Sunday, November 13, 2011


I seriously think my junk multiplies with each box I pack.  Layer upon layer of "stuff" from over 10 years of living in this house.  My "I'll do/sort/throw it away it later" mentality is not serving me well now that I have to sort through all this stuff.  Blech.

Can a person change from a clutterbug (me) to someone who immediately deals with accumulation of junk?  I feel like I'm always in a rush and always putting off things until later.  I'll do those dishes later, I'll throw away that junk mail later, I'll sort through the boys toys later...and then when later comes there's always something else to be done.  Exhaustion...that's what I'm feeling!  Hehe.

Surely there's some site/blog/group out there for people like me?  If so, I'd love to know about it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Am Here

Yes, I am alive.  Things have been so hectic.  What kind of blog post do you write after over a month?!  So much to talk about, I've written hundreds of posts in my head over the last few weeks, just never found the time to sit down and type them out.

I feel like I've been hit by wave over wave of change and challenges.  Not sure when it's safe to come up for air.  Seems like things just keep coming.  It'd be easy to just do a bullet point list of the craziness, but each bullet would probably take it's own post to explain!

  • We're buying a new house and close next week
  • Corbin changed programs at school so now he's gone 4.5 hours each day :(
  • We went on a quick vacation to the grandparents house last week
  • I'm packing for our move!  We have a lot of junk.
  • My grandmother is coming to live with us in our new house
  • In preparation for her moving, she's coming to visit and see the new house on Wednesday
  • Holidays...
  • And life's general craziness besides all the above

Overwhelmed is my current state of mind - so pray for my sanity please!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Walk Because...

Mark and I are the typical couple.  And like a typical couple, I occasionally steal some of his big T-shirts when the ratio of clean to dirty laundry is getting off balance - which is quite often.  But there's one shirt that I never wear.  It's the one that says:

I walk because I have MS.

Mark describes his uncertain diagnosis as not being allowed in a club, but still getting all the "benefits" - of course in this club, "benefits" are things like paralysis, numbness, nerve pain, etc.  You can read all about why he walks here.  But why he walks and why I walk are two different reasons.  So I'm going to tell you why I walk.


I walk because I refuse to give in.  When they were first diagnosing Mark (he calls it all the poking and prodding), I felt like a helpless bystander.  And as we got more and more bad test results and news we didn't want to hear, I just wanted to curl up and die.  I didn't eat or drink anything for 2 days.

After his spinal tap, we brought him home to rest and our friends came over to see him.  I ran into my room sobbing and just laid there and cried.  I knew everyone was out there and I just couldn't face them.  I didn't want to see the look in their eyes.  I didn't want to see the concern.  I didn't want to think of my "hero" as anything but who he'd always been - strong, healthy, and always there.


Those first few months were the worst.  It seemed like our whole life was MS.  The world had stopped and we were stuck in MS City.  It's all anyone would talk to me about - "How's Mark?"  Here I was, just barely holding it together, the only thing keeping me moving was distracting myself from it, and it was thrown in my face again and again.


Each time someone asked, my heart would sink and break into a million pieces all over again.  And no one would ask Mark directly.  Here, he was the one who seemed to get real benefit from talking about it with people, and instead they would ask me.


And the drugs, the horrible, horrible drugs.  For two years, I lost the person I knew as Mark.  It was so gradual, that I didn't even realize it until he got on a new medicine.  All of a sudden, he was back.  Oh yeah, there's the person I fell in love with.  He had lost that playful, sweet, patient, kind piece of his personality.  And I was left with a stranger.


I think I learned about love during those two years.  Even though my Mark was gone, I resolved to love the new Mark.  Love as a choice, not as an infatuation or conditional state.

I think the worst is the uncertainty.  We had so many plans.  We've given up so many plans.  Thinking about all the "what ifs".  When I think about them, I am paralyzed.  If I thought about them, I'm not really sure how I could get through life.  I don't think about them.  We have today.  And I live in today.

I don't think I'd be sitting here typing this today if I hadn't found the sweet peace and comfort in Jesus Christ.  Anyone who reads this blog, knows that He is a big part of my life.  What a lot of people don't know is that there was a long period in my life before Christ that I suffered with suicidal thoughts and cutting.  Praise God that He has healed me from those desperate thoughts.


The strength that I find to get up each morning and face our life, no matter the circumstances, is from Him.  I beg Him each day for the comfort only He can give me in the face of these circumstances.  To live each day in the knowledge of MS, and also the struggles we have with Corbin's disabilities is hard.  It would be easy to give up and wallow in my own little pity party.

This life is filled with sadness, but it is also filled with sweet joy and hope.  My husband is amazing.  He's the strongest person I know, and............
my heart tells me I can't live without him.

But my heart also knows that I will never be without him no matter what the circumstances.  And I will always be there for him - even if my hard shell defenses sometimes give him less than the sympathetic ear he truly deserves.  I guess that's just me protecting myself.

I love my husband so much, but I hate MS.  It's robbed us of so much, and it continues to rob us every day.  I wish I could take this burden from him, but I can't.  I wish someone could understand what it's like to stand by and watch your husband suffer, unable to do anything - not many do.

Most relate better to Mark - I think that's easier to get your head around.  I have deep respect for all the spouses out there who silently have MS or other chronic illnesses- not in a physical way, but in an emotional way.  I may not suffer the physical effects of MS, but it has certainly ravaged my life.

Personally, the MS Walk is the hardest day of the year for me.  Going there and meeting with all the other people suffering with MS is a reminder.  A reminder about how ugly this disease is.  I try not to compare Mark to anyone else.

My daily prayer, is that this disease would stay at bay - that we continue to have success with the drugs and therapies.  And seeing the different progressions of the disease on walk day shakes me to my core.

Having our friends and family around me that day is the only thing that gets me through.  And I appreciate each and every one of you who have supported us throughout the years. Your presence means more to me than I could ever possibly express.

We participate in the MS Walk each year as a reminder.  A reminder that we are still here, we are still struggling, but we are also still living.  And each year we celebrate the gift of another year of life.

I walk because I refuse to give up - there is so much life left to live and I am not going to waste one second of it.  Mark was diagnosed in 2005 and since then we have lived each day to the fullest - in just 6 short years we have had so much joy - 2 beautiful boys added to our family and days filled with laughter and love.


If you'd like to join us this year, the MS Walk is being held at Dell Diamond on Oct 29th (a saturday).  You can access our team page here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Do The Next Thing

I read a great article this morning which emphasized the importance of just doing the next thing.  Not the endless "to-do" lists, or the unreachable quest of perfection, but only the next thing.  This was just what I needed to hear this morning in week 3 of homeschooling, therapy appointments, laundry, and Corbin's new school.  My last two weeks have been awesome in some respects, and downright failures in others!

I have excelled in working through my lesson plan for Hayden and we are definitely accomplishing and making progress.  Even when I was sick one day last week, we still finished all our work for the week.

But, in that same time, I've cooked dinner, oh about two times.  We ate out a lot and we grabbed lunch in the drive-thru most days.

I have successfully shuttled Corbin to and from appointments and gotten him ready for school each morning by his 7 o'clock bus time.

I have also struggled fitting in his daily "homework" from his speech therapist.

I haven't drowned in a pile of laundry (yet), but the laundry baskets aren't empty either.  I will say that no one has come stumbling out of their room complaining that they have no underwear.  So I'll call that a win.

And the last fail, I've been able to work out only once a week.  But hey, I did work out once each week, which could have been not at success?  I guess it depends on your benchmarks.

So this morning, when I was feeling unmotivated and tired, all I really wanted to do was to stay in bed all day.  When I stumbled out of the bedroom, my previously clean living room now had toys all over it.  In the span of two hours, all my hard work from the previous day was erased.  And that's how it feels a lot of the time.  I clean so that I can clean some more later!  There is no "finish line" for me.  That irritates me.  I'm very much a completion, "job well done" type of gal.  Hrmph.

So in an effort to avoid my inevitable "work", I started my daily blog reading and came across this jewel - which had me saying "Exactly!" and "Yes!!!" a lot.  That's exactly what I needed to read this morning.  Just do the next thing.  I need to let go of what I'm not doing, what needs to be done, and what I should be doing...and just do the next thing.

I am letting go of my feelings of failure and inadequacies, my desire (although unattainable) for perfection, and my need to achieve and accomplish.

And I'm just doing the next thing...which right now means eating lunch. ;)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Waiting Room

Three hours a week, Hayden and I keep ourselves occupied in the waiting room while Corbin gets therapy.  I'm getting better at bringing games, snacks, and things that will keep a four year old busy for a whole hour - believe me, it's not easy.  Especially, now that we have been going for two weeks.

Waiting 6

The waiting room has a really cool ceiling in the kids area that has twinkling lights that look like a sky full of stars.  For the past few times, I've been dying to lay out on the floor "under the stars" with Hayden.  This time, I did it - and it was even better than I thought it would be:

Waiting 5

Waiting 4

Waiting 3

Waiting 2

Waiting 1

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Walking the Line

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel love
Can You overcome this heart that's overcome?

I hate walking that line between faith and desperation. When the world doesn't line up the way I want, when people disappoint me, when I'm dealt a hand that's difficult to bear.  To find meaning and purpose in it all.  It's easy to find faith in perfection, but it's a shallow and hollow faith.  Real faith is found in desperation.  In the dirty details, in the last straw.  It's found in the tears, it's found in the begging for miracles and the silence of waiting.  It's the last breath and the dull ache.  It's in the slow release of the grasped hands.  It's in the death of dreams and the surrender of life.  It's the laying down of pride and pretenses, and coming to Him empty handed and humbled.  When the world has stopped offering up it's rusted and moth-eaten treasures and discovering that the true desires of your heart can't be bought or won.

It's then you find that fleeting moment of clarity and peace, knowing that this world is not what it was meant to be, but there is Hope.  There is beauty in the brokenness, peace in the chaos, and love in this world of hate.  And to live with Hope is the only way to live for all else under the sun is vanity.
Shine Your light so all can see it
Lift it up, 'cause the whole world needs it
Love has come, what joy to hear it
He has overcome
He has overcome

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Week Review

Just a quick post to update you all on our first official week of school -

I started the week being very unsure of how we would all survive our new and busier schedule, but...WE DID IT!  I'm actually quite enjoying our schedule because I am getting so much more done and really feel like we are accomplishing things.  The only downside is I am very tired by the end of the day and I'm definitely going to have to guard my Thursdays and Fridays carefully because they are truly the only days that have any free time in them.  I still do NOT like getting up at 6am, but it is nice to see how much I've accomplished by 10am each day (Breakfast, Dishes, Laundry, Corbin on Bus and back home, finished school with Hayden for the day). 

Corbin seems to really love school, he hops on the bus without any fuss.  Of course, when you're going to school for speech, it's hard to know anything about their day.  I ask him did you have fun? and he replies..."Yesssh".  And well, that's the conversation, HA!  So, judging by his demeanor, I'm thinking he's liking school.

His private therapy is going well too, he really loves his speech therapist and she is super sweet!  Wednesday they both came riding down the hall on a plasma car!  Too cute.  Hayden and I relax in the waiting room and work on his AWANA memory verses.  I also now have a bag of fun stuff that Hayden plays with each time.  Things like card games, toys from fast food kid meals that I kept, puzzles, etc.  That seems to keep him busy for the hour.

Yesterday I finished up my lesson plans, copying, cutting, laminating and printing for the month - so I'm completely set till the end of September.  I think I will continue to work on lessons each Thursday like I did this week.  It feels good to have a buffer of lessons in case we get sick or things get hectic. 

The laminator has become my new best friend - I love this machine!  I'm finding all kind of fun games and other manipulatives to make for Hayden!  Plus, it's nice to laminate the items I know I'll use again next year with Corbin.  I definitely recommend this fun "toy" to any homeschooler!

Although it is a lot of work, I'm finding that I'm ending our week much happier than I have all summer - so I think that means Week 1 was a success!!  Come back next week and I'm sure you will find me passed out on the floor covered in worksheets and crayons in complete chaos!  But a girl can dream - and right now those dreams are of a week well done!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Family Photo...I think not...

Here's my explanation about why we don't do more family pictures...

Gearing Up For Another Year

I'm gearing up for my busiest year yet in my almost 5 years of being at home.  So busy, that I actually had to resort to scheduling out everything in order to fit it all in. 

Corbin begins daily PPCD (Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities) classes next Tuesday which will be from 7:45am-9:45am.  And with his recent diagnosis of apraxia of speech, he is also attending private therapy 2 more times a week (and possibly more in the future).  He is also receiving occupational therapy once a week (we are trying to work up to twice a week) for fine motor and sensory issues.

Hayden begins his first full year of homeschooling next week.  I've been lesson planning and organizing materials all week for the next month of lessons.  I am blessed to have 36 weeks of lesson plans and curriculum done for me, but there is still plenty of prep and adapting that needs to be done.  The results of this year will determine if we will continue educating Hayden at home, or if I will enroll him in Kinder next fall.  This year, as he is still four, I am mixing PreK and Kinder materials for him.  He is advancing well in his reading and is already in Kinder material. We took a break (except from reading) this summer, so I am anxious to get back to working with him.

Hayden is also beginning another year of AWANA on Sunday evenings.  We switched to Sundays this year from Wednesdays.  Wednesday was just too hard to do during the middle of a busy week, plus it was at 6pm which is generally our dinner time.  I am very excited to have it on Sunday afternoons now!

This year I also took on the role of Family Ministry Director at our church, and I am loving it! But, that too comes with meetings, planning, and work that I have to proactively schedule to make sure I stay on top of it.  I'm also trying to stay healthy so I can do all these things by working out at the YMCA 3 times a week!  Oh and don't forget all of that cooking, cleaning, and other things we wives and mothers do, HA!

My schedule is a sea of ink, but somehow I managed to put it all in there - with even time to relax and do my quiet time each day!  I think this year I will have to survive on lots of prayer and reliance on God.  Lucky for me, I thrive on less time, not more.  Give me a whole day to something and I will procrastinate until the last minute.  Give me 30 seconds to do something, and it's done.  That's just my personality.  So, I'm kind of looking forward to the chaos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hayden's First Sleepover

This month Hayden had his first sleepover!  His friend Jake came over and spent the night.  I was a little worried how I would handle three wild boys in the house - but it was awesome!!  Thinking back to my own slumber party days, I remembered that slumber parties meant FUN and I threw out all our usual rules.

We ate pizza for dinner.  We watched a spooky (ok not that spooky) Alvin and the Chipmunks Halloween movie.  We ate our weight in popcorn. I made a huge "bed" on the floor with lots of pillows and blankets for movie watching.  We ran around the dark house with flashlights scaring each other.  We all crashed (except for Corbin who refused to sleep).  Then we all woke up and went swimming.

I have to say, our first sleepover was a success!  And only one thing got broken!  Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Family Day

Last week Mark had a rare day off!
A Monday!
With less crowds!!!
So we made it a family day.
Bowling at Mel's Lonestar Lanes - super kid friendly!
I recommend ordering a burger there - they are awesome. 
Hayden totally beat me...I came in third.
Then dessert at Monument Cafe - yum. 
To my dismay, the kids don't like root bear floats.
Oh well, more for me! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Update

Even though we don't have school age kids, somehow I still get swept up in the busyness of summer that seems to overtake everyone this time of year.  And apparently, since I haven't blogged in over a month, that affects my time to write here!

We just got back from visiting my parents in Kentucky for two whole weeks.  I won't tell you how difficult it is to solo parent in someone else's home for that long - and sleep with Mr. Wiggles (aka Corbin) for 14 days.  But, it's worth it for the boys to get to spend time with their grandparents, so I just deal with it.  I only had one grandparent growing up, whom I didn't get to see as often as I would have liked, so it's important to me that the boys have lots of memories with Grandma and Papa.  Needless to say, I'm glad to be home.


My parents raise cattle on their farm (in Ky they call everything a farm, not a ranch, etc), so Hayden had a great time going out with Papa every morning and feeding the cows.  He came home with a new hat and pair of boots he wore while out on the farm everyday.

One of the best parts was definitely how green everything was - so beautiful compared to our current landscape with the drought this year.

Now we're just trying to settle back into everyday life.  I felt like there were a thousand things waiting for me when I returned.  I'm still catching up on everything and our suitcases are still not unpacked, HA! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Meadow


One of my goals for the boys is to spend a significant chunk of their time outdoors.  This week has been awesome for getting them outside.  The mornings are still bearable and the true heat doesn't hit until afternoon.  As the summers continue, I'm thinking there will be a lot more pool and sprinkler time.  Monday, we hit a local park and picnicked in one of the few green meadows still in existence in this awful drought. 


They boys occupied themselves by collecting dozens of sticks and the occasional flower or, uh, beer can.  If there is trash within a 10 mile radius, Corbin will find it.  Let's just say we did our part to make our meadow cleaner.  Sticks became swords and even "peg legs" for my little pirates.


 It was fun to watch them entertain themselves and just enjoy nature.  Eventually, I'd like to work up to spending the entire morning outside, but so far our max has been 2 1/2 hours.


I think we may just adopt this meadow and make it ours.  There's no playground or other attractions, just the meadow all to ourselves.  The boys run, shout, laugh, explore and play - without bothering anyone - it's perfect.