Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Cry Of My Heart

I've been to many women's retreats over the years with each one being warm and inviting. I would leave there having relaxed a lot, feeling refreshed, somewhat rested, and ready to get back to my life....but still not feeling like I was where I should be after such an event. I felt a lot of disappointment, actually. I would look around at all of the women around me that were praying, worshipping God with all of their heart and showing true joy on their faces and in their beings. I wondered why I didn't have that. Why did I not feel anything spiritual? Why was I not moved by the worship and where were my tears?...why did I not have that joy? I wanted to have what those women had. I longed for it. I thought that surely, there was something wrong with my heart, it was so hardened and stagnant.

I have gone through periods of complete denial of God to times where I cried out to Him daily, pleading with Him to help me. To change me. To heal me. I waited, but I did not hear anything....I suppose I wasn't really listening for his quiet and still voice because I didn't really believe that He would show up for me. I felt cut off from any blessing, I only felt cursed and alone. Alone in such a darkness. I have spent the majority of the last 18 years wading in and out of depression and despair....only choosing to petition God out of complete desperation, but believing full well that it was all for not. I did not have a 'relationship' with the Lord, I felt like he was just the Lord of other people, not me. I felt invisible and unworthy of His love.

I was given the opportunity to attend another women's retreat this weekend...although this was called an 'Adventure Weekend'. I went into it not knowing what to expect, other than I would probably get some rest and relaxation and maybe hear a tidbit or two of something that would make me ponder just who this God that everyone talks about really is. I prayed the 'obligatory' prayer beforehand that God would become real to me and would meet me there. I even prayed that I would allow Him to enter into my heart all of the way, not just part of the way. I am really good at keeping Him at an arm's length away...the faith just has not been there. I had hope, but only a little, that maybe, just maybe I would walk away from there with some of what everyone else seems to, peace, joy.

When I arrived at the retreat center, I knew that this was no ordinary retreat and I was a bit worried. There were women in purple shirts everywhere...and on the back of those shirts, it read J E H O V A H and the verse in Psalms that says ' Everlasting to everlasting, you are God...' Honestly, when I saw the word Jehovah, I cringed a little and squirmed in my seat. I grew up in the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the "Jehovah" that I knew was not a loving and approachable God. He was a God that I feared and avoided. Still, I tried to push those insecurities aside and have hope that 'this' would be the retreat where I figured out how to get what I!

God pierced my heart and broke it very early in the weekend. He knows how stubborn I am and He knew He needed me broken right away, so that the time would not run out. My cry was answered and He met me there! My hard heart was broken and softened. I laid down my pain at the foot of the cross. I laid down my unforgivness, resent and bitterness over many areas of my life. I pleaded with God to give me a new love for my husband. He gave me back the love I had for him when we first married...only deeper. Those burdens are no longer mine to carry...they are God's and He can handle them so much better than I! The name Jehovah has a new and precious meaning to me. While hearing the testimonies spoken, I caught a glimpse of the pain that I have caused my children by living in anger and not loving them the way that I should. I also caught a glimpse of what could become of them if I continue down the path that I am on. I saw pain that could be theirs when they are grown. Pain that I don't want to be the cause of. I saw the importance of a savior.

The pain that has ripped valleys in my heart has been replaced with joy...the holes have been covered and filled with Him and His love for me! I am truly a daughter of the King and HE loves ME!

I know it will take a lot of prayer and work on my part to not pick up again the things that I laid down. They are not my burdens anymore, but only I can choose whether I scoop them up and carry them again. I do not want my God to have died for nothing... He carries them...who am I to say that I will carry them?

A bamboo shoot takes 30 years to form it's roots before emerging out of the dirt with a little sprout. Once the sprout makes it through that dirt, it grows inches a day! I am much like that bamboo's taken me 33 years to grasp the enormity and majesty of the God that longs to be mine. But, now that I have broken through the surface, I will grow in Him and be able to reach for the light that He provides.

I am free!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lucky 7

7 years ago today, little Josh made his way into the world by way of his screaming mom. He came flying into this world 2 weeks early, tipping the scales at nearly 9 pounds. Even the doctor was amazed at how big he was for being early. Not me. I knew he was big even before he was born. In fact, two days before his birth, the OB was feeling my belly to see if she could estimate his size. She said "Oh, I think he's pretty small...maybe 6 pounds". Ha. I could feel that baby move from the tips of my toes to the top of my head he was so big. I swear my entire being shook when he kicked! Even my stretch marks were at their breaking point. They were so taut they bled. Seriously! I thought I was going to deliver a moose by bursting at the seams. It's no wonder that I howled and screamed without any control while delivering him. Not only was he a moose, my epidural failed and I felt every bit if it. Ouch.

Happy birthday to my sweet boy. Your Mama loves you. Stretch marks and all :)

The Jack-O-Lantern cake

Making a wish!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is It My Birthday Yet Mom?

I think I have heard those words at least once a day for somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 months now. My sweet little J is turning 7. Tomorrow. He asked me today if his birthday was in 4 more days. When I told him that it was tomorrow his eyes lit up like sparklers on the 4th of July, and he yelped "IT IS? WOW"! He thinks that I have some grand party planned with games and party favors and friends. Tons of friends. I've had to remind him over and over, that no darling, it's just family. No streamers, balloons or games of pin the tail on the donkey. Hopefully, he isn't horribly disappointed in me. I gave up on big birthday parties when they started to cost more than I paid in insurance premiums for my pregnancies and births. I am making his cake though. No store bought cakes here. This year, he figured out that his birthday is quite near Halloween, so he chose a 'cupcake' cake shaped like a pumpkin. In other words, the cake is comprised of 24 cupcakes arranged into the shape of a jack-o-lantern and then frosted and decorated. And hey, I'm not even using frosting out of the can! That should score me a few points, I hope.

I always get overcome with nostalgia around the kids birthdays. Since I had my labors induced, I always remember what I was doing the night before heading to the hospital for the big day. Usually it was cleaning like a mad woman and getting all of the other kids prepared to spend a few days without me. We even have the mandatory picture of all of the older siblings patting my enormous belly and maybe even giving it a kiss or two. I still am in complete denial that J is going to be 7 years old. Heck if I know how that happened. It's true, you can't even blink, because if you do, you'll open your eyes and another year (or 2 or 3) have passed and the kids have grown right before your eyes. It's amazing to me how quickly the kids are growing up! I realized that the other night when E brought home a form from the school for me and his dad to sign. It was a permission slip for him to participate in a sex ed course coming up in December. I shuttered a bit when I read what they would be going over in I'm hoping not great detail. Oh boy...treading new waters here.

And now I really feel old.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Thought Eye-Rolling Only Came With Teenagers

I swear, if he rolls his eyes at me one more time.... E is *very* into eye-rolling. All the time. I can't even get through a conversation ( a one-sided conversation at that) with him without his eyes fluttering back in his head 3 or 4 times. I was 11 once,(eons ago) and I seriously don't remember having an attitude like my 11 year old has. I know I sported a major tude' in my teen years, but 11? By the time he is actually a teen, his eyes might be stuck in the rolled up position. That will teach him, right?

The other night, I was watching home videos from when E was just a little guy. He was SO sweet. He was kissing and hugging his brothers and me. His eyes sparkled and his smile gleamed. I burst into tears just wondering where that sweetness went, and why? His eyes don't sparkle anymore (they just roll) and his smile isn't gleaming. It's a snarl most of the time. From what I hear from other moms of 'tweenagers', it's perfectly normal. That might be true, but it still gives me a pain in my heart.

Moving on....

The kids went back to school yesterday after having 2 weeks off. I heard the heavenly trumpets sound and the angels sing when I walked, er, ran to the car after dropping them off. Oddly enough though, the silence at home was LOUD, if you know what I mean. I missed them. Sort of.

The weekend will be here fast enough for me to long for the school bell again, though. No worries.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

No Mama, I'm Talking To My Brain

My daughter likes to have lengthy conversations. When I respond to whatever question she is asking, I usually get this: "Shhhhh Mama! I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to my brain". But, if I don't respond (because I figure she's talking to her brain again) I get a stern "Maaaama! You're not listening to me"! Well, excuse me. For the life of me, sometimes I just can't figure the girl out. I especially couldn't figure her out today in the store when she was flipping out and carrying on about wanting a purse and some shoes and a make-up kit.(the kid is only 3!) She is so not like me. I am not into purses and make-up and shoes. Yes, I carry a purse because I have to. Yes, I wear make-up because I have to, trust me. I even wear shoes, because yes, I have to. But, my daughter however, wants these things because she thinks they are fun and pretty...not a necessity. If she didn't look just like I did as a child, I'd wonder if she's even mine.

R is back. And he'll be back for at least the next week. I was SO relieved to find that out. He'll be working crazy hours, but at least he's not in a different city. I was looking forward to letting him get up with the baby during the night, but the baby chose last night to sleep the whole night through. He even slept in until 7:30am which around here is pretty much unheard of.

Go figure.

I'm going to sign off for now...gotta play catch up with stuff around the house. I have two suitcases of dirty clothes to wash from R and E being gone. I need to make my weekly meal plan and grocery list. I need to sweep the floor. I need to blah, blah, blah...

There's always tomorrow, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Sky Must Be Falling

The kids have been behaving. They are not driving me insanely crazy. The sky must indeed be falling! Not that they have been perfect, but I am not incredibly stressed, so things are good. Of course, now that I have spoken, er, written these words, things are sure to change. It's still early in the day, after all. In fact, I am taking S to the doctor this morning, and G is tagging along. (the others are with Grandpa) They ALWAYS misbehave at the doctor's office. I suppose if I can leave there with my sanity still intact, then I will look up to see the sky fall.

I think I have a better appreciation for R after having been alone this week. It really does help to have him around :) Seriously, when the baby gets up during the night, it's DADDY he calls out for. At first, that almost offended me, since after all, * I * am the one that carried him for 9 months, labored and gave birth to him, sat with him day after day in the NICU, I nursed him, and I am the one that kisses his boo-boos and wipes the boogers from his nose and the poo from his you-know-what. But, I soon got over that offense when I realized that him calling out for his Daddy afforded me a bit more sleep.

Signing off for now....the laundry pile seems to be barking :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What In The World?

Imagine my surprise while sitting at the breakfast table with the kids...we had the usual chatter and giggling, and the noise from PBS. All of a sudden, little S pipes in with " What in the world"? (more like " Wha in eh wurl", although we got the jist of it) We all pretty much dropped our spoons onto the table out of sheer surprise and turned to stare at him. He turned his lips up into the cutest smile ever to be seen and said it again. Over and over again. I think he enjoyed our reaction a lot, since that became his catch phrase of the day! It's so cute to hear him string words together and make sentences. Where has my baby gone? Sniff...

Another day down being a 'single' mom. I finally had to put a stop to the stair sledding. I had no idea that sledding into a wall face first could rip the skin off the bridge of your nose. Enough said.

I surely did not get enough sleep last night. With being awakened by the kids and the dogs at least 1001 times, I am still a bit heavy in the eyelids. The kids played musical beds until the wee hours of the morning, then they finally conked out. It was a very restless and sleepless night to say the least. When G woke up this morning, she came running to me with terror in her eyes and shouting " Mom! Look! BLOOD!" Indeed, her pajama top was covered in bright red blood. So was her face. I panicked for a split second until I realized that she had just had a bloody nose and had smeared it all over her face while wiping her nose with her sleeve. Whew...

This 'single' parenting stuff is for the birds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sledding Sans Snow

I have some serious empathy for single moms...I just can't fathom how they do it. R left yesterday for a week in Littleton. He'll be back Sunday, so I can go to work, then leaves again early Monday for yet another week.

I've gotten through one day so far. My head still hurts. I can't believe the amount of energy it takes to just get through the day. It's not like I don't do this everyday, but when I know that I won't be 'released' from most of my mom-duties come 6pm, the day seems longer (and more stressful) than ever. Thankfully, I've not had too many mishaps with the kids. Yet. The dog did throw up on the carpet though.

The boys spent most of yesterday and a good part of this morning 'stair-sledding'. That's where they load themselves (together) up in a sleeping bag with pillows under their rear-ends, hold on for dear life, and 'sled' down a flight of stairs. I almost nixed that all together pulling the 'that's too dangerous, someone could get hurt card', but they were having so much fun with it, I allowed it to go on. I'll probably make them stop if someone breaks a bone or puts a hole in the wall though.

Today I went into the bathroom and almost broke my neck slipping on the water covered floor. I couldn't figure out where that much water had come from. I thought for sure the toilet was leaking, or a pipe from under the sink burst. I mopped up the mess and shrugged it off as one of those things. A while later, I hear S laughing with delight. He was in the bathroom. That's never a good sign. I ran in, and found him dipping a cup into the toilet and dumping the water onto the floor. Mystery solved.

I'm going to go pop some more ibuprofen for this never ending headache, and count the days on the calendar until school starts again.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Early Morning "Raid"

Today began very early. Early as in 4:30am. R announces that he is sick and he might throw up really soon. For me, the thought of someone throwing up stirs a panic in me. I hate hearing it, seeing it, smelling it. I am pretty sure I have a textbook case of emetaphobia. (that means I have an irrational fear of vomit.) You'd think with 5 kids, and all of the times I've mopped up a mess, not to mention the fact that I work in the nursing field, I'd be over that... actually to some extent it doesn't bother me as much anymore. I think I more fear getting sick myself than one of the kids or R getting it. Because you know, if one gets it, we usually all get it.

Anyway, I gave R plenty of time to be sick downstairs (which he never did throw up, just the other end) and then I meandered down to assess the viral load. As he laid on the couch moaning and whining (what? Don't all men do that?) I went to my spot over the washer and dryer where I keep all of my various 'poisons' and such. I grabbed the yellow lidded aerosol can and began to spray down everything that he may have come in contact with. The toilet of course, the floor around the toilet (because you never know) the sink, the faucet, the hot and cold handles, and even the doorknobs and light switch. I then went into the kitchen and sprayed the refrigerator door handle and the microwave 'open' button, since R had made S a bottle during the night. Once I was satisfied that I covered all of the bases, I went back to bed, holding my breath as I passed by where R was on the couch. I muttered to him to be sure and spray everything down each time he had a 'bout' of his unpleasantness.

Turns out, I had not disinfected one surface or even killed one stomach bug during my spray-fest. I may have killed any real bugs that had been around though, as what I though was Lysol, was actually Raid ant spray! No wonder the floor was so slippery and the handles on the fridge and microwave felt so funny.

Both R and I had a good laugh at that one...only my laughing didn't send me running to the toilet holding my belly, his did :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Week? A WHOLE Week?

7 days. 168 hours. That's a whole lotta time. In fact, that's how long it will be until R starts his new job. And that's 7 days from tomorrow, so factor in the weekends and it's more like 11 days and 264 hours. (not that I am counting or anything, I'm just throwing it out there)

This time together will either be a blessing or a 'curse' (not in the literal sense of course). Judging from the wretched day we had today, I am not holding out too much hope for peace and loving happiness. So, I have written a list a mile long of things for R to do around the house to keep him 'occupied'. Hopefully keeping mind and hands busy will prevent WWIII from happening. (so far he's just taken to snoozing on the couch)

We went to a new church today. Not sure how I felt about it one way or another. We're not looking to change churches, we just wanted to attend this church during the time they are having a series called 'My Amazing Marriage'. (not that we need help or anything) The kids adored the church which is good...we didn't get any balking or whining about going back next week. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get a tidbit of biblical truth that will kick us over to the 'other side', you know, the good side of our marriage :)

Not much to say tonight, as I am running on fumes from working last night...I still haven't slept and I am heading out the door here shortly for another shift.

Excuse me while I yawn and snooze....

Friday, October 5, 2007

Finally Friday

I didn't have to do much this morning to prepare the kids for school. I rolled out of bed, had a cup of coffee, slipped on some shoes and drove the boys to school. I didn't have to pack lunches. (half day of school) I didn't even have to make sure they were dressed. Today is Pajama Day, so they all went in the jammies they slept in and they kept their tousled hair, you know for the 'bedhead' look. We were completely out of milk too, so I just threw water bottles and crackers at them for breakfast. (not really, they actually had nice steaming bowls of oatmeal) If only all mornings were so easy!

Yesterday was even a pretty good day. Usually, I dread Thursdays because R has the day off (how bad does that sound?) and we spend the day arguing over the color of the sky. I think with the excitement of his job offer and the fact that we are really trying to make things better between us, the day had to have been good. Not one argument or sour word was said between us all day :)

At 12:01pm today, the kids begin a two-week 'Fall Break' from school...I'd better stock up on ear plugs and beer. (just kidding!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The 11th Hour

At 4:00 today, just when R and I both had pretty much lost all hope, the offer came in. A job offer, that is. It's not the perfect situation for us, but it's what's on the table for now, so onward we move.

The offer came at the right time however, as come Friday (yes, as in the day after tomorrow) R would have been unemployed. God is good, all the time. (even when we think He isn't)

The kids were pretty psyched, in their kid kind of way, about the new job. Of course, they make it into all about themselves (how much free stuff will we get?) but, that is a kids focus...themselves. They are the Masters of *their* Universe, after all!

I can't think of anything hilarious or even remotely funny to blog about tonight because I am too tired. I think my body is rebelling on this new diet of mine. I am once (again) determined to lose this extra ( metric ton) of weight. I am on day 3 of my starvation, er, eating plan, and so far, so good. I am only hungry most of the time. Seriously, I am eating bushels of fruits and veggies and drinking vats of water. Throw in some whole grains, proteins and olive oil, and I'm actually doing okay.

I'm going to my counseling appointment tomorrow. I have to start to prepare myself for the kids two week long fall break that begins on Monday. (just kidding, sort of...) It's always good for me to go and vent to someone that doesn't know me in *real life*, you know, airing my dirty laundry a couple times a month and not worrying about who's going to find out about it. Really though, my counselor is a kind, compassionate person full of ''good for me' advice. I always leave there emotionally stronger than when I went in, and ready to face the world...and my family!