Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finding Comfort

I have spoken before of my back problems.  Basically what it comes down to is that I have back pain which is aggravated by certain activities.  I try to stay away from those triggers but, being a mom of 2 little ones, it doesn't always happen.  The information that I have received is that the only medical solution for my back is medication, not something I'm ready to do yet.  So, when it gets bad enough, the only thing that helps is rest.  This was my Monday and most of today.  Not fun and my house is a mess but I have enjoyed my Friends marathon (PIVOT, PIVOT).

I tell you this because I wanted to tell you all about what a wonderful family I have.  I mean, that's not news, they are usually great, but it's times like these that I can see the extra effort they make in order to help me feel better.  For example:

Zoe has a little stuffed pony.  It was a gift that spent the first few months in our home stuffed in some box in the closet.  During a day of cleaning Zoe rediscovered this pony and it has not left her side since.  Most days she even takes it to school where it spends the afternoon soaking up knowledge in Zoe's cubby.  Bedtime can not be achieved until pony (Rainbow Dash if you are on a first name basis with her) is right where she belongs.  To say Zoe loves her pony is an understatement.  My first morning laid up in bed my precious daughter brought me her pony.  She said,"Mommy, Pony always makes me feel better and I want you to feel better so I am going to let you have her."  Zoe tucked pony in right next to me, kissed me on the check and patted me on the head.  Pony stayed by my side until bedtime.  To give Zoe credit, she brought me a "substitution" animal before she took Pony to her bed for the night.

Pony and my little fashionista...

As parents we feel we are always in the comforting role.  Mommy's kisses are what make anything feel better (well, that and a band-aid).  What we never think of is how those hugs and kisses from our precious little-ones are just as therapeutic.  My back is by no means healed, but the actions of my sweet little family certainly comforted me.

Blessings to you on this beautiful day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I got the joy, joy, joy...somewhere I'm sure...

I usually write when I find myself dwelling on a certain subject or make an observation that I feel bears recording.  It's more of a therapeutic exercise than an expectation that someone reads my thoughts and gains anything from it (though it's a bonus, for sure).  I haven't written lately though because I haven't had the time or energy to dwell on anything but living.  I know we all get that way.  We become consumed with living and we forget to enjoy our life. 

But, isn't it funny, that when I try and look back over the past week or so I can't recall anything that kept me from enjoying life, or should I say, not an activity or event that kept me from finding my joy.  Joy is always there, a quality of life that, for some, is harder to recognize than some other quality.  I'm one of those people.  This may come as a shock to some of you (does sarcasm relay in print?) but I am a pessimist.  In fact, I believe I have spoken before about this trait of mine I have to endure.  It's a part of who I am that I have prayed to have changed.  I would LOVE to be a natural optimist, someone who goes through life with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  I am SO not that person.  I am a sarcastic, realist/pessimist, that has to make a continual effort to plaster that smile on my face (not always a successful effort, mind you).  So, I can choose to love myself as myself, trying to make positive changes in who I am, or I can choose to dislike who I am and therefore, dislike my life.  I choose the former.  I am who I am.

Life has been difficult lately.  There hasn't been that catalyst or a life-altering event that has occurred.  Just life and all it's toils.  I have two beautiful children that have very strong personalities and are in stages of their development that can make reasoning with them more difficult than usual.  We, as parents, have had to take a step back and reevaluate how we are choosing to handle those difficult situations and make some changes.  This parenting thing is all about adjustments, don't you agree?

We will get through this time, we already are on the uphill side of things, and life will be full of joy again.  I know that, I have faith in that.  Sometimes we just need a little reminder...

Blessings to you on this day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Simple things...

When you think of your childhood what memories stick out in your mind about your parents?  For me I will always associate my mother with her hands, holding them in church, playing with her rings, the smoothness of her skin, as well as the smell of her perfume.  I find comfort in those memories.  Not too long ago I read this blog that I found on Pinterest.  The blog lists certain things that we should remember to tell our children.  It was reading this list that made me think of what impressions I may be leaving on my children.  What memories of their childhood and, more specifically, of their father and me, will stick with them throughout their lives?  I hope that they will look back with fondness of the relationship I had with them.

I know that I fail my children daily.  In fact there are moments during our day that I say something to them and instantly regret it.  There is also something I am not good at doing, which is saying,"I'm sorry, I was wrong."  Simple words that have a huge impact and yet they are so hard to say. 

I know I need to work on certain things, certain facets of my relationship with Zoe and Noah, but I hope that regardless of anything else, they know how much I love them.  I try not to let them go to sleep without them hearing, "I love you" from their mother.  When Zoe is in trouble and so upset with the consequences she has incurred, I try to remember to let her know that even though I'm not happy with her behavior, that I will love her forever.

This parenting thing is hard and there are so many theories of what we should be doing.  It's impossible to do everything perfect.  All that we can do is to let our kids know we love them and keep on doing our best.  And, when we do fail, work on that whole "apology" thing.

Blessings to you and yours my friends...

That's love right there.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Today is Noah's 2nd birthday!  I can't believe my baby is so big.  It seems like yesterday that he was an infant.  I remember looking into his face and wondering what he was going to be like when he got older, wondering what his voice would sound like, wondering how his features would change.  He's such a sweet child.

It's amazing how when you are pregnant you feel like it's forever before that baby gets here.  You are uncomfortable, sick, tired, and anxious.  Then that baby gets here and after a while you have a hard time remembering the discomfort.  The same thing happens when you have an infant.  You forget what sleeping through the night feels like.  You have a hard time visualizing what it's like to have a toddler.  Those moments are so fleeting it's important to remember.

Noah was a planned c-section.  I had so many problems with Zoe's delivery that my doctor and I decided that would be best.  I didn't want the surgery.  I was terrified and even after enduring what I went through with Zoe's birth, I wavered with that decision.  We went to the doctor on the Thursday before Good Friday for an ultrasound and it was decided then that Noah would come the following Tuesday.  I remember going back to work and telling everyone that I would not be back after the Easter holiday.  My shower was that afternoon and suddenly it was becoming so real. 

With Zoe my water broke and I didn't have time to dwell too much on what was going to happen right before the delivery.  This time I knew for certain that we were going to have a baby on Tuesday, April 6.  I was so excited, trying to make sure everything was done before baby came.  We went through Easter weekend, busy as always, and I was very aware that this was our last time as a family of three.  I was so excited for Noah to be here but also mourning our final moments with Zoe as an only child.

Tuesday morning came and we had to be at the hospital at 10:30 (I think, I may be wrong here).  I had already had my lab work done the day before and was  sporting my hospital bracelet.  Zach went to take Zoe to school while I showered and repacked my bag for the millionth time.  Zach was late getting home, he's a gabber and has a problem breaking off conversations, and I was already stressed.  I am the type to rather be at a place 20 minutes early than five minutes late.  Finally we got the car loaded and off we went to the hospital. 

Several babies decided they wanted to arrive on baseball's opening day (one reason we chose that day rather than a day later in the week) so we were running behind schedule.  I wasn't there long before the braxton hicks I had been experiencing for a few months turned into full-on contractions.  The nurse would pop in periodically and ask if I was feeling those contractions.  You will be proud of me, I didn't smack her once.  Finally the time came and I was wheeled into surgery where after more waiting and 3 attempts at the spinal (OWEY) the time had finally come to see my sweet child.  Two and a half hours later than scheduled I heard those sweet cries.  No love was more instantaneous.

He was a good baby.  He slept a lot and ate a lot, not much has changed there.  He also had colic the first two months, just in the evenings.  As rough as those evenings were the fact he was so sweet the other times more than made up for it.  I never had that feeling of complete exasperation like I had with Zoe.  Life was lovely and those weeks passed so quickly.

Noah is now a very energetic, adventurous, happy two year old.  He is my cuddle-bug, my sweet heart.  He is my biggest "helper" and during those rough months in New Boston, he was my joy.  I can't wait to see what kind of man he becomes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Because He loves us...

I had one busy weekend and here it is Tuesday, and I am finally feeling normal again.  Friday night I had a lock-in at church.  Saturday I was able to rest a couple of hours before I got up to clean and get ready to have company over for a pool party.  Sunday was our last Confirmation class followed by a viewing of The Passion of The Christ at Wesley with the other Methodist youth groups in town.  Busy, yes, but also very rewarding.

The movie was a great way to kick off Holy Week.  I don't know about many others, but, in the past, Holy Week was mainly about Good Friday and Easter.  This year I find that I am so much more aware about what this time means to those who believe.  I find myself reflecting on the Passion as I go about my daily routine. 

We have all heard the story of the Crucifixion and the events leading up to it many times.  We read the passages from the Gospels every year and the story is always the same.  For me, however, this year is different.  I remember the first time I saw the Passion movie, years ago when it came out in theaters, and being extremely moved.  I remember crying and flinching with every strike of the whip.  This year, after teaching confirmation, I really wanted my youth to experience that same thing.  As humans, very often we need something physical, something tangible, to connect with.  The movie, although an artistic expression and not entirely biblical, is a great visual of the Crucifixion.

This time when watching the movie there was something different about me.  I am a mother now and I wasn't the last time I watched it.  I connected much more with Mary this time.  I sat there asking how I would be able to stay and see my son put through so much.  How much faith it would have to take to stand there and see my flesh and blood hanging on the cross...how much strength to stand back and allow his death to happen.  Sometimes we don't acknowledge that for Mary, Jesus was her son, whom she loved with a mother's love, and he was also her savior.  She knew what he was and what his future held and yet he was her son, a life she carried, labored for, watched as he learned to crawl, and cherished long before anyone else even knew his name.

Today I was meditating on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  We often think of the physical pain he was put through, the humiliation he endured, and thank Him for enduring those things.  Today I was thinking about what else he had to endure for us during that time.  Yes, physical pain beyond what we can even comprehend, but more than that.  Jesus loves us all with a love we don't even understand.  He loved the Romans who were inflicting such pain on him, who were taunting him.  He loved that man who crushed a crown of thorns on his head.  He loved those who arrested him, who put him on trial and demanded his death.  He loved Barabbas who willingly allowed Jesus to take his place up on that hill.  He loved them all more than I love my children.  He loved them and had to endure seeing them want nothing more than to see him hurt.  He loved Peter and had to deal with the knowledge that Peter would deny him, not once but three times.  He had to watch Judas betray him.  And he has to endure the hurt of seeing us deny him each and every single day.  What pain he endures for us.   We fail Him and yet He forgives us.  He continues to love us even when we fail to love one another.  I am humbled.

As you go through this week and the days beyond remember He that loves you, He sacrificed everything for you, and remember that all He asks in return is that you love.

Today I went to a worship service at noon and came away with this mantra:
1. Love everyone.
2. Love everyone.
3. Let everyone know they are loved.

Thanks Travis for that.  May you all know how much you are loved.