Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Alone Alone"

Being a stay at home mom is so tough in so many ways. More often than not you come out defeated rather than conquering. The walls seem to close in smaller as the hours of the day pass by. It's almost as if someone has thrown your life into this never ending things-to-do list and you just know that taking care of and playing with the kids has to be on there somewhere.....but where? While all those things are what I categorize as "tough," nothing can beat a mom down more than loneliness. And I'm not talking the all I ever do is talk to a two and three year old all day lonely. I'm talking "alone alone!" Where you wonder why nobody else's children act like yours, think no one can possibly understand what your life is like, and, dare I say, feel trapped....and alone. If you are a mom, then I can guarantee you have felt "alone alone." The crazy thing about that sickness is that it attacks everyone differently.

My "alone alone" comes in the form of separation anxiety. Both of my boys have suffered from this since infancy, and both of my boys have it to the upmost extreme. I've heard things like, "They just love their Mommy so much." Or "All kids go through it, it's normal." And while both of these things may be true, I see the looks on the faces of the teachers when I bring in the hysterical child time after time to school, church, the gym, even a friends house if I need a sitter for a short time. It is exhausting....for me, for the teachers, for my kids. I've done everything I know to do: bribed, spanked, rewarded, MADE them go because let's face it, they've got to get over this. Yet, they never do.

"Alone alone."

Do you know what it is like to ALWAYS be the person who has the screaming kids....always? To wonder if something is wrong with them because (and I'm not joking at all) I never see anyone else's kids having a break down EVERY single time? Or worse, to feel like you are doing something wrong as a mother? The most difficult part is that I feel like it is beginning to really wear me down. My temper becomes shorter not only to my children, but also the people who watch my children. Today it happened. Today I snapped. Today I went from the "apologetic" Laura who is sorry that her children act this way to the "Deal with it" Laura.

I had had a bad experience with the YMCA childcare on Tuesday. We switched to the Y....a gym a really do not like near as much as others....for the kids. They are supposed to have great children's care and activities. Tuesday was my first day and it did not go well with my two year old. (Let's just thank the Lord for a moment that I ONLY had my two year old that day.) So I was geared up ready to face today. As soon as I walk in with him they said, "Are you going to try again today?" Which to me came across as, "He's already crying, are you really going to leave him?" I am not tough! I am not stern! I am as far from confrontational as you can get! But something in me (the Stewart in me) came out firing. I simply told the girls that this is just what he does and that I was a member at Gold's before and he did it there too....but that they would hold him and he would be fine. They quickly replied (as they so rudely made sure I knew on Tuesday) that they have a 15 minute policy where if he cries for 15 minutes they will have to come get me. And that's when it came out......

"I know that is your policy but he is smart and will quickly learn that if he cries long enough, Mommy will come get him. And if that is the case every time than I guess I will have to quit the Y because I will obviously not ever get to work out."

You should have seen their eyes.....like who let this crazy person in here? Luckily a sweet girl came over and offered to take him and help settle him down. And me.....well I went to the locker room, found an empty changing room, and cried.

"Alone alone."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oh, Where My Mind Goes

It's funny where your mind can take you when you are half awake/half asleep. Okay, maybe I should say that it is funny where MY mind takes me. This morning in particular makes me realize that I am s...u...c...h a girl, through and through: instinctive, anxious, and a hopeless romantic! (I mean, really, how many guys can feel all three of those things at one time!!!)

Instinctive
I come from a family of worriers. That's actually putting it mildly. One thing I try to "not" worry about is the weather. If you think you are a dramatic person, watch the news channels on a day where bad weather is supposed to strike and you will immediately feel better about yourself. People go nuts about the weather around here, and in more cases than not, nothing ever seems to happen!

(Insert the part where I should have knocked on wood!)

I ended my evening phone call with my mother 1/2 joking 1/2 serious saying, "Call me and wake me up if bad weather is coming my way." I KNEW she would know, and if it wasn't her glued to the tv, it would be my grandmother alerting her, then me. And yes, my grandmother told me she slept with her weather alert radio on last night.

(Insert sweet giggle here!)

The morning pretty much began with the power going out, my three year old hearing thunder and waking up screaming because his nightlight was out, followed by my husband going to get him, followed by me jumping out of bed to get them and running to the bathroom. I can honestly say that I have never heard freight train winds before, but it didn't take long to realize that that noise was NOT normal. So Mommy's instincts kicked in quickly and got us to a safe place! It lasted all of about one minute, and when I looked at my phone, sure enough Mom had called. Although she was calling to tell me that our road was flashing on the TV....wish she had gotten to me about 5 minutes earlier, but I'll blame no power instead of her! =)

Anxious
We all got back in bed, including our three year old. I was so tired yet it was very difficult to fall asleep. My mind was on and it wasn't stopping. Immediately my anxious side went from thinking about what we just experienced, to thinking about what if it had been a lot worse, to thinking about the movie "Where The Heart Is" and the tornado that hit during that movie, to.....and this is where it gets good.....to....

Hopeless Romantic
....love. For a movie that I was never just crazy about, the end sure gets me every time. I'm a line girl! I love a GOOD line regardless of how the movie turns out....you know, the kind of line that makes your heart melt....and you just know....it's real.

(Insert disclaimer: I also find both humor and deep annoyance with the bad lines. You know....the ones that make you cringe because the guy actually thinks they will work.)
"It's too late isn't it."
"Too late. Too late for what?"
"I lied to you when you asked me if I loved you and I said no. I lied, Forney, it wasn't true, I love you. It's just.....I lied because I thought you deserved something better."
"Something better than you? Novalee, there isn't anything better than you."

(Insert kiss!!!)
I mean really.....can you just call me a girl or what? I can go from tornados to love stories in a matter of seconds. It's okay....I'll own it. It just means I'll take care of you, worry about you, and even LOVE you! Could be worse, right?

Oh and....(insert that a tornado did go through our backyard and about 5 of our neighbors yards knocking down trees everywhere. It went in a diagonal path through the houses so we were all very lucky!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Miracle We "Needed"

A little over two years ago some friends of ours gave birth to a still born little girl, Gracie. We were very saddened to not be able to attend the funeral. A few weeks ago at church, we were able to listen to a message we were not able to hear that day. Gracie's father spoke these words:

We prayed and prayed for a miracle. You prayed and prayed for a miracle. Even though we did not get the miracle we wanted, I still believe we got a miracle.

Maybe the miracle is that Gracie doesn't have to suffer and go through the pain we are going through right now. She went directly to perfection.

Maybe the miracle is that we are able to praise God in the midst of her loss. Maybe the miracle is that we were able to persevere for 4 long months.

Maybe the miracle is that we had 8 precious months with Gracie instead of 2.

Maybe the miracle is instead of pushing each other away, we clung to each other and God to survive.

Maybe the miracle is that instead of acting like everything was okay, we openned ourselves up to you and in return you showed us the compassion of God.

Maybe the miracle is that we were able to enjoy our sweet time with Gracie after her birth instead of being filled with anger and bitterness.

Maybe the miracle is that I am able to stand in front of you today and share her life with you.

Maybe the miracle is that Gracie brought you closer to God, reignited your relationship with him, or maybe for the first time allowed you to encounter the saving works of Jesus our Lord in your life.

I can't say for sure what the miracle is. Maybe it is different for each one of us. But I can say for sure that Gracie is a miracle.

She wasn't the miracle we asked for, but she was the one we needed.

"She wasn't the miracle we asked for, but she was the one we NEEDED." In the face of such heartache, a father stood up and said that it was "needed." For weeks that line has been laid on my heart. For weeks I have been reading these words trying to piece together my thoughts enough to make a post out of them. And for weeks....I have been unsuccessful. So I've come to the conclusion today that maybe there are no more words that need to be said, but rather just to sit in "awe" of it.......in awe of their faith, awe of their testimony, awe of their love, awe of their bond, awe of their choices, awe of their hope. I think their story touches each of us in our own way and I hope in sharing this piece of it, that its messages stays with you, that it challenges you to see life a little differently, that it encourages you to have faith and hope when both of those things seem so out of reach......that it changes you, as it has me!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Love Me for Me


First off, I just love JJ Heller. She definitely has some powerful songs/lyrics. But I love this song. It brings tears to my eyes every time I just sit and really listen to it. "I will love you for you." How often, in the midst of who we are....all our mess, all our junk, all of our just plain ugly, are we loved for the mere, simple fact of just being ourselves? I TRULY can't wrap my head around that. In fact, one day during bible study we were discussing the chapter of our book about God being just plain crazy in love with us. I walked down stairs for a moment to get coffee and sort of prayed out loud to myself with a genuinely confused, humble heart....."Why, Lord? Why do you love me so much? Why do you care so much?" And out of no where I swear that He answered me....

Because I made you!

In that moment my eyes filled with tears because in that moment I finally understood. I love my kids, with all that is in me, I love them. While they CAN do plenty of wrong in my eyes =), no one or nothing could make me love them any less than I do.....I love them for who they are, inside and out, junk and funk, simply because they are mine!

But what I love so much about this song is the bridge:
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you'll listen, I'll tell you that I...
I will love you for you....
"Now that you'll listen"......never more have those words hit home. How often do I get in my own way? Put my own rationalizations, thoughts, and perspectives into things rather than listening to Him.......listen to Him tell me He loves me for me.....listen to Him tell me that I am enough!
I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh to be the Coffee!!!

Carrots, Eggs & Coffee

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee....You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen.. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed
ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word...

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardboiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Perspective

As each new day brings its own set of joys, trials, wrinkles, and (dare I say) pounds, this new found 30 year old is trying to focus on the parts of her that don't hurt when I reach to high to grab a toy, ache from picking up the kids all day, or grow weary from the daily grind.....the eyes.

Sure, I've always been one through the years to "play up" the eyes with fun makeup, because after all, the eyes can be the most stunning thing on a person. But it has never been the first place I go when seeking wisdom.

It wasn't until I came upon a field near our home, that I began to "see" what value the eyes hold in our lives. As I came to a stop at the stop sign, I just sat in amazement at the very sight of it. Breathtaking rows upon rows of endless purple wildflowers, known to the "trained" eye as weeds. But that is not what I saw. I saw beauty, in something as simple as a "weed."

Perspective......has a pretty huge impact on our lives. It's not what we see but how we see something that defines our character, our attitude, our spirit. I must admit I am not always one to see the beauty in a field of weeds, but this encounter affected me enough to still be lingering on the lesson.