Wednesday, August 8, 2012

sleeping beauties... awkward places!

Friday, June 22, 2012

hallmark didn't have this card

Father's Day has come and gone.  However, I still want to pay homage to an amazing man that I have had the privilege to know my full 33 years:  my dad. 

Here is a list of some things I've learned or inherited from my dad:

~I have learned how to look confident (okay, sometimes this borders on intimidating).  This is really helpful as a working professional (whether it be teaching or counseling--looking "in charge" is important). 

~A keen sense of direction.  Consider it good synaptic connections in our brain but we have good spatial skills.

~Curly hair.  I hated mine growing up but I actually like it now.

~Never insult people's food.  Ok, never insult people's anything.  I remember getting the lecture after telling dad his food was yucky.  I never forgot it.  In fact, when someone tells my food is gross, I tend to think is rude (but I usually love them anyway).

~Be a diplomat.  In matters that are dear to people's hearts it is usually wise to take a neutral stance in order to save the relationship.  We have opinions.  We have learned to be careful about when and where to air them. 

~Generosity.  I have watched Dad give without second thought.  Without regret.  With a drive to let those he gives to know that he cares.  It is as small as letting me eat most of his avocado or watermelon after he worked to prepare it to as big as giving us huge gifts to bless our family and home.  I am his daughter but he is as generous with everyone.

~A love for seeing things or people meet their potential.  He loves seeing family do the very best with what they were given.  He hates talents untapped.

~Enjoyment of the smaller yet finer things in life.  All my life I have heard Dad have reveries of sitting outside on a beautiful day.  All. He. Needs.  Peace and quiet. 

~The last one brings to mind that Dad is the one that inspires my love of nature.  He loves it himself.  He hopes to preserve it and to be surrounded by it.  So do I.  He took me camping.  We went bike-riding.  We walked in our neighborhood.  I still meditate and pray better outdoors surrounded by God's creation. 

~Dad's brain is always spinning (sometimes a disadvantage, I imagine) but nothing keeps the brain young like a love of learning.  Lately, he is reading about nutrition and figuring out the latest technology.  I imagine he feels alive, a sense of purpose, and energized by learning new things.  It makes life interesting.  His love of learning is contagious.

~Common sense ain't so common!  Fortunately, Dad has an uncommon common sense.  I like to think I have his worldly sense and practicality. 

~Thinking and analyzing from lazy musings on life to acute and powerhouse problem-solving, Dad does it all.  Sometimes, this can be a hardship but it has many benefits, too.

~He conjured up a enjoyment of bike riding and swimming in me.  To think that there are kids out there who don't know how to do either--SO WRONG!

~Dad passed down a level of practicality that will put other peoples' normal and good amount of practicality to shame.  Efficiency is key.  You may be fast but if it isn't the fastest way than it is too slow.

I am very proud of who my Dad is.  I am proud of how he overcame huge obstacles in his history to be where he is today.  He has worked hard.  So, you will forgive me as I have taken some time to brag about him. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad!  I love you!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

random acts of violence

I haven't been in the writing mood lately.  At least, not when I had an opportunity to write.  I have been musing over facebook lately.  It has been on my mind, I suppose, because it has been a love/hate relationship recently.  Have you felt slighted on facebook yet?  Someone not respond timely or at all?  Did anyone 'like' your status post?  Did some outspoken person (or just a person who had an outspoken moment) write their opinion about a subject that pretty much told you how they felt about how you do A, B, or C?  Have you written an opinion and had an unexpected backlash of opinions to the contrary thereby leaving you feeling as if you were ganged up on?  I would say that if you have, then you have been a victim of Facebook syndrome.  Facebook gives people something to hide behind so they are more likely to say things without immediate face-to-face consequences.  Folks, it is getting ugly on my newsfeed sometimes.  People are writing things seemingly without thought and others speak up and full-on arguments explode on the screen.  I have had less and less desire to write anything on facebook.  I still think in facebook statements but I will feel way less inclined to use these statements.  Some folks are less responsible with how they use their statuses.  I have witnessed folks use this public forum to vent there anger at those they should be speaking to directly and privately.  I have witnessed passive aggression all over the place.  I cringe (or fume) when I read these.  It is too easy to write the vomit coming from your brain without thinking about the people miles away reading it. 

My love for facebook is/was based on an appreciation of feeling some sense of connection to people from my life, past and present.  I, personally, find it really hard to keep up with people and have only done so by phone with less than a handful.  I don't love talking on the phone--face to face is SO much better but alas, not always possible.  I loved hearing about people's lives on their newsfeed.  Y'know, even the small things in their life were interesting to me.  It feels somewhat intimate to know that you were late for class or that you had a less than perfect patience with your coworkers or children.  That is pretty deceptive sense of intimacy, though.  A status post is such a small part of what is actually happening in a person's life.  Yet, it is tempting to lock them in that box of "oh, there is the guy that says he hates people who have pets..." or "there is that woman who railed on the presidential candidate i like..."  

I think facebook does one of two things to people:  (1) they become less careful about what they say or (2) they become more careful.  After a few years, I can say that I am finally in the second group.  It doesn't feel as raw and real when I post (which feels more genuine to me) but I am not wanting to hurt others (like I probably already have) nor invite someone to hurt me.  I'll keep the real and the raw for those I truly trust.  I will keep the real and the raw for those who have been safe and available.  I am truly thankful that the facebook experience has taught me greater temperance in speech.  I can always use more of that. 

Oh, and by the way, I am in no way saying facebook is evil and should be abolished.  My view is much more balanced than that.  Facebook is as evil or good as the person behind the keyboard.  It can be such a great tool to connect, encourage, and support.  Unfortunately, there is a flip side to that coin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

part ii of bananas, bubbles, and brothers

Judah isn't really into opening presents.  But David definitely is!

Friday, May 11, 2012

bubbles, bananas, and brothers

We had a small celebration for David turning 3 and Judah turning 1.  We made it small with just family.  Fortunately, that now includes our new "neighbors" in Jackson, Michael and Meredith with their 5 sweet kids.  Those kids made David's day.  I have more pictures but will have to put them in a different post.  It won't let me add any more.  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012


After a bit of this (see prior post),

We did a bit of this.

I like the face he is making.  It is an adult expression on a little tot.  Funny.  Looks like he is thinking, "I hope she doesn't follow me.  She's weird."  When in actuality, he was following her.
 Here he met a friend (older brother to girl above).  They had a great time together.  He was a sweet playmate, even though he was 6 while mine was 3.

Went to play "Pooh sticks" on the bridge. 

let's go fly a kite

We spent Saturday afternoon at the park flying David's kite (thanks to Jiddo and Tehta). 

And after about ten minutes of this, he opted to play at the playground next door.  More pictures of that to come.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

rooting out evil

Did I write this post before?  I might have.  I'm too lazy to check.  However, I will write it just the same.  Perhaps something new will come out of it. 

I have been pulling up weeds in parts of our front yard to do small amounts of landscaping.  To be able to plant a few hostas, some serious pulling and digging needed to be done.  I love this work.  It is good for body and mind and soul.  As I use muscles that I don't normally use to lift heavy babies to free strange vines out of my ground, I ponder those verses that talk about the rooting out of evil. 

"Beware lest there be amoung you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, 'I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.'           Deuteronomy 29:18-19

"For behold, the day is coming urning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble.  the day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch."                        Malachi 4:1

Some of those strange plants have roots that have had ample opportunity to sink in deep.  They were allowed to grow and grow.  Thicker and thicker they became.  Rooting out evil and sin in our lives, sometimes requires some heavy digging.  Thankfully, there are some weeds that we pull soon enough that it comes up easily.  Hardly any toil or sweat to rake the ground free.  Yet, the others that were allowed to grow too long will cling tightly to the underground.  These are sins in our lives that we might not even realize when it started.  Of course, you could just cut it off at the top and give all appearances of its absence.  But it is there.  Growing.  Alive.  It is still affecting other areas of your garden.  Other beautiful plants are struggling to survive because that "invisible" weed is stealing its nutrients in order for it to grow more powerful.  To really rid your garden (are you getting that this is your life in this analogy, yet?  good.) of this power-hungry entity, it must be "rooted out".  How?  Digging deep.  It is laborious to dig deep into our lives to find the sin at its root.  Unlike weeding a garden, rooting sin in our lives takes courage.  We are so often afraid of what lies deep within those roots.  We are afraid to see the monster below.  We are afraid that we are unable to kill it.  I have had clients quit for fear of what they would find if they actually explored a particular area of their life.  I, myself, have shied away from "going there" with others for fear that I might not recover.  We all have turned blind eyes to the monsters below.  We all find our own distractions from uncovering those ugly roots.  Whether it is obsessing over other people's roots, drinking to ease the fear of the roots, avoiding anything root-related, it still looms and grows larger. 

I work in the garden and contemplate how my own issues are rooted out.  It is therapeutic to pull those roots and imagine them as my own healing and restoration to the person I was intended to be.  But can I possibly remove my own roots?  Well, I am definitely a part of that process.  Our Lord finds it in His good wisdom to allow our participation in these arduous tasks but the work is really His.  He is the gardener and we are the apprentice.  We learn about the rooting concept by watching our Mentor work the garden in our lives.   We read about His work in the garden of Peter, Paul, Mary Magdelene, and John.  We relate--most of us have experienced that kind of weeding in our garden.  It hurts but the results are glorious. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

myths about cosleeping

Cosleeping has been one of the best decisions we've made as parents.  However, as wonderful as it has been, we parents have gotten more flack for that than anything we've chosen to do with our kids.  It gets tiring.  I read a blog recently where a former classmate wrote about the myths of babywise. (If interested click here.  Please note that the blog is anti-babywise and is rather scathing.  Don't read it if you are pro-babywise because it will likely offend you.  I don't want you to be offended.  I like you.).  In kind, I thought I would write a mini-manifesto/myth-busting post about cosleeping.

myth #1:  cosleeping is dangerous.

Cosleeping is dangerous if you don't follow certain guidelines.  Parents who take medications that make them drowsy obviously shouldn't cosleep with an infant because they could roll over on the baby or not even hear the baby if it should whimper or cry.  Parents who are drunk should also not be in the bed with an infant.  Parents who are high on any drugs should not cosleep.  I could argue that these parents also should not have children but...I digress.  Just like with the guidelines for the crib mattress and bedding, the same goes for the parent's bed.  The bed should be firm so that the baby doesn't sink into the softness, thereby suffocating the baby.  Covers should be scarce.  Also, the side of the beds should have something to prevent the baby from falling.  When all of these are taken care of, then what you have is a SAFER sleeping arrangement than separate bedrooms.  I have often woken up in the middle of the night to see that my baby has a high fever and needs to be cooled immediately to bring it down.  I have been with my baby when he started choking on something that he had in his mouth from earlier in the evening that we didn't realize was there until the wee hours of the morning.  I shudder to think what would have happened if I was not near my little babe.  Then there is the issue of SIDS (for those who don't know, SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  The exact causes are unclear but the risks are DECREASED when a mama breastfeeds and cosleeps.  THAT'S RIGHT!!!  DECREASED WHEN BREASTFEEDING AND COSLEEPING!  Why is this?  Well, a couple of reasons.  One is the baby and mama usually face each other.  Mama's exhalations of carbon dioxide help to stimulate the breathing of the infant.  Also, the heartbeat of the mama will encourage an infant's heart to also beat.  What is fascinating is that often a baby's heartbeat will be in sync with the mama's.  Their sleep/wake cycles also are in tune. 

myth #2:  cosleeping makes you lose sleep

Ok, you are a parent of an infant.  You are going to lose sleep no matter which way you turn it.  Unless you are a baby-wise person and that's a different ballgame.  I am not a babywise person.  There happens to be an unnatural obsession with parents trying to sleep through the night.  I'm saying that as a person who really does require 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night AND who is uncommonly grouchy when I don't get it.  It feels like torture to be sleepy.  My accepting that part of this stage of life means that I will be awakened in the middle of the night.  However, I would be losing a whole lot more sleep if I were getting up in the middle of the night to feed my infant.  As a cosleeper, I am stirred by the slightest hint of my baby's hunger.  I am so in tune with my baby that I might even wake up before he does.  I feed him before he goes into a full cry.  He settles back to sleep easily and I am back to sleep in no time at all.  That very much beats getting out of my cozy covers to a child who is waking up more and more and crying more and more. Thereby, leaving me more work to bed the child again. 

My personal experience is that I felt very unnatural not touching my baby in some way in the first few months of his life.  If I wasn't touching him, I was not able to sleep.  Therefore, sleeping and cuddling with my sweet infant was crucial to a goodnight's sleep.  I was aware of him constantly through the night.  So, I would argue that in my case, I definitely sleep better with him in the bed.  What about my husband's sleep?  Well, if our baby was in the other room in a crib, I'm pretty sure that David would have to get out of bed too.  Believe me, he is sleeping better, too.

myth #3:  cosleeping hurts your marriage

If you don't like to read or discuss sex, then read no further.  Cosleeping can hurt your marriage if one of the partners is not on board with the arrangement.  I have known many friends who have issues with their spouses over this very issue (among other parenting issues).  David and I are in agreement.  I resent when others assume that this is my decision and that David had no choice in it whatsoever.  That idea doesn't say much about David's ability to stand up for his opinions and for my ability to submit to him.  We are both in on this together. 

I also happen to resent anyone who would want to take away this joy of cosleeping with my little ones.  They will not be little forever.  It is a beautiful time of cuddles and bonding that can't be found in any other stage of their life.  I cherish it.  David cherishes it.  We both will miss it when it is over. 

As for the s-word.  (That's right--sex!)  I am not sure why people suppose that just because children are in your bed that somehow sex is impossible.  It is NOT impossible.  It does require a little creativity and flexibility with location.  And some marriages could use a little spice in the creativity and location department of their sex lives.  So, if you want to assume that cosleepers don't get to do the wild thing, than you assume that the bed and at night are the only times to  have sex.  If that is true, than I feel sorry for you.  I suppose there are marriages that use children sleeping in the bed as a wedge between the spouses.  However, children in the bed are not the reason they aren't having sex.  It is just the excuse they use to avoid sex with their spouse.  See the difference?

myth #4:  cosleeping is a new thing

Wow, if anything is new it is the idea that your baby should be in a different bed and even more so have an entire room devoted it.  That baby doesn't want its own room!  That baby wants nothing but mama in that first year.  The rest of the world has been sleeping with their young for centuries.  Leave it to modern (read: out of touch with what is natural) society to promote the idea that our babies should be completely severed from their parents in order to be a healthy family. 

Cosleeping has been a privilege and a pleasure.  Not all of it is easy.  I'm used to it with Judah but I remember nights with lil' David when I just wanted to put my arm down.  Small irritant to an overall beneficial situation.  More than a privilege and a pleasure--it was necessary for sleeping and surviving infanthood.  If you approach me with questions about this particular part of our lives, I am open to discussing it.  If you are hoping to change my mind about it than you will be hitting your head against the proverbial wall.  Do us both a favor and don't bring it up, if that is the case.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

details of life

Much of February and so far, March, has been living life.  There hasn't been a lot of time to reflect on life enough to write a blog post.  I am sorry that the momentum I had going earlier in the year seems to have dissapated because of life.  Projects and plans abound but life has its own schedule.  I want to get to those projects to beautify our home or just make it plain ol' functional but have to squeeze it between the needs of my family and other priorities.  Not complaining, just observing.  Every bit of time in our week days and weekends have a purpose.  It is pretty tight.  It is most definitely a busy time of life.  I felt this kind of busyness with grad school.  Although, I don't have to tell you that this is different since my "classmates" are my children.  And my "homework" are domestic chores.  I don't really feel like catching everyone up on all the details of this life.  I just wanted to blog for blogging's sake.  Oh but here is a thought-- In order to achieve balance in our lives that means we have to say no to a lot.  Balance in the busyness means prioritizing.  Our priorities are sometimes different from your priorities.  We will let the cleaning go so that we can have a family walk.  We'll let the dishes go so we can have some relaxation time.  This is the balance we need.  It isn't always possible but we work toward it.  We make the time we need for the good things in life like family connection.  Again, it is a work in progress.  There are weeks where we look up and realize that our spouse is a stranger and then we take our noses out of the grindstone and take some time to look at each other (go on a date, watch some quality tv. ;))  So, sometimes when we are busy we are busy bringing balance and fellowship into our family.  Good stuff. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

an itty bitty update

I have yet to see a stone but according to a recent x-ray that troublesome stone is sitting pretty in my bladder.  I don't mind, as long as the pain is gone.  The doctor reports that the pain is pretty much gone once it has reached the bladder so....YIPPEE!  I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy.  It is like labor of child without a child.  Phew.  Once it is out, I will show it to the doc who will then tell me how I got it.  My dad gets them but it could also be due to not keeping hydrated enough through all the breastfeeding that I do. 

Again, thank you to everyone helped us.  Those are things we hide in our hearts that warm our souls! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

David and Guitta: November 3, 2005

I don't think that I mentioned in the Prequel that Twin Lakes is a Christian ministry of First Presbyterian Church that has young campers during the summer and hosts different groups during the year.  Working as a host, which both David and I did, requires one weekend a month to "host" a group by welcoming them, helping them be comfortable, setting up bonfires, working the ropes courses (high and low), and helping with and cleaning up after meals.  It is a magical and wonderful place for campers and staff alike.  David worked there for years during summer camp before he became a host.  He was pretty well-known over there.

That November 3rd morning probably around 8am, it was a little slow and I was sitting on the porch swing of the front office.  I was chatting with one of the guests, just shooting the breeze.  This guy walked up with the staff shirt on.  What I remember was that he had a grim look about him.  He had a 5 o'clock shadow and his lips were thinset and seemed rather reserved.  I was in cheerful staff mode and asked him if he was David and shook his hand.  He was friendly.  He checked-in and returned to the porch and sat with me and the other male guest.  We all chatted for awhile.  I don't remember much of what we talked about.  It came up that he was one of 11.  We talked about Irish music, Fenians, and the Celtic Fest.  Then, we set about separately to take care of some tasks that needed doing.  Once again, there was a lull and I sat on the front porch again.  It was November but a Mississippi November where it felt like spring.  It was a gorgeous day and I was enjoying the mild temperatures.  David drove by the office, saw me, and then backed up and parked the golfcart.  He came to sit with me again.  I started to wonder then if he was maybe interested but I didn't think too hard about it.  I remained casual rather than becoming weird (which I have done in the past--see the post about wonderwoman and charlies angels).  We talked some more.  Then it was time to help with lunch.  We headed that way and continued our conversations in between working and getting the glasses and ice out and prepping the tables.  He seemed to me to be a little more eager to work hard.  He also seemed a little nervous.  Again, I noted it but didn't obsess over it.  It isn't like I thought anything would come of it.  After serving lunch, the staff all sat together on the dining room porch to eat.  David and I talked most of the time.   The part of the conversation that I do remember from that time was me saying in response to how many nieces and nephews he had that I would never be an aunt because I was an only child.  He said, quite prophetically, that I might marry someone with a lot of nieces and nephews and then I could be aunt.  Indeed, David.  Indeed.  (P.S.  I love being an aunt to so many precious kids!)

I was only working through early afternoon on that day.  I ran into David at the front office (where the porch swing was) and told him it was nice meeting him and hopefully we could work again together.  I turned and walked inside to check-out.

He was surprised and said, "You're leaving?"

"Yeah, I'm only working a half-day today."  Then came a very awkward few moments between us. 

David said, "Well, hey, would you be interested in going to see the Boundstreet band at Fenian's when they play thursday after next?" 

I remember turning to face him with an internal smile on my face.  The inward smile was about me realizing that this boy was interested.  However, given my history with boys who weren't clear, I had my guard up.  Was he wanting to hang out with a bunch of friends of his and invite me along as a chum?  Was he asking me for a date?  If he were asking me for a date, wouldn't he ask for my number?  It wasn't clear.  Obviously, at that point I wasn't acquainted with David's Hogueness.  What I mean by Hogueness was that there are a lot of vague phrases that some of the Hogues use to fill in spots for real words or opinions, such as "Y'know".  I've heard sentences like, "I'm not sure, y'know, about that, y'know."  The stronger the negative emotion, the less clear some Hogues are.  It is kinda funny.  Anyway, I digress.  I started to feel David out to figure out what exactly he was asking me.  "Did you want me to meet you there?"  This question was to figure out if this was date. 

His reply did not clear things up.  "I can pick you up, if you want." 

IF I WANT?  Well, now was he trying to be friendly by offering to pick me up but originally wasn't planning to?  Or was he planning to pick me up in the first place? 

I said, "Well, I live all the way in Clinton, and you are in Belhaven (right next to Fenian's).  You don't want to drive all that way.  I can meet you."  I think that I offered this because I didn't want someone to go out of their way for me because it may put them out.  I supposed my inconveniencing him would turn him off.

"I don't mind." he says.

"I would feel bad with you coming all that way."

"It's ok."

At this point, David confides later that he wasn't sure if I was interested in a date or not by those questions that I was asking.  So, my confusion and his confusion led to that fateful awkward moment.
I wasn't getting anywhere with feeling him out.  I wondered if he was going to ask for my number.  If this was a serious invitation he would need my number, right?  I was already feeling sufficiently awkward and vulnerable.  I don't remember how he got my number but he did eventually ask for it but I may have said, "Do you need my number?"  I'm not sure.  I think what happened that my husband who is slow speak was taking a long time to ask for the number.  Me, who is too quick to speak, and whose brain just works superfast, beat him to the punch.  Later on in our relationship, I learned that David's silence was not always hesitation but him constructing his words carefully.  I just had to learn patience to wait for those words. 

I got in the car on my way home and thought, "Huh.  How about that?  I think I was asked on a date."

mercies are new every morning

UPDATE:  I'm still in hospital but I am pretty sure that I am going to insist on going home today.  They will have to do some serious convincing in order to keep me here another night.  Yesterday, we were waiting to make the decision about going home based on the assessment from the urologist that we were were told would come yesterday afternoon.  Lo and behold, he never came.  GRRRRR!  Today, we wait...again.  Telling the nurses what we are waiting for doesn't seem to help much.  They seem as powerless as we are to get the doctors over here.  It is nothing short of infuriating.  I haven't had pain for awhile and could've gone home yesterday and been a help to my family.  I think I will take my chances with the pain meds they send me home with for the next stage of this kidney stone passing.  Thank you for all of the messages and prayers.  We are grateful for them.  Pray for David mostly.  He is tired trying to care for our sick baby without the help of breastfeeding as comfort.  Neither of them are sleeping well at night because of it.  Hopefully, this will be remedied tonight. 

My mood is better this morning and it probably has to do with some good sleep and eating my first (small) meal since lunch on thursday.  Our circumstances aren't fun but I'm not as overwhelmed by it as last night.   Again, thanks for your well-wishes and prayers!

Friday, February 17, 2012

sick and guilty

For some reason, even when I was little girl, anytime I was sick and I had to go to the doctor I felt so guilty for how much my parents had to pay.  And now I am in the hospital with a kidney stone, and I am feeling so guilty about what is likely to be a huge hospital bill.  I feel guilty that I'm here, in and out of consciousness (because of the meds) while my husband struggles to be single parent.  I feel guilty that I'm depriving my children of their mother.  I am "pumping and dumping" with the narcotics and then pumping for more breastmilk after that for Judah.  My sweet Judah is sick with RSV and David is having to handle it mostly on his own.  I try to tell myself that I am no use at home.  It is true that if I were home, I would be laying down on a couch or bed and sleeping through the medication.  We both decided last night that it would be best to stay overnight in the hospital because of the level of care I could receive plus more powerful drugs.  FYI:  I had babies and a kidney stone (at least one of this size) feels as painful as labor and delivery.  I also have a pretty small threshold for pain. 

The boys came to my room today and they all looked healthy and relatively happy.  It was a hard night for all of us.  I didn't get to sleep until 2am and began to have more pain at 5am.  Sleep has come off and on since then.  Judah was wired from the breathing treatments and did not sleep well therefore David did not either.  What a mess!

However, what I see is that we are making it.  No, it isn't comfortable.  No, we are not having fun.  Yes, my family is separated and it isn't ideal all around.  However, we are still making it.  It is doable.  It is manageable.  I asked David months ago what would happen if one of us needed to go to the ER in the middle of the night.  How would we manage?  Who would watch the kids?  What about nursing my baby?  Well, my fear was realized and I learned that, though it is tough, we are doing it.  We are living through it.  We've relied on our neighbor who came to sit in our house while david jr. slept.  She sweetly picked up our living room and washed our dishes.  What a ministry to us!  She even came over this morning and checked on us.  We've had numerous offers from folks to help us through this difficulty.  I am thankful to see that people were so willing to help.  Thanks to all of you who reached out to me and reached out to David.  The offers mean a lot.

We need prayer for Judah's sickness, David caring for him and our toddler, and prayer that this stone will pass sooner rather than later, and that the Lord will provide the means to pay for these bills when they come.  The bills weigh heavily on my heart but I need to give that over to the Lord and not carry that burden.  I guess our tax refunds will come in handy once we get that taken care of.  It is hard to see that money go before we even get it because we had other plans for that money.  Not even money to play around with but money to replace our coil on our much needed air conditioner (repairmen make A LOT of money--if you don't know what to do with your life, become a plumber, electrician, or AC repairman) 

Alright, I am done whining.  I will trust the Lord.  He is worthy!  He also has a history of coming through for us.  I don't feel like editing because my brain feels fuzzy, so excuse my grammatical errors.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

David and Guitta: the prequel

Awhile back (was it a year ago?) my friend, Paula La (see the La family blog on the right hand side of this blog) gave a wonderfully written story of she and her husband (also our friend), Tuan.  David and I had so much fun reading it.  I was inspired to write our story too.  Afterall, I didn't have a blog at the time.  I also didn't have facebook.  So, except for a scrapbook that I started and won't finish until our last child leaves the nest, I don't have this information ANYWHERE but in my head.  So, in the name of Saint Valentine, and my own valentine, I will write *our* story. 

Every good story needs build up.  You need to know its characters and their history before understanding their decisions in the present day.  So here is a history (albeit relatively short).

David was born on August 28 in the year 1980....just kidding.

The year before David and Guitta became "David & Guitta", David was finishing up his final year at LSU.  He dated a nice Christian girl in 2004 for no more than 6 months long distance. They didn't see each other frequently and eventually he decided to break it off with her, realizing she was still unsure of how she felt about him and seemed to want something else.  At the end of his fall semester of 2004, he began having panic attacks.  That was the cost of pushing his nose to the grindstone without looking up and smelling the roses.  On top of that stress, he was wondering about where he was going to work.  Eventually, he recovered from the panic attacks and moved to Jackson, MS to work as a Latin teacher at Jackson Preparatory School (where he still teaches 6 years later).  He also decided to work at Twin Lakes Conference Center as a host.

As David was battling his last few semesters of LSU, I was graduating from Reformed Theological Seminary with a masters in marriage and family therapy.  I was single.  Always had been.  I have had friends who were boys (nothing but confusing) but no boyfriends.  By that time, I was convinced that I didn't want another ambiguous "friendship" with a boy.  It was too hard on my heart.  I couldn't take it.  I needed someone forthright.  I needed someone to step up to the plate and be clear about what his intentions.  I often said that when boys are confused about how they feel about a girl, you can be sure that the girl is drowning in confusion.  Confusion, in this case, is contagious.  I was fed up.  Yet, I was becoming less guarded and more relaxed around those who I would potentially date. 

In my class at RTS, all the guys were so kind and sweet--like the amazing older brothers and younger brothers that I've always wanted.  One in particular, John Fikkert, went above and beyond to be sweet.  It wasn't confusing.  He was my brother-in-Christ.  He was persuing another friend on campus at the time so I guess that helped clear the confusion.  He paid attention to what was going on with me and took the time.  It spoke volumes to me.  I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that he was one of the powerful forces that helped me to realize on a gut level (not just an intellectual level) that I was beloved by the Lord.  A lot of the guys at RTS were very different from any guys I had ever met.  Kind, sensitive, and engaging.  John was also that.  So during my second year, John and I worked with several clients together.  We worked on several class projects together as well as anytime I could help it, sat next to him in every class I could manage.  He was such a safe and amazing person to me.  I loved him in such a brotherly way.   This particular person was quiet and most comfortable being so.  He was intelligent and funny but not a talker.  As it turns out, I am.  When I am comfortable, in good spirits, feeling secure, and in the company of people that are safe--I will talk your ear off.  He brought out all of these in me.  This is important because it brought to my attention a personality that worked well with mine-a personality that brought out my truest self. 

I graduated from RTS and began working.  I was enjoying my single life.  I wasn't lonely.  In fact, I was beginning to wonder if I really wanted to be married.  I was up close and personal with a couple that for all appearances seemed healthy and happy but upon further investigation was falling apart and completely unhappy.  Well, that causes a girl to lose faith in relationships.  I was fearful of living in misery with a husband.  And lets not forget that I was in the business where I would often be confronted with broken marriages.  Nonetheless, I was at an alltime closeness with the Lord.  I had never had, before then, been in such intimate relationship with Him.  It was/is the true love story of my life (and another post entirely).  I began working in Vicksburg (traveling from Clinton) to be an outpatient therapist at the community mental health center.  I was planning on working there long enough to get my hours so that I could apply for licensure.  I was also hoping to teach and do private practice.  I knew that I needed variety in order to be content working fulltime--so I was hoping to work parttime in a couple of areas.  Timing seemed to be the important factor left. 

Around the same time I started working as an outpatient therapist, I began to take a serious look at my finances.  I was living on my own for the first time.  I had my own apartment, a job and the obvious bills.  Well, I realized that I needed extra income in order for me not to live outside my means.  My good friend, Jenny, pointed me to Twin Lakes.  I applied and interviewed with Step Morgan (who, along with his wife, turned out to be good friends of mine.  In fact, met lots of great friends there.)  I worked for a year and then the same friend, Jenny, told me about a new guy who was working at TL who I would enjoy working with.  She didn't say much more than that.    She said he was quiet and intellectual.  I filed it away in my head as a person I would look forward to meeting and that was it. 

That fall, Hurricane Katrina shook up my world (more so my parents' world).  I was standing in front of my parents' ruined house as I called TL to return a phone call to Step.  I ended up talking to David.  He had a friendly voice and he was the one who told me that Step had left TL (which is why Step called).  I told him that I looked forward to working with him one day. 

Then on that fateful day, November 3rd, we both worked at Twin Lakes...
(to be continued)

NOTE TO DAVID:  Happy Valentine's Day, my Beloved.  I am overjoyed to see "that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."  I love you immensely!

Monday, February 13, 2012


I haven't written in a week.  It is for a strange reason, too.  I am surprised to see what a difference it makes to move my laptop to my dining room table.  Before, the laptop sat upon my sofa cushion or was balanced on sofa's arm.  So, anytime I sat down to nurse or just take a breather I was on the computer.  It constantly beckoned me.  However, ever since gatorade was spilled on the keyboard, we moved our laptop (alias: porthole to the outside world, photo album, and creative outlet) to the dining room table to fix it.  We unscrewed all the unscrewables and set it upside down on a towel in hopes of drying it out.  Thankfully, the next day the laptop turned on again.  We haven't moved it since because we were both realizing just how important this piece of equipment is to us (not to mention, how expensive it would be to replace).  We certainly don't want to risk putting it anywhere that it may get destroyed again.  Since then, when I am in the living room, I don't automatically plug into the computer.  I am sitting on the floor with my children.  I am sitting on the couch watching them.  I don't get irritated when they come to me because they've interrupted my task on the computer.  I'm way more present in that room.  When I have some free moments, I will head to the dining room.  It is usually when Judah has gone down for a nap that I will be able to play on the computer, like I am now.  All that happened is that my laptop moved a few feet and I am playing more with my children, less irritated with them, and wasting less time online.  That has been one of the main reasons I haven't blogged this week. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

back in the saddle

Today I had the privilege of teaching some ladies about marital communication.  It was so fun for me to prepare for this little opportunity.  I got to pour over some books that I haven't picked up in ages.  I love that information and the time of life that this information represents.  I wholeheartedly believe in the value of learning the practical side of communicating.  It feels strange and awkward for folks at first.  It is so new!  It is like learning a new language, and that will always be weird for the tongue.  I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have good talking and listening skills.  I internally cringe when I hear communication failure.  I have witnessed it A LOT (and probably participated more times than I'm proud of)!  It is a skill worth gaining.  It is a skill that helps you to love others well.  Our words have such potential.  They have the potential of bringing the receiver such beauty, encouragement, and strength.  They also have the potential of knocking a person down in a veritable tornado of shame, guilt, and pain.  Both have long term effects.  You can probably remember something someone said to you 20 years ago, for better or worse, that you still remember.  I know I do.  I am tempted to put that information I put together for those ladies on the blog just in case you wives and husbands out there need a refresher or a quick and basic first lesson--whichever the case may be. 

That time in graduate school was a mountaintop experience.  Changes were radical and the friendships were/are precious.  The Lord was near. I KNEW that I was exactly where I needed to be.  I look through my old books and remember sitting in class and feeling mesmerized by every single thing that came out of Dr. R's mouth.  I also remember feeling confused with every single thing Dr. Hurley said but that got better with each class I took with him.  I remember the camaraderie.  I remember rallying around those who had a tough day or client.  I remember being rallied around.  There was a tremendous amount of love and support to be had behind those walls.  I loved them all and then I got to live amongst some awesome, God-fearing folks on campus.  It wasn't all easy but it was all beautiful!  I read about the awareness wheel and remember practicing with a partner in class those very skills that we tried to teach our clients.  I am still passionate about these skills.  I am still passionate about therapy.  I am still passionate about the Lord's transforming grace!  I will forever be thankful to the Lord for such a time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

grace and mercy at Sam's wholesale

This Monday we had a flat tire.  It was like salt on the wound after the weekend we had.  It was more complicated than just a flat tire.  It was our first flat tire where we discovered that we didn't have the tool that loosens the lug nuts.  For some reason, it wasn't with the van.  This was, of course, after I drove a short distance on a completely deflated tire, David left Judah with the neighbors, David came to meet us (David Jr. and me), transferred the car seats, and endeavored to conquer said tire.  Still not a big deal until it was proposed that I had to put very sleepy and grumpy children who just needed to let their head hit a pillow into the car to rescue David.  We then discovered that we lost our Sam's card--the one we originally had and the other one we got when we thought we lost the first one. 

After David prayed this morning, I found the first (original) Sam's card underneath the toaster oven.  I don't know either.  *shrug*.  Then the kids and I blazed a trail (OK, it was more like inched our way on a barely-there spare) to Sam's.  We had to buy a new tire (gulp) but it did not take forever to fix as it usually does.  Both children were happy.  Judah was in the sling and David in the basket.  We did some grocery shopping, enjoyed a nice and early pizza lunch there, and then the tire was fixed.  No meltdowns.  No desperate mother looking for something to distract my toddler, no fussy baby.  On top of that, as I was loading my vehicle with my purchases, a nice older gentleman offered to help put some groceries in the van. 
I told all of these things to David Sr. and he was so grateful and praised the Lord.  He was concerned about me having to wait in line while at Sam's to get a replacement card (remember we had to do this before and it took a long time--for our kids it felt like eternity) and he was concerned about the wait for the vehicle.  He prayed specifically that it would go well at Sam's and that people would be around to help me.  And they were.  After the groceries were loaded, the mechanic came out to check to make sure I knew where the spare was supposed to be.  Very friendly.  It was also above and beyond his duties.  I'm thankful to know that David prays for me.  But I am even more thankful that the Lord answers those prayers concerning me.  He loves me and David enough to care for us in even these small matters.   Nothing is too small (or too large) for our Lord. 

the english call it a garden

What a lovely name, garden, for what is seen outside my back door.  Our yard is a mess!  It doesn't help that it is a dreary january day with not a sun ray in sight and the ground wet and muddy. 


However, even on the sunniest day our backyard looks like something you might see in a low-income trailer park.  Our yard already lacks character with it's squareness and plantless existence.  We have a fence.  That's all.  A fence.  Someone else's pecan tree provides some shade in the back during the summer months but that is where the points of interest begins and ends.  It needs help.  But most help comes with a price tag.  Even if these wanna-be DIYers just wanted to buy the materials and do work ourselves (which is the likelier option), it will cost.  Having a house and making the changes we want to make is an exercise in patience.  We can't do it all at once.  Sometimes I am ok with that waiting and sometimes I'm not.

 For now, I will figure out a system for putting away all those toys strewn about (just to be strewn about again).  And save some money for some plants.  I did get some pretty pots with some of my Christmas money.  I should've taken a picture of those too.  I wonder if other people with kids have toys all over the place, too.  Inside toys end up outside (i.e. electronic/battery-operated toys and stuffed animals) while outside toys end up inside (i.e. tricycles, big balls).  

Changes happen.  They just happen slowly.  We have cute patio lights up.  I've hung some iron decor on the brick.  I have a tablecloth covering the ugly patio table.  It is coming along.   I suppose the same can be said for my sanctification.  I am growing.  Most of the time, the growth happens before my very eyes but it is so slight that it cannot be detected but in a year's time or ten year's time.  Like plants and trees.  (Thanks, Dr. R, for that analogy that I will never forget!).  So, I hope the branch that represents patience will continue to grow.  How will it grow?  With opportunities to wait. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

almost 24 hours later....

Last night, the nursing strike ended with both us parents rejoicing.  We had a tired but happy Judah back and were so thankful to see, what we think, is the end of his sickness.  "It is always darkest before the dawn."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

motherhood ain't for sissies!

We have had one of the hardest few days than we have had in a long time.  Both our children have been sick but the younger one was having it really bad with some wheezing, congestion, and fever.  Not so bad that we needed breathing treatments but enough to worry a mama.  His irritability has been off the charts.  The hardest part has been that he has gone on, what is known in the breastfeeding community, as a nursing strike.  This is when a baby, usually between 3 and 8 months will refuse the breast due to congestion, earache and/or teething.  He is hungry and wants the comfort of nursing but has associated suffocating with the breast.  It has been SO HARD.  Crying nonstop for hours without being able to help him.  He would fall asleep only to easily wake up again and more upset than how he started.  He refuses to be put down and so we are holding and trying our best to comfort him. 

I was a pressure cooker.  That pressure and exhaustion was building and building and I could feel it.  While holding him in the bathroom with the water running, I began some water works of my own.  David came in and took him and I continued my cries for a few minutes.  Cathartic.  I felt a little better.  Better to cry than combust, I always say (ok, so I've never said that but I'm gonna start!).   The couple of tricks to help a nursing baby who isn't nursing to nurse (how is that for a sentence?) is to catch them when they are semi-conscious, like right before falling into a deep sleep.  Judah has latched on during those times when I am laying him on the bed for a nap.  Also, feeding him breastmilk through a medicine dropper.  Why not a bottle you ask?  Well, at this point a bottle might promote weaning, and Judah is not wanting to wean.  Babies under 1 year old will not self-wean, usually.  If he were, it would be gradual and without all the screaming.  So, there you go.  Right now, he is uncomfortable nursing while congested.  I hope that by Monday, when I am alone with the kids again that Judah will be more himself and nursing normally.  Strikes can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks (yikes!).

David and I feel as if we have taken a beating this week.  One thing after another has rained on us and we have been battered and bruised.  Therefore, we are tired.  We will likely hole up for awhile just to get our heads cleared and on straight.  We are thankful for the pieces of grace we have gotten.  For example, Judah napping, our computer not breaking when juice was spilled on it, no anxiety, a breastpump that works without batteries ;), and some beautiful sunny days (it always helps a little).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas cheer!

January is just about over but I thought I would post some Christmas photos.  They make me smile.  I hope they make you smile, too. 

 I have started calling Judah "my squishy".  I got the idea from Finding Nemo.  Sometimes, I accidently say, "my smooshy" but it still just as cute.

Rare moment where both are looking in similar directions and posing.  I'm pretty sure that Judah was trying to eat something on David.  David was tolerating it fairly well.
They are not quite at the age where they are playing together but for very VERY brief moments.  Here is one of those moments where they have a few minutes of interaction. 

David made himself a little fort next to the Christmas tree.  It is what childhood is made of.  Am I right?  I always wanted my little private cozy corner.  If I were a kid, this little spot would have been awesome with its prime location, warm climate, and excellent views. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

updates on my two boys

David is...

Christmas morning turned David the toddler into David the Superhero!
      ...talking so well.  We hear words that we know we never covered with him deliberately.  It is a delight to have a conversation.  When we don't understand what he is saying he will be as slow and clear as possible to communicate to us.  I can see the wheels turning in his mind as he tries his darndest to articulate the word in a way we will understand.  Sometimes it helps!  Sometimes it doesn't however we are delighted to hear his little voice and see what parts of his surroundings are catching his attention.
        ...obsessed with Rugrats cartoons lately.  It is a struggle to get him to watch anything other than the "bayies" ("babies"). 
      ...loves to play with children.  He is so social at times.  If there is another kid, he wants to stand very close to them.  He wants to play "chase" and "waise" (race) them.  Other, more timid children, aren't sure what to do with this child who looks as though he is about to charge them but stops just short of touching them.  It is so cute and I so want those other kids to respond in kind.
     ...a teaser.  He will ask for things even though he knows the answer is "no" just to get a laugh.  You can tell he is teasing because he has this certain grin on his face that gives it away. 
     ...still into cars and dinosaurs.
     ...enjoys jumping off the bed onto his mattress on the floor.  He'll say, "Jump, mommy!" and get to the edge and want me to count.  I can't believe what a big boy he is.  So precious to me.

Judah is
      ...close to walking.  He can stand for a second or two on his own. 
      ...a smiler.  He will smile at anyone.  Those smiles are rays of sunshine to me.
      ...more intense than we thought.  As Judah has become more mobile he has had more opportunity to get bumps and bruises while exploring.  When he gets hurt, he screams.  And screams.  And screams.  David, who is our typically intense guy, was easily consoled with nursing.  Judah does not want milk.  He wants to scream.  Once he is done screaming, he will then be calm enough to nurse.  It is almost comical if it weren't sad that he got hurt.
       ...loving solid foods.  I waited to introduce foods to Judah because David was not really interested in solids until 9 or so months.  Well, Judah is 9 months last week and we have been on a roll.  It was like a switch was flipped and he wanted to eat it all.  Right now, he eats what we eat as long as it is mushy enough for his few teeth to chomp on.  He has tried beans, rice, sausage, pepperoni, grits, corn, sweet potato, potato, avocado, banana, mustard greens, smoothies (homemade), yogurt, multi-grain cheerios (trying to increase his iron and FYI-  multi-grain cheerios has 45% iron.  that is pretty impressive).  He basically has eaten what has been on our plate.  Therefore his range of foods has been much wider than David's at this point.  The reason we did this was because I was trying a process called baby-led feeding.  So far, it has been a good thing--and easier. 
Is that really my hand??  It looks like an old woman's. 
        ...loves baths.  He is now taking baths with his brother and it is so darn cute.  Both of them will wait by the tub in their diapers watching the water fill.  Once he hits the water, he is just all over the place with excitement.  So adorable.  (David Jr. has been gracious to allow Judah into his bathtimes when it has been needed).
        ...going through separation anxiety.  He is very aware of where I am or where his daddy is.  He will follow us room to room, usually with a cry of panic until we pick him up (which is promptly).  It isn't fun but at least I know that this stage is a great sign that he has a healthy attachment to us. his daddy.  David Jr. didn't have such a strong desire to be with his daddy as Judah seems to have.  He loves seeing him when he comes in the room and will reach out to him.  It is darling.  I know it makes daddy feel good. 
      ...getting better at feeding himself.  If it is big enough, he can easily pick up a piece of food and bring it to his mouth.