This picture makes me cry!

This picture makes me cry!
Thought it was time to change my picture

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who??

There are a lot of things that I want to teach my children over the next few “moldable” years. One of those things is compassion and giving. This holiday season has brought about many tears for me. Partly because of the loss our family suffered when Rich’s mom died and partly because of the loss that so many families suffer through every day. When I think of children waking up on Christmas morning to no gifts it breaks my heart. Gifts are not the reason for Christmas but as a parent I can only imagine the heartache I would feel in not being able to give my children the magic of Christmas morning. Some of these families can’t even provide for their children’s most basic needs let alone offer them stockings filled by Santa and brightly wrapped gifts under the tree.

If you have never been to a women and children’s shelter then you have lived a sheltered life. I have visited those places and even volunteered in a few. Some of the women are there because of bad choices and some of them are their because of bad circumstances. Regardless of how they got there, it isn’t our place to pass judgment. I thought this morning about how Christians (me included) are quick to volunteer in the church nursery, participate in various study groups and show up for the church work day. We walk away feeling smug as though we are truly “serving” as Jesus called us to serve. We never think about the scriptures that tell us to care for the widows and orphans. We forget about the messy, dingy, dark parts of service. We choose to not think about those that are homeless or struggling. Those places, those things infringe on our comfort and leave a lasting impression that brings about a certain level of sorrow.

Oh yes, we will pick an angel off an angel tree and gladly buy a small toy for our designated child. We will donate food to our church food pantry and discard an unpopular toy in to the toys for tots bin but have we really thought about what it means to truly “give”. I’m talking about giving when it isn’t comfortable and sometimes even when it hurts. I’m talking about laying aside our own wants to supply someone else’s needs. What are we teaching our own children? We are teaching them that Santa brings lots of gifts and that Christmas is a time to open up multiple packages as fast as possible giving little thought to the actual gift or the giver. In some cases, we teach them that Jesus is the reason for the season but are we REALLY showing them the love of Christ?

In this world of instant gratification, astronomical credit card debt and electronic gadgets, have we ever stopped to consider what our actions truly say. I work around people every day that have money. I’m talking about lots of money. Having money doesn’t make you a bad person but when I think about the amount of money that is wasted on dining out, fancy wine, sports cars, clothes, etc. I just have to wonder when our priorities shifted so drastically. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone because; although, I do not own a fancy sports car and don’t drink fine wine, I do shop A LOT for my children. My kids have clothes and shoes shoved in every drawer and closet of our home. Oh and the toys…….our house is literally busting at the seams with toys. My children have no concept of want……….most of their desires are met by either their parents or their grandparents. They don’t know what it is to wear shoes with holes in them or to be told “I’m sorry we can’t afford that”. Those things are foreign to them and I pray that we never have to utter those words to them. But some people do have those struggles and maybe instead of my children always enjoying the bounty of God’s blessings……..maybe they should get to be one of those blessings?

I want my children to grow up with tender hearts and open hands. I want them to always be willing to go do the dirty work. To give, to love, to offer up whatever they can without passing judgment on those they are giving to. I have not always been great at these things but God isn’t finished with me. I consider myself to be a compassionate person – I would give you the shirt off my back and some would even call me na├»ve but that doesn’t mean that I always give without a smidge of smugness or a hint of judgment. That I never wonder why this person is in the situation they are in – what mistake they made to land themselves in this predicament. Those feelings and judgments negate my giving……..they make me as bad as the person who has everything and refuses to give. Those crevices and cracks are what God is working on in me.

The question I leave you with is this………..where are you on this road? Have you thought about what we are teaching our next generation, our children. As you watch your children experience the awe of Christmas morning, think about those children who will be waking up in a shelter. Those children whose lives have been devastated by drugs, abuse, alcoholism, violence, job loss, illness. Those families that are being torn apart by circumstances that seem too big. Mothers and fathers who will pray this holiday season for a miracle to keep their lights on or put food on the table. Parents who will not watch their children delight in the fact that Santa came. Children who will hope that next year Santa will find them.

WE are His hands and feet……..if WE don’t do it then who will?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A hole in my heart.....

So I’ve been needing to write for a few weeks now. Writing is cathartic for me……a way to release all of those feelings that I hold inside in my futile attempt at appearing strong. One of the reasons I haven’t written is because, a. there has been no time and b. there is no way that I could possibly put my level of grief down on paper. I don’t know that there are words in the English language that could possibly do justice to the hurt that I currently feel in my soul. What on earth could possibly cause this grief, you ask? Well on Saturday, October 1st we lost my mother in law or Grandma as she was affectionately known by just about everyone.

Anyone that knows us knows that the last 3 years, since Tracy’s (my husband’s sister) death, have been difficult. Grandma struggled with severe depression and there were days when she couldn’t get out of bed. I’m ashamed to admit that after 2 year of this I had lost a lot of my empathy for her. I was easily frustrated by her lack of concern for our home, for her inability to see joy in things, for her unwillingness to count her many blessings. Oh how easy it is to be a Judgy Judy when it isn’t you who has lost a daughter or you who is suffering. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her dearly and she was one of my closest friends but a part of me feels a lot of guilt for my attitude over the last year. See, my life was amazing. In three years I had given birth to two beautiful children, I had a good job, fantastic home, great husband and a family full of people who loved me and wanted only the best for me. While I sat high on top of my mountain of goodness I watched her become more distant and sad. Not every day was bad, in fact, a lot of days were good. She always tried to wear a smile for the kids and over the last several months she had been doing fairly well. We knew she struggled but she also made an effort to get out of bed every day.

On Friday night she and Grandpa had gone out to dinner and Bingo. Grandpa had just traded his truck in for a corvette so they decided to take it out for a spin. The night was good. They had fun and talked about the future. Grandma even mentioned that she felt like she was coming out of her fog. She told Grandpa that she planned to take Toby (the dog) for a walk the next morning. They got home around 11:30 and I could hear them laughing and joking in the kitchen as she made the coffee for the morning. I remember thinking that it sounded like the old Grandma. I drifted off to sleep while making a list of all the things I needed to accomplish the next day.

Fast forward to Saturday morning……Rich got up early, probably around 7:15 or so. The coffee had been started and several cups were missing so all seemed as it should be. I finally roused myself out of bed around 8:00 a.m. Relishing in the fact that I had been able to sleep in. That never happens around our house so I was feeling really lucky. I got up, made my way to the kitchen to get breakfast for the kiddos and saw Grandpa coming downstairs. I casually asked where Grandma was as he opened up the morning paper. He replied that she was going to walk the dog. Hmmmm, okay so hopefully today will be a good day?? I fed the kids, jumped in the shower and was getting William dressed. I had told Rich of my plans to leave Abby at home while Will and I dropped Nate off at school and then went to the craft store. Rich and Grandpa had plans to pour some concrete in the backyard for a new shed we had just bought……the weather was beautiful and fall was just starting to set in. We were all so excited for cooler weather and the holidays.

Around 9:15 or so Grandpa went upstairs to get ready for the day and realized that Nathan was occupying the bathroom that they shared. Grumbling I’m sure, Grandpa made his way to Grandma’s bathroom (Grandpa snores like a bear so he and Grandma had separate rooms) and saw her on the floor. Assuming she was looking for her cat he yelled at her to ask what she was doing. When she didn’t respond he went over to her and realized that she was gone. He immediately called to Rich and Rich called 911. I ran up the stairs to see what was going on and when I saw her, I knew. I don’t know that I will ever forget how she looked. The gray skin, the broken sunglasses……….it appears that she was getting her sunglasses and heading to get Toby out of his kennel when it happened. The medical examiner says her heart stopped and she “just died”. I’m not sure that I understand how you just die…….there is no just dying. We know she didn’t suffer……she probably never knew what happened and their assumption was she that she was gone in a matter of minutes. I think about that…….minutes. One breath you are here and the next you are gone. One second you are making plans for the future and the next your life has been cut short.

After finding her, I scooped up my babies and ran them to the neighbor’s house because I knew it was going to be a long day. I started calling family and friends for reinforcement and prepared to do one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’ll spare you the details but after 3 ½ hours our house was finally empty of medical personnel, police, fireman, neighbors, etc. In the quiet of the house, I looked around and realized that all the dreams I had built my life upon, all the “stuff” that I had acquired meant nothing at this point. My true treasures were my family, my friends and my faith. Those things would serve as the warm coat I would pull around me in the midst of death’s chilly sting. Those things would be what sustained me as I went through the motions of planning a funeral. Those things would give me the strength to tell my baby boy that his Grandma was in Heaven. Those things would push me forward every day and allow me to find a new normal for our family. Those things would also remind me what is really important in life. In spite of my grief, I am blessed beyond measure. In spite of our pain, we have been given so much more than we deserve. In spite of my anger at the thought of my children not knowing a grandmother who loved them so much, I know that we are never truly alone.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Can you be both at once??

I’ve been reading some of my old posts in an attempt to gather some kind of perspective on the girl I used to be. WOW, has time changed things. I feel like I’ve lost a lot…….my spare time, my gym time, my skinny jeans and my wit. They’ve been replaced with sleep deprivation, crappy eating habits, dirty diapers and mountains of laundry. Seriously, how did I change so much so fast??? Well I had children, that is how. I went from Super Barbie to Super Mom in the blink of an eye and while I ADORE my children and my role as their mother, there are times when I miss the old me. The one who had energy and who could make an adult laugh (I’m a pro at getting some giggles out of the toddler though). Some days I feel so lost in this insanity that is a teenager, a toddler and an infant that I forget that I’m still me. I’m still funny, I’m still witty, I’m not still skinny but I digress. How do I get back to that “girl”?? I mean, I can’t even find time to get my toes done anymore……..I spend every spare moment with a baby on my boob or a toddler on my leg. I feel like we are hanging on by a thread and this whole balancing act could come crashing down at any moment. Please don’t mistake this blog for a complaint – I LOVE my children and would gladly weigh 385 pounds again (although I don’t), lose my sanity, my wit and my skinny jeans for just one day with them. They are the reason I am me……….this new version of me. But I pose the question, is it okay to embrace the “new” me while still missing the “old” me. Better yet, is it possible to do that??

Okay, this one is short and sweet but stay tuned for tomorrow’s unfolding drama – The Terrorizing Toddler Finds the Spray Paint!! Yeah you don’t want to miss this cluster F of a story!! And people wonder why I’m paranoid??

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hello!!

I know that I haven’t been here in forever but life has not afforded me the luxury of down time since the appearance of Miss Abigail. Wait, did I even blog about her?? For all you guys know we may have gotten a new puppy!! Well, Miss Abigail Jewel Lynn is not a puppy but rather a beautiful, bouncing baby girl! Yep, on November 19, 2010 we welcomed Miss Abby Jewel into our lives. I won’t bore you with the details of the unexpected pregnancy, miscarriage and then another unexpected pregnancy that eventually led to the birth of my precious girl. I also won’t make you relive the torture that is being pregnant in Texas during the Summer while suffering through grueling all day sickness (including pneumonia). Oh and don’t forget the toddler that terrorized me through most of it. Let’s just say it was a year to remember and while I love Abby more than life itself, the pregnancy definitely finalized my decision to shut down the baby factory. Hopefully someday I will be able to collect my thoughts and share that whole story with everyone. It was quite the rollercoaster ride!

Okay, I’m stuck. I can’t even remember what I came here to blog about. So goes my life. Everything takes me hours at this point. Whether it be getting ready for work, heading out the door to run errands or just getting the kids ready for bed. Half the time I get distracted and by the time I circle back around to my original project, I can’t even remember what in the heck I was doing?? Where The Heck Is Barbie definitely has a new meaning right now. More of a literal translation at this point in my life!

Now I remember what I started this post. I’m finding myself needing to blog as a release. It used to be fun and I did it as a pastime. Now I need to blog. I’m having some serious anxiety issues which I’m assuming are somehow postpartum related……don’t ask me how I know that because I don’t want to admit to self diagnosing myself via Google. Anyway, I’m anxious all the time. Ridiculously anxious……..as in took my kids out of the car the other day while I was pumping gas. I mean, surely the chances of my toddler getting hit by a car in a busy parking lot are less than the chances of my car blowing up while I’m pumping gas, right?? Please tell me that I’m correct and my irrational thinking is really rational?? Seriously, I’m driving myself nuts. Will has had a stomach virus over the last few days and I’ve spent the last two nights holding a puke bucket in one hand a crying Abby in the other worried that maybe he had E Coli. It’s out of control so I’m sucking it up and seeing my doctor next week. I no longer enjoy life but rather see it as one mine field after another. We’ll see what Dr. H says to me – he may just tell me to quit eating so many Jelly Bellys and to start drinking a glass of wine every night. I’m not sure but I know something has to give. I cannot afford to cover up the gray hairs anymore and I really need some semblance of sanity back in my life!

So I haven’t even touched on weight, diet, exercise. I’ll pick that up in my next post. I’m weaning Abby so I’m trying to get my diet back in line. I’m not doing great at it but I’m making more of an effort than I have in the last few months. That counts for something right??

(((HUGS))) from a lumpy, paranoid, lactating Barbie!! 