of tea is hot, because my intuitive husband just came and gave me a refill.  I’m excited to snuggle up with him tonight.  I’m so thankful I am his and he is mine.  Elsie just came and asked if she can listen to jazz music to fall asleep.  Every day is so full of moments of gratefulness and awe.  I’m so thankful for many things, but mostly I’m thankful for God’s grace, and that my life is not a test to be severely graded, because it would be an utter failure!


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I Just Want A Yes

One thing which bothers me is when one of my children asks me for  a snack as I’m cooking dinner.  About a week ago, my littlest was doing just that.  As I looked at her and firmly told her, “No,” she sat down on the floor, tucked her head in between her knees and cried dramatically: “But I just want a yes!”  The outburst stopped me in my tracks.  It almost felt like her words were being interpreted from my own heart’s silent prayer to my Heavenly Father.  I just want a yes.

This week was a rough one for me.  That same particular little girl started having a fever and alarmingly swollen lymph nodes, warranting a doctor’s visit and a round of blood-work.  2015-06-01 14.07.46
Thankfully, the blood-work came back normal, but the next day she developed a scary-looking rash on her forehead/scalp area.  To make a long story short, 3 doctor visits later and an incredibly high temp of 105 at one point… she was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease.  Lyme’s is a tick borne disease and nothing to take lightly.2015-06-05 13.03.17-1
This was the point where I began to ask others to pray for us.  It was going on five days of constant fever, and Thursday night she was unable to walk up the stairs or move her leg from standing to sitting.  She hadn’t really complained yet, despite how wretched she felt, so when she started to cry about her leg hurting so badly, I knew she was in a lot of pain.  God promises us tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer. (James 5:16)  I just wanted a yes, but realized God wouldn’t change in any way if He said no.2015-06-05 19.00.04-1
We went to bed Thursday night, the only difference being we were completely surrounded by the prayers of so many.  It was like a thick blanket or wall, surrounding her on all sides throughout the entire night.  It was palpable.  On Friday morning, I woke up to a sweet, smiling face in my bed.  She had climbed up without any pain or problem and said, “Look at my ear!” (which is where the rash had started).  It was completely normal, and there was no rash anywhere.  Her fever was gone completely.  She was smiling.  I’m so thankful He said, “Yes!”
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The night before, I had told the Lord again that she was His.  I am convinced of God’s goodness and faithfulness not because of what He will or will not do in my life, but because of Who He is.  We can not sit on the floor and scream: I just want a yes!  If we interpret what He does based on what we think is good, or what we think He should do, we misinterpret His character.  Our definition of good is limited by time and space and is tainted by our own selfishness.  We can’t see the big picture. Just because I told Betty “no” to having a snack, didn’t equate me as a bad mom.  In fact, I said no because there was something even better just ahead if she would just trust me and wait for it.  God always acts in accordance with His character and not just according to what we think is good.  Having Him take one of my children is something so difficult that I can not even begin to imagine or even dwell on it for one second because of the ache it produces in my heart.  However, I was swiftly reminded this week that everything God has given to us can be taken in an instant.  Yet, no matter what, God does not change in His goodness, His faithfulness, or His nearness.

Jesus said in John 14:27- I leave behind with you- peace; I give you my own peace and my gift is nothing like the peace of this world.  You must not be distressed and you must not be daunted.  This verse popped up twice on Thursday.  Once, on a crumpled piece of paper that survived an entire heavy duty whirl in the washing machine.  (When does paper ever survive a wash?)  God knew I needed to hear from Him and be reminded that circumstances don’t change His gift of peace.
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The scariness of the situation didn’t shift the truth of God’s nearness.  I also read this reminder: Never forget the nearness of your Lord...He is right here with me.  Don’t worry over anything whatever. Whenever you pray, tell God every detail of your reeds in thankful prayer, and the peace of God…that peace He knew we so desperately needed, so He left it with us when He went back to Heaven… Which surpasses human understanding… if you’ve experienced it, you know it…  Will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.  This peace doesn’t come and go, but is like a sentry over our hearts and minds: keeping worry out and keeping peace in, so we can rest.