Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coping with disappointment....

I'm currently on vacation, in Orlando Florida, and I'm sad.

Well, actually I'm disappointed because the vacation I had planned in my head, and the vacation that's unfolding in front of us, are very, very different.

To begin with, the weather, it is NOT warm and sunny, but rather it's cold and grey and rainy. Not what we expected or were looking forward to.

And then my little sister gets sick, and this is her first vacation, EVER, and I had big expectations to show her Florida and give her a really great time, and not only is she not having a good time, but she's so sick she needs to leave. She's going home only two days after arriving.

And she's taking my mom with her.


To top that all off, we were just driving my mom and sister to the airport, and my mom is suddenly struck with the urge to make sure she had her car keys, for her car that's parked in the Buffalo air port, and she doesn't! So we had to trek back to the vacation house to find the keys, failed to do so and had to arrange someone to meet them in Buffalo with a spare key. Thank God that we were able to do so, but I feel so horrible for my mom and sister.

This was supposed to be a good time away.





My mom was really excited to go to the beach again. I was looking forward to showing Kerry the glass bottom boats at Silver Springs.

Instead we got illness,





and then disappointment.

I wanted this trip to be so different, I wanted for it to be a real bright spot in an otherwise dull and somewhat stressful winter, and I'm sad that I wasn't able to make that happen.

So, my mom and sister are on route to the airport, and hopefully all will go well from there, and I already miss them and am sort of mourning the plans I had for us all, but since we're here for four more full days, I need to try and make the most of this trip for myself, and Elvis and our kids, and my other sister Courtney and my nephew Xavier. There's fun to be had, I hope, if I can just shake off this disappointment. All things happen for reason, and God works everything in our lives for good if we believe. So I'm looking forward to some good, and praying hard that we've seen the last of the stressful and difficult.

Everyone needs a little reprieve from worry, this is after all, a vacation.

I need some serenity. Which is my segway into the Serenity Prayer......

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him;
Forever in the next.

I can't make Kerry feel any better.

I can't un-lose my mom's car keys.

I can't make the sun shine, or make it warmer.

I'm not in control of most things.

Just me. Just how I process the things that happen to me, and how I react to those circumstances. I have to choose to be reasonably happy with what life gives me, and supremely happy with God who works all things for my ultimate good.

There's still the beach to look forward to, sand and sea, very exciting!

And then there's Disney, always a pleasure for everyone (and I get a new Christmas ornament which I love!).

And there's Silver Springs, glass bottom boats, gators, and fun safari rides!

Lots to do, lots of fun to be had, and lots of reasons to be happy and feel blessed, even in the midst of this aparent mess!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane.............

Our family is leaving for some much needed sun and fun VERY soon! I'm so excited! I'm excited for warmth and a break from our every day routine!

I'm excited to see the joy my children will feel on our vacation adventures!

I'm excited to get away and be with my family away from the stress and monotony of daily life and of winters in Ontario!

I think that this little trip away will revitalize us all and who doesn't need that?

Traveling with two young kids isn't necessarily easy, but we're not going alone and we'll have all kinds of family with us for company and a break should our sanity need it ;) And even if it's a little hectic, it'll be so rewarding, to give our kids a fantastic week filled with playing with cousins, playing our doors, swimming, amusement parks, rides and special treats. They need it!

They surely need the break as much as Elvis and I do.

We don't often consider kids and stress, but I know they feel it. And they've been through so much in the past 6 months, just as much as the rest of us.

They experienced our separation and the negativity that brewed between us for a while.

They experienced the tension.

Avery started school and now has a busy routine of her own.

They're pent up in doors most of the time, because neither are fond of playing in the snow.

They get bored.

They need a vacation as badly as anyone can!

I'll take a lot of pictures, because I don't want to forget these special trips with my kids and my husband, and my sisters, and Elvis's family too. These times are precious and important and are too soon just memories. So I'll take a lot of pictures to memorialize this particular vacation.

The vacation we almost didn't have. A family vacation, all of us together, that I didn't think we'd ever have again. This trip is a gift from God, as well as our second chance at our marriage and family. So we'll enjoy and cherish it, and the glory will go to Him, who made it possible in the first place.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

What dreams may come....

When I was in high school I became deeply interested in dream interpretation. I had several recurring dreams that were of interest to me, so I kept detailed journals, noted the patterns, and delved into the many possible meanings. I had a dream interpretation book (for Dummies!) and used it as a guide, and I think I learned a lot about myself through those journals.

Today I've got less time to journal each dream, considering I can easily recall up to four detailed dreams a night. But I still pay attention to them, note them, pick out patterns. It interests me, that my subconscious has so much on it's mind while I sleep! And that so many repeating patterns arise, that these subjects or meanings are so significant to my subconscious that it works them out again and again in my sleep.

I don't know where my old dream journals are, but I remember that I used to dream often of....

*Long narrow paths with water expanding as far as the eye could see on both sides.
*getting shot
*running (for my life through my old elementary school yard at night to my house)
*moving back to the townhouse we grew up in and being really sad that we had to leave our new house
*my sister Kerry as a baby
*great big houses or hotels with secret winding paths, secret passageways, hatches, closets with trap doors, and being pursued through these passageways.

Not much has changed really.

I used to know what it meant to dream of expanding water (the path dreams) and contained water (the bathtub), but now I only dream about the ocean. It's always the same spot, completely made up by my mind, but in my dreams always really familiar. I sometimes I have the path dreams, where the road is so narrow that the water comes up to the tires rims, and I love those dreams though I don't know why.

Every now and then I dream about getting shot, but it's much less often. I should add that these dreams are not traumatic, they just end. But it puts an end to the urban legend that if you die in your sleep you die in real life, it's not true.

But, I still dream, quite consistently, about big winding houses with secret rooms and hatches and tunnels. I'm being chased through these dreams and every move I make is precise and quick. There can be an element of hear to these dreams, but they're mostly fascinating, so many hidden little escapes and pathways and I know them all, and I always escape whoever it is that's pursing me.

This may be a terribly boring post, but I am so fascinated by my dreams. I used to try and influence what I'd dream about it by thinking about it intently before going to bed (because Beakman said it would work!). Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Dreams have long since fascinated mankind. We study them, analyze them, look for meaning, guidance, and even messages from God, so I know I'm not alone in my wonderings.

The Bible is full of dreamers.

Jacobs son Joseph

Mary's husband Joseph



And then some.

God spoke to us in dreams back then, and possibly He does so now. But I've learned about, and have been cautioned against looking for messages from God in my dreams, as it could be all to easy to shape and distort the interpreted message to suit our human wants and desires and then take action claiming it was God's intentions. If God speaks to us in dreams, it will always coincide with what He has said in scripture and will never contradict it, and we should keep that in mind if we think our dream is God sent.

But, I'm inclined to believe that our dreams more often then not come from ourselves.

They speak for the parts of us that have been suppressed or neglected.

The parts of us we don't want to deal with, or don't have time to deal with.

I think dreams come from the parts of us that need the most attention, calling for it when our daily defenses have gone to bed and we're susceptible to hearing these callings.

And the challenge comes from trying to decipher what your subconscious is actually trying to say, why do so many dreams have to be so coded and obscure?

Thankfully, I'm growing more and more aware of myself and my deepest fears and concerns. And thankfully my dreams have been fairly transparent lately. They speak their message loud and clear.

I'm afraid. I'm angry. I'm insecure.

Lately my dreams show me holding onto my marriage for dear life, with white knuckle intensity. Afraid for it to get away from me again.

I'm lashing out against influences I feel contributed to my separation and that contributed to prolonging it. I'm raging against people I feel continue to stand in the way of getting our marriage completely back on track. I've never been so angry in my dreams or in real life, and this is something that needs to be addressed in the waking hours, and soon.

And I'm insecure, afraid the bottom could fall out of my life at any given minute without warning. My faith in everything other then God and my kids is shaken and I don't feel confidant about my place in a lot of areas of my life right now.

I'm so glad I have dreams to pound these messages home every night. I'm glad I'm paying attention, so I can take note, then take action.

I'd love to take action. To tackle the fear and insecurity and anger, and make them go away, so that I can focus on more positive emotions, and have more positive and enjoyable dreams.

What do you dream about?

Do you remember?

Elvis doesn't remember any of his dreams, and I think that's a shame.

Do you have any recurring dreams?

What do you think they mean? What are YOU trying to tell you?


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The athlete in me

To those of you who know me very well, stop laughing! I'm not joking at all.

Today I've been pondering the athlete in me. I'm wondering if there's one in there, deep, deep inside this overweight and out of shape mama. Maybe?

Today Elvis was shopping for running shoes, just browsing, and it triggered something in me. Maybe I'd like to run some day? I dream about running all the time (bet you didn't know that!). I dream about running so fast that I'm practically soaring. Maybe that means something.

So, I propositioned Elvis. I asked him if he wanted to start running with me later this year, when I've lost enough weight and built enough exercise tolerance to actually run without promptly dying. He said yes, so there's pressure on now. I told him about my curiosity about my inner athlete, and I was surprised when he didn't completely balk, or fall to the floor of Spork Chek laughing. He questioned what sport it is I think I might like. I told him, I like soccer. And it's true, I do like soccer! One gym class stands out vividly in my memory, a grade 7 or 8 game of out door soccer, and it wasn't traumatic at all. To those of you who know me well, you can vouch for me, that there weren't many days in gym class that I didn't find traumatic. But this game of soccer agreed with me, I liked it, and had fun. That's big.

So, I think, buried beneath 55-65 extra pounds, a runner, or soccer player may lay in wait. How exciting! I get revved up just thinking about physically training for "My Sport." I get excited about a project beyond losing weight. Imagine weight training. Muscles emerging. Tone developing. Strength improving. Lung capacity increasing. Health bettering. Sounds good to me.

So, project one, lose weight and build some cardio endurance, and then on to the fun stuff!

On a very good note, I've lost 11 pounds already! Go me!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time.....'s marching all over us! Just look at this conclusive and concrete evidence! Look at my baby girl! This was just yesterday right? A fun, playful 16 month old, precious baby girl...

Not so!! You've been deceived, as have I! This picture was taken, prepare yourself for this, it was taken THREE YEARS AGO!

You may question, "but how can that be?!"

I know, I know, I myself have been puzzling over this! How can it be? How can it be that my baby isn't really a baby anymore? She in fact looks incredibly grown up, once again I have undeniable proof! Just look......

Look at that hair? Not baby hair at all! Undeniable, it took four years and three months and a few weeks to grow that hair. So friends, it's true, time is marching on, like it or not.

What's that? Still not convinced? Need more proof that this is not an isolated incicident with just one child? Okay then, here it is, feast your eyes on this.....

My precious, darling, third born baby, not long home from the hospital. Sweet and fresh and new. Seems again, like it was yesterday, don't you agree?

Well, then I'm about to blow your socks off friends. This is the final and most convincing bit of evidence I have that time is in fact hurling forward at a ridiculous and frightening speed! This picture is 2 years old! This baby, actually looks like this.....

You see! Not a baby at all!!! Practically a school boy! Getting hair cuts and handling them with the patience and ease of a grown man!

I tell you friends, hold your babies tight, because time is pulling us forward with force, and at a heart wrenching speed. And one day I fear we'll wake to find our babies have been replaced by adults, and their childhood just a fond and much longed for memory.

Time marches on. And we are powerless to stop it, which makes every moment with our children, incredibly special. Every one of them is worthy of noting. Soak it up. Remember it well. Tomorrow you'll be comforted by those memories. Good photo's will be like portals in time that can take you back to those moments, so take lots!

I've got more proof of time marching on, stray grey hairs, wrinkles around my eyes, etc... But you don't need to see that, for that you can take my word!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Judgement (and a big vent!).....

I'm bothered lately, by people judging people.

I'm not sure why it seems to me that it's happening in prolific proportions these days. Maybe I'm just too sensitive, or too aware.

Everywhere I look, someone is judging someone. Someone's tearing someone else down. Someone's shaming someone else's decisions. It really saddens me.

Seems as though condemnation, cynicism, skepticism and judgment are running rampant in society today. What happened to grace, forgiveness, trust and acceptance?

I mean, you don't have to agree with someone's choices to be respectful of them.

You don't have to believe someone else's beliefs, to be tolerant of them.

You need not conform or change to fit someone else's standard or ideology. So why then is society as a whole so quick to judge the life and choices of others? Why are we so quick to condemn and belittle? Why are we so harsh with one another? So much negativity! It's painful just to watch, let alone to be on the receiving end.

And each and everyone of us is guilty of it.

But none of us is called to be the judge of another.

It's not our role or our place to stand in judgment of another human, another citizen of this earth.

Matthew 7:1-5 states:
1 "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.2 For you will be treated as you treat others.s The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.s
3 "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eyes when you have a log in your own?4 How can you think of saying to your friend,s `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye?5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

By the same standards we hold others to, we will also be judged by. And how true it is, we've got enough sin and shame of our own to deal with to be concerned with that of our friend or neighbor, or a perfect stranger!

We've all got skeletons in our closets. We're all flawed. We're all sinful. None of us is good enough to stand in judgment of another, though often times we do just that, and it only breeds more negativity.

And in my own life, I'm growing uncomfortable with it.

In my own life, I'm craving a peaceable existence.

I'm craving an environment of mutual acceptance, where people of different beliefs and morals can be open and honest, and still be friends. I'm craving an environment where we weigh in on the big issues only, the big ones meaning ones that actually effect the global population, and let the personal and private issues of others be just that, personal and private.

I'm tired of hearing people weigh in on the marriages of others.

The reproductive choices of others.

The financial choices of others.

How others discipline their kids.

How others raise their kids.

It makes me weary! What people must say about us! If it's not life or death, if it doesn't personally effect you, then withhold your judgment.

After all, God will judge us all. He's got it covered. He doesn't need to you weigh in on everything. He doesn't need you to start a heated and indignant debate on so-and-so's marriage or stint in rehab etc...

So, your neighbor has a speck in their eye, YOU'VE GOT A LOG IN YOURS!

Because this post wouldn't be productive without some introspection and practical application.

I judge. Heck, I think just by writing this post I've judged judgers! Haha, a part of human nature I guess!

But seriously. I judge. I make flash judgment's based on first impressions. Based on looks. I judge others relationships and parenting. I am after all, human. But I want to stop, or at the very least cut way back on the judgment I make of others. I'd like to start examining my own life and situation first before deciding whether or not my opinion would carry any weight at all. Am I judging someone for something I'm struggling with myself? If so, then I should cast my judgment inwards and try and give my own advice a try before dishing it out to someone else.

This has been weighing on me heavily lately. Friends judging friends. Siblings judging siblings. Children judging parents, children judging children. There isn't much room for love when its being crowded out by opinion.

But that's just my opinion ;)


Monday, February 15, 2010

Maturing grief....

Some days I cannot see it, because I'm standing in the midst of it, that my grief is growing and changing, and maturing.

It's still there. Ever present.

But now, instead of a blistering pain, it's a nagging throb that flares up from time to time.

It's no longer the blinding hurt, the aftermath of a severing, but rather it's an arthritic ache.

I'm no longer hysterical and unable to think through it.

Function and thought have returned to me.

As has the ability to process.

I'm still grieving, but I've found may way out of the thick of it, and I have gained some perspective which makes coping with our loss and the subsequent emotions easier. Thank God that time has numbed the pain and cleared my eyes and I am now in a place where I can fully recall and appreciate Everett's life without falling to pieces and having to start all over again.

My son has been dead now for two years, two months, one week and one day. I can't break that time down and tell you what months were the hardest, and when improvement started to happen. I can't tell you when it got easier, or when I started to feel like I was coping better. I can't pin point it for you, or for me. But in May of 2008, I opened my heart to the comfort and love of God, and I felt better. That was a turning point, and perhaps the only one I can give a date to. In May of 2008 I found an outlet for my grief and confusion, I found someone to call out to at any hour of the night, and that was an undeniable aid in my walk through grief.

And sometime between Everett's death and right now, friends of mine lost children of their own. Some through very similar circumstances, and my heart went out to them and my focus shifted to their grief rather then my own, and that too helped mature my grief. I was able to step out of my own situation into someone elses, and in some cases, offer up comfort, and I gained perspective.

Once or twice Elvis and I raised money in honor of Everett. We fixed our hearts and minds on improving the lives and experiences of other parent's and children, and again, stepped outside our own hurts to honor our son. And I believe each and every time we did that, we shifted out of hopeless grief into productive grief, and stepped one more baby step out of the darkness that encompassed us the day our son died.

Of course I believe that God intervened along the way, placing people and events in our paths that would both build on our experience and distract from it. All with his perfect and divine purpose, he gave us obstacles and blessings that would help us process our grief, and other issues that needed our attention, so we could heal and grow.

Meet Xavier Everett B.

My nephew and truly a gift to our family from God. A healing baby. Born on October 15th 2008, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Born in a fury of fear and activity, and a miracle in himself, for he was nearly lost in the process of being born. I believe that Xavier was placed in our lives to soften and sooth our aching hearts, like salve to a wound, and how he did succeed. No baby ever had more perfect timing, and God's timing is always perfect. Xavier's name honors Everett, but his presence honors our entire family, his simple existence is demonstrative our how our family bound together in our collective grief and overcame with our collective love. Xavier is a miracle, and I will love him like my own because he was as much a gift to me as he was to my sister and Ken. I hope I'll make him feel that way when he's older, cherished and loved and a part of much grander plot in life then we're aware of on the day to day.

If you could look through my your computer screen and past mine, and see me now, you'd see me blubbering away as I type and you might wonder if my grief is as healed as I'd like to think it is, but I assure you, these tears are different. I'm pleased to be able to just cry, without the presence of a crippling emotional pain. I can just cry. Just release the feelings without completely overwhelming my system and shutting down entirely. I'm sad, and happy, and grateful and confused all at the same time, but I can process those feelings separately now, and handle them appropriately, a sure sign of my maturity on this path.

One more sign that comforts and assures me.

I'm not angry anymore.

I'm not looking to blame anymore.

I'm not wondering what our lives would look like now if something had been done differently (well, maybe I do wonder this every now and then, but I don't dwell).

I'm not outraged. That sounds weird to say, because a part of me wonders still, shouldn't I be outraged that my baby died?

Should I be raging against the loss of him?

Shouldn't I be rallying all my resources to find out why he wasn't cured and set out on a conquest to make sure that all future babies with similar afflictions are cured?

No. Not that research is bad. Not that supporting cures for heart defects is bad. Not that investigation into the cause of his death is bad, sometimes a little knowledge can really settle and restless heart. What I should not do is rage. What I should not do is feel wronged. What I should not do is feel indignant.

Because I cannot feel rage and insult and indignation and at the same time trust that God's will is perfect. The two are mutually exclusive in my eyes. I cannot be angry about the course of my life and of Everett's life and trust that God knows what he's doing. It's one or the other.

I can't wrap my head around how Everett came to be so sick.

I can't believe my boys had just 6 days together after birth and were permanently separated at just 20 days after birth.

I can't fathom how Everett was born with such a broken heart.

I can't believe there was no treatment that could fix him.

I can't understand how he fought so hard.

I can't comprehend how I had the strength to walk out of that hospital without him on the day he died.

It doesn't make sense to me.

All the knowledge that little human me can gather and absorb won't make a bit of difference. I won't ever understand why God took Everett from us. But God does. He had a plan and it's playing out before us every minute of every day. And it is my goal now to just trust that plan and follow it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says.... 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

In the early days of our loss, when our grief was raw and hot and raging, we believed whole heartily that God had made a grave mistake. He had blundered, most certainly, by taking our baby from us. And some days I believed that God was cruel, or non existent, for what God, who if he existed and was all powerful, would deny frightened parents their miracle? What God who was all good and all loving would let our baby die if it was in his power to fix him?

I had my dark days.

I had my turn in the pits of despair.

I cried my share of tears and then some.

I spent countless nights in physical pain because of my emotional pain.

But now the sun is rising on my grief. Finally. Not to say I won't still feel it. Not to say that one day a tidal wave of hurt and loss won't crash upon my shores and remind me of the old days when I was drowning in it. I feel fairly certain that this will happen. Because time has taught me that grief comes in waves. And time thank God, has taught me to swim and ride those waves. I'll flounder less the next time. Thank God.

God's word has given me something to hold on to when I'm hurting and struggling.

Everett's life was not an accident.

His heart defects were not a mistake.

His death was not in error.

It was all for a purpose.

His purpose.

God knew long before Everett was conceived that his life would be a special but brief mission. God knew that he would have just 20 days with us and in those 20 days he would set into action a domino effect that would last the remainder of our days. God knew that it would take only 20 days for Everett to leave a legacy of love and change and strength that some never achieve in lives that end in old age. He had a special plan for Everett, just as he does for all of us. And Everett's plan, was precise, and it was exacted with care, and completed just as He willed it to be.

Pslam 139:13-16 says this....

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

Every moment of Everett's life was laid out before a single day had passed!

Moments like this one:

And this one:

And this one:

This one too:

And even this one, it was all within his divine will:

Maybe it seems cocky, or deluded, to state that my grief is maturing. Maybe you think I'm mislead when I state that I believe I am more capable now of coping with my loss and my hurt. Maybe you think that I'm only fooling myself. But maybe you think that because you're still in the hardest and most painful part of your own personal walk through grief. Maybe you can't imagine a day where the hurt will be less and you will actually feel comfort. Maybe you can't imagine not feeling angry over the loss of your baby, let alone feeling at peace with it. Maybe you can't picture a time where you can talk openly about your loss and your feelings without crumbling into a million little shards. And if that's where you're at, and you've somehow found your way here to my blog, then I hope that you take some hope away from this post. Hope that one day you'll be in a totally different place and will be able to look back and see how far you've come and how healed you've become.

Thank God for His comfort in the hardest times in life.

Thank God for family and good friends who act like life preservers when we feel like we may drown in grief.

Thank God for bright spots along the way, that show us God is doing good in our lives even when we're going through tough times.

Thank God that emotional wounds heal with time, like physical ones, and they leave scar just the same, that reminds us of our strength and of God's love.

Thank God for Everett and for all the amazing things that his brief little life accomplished. Thank God for the wheels set in motion by our son and his battle. Thank God for the changes to our hearts and souls that would not have been made if it weren't for Everett.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thinking about forgiveness.....

Sometimes, when I'm going about my life feeling pretty good about myself, maybe getting a little too happy with myself, I'm struck with a reminder about my human-ness, my sinfulness. And that's a good thing. It's not good to get too proud or too pleased with oneself, and I know this. So a few minutes ago I'm feeling pretty good about me, and then I go browsing Facebook and I'm hit with all sorts of ugly emotions that remind me how human I am, and how sinful I am, and how badly I need a savior in my life.

Because I feel hatred when I should be feeling love.

Because I feel bitterness when I should be feeling love.

Because I feel anger when I should be feeling love.

Because I harbor resentment when I should forgive.

I need to really work on my ability to forgive.

I'm quick to tell others that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die, I'm quick to point out that usually only the grudge holder suffers. But when it comes to applying that in my own life, I'm not so quick. I'm holding a BIG grudge. It's ugly and strong and laden with bitterness and anger, it's not good. And since I don't see this person daily, it's easy to forget those feelings are there. It's easy for me to pretend I've forgiven and forgotten, until something happens that reminds me how unhealed those wounds are and how alive my grudge still is. It doesn't feel good to hate. It feels awful to resent. And it's true, that holding a grudge IS like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. And I don't want feelings like this in my heart and in my life.

I want to learn to forgive.

In fact, the Bible says we have to.

Matthew 6:14-15
14 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

If we want to receive God's forgiveness, we have to be willing to give it as well. And I have a lot to be forgiven for, I need God's grace and his forgiveness of my shortcomings and sins, so I guess I better suck it up and start giving it out.

Ephesians 4:32 offers an alternative to bitterness and hatred and unforgivness...
32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Tall order. VEEEEEEERY tall order. Insurmountable I might even say. But through Christ all things are possible, so I won't say it. But how? How do you forgive someone who wronged you? Who disregarded your feelings? Devalued your relationships? Underestimated your value? How? You just do. And once you do it, stick to it, no going back. There's no atonement. To retribution. No revenge. It's just done.

I'm trying. Because I have to. And because it will feel better when I do. If you'll pardon a disgusting medical analogy, it will be like lancing a boil! The bitterness will be released like an infection. The pain will subside. The irritation will go away with time and healing will begin. Gross analogy, but fitting.

Once I've got this big forgiveness out of the way, I'll be all warmed up and ready to forgive some more, I'll be on a forgiveness roll and that should be pretty fun! Who knows who and what I'll forgive next! Our marriage counselor says that Elvis and I will have a forgiveness assignment coming up, that'll be a horse of a different color, but after I get this really big resentment off my back I'm sure our homework between one another will be all the easier to approach and tackle! And all forgiveness is good. Forgiveness makes way for all kinds of good things. Like love and joy and trust and contentment. So I'm ready to try it!

One last piece of fitting scripture before I go:

Hebrews 12:14-15
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Good stuff! The Bible is full of it! (Who knew?)


Valentine's Day's Gone By....

Just reminiscing about past Love Day's with my kiddo's! Celebrating love like this comes naturally, we do it every day. The love I have for my kids is indescribable.

My mommy guilt has me feeling bad that there are no pictures of Everett in this post. He never saw a Valentines Day, but every day with him was full of love and hope, and every day with him was a celebration of his strength and courage and life. I could feel bad that I have no Valentine picture of him to share, but it would serve no purpose. I've got to let go of guilt that has no purpose. Happy Valentine's Day in Heaven Everett, I wish you were here celebrating with us!

I've got Avery and Landon dressed in pink and red, and with some luck, and the help of a lot of candy, I'll get some new pictures of them posted soon, but they look precious, and you may just have to take my word for it ;)

Now, on celebrating a different kind of love, I'm also reminiscing! Just take a look at these two!

Nearly 8 years ago! Bright and fresh and new! How cute are we? Life put us through the wringer! We got seriously damaged over the past few years, so much so that we hardly resembled this happy, loving young couple, not at all. I can happily report that we're on our way back to being these people again. We're rediscovering love and life and ourselves and it's exciting and refreshing and brings a lot of hope for the future. This Valentine's Day with my husband is particularly special!

On a side note, check out how thin I am in that picture! I'm excited to be on my way back to that body too! (6 pounds lost, whoot!).

Happy Love Day!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

All you need is love....

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I've got love on the brain. Since I don't mind commercialized holiday's, I don't care if it's a "Hallmark Holiday", I'm particularly excited. Valentine's Day makes me happy. I love to celebrate love. I've got a lot of it to be thankful for.

According to WikiAnswers, the NIV Bible mentions love 508 times, 697 times if you count variations like loves, and loved. If you go to and search love, you'll get 710 hits. The Bible is full of directions about love, who to love and how to love, because God IS love, and expects us to love, a lot.

1 John 4:8
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Pretty strong words for Christians, you don't know God if you don't show love.

The guide post that Christians must use to decide whether to celebrate a non Christian holiday is this, can you glorify God through your celebration? Can it somehow be an expression of faith and gratitude and bring honor to Him? I'm so happy that Valentine's Day passes this test, because we can absolutely honor God on this day!

Romans 5:5 says..
....For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

We can celebrate our ability to love, God given and intended to be shared. We can thank God for giving us love, so much love there's plenty to share.

We can thank God for placing people in our lives to love. Our family, our friends, our spouses, our children, opportunities to give and receive love are all around us, every minute of every day.

John 13:34-35 says...
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

On Valentines Day, we can honor God and express our faith by showing love. It's not a cheesy commercialized, worthless holiday, but a day to celebrate our blessings, our family, our children, our husbands and wives, and the love we share each and every day. It's a chance to demonstrate the depth and the breadth of our feelings, and if we're the low key type, it's a chance to make sure those feelings are known. It's a chance to show gratitude, to show God that you can clearly see where you've been blessed and that you don't take those relationships for granted.

I'm excited for Valentine's Day.

It means something extra special to me this year.

I won't let the day go past without letting God, and Elvis know how grateful I am to have love to celebrate, to have a husband to love and to have his love in return. I am grateful, more then words could explain.

I won't let the day go past without letting God and my children know how honored I am to be their mother, and that I realize it's a privileged and not a right to have living children to cherish. I learned that lesson in a very painful way, but there was no mistaking it. Our children are on loan to us, and they are guaranteed to us for no specific period of time. Each day I have to show them love is a gift to me, I am aware. I am grateful. More then words can tell.

I won't let the day go past without letting God and my parents, and sisters know that I am happy to have them as my family, and that I know that families like ours may be the exception and not the rule. And I am grateful, to have them and that they have me, because I am well taken care of, and loved, and cared for, my family is a gift.

1 John 4:7
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

We're called to love. Love comes from God and is ours to give, to everyone. Being loving is being obedient and showing our faith and our willingness to live out God's will. It's an exciting opportunity, and one that you can fulfill every day, multiple times a day.

What are your Valentine's Day plans? Who are you going to shower in love? How will you show them how precious they are? How will you show God how grateful you are that you have love in your life and people to share it with?

I'm going to make my children cookies.

I'm going to keep them as quiet as I can so Elvis can have quality sleep (he's working nights).

I'm going to call my parent's and wish them a happy Love Day!

I'm going to text my sisters and tell them I love them.

I'm going to try my hardest to speak softly and radiate love.

I'm going to hug a little longer and kiss a little softer.

I'm going to pray, and give thanks to God, for Elvis, Avery, Everett, Landon, and my little mystery baby (that I have secretly named Hope, don't tell anyone). I'm going to thank Him for my ability to love, that I have a heart that feels it deeply and appreciates what a gift it is. I'm going to thank him for the events in my life that deepened my capacity to feel love, and that I don't take it for granted. I'm going to ask Him to show me ways to love better, and to show me ways to honor Him with my love. I'm going to praise Him, because love was His idea, He is love and He is so good.

In the face of struggle and loss and hurts, it's undeniable that love is alive and thriving in my world, by God's grace alone, I have love, my cup truly runneth over.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baby steps.....

I made a little baby step towards my goal of becoming more physically active and towards weight loss. We're talking a really small baby step. I did 21 minutes of step aerobics on my Wii Fit, and I really enjoyed it, I think I'll do more later!

Also, I drank WATER (*gasp*). Those of you who know me well know that me drinking water is a not a small thing, I never, ever, drink water, so I feel accomplished!

I'm trying to frame up this weight loss business in a way that makes it feel more serious, not something I can pick up and put down whenever I want. Many times I try and make myself accountable to others, naively thinking that I won't fail if someone else is expecting me to succeed, but that's proven to be wrong time and time again. I keep thinking, if it's just for me, then who cars if I fail? And I keep thinking, now's not a good time, I'll try again later. My weight and my physical health just keeps falling to the bottom of my personal priority list, and I try to tell myself that it doesn't matter, but it does.

Every day I carry this extra weight, every day I prove I don't have what it takes to lose it, is a day spent feeling insecure and self conscious. It's a day spent feeling like a failure.

Every day I carry this extra weight, feeling unattractive and self conscious, is a day spent keeping my husband at an arms distance and being guarded. It's a day sending negative messages about body image to my daughter.

Every day I carry this extra weight, feeling achy and burdened, is a day feeling older then I am, and a day missing out on what life has to offer. It's a day wasted that could have been spent playing energetic childrens games with my kids.

So much time and energy is wasted, so many days, so many opportunities, gone by and not truly enjoyed because my body is tired and burdened, and so is my mind.

But how can I get on the right track? How can I look at this challenge differently? Scripture maybe?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says
19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

It's interesting.

My body is God's temple, because the Holy Spirit lives in believers. And my body does not belong to me but to God, who bought it with a high price (Jesus), so I need to honor it.

Honor it, not waste it.

Honor it.

How can I honor God with my body?

I think the answer is to use it. Use it! Do with it what it was intended to do. Move it.

Also, don't be ashamed of it. Love it. Love it because God made it and it's perfect and made in His image, good as it is. Love it. That's a toughie for me.

1 Peter 3:3-5 says
3 What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—4 but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.5 The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands.

God teaches that our inner beauty is what concerns him, and that it's far more valuable then external beauty. So while I work on making my body healthy, which will translate into weight loss, I can focus on my inner beauty, creating a gentle and gracious manner, and being good to my family and husband.

I've been fighting this battle with myself for years. For as long as I can remember. I've rarely ever been satisfied with my body. I've always felt too heavy, too tall, too big, too slow, too frumpy. It's time for a body revolution.

A mind and body make over!

So, I'm hoping to be fighting this battle for the very last time, and for the first time with God as my guide and secret weapon defending against self sabotage. I'm hopeful and excited and that's got to be a good thing, it certainly can't hurt.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some changes are easy......

And some changes are not.

Changing my diet and exercise habits are NOT easy for me.

I wish it was. I wish I could wish away my extra weight. I wish the pounds would just melt away.

But they won't. Arg!

I have a lot of false starts with my weight loss. I wish that would change too.

Yesterday I started a "Biggest Loser" style weight loss challenge at work. I weighed in with a co-worker who was coordinating the competition and I shudder at the fact that she knows my weight! But I trust she won't tell anyone, I hope. So, hopefully this means that I'll develop some serious drive, because that competitive spirit is really inspiring, and I may actually succeed to some degree. Hopefully I'll get some "Stick-to-it-iveness", and finally start reaching my goals!

I have so many incentives.

Feeling healthy.

Feeling energized.

Feeling young.

Feeling delicate.

Feeling feminine.

Feeling capable.

Feeling competent.

Feeling attractive.

Feeling unburdened.

There are so many reasons to stop failing and start succeeding, it's hard to imagine why I've failed over and over, when the pay out to not fail is so good. But some changes are easy and some are hard. Some things are easy in theory and hard in practice. Weight loss seems to elude me. I've done it before in simpler times, but my new and complicated life just doesn't seem to jive with my weight loss aspiration. Its in my hands, I know it, but without some major motivation and fuel, I won't do a thing for myself. I never do. But now I have a challenge, and someone else who knows my weight and will know if I fail or succeed, and I have God's motivation and strength, by which all things are possible, and I am hopeful to be fighting this battle for the very last time.


Monday, February 8, 2010

A song for Everett....

Every now and then, while listening to the radio, I hear a song with words so poignant and relevant that I feel like they were written for me or my life.

Sitting in the parking lot a the mall I heard a song that brought instant tears to my eyes, some band somewhere out there wrote song just for my baby, well the lyrics were so perfect that it really seemed that way. The song was "Streets of Gold" by Need to Breathe, and these are the lyrics....

Streets of Gold
By Need to Breathe

I want you to know
I’m leaving to let you go
One day we’ll walk upon
Streets of gold

I don’t remember seeing fear in your eyes
When you were fading
The day we said our goodbyes
It’s easy to say that there’s a reason for this
Much harder to know
That what we say is true

Everything we hold could someday slip away

I want you to know
I’m leaving to let you go
And someday we’ll walk upon
The streets of gold

Running through your veins was a slow-ticking clock
Counting down the days
And no one could make it stop
All of the time that it takes to figure it out
Could be the moments
That you can’t live without

Everything we hold could someday slip away

I want you to know
I’m leaving to let you go
And someday we’ll walk upon
The streets of gold

The trouble with love is that it comes to an end
I’ve got a feeling I’m gonna find you again
Just in a place where love can’t die

The whole song is perfect, it could have been written by us for him, but I pay extra attention to the lines "running through your veins was a slow ticking clock, counting down the days, and no one could make it stop." We had no idea that Everett's heart was a slow ticking clock, we had no idea his days would be so few, and we had no idea that no amount of effort on our behalf could make it stop. The song is really bitter sweet, I love it, but it makes me cry, it makes my emotions raw, its painfully lovely.

But it's a therapeutic pain. It's good for us. The tears I cry when I hear it aren't desperate and hopeless, but rather they're just sad, and lonely, but comforted, the song reminds us that we'll have a reunion again in a place where love can't die. Because I believe it, I can grieve now without coming undone and I'm grateful to finally be in that place, because for a long time our hurt spiraled out of control.

My heart goes out to a mom and dad who just said goodbye to their baby. With a one year old son at home they were joyfully expecting a brother for him, and in an instant those expectations were violated, and that new baby went to Heaven before being born into the arms of his mother and father. I can imagine their brokenness, I can remember that pain, and my heart hurts for them. There isn't any thing comparable to going into the hospital pregnant and leaving without your baby, and that loss isn't something you can describe to anyone. I wish that no one had to experience a loss like this, but it happens more then we like to admit, and I don't think we realize how often parents grieve their babies until we're going through it ourselves.

After we've fallen completely apart and life starts nudging us to get up and go on, we look for little ways to comfort and heal. We find books that inspire and console, we find support groups of people who have experienced similar losses, we find songs that speak to us and for us, and we reach for those when our hearts need to feel connected to that baby, when we need to feel SOMETHING to make us feel close to them again.

So I like this song, because it makes me hurt, and it makes me hurt in a way that is similar to how I hurt when I lost Everett. That similar hurt makes me feel like I'm there again, it brings me back to the last time I saw him, or held him, and got to mother him. Yes, its painful, but so was much of our time with Everett. It WAS painful to stand at his bedside and each day watch a new medication or machine or tube or specialist be added to his care regime in futile attempts to keep him alive. It WAS painful to watch him suffer and wilt and struggle and eventually give way to his illness, it WAS painful to say goodbye. But it was a precious painful. A limited time only painful. It was OUR painful, that pain was directly connected to the deepest love, and it connected us to him in the most unbreakable and unyielding way. Our pain was love. We were pained because we would have done anything to ease his suffering or heal his heart, we would have done anything to keep him with us, to bring him home to be with his brother and meet his sister, our pain was hope. Being reminded of that pain reminds me of that love and that hope and takes me back to Everett, it sharpens my memory, I can hear it and see it and feel it all over. Its a good pain for sure.

Life as a bereft parent is a strange thing. Where we take twisted pleasure in sad songs that break our hearts and make us cry because it makes us remember the most painful day(s) of our lives and makes us feel closer to our baby who died before he could ever really live. The death of a baby changes every facet of your life though, and the new version of yourself that your left with may be unrecognizable to yourself or your family and friends. But it's you, and you do what you have to do to go on living.

So I love songs for Everett. I have a lot of them. Sometimes they come on by chance and take me by surprise, and I cry for him. Sometimes I want to cry for him and I'll put one on to facilitate the tears and get them out. And either way its good. It's good to miss him, because missing him is loving him and I want do that for the rest of my days, like I will for my living children.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Something new and exciting.....

Tomorrow is the launch of my new home business. I'm nervous and excited all at once. This is new, and its unknown, but its got me revved up and eager to see what I can do, so that's a good thing.

I learned about his business from a friend, who I am sure was seeking the same things I am. A challenge, and a change. I love nursing, I do, its rewarding, exciting, and pays well, but I'm starting to feel a little one dimensional and stale, I wanted something that would refresh me.

I feel fortunate that my friend told me about this business, because I feel like its going to satisfy a few needs of mine.

1. Its going to provide a challenge and a change.
2. Its going to provide additional income.
3. Its going to provide the opportunity for socializing.
and last but not least..
4. Its going to provide a boost to my personal style, a big bonus for sure.

I remember back when Elvis and I first started dating. I had just lost a bunch of weight, and I was 21 years old and in college, and I had a style. I had a look. And I think I looked good. But time, and kids, and grief, and stress, and business, have all taken their toll and I find myself looking nothing at all like the Katie of 8 years ago. I know I can't be that version of me again, but I can definitely revamp this version! I want style, I want flair, I want there to be something special about me. Most of all, I want to catch my husbands eye again.

So, I'm starting a new business, and a new adventure. Selling really lovely and unique jewelry. I get to be a personal stylist, a shopping assistant, to ladies with style, or maybe to ladies like me, who are seeking a change, who are looking to add back some sparkle to their looks and their lives! This is exciting!

But, I'm nervous too. It's a step outside my comfort zone. And its a commitment. It will take time and effort and planning and perseverance. It's not something I take lightly, and I want to succeed. I want to give it my best efforts and I want to make this business something I can be excited about and proud of for some time. Eventually, when I get my groove and get established, I'd like to help other women get started with their own business, and see them reap the benefits as well!

And I can't help but think of the extra income and about how my family will benefit from my hard work. Not that we're not doing alright for ourselves right now, but we've fallen into some debt traps over the years that we're still climbing out of, and there are little things here and there we'd like to buy that we have held off on, and its exciting to think that any extra income I generate will help us to pay down debts and treat ourselves.

I'm a day dreamer, what can I say. I make plans, big plans, I see them in my head like a movie, and I get very, very excited! I always have, and I suspect I always will. Tomorrow I get to test the waters. I get to see how this business will work, how it will run, how people will respond. Its my first run at it, and I'm nervous, and afraid of failure, so I've turned to scripture for some advice and encouragement, and guess what? It never fails!

On the topic of being afraid, and uncertain about this new adventure I found this....

James 1:2 says
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

2 Timothy 1:7 says
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I need to face this task with excitement and joy, I need to take this challenge as an opportunity to trust in God, and to praise Him, because He has equipped me with what I need to do this well. How's that for motivation!

But, scripture also yields a warning....

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says
10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!11 The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!

I have to be sure to not get consumed with making money, so much that it distracts me from my life's true riches, my husband, my children, our family and our home. More money does not mean more happiness, and this is a mind set both Elvis and I need to work hard to break. More things do not equal more happiness, and having more money will mean absolutely nothing at all if the time and effort it takes to make it takes me from my family excessively.

And finally, on the matter of what to do with my extra income....

1 Timothy 5:8 says
8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I need to use it to provide for my family. I need to use it to lessen my husbands burden and provide for my kids. That is my first priority. The temptation of course is to use my profits to spoil myself, to buy myself little pick me ups and luxuries, its crossed my mind more then once. But I'm going to be certain to make sure I use any money earned by my new business to care for Elvis and Avery and Landon first, and charity second in Everett's name. There are many charities that touch our hearts, and I look forward to contributing to their cause. And lastly, when there's money left over, I will allow myself a treat here or there, because taking care of me is important, but not my first priority.

Wish me luck! Tomorrow I'm embarking on a new career and a fresh new challenge. I'm nervous but prepared. And even if I start off slow, I am determined to keep at it, persisting and enjoying the challenge, and using it to do some good for my family and others. I'll keep you posted!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

One more thing....

I know I said I felt too sick to be blogging tonight, but what do I know? I've been inspired by scripture, lots of scripture, and I think I just need to go with it!

There's one piece of scripture I have a love/hate relationship with.

I used to hate it. I was repelled by it. But now I find myself repeating it in my head over and over throughout the day. It comforts me.

When Everett died and we sat down with the minister to talk about his service, we were not Christians. We believed in God until Everett had died, but only superficially, and since his passing, that belief had diminished some, and a lot of anger had surfaced. So, when she asked us about the 23rd Psalm, and if we wanted it read at his service, I provided a firm NO as my answer.

I think it was the line, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" that put me off. It was morbid, it was sad, and in my head it was about my baby, and I hated it. And it was not read at his funeral.

But since then, I've heard it over and over, and I've heard it explained, and my understanding of its meaning has increased, and like so many things, its less upsetting when you understand it.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

I can't count how many times a day I think "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, " and usually I think this in a spirit of gratitude. God leads me, and cares for me, and comforts me, even in the presence of evil, and in death. He prepares me to face my enemies, and my cup overflows with his blessings. And goodness and love follow me all the days of my life.

I cannot understand why I found this verse to be so off putting before. Its a lovely promise of God's to love and care for us, in all circumstances, and in all circumstances we are to be grateful and faithful to Him.

I didn't realize it while planning my sons funeral, that I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I WAS. Not Everett. The Psalm was not about him but about me. And as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I was angry and frightened and bitter and did not understand that God was there with me leading me through it. I rejected His comfort but He stood near, gently offering it again and again until I was broken and weak (from my own stubbornness) that I could accept it. And now He is with me, He leads me, He comforts me, and His goodness and love are with me all the days of my life. The good ones and the bad ones.

I am grateful for His patience, that He waited for me. That His love and comfort were not one time offers but standing ones, that I could accept when ready.


Not feeling well.....

I've come down with something and I feel awful! And though I've got a ton of thoughts just bubbling over in my mind, I don't feel well enough to compose them and let them out. I could try, but they'd likely be muddled and disorganized and make no sense at all, so what would the point be?

But, I've come across some scripture today that applies to my life right now, and I thought the very least I could do here is share them and why I think they're relevant.

We've been having a hard time lately with Avery and listening. She's strong willed at the best of times, and compound that with her recent fearfulness, and we've got a girl who's determined to out will us. This makes us frustrated, and frustration leads to anger, and often we find ourselves not knowing what to do with Avery, and we're raising our voices and feeling badly for it later. She's basically undeterred by our raised voices, in fact she scolds us and tells us not to yell, some day's she'll tell us to apologize to her, but we don't get any further ahead with the problem, and we come away feeling upset with ourselves for not having control over our tempers, and disappointed with ourselves for not having better solutions for her behaviors. On a blog I've started following I found this piece of scripture:

Proverbs 15:1
1 A gentle response defuses anger,
but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

A gentle response diffuses anger, my response only makes it worse. Michelle Duggar apparently uses this piece of scripture to help her remain composed when her brood run amuck! I need to try this, I need to keep calm and composed when my anger is getting the better of me, so I can think clearly and act smartly, and hopefully start making progress with our spirited little sweetie!

In counseling today our lovely counselor read us this little gem. She drew our attention to how difficult this snippet of scripture can be to follow for both men and women.

Ephesians 5:33
33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Men, as she pointed out, are not necessarily tender and gentle and doting like women often wish they were, the loving gestures we often want our men to display are the very gestures we as women are so good at demonstrating ourselves. Showing love is OUR strength, not theirs. So when God commands man to love his wife, it's no small task he's asking, its a big deal, and its no small undertaking to a husband to accept. That's why its so significant. And women are to respect their husbands, again, no small undertaking, since our counselor explained that since the original sin in the Garden of Eden, our curse has been that we want to rule over our men, we want to change them, sculpt them and make them into something more appealing to us. Too often we're quick to point our their flaws and try to bend them and make them conform to our way of doing things, so submitting to them, and respecting them, that's a big deal. No small feat indeed.

But God calls us to do what's difficult, and not our nature, out of obedience to Him.

Lastly, another piece of scripture from a blog I follow:

Proverbs 14:1
1 A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.

I think I find these words poignant, because I feel that I nearly tore down my own house with my foolishness. In reflecting back on old behavior patterns in my marriage, and in reflecting on our separation this past summer and our reconciliation, I can see clearer now, and I can see what my flawed beliefs led me to. Misguided beliefs, and good intentions, and my flawed understanding of my role in this family led me to behave in ways that damaged my marriage. Foolishly I tried to change my husband's behaviors without ever being aware of my own. He acknowledges his own contributions to our near downfall, but I have to take responsibility for my own. We never understood that God had designated roles in marriage to help it run smoothly and as he planned, and we tried to do things our way, and it took us to the the brink of divorce, our relationship nearly crumbled. Thank God for his intervention. Thank God for the people he placed in our lives that brought to light His will for marriage and His desires for us. Thank God for His word and for what we have been learning in counseling, and thank Him for the rebuilding that His word and His love has made possible.

If I wasn't feeling so sick I'd delve into the topic of forgiveness, which is our next assignment in our counseling, but I feel awful! So, next time!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Conversation with Avery.....

Me-Avery, I love your little nose!


Me-Where did you get such a cute little nose?


End of conversation. So cute. I think she gets it, to some degree, that God made her, and that's great. I think, that when we realize that we're God created, in his image, we start to feel better about ourselves, because after all, God doesn't make mistakes.

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

I need to learn from my daughter, who loves herself and knows she's fabulous, but not in an arrogant or conceited way, she just seems to understand that God made her and God is good, so she is inherently a good creation. So why do so many adults struggle with self image and feel so dissatisfied with who they are? So many people I know feel like they'd be better people if they were just a little smarter, or funnier, or braver, or better looking, or thinner, or more outgoing, or more reserved, or more sensible, or more laid back. If we could just tweak a thing or two here and there, then maybe we'd be acceptable to ourselves. But we are exactly who God made us to be. We're equipped with the personality traits God wanted us to have, and we look exactly the way God wanted us to look, and we have the very talents God wanted us to use. According to his design, we're perfect as is, so why are we constantly striving for change?

Ironically enough, this blog is about my desire for change in my life! But, I'm talking about good change, GOD change, making a shift in my life from doing things my way (which historically hasn't worked out all that well), do doing things His way, which has already greatly improved my world and how I look at it.

And making the change in my mind to believe that I am already good enough for God, and not getting hung up on changing the traits and attributes I was designed to have, will be challenging for me.

Philippians 4:13 says

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

So I want to start thinking like Avery, who knows her nose is precious and why. She knows she's smart, she knows she's clever and she knows she incredibly loved. She knows about God and that He made and loves her, and she's content with being a wonderful creation of His. I want that too.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tackling weightier issues....

Pardon the pun! I am talking about weight here!

A while back I got a book for myself, called "Thin Again: A Biblical Approach to Food, Eating and Weight Management" by Judy Wardell Halliday, RN, and Arthur W. Halliday, M.D. I never gave this book much of a chance, because I couldn't identify with some of the content personally, but I've decided to give it another chance, and this time with a more open mind.

The back cover of the book asks,

Do you find yourself preoccupied with food?

Do you eat when you feel depressed?

Has food become your best friend or your worst enemy?

Have you failed repeatedly in your weight loss efforts?

And they promise this book can help, if you've answered yes to any of the questions, I answered yes to all of them!

Now, I'm not going to do a book review or a book report, but I am going to re-read this book and try and apply its teachings to my life. A lot of it makes good sense, and a lot of it sounds like me, and I think the problem I had with it last time was allowing the label of "disordered eating" to apply to me, I had to remove the stigma and the preconceived notions about that term before I felt comfortable acknowledging that I don't have a healthy relationship with food. I've been deluding and misleading myself into believing that I can correct my issues with food on my own, but look where I'm at with that? Still overweight, still plotting and planning and scheming on how to lose it, but absolutely no further ahead.

So, today I'm looking at the book's list of causes of disordered eating, and of them all the only one I can really say applies to me, is having been a very sensitive child, which I think I definitely was, and well, I still am very sensitive. I've always used food as comfort, and for celebration, and as medication for an emotional hurt. Its a deeply ingrained pattern in my life, and I think if I could have changed it on my own, I would have by now. Thin Again suggests that we're satisfying a spiritual hunger with food, which may temporarily silence our hunger pains, but never adequately or for long.

My challenge to myself is recognizing that I eat too many times when I am not actually hungry, but rather have a spiritual need to be filled, or possibly an uncomfortable emotion that needs to be dealt with, like loneliness or depression or grief. This will tie in with my marriage and with grief issues with Everett, and also with the daily stressors of life. I need to start learning better and more effective coping mechanisms, like prayer and journaling etc... and not immediately turn to ice cream or chocolate or left overs to calm my nerves and prevent emotional outbursts.

What's wrong with letting out those emotions anyway? What's so scary about unpacking those feelings and examining them and dealing with them in a productive way so they don't keep coming back to haunt us? I don't know why I'm so hesitant to speak up when something is bothering me, again, I have a task to work on.

Romans 8:1-3 says
1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all

I really like "A new power is in operation". I love the revelation that Christ is a new power and with faith in him we can give him the control and be free of our struggles and that dark cloud that hangs over head.

Jesus personally took on the "human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity" and he set it right once and for all!

Its the human condition to struggle and I love knowing that by faith in Jesus, I can struggle less and succeed more, in releasing worries and hurts and past disappointments, and I can become less burdened and experience real freedom. That's pretty exciting!