Sunday, November 29, 2009

Will It Be A Normal Week?

As of right now, no one is sick or in the hospital, there are no more unexpected phones calls of untimely deaths, and this week has a shot of being normal.

I crave normal.

I'm tired of eating out and serving convenience food. I'm happy to have time this evening to make my menu plan for the week and head out to the store to fill our house with healthy food.

I'm hopeful that Monday will bring my normal routine of laundry and cleanup after a long weekend.

I'm longing to spend Tuesday evening spilling my innermost struggles with a friend over coffee.

I'm excited to enjoy the comfort of my Wednesday night community group.

I will enjoy the relaxing Thursday evening with my hubby after the kids are in bed.

I'm wishing to spend a fun Friday with my kids doing something out of the ordinary and special.

So I'm wishing and hoping to have just a normal week - no excitement, no troubles, just a simple, ordinary week at home.

What about you?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I have his eyes.

I have his hands.

I have his freckles.

Biologically, it is unmistakable - I was his daughter.

And yet, he hasn't been my father for at least 20 years.

The why's and how's of who's to blame are a mute point now.

I remember him with little girl memories.

I remember loving him.

I remember missing him.

But I haven't been a little girl for a long, long, time.

So instead of the feeling, I have a memory of a feeling.

And that makes me sad.

I'm sad that we could never fix this chasm between absent father and abandoned daughter.

I'm sad that I didn't try harder.

I'm sad that you didn't either.

So this is goodbye from your little daughter.

I loved you daddy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Heaven Stands...

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away
You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

When you walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
One day you will set all things right
Yeah, one day you will set all things right

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still

(JJ Heller: Your Hands)

My world was indeed shaking this weekend when Hayden was hospitalized for his asthma attack. I don't think I'm yet recovered from it. I smile and nod. I say, he's doing much better now. But part of me wants to curl up in a ball and sob. Just to release all the stress of it.

I had to be stronger than I've ever been. There was no time for crying. There was no room for pity. I was fighting. Fighting for the health of Hayden. I put on my game face and just "did it". I restrained him for breathing treatments, vital signs, shots, whatever needed to be done I did it. And when he begged for them to stop and cried out "No hurta me", I didn't break down and cry - I said (in my best firm Momma voice) "Hayden, you have to do it. If you fight it's going to be worse. It's ok baby".

I endured it. I came through it. A little stronger, a little weaker.

And when we came home from the hospital on Sunday night, I sucked it up and went back into Momma mode. 10 hours of sleep in 4 days + stress + intense physical restraining = exhausted. But someone's gotta be Momma on Monday.

And where did that "strength" come from? I think it came from Him. Somehow, despite the constant beeping of the STUPID pulse alarm that kept coming off, and the 24/7 screaming and crying of Hayden, and the exhaustion, and and and...despite all THAT, I felt this peace. And I felt a confidence, that I could endure it, even though it felt impossible.

And for that, I'm thankful.

Hayden is back home now after his 2 day stay, and doing much better. You'd never know he'd just spent his birthday in the hospital.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Survive the Long Lonely Night

In every marriage, there will probably come a season where you will have to spend more time apart than you'd prefer. Maybe he's working nights, long hours, traveling, whatever the reason - it's no secret that it can wear on you and cause stress.

That's us right now. Mark's working at a new job and thus, has to put in the hours to learn the new products and get up to speed. In previous years, I've never handled this season well. This time, I've taken a new approach:

1. Set Your Expectations

My previous failures all had this in common - I'd have some expectation of when Mark should arrive home, and then when he missed the mark I'd flip out and a tidal wave of emotions ranging from disappointment to rage would appear.

Now, I set the expectation that the kids and I will be eating dinner alone. I will be putting the kids to bed by myself. I will be changing all the diapers, wiping the noses, reading the stories, and tucking them in. When I set myself up with that expectation, then I have nothing to be disappointed in. In fact, if Mark should make it home early - I'm pleasantly surprised! What a change from before.

For instance, 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1: I expect Mark to get home for dinner by 6:30. I prepare dinner and wait, fuming. I end up burning part of it because I'm caught up in my own grumbling. Kids and I eat cold, partial burnt dinner. Mark arrives home at 7:30. I sulk about his lateness, nag him to come home earlier and go to my room to read.

Scenario 2: I make dinner for the kids and I. We eat a pleasant dinner and clean up. We get ready for bed. Mark walks in right before I have to change diapers. I'm totally surprised he's home before kids are down. I hand diaper duties over to Daddy and get to relax while he talks about his day and puts kiddos to bed. We then enjoy a movie together.

Hmmm...which sounds better? And what was the difference? Only my attitude.

2. Plan your evening alone, but welcome a "guest"

I don't know when Mark will arrive home. It might be a late night and I may have 2 or 3 extra hours to myself after the kids go to bed. Then again, he might walk in the door early. I have learned to keep busy when I'm alone. And in all honesty, I enjoy my alone time - because I don't get much of it in the first place. What a perfect time to read a good book, watch a chick flick Mark doesn't want to see, or do my quiet time. I can work on a craft project, or just veg on the internet doing useless facebook status updates! Taking care of two children and a husband doesn't often afford "me time", so why not take advantage of it?

That being said, I may not have 2 or 3 hours to myself and I need to be ready to "switch gears" if Mark should come home. I enjoy spending time with Mark, and during this season when it's unpredictable when I'll have time with him, I don't want to waste a night by insisting - "I'm reading". I always try to have a movie ready or take a break from my "activities" to just hang out and talk. And sometimes we part our ways - he plays games, I finish my movie - but other times we do something together.

3. Get plenty of rest

This is so important. Taking care of two children and a house ALL day and evening alone IS tiring. This is a season where it's OK to take a nap, go to bed early, or take breaks during the day to relax. We are not machines and our minds and bodies do need to replenish. Going to bed at a reasonable time, and learning not to overdo it during the day has helped me push through what ends up being a really long week. This is not the time for me to do large scale projects or cleaning. In the past, I've worn myself out during the day, which turned me into a grumpy beast the next day for kids and husband.

4. Don't nag

This was a big one for me, and still is. I mean, I'm a woman, and I've got an opinion. In fact, I don't think it's just an opinion - it is THE right thing to do. Look here hubby, if you would just do X, then this wouldn't be a problem. Or if you wouldn't do Y then things would be sooooo much better. Why can't you just do....

Yeah. It's annoying just typing it and it's annoying to him.

And it doesn't make anything better.

It just makes everyone miserable.

Him - cause your nagging him and no one likes to be nagged.

You - cause your nagging is creating negative feelings in you that will affect your attitude, perspective, and behavior.

Just don't nag.

So what do you do instead?

4. Feast in Him

So how do you find that extra strength?

How do you get through another hour? 5 minutes?

How do you not scream in frustrations?

How do you not run screaming out the door when he comes home?

How do you keep from going to that negative, complaining, whining place?

How do you stop from setting all your needs and expectations on your husband?

Each day I have to wake up and make a choice. I can live for me - with my needs, wants, desires, frustrations, complaints, etc. Or...

I can live for Him. I can focus my heart on Him first. I can spend precious minutes (and I mean minutes...we're moms here not nuns) feasting on His Word and spending intimate time at His feet. I can follow hard after Him. Applying His truths to my life, being a servant to my family - not for their sakes, but for Him. How much more noble does life become if we are serving Christ, not man? It's easier to change that diaper, wipe up that spilled milk, and give loving (not exasperated) discipline if I'm doing it all in the heart of serving Christ. Now there's a boss!!!

But I don't always choose Him, because it is a daily choice and I'm a forgetful woman. Some days I wake up and choose Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And those are the days I yell at my kids, nag my husband and complain ALLLLLLL day (that was probably yesterday or the day before).

So to remind me, I posted the fruits of the spirit in my kitchen:

Long suffering (Patience)

I read these and then I am reminded - am I seeing these things in myself today? And if not - ewww, I better run back to His feet and reconnect. Because when I see these things in my day, I know it's a day lived for Him.

So that's it. That's how I cope. Nights are long and lonely without my hubby, but it's only for a season. I could choose to suffer through this time, but I choose peace and contentment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bedroom Cleanout of '09: Book Edition

So, maybe I'm the only one - but my bedroom is like the graveyard of unwanted/unplaced items in our house.

Company coming over? - throw the extra stuff in our room.
Suitcases? - Scoot them under the bed
Clothing that doesn't fit? - Make a thousand different size/season piles around the room
Kid's toys? - Randomly left in a trail from the door to the bathroom
Dirty clothes? Start out in the hamper, then begin flooding into the room
Duvet cover? - On the floor because the darn thing kept getting twisted around
Blankets? - On the floor because it goes from 50 degrees to NINETY in 24 hours
Pillows? - My body pillow from PREGNANCY is still hanging around the bed
Water bottles/cups? - Apparently I must think I'm really thirsty

And then there are the magazines and books...

Let's just say, I'm a reader. And now let's also say, I'm the mother of two children under 3. Hmmm... My reading time these days is limited, but my desire is HUGE!! There exists an insurmountable pile of books around my bed. Books that I have started reading, am reading, or want to read.

I pulled all of these books out tonight and started categorizing them...parenting, spiritual, homemaking, nutrition, etc. And then I got a grand idea. I still LOVE being able to read multiple books at once - I get easily bored with a subject. But having mountains of books drowning me in my bedroom is not working. So I chose one book from each of the categories I had stacked around me. This narrowed down my book pile to 6 books (from about 40). Then I put the rest of the books in my huge book trunk (what? you don't have a book trunk? you need one!) and made a new rule for myself. I can pull a new book out when I finish one from that category. No more insane book piles. And when I finish, I can either keep the book for reference/re-read if it's good, or sell it, give away, whatever. But I have to make a choice.

I might even start posting my finished books up here in case anyone wants to add to their reading list. I'm all for book borrowing, or even keeping if it's not one I want to keep.

The latest book finished was The Disappearance of God. Not typically a book I would pick out, but it was left here by my Mom when she visited. If anyone wants it, it's yours.

So that's one bedroom task down...only a million more to go.