Thursday, June 28, 2007

I can hardly believe it

WOW

What a huge thing this is for the gay community. I especially appreciate this quote by Michael Bussee:

"God's love and forgiveness does indeed change people," said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. "It changed me. It just didn't make me straight."

"You are so lucky to be able to stay at home..."

I went to a party last week and was catching up with some friends. One of the women has two kids... Boo's age and just a bit older than Sweet Pea. She chose to stay home after her second child, just like have. The other woman, whom I adore, is middle aged with no children. Now what I am going to launch into is not a reflection of my feelings towards my friend who made the comment. I totally understand where her heart was and what the intention was behind the comment. But I keep fielding this comment and I am quite tired of the misconception. Okay so now that the disclaimer is present here I go:

We were all talking about plans for the fall and when the issue of how difficult shuttling kids around during the school year came up, my friend said, "But you are so lucky to be able to stay at home." My response was one of grace...and also very true. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to be the primary caregiver for my three wonderful children. I get to see the little celebrations of their every day. It is hard work, because I also have to clean up the messes, both physical and emotional, every day as well. But I wanted to be a part of a family structure where one parent is able to be home full time... so I am filled with contentment and gratitude for the living out of that dream.

But I did not just get *lucky* enough to have a husband that makes enough for me to not work. It isn't a dream that a fairy godmother granted me. We have made true sacrifice, tough decisions and humbled ourselves and our financial stability at times as a result.

When we chose to have me come home from work, there was nothing easy about it. We were in serious debt from a failed business, student loans, compounded interest from times we had to rely on credit to survive during the end of Cnation. We could not really afford to be a single income family. But our value system informed our decisions and we honored that. We cut so many corners, and sacrificed much for quite a time. We chose that. It was not handed to us. And our situation was not the most difficult. I have friends whose husbands work 2 jobs, or who are on air tight budgets.

Now, about 7 months into single income living, we had a huge gift that allowed us to get out of the debt we were in and also allowed us to do some saving. For that I am forever grateful. That was the true gift. Now, we don't worry about having savings and contingency plans. But we still have to be frugal. I still have to shop at 4 stores to get the best prices. We still buy used or discount. We live in a home that is smaller that I'd like with 3 wee ones. Trade offs that I am happy to make.

All this to say, I just would like the credit for making a decision to Stay at Home. My husband did not just concede to my desire to be SAHM. He chose it too. It was a scary decision that took a huge dose of faith and quite frankly, a tremendous amount of character and discipline. It is hard work, and when I complain about it, I don't want the message to be I don't get to mention that it is hard because of my lucky circumstances. Just offer a moment of empathy...that's all. I can take care of having a grateful heart and spirit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A message

Forgive me if this seems to come from left field, but it is a piece of the puzzle in the chaos of my spirituality that I have been struggling with for quite some time now...and just recently everything came together for me. So in attempts to process that I feel a desire to blog about it.

When I was a senior in high school (many moons ago) I attended a yearly youth conference that my church group was a part of. I was a mess during that time of my life...what teenager isn't at seventeen. But my mess was more severe than some because of some experiences and relationships that were very toxic and abusive, so I didn't know my right from my left. I didn't know abuse from love, safe from dangerous.

During this weekend there was a prayer service where you could go up in front of hundreds and be prayed for. I hate that tradition. If I need prayer and support, why do I need to go up to a stage in front of people...can't their be more safety and privacy? But I digress. I felt an urge to ascend the stairs and waited for my turn to be prayed for. The pastor who kneeled with me was one whom I knew and who is now passed on and it was very pivotal moment in my spiritual journey. I shared that I was going to a private christian university for college in a few months and did not know what God had in store for me. The pastor did not know that I had tried to kill myself 4 days before receiving my college acceptance letter. The pastor did not know me or my family well enough to know the circumstances I was dealing with at home. But the pastor knew what I needed that day.

He prayed that my eyes and heart would be open to the possibilities that were coming my way. That my move to BIOLA would show me which direction to go in my journey. The pastor gave me assurance that God was intimately concerned with my well being and that I would know God's will for my life if I stayed open to hope.

For many years I believed that God sent me to BIOLA to prepare me for ordained ministry. I wanted it. But my picture of God's message that day was grossly incomplete. I thought, to be close to God... go work for the church... and that was a part of the design for a season... but it was not the complete design.

I now understand that it was my woundedness and brokenness that God was interested in addressing through BIOLA...but not really until years after I finished my degree. All of my closest friends came through my time there. I met my husband there and I was connected with two amazing therapists through that community. In the past several years I have been doing the work of reconstructing my past experiences with relationship. I have struggled with attachment for my whole life. I have a very hard time trusting and being connected because of basic injury in the process of attachment years and years ago. But I have found healing for that. And that was God's big plan for me. Be in youth ministry for years...yes that was awesome. Be a wife to an incredible husband...very- very good. Mother three beautiful children... most excellent. Learn how to bond, attach, trust and be open myself to deep flowing relationship...priceless.

That was the message to me that day. Through BIOLA you will find the ability to live life and love deeply. The design was for me to be brought back into the light, so that I could be in relationship with a living God. My dream was noble, but small. God's dream was much bigger and transformational. It is a good thing.

No place to hide- part 2

There is a tremendous freedom in being completely in the light. I am finding that I rather like have no place to hide. It is a relief to know I am just me and there is no need to hide the parts of me that make me incredibly and uniquely human.

I love the un-costumed humanity of my children because of it's innocence and joy. I have learned to celebrate the good and the not so good of being vulnerable and meek. I have the freedom to celebrate childhood with my children and that in turn frees me up to finally celebrate my childhood from days past.

It is a good thing. A very good thing.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

No place to hide

Being at home with my children full time has been tremendously important. Of course it has been important for my children, but that is not the topic of this post. Being home is allowing me to grow up parts of myself that have really needed maturing for quite a while now. There is lots of activity in my world, but it is kid activity and so there is lots of time for me to have to deal with what is inside of me.

I am busy trying to teach my children what kind of person they can be. I have to do that through example. If I want my children to share, I need to have a heart of generosity. If I want my children to be polite, I need to have a spirit of gratitude. If I want my children to love God, I need to live a life of worship. That is really quite difficult...especially when the inconveniences and annoyances of life come up. When life doesn't go according to my plans I need to model an attitude of acceptance, so I need to be living that already.

When I was working in ministry, I was very busy and I was working with great people and doing good things. It was for me, however, a really noble way of trying to avoid my immaturity. Maybe because I began my life in vocational ministry at 20, or maybe because I had not put to rest my childhood disappointments. But no matter the reasons, the reality was I did not have to come face to face with myself a lot of the time because there was always someone to help and something really exciting to do.

Now, the days are long and I see myself and my humanity reflected in my children. When I am handling my emotions and my behaviors well, they are able to also. When I am not...they unwind quite easily...and so do I. There is no place to hide. Everything is in the light, and that is exactly where I believe I am supposed to be.

In the middle of it

So I am surviving...maybe even thriving, in the midst of my hormonal shift. A task I did not think possible. After I wrote my last post I felt like I had my game plan. I have been better about sugar...though not perfect, but cutting back has already made a huge difference. I am saying no beginning this week. We have had lots of family obligations, but now we need the rest.

And the biggest thing that is helping is that I am letting it comes as it comes. I am not trying to be super mom. When I need to whine I call my friend. When I need to cry, I cry. When I am angry, I feel angry. I am feeling okay being vulnerable. And I'm not dealing with depression this time around...which is probably partly because I am feeling what I need to when I need to and not trying to run from it.

The days are hard...I have three kids under the age of 5. It is chaos. It is a wonderful chaos that I am grateful for every day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hormonal Dump

Well I feel it coming in waves now, so I am all over the place emotionally. I want to handle this period of time better than I have in the past and so there are a couple of things I am going to do. I am hoping that if I make a game plan than I will at least have something to counteract the chaos.

1. I am going to slow down and say no. My bff told me she was going to tattoo the word NO to my forehead so that when I am weak and have trouble saying no I can just smile and point. She so has my number. I have such a big heart and I want to be there all of the time for everyone in my life. There is no problem with that in theory, but in practicality it is crazy. I have a lot of people in my life, with a huge family all within a 30 mile radius of my home, and my friends to boot. I cannot be all things to all people and no one expects that either. I need to protect my family and myself from overbooking. So I need to be honest with my limitations.

2. I am going to start working out. I have not been able to coordinate that since I had Sweet Pea, because he was so little. Now it is time. Exercise helped me out the last time and I want to get into the groove at the beginning of the blitz, not months into it.

3. I'm gonna watch my sugar intake and portion control. My PCOS is delicate and refined sugars are my weakness. If I have some I crave more...so I need to take it out of my diet again. Case in point. I allowed myself some ice cream and white bread last week for the first time in months and I just had to have more. I ate ice cream three times in four days and was miserable. And Sweet Pea is still affected by dairy so he was miserable too. It is just not worth it.

4. I am going to have grace with myself. I have to go through this hormonal shift, but I don't have to hate me during it. I am going to be irritable. I am going to cry. I am going to be a woman. I can't help that, and really I shouldn't be shameful about my humanity. I am who I am and that means that I am not perfect.

I hope that this will pass soon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Switching back to cloth

With the help of some friends on my favorite mommy message board GCM and a purchase from my favorite diaper store, I am gonna take the plunge into cloth diapers and potty training this summer. Wish me luck!

Follow up on the coffee front

Okay, so I have done two things that I am actually quite happy with in my addiction of instant gratification with coffee.

1. I have learned how to make a mean latte from home with an organic family owned farm espresso.
2. I have cut my starbucks/coffee bean consumption in half and so far I am not missing it at all.

Now I will try and reduce my out of home consumption even more and I will start asking for their fair trade varieties...even if I have to ask for drip instead.

As an added perk, I am saving us major money!!!

A day in the life of Baby J with asthma

Baby J was sleeping fitfully this evening and woke up inconsolable about an hour ago. I took her out of our bedroom and she started pulling at her pj's and grunting and carrying on. I took several minutes and could not calm her down, so I woke up David and we called the advice nurse at our hospital. Several minutes later with a very uncomfortable child we all decided to try a breathing treatment first, before bringing her to er. Several minutes into the breathing treatment she finally started calming down and her breathing changed. Thank God for modern technology. My mother had to take her child to the hospital blue, as did my aunt. I am grateful for the tools I need to deal with her quickly, in our home.

Here's the thing. 14 hours ago she was in the Dr. office for a re-check of her ears and she was fine. Completely okay. Her grunting was not the normal wheezing. She did not strike me as congested or anything. This came on sudden and didn't look like it ever had before. It took several minutes of assessing and a huge dose of mommy intuition to clue us in. Her mouth even started to turn blue. My poor baby girl. It is so frightening to watch your child suffer so. And I missed the early cues. I have lived with her asthma for almost two years and I have seen others in my family with asthma for most of my life... and I missed it.

It scares me to think that Sweet Pea might end up with this same ailment. We were so lucky to dodge a bullet with Boo. Can my mama's heart handle another sick baby? Mommies of asthma kids don't get a lot of sleep. It is inherent in the job description... informed worry is the worse sort of fear in the middle of the night.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Postpartum Joys

My hair is falling out in handfuls. Next comes the hormonal dump. This is the time that is the hardest for me. I do really well right after the baby is born...thanks to adrenal and the mommy hormone...oxitocin I think. Then I get three months of sleep deprivation and back to my regular routine, which sets me up perfectly for month four to six month period of hell. Yes...it is happening a month early this time. Everything with Sweet Pea happens early...I should have known.

Where is my ice cream????