Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Bad Day

Today is a bad day. Everyone is sick and we've all been battling other issues within ourselves as well. The children not so much... What inner issues do they have at this age anyway? They are safely tucked in their little cocoons of innocence, wrapped tightly in warm blankets of love and their dependence upon me and their dad. They are totally unaware of the craziness that swirls dangerously close to the surface of my mind. They could not even begin to imagine the roller coaster ride of emotions I go on almost daily. Or even the wider scale of the shape of the economy right now- what it could mean for our future and how we're already trying to cut back on a lot. Or the piling of bills that seems to overwhelm us this time each month. No, they have no idea of the things that wake me up in the middle of the night.

I could say Angelina has some inner issue of an attention disorder but it could just be her age and I'm pretty sure she's unaware of it anyway. So even that is not something she has to worry about right now. The only things any of these children really seem to worry about from day to day are when I'm going to get them food, if they can watch TV when they want, and how much time they have to play before nap. Ah, the life of a child! How quickly it's forgotten how easy children have it. Growing up, I can remember my parents telling me on several occasions that I just don't understand how easy my life really is as a child. And I didn't of course; not then.

But now I do.

I'm trying to figure out how to take this bad day and pull myself out of it- or, at least out of the wreckage it seems to have created so far. I think I've had some seizure issues this morning, though I can't really tell for sure. But just from the way I feel, it seems to be that same feeling I get when I know I've had them. The sickness that has plagued the family since before Christmas is still lurking in every corner - dark or not - and I've been battling a frantic 4 year old to install drops in her eyes to keep the conjunctivitis in check. All she knows about it is that she does not like to have drops put in her eyes. She does not realize it'll be much worse if she doesn't get them.

I've been praying this morning that I have some sort of clarity because my head feels full of fog - which might just be because I'm sick - and I can't seem to really think well enough to form a plan of action. Days like this definitely require a plan, especially when one has 3 small children to care for.

Maybe my plan for today will be to give it to God and do what I can (even if it's just the bare minimum) to keep us safe and alive. He must know about - and has already allotted for - days like these for us mothers. Would I be failing too much by giving Him the battle to fight for me, to take care of the things that plague our family without my help? Is this exactly what He is trying to tell me to do? And will He take care of everything, including all the things that go bump in the night?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Super Mom?

I keep hearing the words "super mom" used in reference to me and I really have to say, it kind of makes me feel uncomfortable. Would it be not-so-humble of me to say that I am too humble to use such words when talking about myself? I don't even feel like a super mom. For some reason, when I think about that title, I am instantly drawing pictures in my head of this strong woman who never lets her emotions get in the way of her duties; a beautiful woman who is so sure of herself that she welcomes age with open arms, including and especially everything that being a mommy adds to the aging process. This super mom has perfect little children who always say 'yes mam,' do as they're told with out attitude or complaint, and always clean their plates. This mom has an immaculate house and a happy husband who gloats about her to his friends. For me, "super mom" just seems to glimmer up there just out of my reach and I'm quite unsure as to why anyone would say that I am she.

A lot of people reference her when I am pregnant again. Like the mere fact that I can have more than one child without tearing my hair out and going completely insane warrants such an honor. Some just say it because they happen to be at my house when it's in decent order and the children are actually behaving. How do they know that I wasn't frantically cleaning just before they arrived - the pile of dirt I swept under the rug would be proof enough; and that I didn't give my children Benedryl so they would be too tired to act like brats? Of course, I really wouldn't do such a thing but in all seriousness, I just don't think that this title is for me.
A super mom can multitask as if it were going out of style. She can handle 3 children under 5 with patience and wisdom and understanding. She can fly through her chores with ease and make sure that dinner is always ready for her husband when he gets home from work. And she can do all this without it weighing her down, without it making her feel like she isn't a hundred years old with no life of her own. Her children will be content, having had the perfect amount of mommy time each and every day; which in turn causes them to behave. They will be respectful and will listen when she talks to them, understanding that everything she does for them is done out of love.

I'm not sure I fit that description in any way.

But I do know that I am doing what I feel God wants me to do. And some days I am just not quite able to. I fail a lot in my duties, if for no other reason than the fact that I do not have much control over my emotions, which are a large contributor to how I handle each day. I don't always have the house spotless and the children are not always behaving like angels. But I do teach them about love, specifically God's love for all of us as His children. I try to discipline them, though I don't always get it right and I am often impatient. I try to speak to their hearts, knowing that it is the heart that guides a person's behavior in life.

In general I am trying very hard. And if having a heart for God, that wants to do whatever I am capable of to raise these children to know Him, deems me a "super mom" then maybe I am she after all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Change of Seasons Part Two- Winter

The first day of Winter was officially December 21 this year. Last week we had a couple of inches of snow and the kids were so excited! But then the sun came out and the temperatures rose to unseasonably warm digits and before we knew it, there wasn't much white stuff left to play in. A few nights ago, however, temps. were back to the low twenties and we had some freezing rain and more recently, lots of gusty wind. Despite this, however, I am blessed to find many wonders in the magic of the Winter season. As it settles into its own comfortable spot to dwell for the next few months, I am attempting to settle into a warm place in my mind that will allow me to enjoy the season with out letting in the cold.

Just like with the changing from Summer to Fall, this change that has been upon us is a time to marvel in God's beautiful world and how everything works together for the perfect cycle of life to take place. In nature, everything affects everything else. It's amazing how the birds know to fly South when the weather starts getting cold and many animals, like bears find their way to a cozy hiding spot to sleep the Winter away in a series of long naps. Weeks before Winter was even a gray glimmer on the golden horizon of Fall, other animals such as squirrels were storing food to last them these frigid months and those bears were already headed to their places of hibernation.

And while the animals are busying themselves for the lazy long-haul, hunkered down in their little niches of the world, we humans have been getting ready for Christmas. Now, Christmas is fast approaching and as I try to slow myself down some to be able to think about and appreciate the true meaning of the season, I am realizing how much we take for granted, especially this time of year. Instead of basking in the beauty of this past week's snow and glorifying God for His amazing abilities, I am betting a lot of people were grumbling about how it affected their plans to shop and their time schedules for work and play. I imagine that some people didn't stop to catch snow flakes on their tongue or throw a snowball or two at someone else for fun. As the scenery around us changed from a gray wet mess to a beautiful white blanket, I bet it was hard for many to just stop and thank God for His perfect creation and enjoy the weather in its entirety. I myself find it hard to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me when I'm freezing cold and just want to get inside.

My favorite secular Christmas song is "Baby, It's Cold Outside." I'm not exactly sure why I like it so much except I feel it portrays what many of us are thinking when we're warm and cozy inside with loved ones near, knowing that the time to leave is coming too soon. The cold outside portrayed in the song could have many different meanings and for a lot of us, especially me, I do feel rather cold when I'm not around my family.

But in my mind, I'm imagining that I am just Momma bear snuggling up with my cubs for the winter. And the chill outside is definitely not welcome in.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Angelina Ballerina

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I remember talking to my partner at work about names. I told her we'd probably name the baby Angelina if it was a girl, after Joe's grandmother. She said "like Angelina Ballerina." At that time, I had no idea who Angelina Ballerina was and thought she was just saying that because it sort of rhymed. Little did I know that the name Angelina Ballerina would become a major part of our lives, more than just the story of a little mouse.

Last Thursday night Angelina started her very first dance class. For at least a year, this is all she's been talking about. When she was a little younger, she was given several Angelina Ballerina items,including a movie. We often read her the first story written about Angelina Ballerina, in which Angelina the mouse doesn't want to do anything but dance all day. This story describes our Angelina very well! She also loves the Barbie movies featuring Barbie playing a character that usually dances, specifically Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie Swan Lake. She will watch these movies over and over, just so she can get up on her toes and flitter around the room just like Barbie does. She always talks about being a ballerina and dances and sings practically all day long.

So, after getting the information, we signed her up for dance class and as her first day drew near, she grew more and more excited. My hubby's mom bought her a pair of ballet shoes and over-nighted them to us on Wednesday. When I showed them to her, she lit up and her excited smile took over her entire little face as I handed them to her to try on. She immediately went up on her toes and twirled around like a true ballerina.

Thursday evening, as she got dressed for dance class, I couldn't help but wonder where my tiny baby went. After I helped her get on her leotard and tights and pulled her hair up out of her face, the reality that my little girl is growing up hit me once again like a ton of bricks. I was completely suffocated by emotion and could barely utter a proud 'yes' when she asked me if she looked like a big girl. I was taken back to a time when she was just a small baby in my arms, cooing at me, feeding at my breast, unaware of the fact that the entire world was hers for the taking.

And now she knows it is and she wants every piece she can have of it.

When Angelina got home from her first dance class, she was so excited. I watched with pride as she reenacted everything they did in class. And I sighed with content as I realized that this is just the beginning. But I'm looking forward to the day that I just might be able to end this story with the same words Angelina Ballerina's story ends with: "Angelina was so busy dancing..that she didn't need to dance at suppertime or bedtime or on the way to school any more. She went every day to her ballet lessons and worked very hard for many years....until at last she became the famous ballerina Mademoiselle Angelina, and people came from far and wide to enjoy her lovely dancing."

(Angelina Ballerina stories by Katharine Holabird)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Growing Diamonds

Psalm 127:3 talks about children being a gift from the Lord. I often ask myself 'who am I to turn down such a gift?' Our children are little human beings that will grow up to be adult human beings, the future generations for this world. God entrusted some to me. They are priceless treasures, like little rare diamonds. And motherhood is like housing a treasure worth more than you can imagine, like The Heart of Eternity - a very rare colored diamond with an estimated value of $16 million.

It's like that but so much more.

I feel like there have been tons of posts on here that visit the ever-important subject of having children- particularly more, taking care of them myself, etc. There have been these posts that state that I just don't know what I want, and ones where I even state I might actually want more. Then there are the ones where I very clearly state that I know I am meant to have more. This post is about the inevitability of such an event coming to fruition.

Psalm 127 goes on with vs. 4-5 with 'like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in ones youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full.....' I took a test yesterday morning after much debate. I had no real thoughts that I was pregnant, just that I might be, from the way I've been feeling. But I could also have attributed that to my medication or my seizures. I just felt off; like pregnancy off. So I took the test. It was positive...

To be sure, I took another one this morning.

Still positive.

But rather than write about how it makes me feel emotionally, how stressed I am or even how my husband has been almost angry about it (as if I'm the only one involved in that scenario), I'd rather write once again about the difference between the worldly view and the Catholic view of babies.

Now, I'd first like to say that I'm not an idiot. I don't think that I should have a shoe-full of kids that I don't know what to do with,
just to have them, or just because I want them (especially because I really don't want a lot of kids) or any of those reasons that people sometimes give without thinking about the implications first. I would like to say- once again- that I do want what God wants. If God wants me to 'be fruitful and multiply', then I guess I will. (A lot to me is like 7 or 8 anyway....)

The world looks at children as something that you allow in your life only if you have the money, only if you're ready, only if you can take 5 seconds out of your life to have a planned c-section with lots of drugs and then go back to work 2 days later. (OK, I'm exaggerating a little on that last one but there is much truth to the foundation of that idea.) My mom was saying that the world is always talking about how it costs something like $285,000 to raise a child. I do remember reading that somewhere. But my question what? Why is the world always talking about money?

Some people have told us it's impractical and irresponsible to have more kids than we can 'afford,' that if we didn't have 'so many', we could be doing things we want to do and I could be going to work, etc. This is the worldly way of looking at things. The world views life as all about "me," doing whatever feels good and makes "me" happy. But life should not revolve around us. It should revolve around God's will for us and our obedience to that will. Also, I've said this before but I'll say it again.
.. I am working! All day; every day. Except I don't get breaks. I don't even get paid. There is no clocking out at the end of the day. There are no weekend vacations. So I really get upset when anyone says that I should be going out into the world to work because I know that it's just about valuing the almighty dollar more than valuing the little hearts of children and the work I do by taking care of mine.

And dare I say that it does make me feel good to raise children?? It makes me very happy to have children and do whatever I can to help them grow up to be what God wants them to be. It doesn't occur to the negative people telling me all those things that I might actually enjoy my children! How funny....and how sad. The world definitely has missed the mark on the importance of children and God's will for them in our lives.

The times we are facing right now with the economy are hard. People are worried about money and the security of their future and all of that stuff. It's hard to remember the fact that God is in control. It's hard to even know any speck of that fact when you just don't believe in Him at all. For Christians, however, our faith lies in remembering that His plans are not our plans and whatever is going on in the world right now is nothing to bear when we have the security we can find in Him. It's amazing to me how many people invest so much in the stock market and very little in their children. They don't see these little gems as stability for the future so they just don't try. It's hard when you can't put a price on something, I sort of understand that. But I see their value and it has nothing to do with money.

So now I'm taking on growing, birthing and nurturing another little heart for God. I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm very overwhelmed. But I know that by allowing my womb to be open to God's plans, I am pleasing Him. This baby may not be one of the rarest diamonds in the world, but I believe she is a unique and priceless treasure entrusted to me for God's purposes. And that definitely makes her a heart of eternity.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Feeling Sick

"Are you gonna puke?" Angelina asks me when I tell her I'm sick. "No, sweetie, I'm a different kind of sick." A couple seconds of silence. Wheels turning as she tries to process what that means. Process fails. "Well, can I see it when it comes out?" (This is her asking me about whether she can see the puke when it comes out.) My daughter is obsessed with bodily functions these days. But I try to explain to her again that I'm not that kind of sick. Rewind to about a half hour ago and I'm screaming in her face about I don't even know what. All I can remember is that all of the sudden, I was angry and yelling at her. Then I was fine. Then it registered in my exhausted brain that I scared her. Hugs, apologies... Then the guilt.. The kind that makes your stomach churn.

So I'm trying to figure out how to explain to her what just happened. It's a tough feat when I'm not even sure I really know. So I tell her I'm sick, that we're trying to figure out what's wrong and I don't mean to yell at her like that or scare her in any way. The thing is, a 4 year old doesn't process the reality of such a situation like an adult would and I have no business expecting that she'd understand. So what am I supposed to do? She does understand 'sick' so that's my first attempt at trying to explain. I tell her I love her and that I'll try very very hard to not yell or scare her anymore. She seems to be OK with this and walks away, but not before asking one more time if I'm going to puke. Then her attention is stolen by a new Barbie movie she wants to watch.

That type of mood swing for me has been happening more regularly lately. I feel very tired afterward. I want to just crawl in bed and fall into a deep sleep. I have three babies to take care of so I can't. But I don't know how much I can handle while trying to figure all this out. My seizures, if that's what is truly wrong with me, have slowly been changing me into a completely different person. I don't like it. My husband doesn't like it. And I'm pretty sure that when they have to experience it, my kids don't like it, either. A lot of the time, the seizures manifest in little ways.. I say little but I really mean ways that are just unnoticed by others. Dizziness, "pop rocks" in the back of my head, funny sounds and smells..sometimes I think I see things that aren't there.

But some of the time, they manifest in an outburst of rage. This is very scary. Who knows what sets me off but all of the sudden, I am screaming and saying horrible things and I can't even really see anything. And then just like that, as fast as it came on, it's over. What's left is usually a confused and tired Mommy and very scared little babies.

I want to be able to be a normal functioning Mommy for my children. I don't want to scare them or yell at them and I don't want to end up hurting them. They deserve so much better than what I am right now. It's bad enough to have to worry about changing the imperfections of my personality that already halt my ability to be who they need me to be for them... Now on top of that, I have to deal with this issue, something I have no control over accept to keep trying meds until I find one that actually works with out any intolerable side-effects. In the meantime, I am stuck being a slave to these seizures and if it's not them, then it's the side-effects of the medication.

The first medication I was on made me break out in this horrible full-body rash. I stopped taking that and waited for the rash to go away. Now I'm on a different one which I started taking last Tuesday. This past Saturday, though, I woke up feeling horrible, like I hadn't slept in days and I felt very strange and then I was screaming at my husband, saying horrible things to him but it was worse than any other time. It reminded me of how I used to be when I was on Topomax many years ago... To sum it up in one word, CRAZY. All the time. OK, so that's 4 words.. But that's how it was. I figured that maybe it wasn't the seizures but the medication that was affecting me that morning. So I stopped taking it.

This morning I called my neurologist and had to leave a message, as is the normal routine. Don't know when she'll be getting back to me. I also don't know what I'm supposed to do if this medication doesn't work either. Try yet another one, I guess.. I'm already so done with this entire process. The whole thing is making me so sick that maybe I really will puke after all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Add "Surgeon" to The List

I've been many things as a mom. I have been a nurse and I've been a cook, a chauffeur and a bather. These things are givens. But I have also been a designated sock finder, a personal groomer, a punching bag, an alarm clock, a coloring companion, and on those rare occasions when there's just nothing else that will work, I've been a comfy pillow at nap time. I think most of these things are probably in the job description of every mother. And there are many other aspects yet undefined. Last night, I got to add another title to the long list. I became a surgeon.

So last night was my first surgery. I have to say, I was a little nervous. I had never performed surgery before on anything... Ok, actually, yes I have. But a broken purse strap isn't nearly as important as something that belongs to my children. I knew so much was riding on the outcome and I knew I had to make sure my patient made it through. I don't think that there's ever been a crisis that big in the house before but last night, it all came down to Mommy being needed for yet another task that I'm sure wasn't described in the manual.

Oh wait...I never got a manual.
It all went down like this: Crazy bedtime routine as usual.... We recently moved Aidan into Angelina's room so the baby could get used to her crib (which is in Aidan's room) without being disturbed. Since then, the evenings have dragged on, leaving little room for even a glimmer of a quiet moment for Mommy and Daddy to relax and reconnect. So, I am in the back of the house, busy finishing some stuff on the computer and shutting it down for the night while hubby is in the front of the house checking on the giggling crazy kids for the millionth time. It's about 10 or so and they have yet to go to sleep.

Suddenly, I hear my hubby, Joe, saying "Mommy, come quick, we have a problem..." Joe isn't sounding too panicky or desperate so I don't get that horrible sinking sick feeling in my stomach like something major has gone awry but I do hasten my step as I make it out to the living room. I find my husband standing there with some little piece of cloth and before my sleepy brain registers the words that are coming out of his mouth, I realize what it is. Taggie. He's saying "I went in there and Aidan was on his bed frantically turning his Ishy (Aidan's pet name for his blankie) round and round, searching for the tag. I tried to help him get the right edge but then I realized that Taggie was no longer attached. So I looked on his bed and quickly found it."
Meanwhile I hear Aidan in his room crying "Taaagggieeee...." My heart sinks as I imagine my little boy back there clutching Ishy so tightly as if he thinks his beloved blankie will disappear too and in my mind's eye I see the crocodile tears gushing down his cheeks, soaking the crippled blanket. "Where's your sewing box?" Joe asks as I'm already on my way down the hall. I retrieve the old tin candy box I use as a pathetic excuse for a sewing kit (I'm not Martha Stewart and can do a basic stitch and that's about it), and I make my way into Angelina's room where I confirm the images I had in my mind a few seconds before. Aidan is sprawled out on Angelina's bed, crying and asking where Taggie is while his sister is trying to comfort him and recount to me what had transpired over the past few minutes in the way only a 4 year old can.

I get to work immediately as Joe tries to calm Aidan down by reassuring him that the all-important
Taggie will soon be reattached and Ishy will once again be whole. I am instantly taken back to a few weeks before when we were at my brother's house and my sister in law is discreetly warning me about how "Taggie" will soon be falling off and I should really get it sewn tightly back on as soon as possible. The poor tag has been dangling by a few thin threads ever since. We recently just washed Ishy and as I put it into the wash, I imagined the tag not making it through, being ripped off by the pulse of the washer or maybe even making it into the dryer but not back out. But somehow it did and then I once again forgot about the task of reinforcing its connection to the blanket.

Aidan's eyes start to light up and he's sort of half-crying, half-laughing with glee as he realizes that I am fixing his beloved
Taggie and that Ishy (and he) will survive. He keeps wanting to kiss Taggie and tell it that it will be all better. As I put the last few stitches in and make sure they're as tight and strong as they can be, Aidan's tear-stained face is drying and he's no longer crying those big ploppy tears. He keeps saying "Thank you, Mommy, thank you..." in a small voice saturated with pure gratitude.

I hand the needle back to my "assistant," Joe, to be pushed into the mini beanie baby bull I use as a pin cushion. I am instantly aware that it will get much more use in the years, and maybe even days to come. I give Ishy back to Aidan
, Taggie completely intact, telling him that Taggie needs to rest because he's tired from his ordeal. Aidan wants to sleep in Angel's bed so they snuggle up and Aidan lovingly strokes his blanket, telling Taggie "night night" as he kisses it over and over. We turn the light off and start to head back out to the living room. "I love you Mommy, thank you..." Aidan whispers through the dark.

A crisis just narrowly averted.

And, I'm happy to report that the patient made it through the night and is resting comfortably this morning, clutched in the tiny hands of a happy sleeping boy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our President-Elect

Ok, so I lied...I have one more thing to say now that the elections are over and we have a new President soon to be in office...

I'm trying to approach the subject gingerly, with out stepping on any one's toes or offending anyone. I imagine, however, that I will most certainly offend at least one person. And that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that does include me. So if anyone who reads this is offended, I am deeply sorry because that it not my intent...

Let me just begin by saying that I am not racist. Before I really understood all that our President-elect stands for, I was so excited at the idea of having an African American as the leader of our great nation. What a change in times, a humongous step for society and an amazing score for the African American culture! It makes my heart leap at the thought that our country was absolutely ready for an end to the larger ignorance that has given birth to such things as racism, which has plagued every corner of the United States for hundreds of years and still sits not-so-quietly in some parts. However, while we may have been ready for it, I think we may have jumped the gun a little with voting for this particular leader.

I'm sure there are tons of things I do not know about Barack Obama. But what I do know, I don't like. In an earlier post just before the election, I stated my feelings about his character. The fact that he has been elected for sure does not change how I feel. I don't even want to go back into that. The issue in this post is what I think about how he got elected. And this is where I may end up offending someone.

Barack Obama was elected by two categories of people: Those who are so obsessed with the idea of women's right to choose and those who are obsessed with the idea of having an African American president. The problem with the first group needs not even be said, really. Especially if you take into consideration the point of view of a Catholic Christian who is COMPLETELY against abortion, no matter what the situation. The problem with the second group is that most of the people in this category were probably African Americans themselves who couldn't see past the promising light of having a fellow African American in the white house. All they saw was this great accomplishment for their race and they didn't think to brief themselves on the topics of debate, the grounds on which he stood, or his character and shady background. Or maybe they did understand the issues and still didn't feel like they could let go of such a huge step for their race. They were willing to sacrifice anything for the prize. This is what I have a problem with.

I just don't get it. How can people be so utterly blind? I realize that everyone wanted change. I realize that he seems to stand for that. But I don't believe that it's necessarily change that will be for the absolute greater good, which is what we should all be striving for. So I'm a little bit angry...or maybe a lot. I feel like society must be in suicide mode. It seems like everything we do is a blatant stab at ending our existence in the most heinous ways. Abortion, suicide, drugs, diseases, homicide...

Like I've stated before, I'm not one for politics. I try to avoid the whole subject at all costs. This year this election has been so historical in so many ways. I couldn't sit it out. I couldn't just turn a blind eye to the subject of our nation's next leader and pretend like it wasn't my duty to be involved. I may not understand how everything works or every single detail about what so and so stands for (my guess is half of what they say is a lie anyway)... But I do know that I did have a moral obligation to pay at least half attention to what was going on and pray about it and decide who to vote for. To tell you the truth, I wasn't too happy about our other main option either but I felt like a vote for the third choice, the Independent party, would be a waste because technically, it would be one less vote counted AGAINST Barack Obama.

However, I have to concede at least some of my support to our next president. My sister posted a little note on her facebook page about how we need to accept him as our president and all of that. I agree. She quoted Matthew 5:43-45. This passage is about loving our enemies and praying for them. It's about them being God's children too. We need to support our president in any way we can, even if we don't like him. It's a hard task for me personally. I am trying very hard to at least utter some words of prayer for him. I try to pray that he will lead our nation justly and all of that but I also pray for his soul. Through all of my feelings, my anger about this whole deal, I will at least do what God asks of me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not." Proverbs 3:5 NAB

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weaning Bella

When I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, I was told I should go on medication. Before I went back to my neurologist to discuss this and get a prescription, I had already done some research about seizure medications. Pretty much all of them stated that it was not recommended to nurse while taking the drugs. My heart sank. My daughter is just 9 1/2 months old, still nursing almost exclusively and she seems to need me so much more than I ever thought she would at this age. As I started the weaning process, I tried to prepare for the nightmare I knew we both were going to have.

Nursing Bella isn't just about sustenance. It is also about bonding, about comfort, about feeling safe and being allowed the stability the act creates, being allowed all aspects of the nature of a baby and milking them for all they're worth.
(pardon the pun!) How am I to all of the sudden tell her that she isn't allowed to have any of that any longer? She isn't allowed to have Mommy in all the ways she's used to. She has to instead eat more solids, take a bottle of nasty formula and go to sleep at night without the familiarity of a breast in her mouth and warm flesh to hang on to. She's too young to even understand the reasons and all she knows is that Mommy is no longer available. In essence, she is being forced to grow up a little.

I look at my beautiful brown eyed girl as I'm trying to make her take a bottle and she's crying and she's desperately trying to nurse but all she can have is this bottle filled with a thick substance that might be "good enough" for her but isn't perfect like Mommy's milk. And I ache. I ache deep within me for her and for myself. This shouldn't have to be so hard. Can she suck on that bottle and expect the perfect mixture of everything her tiny body needs like what she can get from my breasts when her saliva sends signals to my body? Can she still snuggle into my chest, wrapping her arms around my side and across my belly as she massages my flesh and stares into my eyes? This is a natural action that comes with the territory of breast feeding. It's the way God intended it to be. It does not come with sticking a plastic bottle with a rubber nipple in her mouth when all she really wants is to press herself against me, latch on to my full breasts and once again feel like she's part of me as she fills her hungry belly.

Twelve days into taking my medication, I developed a horrible full-body rash. I was then told to stop taking the medication immediately and wait for the rash to go away. Upon its disappearance, I would be put on a different medication. At first, I was thrilled. At least for a little while, I could nurse my baby again. But I realized that all of the weaning process I had already started would be completely erased if I went back to nursing her whenever she wanted. So I pumped. A few times. But that really wasn't working and she wasn't convinced; she's too smart to be tricked. Despite the familiar flavor of the milk, it just wasn't the same. So I have been continuing the weaning process, despite the fact that I have two perfectly functioning breasts producing perfectly untainted milk.
It's been a tough road. My rash has gone away and I will have to go back to the neurologist to get a new prescription. We still nurse a little at night but soon that will have to cease all together as well. I am starting to wonder...What do babies dream about when they can't fall asleep latched on to the warm nipples of their mommies' breasts? What sort of comfort can my Bella possibly get from cold rubber nipples that secrete some chemically engineered sour smelling liquid that doesn't contain even half of what she needs? And when will she be able to wake up from this nightmare?

Monday, November 3, 2008

All I'm Going To Say About the Election..

So I tried to stay away from this for as long as I could. Maybe I've been in denial or maybe it's just too painful to think about. I think it's human nature to try to avoid those things that are painful or even just uncomfortable in any small way. And I'm not really one for politics, either, but this election is probably one of the biggest history makers of all time. I've been developing a strategy for keeping my feelings at bay-avoiding the news, not thinking about the importance of any aspect of the election. My plan was to just go and vote. Originally my plan was to not vote at all. But it seems like I'm not so in denial after all and my human nature of avoiding painful things can only hold for so long before my human nature of caring kicks in.

The biggest issue for me and for a lot of other Americans is the issue of abortion, or women's rights if you want to stem it out a little. Every time I read or see anything about this issue, I cry. I don't understand how any woman, especially one who has children or is close to a child in some familial way, can think it's OK to murder an unborn baby. Lets not even address the moral aspect of taking human life just yet; but the confusing reality of someone actually believing that it's just an issue of "my body, my choice" is so ludicrous to me. People who say "well, I would never do it but I think people should be able to choose" are just stupid. If you have a reason why you would never do it, that right there should tell you something about the act: IT'S WRONG!

Now we go on to the moral issue. Life begins at conception. It's not about whether you believe this or not. It is the TRUTH. People make up stuff to convince you it's just a mass of tissue but this is just to help you (and themselves) sleep better at night. It's more comforting to convince yourself of something like that than to lay awake and wonder if you really are doing something wrong. The reassurance from society- doctors, the media, and certain presidential candidates helps soothe you into dreamland like a spritz of lavender on your pillow.

I ache deep in my heart for those who have had abortions. I imagine that their lives will never be filled with joy and they will probably mourn the life of those babies in some sad way for the rest of their own lives.

So on to the political aspect of this whole entry... Barack Obama's # 1 priority if he gets elected president is to make sure that abortion at any stage is allowed. He will make sure that the babies who survive abortion are continued to be left to die without anyone to help them. He might even go so far as making some crazy law that any individual who intervenes on the baby's behalf after a botched abortion is subject to criminal charges. I wouldn't put it past him. Barack Obama is SATAN. And if he's not Satan, he's one of his minions.

This is the ONLY reason why I'm voting; and my vote will NOT be going to him.

I feel like if he does get elected, my human nature of caring will cease and my human nature of avoiding things will once again kick in. Maybe I'll start with avoiding any unjust laws he passes.

Monday, October 27, 2008


A few weeks ago, one of the thought-provoking posts on a discussion board I am part of asked "will you tell your kids about the mistakes you've made?" This question was answered with a myriad of honest thoughts. I myself didn't really answer with too much detail, just that I would never lie to my children about my past. The answers from other members did cause me to really think about a lot of things concerning what we talk to our children about. I think about this question a lot, even before it was posed on our board, and I have been dwelling particularly on the line that's drawn between teaching lessons from mistakes we've made and being hypocritical, especially when it comes to immorality. It is a personal issue and something I grapple with often. A lot of people in the world think that they can't tell their children what not to do in certain situations because they did the same thing and it would be hypocritical for them to tell their children not to do it. It seems that some people also think that children need to learn life's lessons on their own. But I have to wonder, when it comes to the bigger issues, is this is just a cop-out because they're too lazy to make the effort or do some parents really believe that?

Take for instance the issue of premarital sex. This is a very personal issue within our family because we did not wait until we were married and our oldest daughter was born less than a month before our wedding, a wedding that in many ways took place because of her. In my heart I always believed that sex before marriage was wrong but there were a lot of things that happened, which led to my not following that belief. When our daughter is old enough to understand, she will question why she's in our wedding pictures. Is it hypocritical for us to teach her that premarital sex is wrong when we have obvious proof that we didn't heed our own teaching? I don't think so. Some people would tell me (and have told me) that it would be wrong for us to teach that after the example that we've set.

God calls us to remain pure until we are joined with our spouses in marital union. It's everywhere in the Bible, yet there are many Christians who feel this is the "old school" way of doing things. I don't understand why they think that God's word changes with the times. Both my husband and I know we made a mistake. My husband has told me on more than one occasion that he regrets being with anyone but me and that we were "together" before we got married. It's a lesson we both have learned through all the pitfalls that not waiting created. It's not a lesson we feel our children should learn on their own. Lessons of moral values are not usually ones parents let children learn all on their own. And I believe that the foundation for such things has to begin with teaching them the reasons for believing them, not just telling them to believe them and leaving it at that.

I feel like it is our duty to give our children a strong foundation for making the right choices, through our teaching, regardless of whether we made the very mistakes we are teaching them about. It's not like teaching them that they should always tie their shoe laces if they don't want to trip and fall. It's about the important issue of the condition of their soul and it goes beyond learning these things the hard way. A child may eventually learn to always tie his shoelaces, after falling on his face a few times but how many times does he need to be hurt in all the ways something like premarital sex can hurt him before he really learns his lesson? And why would we sit back and let him learn this lesson on his own, knowing so much destruction can come from such a mistake, when we have the tools- and the moral obligation- to help him avoid it?

Sometimes it's enough to tell them about (or show them) the outcome of the mistakes we've made and sometimes it's not. But we can't just leave it to chance. We can't be lazy hoping that they will make the right choice or that they'll be OK if they don't. Loving our children means making an effort to give them the best possible chances in life, especially when it comes to making the right choices. We have to arm them with knowledge and the ability to understand what God asks of us as His children. I feel like it's a necessary part of parenting, especially parenting God's way, to teach them everything He would teach them with the love and patience He would have and to take the time to really touch their hearts with these teachings.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trusting God

Recently I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. I am still not quite up to par on the extensive facts about this disorder. I do, however, know very many things I do not like about it. Here are a few very personal ones:

A) In order to go on medicine, I have to stop breastfeeding
B) While getting used to my medicine, I should not drive at all or at least use my discretion about driving but only to destinations within 10 minutes of my house.
C) If for some reason my seizures generalize into the jerking kind that most people are familiar with when they hear the word 'seizure,' my life will change even more.
D) If it ends up not being seizures, it could be something much worse.

My sister was diagnosed with Complex Partial Seizures after she had a brain tumor removed in 2004. Apparently, my brother was diagnosed with them when he was younger but no one, including him, remembers this little fact and we only re-learned it recently when my mother found some paper from an EEG done when he was 15. My mother also seems to think my father may have them, based on things she's witnessed him doing or ways he's acted over the years.

A seizure disorder is basically when someone has a lower threshold for seizures. I read that anyone can have a seizure (or a few) at any time in their life and that most everyone does have at least one with out noticing. The problem lies when someone is specifically more sensitive to them and thus it becomes a disorder. Seizures occur when the brain's electrical rhythms become imbalanced. Apparently I'm more sensitive to them and my electrical rhythms are imbalanced more often than not. Over the past year, I have noticed more and more "things" happening that were unexplainable. And because I didn't know what to think of them, I just pretended they didn't happen. I remember finding myself in my laundry room taking things out of the dryer one day and I realized that I had no recollection of going down the stairs to the laundry room or anything I had done all morning before that. Sometimes I zone out and don't realize it. I'll "come to" while just catching on to my husband or my children speaking to me.

Other "seizures" have included forgetting things like what I just did 5 minutes ago. I used to attribute this to what I like to call "mommy brain" but lately, it's been a ridiculous amount of time and events that I can't seem to remember. I am often unable to grasp simple words, stuttering or hesitating over what I'm trying to say. I drop things, lose my balance, hear ringing in my ears, have "pop rocks" sensations in my head, suffer head aches and mood swings... The list goes on.

I don't feel like myself anymore and I am slowly spiraling down emotionally. My husband is having a hard time supporting me. He's so lost when it comes to understanding what's going on or how to help. So he doesn't try. I feel very lonely, especially being an hour away from the rest of my family... It's only an hour but I can't even take that drive right now and a lot of people seem to think it's too far for a visit.

And through all this, I have to think that God is ultimately in control. Despite my depression from this, despite my symptoms and what may happen or what has happened, He is the only One who can help me through this. I've been here before.. In a different time in my life and for different reasons, I've seen this dark cave and heard the echo of silence in its narrow passages. And His hand was what brought me out of it into the light only He is able to create. Now I have to trust that this time He will once again whisper in my ear and bring me to a place of clarity, holding me close with His strong loving hands and help me to fight this battle.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Protecting Our Children

I have referred to children before as "gifts," "priceless treasures," and many other names that give an unimaginable value to the babies God places in our lives. I have thought and prayed and written about the unending list of duties of mothers which demands from us such things as protecting and nurturing these little beings as best as we possibly can so they might grow up to be stable and strong, respecting themselves and others, with a deep-seeded love for God. I have succumbed to my role in all its grit and worry and yes, even failings, realizing that as long as I am doing what God asks of me, I am doing what I should. I have been so convicted of my role as a mother and all it entails that I tend to be saddened and sometimes even angry when I see others who take their role about as seriously as they take the idea of space aliens taking over the planet.

This past weekend we visited hubby's Mom. She lives near the bay and on Saturday we took the kids down to a boardwalk on the water and let them play at the playground in the sand. It was a beautiful day and there were tons of kids running about, excited and playing, just having a good time. Their parents stood by and watched as their children enjoyed their freedom. Well, most of the parents anyway. I took particular interest in a little girl my son's age (about 2.5-3) who seemed to be alone at the park. She wandered around, playing with other children but I didn't hear her parents say "stay where I can see you" or "watch out for the other kids on the slide.." etc. At least not for quite some time. Then I saw a girl and a guy, probably about 20, maybe younger, interact with her and another little girl for a brief second but it was just to make a silly face or something unimportant. Then they turned away and started talking to each other.

I identified this couple as the little girl's parents (and apparently the parents of the other little girl who seemed to be about 4). So I watched them for awhile as well as the younger little girl. She climbed inside the playground equipment. She went down by the water. She wandered outside of the playground gates and sat near the road. Her parents didn't seem to take notice of any of her movements. They stood off to the side of the playground near the bathrooms and hung all over each other and talked to each other, seeming to alienate everything outside of their little bubble including their children. For twenty minutes or so, the little girl sat outside the gate unattended. The boardwalk was busy and people were constantly passing by. I was worried for her safety. At any moment, she could dart out into the road or someone could just come by and take her. Finally, the guy said "I should go find so and so." He looked and looked and he couldn't find her. Her mother went closer to the bathrooms and looked for her. For 5 minutes or so, they searched for her and couldn't find her. Then the little girl came back from outside the gates and started playing on the playground equipment again. The guy noticed her and didn't say anything to her about running off or anything to that effect.

Then the guy and the girl told the two young girls to stay where they were and they walked away to stand by the water. The two girls followed them but they paid no attention to them. They stood at the water and made out while the older girl watched and the younger girl played in a big hole that another child was playing in. For another twenty minutes or so, the couple stood at the water and kissed, off in their own little world, while their children played far away from them. At this point, we got our kids and went to the candy store. When we came back, the couple was sitting by the water on the rocks with their backs to the playground. I couldn't see either of their children. I looked for them for a few minutes and I noticed the older girl playing on the equipment but could not see the littler one anywhere.

We were on our way to the car as I witnessed this and I felt like I couldn't just let it go. I was deeply saddened by the lack of concern this couple had for their precious girls. I thought about how easy it would've been for anyone to snatch them unnoticed. I thought about the fact that if I had been an evil person, I could've taken those girls quite easily, put them in my car and driven back to PA where I live and that couple would've never found them. I felt the anger rise in me at the thought of those people not protecting their beautiful children. I didn't want to get involved but at the same time felt it on my heart to say something. I left the kids with my hubby and his mom and walked back over to the play area and down to the water. At this point, I noticed the younger little girl playing inside the big ship that was the playground equipment. Not only was the inside of the ship unseen accept if you look through the few windows it has but from down by the water where the couple sat, the entire area was out of view...especially since their backs were to the playground.

I prayed for God to give me the right words because all I could feel was a growing anger and I knew that I was capable of using that anger to fuel hateful words. As I made my way over to the couple I just asked God to give me peace and speak through me. I began slowly and picked up momentum and courage as I told the couple I was not judging them in any way but that I was a concerned parent with 3 babies of my own and that I just felt that they needed to keep a better eye on their children. I told them about how I watched as their littlest one ran outside to the street and played out there completely unattended for at least 20 minutes and how I felt very sad at the thought that anyone could've just come along and snatched her. The entire time I spoke, the girl just mumbled stuff to the guy and he in turn made rude comments and acted very immaturely. I never once said anything nasty but they seemed very offended. Going over I did not expect that they would just be like "OMG, thanks so much for looking out..." But I never expected such hostility. After a few minutes of encouraging them to be a little closer to their children while they're playing, etc, I realized that my words were probably falling on deaf ears and I turned and walked away.

I understand that not everyone is changed or moved by their role as parents. Some find it very hard to do even the slightest thing that is best for their children. I myself often find it incredibly difficult to really live up to the standards I know God has set for the caretakers of His precious jewels. I fail a lot. But there are some people that are just too self-absorbed to really allow these children to move within their life and it breaks my heart when I happen upon these types (which occurs more often than not these days).

I don't know if I made any impact at all but I felt a little better for having said something to them. The feeling just kept bothering me as we were walking away earlier and I just felt moved to turn around and make an effort to say something to those people. Afterward I said a prayer of thanks to God for giving me the courage and the right words to say and allowing me to remain calm and respectful despite the fact that my heart was crying angry tears inside and the fact that they were being so rude. I also said a prayer for those little girls and for their "parents," that they would be protected and their parents would wake up a little to the reality of their jobs. Those beautiful little girls deserve so much better than that and I can only do what I have done to help them. The rest is in God's hands.

(Perhaps if aliens really do exist, God will send them to take over the planet and wipe it clean of all the parents who don't do the most basic part of their job - protect and care for their children.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Bread Machine

Last Christmas my parents gave each of their 7 children an appliance. How excited I was to receive a bread maker! My husband was a little less than thrilled. After all, what was the point of such a gift and more importantly, where were we going to put it? It is a pretty big appliance and unless you have gobs of counter space there really is no room for such a monstrosity if you don't want it to be an eyesore, commanding not only your visual attention but much of the space on the counter top as well. Also.. homemade bread? He was accustomed to the uniform slices of the long loaves of bread you get at the grocery store. How was this "new" squatty uncut kind of bread going to taste? How would we make sandwiches with it? I stifled my mirth at my husbands adorably naive questions and happily loaded the bread maker into the car. I figured he'd "cross over" with the first bite of the first loaf.

Me and bread making....we don't really get along... unless of course I use my bread maker. I never really made bread successfully before and always bought the loaf of Italian bread at the grocery store bakery or tube of dinner rolls you can get in the refrigerator section. I was determined to use my bread maker a lot. Not only was I excited about freshly-made bread and all the wonderful smells and warmth it would fill my kitchen with but I was also excited about knowing exactly what was in my bread. No high fructose corn syrup here. No artificial flavoring or coloring or anything I can't pronounce. Just good old fashioned flour, yeast and liquid (as well as a few spices) happily mixing together, rising, kneading and baking all on its own.

The first time my husband had the bread, he was a little hesitant. Could this possibly be as good- or better- than the store-bought kind? Amazingly, he admitted to liking it quite well. Needless to say, that winter I used my bread maker a lot. I loved being able to just throw the ingredients into the pan, set the machine according to the size, type and color loaf I needed and just forget about it for a few hours. Shortly after the machine clicked over to the "bake" setting, the house would begin to fill with the warm smell of fresh-baked bread. It was such a treat, especially on those chilly days of winter, to enjoy homemade bread with some savory soup from the crock pot for dinner.

But when Spring rolled around, warm bread and thick rich soups were far from our minds. As the weather grew hot, the bread maker took up permanent residency on a back shelf in our pantry. Gone were the days when we would crave the warm bread paired with something equally enticing to fill up our stomachs with delicious comfort and stick to our ribs, satisfying our appetites for hours. We wanted chicken salad and hamburgers on the grill and everything else that was not made in a bread maker (or crock pot for that matter). I'm sure those machines sighed every time I opened the pantry door to get something else out.

I have to admit, I missed my bread maker these past few months. But now that it's Fall and the weather has gotten a little bit chilly, I have used it quite a few times already. My favorite is making Italian Herb bread and pairing it with a big pan of stuffed shells or a hot steaming bowl of potato soup from the crock pot. I am enjoying trying new recipes this year, as last year I only did the basic recipe a few times. I've made pizza dough and fruit nut bread already and am anxious to go beyond the recipes provided by the bread maker's instruction manual.

And as for my hubby- who questioned the very essence of such a gift from my parents, not to mention the likability of its products- he has grown in his knowledge of things other-than- store-bought and has safely made it through the chasm of change, belly stuffed full and content, happily eating homemade bread on the other side.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Change Of Seasons: Part One - Fall

It is just about Fall, or, as some people call it, Autumn. It is not quite here but I can smell it in the air and the weather is starting to turn chilly in the afternoons as the days grow shorter and nights come on more quickly. By 7 PM the sun is well into its decent in the West where as during Summer, it would still be up there, a calmer shine but a shine none-the-less, reminding us we have a few more hours to play outside under the safety and comfort of its warm rays. I love the changing of the seasons! I love the time in between each one as my world prepares to welcome the onset of a new weather system while it slowly lets go of the old one. Change in general wasn’t always so easy for me to accept with such excitement. But after a while, I understood that it’s just like saying a long good bye to an old friend while waiting for a new one to come along.

Fall means so many things. On a general scale, it means light jackets and long pants. It means Halloween and Thanksgiving and preparing for the Christmas season. It means baking Gingerbread and Soup and Chili. It means Football, Pumpkins and Corn. For high-school students it means the start of a new School year and getting ready for Homecoming. For me, it means tucking away the memories from summer- the kids playing in the pool, laying outside in the sun with a book at nap-time, and catching fireflies after dark.. And it means dreaming of making new ones like burying ourselves in the leaves, picking pumpkins and going on hay rides. It means ending my love affair with warm weather and flowers and my vegetable garden and beginning a new one with crisp leaves, apples and sweaters.

How blessed I feel to live in a state where we experience all four seasons with the weather patterns and nature that perfectly coincide with each! The season of Fall allows for the beautiful canvas for God to paint a moving picture of just one part of the essence of His creation-the flowers dying off, the lush green grass turning to a yellowy straw and the leaves changing from green to a myriad of yellows, oranges and reds before turning brown and falling from the trees. A perfect example of the cycle of life. In each stage, nature has its own unique beauty and value and we are so blessed to experience its wonder every few months when the seasons change.

Each transition is God’s way of providing us with a fresh start, new beginnings, new feelings and more reasons to thank Him, more dreams to dream, more plans to make. It’s transforming our world for us to help us remember His infinite power and the amazing beauty He has blessed us with to enjoy. Teaching my children about these changes, the reasons for them and how it applies to our lives is going to be an exciting adventure.

Ah, Fall! Like I do for the coming of Spring after a long Winter, I am anxiously awaiting this shift in nature’s cycle. Long ago, I was slightly afraid of the change of seasons. I didn’t want to let go of the familiarity of the old one and worry about what was to come with the new one. I wanted to hang on, tightly wrapping myself in a blanket of denial as I realized it would happen with or without me. Slowly and slowly I began to wake up to the idea that life had so much meaning even during these changes. Slowly and slowly I began to see that I would be blessed by letting go and welcoming what was to come. Like with so many other things, I was always afraid of letting go and moving on. But here I am, saying goodbye to Summer as I wait for Fall to come along.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Revisiting the Daycare Issue

Last week there was a story in my hometown paper about a local daycare worker who assaulted a 2 year old boy. Apparently, this girl was dealing with a slightly troublesome child and felt the need to respond in an aggressive manner. When I viewed the story online, it came with an attached video, the raw footage catching the daycare worker in the act. It's so annoying to me that we are questioned time and again why we don't want to put our children in daycare when things like this happen. And lets not even try to say that this stuff doesn't happen in every daycare and it was an isolated incident in the grand scheme of daycare life. Yeah, this one might be the only one caught on tape so far but I know for a fact that it does happen more often than not. I've SEEN it happen with my own eyes and I, too, have been in that position- a young daycare worker trying to handle a troublesome child.

I passed this story around in an email with the link to the article and video. One of my friends who happens to work at a daycare challenged my comment about this being "yet another reason why our kids will never be in daycare." As I thought about the issue and what I really meant by saying that, I tried to articulate to her my motives for such a comment. To me, it isn't just about the fact that some daycare worker behaved improperly toward a child that was not hers. There are several underlying issues which move to the heart of one of the main reasons why we don't put our kids in daycare. Speaking from my experience working in a daycare when I was about 20 years old with many other even younger workers, for the most part the workers don't seem to have much invested in their job or the children. A paycheck is their motivator. Most aren't really trained to handle children in general, let alone "troublesome" children.

I remember on several occasions when I was the one being physically assaulted by one or more of the children in the classroom I helped in. One time, we had to evacuate all of the children from the room because one of our... lets say more spirited children was going crazy, throwing large objects, hurting other kids, etc. And it was just me and this girl 2 years younger than me, trying to figure out what to do. We weren't trained to deal with that sort of thing.

And I remember the reasons why I quit working there. Aside from the fact that the daycare was run by a totally inept person, there were several things that just didn't sit well with me. I remember coming in at 3 o'clock and waiting for my kids to get there. I helped out mostly in the school-age room so we got them when school let out. They were supposed to get snack but there were no snack foods left in the kitchen. Someone had forgotten to order more. A lot of the time, we were short-staffed or the place took on more kids than were allowed and the ratio of teacher to students was imbalanced which is illegal. Not to mention the fact that most of the time, the kids who liked to constantly be out of control were hardly ever dealt with in a manner that made things better.

The deciding factor for me was an incident that happened between me and one of the kids. In the later part of the evening when all but a few of the kids had been picked up, I was trying to get the room back in order and the kids were supposed to be helping. One girl refused to do what she was asked and was even being mean to the other kids and doing things to keep them from doing what they were asked to do. She started yelling at me and I sat down next to her and tried to calmly tell her to stop what she was doing. She was being disrespectful and not listening to me and started tearing up paper and drawing all over things. When she wouldn't give me her attention, I touched her arm to stop her from continuing to tear up the paper and she jerked it away from me. Then she started crying and telling me I jerked her arm. When her mom came, she told her I jerked her arm even though it was she that jerked her own arm and things went downhill from there. I was suspended from work until they could investigate further and at that point, I just put my two-week's in. It wasn't worth it.

I can say without a doubt that I was not cut out for a job at a daycare center at that point in my life. And even at this point, even though I have 3 children of my own and a lot more experience, I don't think I would be able to handle it. I think it takes a certain kind of person to adequately handle someone else's children day in and day out as they go through all of the things a child goes through as they grow up.. The emotions, the stress, the home and school life, all of that are factors in how a child behaves on a daily basis. Parents are naturally given the foundation to learn how to love their children and deal with them through that love. It's hard enough to change and grow as a parent in order to not fail our children when it comes to caring for them properly through their naturally unpredictable behavior, moods and emotions. I just don't think that most teenagers or young adults working in a daycare, especially if they don't have children of their own, are capable of practicing the same type of behavior needed to take on the unpredictability of children that are not theirs.

And this is one of my biggest reasons my children will never be in a daycare. I just think about how hard it is for me, even though I have the strength of my love for my children behind me, to be the kind of person that can go through each day with them and care for them the way they deserve to be cared for, helping them work through their emotions, giving them the support and guidance they need. If I were here all day with children who weren't mine and even if I liked them and children in general but all that was keeping me here was a paycheck, I just don't think I could do it. There's something to be said for the way God set up the bonds between parents and their children and not even a daycare worker, and especially not a 20 year old making $7.50 an hour, can even come close to emulating that bond. The news story about that daycare worker assaulting a young boy just strengthens that thought and our decision even more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Faith Pants

I don't know if this is normal for everyone but I go through periods of time when I'm really happy, things are fine at home, I feel like I'm sailing down the path God wants me to be on....and then just as easily I find myself in a period of insecurity, emotional chaos, filled with doubt and worry and fear, wondering if maybe I got lost somewhere on this crazy path that all of the sudden seems foreign and scary. The up and down of my journey seems as frequent as the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide. I have reoccurring dream that I'm falling. I don't dream it very often but when I do dream it, it's always the same dream. I seem to be flying and then all of the sudden I'm falling. I have no idea if this dream connects to my spiritual journey or not. But I tend to believe that perhaps in some strange way, it does. I fear a lot about falling with out anything to catch me when it comes to my life as a whole. But I don't understand it, not directly. Sometimes I have so much faith that God will bring me to where I need to be if I'm not already there at any one moment in my life and other times I am feeling like there's no one directing my flight and no one to catch me when I land, all as I fly through life by the seat of my pants.

The past few days have been a little rough for me and I seemed to have lost faith a little. Most of it lies where my husband is concerned, my worry for him and his own issues, how it affects our family and my inability to grasp how to deal with it all. I pray for him every day and most of the time, I know that in His own beautiful time, God will answer these prayers but sometimes, I am doubtful and then my worry begins. What if things don't ever change? What if where we are right now is where we're always going to be?

Another reason for my faithlessness is my own scrutinizing of my abilities, which I write about often so won't detail much further here. I am just continuing the struggle I face practically every day and some days, I know I allow it to overrun my confidence and blind me in my battle to keep my faith where my motherhood is concerned. Yet another reason for my seeming lack of faith is just a general persistence in my mind that there's something bigger I need to be doing, something I'm missing, a request God has made that I just can't seem to hear (or perhaps I am suffering a case of selective hearing, not sure which).

In analyzing what I perceive to be the path of my faith in God as it has presented itself lately, I have really seen the unsteady nature of it. When things are pretty decent around here and we have a little bit of extra money and we're not dealing with extended family drama and the kids are being good and our relationship seems to be close, my faith in God is like putting on my favorite pair of blue jeans. It eases its way into our life like those comfy jeans smoothing themselves along my legs. Thanking God for the good times and trusting that things will continue to be OK, taking comfort in the familiarity of that faith is just like relying on the worn seams of my pants to strongly hold together as they have so many times in the past....

But then there are the times when things aren't exactly great. We're struggling to meet due dates for bills, we have family members nagging us, the kids have been crazy, my husband and I have been arguing... Those times. And it's not the first thing I think to do to grab a hold of my faith and fly with it like I do when things are good. While I may come around to doing that at some point, I often forget to do that first which is what bothers me. Instead my first thought is often "why are you letting this happen, God?" I know I need to rely on Him through good times and through bad ones, trusting in Him and having faith that no matter what is going on, He's always going to carry us through.

I think about an idea that hadn't really occurred to me before. My favorite pair of blue jeans are like a symbol for my faith. Let me explain. I realized that I rely on them even through the "bad times" like when I have gained a few pounds or whatever.. I ease myself into them and have faith that regardless of the few extra pounds of weight, they will stretch a little to accommodate and still remain strong at the seams. If I can put such faith in some stupid pants, why not in my God?

So where does that leave me in my thoughts? I've come to the conclusion that I just need to work on this. I need to pray more and strengthen my faith in God through all aspects of my life. I need to remember to continue to thank Him through the good times but I also need to accept the bad ones. And regardless of what's going on, if I'm going to be flying through life by the seat of my pants, it might as well be my faith pants.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Being a Green Mother

Recently, I've been reflecting more than usual on a subject that I often have a very hard time dealing with. *Children.* It is the essence of my life, being a mommy, and yet I feel greatly troubled over it time and again. As each year passes, it seems that I am either pregnant or nursing and have long ago lost the notion that I will ever have my body back to being just mine. There have been posts where I've written about the wonderful aspects of being a mommy and then some where I have written about the horrifying idea of more children, as I feel I can barely take care of the ones I have. But there are also people that tell me I'm doing a wonderful job. And my mom telling me I am the "earth mother." And others telling me my kids are annoying and crazy. And I also hear a lot that more would be a burden I probably really don't want. Inwardly, I am always feeling a great stirring of the winds as I contemplate what it really means personally for me to be a mother and secretly worry where exactly these winds will take me.

One of my favorite novels, Being a Green Mother by Piers Anthony, ends with the main character, Orb taking the roll as Mother Nature. I love this novel not because it's written well (because it's not and actually has way too much sexual innuendo in it) but because it is a good Fantasy Fiction story, complete with dryads, gypsies, dragons and the like. I don't usually indulge in this type of read nor do I believe in any of the creatures or magical ideas written about but I am a sucker for imaginative stories and this one especially was a favorite from long ago. Anyway, this time around reading it, I picked up on a lot of feelings the main character has that I didn't really ever think about while reading before. She gave birth to a daughter and gave her up which was a very hard thing for her to do. For me, that hit close to home as I once pondered giving my oldest daughter up for adoption. As Orb goes through her life, she is constantly met with obstacles she must overcome which often involve taking care of everyone else above herself. By the end of the novel, she is presented with the opportunity- and eventually decides to take- the role as the "Green Mother" or Mother Nature.

As I read the novel this time, I realized that there was a lot Orb had to learn and a lot she had to change about herself to become the person she needed to be for the job as Mother Nature. Even when she took on the role she immediately made a mistake because of her own personal flaws and in order to continue her role properly, she had to learn from that mistake and suffer the consequences for it which involved a sacrifice she never thought she'd make. I thought hard about this as I was reading and applied it to my own life, what being a mother should be for me and how much I allow to change me and make me better in my role. I also thought about my own sacrifices, and consequences for actions I take because I am imperfect. A big part of my thought process steers me toward studying my emotional stability, my coping abilities and the daily battle with myself over small unimportant things like remembering what I missed out on to become a mother, etc. It leads me to berate myself for a lot, pat myself on the back for some and fall to my knees in prayer for strength to continue on at all.

I think about the one thing that really has me worried and contemplative a lot concerning children. *More.* In the book, Mother Nature was not only in charge of the elements but also what happened to everything in nature, most importantly the people. In a way, she was connected to every single person somehow within her being and had to take care of them all. But Orb was not perfect and was not made so even upon assuming her role as Mother Nature. She needed to realize that she would have to change and grow and allow every aspect of her role to be fulfilled. For me, the idea of more is kind of a scary black funnel cloud at this point in my life and is frequently a topic of discussion between myself and my siblings and mom as well as the subject of some of my posts, past and (inevitably) future.

It is easy for me to relate to Orb even if she is fictional because of the truth to the nature of her character. She is an imperfect being chosen for an immensely important role and must allow room for the growth it will prompt. She is forced to exceed any expectations she had ever put on her life to become, in essence, a mother. However, I am led even further in my quest, coming to thoughts about God, something real and- depending on how I try- tangible in so many ways. God is the Father of all the billions of people on the earth, in real life. He is in charge of every single one of His children. I know I must at least try to mirror His role as best as I can with the abilities I have.

"More" for me up to this point has been pretty terrifying. I look at the job I don't feel I do very well and think about stirring yet one more innocent being into the mix. I analyze my reactions to my children when they are misbehaving or just being annoying. I think about how hard it is to be a parent in general. Is it possible for me to do all I need to do in order to be the type of mother who not only meets but exceeds what I have ever expected of myself? This would include changing in so many ways and allowing God to direct my path. More importantly, can I do this for not one, two or three children but four or even more?

I have come to the answer to this question at last, which I think was always in my heart and just had to be "prayed out" a little more so I could recognize it. The answer is yes, I have to.

In order to be a mother in the most complete way, I really feel like I have to be open to every aspect of my role. Some of these aspects include dealing with the people who tell me I shouldn't or can't, perhaps even using the opportunity as a testament to God's love and presence in my life. Then there is the aspect of dealing with my children when they are not behaving which does not mean yelling and screaming but calmly disciplining them the way God might...sort of in a what would Jesus do mentality. Also included is calming my husband's anxieties over the idea of more mouths to feed with the grace and wisdom the Proverbial wife might. And most importantly, it is accepting that God will entrust to me as many children as He wishes, receiving His priceless treasures for the gifts they are for as long as I can call them mine. Basically, it is allowing the vastness of my role to carry me wherever Mother Nature's winds might blow.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I fathom a life where it is the easiest thing in the world to follow God's path and always be a good Christian, a loving person all the time. I try to imagine a life that doesn't include others who are hurtful, who try to lead me astray...a life where I am not hurtful and do not make mistakes. Of course, this type of life is impossible this side of heaven but I am intoxicated by the idea of it. I am perfectly aware of my duty as one of God's children to do as much as I can to try to achieve such a life but as God's child, I am imperfect. I make mistakes and I do not always know how to handle myself in a Christian manner. Sometimes, I allow my emotions to decide my actions and this often does more harm than good.

I am trying to understand my place in life, as a person in search of God's will. I am trying to figure out why there are people in my life who only seem to want to cause me harm. And I am trying to figure out how I am to be able to not allow them to harm me and how to keep myself from harming them. For years I've battled the unavoidable presence of some not so loving people in my life, trying to be patient waiting for things to be different, trying to love them despite the hurt they cause. As children of God, they too are imperfect and I understand this. But lately, I am almost convinced that Satan has gotten a hold of them and is using them to do his work.

I know that only God can heal me now. I am trying to figure it all out on my own and it's not working... it's just too hard. I've been feeling so hopeless when it comes to a lot of things lately and I am just moving along through the days, a shadow of a person, trying to find the light I think is there.... somewhere.