Friday, February 29, 2008

A Leap to a Milestone

Happy Leap Day everyone! Just think, we won't have another one for four years.

Today has been quite the day for me. I hit a milestone in the grieving process that was huge for me.

This morning I had my postpartum appointment with my midwife. I was fretful about it last night and fidgety. I was worried about whatever emotional impact it might make. Dale offered over and over to arrange for him driving me, but I insisted I could do it myself. So I did. On the way over I realized there wasn't any panic, or apprehension. Just a feeling of peace. That is due to three things. One is God's mercy towards me. The second is that prayer works. No doubt about it. Thirdly is that the relationship I have with the midwife and the assistant is that of friends, not just medical care provider and client. We had a nice visit, chatting for over and hour before we even did the check up. The assistant and I had a nice talk, comparing some grieving notes. She had lost a baby to almost identical circumstances that we did a few years ago.

I am thankful I can say that physically I am healthy. I am grateful I don't have any health complications to contend with in the midst of just trying to process the situation. My weight is down below what I started with at the beginning of the pregnancy, and my blood pressure excellent, and all the muscles and stuff are doing what they are supposed to be doing. I don't take that for granted, believe me.

After the appointment I decided I would tackle the errands I had written down. I had them prioritized so if I needed to just go home I could. The only thing we REALLY needed was milk, so I did that first. Then I went to Barnes and Nobles. I took my time, looking over the bargain tables. Then I went to Walmart. Oh my. That was total sensory overload. I had to get coffee and a few odds and ends. Dale had mentioned about picking out another lamp for in the bedroom so I did that. Well, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I have no capacity for making decisions anymore. The mental gymnastics I had to go through would have made you think I was trying to decide the fate of the nation.

I got home, and was mentally exhausted. I am so not used to that anymore! But the "huge" part of this is that it is a milestone for me. My first time out and about by myself.

The mail brought another pleasant addition to the day. Aaron's portrait. It is done, and it is beautiful. Now we have to decide where we are going to put it and have it professionally framed. The girls told me they would like it in the living room. I like that, too. I'm not afraid to show off my baby. They said that way they can look at it alot. I plan on having the poem I wrote for him framed with his portrait. Bethany Kerr did the portrait, and I cannot say enough what a talent God has given her. When we get it all framed I will post a pic of it here.

It has been a busy day. Dale got to be on duty for heading up the homeschooling today while I was off getting sensory overload like I was at the circus (well, given the usual busyness at Walmarts, I'm not sure that is an exaggeration).

Another blessing today was the weather. It was frigid overnight, but the skies were clear and blue and sunny this morning and while I was out. After I got home, it got quite gray and the wind picked up and it started snowing to beat the band. Funny thing... though I wouldn't have wanted to be driving in it, my kids were out there with snow suits, boots, etc. riding their bikes in a snowstorm.

In order to let my mind relax so I can fall asleep I plan on doing something that doesn't take much brain power tonight. I just can't decide what that will be. :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who We Are and What We Deserve

"Have Thine own way Lord, have thine own way,
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay,
Mould me and make me, after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still..."

That popular hymn is sung many times in many churches, but have you ever really looked at those words? Can you really sing them and mean it? Being the clay isn't being a pretty vase or pitcher sitting on a table being admired by the Maker. It is a lump on a table, constantly changing, being molded into what the Master wants. Sometimes it a smooth transition, and sometimes it means breaking off that big lump in the back that doesn't belong there. Or painfully bending a part so it looks just right. Or smacking the lump down and doing some major reconstruction.

We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ... but we aren't there yet, and won't be until we reach heaven. We are still being formed, still being molded. We aren't done yet, not by a long shot!

I am learning to be content with whatever God wants me to be. Right now I am a broken vessel, cracked, and being worked on. But I am learning that is okay. Even David felt like that. In Psalm 31:12, he says "... I am like a broken vessel." That is the King of Israel talking like that! Maybe God wants me to function as a broken vessel to bring Him glory. I need to be content with that. There is a piece of me that will always be missing.

Due to the number of little hands in our household, we have several pieces of mugs or bowls that have chips out of them. They are not whole. Some might throw them away, but we haven't. We still use them. They are still useful, even with that piece missing. One bowl that we use almost everyday has a crack in the bottom of it, but it doesn't go all the way through, so we can still use it.

I am learning... slowly, I admit... but learning that God wants to use me though I am imperfect and incomplete. I can still be useful.

There is no point in asking.. "what did I do to deserve this?". Dale made a comment about this to me recently. I don't view Aaron's death as punishment from God. I view it as a tool or a learning experience. It isn't comfortable. It hurts a lot. I could ask "why?", I could ask "what did I do to deserve this?". But what is the point? The truth is that there is no point to it. It isn't about what I deserve or don't deserve. It is about learning more about God and His mercy. The Christian walk is not paved with rose petals. Paul himself asked the Lord three times to remove a thorn in his flesh. Something in his life was so severe, that he asked the Lord to take it away. Now think about this. Paul had suffered shipwreck, stonings, and was given up for dead. I really don't think he would be complaining about a hang nail, do you? Whatever was so harsh that he asked the Lord to remove it (three times, even), the Lord still said "no". What did he do to deserve it? Again, the question has no point.

We shouldn't be asking "what did I do to deserve this trial?". We should be asking that question about the flip side.
"What did I do to deserve my wonderful dh?"
"What did I do to deserve my wonderful children?"
"What did I do to deserve my loving church family?"
"What did I do to deserve my caring friends?"
"What did I do to deserve the times of peace in my heart?"
"What did I do to deserve the ability to read the Bible?"
"What did I do to deserve eternal life through Jesus Christ?"

The answer... NOTHING. God gives us all things freely. God loves us. He wants us to grow closer to Him. To fellowship with Him. To learn to lean on Him, and go to Him for support. It is only by His grace and mercy that we even exist to be saved.

So those of us who are a broken vessel must learn to be content with that. That is what God wants us to be, so we put up with whatever infirmity He gives us, whether it be physical or mental or emotional. We can be content with that because we know that the Master isn't finished with us yet.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Irritating Insomnia

I had another bout of sleeplessness last night. I have been doing much better overall, thankfully, but last night was the worst by far. It was one of those times when I was tired, wanted to go to sleep, but couldn't. The more I thought about it the more frustrated I got. So I got up and read. Then I went back and tried to sleep. Got restless, frustrated... got up and read. I finished the book I was reading around 4:30 a.m. I finally got to sleep around 5, I think. Was up around 8 a.m. Wasn't it Thomas Edison who said sleep was highly overrated?

So, today was trashed, as far as any ambition goes. Dale said very sweetly "that's okay, you did enough yesterday for two days. Relax.". What a great guy he is! I took a nap this afternoon for a while, and that helped.

Have you ever noticed how important context is in Scripture? The simplest thing can be taken out of context. For example, and relevant to my insomnia last night, is Psalm 127: 2 "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep."

Taken out of context, here is what someone in my position sees: I am vain, because I can't sleep. I am sorrowing and grieving, and that is wrong, because He gives His beloved sleep. So, where is the sleep? Doesn't God love me? Am I not His beloved? This thought pattern could lead to some misunderstanding of the Scriptures and even make one doubt their salvation.

In context, the Scripture is much more understandable. Having read through the Bible several times, I can think of some verses that talk about how nothing can separate us from the love of God, and how grieving is okay, and how He loves me. So the above interpretation, taken out of context, right off doesn't ring true to me. If you look at the first verse in the Psalm, it says: "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain... " then that goes into verse 2. You see the context here, now, right? It is talking about housekeeping. It is vain for me to take it all upon myself to do everything in my own strength. It is only with the Lord that a house is a home. I should not purposefully stay up late and get up early, not getting proper sleep, to do this task or that or fretting about how to run the house or maintain it. I should be diligent in my work,, to be sure, but I should also have that peace that passes all understanding, and get my rest.

There is quite a difference, isn't there? Like the Realtors say.. "location, location, location!"; we should say, when studying the Bible "Context, context, context!" You can go even further than "context" though. Scripture will never contradict itself. It seems to, then we are interpreting it wrong somewhere. God is not the author of confusion.

Notice the rest of Psalm 127 talks about children being a blessing, a reward, a joyful gift from the Lord. The context has nothing to do with the death of a child.

Another Psalm I read today is Psalm 130. David is crying out yet again in distress to the Lord. The plaintive note, and the pleading tone is evident, and unfortunately, familiar. Verse 1 says: " Out of the depths have I cried unto thee..." and verses 5 and 6 say: " I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning."

David wasn't afraid to cry out and honestly let God know his innermost thoughts and feelings. When he was joyful, when he was afraid, when he was in the dark places with grief and anguish. Did God hear him? Did He cast David away? Did the Lord think David was vain in losing sleep, losing flesh, feeling like he was in despair? God calls David His "beloved". Context. Comparing Scripture with Scripture. Let us be like the Bereans in studying and reading and having discernment in what we hear or read. The more I read and pray and hear good preaching and studying, the more I realize so many things we do, so many assumptions, are without merit. Not necessarily "wrong", but not edifying.

Today I was just trying to get through a rough spot. I could tell it was coming my way last night, so at least it didn't surprise me this time. Grieving certainly doesn't come in a nice little package with a bow of predictability on top. It is permanent. It is multifaceted. It is ugly. And the path it follows is not a straight line, or smooth footing. Many times I stumble, sometimes I feel like I am walking in circles, or even backtracking.

Today has been a "just exist" type of day. Any plans or ambitions I had were put on hold until tomorrow. I am just pushing through it, and I have no energy or ambition to fight against it. And what I am slowly learning is: That is Okay! Tomorrow is another day. New with God's mercies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Time for More Hot Chocolate

It has been a very, very busy day. I deep cleaned the kitchen. I took the knick knacks off the shelf and dusted them and the shelf, scrubbed down the microwave, toaster, coffee maker, counters, dish drainer, stove, fridge.. including clearing off the top and cleaning it really well. I washed all the bedding. I washed clothes. I cleaned the bathroom. All this along with the usual homeschooling, child training, meal getting, etc. Dale is still home, so yes, I did have his help, though he spent a good deal of time down stairs doing some work. This afternoon was a little less busy, thankfully.

Dale said earlier that he should have gotten me to slow down this morning. I need to remember to pace myself better. Tonight I am finding myself emotionally downcast and depressed some. For the last couple of days I have been on a cleaning spree along with our normal routines, and I think it has served purpose not only to get the main areas of our house clean, but also to push aside reality a bit. Now I am paying for it.

So, for the first time in a while I am using my favorite crutch... hot chocolate. No tea tonight. I need the hard stuff.

I wish I could speed up time a bit to get past some of the grieving process. But in all honesty, (I'm sure this is a given), I wouldn't have missed having Aaron for anything. Even though our time with him was short. Even though I am dealing with the emotional upheaval and ugly grieving process in the aftermath of his death, I am glad we had him. My arms still ache for him. My heart still feels so heavy for him. But I know we will adjust and we will rejoice in the warm, soothing memories of him in the future.

So pass the hot chocolate. I plan on loving him, grieving for him, and rejoicing and thanking the Lord for him.

Wish I Could Vote For Him!

Presidental Candidate?

Didn't realize just how much he's missed, until I read and remembered some of the stuff he said... and stood for .

'Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.'- Ronald Reagan

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' - Ronald Reagan

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.' - Ronald Reagan

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'
- Ronald Reagan

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.' - Ronald Reagan

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.'
< B>- Ronald Reagan

'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.'
- Ronald Reagan

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.' - Ronald Reagan

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.' - Ronald Reagan

'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.' - Ronald Reagan

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'- Ronald Reagan

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.'

- Ronald Reagan

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back to the Ol' Grind and more Roadtrip Review

Whew! Do you ever get to the end of the day and you feel like your brain can't take any more thinking, organiziing, plotting or planning, orchestrating activities, or concentrate on anything? Well, that is what I felt like by lunchtime today. Monday mornings are usually a busy "organizing" time for me. I do up the week's spelling lists, memory verses and try to organize at least a few days of whatever we are doing for unit studies (this week is Thomas Edison and spiders), and I do up the week's menu, and shopping lists. Thankfully the menus and consequence shopping lists were completed Saturday. Even so, jumping back into a full schedule of home education, and chores, and child training, plus whatever else gets thrown in is quite taxing on the brain, especially after a vacation! I have trouble concentrating as it is. I feel like since Aaron died I have the attention span of a gnat, at best. It is a pretty sad testimony to my focus abilities when a child is standing right in front of me, looking me in the eye, and saying something, in english, no less, and I still have to ask them to repeat it. And if more than one starts in.. forget it! Nothing doing! They might as well be speaking greek, for all I understand. Thankfully, Dale is on lay off this week, so he can fill in the gaps. Overall though, the day went well enough. We never did get to Home Ec or music practice. I was laying down this afternoon with a sinus that decided to masquerade as an ice pick being stuck into the right side of my face.

Roadtrip Review: Multigenerational Outings.

I wasn't going to do this category until later in the week, but I decided to do it tonight. One reason is that I am short on time tonight. The other is I wanted to put to rest some family rumors that may or may not be going around right now. :)

One outing we had with four generations of us was a trip to Barnes and Nobles. Yes, Shellee, I got some cappaccino... neener neener neener! We got there right before they had their children's reading hour. But did ours get in the circle and listen to the nice lady reading the books? Oh no. Our two youngest were playing with the Thomas the Train set (no surprise to their parents, by the way) and the others were draped in the aisles reading sundry books from the shelves. I discovered something while there observing all of this. Now, I may be wrong, but it seemed to me there was at least one other home schooling family there. Their children and mine were droooling and picking over some books that could be classified as "living books". Others were looking at books like "Goosebumps" or whatever that series is called. Now, I didn't go through the kids section taking a poll or anything, but that was what I observed while sipping my large white mocha cappuccino (which, I was generous enough to share half with my sweet dh! ). Great-grandmother generously offered to buy each of the children a book (well, Jerusha got a puzzle), and they were thrilled. It is good to see children regard books as the treasure they are in this age of electronic games and gadgets that permeate our lives.

Another multigeneration but single-gendered outing was with my grandmother, mother and me. We went out for a girly date. No children allowed. We went and got our hair done and then went to the Christmas Tree shop. It was HUGE! I want one near me! So many good deals and nice merchandise. Oh well... maybe we can go back out there this summer and I can do some Christmas shopping. Oh, in case anyone doesn't know, the Christmas Tree Shop carries all manner of goods... food, kitchenware, house wares, toys, books, puzzles, hair stuff, bedding, small furniture, pictures, clocks, you name it. It is hit or miss. What was there this time probably won't be next time, but there will be equally nice stuff.

About the hair... yes I got mine cut. It was down to my waist. Now it is a couple inches below my shoulder, slightly layered and shaped. I donated my hair to Locks of Love. It is curly and quite feminine looking. All I do is wash it, and put a little bit of moose or spray in it and I'm good to go. I can still pull it back too, if I want.

On a more spiritual note, I was reading in Psalms today and was greatly blessed by some verses in Psalm 109. Verses 21 through 27 especially.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday solitude and more Road Trip Review

This morning I opted to stay home from church. Yesterday was okay, but I never got a good chunk of time alone and needed it, so I am getting it today. I can't really explain the "why" of that. I just know that sometimes I just need the quiet and alone time to regroup. It has a been a couple weeks since I had that, so it is no surprise to me that I needed it this weekend.

Dale suggested that I listen from a sermon from, which I did. It was a sermon based on Psalm 31 about anguish. It was pretty good, and though there were a few things I didn't care for (like whatever version he was reading from made it very difficult to follow along, and even seemed to change words unnecessarily, but that is another issue altogether), overall I found some things to ponder and was fed spiritually. I didn't really agree with the application of his last point, either. Here is the link in case anyone is interested:

There are thousands of sermons you can listen to on that site. Go, browse, enjoy.

Roadtrip Review: Adventures with Food
We had a very wide variety of food while away. In Maine Dale and I went out one night and at a local restaurant called Sun and Surf. It was right on Long Sands. They were opened for the first time the night we went, which happened to be Valentines' Day. We both got haddock and french fries and it was delicious! We knew the fish would be fresh since it was their first night opened (all the seafood is caught locally). I hadn't had haddock in a long time and it didn't disappoint. While waiting for our order we read some about the history of the place, and was impressed to learn that a huge boulder, during the hurricane of '79, came through the front of the building and had landed in the dining area, apparently not far from where we were sitting. As good as the fish was, the rolls were.. well, let's just say their forte is not in bakery goods. The only rolls I have ever had that were worse were the ones Dale and I had on our honeymoon at a Holiday Inn dining room. They were so hard you could have killed someone by throwing it out the dining room's tenth floor window. However, due to the amount of haddock and french fries that were served in the meal, the rolls were in no way needed.

If you like vegetables, you would love the vegetable stew that my stepmother's friend's husband made for us one night. It was so thick with veggies, and interesting spices, that I think even if you didn't care for many vegetables you would have eaten bowl after bowl of it. It had everything under the sun in it. Thank you Hank!

Dale and I also hit a steak house in Mass. called Jimmy's. We were in search of somewhere to eat after a trip to a museum (that will be in another post) and one of the ladies at the front desk recommended it. She had shown us a menu she had with her and we were afraid at first that it would be one of those Bar and Grill type places, with the emphasis on the Bar. However when we got there we realized that the bar was in a separate area from the "grill" and since it was 3 in the afternoon, most people were thinking about eating, not drinking. We were shown to a table immediately and sat down to a leisurely meal. I got broiled ground sirloin with sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers, and a side of rice pilaf and veggies. Dale got a sirloin cheeseburger, which was so good, "burger" didn't seem like an appropriate name. I was feeling quite tired, so got coffee and was enjoying a cup of UNINTERRUPTED coffee when I suddenly realize I was turning into my grandmother. Eating dinner (or was it lunch?) at 3 pm. and drinking coffee instead of soda.

One day we got pizza from Dominoes. Not much comment on that except the amount the kids ate was testimony to the usual superb quality we have come to expect from that pizza shop.

One of our favorite outings with food has been to take the kids to a Chinese restaurant in Maynard, Ma. that we are partial to. Now, you have to realize that with my mom, grandmother and our family, there was 10 of us for the poor waiter to get drinks for, seat, and be solicitous too. He was a kindly Asian man, who kept marvelling at the four generations at the table, and kept telling me how well behaved our children were. I refrained from telling him that it only seemed that way because they were all busy with their favorite pass time... eating. The food was excellent. I loved the crab ragoons and the tea. I think I drank a whole pot of it by myself.

While there we were amused by reading the Chinese Zodiac print up on our place mats. If ever you need to be convinced that astrology is a bunch of horsepucky, then I hope the following will help.

According to Chinese legend, ages ago Buddha summoned all the animals and honored those who came by naming a year for them. Each animal in turn gave its characteristics to people born in its year. So, according to the year I was born, I was born in the year of the pig. (no snide comments here, y'all). It gives some sundry vague characteristics and says to "choose the hare, ram or horse and avoid the serpent". AVOID the serpent. Hey, guess what year Dale was born? Not only that, but it says that those born in the year of the serpent are "very wise and very strong willed, physically beautiful yet vain and high tempered. The ox, rooster and dragon are fine, but the tiger and PIG will bring trouble." Those of you who know Dale should get a chuckle out of that. So according to Chinese legend, Dale and I should avoid each other. Of course, we have been happily married for almost 17 years. What do we know?

Oh, here is another good one. My dd Elizabeth was born in the year of the tiger. Okay, amongst sundry vague descriptions was this... " ... yet short tempered, often entering into conflict with others." Oh yeah, that is so accurate of her... NOT! She is the exact opposite of that.

Chinese legend is based on a false god (Buddha) and therefore isn't really good for anything but a good laugh in this case. But it can serve as an example to us to make sure that what we know, and do lines up with the True God and what He says in the Bible. It isn't a mystery, nor a legend. We can trust God to lead us in His perfect way, and to do what is right for us. Even if it means marrying someone from the year of the serpent. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Home again Home again....

We got home from our trip yesterday just before supper time. Why is it you always feel like you need a vacation to recover from vacation?

Roadtrip Review Overview:
We had a wonderful time and I will be doing a little telling of our adventures each day over the next several days. We were busy, but in a good way. We had no set agenda, but kind of made our plans as we wanted, when we wanted. If we wanted to go and do something we did. If we didn't want to go and do anything, we didn't.

I just want to put in here a special thanks to our "hosts" while we were away. My stepmother in Maine put up with us, um, put us up for a week and spoiled us rotten. LOL. She rearranged her work so she could work from her laptop at home half days while we were busy with our plans. Generally, unless the weather was stormy, we would go to the beach in the mornings before lunch, and play on the playground, walk the beach, observe seagulls or hunt for shells and interesting rocks. In the afternoons we would put the littles down for naps, and sometimes Mama too, and the older ones would do some schoolwork, much to their chagrin.

In Massachusettes, my mom took off from work for the time we were there and put up with her wild grandchildren tearing around, sledding, and really waking up their quiet life. Great-grandmother seemed to handle the chaos pretty well, I have to say.

We had many outtings and adventures, and food experiences, that I will relate by category over the next several days. It is too much to do at once, and those reading this blog would think I was writing a novel.

Our days of travel were pretty good. The morning we left it was absolutely frigid out. In fact, dh had to jump start the SUV. Thankfully, we never had any more problems with it since then. The drive up to Maine was sunny, clear, and uneventful, which is a very good thing when travelling. Our trip from Maine to Massachusettes was on another very cold, clear, and sunny day. Our trip home was a little more interesting in that we were travelling in light snow and heavy slushy conditions. We saw several vehicles that had decided to try some involuntary offroading.

We pulled in our driveway, thankful for the Lord's protection over us. Then we went on to unloading the SUV, unpacking, starting some laundry, getting some supper on, etc. Everyone was glad to be in their own beds last night I think, because everyone seemed reluctant to get out of them this morning.

Today is what we call a "catch up" day. Catching up on email, on snailmail, on cleaning, finishing the unpacking, laundry, and doing some grocery shopping, and getting organized for church tomorrow.

On a personal note, I really think that getting away was excellent for our family. It took a lot of pressure off and gave us a chance to just take a step back and breath. Dale and I took tons of pictures. This whole adventure has given us a major event to look back on, and serves as a buffer from the memory of Christmas and Aaron's death.

I did have a MAJOR crying meltdown last night, which didn't surprise me, or dh, come to find out. He said he figured that it would be an adjustment for me to come back to where the reality and pressure of the situation is. He is so understanding of all this, and I am so grateful! Today is one of those days I am so fuzzy headed and unable to concentrate on much. Dh has ordered me not to overdo it, take it very slowly, and relax. Give my brain and body a chance to regroup a bit.

Not for a second am I sorry we left on vacation. I look forward to sharing our funtime and experiences and our doings with everyone. I hope I can relay the joy and humor and encouragement in our experiences. Thank you for those of you who have been praying for us, and continue to do so.

Please remember to pray for Amy (RaisingArrows) and her family as well. I was reading her blog last night, and I like what she said about the number of children she had. Forever she will be the mother of 5 children, not four,even though one is with the Lord.

That is how I feel about Aaron. He was, and is, and always will be number 7 for us in terms of full term births. I decided I don't really like saying we have "6", because it seems untrue to me. I carried him for 9 plus months. I went thru a hard labor and deliver with him. We had all the dreams and hopes and excitement for him.

I am a mother of 7.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Prayer requests,Praise reports, & Misc. Mumbojumbo

Please pray for Amy (RaisingArrows) and her family. I got word today through a friend on the MOMYS digest that her baby (7 months old, I think)died. I don't know all the circumstances other than there were some health issues before, but I know she must be hurting something terrible right now.

Also, please pray for us as we travel over the next couple weeks. We are going on a family vacation. It all came together rather suddenly when dh got on his temporary lay off. Pray for safety as we travel. We will be going up north to Maine. Yes, we are crazy.. we go to the beach in the winter. :) We will also be going to Mass. to visit family for several days. We had considered going south to SC, but sorry Mel and Paul, that just wasn't going to work this time. ;)

Yesterday we were going about the flurry of trying to get packed as much as we could. We had laundry and folding and packing and bread baking and organizing and phone calling whirling around like a tordado of activity. At one point I was doing some dishes. My hands were in the water and all of a sudden I realized, just for that one moment, I was doing something normal and it FELT normal.. not strange or out of place, or otherworldly... but it was normal. And I thought that times like that is when I love my job of being a mother and a wife. That moment did pass a little bit later and I had more of the "strange" feeling even amidst the activity. But that one moment I had while doing dishes was the first in a long time.

Also, it was brought to my attention by my dear brother in a recent email, that perhaps I have not mentioned enough about what God is doing in our lives. I am a firm believer in having daily time with the Lord. Since Aaron's death I have trouble concentrating on things. So many of my perceptions and thoughts and ability to cope have changed. But, even though I have trouble concentrating, I still find my rest in the Lord. I may not be able to read as much, or as deeply as I did before right now, but I am still fed. Here are some verses that have been a blessing to me lately, and have spoken to my heart:

Psalm 43:2-5 "For thou art the God of my strenght: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacle. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God, my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

Psalm 62: 5-8 "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."

Psalm 51:17 " The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."

I was thinking about that last verse. I talked about the prayers of a christian being a sweet savor to the Lord. Sweet savors are pleasant, to be sure. But think about sacrifices. A sacrifice is precious, and of immeasurable value. My broken heart is a sacrifice to the Lord. He will honor that, and it is invaluable to Him. Dwell on that, and meditate on that for a while! I hope it warms your soul as much as it has mine.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Path Less Well Travelled

As we go along on this journey, I am pondering the reality of stillbirths in our society. You don't hear about them much. I think as a whole, we don't like to face the unpleasantness of losing a child. Afterall, in the natural order of things, the children are supposed to bury their parents, not the other way around. Sure, it is very difficult to lose your parent (my dh lost his dad about 4 1/2 years ago to a heart attack ). But you expect that someday you will outlive them. And somehow an adult dying is less of a shock than a child dying. Not that we miss my FIL any less, even after four and a half years. But to have to bury your own child just seems so very wrong, and so very heart wrenching.

If you do lose your child, say through still birth as we did, you suddenly find yourself in a group of people that are not acknowledged in some ways. People just don't want to face facts ... full term still births do happen, even in this day and age. It is not a club I ever wanted to be part of. And the membership is nonrevokable, and it is a lifetime membership.

As we go about dealing with the loss of Aaron, I continue to hear about others who have had stillbirths. Acquaintances, for the most part. I had wondered why I never realized how many ladies have been through this before. But then, how do you work up the loss of a child in everyday conversation? It isn't exactly something you blurt out while you are talking about the weather, or the latest sale at the grocery store. But when you know someone is going through what you have already been through, it opens a door. A door that can lead to blessing and understanding and healing. There is a saying that "misery loves company" but that is not what this is about. It is about knowing that others have survived the loss, have learned how to deal with it, have survived, yea, even thrived in the years after. It is about having someone to share with who really understands what it is like, who is empathetic to your raw emotions.

The path is not well travelled, but it IS travelled by more than you think. It is not a path I would have ever chosen to go down myself. Nor would I wish it on anyone else. But, it is good to know we don't walk alone.

The Front Fell Off

Here is a link that my mom shared with me. We got quite a charge out of it. I tried setting up the video here in this post but it was taking wayyyy too long to download, so you'll have to settle for the link and go to it on your own.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Everything I Know I Learned From My Mother

My dh sent me this email. So funny!


1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL
'If you're going to kill each other, do it outside.
I just finished

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
'You better pray that will come out of the carpet.'

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you
into the middle of next

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
' Because I said so, that's why.'

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
'If you fall out of that swing and break your neck,
you're not going to the
store with me.'

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
'Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're
in an accident.'

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
'Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS
'Shut your mouth and eat your supper.'

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
'Will you look at that dirt on the back of your

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
'You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone.'

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER .
'This room of yours looks as if a tornado went
through it.'

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
'If I told you once, I've told you a million times.
Don't exaggerate!'

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE ..
'I brought you into this world, and I can take you

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.

'Stop acting like your father!'

15. My mother taught me about ENVY .
'There are millions of less fortunate children in
this world who don't have
wonderful parents like you do.'

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION .
'Just wait until we get home.'

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
'You are going to get it when you get home!'

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
'If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are
going to get stuck that

19. My mother taught me ESP.
'Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when
you are cold?'

20. My mother taught me HUMOR .
'When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come
running to me.'

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
'If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
'You're just like your father.'

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
'Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were
born in a barn?'

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
'When you get to be my age, you'll understand.'

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about
'One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out
just like you

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oh Puhleeeze!

I love how the Lord works. I was reading on some grief support sites tonight while everyone was at church. With all the children home and the craziness of life in general, I find it very hard to concentrate normally. So while they were gone I took advantage of the quiet. Anyhoo... I was pleased to see that my crazy mood swings, my numbness going from anger to crying to whatever was normal for grieiving. I know, you all told me that, but you all are such sweet ladies I wasn't sure if you would have told me truthfully if I should be getting ready for the men in white coats. Anyway, the more I read, the more I realized that yes, I am grieving heavily, but its okay... I will be okay.

Dh and children come home from church and after all the kids are in bed dh and I were chatting. He said that he was talking with the deacon and the deacon casually mentioned that he was concerned about me and that it was "okay, ya know, to get professional help."

I am doing a major, teenager-type eye roll here.

It is only 6 weeks since Aaron died. I am getting "take your time, grieve at your own pace" yadda yadda yadda. I am still wanting to stay in my safe zone here at home. I am still having some major mood swings, etc. I can, however, see that each week is getting better. But now, apparently, since I am not "all better" within a certain amount of time I need professional help??? I hope that is not what people are thinking! When I want to talk, I do. Mostly to my dh. When I don't want to talk, I don't. I told dh just to tell the deacon that I have already spent hours talking to a professional. (my dh is my pastor... doesn't that count?) In fact, as I think about it, my dh can do more for me than a stranger could.

I have had this feeling that people expect miracles to happen around the 1 month mark. I have heard many comments about "well, after about a month you'll feel better" or something along those lines. It has only been a month and a half. I spent over nine months getting to know Aaron, carrying him, sustaining his life, feeling his kicking, stretching, rolling, punching, and building all manner of hopes and dreams, and yet there are those that think that after a mere month, that I will be "all better", like I have some kind of illness.

Sorry if this is coming off as irritated, but I don't like it when people say one thing, then do another. Let's say I am depressed, but so what? Wouldn't some depression be natural in this situation? I am a grieving mother... a little depression is not unheard of, nor is it necessarily a bad thing.

Also, everyone grieves so differently. Some people jump into activities left and right, some can't get out of bed for weeks, some are somewhere inbetween. My main hang up right now has to do with leaving my safe zone. I don't want to be out in public amongst strangers. If I need to break down crying, I want to be somewhere I can do that without making a spectacle of myself.

So, there is my rant for the day. This day has been like that... the whole gamet of emotions. Anger, guilt, crying, needing to talk, needing to be alone... I think I hit everything today.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tape Rage

You've heard of Road Rage. I experienced tape rage today.

Let me back up a bit... Saturday was good day. My friend Lori came over around 11am, armed with her sewing stuff and a crock pot full of beef stew that smelled sooooo good. We spent the day sewing. I worked diligently on one of my complicated quilt block, and she did the complete top to a baby/toddler quilt. After my eyes started crossing from matching up those TINY pieces, we did some handwork until supper time. Her dh came over for supper too.

Sunday was a disaster from the moment I woke up. I never even got dressed the whole day, and just cried and cried. At night I was so restless that I couldn't fall asleep until well after 3am, which has left me predictably cranky and irritable and tired today.

Today has been somewhat of a repeat of yesterday with some boohoo sessions, one particualy long and hard one after I put the littles down for a nap.

Okay... it has been one problem after another here. First, the phones are crackly whenever we talk on them. The phone company was here this morning, and after they "fixed" the problem, it seemed the phones were fine.. until they pulled out of the driveway.

The dryer is making a squeeling noise that is uncurling my hair. If you have straight hair, then it would probably curl it. Dh assures me it is just the bearings need to be oiled.

Then the laser printer started acting up. The ink cartridge is starting to run out so I get that swath of unprinted material in the middle of the page. Well, I needed that stuff in the middle of the page so I tried using our color printer, and then the paper jammed in it. Then it wouldn't print. So I rebooted the puter and the printer and tried again. After the printer "rested" and finally realized "Hey dude,we have something to print here" I spat out the one page I needed, after almost 30 minutes of finagling.

So, I was splicing together the spelling/vocabularly list for today, using scotch tape. No problem, right? How hard can that be? It went something like this:

First Attempt: Yank desired length, and attempt to get off the blade, that is duller than a spoon. The tape stretches and grooves are made where the teeth are, but other than that, it doesn't cut. I yank harder, and about 4 more inches of tape comes off the roll, and it finally cuts. However, due to the extra length it folds over onto itself. I try to unstick it (heaven forbid we waste .002cents worth of cheap, Dollar Store brand tape) but end up tossing the it on the table.

Second Attempt: Pretty much a repeat of the above except the tape sticks to my fingers instead of landing on the table when I try to throw it down in disgust.

Third attempt: I yank out the desired length, then am able to cut through it with the dull blade on the first try. The tape snags on itself AND my fingers.

Fourth Attempt: Repeat of first attempt, minus any good humor.

Fifth attempt: I hurl the tape dispenser against the wall. It shatters. I sweep up the mess.

Sixth attempt: I get another roll of tape ( a better brand this time) with a sharper blade on it. I successfully splice the list together, and breathe a sigh of relief.

After naps this afternoon, Jerusha asked about watching a tape. So, I put in a DVD and guess what... yup. Couldn't get it to work. Or the VCR. UGH! Not to be sarcastic, but I am somewhat surprised that the puter is even working at this point. This is the kind of day I just want to stay in bed!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday's Musings

Friday is one of my favorite days of the week. It means Dale is home from work the next day, even though he goes out soul winning for a couple hours in the morning. Friday's are also an easier day for us as far as homeschooling goes. Well, usually. Sometimes it ends up being a day that some odds and ends get put off until, like that extra room in the house that is the "catch all" room. Today we did Penmanship, Art, Music, Math, English, Readers, Phonics (2nd grade), Home Ec, Bible reading, Read-Aloud time, Spelling quiz, and recitation of memory verses. That looks like a lot more than it really is, so don't be impressed. The quiz only takes about 5 minutes, and the memory verse recitation doesn't take long, unless they haven't learned their verses yet, then they have to study and memorize until they can say it confidently to me.

I made meatloaf in the crock pot. Never did that before.. usually just throw it in the oven. But, it came out quite yummy, and I consider it a successful experiment. We had mashed potatoes and green beans as side dishes.

I went through our normal routines with more ease outwardly. Inwardly I feel just, I don't know.. empty. Not "calm" or peaceful... just empty. I can't say I don't have any emotion at all, because my temper seems to fire up quickly enough, especially in the evenings. But I feel like I am just going through the motions when doing anything. I have this detactched type feeling. And always that heart-heaviness. I feel no enthusiasm for anything I am doing. Even the thought of vacation that I was happy about yesterday, now I feel nothing about it. If we go, that is fine. If we don't, then that is fine.

Tomorrow my friend Lori is coming over and we are having a quilting day together. At first we were going to have it over at the church basement where there was more room and no kids running to and fro. But as I got thinking about it, I realized I didn't really want to leave the house to do this. So after talking this morning, Lori realized that, and very understandingly said it was fine to have it here at the house, and said she understood about the "safety zone" type thing. Everyone needs a friend like her! Not only that, her dh is coming over around supper time, and she is making supper for us all. And believe me, she is a good cook! Dale will be gone in the morning, but after lunch he is in charge of the kids and we can do some serious quilting stuff. We decided since we both have so many UFO's, that we would just pick one to work on. In the future we will work on a small project together.