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.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Achtung, College and Grad Students!

Sure, you were up ALL night writing a 25 page paper about the fundamentals of whatchamicallit and whoduzzit.  You have more break outs on your face than you did at 16 years old.  You gained a good 10 pounds from all those late-night study sessions at the IHOP.  And who invented the 8am class?  Or the 8am client??  Then you had to sit through a 3 hour lecture on that subject....yeah, that one.  However, don't ya'll miss some parts of being a student?  I know I do.  I know David does.  Ok, David IS a student but he missed being a student like he was at LSU--y'know, single.  (Yes, yes, he loves me and loves being married but he is allowed to miss parts of single life just like I am). 

I am writing this particular post at the local coffee shop.  I'm sitting in a comfy chair with my laptop (appropriately named) on my lap.  I have a strawberry italian cream soda on a cute little table next to me.  Around me are a few people here to visit and catch up.  But I also have students around me.  Ok, and they don't look thrilled to be there.  But there may be a time in their busy futures where they will look back and go--Ahhh, those days were fun.  I rarely, and I mean RARELY, get the opportunity to sit in a coffeeshop by myself and just play online.  It is WONDERFUL!!!  I won't lie.  I don't have to divide my attention.  I can completely and unapologetically focus.  Does it matter what it is on?  No, the focusing is what is luxurious.  I'm a terrible multi-tasker but am forced to try while mothering two youngsters and taking care of housework.  As a student, I spent oodles and oodles of time in coffee shops and bookstores and restaurants studying.  Sometimes, I went with the excuse of studying but I really just wanted a change of scenery or to be around the hustle and bustle.  (I've never been the type to enjoy sitting in a quiet room or library to work.)  It is relaxing to be here.  Life is going on around me yet I'm allowed the luxury to focus.  I'm basking in it. 

Another part of academia that is missed is that there were ministries specifically focused on your stage of life.  RUF, anyone?  If you aren't the Reformed University Fellowship type, then try Campus Crusade, or Baptist Student Union.    All of these were geared and designed to walk alongside the student and all of their joys and struggles.  No one is there after graduation walking with you through the hard stuff like, "what am I going to do with my life?" or "why don't I get more than two days off for Christmas?" and "What?  No spring break??  Who made these rules??".  Also, when in school you have this built-in community (for better or worse).  After graduation can be a rather lonely place.  No campus ministers are calling.  No friends that live "just down the hall".  No buddy to have "peer reviews" with over clients (what?  you didn't do those in grad school?  just me? ok.) 

So thankful for the experience that is school.  There really is nothing like it.  I'm also super thankful for my present life being married with children.  But I will enjoy an occasional afternoon with my laptop at a coffee shop.  Cheers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

craigslist folly

Craigslist is a fabulous tool that I have used often.  I am daily looking for deals on items that I am hoping to score.  That is how we found our minivan.  It is also how we sold our car.  Our washing machine broke recently and within a couple of days we replaced it with a working $75 replacement.  A deal!!   Lately, I've been hunting for a sofa or a couple of chairs (or both) for our living room.  Our sofa and loveseat have run their course.  They have served my parents and then me for longer than ten years.  Not only are they showing much wear and tear (stains galore and tears threatening to widen) but our couch is rather uncomfortable because it has lost its shape.  There is a hole by the arm that leads to the space below the cushions.  We often have to stick our hand in it to find remotes, important papers, or books.  It is scary sticking your hand in there, feeling unsure of what your hand might touch.  We shudder to think about it.  I think we will donate them to salvation army.  If we sold it at a garage sale, I think we would ask for $20 or something like that. 

As I peruse the furniture lists of craigslist, I am flabbergasted at what people think their furniture will go for.  What are people thinking?!?  Ok, I can probably tell you what people are thinking.  If you ever had a garage sale, than you can probably relate.  As you are pricing items, especially if you need the money, you want to get the most that a person is likely to pay for an item.  So a little desperation and greed has you raising the price--justifying that the item is worth it to someone.  Also, how much the seller paid for it, seems to be a part in the equation.  Throw a little sentiment and nostalgia and you got a very old and ugly couch going for $200.  Seeing as I can get a new couch AND better looking couch for just a hundred dollars more (on sale), makes this "deal" laughable.  The sellers are either thinking, "Why doesn't a buyer see the beauty and function of this sofa?" or "No fools biting today." 

Couch new - $650 (Brandon)

Date: 2012-01-18, 4:27PM EST
Reply to: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [Errors when replying to ads?]

Custom couch call or text 601-XXX-XXXX

  • Location: Brandon
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
image 0
PostingID: 2800XXXXXX

(who would consider this couch for $50, much less $650?!!?)

I wrote about this issue on facebook and a few friends pointed out a few other tactics that I have seen.  There are those that want you to know just how valuable their living room set is by telling you they paid $1500 when they bought it at Ethan Allen or Miskelly's.  Yet they are selling it for just $500.  What they fail to say (but it is plain as day when you see the pictures) is that they paid that much in the early nineties.  According to my rather inexact calculations, it would make that set worth no more than $100.  Did you catch that "no more than"?  That means all the pieces would be worth $100 IF there wasn't vomit (or other unappealing liquids) on it, without tears, and still somewhat supportive.  Any of these and the price drops again. 

And while I'm talking about Craigslist etiquette, I want to add that if you really want to sell something you must post a picture.  I will not waste any time on the posts without pictures.  And if you put pictures--make them good.  I once saw a pic (I would show you but i couldn't find it again) where it was a side view of the couch while loveseat was upside down and ON TOP OF THE COUCH!  Huh???  Classic, really.  I so wish I could find it again to show you.

The longer I look on Craigslist for my new/used couch, the more I think I am better off spending a little more money for a nicer couch and then slipcovering it to protect it from ourselves (I was going to say "protect it from our kids" but David and I have been just as guilty when it comes to abusing our furniture).  David doesn't want a slipcover that just lays on top that needs constant adjusting in order for it to look decent.  I agree.  That will be a pain.  So, the slipcover will need to be fitted.  I've only seen that on Ikea and Pottery Barn.  Guess which one is in our price range??  That's right--Ikea.  In the meantime, I'm still scouring for deals at craigslist.  I will occasionally check thrift stores and consignment shops as well. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

an honest answer to an honest question

Awhile ago, a friend of ours was struggling with a messy break-up.  He was yearning for any sort of reason for why it happened.  He was lost in emotions of self-doubt, mourning, anger, and angst.  It wasn't strange, any sort of loss would bring these kinds of emotions.  When we lose someone or something, we ask a lot of questions.  We spent an afternoon of going through the timeline of the broken relationship, trying to tease out as much truth about himself, his ex, and the relationship itself.  Loss has the potential of bringing some deep questions about our identity.  Our sense of self becomes shaky.  We ask questions about ourselves and the future.  Was it me?  Am I capable of a healthy relationship?  Was it her?  Could I have done something differently?  Am I uniquely flawed in a way that will keep me from love?  Why is this so hard?

This friend isn't a Christian.  David and I have been open about our beliefs with him.  We offered what we could from our perspective.  He asked a poignant, honest question.  He asked, "What can Christianity (read:  Christ/God) do for me in this situation?"  I didn't hear a selfish question where the inquirer was all about himself (yet, aren't we all?).  I heard an honest question about why we "choose" to be Christians.  What brings us back to our beliefs when our hearts are bleeding?  What comfort does it have to offer a wounded person?  Other wiser theologians might have had a ready answer.  (Beware of those with ready answers--especially me).  However, when the ball was thrown into our court, we fumbled.  (Ok, yes.  I did mix sports metaphors but if you don't tell and I don't care, then no harm done, right??).  Trying not to make our God look foolish...ok, trying not to make ourselves look foolish, we probably said something about comfort...mumble, mumble. 

I thought about this question a lot.  I went over in my head how I would answer if I had all the time in the world to answer.  Well, here I am.  I don't have all the time in the world but I have some.  I think that this question caught us off guard because I can't answer with anything tangible.  There was also a fear that perhaps the intangible isn't attractive enough--not attractive enough to draw others to Christ and make us look like we are no fools.  Why intangibles?  When I first heard that question there was a sense of disappointment in me that I could not say, "I'm glad you asked.  He can make the pain go away instantly."  That is obviously not true.  Christians feel pain (perhaps it can be argued that they feel more pain than most but I don't want to go there).  What Christ offers to his followers is hope.  We have the satisfaction of knowing that the pain we presently feel is not without purpose.  And we know that His purpose through our pain is to draw out our strength and faith (as the refiner's fire with gold), to bring about circumstances that are good for us, to point out to us our dependency on Him when we had been foolishly trusting our friends, our talents, our looks, to keep us from what could be a horrendous future.

Pain now, Gain later

There are many benefits of Christianity, but most are ones we look forward to.  We are to spend our lives in sacrifice and servanthood to God and one another until that great day when evil will be trampled underfoot.  We look longingly for Jesus to return or for us to go to Jesus in heaven where there is promise of no more tears, sorrow, disease, and death.  The ugliness of this life will fade as we delight in the splendor of our Lord and Savior.  But does that sound attractive to the unbeliever??  I'm sure it does not.  I hear hearts that say, "Why should this God who allows pain be trusted to keep his promises?"  I suppose what Christians have is a bunch of promises and a "peace that surpasses understanding".

  That peace is from our gifts in this life.  It is Katniss's bow and ointment in the Hunger Games.  It is Frodo's sting and bottle of light in Lord of the Rings.  It is Harry's invisibility cloak and map in Harry Potter.  We have also been given gifts for battle in this world.  Believers are given His Word (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit.  You can't have one without the other because they both help interpret one another.  Without it, this world is at face-value without hope, without light, and without promise.  And if it is, then why not give way to all my sinful desires?  If there is no tomorrow, then blow all your money, satisfy your lust, steal and enjoy the spoils. 

What about now?  The Intangibles.

How do you explain to someone who is without the Holy Spirit that there is guidance, peace, comfort, joy, and positive change within Christianity.  Christians are not without strife, struggle, pain and death.  We live in the same world, after all, as unbelievers.  In the midst of a confusing and painful breakup, what can a Christian expect to get?  Jesus helps us to forgive the other.  Doesn't sound like much at first but to let go of resentment and bitterness is the best healer in such a time.  Jesus helps us to own up to our own issues, especially knowing that we are forgiven, too.  We are given comfort in knowing that "all things work for the good of those who love Him".   We know that if this didn't work out, then something better for us will come along.  We experience joy and thankfulness and peace even while we feel sadness and loss.
    The best intangible that I can write about is the actual relationship with Christ.  I don't just mean some sort of ethereal spiritual connection to the Creator of the universe.  I mean a real relationship with a Father who is steady as a rock, mighty as a mountain, tender as a mother of a newborn baby, comforting as a warm blanket and a hot drink, and more in love with His daughters and sons than can hardly be imagined.  When you have that--all other losses start to pale.  It doesn't mean we won't miss our loved ones or mourn broken relationships.  We do.  I have.  But it does mean that I have something Huge and Wonderful to fall back on.  He steadies my feet.  He lifts me out of the muck and mire. Admittedly, it is a hard sell unless you've experienced it.

     I have come before the Lord with many hard questions that I never got answers to.  There was beauty in being able to come to the Creator of the universe and present these doubts about who He is and what He is about without fear.  I am secure in His love and faithfulness to me.  That was not always the case but the Lord brought me to that place.  He knows my heart.  I believe that He wants me to bring my real heart questions to Him.  I'm not promised answers.  I don't necessarily have to have them, do I?  I just need to trust the One who does.  I need to believe that He loves me and is looking out for me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

wonder woman, she-ra, or charlie's angel

I realized later in life that I was/am a weenie.  This isn't self-deprecating talk or "Woe is me" type chatter.  In fact, I liked realizing there was a distinct and large part of me that was tender (painfully so, sometimes), sensitive (poke me and will I not say 'Ow'?), and often overcome with feelings of powerlessness.  I'm not someone who thinks "Hmmm, there is something wrong with this system.  I can change that!" (emphasis on the "I").  These parts in me shy away from a competition, will avoid conflict like the plague, and cry if someone yells at me.  I like these parts because it took some time and the wisdom of some wonderful people to help me feel safe showing these soft tender spots of mine.  Not only was there beauty in revealing these parts but in accepting them.  I saw that it was ok to be vulnerable (though not always comfortable or easy) and it was ok to cry (though I tended toward doing it privately).

Long ago, these parts for some reason must have buried themselves within due to not feeling safe enough to express them.  When I was young, I got the message this it was not ok to be weak.  Weak people were teased.  Weak people were unpopular.  Weak people were excluded.  Unfortunately, that meant that those parts of me needed to be locked away for only a few people.  What took their place were very tough parts.  I believe that as these things were happening I was engrossed in shows such as WonderWoman, She-Ra, and Charlie's Angels.  You don't need to be a shrink to know what these three shows have in common (besides sex appeal).  These women were powerful.  They kicked a**!  They had all the right moves, asserted themselves and were beautiful to boot.  Oh, to be one of these women!  I wanted to be tough.  I wanted to show no mercy.  I wanted to show the world that I was not someone to mess with.  This tough girl walked around the school halls with a scowl on her face so much so that when I realized that I didn't need "tough girl" anymore I had to practice relaxing my furrowed brows.  This tough girl didn't give an inch in fear of someone taking advantage of her and hurting those deeper sensitive parts.  If you were a boy, and I liked you, than you would certainly be the last to figure it out because I treated you like slime.  (sorry, all you past crushes!  I should have been nicer to you.)

For the most part, I am at peace with my soft parts AND my tough parts.  The former is who God made me.  He uses those parts to connect with other people's soft parts.  The latter served the purpose of protecting those fleshy parts of me with an armor of sorts.  An armor that I don't depend on as heavily.  Sure, it comes out.  Instead of looking vicious and angry, it looks confident and grounded.  I'm ok with that.  People can approach confident and grounded.  I want to be approachable now.  I'm not afraid of "those people" as much.  I see other's human-ness and can connect it with my own (remember: soft spots!)  

I have gone through periods of mourning that I ever needed those tough parts.  Or that the tough parts had to be so...well, tough.  We all need some protective skins but mine was that of an alligator.  I kept the "bad people' away but I'm pretty sure that I kept a lot of good people away too.  I just wasn't willing to take the risk when I was younger.  Yet, there is a time for mourning and that is ok.  Over the past 20 years or so, the Lord has shown me much.  Tenderly.  Gently.  Sweetly.  He romanced me to the point where I could allow the risk of pain for the wealth of having love (of Himself, of friends, of a husband).  It is a sweet story, really.  I welcome my weaknesses more and more.  I certainly wouldn't have written this post if I had not.  I enjoy being the girl--feminine and soft-hearted.  I also like having a bit of sass to spice that girl up. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"well, have we got a show for you!"

I was not a Christian growing up.  So, as my kids are little there are very few songs that I know that are about Jesus or bible stories.  When Judah got baptized, my MIL gave us a Veggie Tales video that we already had.  So, I bounced on over to Lifeway where Mrs. Hogue bought it and exchanged it for a Veggie Tales music CD of toddler songs.  A few months later, I got a Christmas Veggie Tales CD because I was anticipating the holiday season.  Also, we bought David a sunday school songs Veggie Tales CD as one of his Christmas presents.  We listen to VT nonstop in our van.  David asks for it before he is even buckled in.  We take very few breaks from it.  Therefore, I am learning some great songs.  We aren't talking profound theology bound in a solemn song (love those, too!) but short and easy songs that encapsulate a simple story (battle of jericho) or worshipful sentiment (God is great).

Some pretty deep thoughts come to me as I hear these simple songs, though.  They are not devoid of wisdom.  As I hear these simple but core truths of our faith with my tot, I think of how simple a child's faith is.  Isn't that what Christ taught about--faith like a child!  It is rather amazing that a child will trust his parents so wholly.  So, for us to trust the Lord, our Father, with that kind of trust is indeed reason to rejoice!  Nitpicking over certain theology does not matter in childlike faith.  There is no room for it.  It is merely "I am His; and He is mine" and "He loves me and I trust Him."  Questioning the depth of someone's faith because they are pro infant baptism or against seems like not seeing the forest for the trees.  I like theology.  Love it, probably.  How can I not and be presbyterian?  However, the older I get, the more I see past the theology and look at the heart.  What pleases the Lord?  An acute knowledge of systematic theology or a soft heart for our neighbors?  Does it please the Lord to recite the catechism more than to be humble when others treat you unjustly?  Knowledge can be good and knowing the catechism can be helpful but it certainly is not all...not even close.  Afterall, " We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.  Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know." (1Corinthians 8:1)

A simple faith is all the Jesus requires.  He calls many who can't do simple math.  He loves those who are far from doing an indepth analysis of scripture.  Isn't He gracious to give us all His Holy Spirit to help our souls understand the deep mysteries that are elusive to even the greatest minds?  He will lift up those simple minded children of His in the last day!  My heart can barely hold it together thinking about such joy!  My heart just may burst!

Monday, January 9, 2012

try this one out

Another weird dream.  I was in Disney world where there was a ride that was chocolate-themed.  If you have gone to Disney, you know that rides typically will end or start and end in a gift shop.  That is why they are marketing geniuses.  In my dream, you walked into a Swiss looking building where all kinds of beautifully shaped chocolates where on display in glass cases.  There were workers giving samples as you walked around the museum part of the building.  The ride was gondola-like through a history of chocolate of all sorts.  It also was meant to feel as if you are traveling through a world made of chocolate (think; Willy Wonka's chocolate factory without as much whimsy and weirdness).  What is funny about this dream is that I have had it before.  It was the same imagery and idea.

How many of you are craving chocolate right now? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

dream reflecting life

A couple of nights ago I dreamed that I was at a house where lots of people were.  Most of those people were not family but people who are somehow connected to family and David Sr.  Besides the moment in the dream where there were loose cows and lions around that everyone was trying to capture without being eaten (give that analysis your best shot!), I spent the dream trying to hide away from all those people.  Most of the time, for a reason that was unclear to me, I felt full-blown rage.  Y'know, the kind of anger that comes when something happens that was unjust and yet out of your control.  I was also on the verge of tears from feeling of hurt. 

When I woke up, my neck muscles were on the verge of a spasm  (treated with ben-jay and advil) and as if my body was trying to relax from the anger I had in the dream.  It was interesting to see how much my dream, which didn't make much sense, affected my body in reality.  That evening I was telling David about the dream and were contemplating if there were some new stressors in my life that might have led to an intense dream.  The only thing that came to me was that David went back to work on Tuesday.  Yet, the Saturday before was when he actually "left".  David has a work mode that takes over and I know that once it shows up the vacation is over.  He feels his work hanging over his head.  He works to balance this with family time but I can tell that he is not present or enjoying himself b/c of these tasks that steal his attention.  I was disappointed that even though we still had a few days before he had to go back to work, he was already in 'work mode'.  As I was telling him this, some emotions that were an echo of what I felt in my dream surfaced.  That was it.  I have a small part of me that feels abandoned when David goes into 'work mode'.  David and I both know that family is first yet I sometimes feel second with how much attention he gives work. 

This isn't a post blaming david.  This isn't a post blaming me, either.  This is just a post about how these parts find a way to express what is there.  Dormant emotions are not within a vacuum.  They effect.  They move.  They stagnate, fester, and infect.  The more intense the emotion and the further down it is buried, the harder it is to heal.  I think of those clients of mine who were afraid to tap into the emotions that stemmed from pain long ago.  They handled it the best they could long ago but it has not aired out.  Those feelings don't disappear.  They needed a voice.  They needed an advocate.  When they did not have one, they turned to other things to numb the pain in hopes of it going away. 

I'm amazed with how connected the mind and body are.  I'm also amazed with how complex people are with all of their individual experiences, memories, and genetic makeup.  It was interesting (rather than disturbing) to my dream give me some insight into some emotions that I had not given any attention to.

Then again, maybe I shouldn't read the Hunger Games series before bed...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

a moment to ponder

I have a moment to write while the baby is asleep and david watches a cartoon.  I've done a couple of chores and I'm fully capable of turning my attention to a blog post.  ....Hmmm...what should I write about...?  Parenting?  Don't feel like going there. I always feel like broaching that subject takes a shot of whiskey and reckless abandonment with full armor. Should I get spiritual and talk about what is going on with my relationship with the Lord?  Good stuff but I don't know that I feel like being that serious right now.  I could post some pics of my children but I'm too lazy to upload them on the PC right now.  I am always aware of my audience as I write these things.  I am aware that with ANYTHING I write I open myself up to scrutiny and perhaps, criticism.  My opinions (given less and less with every year) can be divisive.  "Being Guitta" means that I will have opinions but I don't have to share those things if it means someone else will feel hurt by them or get defensive.  On the other hand, I cannot control ONE BIT how people will respond to anything I say.  I could say, "The moon is beautiful" and someone could silently accuse me of all manner of stupidity like "You hate the sun!" or "You are so dark and goth!" It is a stupid example to show that I can't stop speaking altogether for fear of offending someone.  I often want to walk the middle line rather than take a stand on any topic when I am with others, ESPECIALLY when I know the topic to be one of personal conviction and not moral obligation.  Still, I can't control what others see as an issue of morals (right and wrong) versus a decision a based on a person's own individuality.  So, where should graciousness (silence) end and speaking up for truth begin?  Ok, if you aren't dizzy yet then let me finish the job. 

It seems to all come down to wisdom and love...or in order of priority--love and wisdom.  I have (as have all of us) endured criticism--some of it outright and some of it subtle (not sure which is worse).  Rather than turn the actual issue that is bugging someone into a place where I need to pick a side, bear arms, and defend my lines it would be loving and wise to remember where they are coming from and be patient with their approach.  Do I have to agree with them in order to love them or be a peacekeeper?  NO!  I can still hold on to who I am, what I believe (or know in some cases), and feel good about my decisions.  In my mind, I sense a constant pull between not offending others and not being superficial but honest on this blog.  With God's wisdom and love perhaps I will balance this well.  Then again, if this blog offends you, you certainly don't have to read it....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

activities that align with "Being Guitta"

I have begun a list of activities that I enjoy.  One of those items is making lists, actually.  Lists help me clear the clutter in my brain and helps me feel organized.  According to research, clutter can decrease happiness.  It makes sense to me.  On my desktop of this laptop, I have five lists going.  I am pretty sure where this list-making gene came from.  Yes, you, Dad.  :)  It is a satisfying chore because it requires little physical labor and yet offers a feeling of organization.  (see:  I have lists of products that appeal to me.  Why?  I want to remember these objects when I have the money to spend on them.  Otherwise, I won't remember and then I'll buy a shirt and hit my forehead (*ouch) when I realize "Shoot! I needed a roasting pan."  I have lists of projects around the house that I would like to start or complete.  I probably add more than I cross out.  *Sigh*  I have lists of things to do when my parents come into town.  I have a list of Christmas gifts we bought for folks (with lots of love) just to make sure we stay within our budget.  I love lists!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

book plug

I have been a member, albeit a silent member, of a book club.  The first book that we read was the bestseller called "The Happiness Project".  It rode on the wave of books that were written to document a year-long experience (see The Year of Living Biblically, Julie and Julia, and Eat, Pray, Love).  According to the author, Gretchen Rubin, she was a lawyer (clerked for supreme court judge, Sandra Day O'Connor) and realized that, though she wasn't unhappy, she could increase her quality of life greatly.  She did research (which apparently is her gift) on happiness and it was rather enlightening.  The research wasn't enlightening but that she took it to heart and than aligned several personal resolutions in order to increase her own happiness.  By increasing her own happiness she would thereby increase the happiness of those around her.  Also, research shows that when you feel happy you do good and when you do good you feel happy.  Pretty true and obvious but she was working to live it.  It does sound selfish upon first thought but her resolutions are about making improvements to herself that only benefit others in turn. 

This book inspired me.  The ideas freed me up to pursue goals more proactively and thoughtfully.  A few points that stood out to me that i would like to share are:

*Be mean Guitta.  Gretchen came back to this point again and again.  Her interests are not someone else's and vice versa.  It resonated with me that there are activities and interests that I think are good and cool to like but aren't something that I truly enjoy.  There are lots of things that I wish I was interested in but would not be true to who I am.  I think it would be a very intellectual and cool thing if I were to travel to exotic places, experiencing different parts of the globe.  However, when I am honest with myself I'm not sure that I would enjoy it that much.  I enjoy the conveniences of my small piece of the world.  I've travelled enough to get it out of my system for now.  I don't yearn to travel like so many cool people do.  Global travel doesn't excite me but national travel does.  I am being me. (Stretching and trying new things is also a resolution of Gretchen's, too).

*Things you enjoyed at 10 years old are probably pretty similar to what makes you happy today.  Her example was she enjoyed cutting and gluing from magazines onto blank books.  She began to do similar projects, in grown up versions, that she enjoyed. 

This is just a very small sample of what is in store for the reader.  I hope you pick it up.  Tell me what you think, if you do.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012, what do you have in store?

I've made it no secret that I've struggled with anxiety on this blog.  Besides, most of you who read it, I have already told.  One of the downsides of anxiety (are there upsides?? Actually, yes but I don't have the time to talk about that tonight seeing as it is a half-hour until my toddler is getting a bath)  is that it can lead me away from times of reflection.  On first reading this, this sounds negative.  Sometimes, it is.  Sometimes, it keeps me from meditating on the Word before the Lord.   However, it can also be said that I reflect or navel-gaze far too much so a break from such things is only good for me.  Both are true. 

Last night, being the last night of 2011 always brings reflection.  There are shows all over the networks that want to outline the events of the past year.  Ideally, I would spend time reflecting on my own year (good and bad) while praying over our new year, with some goals in mind.  It was hard for me to do, however.  I had a little more anxiety than usual last night so thoughts of the possibilities of 2012 seemed scary rather than hopeful.  In order to prevent further anxious thoughts, I just put my time of reflection on the shelf for a time. 

Christian women strive to be that Proverbs 31 woman.  I certainly fall short since I wasn't "laughing at the time to come" (Prov. 31:25).  Rather, I was visualizing for brief moments all the bad things that could be in store for us.  Sickness?  Loss of job? More anxiety? Death of a loved one? Financial crisis?  Don't worry.  My perspective isn't always skewed to the negative.  I am humbled by how much room there is for my faith to grow.  Perhaps, I never fully recovered from trauma of the unexpected bout with panic attacks.  It was a blow I didn't see coming.  I love the Lord but I certainly am a little more fearful of his next move.  Shall I fear the Lord who brought such growth and blessing to me and my family?  I fear the future but it would be wise of me to reflect on my past.  In seeing how blessed I have been, I will then feel sure that the Lord has nothing but good planned for me (in various packages).  Anxiety at its worst was horrible.  My bigger fears is of its return.  Nonetheless, even in that point of despair, I had extreme blessings beyond understanding.  The Lord intervened in up close and personal ways for me at the worst parts.  I remember that David went to work and I was on the bed crying and crying.  I felt out of control and scared because of it.  I didn't know what to do and I was calling for help to the Lord in my mind.  In that moment, a friend called and said she was in town and wanted to stop by.  I needed a friend to ground me in that moment.  Another blessing was having a husband understand in a real way what was happening to me.  I obsessed over whether I was losing my mind and yet David would remind me endlessly that I wasn't.  He knew because he had gone through his own experience with panic.  Anyone else would have lost patience with me and would have become fed up with my insecurity, fear, and neediness?  Our first trial of marriage was my anxiety and it hit us early on (like within a couple weeks of marriage) and it forced a trust in my husband and a chance to see his metal that I would not have had for a long while on my own.  The Lord allowed this time of sifting for me but not without support.  He sent me a husband who would be exactly what I needed through such a dark time.   All this to say, the Lord was still good through my suffering.  Alright, so i did have time to talk about the good that came from my struggle with anxiety.

This brings me to 2012.  Can I trust the Lord through those dark times that are sure to come (in different skins)?  I don't always feel trusting but I must choose to.  Still there?? Are ya'll still reading??  Because I am really just talking to myself.  Do you preach to yourself?  I often don't have the attention span to do this in my head but when I get the chance to write it down it often looks like this post.  I start with full honesty and then reason through my real emotions and experiences through the grid of God's truth.  So, there you go.  2012--I may not like you.  I may hate you.  However, there will be good things to glean from you because the Lord said so.