Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gotta Love Little Boys-Part 4!

On a typical day, you can find my son doing something that will make you laugh.


Whether it be playing with his favorite dog like this:



or tying his hands up like this:




Or making a sweet, innocent face like this:





Or maybe even a face like this:




Or making a Valentine's Day card to his favorite dog like this:


Or maybe even pretending that the shampoo and conditioner bottles are big guns and hitting the pump over and over again to do this:



And this (and yes, that is a red wiffle ball in the tub):



And then when he tries to clean up his mess, this happens:



And these are just the things I caught on camera!

There is the time he peed in the front flower bed, "just because."

Or the time I told him he couldn't play outside for the rest of the day with his friends, because was in trouble. About 10 minutes later, I realized that one of the little kids running around in the front yard was my son. When I asked exactly how he got there and why, his response was, "I went out the window. I was practicing our fire drill."

Yeah right!

Or the time that I looked down at him during church, and he had yellow plastic knives between each of his fingers pretending to be Wolverine. When I took them away, he just pulled out more.

So on any typical day, my son makes me laugh. He is such a joy to us, and so full of fun and love. I love being his momma-even if I do have a few more gray hairs.

Gotta love little boys!




Simple Pleasure Link Up

As a SAHM, ironically I feel like I am never home. So today, being at home with nowhere to go-I consider that a simple pleasure. It helps me slow down, unwind, and refresh my soul. I turn on worship music, light the candles and usually clean and organize. Now, I know that may not sound fun and refreshing, but I love it. Sad, I know, but I feel like I don't get to do it enough. And when I feel like my house is a mess, my mind feels like a mess too. So today, I slowed down and enjoyed the simple pleasure of being home.

First, I went on a bike ride-the weather here is beautiful today. Then, I put on one of my many aprons and the cleaning began.







I still have a long to go before I can say I have caught up on my cleaning, but I'm further than I was yesterday so I'll just focus on that.  :) If I don't, my "simple pleasure" will be ruined with fret.


Project Simple Pleasures2





Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WFMW-Thank You Duggars!


I have probably only watched The Duggar Family show on TLC maybe twice-we don't have TV so the only time I have even had a chance to see it is when we have gone to a hotel. And since we have 3 kids, that doesn't happen very often. All that to say, I haven't really seen their show. However, I do have a friend that does watch it, and she told me to look at their website. She wanted me to see their list of Duggar House Guidelines. I looked at them,  printed them out, and proceeded to tape them onto our wall in the dining room. I looked at them occasionally, but for some reason it didn't stick-until just recently.

Something that I have struggled with is patience and feeling like I have talk loud (that's a nice way of saying "raise my voice") to get my children to listen. I sometimes feel that when there is an argument between my kids or with us, or something that needs correcting, I have to immediately tell them what they are doing wrong and tell them what to do right. This doesn't exactly create an atmosphere of patience, and this is something that God really has been working on in me. I do really desire to model patience and kindness to my children. I do desire for them to see the picture of a Godly women when they look at me and interact with me. And I so desire for them to learn, grow in character, and be able to reflect on their actions, emotions, and behavior. So enter, once again, the Duggar House Guidelines.

The other day, 2 of kids got into an argument and instead of raising my voice and pointing out everything they were doing wrong in their argument, I simply pointed them to the guidelines. I asked each of them to read through them and tell me which ones they felt they were violating-and they weren't allowed to say what they thought the other had done. I wanted them to reflect on their own actions and behaviors.

And oh my goodness-it worked! They took the time to read them and tell me what they felt they had done wrong in the situation. I didn't even have to raise my voice once. We discussed it, and they apologized to one another. Wow!

I am sure there will still be some days that I am not so patient and raise my voice. I am sure there will be times that they fight over having to read the guidelines. But for right now-I'm enjoying the results and will keep it up. Anything to help me learn patience and a gentle voice and spirit.

They are currently just taped to the wall in my dining room. I eventually will put them in nice frames as they will be a permanent fixture on my wall now.

So, it works for me Wednesdays. Thanks Duggar family!

Our Memorial Stone

With May 15th drawing near, I have been thinking a lot about our memorial stone. (You can read our story here, but I will warn you-it is long). It means a lot to the Other Nut and me, because of what it represents. It represents restoration, a deeper love, a stronger marriage, and it reminds us of a God who is faithful even in the hard times.
After we started down our road to restoration, we knew we wanted to find a stone that we could put at our house as a memorial for what God was doing...even though the pain was deep, we never wanted to forget.
One thing the Other Nut would say during this time was "I want to grow old with you. I truly believe the best is yet to be." He wanted so badly for me to know that, despite what he did, he did love me.
One day, I was walking through HEB in their garden section and as I looked down, I saw it-our memorial stone. Now it wasn't a solid stone. In fact, it was made out of clay; but I knew it was meant to be ours. On the front of it, it said, "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be." I was so excited at what God had provided for us as our memorial stone. When the Other Nut saw it, he was just as excited.

Until he broke it.

 He was cleaning up outside, and it fell off a table and broke into about 5 pieces. At first, we were both devastated. Somewhere inside we both felt fear; fear that somehow this meant we weren't going to make it, that our marriage was not going to recover. It was a scary few minutes, but then it made so much sense.
Our memorial stone was even more perfect now. It was broken just like we were. And as I watched the Other Nut slowly piece it back together with glue, it reminded me of how Jesus was slowly piecing us back together.

But the pain of betrayal through pornography ran deep in my soul, sometimes coming out unexpectedly. Days would come where all my fears, insecurities, lack of trust, and unknowns would boil to the surface and build up until I thought I would burst. I found myself not always knowing what to do with it all. My head knew I needed to lay everything at the feet of Jesus, but my heart sometimes wouldn't let me. The pain, fears, and insecurities were so anchored to my soul, I didn't know how to lay them down.
And something would happen that would bring back a flood of feelings as I all too clearly remembered-a certain name, a certain reaction, a certain time and place.

Being in public was extra hard as my mind and heart were assaulted with lies as I looked around at all of the women. "Does he wish I looked like her?" "Does he want her?"

And so was a day as our stone sat there drying, cracks visible and yet whole. The Other Nut had done a great job at piecing it back together.

But the pain welled up and exploded like a volcano. The hammer in my hand swung harder with each new swing. The stone was destroyed in my attempt to numb my pain. And this time, it wasn't fixable. I threw every piece, some just dust, in the trash, wondering all along if my marriage was even fixable.

But God wasn't finished, and He can piece together anything, no matter how shattered it is.

The Other Nut very patiently dug every piece he could out of the trash can, and he patiently and slowly pieced it back together. And at the same time, God continued to patiently and slowly piece us back together in only a way that He can. 

Our stone now sits in our bedroom where I see it everyday. It is cracked with holes that speak of a hard journey-a good representation of 2 lives that have been affected by the pain of pornography. And I like our stone better this way. It stands as a great reminder to me. When I see those holes, I am reminded that, while our marriage has been restored and forgiveness is present, we will carry our scars until we meet Jesus face to face. Sin does that-leaves scars-just look at the hands' of Jesus. It reminds me that I have places, holes, in my heart that only Jesus can fill-the Other Nut can't fill them or fix them.

Father, may I never forget the depths of the pain and the brokenness we felt; for it was out of that pain and brokenness that You did a mighty work and restored our marriage.












Monday, April 25, 2011

Music Monday

Music Monday
So once again, I'm barely getting in my Music Monday. I might have to change the name to "Music Monday, but on Tuesday". Of course, then I probably wouldn't get it done until Wednesday-so then I would have to change the name again. I could keep going, but I won't. You can thank me later. 

I love Chris Tomlin's songs, because they are so grounded in scripture. And being that we just celebrated the Resurrection of our Savior, I thought this song was fitting for today-Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin. I never tire of hearing this song. It is such a great reminder of what Jesus did for me. The chorus alone is so powerful for His name alone is power. Jesus is the Messiah-the anointed One, the great High Priest, the Son of God, the Christ. He was Emmanuel, God with us; for the Most Holy God dwelt among mankind. He is my Redeemer, my Rescuer, and He paid my ransom as I sat in bondage to sin. I was held captive, unable to pay; but He could, and so He did. The Perfect Lamb, pure, spotless, free from sin became sin for me. I love the words "the whole earth trembled and the veil was torn." What Jesus did on that cross was literally earth shattering. It was undeniable. And because of Jesus, the veil was torn in half. I can now enter into the Holy of Holies, the presence of the Almighty God. The final, perfect High Priest, the perfect Lamb has taken down the barrier between a sinner like myself and the Most Holy God. Love so amazing! 

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing
Love so amazing
Chorus
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all
His body the bread
His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn
All I hope is in You
All I hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world


Friday, April 22, 2011

My BFF

photo source
I celebrated my best friend's birthday Thursday (her birthday was Wednesday). We went to lunch and then to a movie together. God has used her in so many ways in my life since I have known her. The journey I have walked since finding out the Other Nut was looking at pornography would have been a lot harder without her, and the cracking process I have gone through would have been a lot more painful without her. I know God put us together in a special unique way-she is my "David and Jonathan" relationship.
So in honor of our friendship and her birthday, I thought I would tell you about her.
We met about 4 years ago over chocolate. You see, it was my first year coordinating our women's retreat at church so I was still learning. I didn't realize how long it would take to actually melt the chocolate for the fondue fountains so we had a bunch of ladies waiting for chocolate. In walks this lady, asking if I needed any help. I, of course, said "Oh no, I've got it all covered. This is a breeze." Ha! Just kidding. I actually said something to the affect, "Yes, please. Oh my gosh. I'm running so far behind." And then I think I might have screamed a little panic scream. Maybe. Just a little.
Then, with it dark at night, we found ourselves running melted chocolate back and forth to the dining hall filling up fondue fountains. I didn't realize it was the start of an amazing, beautiful friendship.
The next year she ended up on the team with me as our publicity coordinator. It didn't take long to realize how smart and gifted this woman was. She graduated valedictorian of her high school (she doesn't like when I tell people that, but I like to brag on her), was an electrical engineer at the same company the Other Nut worked for (her husband also works there), and was now staying home to raise 2 super sweet, cute kids.
We ended up putting together another retreat, further strengthing our friendship.
As time went by, she always amazed me as I kept discovering new gifts and talents this girl had. I finally figured out there wasn't anything she couldn't do.
That May, we found ourselves just crazy enough to volunteer to take over as Women's ministry co-leaders for our church. Of course, this just continued to solidify our bond as we are together so often.
I love how God's timing is perfect. He knew I would need her soon after our friendship had grown so deep. She was the first one I called when I found out about the Other Nut. She helped pick me up off the ground when I couldn't stand on my own. It was a hard summer, because I needed time to grieve and process things, but I also had 3 kids to care for. We spent many a days at Chick-fil-A together crying while the kids ate and played. She helped me through the darkest days, allowing me to grieve, allowing me to be mad, allowing me to just be me. And then when she knew I was ready to hear something, she would speak truth into my life, words of wisdom and encouragement, always directing me back to God. She wasn't going to let me give up.
One thing after another hit during a short period of time. We both felt like we had huge targets on our backs. Things were happening that almost seemed like a joke. Her kids kept getting sick every month. I had a huge wart on my finger that was so painful it took 2 times freezing the sucker, plus an injection of a diluted chemo drug to get ride of it-the doctor said he had never seen such a huge wart before. She got a horrible case of herpies in her mouth from stabbing her gum with a tortilla chip. I mean how often does that happen?! One doctor told me I had pinworms. Now, let me just say I don't think that he was correct in his diagnosis, because I didn't have any of the symptoms, but it was worth the laugh. I took the medicine anyways, because with everything else going on, I figured "why not?" I had to have a breast biopsy, and she had to wait for more results from her own abnormal lab results. Then I found out I had lyme disease, got horrible panic attacks, was diagnosed with Panic Disorder, and found out I have borderline mitral valve prolaspe. Let's just say, we spent many appointments together at the doctor. OK-well, she spent a lot of time with me. I'm more of a chicken so I always take her with me.
And our friendship only grew stronger. During my time with horrible panic attacks, I wouldn't sleep for days. I was so terrified of dying in my sleep so some days she would come over just to watch me sleep. She would tell me that it was going to be OK, that she would watch me very closely and if anything looked abnormal, she would wake me up. Then she would type up verses for me to carry with me. A simple act that was so important to me.
When I started becoming afraid to leave my house for fear of germs or panic attacks, she would come and get me. She wasn't going to let it beat me. She was going to fight for me if it killed her.
And in the middle of all this, we were always able to laugh at times. This girl is funny! She'll just bust out with something that makes me laugh so hard, I almost pee my pants.
During hurricane Ike, her and her family lived with us for 2 weeks. They didn't have A/C, and we did. I have to say that was so stinking fun. The husbands would get up and go to work together, the kids would play, and we would lie in bed giggling like little girls. The girl is funny when she wakes up in the morning.
One of the greatest things about her though, is that she loves God and desires to be obedient to Him. You can see it her life everyday. In the midst of her helping me and loving me, she always knew that it was God that was using her to speak into my life. She always made sure to turn me back to God-and she still does. She is very wise.
One of her deepest desires in life is to bring anyone that she comes into contact with just a little bit closer to God. And I can say that she has done that with me.
I hope you can see what a wonderful person she is. She's pretty special.
So, happy birthday my friend. I love you! You're my BFF. You are stuck with me for life. Besides, now we have matching necklaces that prove it.  :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gee, Thanks Honey

Well, the Other Nut just got home.

The Other Nut-"Well, they actually do look pretty black."

Man, mom's feeling like a beauty now!

Gotta Love Little Boys-Part 3!

photo source


I couldn't resist posting this quick bit of news. I thought you might need to laugh.

My son (after I had just gotten out of the shower)-"Mom, what's wrong with your eyes?! I've never seen them so black before."

Me-"What do you mean by 'black'?"

My son-"I don't know. They're just black. You look like evil, bad mom."

Feeling a little worried and unsure, I run to the mirror half expecting to see traces of mascara, half expecting to see possibly some weird new disease that has never before been discovered.

It was a disease all right-the "I must be tired" disease.

Staring me in the face was nothing more than pure plain ol' bags under my eyes.

Gee, thanks son.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thankful

3 week old kittens abandoned and left to die, waiting for someone to save them.

 

They are hungry, alone, and afraid.

We scoop them up into our arms and cradle them.



Safe. Secure. Hopeful. Peaceful.


Children rejoice as they watch them flourish. They are safe.







Full of hope. Their little bellies nourished. Soon to find a new home.



Thankful for new life.

A simple reminder of myself.

Left to die in my sin, waiting for someone to save me.

I was hungry, thirsty, alone, and afraid.


Jesus scoops me up in His arms and cradles me.


Safe. Secure. Hopeful. Peaceful.

Jesus rejoices as He watches me flourish. I am safe.

Full of hope. My little soul nourished. One day going to a new
 home.


Thankful for new life. 





Monday, April 18, 2011

With This Ring, I Thee Wed

I'm not sure why it took me so long to write about my vow renewals and post pictures, because it was such a special night for me, but better late than never. This past December, the 27th to be exact, the Other Nut and I celebrated 13 years of wedded bliss. After a dark time in our marriage that could have destroyed our family, we embrace every year with much thankfulness. I am so thankful for 13 years with the Other Nut. He is truly an amazing man.
When our anniversary arrived, the kids were with their grandparents, and we were headed to dinner and a movie-or so I thought. Now, when we go to dinner and a movie, I like to be comfortable so I usually wear my jeans and a t-shirt with flip flops-my go-to outfit. This night was a little cold though so I wore my tennis shoes instead of flip flops. I thought I would change it up a bit. Ha! Every so often I dress up, but I usually end up uncomfortable wishing I had worn something else. This night, even though it was our anniversary, the Other Nut was going casual so I said a "hallelujah" and put on my casual clothes.  
What I didn't know was that we really weren't going to just dinner and a movie. We arrived at the restaurant and to my surprise, in walked an old friend. She had actually been my maid of honor in my wedding. But still, nothing clicked. Well, then in walked some friends from our church. This is when I started to get a little confused. It was at that moment that the Other Nut told me it wasn't going to be just us, but some of our old wedding part, and that we were going to renew our vows at the church after dinner. I was so shocked! And quickly a little mortified at my choice of clothes, not much make-up and hair up in the bun look.
But this night was going to be about so much more so I decided to not let that bother me. Besides our t-shirts were appropriate-mine said "I love my husband", and his said "I love my wife."
Now before you wonder why in the world didn't the Other Nut kind of gently nudge me in the direction of dressing up a little more, there is one thing you need to know-he rarely gets any surprise past me. If he would have mentioned something about what we should wear, I would have instantly known something was up, and he so badly wanted it to be a surprise. And I'm glad he surprised me-it was so sweet.
After we ate, we headed to our church with the wedding party. The guy who married us was there with his wife, one of Shawn's groomsmen with his wife (who also happened to be a friend of mine from high school), my maid of honor and her husband, and a friend from church with her husband (she acted as the wonderful photographer for us that night).
I actually walked down the aisle, but didn't have any flowers so I used a poinsetta plant. I had to go with what they had OK. :)
One of the husbands lead us in worship which was wonderful-I would post a picture of that, but I look like a real goofball in that picture. Then the guy who married us talked a little bit, and this time we listened very intently. The first go around we were so excited, we talked the whole time. After 13 years, we realized we needed to listen! Then the pastor, our friend, said we were going to say our own vows right there on the spot. Talk about nervous. Remember this was a surprise. I was already on the verge of tears and this did me in. All I remember saying was that one of the best things I had ever done, thanks to God's grace, was not give up on our marriage and that I was in love with the Other Nut more now than the day I married him.
The pastor, who also sings, sang the song he sang at our wedding, "I will be here." Can I just say that the words meant so much more this time around.
Well, I guess that is enough writing. I will just show you some pictures.







I tried to post a few more pictures, one being the wedding party, but they wouldn't upload for some reason. Maybe I'll try again later.

Honey, if you are reading this (which I'm sure you are, because you read my blog like all the time), I love you. I am so glad to be married to you and can't wait to celebrate another year with you. I am amazed that God gave me you as my husband. When I see you, my heart still skips a beat.

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.




Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ruthless

Anxiety-it's ruthless.


photo source
 I was awoken by the cries of my son-he was having a nightmare. I gave up my spot next to his daddy, but that's OK; I won't be sleeping anyways. When I awoke, anxiety was staring me in the face. It does that sometimes, stares me in the face; and when it does, it laughs. Anxiety-it's ruthless.
The worry, the dread, the tingling throughout my body, the light-headed feeling, the irrational thoughts-they are all there, and then some.
You know, for a while I felt silly saying that I have Panic disorder. When I was diagnosed, it was pretty severe, but then it got better. I mean a lot better. I found myself off of my medicine, and only having to fight a really low level anxiety sometimes. In general though, it wasn't affecting my day-t0-day living, or my sleep.
Well, this week I've been reminded-I have Panic disorder, and it stinks.
I have learned to notice anxiety pretty early on now-I can feel it first in my stomach. I don't exactly know how to describe it; I just know the feeling. It is kind of like when I was pregnant. I would ask my doctor all the time about going into labor, and she would say, "You will know." And she was right-I always knew when I was in labor. So I guess anxiety is like that-I always know when it's anxiety.
When I feel it, there is a process I have to go through. I call it my "filing process".
First, I recognize it as such-anxiety. Then I tell myself that anxiety can't hurt me. This is really helpful, because often times the fear of anxiety itself makes the anxiety worse. Having a panic attack is scary. It does some strange things to your body physically, and you really feel like something is wrong physically. Well, this just feeds the anxiety and starts a vicious cycle. But, if I remind myself that anxiety can't hurt me, then that piece of the fear becomes a lot less.
Then I make sure I'm breathing deep enough. Sometimes with panic, you can stop breathing deep, because you are breathing too fast. I try to slow down my breathing.
I also find something to do that is different than what I was currently doing. If I'm inside, I might walk outside, maybe start doing the dishes, read my Bible, or listen to music-anything that might be different. (No matter what, I always read scripture and listen to music as part of my "doing something different". God's Word is powerful, as well as worship music). If I'm in any of the bedrooms, I go to a larger area so I don't feel closed in. Sometimes I have to sleep on the couch, because the ceiling is higher in the living room.
Like right now-it is 4 AM, but I'm blogging. I needed something to do.
And I always pray. As I'm praying, I begin to go through my "files" in my head. What is in there that I'm thinking about? This helps me get down to what might be fueling my anxiety leading to my panic. It might be that I am just going too fast, having too much to do. Then I quickly decide what I need to get rid of. Maybe there is a situation that I'm trying to control, but I can't and shouldn't. Often times, it is specific situations. Right now, I am concerned about some guy that was on our street-will he come back to hurt my family? (long story that you can read a little about here) I am also concerned with my physical health. I am not feeling well at all since starting this new medicine. I'm not sure if it is the medicine or just the effects of the bacteria dying off (another long, boring story) so I have this question floating around in my head-"Should I keep taking the medicine or stop taking it?" My panic takes me down dark roads, and these roads say that something is really wrong with me-"I must be dying". For me, I usually begin to think I have cancer somewhere.
I think about EVERY THOUGHT.  I don't let anything slide past. Every thought then gets a file. Thoughts that can truly wait, I put in the "I don't have to think about it" folder. If my mind won't let it go there, I hang onto it-maybe it is fueling my panic.
Right now, I have some thoughts like "my house is really messy", and "I teach on Wednesday". Those can go in that file-I don't need to think about those right now. But the thoughts about the guy and the not feeling good. My mind won't let me file those. They are consuming my thoughts, even as I type. Because my body hurts so much right now, I can pretty much nail down that it is mainly my physical situation that is fueling my panic right now.
OK, so now I have to deal with this issue. I can tell you now that I feel stuck. I don't know what to do about how I'm feeling, but I don't feel like I can call my doctor. I think her nurse is horrible. I'm just being honest, because if I'm not, I can't stop my panic. I don't think she listens, and feel that she is of no help. You have to be borderline rude to get through to her and that isn't a fun realization. I know I'm a nurse and am usually really assertive and good advocate, but this lady makes me feel stuck. I don't feel like I can move towards an answer so this just fuels my panic. When I feel stuck, I get anxiety; and when I get anxiety, it leads to panic attacks.
So what am I going to do about this? Well, it would be silly for me not to try to call my doctor again. I will try again on Monday. Until then, I will be praying that God will help the communication and give me clear answers. Even though I don't want to call her, I have to. Sometimes I have to do things I don't want to do. In me not calling her, I'm trying to control the situation, figure it out on my own. That is not working. But if a phone call doesn't work, I'll get an appointment to see the doctor. I'm the patient and the one paying; anything to help my mind get unstuck. I'm also going to take ibuprofen to help with the pain. If the pain isn't so obvious, my panic is less.
Now, I can't call until Monday morning so I will have to work really hard not obsessing over it until then. I will just have to constantly be checking my thoughts, filing them away, keeping myself busy, and PRAYING A LOT.
So that brings me to this-the whole time, I am praying. I know I mentioned that earlier, but I want to stress it again. I am not trying to figure it out on my own, but I do have to process my thoughts and feelings. I do have to face them, find out where I feel stuck, and work towards getting unstuck. But, I pray that God will help me get unstuck. I believe that God will help me, but He wants me to be a part of that-I have to do things as well. One of those things is resting in Him and His strength, but I am still having to do that. Does that make sense?
So here you have-what I do during my panic attacks. Thanks for reading-typing it helped my panic not escalate. Now, I'm off to take some ibuprofen.
Did I mention that anxiety is ruthless?

Disclaimer: While I am a nurse, I am not a doctor. I am not claiming to know everything about panic disorder and how to deal with it so please consult with a doctor if you suffer from this. This is simply what works for me and my experience. Plus, I needed something to do to keep my panic from escalating and calling 911 at 3:3o Am so I thought I would blog about it. I don't mind talking about it though, because I understand the awfulness of panic. Feel free to email me if you need someone to listen to you. We can panic together. I also recommend The Anxiety Cure. My counselor gave it to me, and I found it very useful, along with my counseling.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Looking Through the Familiar

photo source
I took down the Bible verses that were taped to my kitchen windows. They had become too normal, too familiar, almost a part of the windows themselves. The paper was curling on the corners, and they no longer were serving their purpose; for I had begun to not even notice them. I found myself looking through them and around them, but never at them.

How often, Lord, do I look through or around things or people that You place in front of me? How often do things become too normal or too familiar for me to even notice? How often do You become too normal or familiar for me to notice? And yet, You are anything but normal and familiar. There is a mystery to You that my human, finite mind can't comprehend. You are God, Jehovah, whom the highest heavens can't even contain.

Oh Lord, there are things all around that I see and don't even realize they dishonor You; for they have become too normal, too familiar. There are things I say that dishonor You, but they also have become too familiar. I sometimes exchange Your standards with the world's standards, but I don't notice-the world's standards have become too normal and familiar.

There are people that I turn away from when I shouldn't-they are too familiar. I find myself looking through them instead of at them; the homeless person on the corner, the hurting people standing around after a natural disaster, the people around that are hard to love. They are all too familiar to me for they are everywhere.

And yet, I noticed the bird yesterday. It was hurt and couldn't fly. It was left to walk around, looking for some type of food, almost certain to die. I found myself looking at it, feeling compassion for it. I didn't turn away, but instead I watched it, wondering if there was a way to help. It was unfamiliar.

I see him on the street corner. He is hurt, with a broken spirit. He is left to walk around, looking for some type of food, almost without any sense of hope. I find myself looking through him, not at him. I turn away trying to appear busy in my van, looking for something or changing the radio station. I don't want to lock eyes, to see the pain, the need for money, afraid I will be asked to interact and become uncomfortable. "Besides", I rationalize with myself, "he will probably just buy alcohol with the money." He has become too familiar to my eyes.

Familiarity or normalcy is comfortable to me. Could it be that things I find uncomfortable become too familiar, too normal in my quest to become comfortable? If I can just look through them or around them, I don't have to look at them; for looking at them will bring me discomfort. If I wasn't concerned with my comfort, would I see him on the corner? Would I see the hurting people around me?

I felt shame as I was faced with reality. Was it true? Do I really have more compassion in my heart for that bird than I do for hurting people? Oh Lord, may it not be! Give me Your eyes.

May I not desire comfort over Your desire for me to see. May I not live only in the familiar or normal, looking through or around things and people, but may I see things and people as You see them.

Oh Lord, may I not live normal, but instead passionately for You.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some Cheese With My Whine

Disclaimer: If you are not a fan of whining, you might want to skip this post all together, because I feel like whining. I know things could be a lot worse, but I still want to whine.

Disclaimer #2: I know I need to find things for which I am thankful. I have been reading A Holy Experience lately. I am new to her blog and plan on reading her book, One Thousand Gifts. I am looking forward to making my "list". However, right now-I just want to whine. I'll start my list tomorrow, or whenever I actually get the book.

You know when you go to the pet store, and you watch those little hamsters and rats run on their little wheels; they are running their little hearts out and yet get nowhere. I always wonder why they keep running on that thing. I mean, don't they know they get ANYWHERE? And do they even have fun on those little wheels?

That's what I feel like right now-a rat on a wheel, getting nowhere. I still can't seem to catch up on my housework-it almost feels like a hopeless cause. I tell you, it's all the flu's fault. It seems since I had the durn flu, I just can't catch up. The flu caused my Lyme disease to get worse-at least that is what I think-because my Lyme test came back worse. This new medicine I'm on is pretty strong so naturally, we'll just say, my food runs through me pretty quickly. Sorry-just the truth.

Also, with the new medicine, I'm herxing. I bet you are wondering what that is. It sounds so weird-herxing. Well, to satisfy your curiosity, you can read more about Lyme and herxing here. Today, I slept all day, because my body hurt so bad I didn't want to think about it. My toes hurt too much to walk, my fingers hurt too much to do whatever fingers do, and my upper thighs and behind hurt so bad, they felt like I had done like 1,000 squats-and if you saw my house, you would know that I most certainly haven't done even 1 squat, because I haven't done squat. And apparently, it is making me write really long sentences that probably don't make any sense.

I'm feeling slightly better, although it is time for more ibuprofen, and I'm still not a fan of walking.

All of this combined makes me feel like a very bad housekeeper, wife, and mother. I am doing just the bare necessities around here while the Other Nut has to help, and I don't really like feeling like I'm doing things half way and that I'm a pitiful mommy and wife. There are baskets everywhere and not a lot of food around here. My oldest daughter has some food allergies, and I haven't even made her bread for her. Yesterday, I actually let her have ice-cream for breakfast. Yes, that says breakfast. Makes me feel like a winner. Actually, she thought I was like the coolest mommy ever. Like I said, just the bare necessities. I wonder if my kids are tired of hearing, "mommy doesn't feel well today." Maybe they think I'm just a lazy bum. I know I feel like a lazy bum right now.

I am thankful for the Other Nut though. He is so kind to me during these times. He just wants me to rest and sleep so I can get better. But I'm tired of feeling like I'm taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Is this the way it is going to be forever?

OK so maybe I got my whining out. I don't know. Maybe I'll find out tomorrow. Thanks, blogland, for letting me whine. It's just where I'm at-in whiney mode. Like I said, I'll start my list another day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is This Going Too Far?

photo source
OK so I just read this in the news, and I had to comment and get on my soap box. This is just going too far in taking away our rights as parents. My children are all in public school which I pay taxes towards so this story obviously made me stop and read it. If I am paying taxes, using my own money to raise my children into adulthood, responsible for their care and well-being, paying for their clothes, school supplies, etc. then if I want to send them a coke and flaming hot chips for lunch EVERYDAY, then I should be able to. If I want to send my kids coke and cake EVERYDAY, then I should be able to. Now, I choose not to, because I believe that type of diet is not the best for my children-but I get to CHOOSE that-not the school. If the district is paying for a child's food through financial assistance or if my child is buying that day-well, OK-then the school gets to choose the menu. I'm fine with that. But please don't tell us as parents that we can't send our child to school with a lunch made from home-whatever is in it. And please don't try to use the lame excuse that your cafeteria lunch food is healthier and tastier-have you ever seen a school cafeteria lunch tray? Sometimes I don't understand why my kids want to buy a rubber looking chicken patty. I rest my case in that area. (For the record-I do let my kids buy sometimes even if it looks gross and like rubber. Every so often, it won't kill them. Also, to be quite honest, making 3 lunches 5 days a week is not the most exciting thing to do.)

Now some may say-"Well, if you don't like the policy, take your kids out of public school."

Yes, that is one option, and if God wanted us to do that, we would. But, I don't believe that is always the answer. If no one ever chose to stand up against a policy they didn't believe in, nothing would ever change. So, sometimes you stay, abide by the rules to the extent that you can morally, while at the same time work towards changing them. Just ask my kids and their elementary school in regards to the types of and how many videos they are allowed to watch now :).

So what do you think? Has the school gone too far? If it were your school, what would you do?

What's For Dinner?

Well, around this house, it's pretty much the same stuff. I don't get my thrills out of cooking so I try to do the easiest meals possible. And I surely don't like trying a lot of new things. But as I mentioned in this post, I kind of have to feed my 3 kids and husband which unfortunately means I have to cook. I cook a lot of "chicken in the crock pot" meals and thankfully my kids love this. The only thing bad about the whole crock pot thing is that often times I find myself slapping myself in the head around 3:00 when I remember I forgot to actually put the meal into the crock pot. If you asked the Other Nut how many times this has happened, he would just laugh and say something like, "too many to count." Hence the reason for the following recipe.

 "I forgot to put the chicken in the crock pot" Recipe

Ingredients:
Any kind of fresh veggies that you like-here in the Nut house, we use onions, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, poblano pepper, and garlic.
Rice
Meat-sometimes we use chicken sausage (links) or breakfast sausage. We haven't yet tried shredded or cubed chicken.
Pure maple syrup
Tangy Italian dressing-any brand


I don't have a certain amount I use. I just use whatever I have in my refrigerator and hope it feeds my family-my kids are really good eaters. There really is no method to my madness when it comes to cooking. Just to give you an idea, last night I cut up 1 onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 1 really large squash, and 1 really large zucchini. I used 1 pound of breakfast sausage and 1 cup of rice-there was nothing left. Nada!


After I cut up all the vegetables I'm using, I saute them in sunflower oil. At the same time in another skillet, I brown whatever meat I'm using-either the breakfast sausage or chicken link sausage. Then I walk off, get busy doing something and cook everything too long.


After everything is either too mushy or burnt, I remember I have to cook the rice which I almost always overflow onto the stove. If anyone knows how to cook rice without it overflowing, please tell me how.


If I'm using breakfast sausage, when everything is finished cooking, I dump it all together into my giant skillet and serve it up. Because of the great taste of breakfast sausage, I don't use the Italian dressing/maple syrup mixture.


If I'm using chicken link sausage (is that even what you call it?), I put the sausage in with the veggies, mix together equal amounts of the Italian dressing and maple syrup, and pour it into the veggie/sausage mixture. I let it simmer for a while. I have no idea how long, because I get distracted again. Then I dump in the cooked rice and mix together. You, of course, don't have to use the Italian dressing/maple syrup mixture here either.

My kids absolutely love this meal-and my oldest doesn't even like veggies. Cooked this way though, she eats them. Unless I make a lot, there is nothing left for leftovers.

Because I have such great photography skills (insert sarcasm), I took a picture for you.




If you try it, I hope you enjoy it. I can't promise it's gourmet, but I can promise it will get your family fed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

Well, last night sleep didn't find me, or should I say, I never found sleep. My anxiety got the best of me and kept me awake. So is the life with Panic disorder. You see, earlier that day the Other Nut had told someone to stop driving down our street so fast-we were afraid he would hit one of the kids. Turns out this guy, or maybe teenager, wasn't so nice. He seemed like someone you wouldn't want to mess with. He yelled and cursed out the Other Nut before driving off. I instantly began to worry that he would come back, the anxiety began to grow, the prayers started, the heart rate increased, the heart rhythym changed, the stomach started hurting, and the eyes didn't close. Like I said-so goes the life with Panic disorder. Although, I will say that it has been a while since it has been this bad. If you are new to reading this blog, or just don't remember me ever saying this-I hate anxiety. It's the pits.

My middle daughter has something called molluscum contagiosum. It is pretty common in children, but I think hers has become infected. Off to the doctor we go today. This, of course, doesn't help the whole anxiety thing. Did I mention that I hate anxiety?

Right now I currently have 2 big zits on my chin. It is so nice to be 36 years old and still have zits sometimes. But hey, it makes me feel young-like a teenager going through puberty! Just kidding-I don't really like it. I know why I have them though. I haven't been eating well-I have some food sensitivities and when I eat a large amount of those foods, I get some zits. You would think I would learn. Also, my doctor told me I was probably just starting early pre-menapause so my hormones were going crazy. Pre-menapause?! Are you for real? Yes, she was. Apparently, some women can start this early, and it can last for a while-like 10 to 15 years before actual menapause. Well, I'm sure glad that I might be one of those lucky ones (please read with sarcasm).

Today is definitely an ibuprofen and diet coke day. With no sleep, poor eating, and a new antibiotic for my lyme disease, if it's a joint, it hurts.

I love spring time. Everything is so green and fresh. I love the sounds of all of the animals I hear during this time. It reminds me of my grandparent's house. When I stand on my driveway and look up, this is what I see in the spring. I love just standing there and looking up. I'm sure my neighbors think I look kind of weird though.


One thing we need though is rain. I could use a rainy day. There is something about being in my house cleaning and listening to music on a rainy day. I find it very peaceful. And I don't believe there is rain in the near forcast here. Bummer!

I love baby wipes. Weird right? I don't have any more babies-my kids are 11, 9, & 8-but baby wipes never go out of style. They are good for so many things. I even clean my animals with them. They work great for in between bath time. I have actually used them to also clean some of my furniture if the kids get a little spot on something. Just be sure to spot check first of course.

I'm tired. Maybe I will take a nap today all day. Oh wait, I have to take my daughter to the doctor. Never mind.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Music Monday

"Music Monday"
I love listening to Kari Jobe. She writes and sings beautifully, and I love watching her worship. You can tell that she truly has a passion for leading people into the presence of the Lord. I found her music about 2 1/2 years ago and have listened to her CD ever since. One of my favorite songs is You Are For Me. Over the years, I have found comfort in these lyrics as I have listened to them-many times over and over. I love that this song tells about God's unchanging character, and that He is for me. In the middle of the night when I would be battling anxiety, I would cling to the reality that He did see me, and that He would fill me with His presence, replacing the anxiety. There were many hard nights, but this song always brought me comfort.

Now, I find myself struggling again. I am facing some unknowns, and I can feel the anxiety in my body again. I think my middle child has an infection, and right now I'm just scared. Medical issues are a trigger for my anxiety. Today in particular, the anxiety has been stronger than it has been in a while-and so I listen once again to this song. It is a reminder that He is for me. It is a reminder that He knows me and sees me. It is a reminder that even when I feel anxious, or that the world is against me, He is not; even when I am faced with the unknown, He knows.

I am reminded that He will not forsake me in my weaknesses, and they have been very much before me lately. I can have hope in the midst of fighting my weaknesses. God, in His endless pursuit of His children, will not forsake me. He will provide me with His strength in the middle of my weaknesses. God has not taken away every weakness that I struggle with, but He has pursued me to work these weaknesses out. He continues to work on cracking me open.

And in this cracking process, this endless pursuit, He writes upon my heart stories of His faithfulness. And these stories are there to remind me of who He is.

Thank you, Lord for being for me. 

 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:31 (NASB)



You Are For Me    
kari jobe


So faithful. So constant.
So loving and so true.
So powerful in all You do.
You fill me. You see me.
You know my every move
and You love for me to sing to You.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses
I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me who You are.
So patient, So gracious,
So merciful and true…
So wonderful in all You do.
You know me. You see me.
You know my every move.
You love for me to sing to You
Lord, I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me who You are.

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