Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Battles

This will be a potpourri post of a few different things....

First of all, our daughter was born!!  Looking over my last post, I am laughing..  She was born the very next day after I wrote that post, on the obscure EDD that we hadn't even regarded as a real one.  I gave my big sister a really nice birthday present.. One she couldn't actually keep..but a nice one nonetheless!  Ha!   We are over the moon in love with baby GG, of course, and of course she looks exactly like her siblings.  I'm pretty sure she will have brown eyes. They seem to get darker every day.  Her big brother, Jeremiah, who calls her 'baby face' just loves her to pieces.  But because he is only two, we have to watch him around her.  One second he's kissing all over forehead and toes, the next, he's trying to bite her toes off or dragging his nails across her head.  She completes our family in so many ways.  Right now I'm listening to her cute little hiccups, which seem to be her trademark as she had them pretty much my entire pregnancy and almost every day since she was born.  The kids love her.  We love her.  My family loves her.  Our friends love her.  No one in Hubby's family has bothered to meet her.  Which leads me to the next thing and the inspiration for the title of my post.

A few months before I had the baby, the final semi-link to hubby's family was severely damaged and I wrote a blog post about temperance because I just couldn't deal with it at the time.  Since then, so much has changed within our little family unit that it seems so pointless, all of it, to even think about anymore.

And that's what this is - the battle - I think - is over.  There's been a huge disconnect from it for both of us but I think the shift has occurred mostly in my husband.  He just can't afford to care anymore.  He seems done battling his emotions and his what should-be's and his wants and his ideas of what family is or isn't.  He'll be 40 years old in about six months or so and I think he's reached a point in his life where he is okay with not having his family to count on.   He might not like it and he might sometimes wish things were different, but as there isn't anything that can be done at this point, I think he's just over it.  When he talks about it, he seems to be resigned to that, anyway.  He has a family to take care of and spend his energy, love and time on.  He has six children to raise and love and play with.  He has me, his wife, who would do anything for him, anything to see a smile upon his handsome face, anything to fill his heart with unconditional love.  He also has a whole slew of friends, people who have stepped in to fill positions his family has left empty, to  fill in and overflow the holes in his heart.  And of course, he has the family he married into.  Not perfect, often crazy.  But always always there no matter what.  He has more than enough.

As for me, reviewing the past ten years as his wife, I realized that even though I was his wife, I was never part of that family.  He was barely considered part of that family, so I can't really expect that I would be.  Sure, there were brief periods when it seemed like we were, but looking at the things that made it so we weren't, it's not difficult to realize that it was all a facade.  Because real family with true unconditional love doesn't just back away or dump you the second you say you're unhappy with something, or want more, or the minute things are difficult.  We were considered "family," when it was convenient and easy.  And I know that having severe mental illnesses such as they do plays a part in how people treat others.  But perhaps it's a good thing that things occurred the way they did.  We both finally got to see them for who they really were.  No masks.  And it.is.sad.  So we don't blame them in the sense that we think they choose to be jerks.  We are both just to the point where it's time to stop thinking about it, cut our losses and move on a little more quickly than we have been. It's time for the rest of our healing process to take place, for our focus to shift, for our life to move along.

We sort of were paralyzed for quite some time as we waited and prayed and angsted about what to do.  We realized we can't really do anything.  When toxic unloving people are causing such a rift in our life, disturbing our peace and tempting us to lash out and be angry, it's time to step away.  As far as we can.  We can't change the fact that they don't want to be part of our life, or to know the kids or love the kids.  We can't do anything but worry about our own family from here on out.  We've stuck in there for so long, tried to talk, tried to explain how we feel.  But stubborn selfish people don't like to change their hearts and make room for others and while that is sad and hurtful, the acceptance HAS to come.   Our life is so much more peaceful now that we don't have to worry about any of that.  My husband is so much more peaceful and happy as he lets go more and more.  I've seen some of the light return to his beautiful brown eyes.  I've seen his heart open more to other people and more love from them.  He is finally allowing some of his wounds to heal completely.

God has called us to love from a distance. That love looks like prayerfully seeking healing and peace in our hearts, softening our hearts to them and the pain they have caused, and to pray for them to seek His love out, to seek His path for their lives, to come to an understanding of what love actually looks like.  I kind of wonder who else there is to pray for them.  Our battles have shifted focus.  We are now battling ourselves to follow what He asks of us... To put aside our tendencies of the flesh and take the path to holiness.  To battle the sinfulness in our hearts, temptations from satan, the world and its draws. To raise the white flag and surrender to the will of God.
It's so incredibly difficult at times, but so much has changed in such a short amount of time since we really started taking steps.  There's always a hope that in the future things will be different in the way of family..  But we won't hold our breath.  And that's okay.

There is so much exciting stuff in store for our little family and I can't wait for it all to come to fruition.  The journey for our family of now-8 has been really difficult, especially the past few months, but we are remaining faithful that the Lord is paving our path and putting things into place for us.  I've had it in my mind to plan a big huge bash for my hubby for his 40th birthday, to celebrate him and the amazing man he is and the leaps and bounds he has made in his life.  We also have been talking about utilizing that time to renew our wedding vows.  Our ten-year anniversary is this December, just a few short months but we thought we might combine the celebration of that with the celebration of hubby in the Spring when it's warm.  Still working out the details in my head. Nothing is concrete.

I'm pretty sure I spoke too soon about wanting to post more, and of the things I'd be writing and all of that... because I'm so incredibly busy.  So this time right now will be sporadic with updates and the 2.5 of you who actually read my blog on a regular basis know how to contact me anyway to find out what's going on in our world.  Email or call me any time!

Blessings abound, even when they don't appear to, despite any battles we may face.  God has been so good to us, even when we have messed up and we are so humbled by His love.  I hope anyone reading this who has been through similar life situations will take comfort in that thought and turn to Him. He fulfills ALL our needs.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EDD's, Contractions and Nesting

So my due date based on my LMP has passed.  It's not the due date my midwife was going off of so it passed without much ado from anyone.  Except the voices in my head.  I was convinced, based on the awful way I have been feeling, that my baby would be born around the beginning of July.  Here we are now, slowly moving toward the middle and another EDD.  I actually have 3.  Two are based on a sonogram: one of the gestational sac size at the time of the ultrasound, and other on the crown-to-rump length, though I'm not sure why that plays such a huge factor in deciphering the true EDD. What if my baby is really short?  Nevertheless, the second one is approaching (tomorrow, the 11th to be exact) and still no major signs of baby coming.

I do realize that the EDD is just exactly that - an ESTIMATED due date.  Though many babies are actually born on this date, many also are not.  Many go way beyond their EDD's.  Many come early.  Because I have 3 EDD's, my mind is having a field day and so are my emotions.  I've never been one to really be too anxious at the end of my pregnancies; I usually follow the motto, 'baby will come when baby is ready.'   But this one, this time, is different.  Perhaps it is the craziness of the entire pregnancy that has kept me captivated and obsessing over the EDD.  I have been having such a difficult time, and outside factors have definitely played a part in all that.  I've never been given 3 EDD's.  We sort of weren't even looking at the middle one at all and like I said, my midwife was going by the third one.  She's been fine with it.  I, however, was convinced this baby wouldn't stay in that long.

Over the last few weeks, I've had contractions which have grown increasingly in intensity but still aren't doing much to bring on real labor.  I've been up and down with my moods, how I feel physically, the baby's position in my womb, my energy level.  A few times I thought I was in nesting mode, especially in the past week.  Tonight, I kinda hit it hard I think.  I have been doing laundry for the past few days.  Today I felt the need to get the rest of it finished.  Stat.  I also baked something this morning.  And I vacuumed the entire house in anticipation of my husband having time to mop it tonight.  I rearranged several things, moved a few small pieces of furniture and re-checked my birth supplies.  I think I am nesting for real this time.

But when will baby come?  Tomorrow is my sister's birthday.  Maybe our little Gianna will decide to make her appearance then; a nice little birthday gift for my oldest big sis. I can't make her come any faster.  Who knows, maybe even that final EDD will be the day, or maybe she will stay in there longer?   I think if I were a baby and I heard all the craziness going on around me, I'd stay put for as long as possible.  Especially when the woman who is supposed to take care of me is such a nut case!

We'll see.. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Temperance

Temperance is NOT one of my strong suits.  I don't mean temperance with food and drink, but when it comes to SAYING things or THINKING things.  I have been working on tempering my words but as I recently confessed, I have major fails a lot. Most of the time, when I say things I do have a motive of love, but not all the time.  So temperance in those times that I don't is especially important.

I recently had a small blip in my day that really irritated and hurt me.  Someone was just so rude and disrespectful to me in a sneaky way, and I really just didn't even know at first how to handle it.  Then I realized, temperance has to take place here.  Not only am I simply exhausted from life in general, and more specifically crappy hurtful behavior and drama from specific people, but I just felt it strongly on my heart that I had to let it go.  I had to.  For my own sanity and for the sake of a peaceful last few weeks of my pregnancy, I just had to drop it wherever it would lay and move away from it as fast as possible.  I also know God has been moving within me so much lately, in response to my prayers that He break me as much as He needs to and continue to make me what He wants me to be. I'm sure this is part of that.  Temperance (self-control) is a Fruit of the Spirit. Who doesn't need more temperance? 

Temperance of my words was fairly easy.  Temperance of my thoughts, not so much.  I had righteous anger but it still detracted from my life in those moments and I found it really hard to focus on my day.  I may have succeeded in not saying anything to the person, but my thoughts had a field day. I had to journal a little, and bake, and attempt to get it out of my head. I also talked A LOT to my very close friend because she is so honest and wise, and because that helped me to not talk to the person.  I also sought council from a really awesome group of Catholic women who helped me to stay on the path of righteousness and just pray, instead of going off on the person. These women are the type that will let you know if you're being ridiculous, will be honest with you a hundred percent, and won't allow any sort of tearing down of other people to take place in any form.  They will pray for and with you.  They will help you to see all sides, and point you in the direction of holiness.  I needed their council and was so grateful for it.  I know that usually, when you have an issue with someone, you are supposed to talk to the person about it.  But this was not one of those cases. Nothing good could have come of it.  They had already broken my trust when they didn't come to me with their issue and instead did what they did, and I was left knowing that I couldn't trust them any longer with anything.  Which made me especially sad because I had been trying to make efforts to build a real friendship, and I was proven yet again that sometimes, I'm just an idiot for giving people a second chance.  Sometimes, the benefit of the doubt isn't always the right thing to bare in mind.

I have to be somewhat thankful for this event, though.  I try to seek the positive even in the most crappy situations so this must be it: I realized the person's true colors. Here I was, thinking that my attempts, slow but steady, were actually working toward building something solid. I was so fearful to begin this feat, with good reason, but convinced myself that everyone deserves a second chance.  But this particular event made me realize that no, not everyone does and in fact, as I would cement a layer of solidarity, this person would come beneath it and muck it back out before it had time to dry.  Little by little, it was crumbling and I guess there was only a matter of time.  So I'm grateful that it was something rather small that opened my eyes instead of something major. 

I also have to be thankful because my first (lately) real serious and conscious effort at tempering my words to someone who has hurt me led to my being able to do it with several other people on matters that weren't major, nothing hurtful exchanged, but just topics in general that are hard. (See link about talking too much, at the top)  It felt freeing!  I was really proud of myself.  And I was grateful to the Lord.  It's not always going to be easy to do so, especially when it's about something important or related to God's truth.  But I know that the more I work on it, the easier it will become.  I pray that I can get to a point where wisdom kicks in and I can always know the right thing to say at the right time, and more importantly, know when not to say anything at all.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Finding Love In the Quiet

Today my husband took the big 4 to ride bikes in the church parking lot.  They were away for a good 3 hours or so.  Aside from my 21 month old, Jeremiah, I was alone in the house and even though he didn't want to nap, he was so easy and compliant; playing with his "car-ees." I was so grateful for this time; so much needed. I felt spoiled by it. I felt like I deserved it.  Like life was on hold until this moment when I could finally breathe and listen and hear absolutely nothing..or, almost nothing.. 

It was a gift.

I took a long bath. I think I sat in there for almost an hour and read a book my mama gave me a few days ago.  Jeremiah came in to stand beside the tub and jabber away and run his cars along the ledge. Once in awhile, he'd drop one in and have me retrieve it, a quiet giggle and sparkle in his eye as he pointed and said "car!"  Then, "dank doo, Mama," and back to vroom-vrooming them along the porcelain.

After I got out of the tub, I put on a comfy flowing skirt and short-sleeve shirt and sat on my exercise ball as I continued to read the book and simultaneously play with my son when he wanted my attention.  A gentle breeze floated in and out of the open windows and sliding glass door, calming my normally frazzled mind.


I realized that I had been experiencing slightly more intense Braxton Hicks most of the day, and I started to think about this baby.  I never really have the time or the energy to focus on her.  It's funny how life is.  How when you have baby after baby and the demands of the daily grind encircle you and create a sort of "survival" mode and tunnel vision, you don't ponder much about the coming months or the coming baby tucked inside your very pregnant belly.  Between homeschooling and chores and trying to keep on top of everything, while battling a constant state of anxiety and some dark moments of depression, as well as the usual busy life of a regular family of 7-almost-8, it just doesn't leave a lot of space to focus and process the next stage, the new dynamic, the task of making room for my heart to grow ever bigger.

So I sat there, gently rolling back and forth on my ball, thinking about this baby who will be here in less time than I really understand.  I think about her in her small fragility, not so much floating around inside me as she once did, but stretching and pushing and moving to find room for her rapidly-growing limbs.  I think about her eyes and if she'll have blue like 4 of my children or brown like my current middle child and her daddy.  I think about the birth and how I am frightened and at the same time, excited.

I think about the what-ifs and the never-wills and all the lessons I will re-learn and learn anew with this baby.  And I realize how utterly tired I really am.  How exhausted my body and my brain are.  How for the last 10+ years I have been either pregnant or nursing and how this baby will continue my streak of life-giving capabilities, and I'm both honored and humbled by the very idea.  I think about all the negativity I have and will receive for having such a big family in today's "two-at-most-a-boy-and-a-girl-are-perfect" world.  And I think how in the bigger picture, it really doesn't matter.

I think about my c-section scar; my battle scar from my very first birth.  And how far I've come from that naive and scared 22 year old's view of life.  I think about the stretch marks that grace my belly, and how I have a love-hate relationship with them, and with my extra baby weight.  I think about these things - little moments I remember from my past as a new mother, snippets of all the times I failed over and over, memories of joys I found in each newborn babe - all of it mingled and intertwined into one long stretch of motherhood where giving birth and surviving the first year were really not the horrors I thought them to be at the time..  and I breathe deeply in, I sigh, and I realize.... THIS is what life is about.  I AM living.  I'm holding on, traveling the parenting tunnel, taking my children along by their hands as they take me along by my heart. 

I received a text from my husband telling me he was on his way. I geared up for the noise and chaos that would ensue when the door opened and they all rumbled inside with the breeze and the spring sun still warm on their skin.  I've been having issues lately with noise and my nerves and I knew it wouldn't be pleasant to have their noise return.  But I also knew that those hours I just had to myself were indeed a gift - but were not THE gift.  The gift was my family, coming home to me after a few hours of time to themselves, filling my home once more with their laughter, scent and yes, even their chaos.  It was having them rub and love up on my belly, talking to their baby sister inside, and then just as quickly flitting off again.  It was the snuggling my almost-5 year old is so good at, and the easy way my older son settles in to alone mode to play with his Angry Birds for a time.  It was that familiar and comforting atmosphere of the past 10 years of life enveloping our home, regardless of the difficulties or the negative. 

It was pure, unadulterated Love.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

And So..What Would Jesus Do?????


MAJOR fail today.

The cliche "what would Jesus do?" is actually seriously a good thought to have before you speak or do anything, especially in a difficult/hurtful situation.  Jesus was always loving.  He was a "turn the other cheek" kinda guy. Hello.....crucifixion!   I can't even imagine having all these terrible things said about me, physical and verbal abuse and spit flying in my face, rejection from other people and STILL be able to show love.  I've tried. It's really really difficult.  Especially the type of deep love Jesus showed. I mean, there is NO deeper love than to die in such a horrible way for other people.  And yet, Jesus did it.  He took all the insults and the hurt and the sin and he covered His body in it and hung on a cross in what the world looked upon as "shame."

And yet, here I am, with my life so drastically different than about 2 years ago where I was venturing toward a deeper understanding of Christian love, finding myself facing the opposite direction of where I was headed.  I have taken a detour.  Since the event that changed me, drew me into darkness, made me all but forget my call to be Christian and loving and think at all times, "what would Jesus do," I have failed time and time again.  I made progress in my recovery and healing and found myself drawing closer to the Lord in general, but that Christian love was still so elusive at times.  I am still so raw and broken, more-so than I truly realized, and am incapable of caring very much (in the moment) if I just completely fail in my quest and my call to be loving, and do what Jesus would.  He asks us to follow Him. It doesn't just mean follow Him in our physical footsteps, but with our hearts and our actions - to truly do what He does.

Everyone is a sinner.  I know this.  I am a big fat sinner. I NEED Christ in my life because of this.  I am convicted of my faults and failings and try all the time to do better.  But with certain people, some days- I'm not going to lie- I just don't care.  Today is one of those days.  I just didn't care.  I just didn't care if I said mean things, even if they were rooted in truthful events. I just didn't care if I was unloving and unkind and hurt people with my words.  I just couldn't muster up anything but the numbness I fall into sometimes toward my actions, and the anger I allow to seep out.  When I am weak, I fail.  Today I was very very weak.  Weaker than I've felt in some time.  I felt like a mama bear, because it was about someone hurting my child, and the "wild" in me came out. 

And, dear precious Lord, forgive me, I still don't care. I mean, I have now come to the point of feeling bad that I couldn't do what Jesus would....But I don't find myself feeling so poorly about it that I am devastated.  Is this a result of all the damage the person has done to me?  I don't know.  It sorta scares me.  I've always cared before when I've been unloving to someone.  When the conviction comes, I am always devastated.  Because I want to do better. I'm always wanting to do exactly what I should. I want so badly to be a better person, and to always recognize my need to try harder.  I try to be gentle with myself, but at the same time, give myself the sternness Jesus would if He was standing right here, love intertwined as He would say "go and sin no more."   This time....this time I don't want to do it again.  But I find myself feeling not so bad that I did it at all.  I mean, I do feel bad, but maybe not as bad as I should..  I don't want to apologize.  I've always wanted to apologize before.

Please pray for me, friends. I really desperately need it.



Saturday, April 26, 2014

On Fitting A Square Peg In A Round Hole: Family Life and Routine

I spent this past week mentally gearing up for our grain-free diet, and trying to get better organized in general, for my own sanity and the harmony of our family life.  My oldest (9) said to me just yesterday that she really liked it when we had a good routine and stuck to it...  Mind you, it's almost 2 years since we last saw that routine and everything running smoothly around here, and it just really amazed me that she not only remembers that but was observant enough to pick up on it and be impacted by the change.  It's even more motivation to get back to that blissful time than the encouragements and reminders from my friend Amy, especially as I've witnessed how it has affected the children since we lost our harmony.  Since then, we've been haphazardly flapping around, following some semblance of a routine, but mostly just a lot of chaos, and it hasn't been all that great for my recovery, or for our family dynamic in general.

Essentially, we've been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  

Last night I had a little attack of uncertainty and a lack of self-confidence crept into my consciousness.  Why was I even bothering?  I spent an hour yesterday creating chore charts for the children after we had a little meeting at lunch time about our routine and what chores they'd like to be in charge of specifically.  I asked for their input (mistake?) on whether they liked having specific chores assigned to them or just doing whatever needs to be done at chore time.  Remembering that they all were like little chickens running around with their heads cut off, a few disappearing around chore time altogether, we voted on having specific chores assigned.  The older ones already had a few that were their responsibility anyway so it was easy to delegate the remaining chores to the kids according to their abilities.   However, we've been here before.  I've done this already.  And we couldn't seem to just stick with it.  I'm guilty of thinking too far ahead and I know this.  I think ahead to a time when perhaps we will have shirked our routine once more and things have gone back to the flopping and gasping and the utterly chaotic disunion that ensues when we've lost our routine.  So I convinced myself there was no point.  I spent an hour making these charts and being OCD about how they looked for NO REASON.  I convinced myself that I was once again trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Bless my husband for trying to be comforting as he wrapped his arms around me and thanked me for being so diligent in trying to get better organized for our family.  I seem to always have the tools and the ideas and the motivation for organized life, but when it comes right down to it, the follow-through is short-lived.  Yet as I was thinking these things, downing myself (which seems to be looming greater in my life since "the incident,") hubby lovingly reminded me how well things worked before, how good the kids are at following a routine, that he was grateful for my desire to make these changes again.  In essence, he encouraged me to press on.  To make my charts and lists, to fill in my planner and write down our goals for next school year, and to just take one day at a time, not worrying about what might happen.  Of course, he probably doesn't even know he did this because he really didn't even say much to me.  But those comforting arms I've grown to fit in just so, and his strength and scent, and the love emanating from his kind eyes, it all just convinced me of these things.  And I loved him all the more for it.

As I watched my children when they were babes, chubby fingers attempting to manipulate the different shapes into the holes of that brightly colored plastic hexagon, I remember how it always seemed to be the thing to try to get that square in the round hole.  Other shapes were fairly easy, but that one seemed to elude their growing minds and their dexterity as they would time and time again try to force that peg.  I always thought to myself "if that square was much smaller, maybe it would fit."

So it dawned on me last night-  Between cutting way back on so many things in our home like clutter, bad food habits, electronics/tv time, activities, and even self-absorption....and adding in a routine that isn't overwhelming, we will have essentially grown smaller.  Despite our growing family size, our life will be minimized so much that perhaps...yes, perhaps we will be able to make that square peg fit in the round hole after all. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Was Like....Baby, Baby, Baby...Oh!

15 weeks

It appears that it's just about that time again!  Yes, yes, that means I'm about to have another baby!  This will be baby #8 for us, folks, with 2 of them being in heaven- little saints watching over us, and hopefully praying for me.  I want so badly to meet them. I hope I get there.

I'm actually about 6 1/2 months along.  The news of us expecting again was kept a secret for quite some time.  I myself have had such a difficult time, and just didn't feel like sharing.  I'm still recovering from the mental dive I took after dealing with a horrendous relationship with a narcissist which stole much of my time, energy, and trust.  I've been spending the last year +, building myself back up from that, so finding out I was pregnant, which would ultimately detour my recovery a little bit, was kind of a shock.

But as I frequently say, new life is ALWAYS a blessing and as I face all of the difficulties I've had with this pregnancy (which, by the way are actually not that big of a deal compared to others), I'm striving really hard to view another baby as the blessing it truly is.

If you know me, you know that a big family wasn't really on my radar.  I come from a big one, yes, but I never thought I'd have one of my own.  The few times we've taken matters into our own hands and planned to not have another one (at least for a little while), the Lord worked in our hearts and convicted us otherwise.  One of the babies I lost.  Another one I had about 20 months ago, and then there is this one, little baby G whom God must have really felt was to be a very important aspect of our life.  So, this is just one of those instances where you plan, God laughs, and then He shows you HIS plan.  It might be scary.  It might be difficult.  But when your heart thirsts for the Lord, and you want SO badly to please Him and follow His will for your life, what else is there to do but say YES?  I can't wait to meet this next YES!

Please pray for me, my friends.  I always, always need it so desperately!!



6 months