Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Digging out...

I realize I haven't been a very good friend lately...
or a very good wife...
or a very good Mom...

Ok, I think you get the point!

I let myself sink into this funk I just couldn't pull myself out of.  Instead of concentrating on what I was doing well and what was going right, I just couldn't see past the mountain of difficulties.  It became this cycle of me beating myself up over not being the wife or mother or friend or person I wanted to be.
I was exhausted all the time (still haven't quite fixed that one) and just didn't want to do anything.

Well a couple of days ago, I discovered "an out."
If I couldn't make the negative talk get out of my head, not yet, at least, I would put something better in my head to counteract it.
I became very intentional about thinking of things that make me happy and bring me joy.
I came up with a great list! It includes, of course, my kids.  Every day they do something adorable or hilarious and I really do like to laugh.  It does do the soul good and probably the physical body as well.
I thought about dating my husband and all the fun things we did in college...the first time he told me he loved me (just as I was about to give up and think he didn't feel the same way)...and this one time when he came to visit me at my apartment.

We were separated for the summer.
He'd moved back home to work with his Dad in construction. His days started before sunrise and he usually went to bed before dark.
Back in college town, I was attending summer school every morning and then going to one or both of my two part time jobs at the mall.  Fun times {sarcasm}!

Anyway, we LIVED for the weekends when we were able to see each other but since we were living 3 hours apart, it wasn't every weekend.  One weekend when he was supposed to visit, my younger brother and his friends were in town for a Dave Matthews concert.  I left to run an errand for them and when I came back, my roommate said, "Your boy's here."

When I walked into my room, he was sitting on the floor leaning against my bed.  Heavy construction boots still on his feet, caked with dried mud and concrete.
He was a mess! Practically covered from head to toe in mud and concrete and just general grime! I even remember finding mud on his ear!

But all I remember about seeing him like that, was that I thought he's never looked better!

It meant so much to me that he'd hopped in the car and come straight to me rather than going home for a shower.  It made me feel so special that he wanted to see me that badly.  It assured me that even if he hadn't said it in so many words, he did feel the same way about me as I felt about him.  It made me feel so loved; like nothing else mattered besides how we felt about each other.

...not the distance...
...not the rocky start we got because some people didn't approve of "us"...

It is one of my greatest memories of our relationship.  It always makes me smile; I hope it made some of you smile too!

In addition, I do want to apologize to all my friends; my online friends, as well as my real life friends.  I have been conspicuously absent for a while now and I'm truly sorry.  I am pulling myself out of this funk and I will be back in touch soon, I promise!

AND, just in case you haven't ever checked her out...Texan Mama wrote a post about acceptance that just really hit home for me.  It's almost like she climbed inside my head and wrote down my thoughts!
Go check it out here.

Thanks for stopping by Gleaning Grace!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I need my Mommy...

Almost 5 months ago to the day, I blogged about my Mom and a new diagnosis she'd received in response to some health issues she'd been having.  If you missed it, read it about it here.

Well Mom went to the Mayo clinic in Minnesota recently to get a second opinion.
In fact, she spent a week there.  They ran and re-ran all the same tests that her doctors in her hometown ran before giving her the diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension.

And in the words of a Mayo doctor, "there is absolutely NOT enough evidence to diagnose" her "with pulmonary hypertension!"
Yay! Sort of...
So it is good news I guess that Mom doesn't have this terrible thing we thought she had.

The thing is, even Mayo couldn't tell her what she does have.  Why her blood pressure spikes and dips erratically and she gets tired so easily without much exertion.  They have recommended some other minor things for her to monitor (like sleep patterns and possibly a form of sleep apnea) but nothing to explain all her symptoms.

So while I am excited at the possibility that Mom's doctors were wrong in the beginning, the bottom line is, I just want Mom to feel better.  I want her to feel like her old self again.  Selfishly, I want her to BE her old self again and ACT like her old self again.

It feels a little odd at 35 to count on your Mom so much, but I definitely do.  I've missed spending time with her and I know my kids have as well.

So once again, I am praying for answers.  I realize that they may only come in God's time and his agenda may not match mine; but still, I pray for a solution for Mom.

And on another note...
I got really excited today because we've had a little cool down in the weather here.

I could actually breathe when I went outside and it wasn't so hot and muggy I thought I might suffocate :-)
This excites me not just for current comfort levels outdoors; it excites me because I can FEEL FALL!
I LOVE Fall; it is my MOST special time of the year.

I am excited about Sweetpea going back to school and all the activities that will bring; but more than that, for me Fall is all about anticipation!  I truly LOVE the colors of Fall, when the leaves start to change.  I know some people think Fall is a season of dying, but I actually see it sort of as a re-birth (or at least the resting to prepare for the re-birth).  Every being deserves a break, right? I think it's kind of cool that the trees and plants have qualities that lie dormant in the winter and return come Spring.

I truly LOVE the smells of Fall! Around here, people burn their lawn trash and dead leaves...I realize that doesn't sound appealing but it is a very distinctive smell.  For me, it reminds me of my Dad and of home since we had to help him rake and burn THOUSANDS of leaves every Fall.

I truly LOVE the feel of Fall!  On the weekends in the Fall we travel often so that hubby can hunt with his Dad.  It gives all of us time to enjoy a change of scenery and some wildlife. I love the crispness of the air in the Fall especially after the sun goes down; how it's just perfectly warm by daylight, but cool enough to need a sweater or blanket at night.  AND, while I'm not much of a sports enthusiast, I do like Football.  THERE. I. SAID. IT!
Just don't tell my husband, 'k?

So, I am patiently awaiting the actual arrival of Fall.  How refreshing to have felt it today! Almost like a teaser, but very timely for my summer weary soul. As if to say, "hold on! I'm right around the corner!"

Fall is coming and I am excited!
How about you? What are you excited about?

Friday, August 12, 2011

I can't believe I'm asking for this...

...but can someone please knock some sense into me?

(and yes, the all caps and extra punctuation are to show you just how adamant I am!)

I've been having a lot of days lately where I just want to pick myself up by the shoulders and shake me, all the while yelling, "what is your problem?!"

I'm so frustrated with myself, I don't blame people for not wanting to talk to me or be around me - heck! I DON'T WANT TO BE AROUND ME!

I really think if I didn't have to get up and function for the kids everyday, I just wouldn't .  I would stay in bed, cover my head with the sheet and quilt and hide.

What really stinks is, I think I'm hiding from me.  I don't like how I've been acting to myself or to my family.  There is a Bible Verse I keep remembering...Luke 6:45b...for out of the heart, the mouth speaks (paraphrased from NKJV).  And I honestly find myself wondering how ugly my heart must be, based on my temper and the things I scream, yell, say.

I realize what it boils down to.  I'm not happy.  I'm disappointed with myself.  I'm scared...
...of disappointing others...of just about everything.
I'm scared to "put myself out there;" I'm scared to make a mistake; I'm scared to be right; I'm scared I don't have all the answers (and obviously I don't); I'm scared of making a wrong choice that will adversely affect my kids or my husband...

the list could go on and on...

I also have some issues that go back to childhood that I've never dealt with.

Most days, I just really don't even know where to begin.  The feeling of dread that assaults me before the day even starts, is just hugely overwhelming.

I'm not a pessimistic person.  I've never been the eternal optimist either; just realistic...a good balance.

So many people say happiness is a choice..."choose joy."  It doesn't feel like an easy choice.  I want to be happy, I want to experience joy; I really do! I mean, who wants to be unhappy all the time?

I just can't seem to do one single thing without berating myself!
I wrote about this before; I can't even attend a wedding without making it about me.  I just feel so guilty and so overridden with feelings of inadequacy.  I'm not the wife I promised I would be.  I'm certainly not honoring and cherishing my husband with my words or actions.
When I work at home, I worry about neglecting my kids.  When I stop working to play with the kids or take them somewhere fun, I think about "what I should be doing" the whole time.

My mind is definitely one of my worst enemies.  I have a great memory that is totally a gift from God.  I'm always had it and rarely does it fail me.  But it's a blessing and, sometimes, a curse.  I remember every unintelligent choice I've ever made...every word I've ever uttered in haste...every friend whose feelings I ever hurt...one of whom I never had the chance to apologize to before she was unexpectedly gone from this world.

And for some reason, I've been thinking about her a lot lately.  I had a friend in middle school all the way through senior year...I'll call her Anna for the purpose of this post.  Anna was a very sweet person - almost too sweet.  Senior year, she started to grate my nerves a little; when she asked if I wanted to room together in college, I fed her a lie and it all but ruined our friendship.
Just a few weeks before graduation, she was killed in a car accident and I never had the chance to make things right. It has just dawned on me this past week, how guilty I feel about what I did when I lied to her.  I have been telling myself over and over again, that I am not responsible for her death.  That's a no-brainer, obviously, because I was nowhere near her one car accident.  The thing is, only a person who feels really guilty has to tell herself she's not.

With Anna and a lot of other things in my life, I haven't forgiven myself, and I'm not sure I know how.
I wrote about being proud of myself and how difficult it can be to admit and accept.  I now think, forgiving myself may be harder.

I've really gotta work on this...
I can't be a coach to my team-members or an example to my kids in the condition I'm in now.

I think I'll start by going to bed!
Thanks for listening and I promise to get Debby Downer out of my head sooner, rather than later!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Let me start off by saying, pouting is unbecoming; it's one of my least favorite emotions or sentiments-EVER.
But, I'm pouting.  As much as I want to stop, I'm having a very difficult time. AND? I'm angry...pretty seriously angry and I know I have to resolve it or it will only get worse.

As I write this post, I'm writing from a rented computer.  You see the brand new MacBook Pro I bought in February? FRIED!
A water bottle with a loose cap was knocked over into the keyboard last week and a few ounces of bottled water spilled right over the track pad and keyboard.
I wasn't in the room; I'd left my computer and my water bottle to go and change sheets on my son's toddler bed (the kind that is actually a convertible crib; if you've ever had the pleasure, you're echoing my groan right now :-))
Anyway, the OTHER parent was in the room with two children who were throwing a frisbee.  Two children who have repeatedly been told not to throw ANYTHING in the house (by me of course).  One of them threw it and knocked over the water.
Of course since it was MY water, the entire situation was MY fault, right?
I immediately (ok, within a few minutes) started trying to drain the water out of the computer.  I turned it upside down, blotted the keyboard area with towels, and eventually turned it over on top of a grocery bag filled with rice overnight.  The idea being that the rice would pull most of the moisture out.

First thing the next day, I called Apple and talked with them about what happened and my options.  Since the computer was so new, it was still under the one year warranty, but that didn't cover spills.  I was eventually told that even if we'd had Apple's extended care coverage, it would not have covered spills.  So anyway, long story short, I was told bottled water, especially only a few ounces, should be easy to recover from. I was given the number of the local Apple store (who were a bunch of jerks, by the way) and a third party Apple repair dealer.  I chose the latter, and they have been nothing but helpful.  The technician working on my machine has been very patient with me, answering all my questions, explaining technical things I didn't understand, even being honest with me and saying I didn't need an Apple product external hard drive when I recovered from this because a cheaper brand would fit my needs.

After all this and a week of working on it, it turns out I am one in a million! Not only is the computer completely out of commission, the Hard Drive is completely unrecoverable! Which I told was a less than 10% chance.

SO-tomorrow I go to buy a new Mac AND an external HD because it's tax-free weekend here.
And then, on some things, at least, I get to start over.
Anything I hadn't backed up recently, is gone-for good.

It might not sound like such a big deal to some people, but this is the third computer we've lost in 15 months.  First it was the desktop, but I had warning and backed up almost everything.  At the time we had a PC laptop so I moved everything, including my home-based business, to that.  Then this past February, without warning, the HD on my 4 year old Gateway laptop died.
AGAIN, I lost data.  Some stuff was backed-up, but only a few weeks earlier, so I lost everything in between.

NOW- I hate woe is me kind of stuff, because often we recover and doesn't seem like a big deal.  Sometimes, within days, we can look back and wonder what the big deal was.  But I've really been doing a lot of "what did I do to deserve this" kind of questioning to myself.  This was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back.

In June, a family member called me 3 hours before my sons birthday party to see if she could change the menu (which we'd pre-ordered from a restaurant 2 days earlier).  She also invited 2 other people to come along and wanted to know if it was ok.
Well, NO; it's not ok! I planned a nice birthday/ Father's Day celebration for my husband, our two Dad's, and my son. And because I had been crazy busy with work related stuff, I straightened up the house, but didn't really clean it the way I would for non-family (or extended family who never visit) to come over.
Don't get me wrong! These people would have been welcome to come had I know far enough in advance; I think it's very rude, however, to NOT RSVP for a party whether you plan to attend or not.  RSVP, means "respond please" (I don't know French so I can't write the literal acronym).  That doesn't mean, only respond if you are coming; it doesn't mean only respond if you aren't coming.  It means RESPOND! If the invite says, "regrets only" then you should only call if you can't attend.
I'm not sure where our society lost this meaning but no one seems to know it anymore!

Anyhow, back on track, the day felt like a colossal disaster.  Not only did these two show up uninvited, they brought their pet - into my house! AND my younger brother showed up after he'd blessed me out on Facebook a few weeks earlier.  All I could think was, "What terrible thing did I do to deserve this?!" For me there is nothing more stressful than unannounced guests, or guests I am unprepared for.  I mean, I live in a house with a large dog and two kids, and a husband, who at times (love him though I do), could be grouped with either of the other two categories :-)

In July, another incident with someone taking care of my kids and completely undermining my role as their parent.

Do you see the theme? I just feel dumped on!

Last night though, as I lay in bed, I had an epiphany.


I asked God to make me a woman of grace.  Didn't I? Didn't I start this blog to figure out how to deal with difficult people and situations with grace?

I did!

Wouldn't you know, my Bible study this morning? It focused on grace.  Here is what I wanted to share with you and felt led to explain in reference to my recent experiences.

Grace is favor; benefit.  Grace is free; something you receive even when you haven't earned it.  Grace is available because of God and HIS ultimate Graciousness.
The speaker today said (paraphrased): Whatever your past, God knows what you did; He has grace to cover it! He wants to use you anyway.  If He has forgiven your past (and He HAS) then LET. IT. GO!

She also said Grace is power (2 Cor 12:7-10); which reminded me of another phrase I've heard, "to err is human, to forgive - divine."

Those may not be related to you but here is how they connect for me.  I can't earn Grace, but I can give it.  I can't know Grace or be Grace-ful without learning it and without being Grace-less first.

I have to extend Grace to these people who have hurt me no matter how hard the circumstances.  Forgiving others and extending grace to others who may not have earned it, is powerful for me and them.  It releases me from that evil angry hold.  AND, if I truly believe He has a plan and a purpose for me (Jer 29:11) and I DO, then I have to Thank Him and praise Him in everything.  Not just when things are going well.

As parents, we don't just love our children when they behave and then stop when they act up! Even when we discipline them, we love them greatly and the same as before! God does the same with us! His love is unconditional for His children, but do we love Him unconditionally in return?

I hate to admit, I don't.  Because if I did, I wouldn't be saying "woe is me; why me? What did I do to deserve this" during such a rough patch.  Instead, I should be saying, "Thank you, God! You are wonderful and good in all things! I KNOW you have something better in store for me."

And again, if you haven't read Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts"please do.  This is the Hard Eucharisteo she talks about.

Grace and peace to you~