On my own

This post will most likely be short. It has been a very hectic week because Greg, my ever supportive husband, is out of town on business for THREE DAYS!!! He left me in charge, completely in charge, of the morning routine....if you don't know me, let me tell you, I am not a morning person, at all. Greg bears a lot of the load in the mornings so I lean on him a lot. Usually, the only thing I am in charge of in the morning, besides making my coffee :), is making the boys lunches and laying out the clothes. Once Griffin wakes up, he pretty much demands my entire attention, some mornings worse than others. He doesn't want Greg, he wants me.

We have a pretty good system, overall. We use each other's strengths and weaknesses instead of traditional "I am a woman so I do this" or "I am a man so I do that". Yeah, that wouldn't work for me. And I don't mean that selfishly, I just don't buy into the "traditional" household set up, if traditional is even the right word. We are a very traditional home. Maybe enlightened is a better word. Eh, I don't know.

Before I start making people angry, don't misunderstand me. For us, and I think it is a personal decision for each family, for us, we work best working together instead of all the household tasks being on me and Greg going out and getting the "bacon" every day. For one thing, Greg doesn't leave the house to "go get the bacon" AKA "work". He is self-employed and works from home. He has a flexible schedule. There are some things that we do traditionally...I will always cook and Greg will always be in charge of unclogging the toilets. I mean, that's a no brainer.

Getting back to me being a slacker in the morning....I mean, Greg and I using each other's strengths and weaknesses, ahem. LOL. Other than the first day of school I have never taken Carter to school in the mornings. I have heard Greg talk about it and get a little "tense" when Carter is not ready at exactly 7:08 am so that they can leave and miss most of the traffic. I never really fully understood why he would get so "tense" if they left at 7:12 instead of 7:08. I mean, come on, what's the big deal?

Well, now I understand completely. We live 2 minutes from the school. Carter has to be in his classroom by 7:30. Without having experienced the routine, it was hard for me to understand the difference of leaving 4 minutes later could make. Well, I now understand why they have to leave at a certain time. Let me paint you a picture....the traffic is lined up and the school is still in the distance. You can see the school and you see all the cars worming their way through the parking lot. The backed up cars inch along. You have traffic coming from all directions. To me, the school looks like an ant hill and the cars are all the busy little ants working their way through completing their task. And Greg is right. You need to leave before 7:10 am in order to not be late. Amazing.

Who knew? Greg did, because he does it every day. And he does it very well.

I've got one more day of doing it on my own. It makes me very thankful for my man! I'm thankful that he's self-employed and here at home and is able to help out more. I guess what I am trying to say is I'm thankful that God found just the right guy for me.

But I am SURE missing him in the mornings. Whew. Thursday can't get here soon enough!!! I wonder if he would let me sleep in Thursday morning......hmmmmm. He's been away at a conference, staying at a bed and breakfast and going snow mobiling with the guys.

Yep. I'm sleeping in!

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! :)

Okay. I should warn everyone before they read this. I have not had any sugar or processed carbs in 7 days. On top of that, I have pink eye. Of course, I got pink eye from my 6 year old. We were stuck in the house all weekend because pink eye is so contagious. Because it is so contagious, friends can't come over to play. Even for mommy, because mommy's friends usually bring friends to play with Carter. Carter is Contagious, with a capital "C".

So I am having a bad day. I want to whine and complain, but I can't. I am too blessed and I know it.

There is a lot of "stuff" going on at our house. Lots of changes on the horizon, all good. Just change can be very stressful so on top of that, being sick and having sick kids just adds to the stress.

But, this is life and we are truly blessed. As I sit here, it hits me that even when I have a bad day, it is much better than someone else's day in a third world country. Actually, even in this country, my bad day does not compare to what others have to go through.

So, instead of whining and complaining about my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (okay, that is so exaggerating, but I love that book!) I have decided to put warm compresses on my eyes, fix me a cup of decaf instead of a snack, and think about all the GOOD things going on in my life. And how blessed we really are.

One of the things I am thankful for and truly blessed with is a GREAT husband. I mean, he gets me, he loves me, and we laugh a lot, because we get each other, you know. :) I think that is the best part and maybe it's just because you live with someone, but the longer you are together you can truly read each other's thoughts or what they are about to say. In fact, tonight, Greg and I repeated the exact same sentence to one of our sons at the same time. It happens all the time.

As a counselor, I get to hear about people's "stuff". Sometimes I hear really bad stuff about relationships. I had one of those appointments last Thursday when I guy came in discussing ending his marriage. I came home and was talking about it with Greg, and, without saying anything about the client's situation, I will just say that he has gone through things that have never been an issue with us. Marriage isn't easy, but I feel Greg and I have been blessed. Of course, we were 34 years old when we got married, so at that age, I am thankful we got it right! LOL.

Last Friday night was a clear reminder to me how well meshed we are. We had kept Carter home from school but didn't know for sure if he had pink eye yet, or not. We had been stuck in the house all day and were ready to get out. I have been eating pretty healthy and had been snacking on raw veggies before we left to go out to eat. Griffin, my two year old LOVES raw veggies. Really. He wanted to try my green pepper, so I let him. He loved them. I was amazed.

Fast forward to the restaurant, as soon as we got there, Griffin started acting kind of strange. Eventually, he just wanted to be held. He didn't have a fever, but was just very lethargic. I mean, what two year old just lays around at a restaurant, mine certainly doesn't. I held Griffin while Greg ate, and Greg took Griffin so I could eat (see, that's a sign of a good husband). Griffin would not eat anything. He would not even drink his sprite. Something was up.

So, we are finishing up rather quickly, realizing that this dinner wasn't turning out to be such a great idea. We try to pay cash for most things and most of the time Greg pays, but he had mentioned in the car that he had limited cash. When the server brought the check, it sat there a minute because I wasn't thinking about our earlier conversation about me paying that night.

So I am eating my burger (with no bun and a side of broccoli, thank you very much) and Greg brings up the check needing to be paid. Then he drops a line from a story I tell about a previous boyfriend, ahem. This ex never paid for anything when we went out and actually asked me to go "Dutch" at an expensive restaurant once, one of our first dates. I am ashamed to even mention that because of course I realize now that that is not how a girl deserves to be treated, but what can I say? I was young.

So all Greg does is drop this line. He is sitting to the far left across from me. Griffin is in his lap and Greg is rocking him back and forth ( I don't think there is anything more sexy!). I chuckle and take another line from that story and lay it on him. We both crack up. Basically, making a joke about me paying for dinner. Har, har, har. It's okay if you don't think it's funny. You had to be there. It was hilarious!

I just had to sit back and think, wow. How blessed we are. Not lucky, blessed. I mean, he gets me. We get each other. And we get each other's sense of humor, which is the best. If you can't laugh with someone, well, that would be a very bane existence. So we laughed and I started to pay the check all the while reveling in what a man I have.

Then Griffin threw up.

All over Greg.

It was disgusting.

We were in a restaurant with two kids, puke went everywhere, all over Greg and Griffin, and the booth. Ugh. Griffin looked a little confused, like, "what just happened". This was his first projectile experience, soooo glad he decided to do it in a public restaurant. (groan).

So, after we "attempted" to clean Griffin and Greg up, we paid the bill and left. The staff was great, but I was more than embarrassed!!

But you know what we did all the way home? Greg and I laughed. I told him he smelled, bad. I can't even remember all we laughed about, all I remember was wrapping Griffin's jacket in a giant napkin and putting it in the back of the car and having to roll the windows down on the way home because I was about to gag.

And I just kept thinking, wow, not every guy can handle being thrown up on and keep his sense of humor. Griffin was very happy in the back seat sucking down his sprite. I guess the green peppers didn't agree with him. He was fine once he threw up. We got home and he had some Chicken and Stars soup and was great.

So, in the middle of all the sickness and not feeling well, this is what I'm thinking about tonight.

Greg, not throw up. Ha!

And it makes me smile!!!!

There is a time and season for everything....

My husband is watching a very, VERY bad end-of-the-world type movie. Ugh. I could go in the other room and watch something else, but the movie is SO bad that it's hard to take my eyes of off it completely. Of course, my husband is intrigued by it, all the while making fun of the impossible, near death experiences this family seems to keep overcoming over and over again.

So I decided to blog about my big boy's birthday this past week. Forgive me for waxing sentimental, but my baby is now SIX.

I really don't have a lot of words to express how I feel. I am very thankful that I am a mom. I know it's the hardest job I have ever had, being a parent, and sometimes I feel very inadequate to be in "charge" of someone elses life. But, I talk about that a lot, no need to rehash my shortcomings. I am thankful they are covered! I don't have to be Carter (or Griffin's) perfect parent. I gave up on that a long time ago. I just need to be me, keep working on me, and be on my knees....A LOT! If nothing else, parenthood keeps you on your knees.

So, I started looking at pictures and decided to just do a timeline of his past birthdays. Starting with the day of his birth, his official "birth" day.

Here we are. A family of three. January 16, 2006. I had no idea how tired I could be....

Here is a very excited one year old. He really didn't get into his cake...we had to stage it. LOL.

It was so hard picking a picture for this one...but here he is at 2!

Okay, so this is not a picture of his actual birthday party, but this is how we found him sleeping in his toddler bed the night before his birthday. Too cute. My busy little boy, always moving, even in his sleep

This is Carter turning 4 and boycotting our singing happy birthday to him. LOL. This is classic Carter.

Awww.....was this just last year? Carter at his party with the cow from Chick fil A.

And this was this past weekend. He looks so big. He talks so big. He's in Kindergarten. He's learning write. He can read. He has lots of friends. And he's doing great.

Amazing. Blessed. See, the words just don't really, can't really, express what I feel.

I just feel love. Big love. Love I don't deserve. Love I want to treasure more.

Life isn't perfect. But, I'm not complaining. I am amazingly blessed and very thankful for this season....even if it sometimes sounds otherwise!

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. Ecc. 3:1

Just Cry

As you guys know, I went to Haiti in December. I am still trying to process everything that happened while we were on that trip and what to do with the hole that these orphans opened up in my heart. I haven’t written a lot about Haiti, and I won’t be discussing Haiti much today, except to use something that happened on that trip which sparked the need for this post.

First, I need to give a little background information. There are two families who are currently adopting from the orphanage in Haiti that went on this trip with us. One family both the husband and wife were able to come on the trip and this would be the husband’s first time meeting his son. The other family, the wife had been the previous month or so and this was the husband’s turn to come. Both families were able to bring their “children” back to the guest house, they were with us about 36 hours, including an overnight stay.

It was awesome seeing these families bond. You couldn’t help but smile at them bonding as families. Both families are adopting boys so there was a lot of playing catch, laughing, tickling, etc. Sheldon and little Bobby ate and ate and ate. We went to the beach Wednesday morning. There was lots of love in the air. I snapped this picture of Sheldon and his mommy, Jeannie, on the beach.

Then the most gut-wrenching, painful thing I have every experienced, outside of my miscarriages, occurred. We had to return the boys to the orphanage. This was on a Wednesday. We would return to the orphanage on Thursday, and then head home first thing Friday morning. We had spent all Wednesday afternoon at the orphanage and at 5:00 pm it was time to get on the bus and leave. I hadn’t realized, like most of us, what was going to happen, until it started happening.

I got on the bus after saying goodbye to my girls and saw our friends sitting on the bus in a tearful huddle. I looked outside and saw Josiah, who is a staff member at our church, taking the little boy who this family was adopting, Sheldon, away from the bus. I sat down in shock. This family was being torn apart. The little boy was screaming for his mama and his papa. He didn’t like being restrained. The couple on the bus, JC and Jeannie, were in a puddle of tears, they were holding onto each other, clinging, and watching as Sheldon was being taken away, screaming.

I started crying, others on the bus started crying. Eventually, they put Sheldon in the church so that Josiah could get on the bus. JC and Jeannie continued crying. Sheldon was able to “escape” from the church as we were pulling out. I told JC and Jeannie not to look. He was screaming, crying out for them, running towards the bus, and had, again, to be restrained.

After we left the orphanage we went to eat at a restaurant, as we did every night. I wasn’t really hungry and we were all emotionally spent. The mood was heavy. We didn’t really talk very much. After church, where JC was able to stand up and give his testimony of why he was in Haiti (which was an amazing testimony of Christ in their life), we went back to the guest house. Each night we had a debriefing and even though it was later than usual I was glad we were having it because of all nights, we needed to debrief. So many emotions had been present that day. Not only had we had to leave the boys behind, but in giving out shoes to the children that day, mass chaos had erupted among the children, and some of the team members were all but mobbed by children wanting to make sure they got shoes. What had happened was that children who had already received shoes came back in to get multiple pairs, leaving some children not receiving shoes at all. This really upset some team members.

Tami, one of our team leaders had asked me to help out during the debriefing since I am a counselor. I encouraged everyone to talk about their feelings whatever they were. JC and Jeannie were resting in the best place they could, their Saviour, Jesus Christ. It was obvious He was their ultimate comfort in all of this and they were clinging to Him as much as they were to each other. I was extremely impressed with their walk with Christ and it made me wish I had that same strength when I had walked through previous, difficult times.

At the same time, I knew what I was feeling, and wanted to make sure people understood that their feelings were ok. JC and Jeannie could be angry in this moment, and still be surrendered to all that God had called them too. I wasn’t specifically pointing them out, but of all the people present in that circle, JC and Jeannie had the right to be angry; to scream out at the injustice of not knowing when Sheldon was going to be theirs; to be frustrated. The other members who were mobbed by kids may have felt panic, fear, frustration. I told them it really didn’t matter what emotion they were feeling, whoever was feeling what, but that it was ok to feel that emotion, that anger, frustration, etc. are not wrong. We are human and we all feel. I didn’t want people to gloss over what they were feeling because what they were feeling may have felt “wrong” or “unchristian”.

I didn’t really do a good job, I feel, explaining what I was trying to explain. And it has bugged me ever since that debriefing. Not a lot of people talked, but I wasn't surprised. Everybody deals with stress and feelings differently. I know I don't open up even in the safest of situations. But, it was difficult to gauge if what I said had been helpful or not. I just said what I thought was important to say and moved on. I didn’t really get to explain, in depth, what I was talking about when I talked about being angry and having feelings and learning to deal with those feelings instead of suppressing them.

We ended our trip in Haiti on a high note. The last day was not as difficult leaving both boys behind as it had been the previous day. The next day we went home.
Every now and then I would think about that debrief and wish that I could have said something different, or gone more in depth with explaining what I was trying to explain. But, for the most part, I didn’t think about it too much.

Then I bought Mandisa’s current CD, What If We Were Real. It is amazing. I feel like Mandisa and I have a lot in common. We share a common struggle. We have both experienced pain in life, I have no idea what her pain is, but she is very open about her struggle with food. The songs on this album are real. They are transparent. And there was one song in particular that spoke EXACTLY what I wish I could have said at the debrief, or if I had known this song was out, I would have found it and played it before our debrief. The song is entitled, “Just Cry”.

I am going to list the lyrics at the bottom of this post. But the words that screamed out to me were what, I feel, I failed at communicating appropriately at that debrief. And that was that Jesus can handle your honesty. In fact, He already knows what you are feeling and it is better to feel what you are feeling than to push it down, because you feel you might be questioning His authority. He can handle your questions. He can handle your honesty. He’s got it. It doesn’t mean He isn’t on his throne or that you don’t believe He isn’t working it out for your good. But sometimes, man, you just gotta cry. You have to cry out. Sometimes there are no words. There is just pain. Jesus wants you to know that IT IS OKAY to feel. He made you. He knows you still believe in Him and trust Him. He can handle your honesty.

Again, the burden that was on my heart that night wasn’t geared toward any one person. But I know what I was feeling, and I knew I couldn’t be the only one. I wasn’t shaking my fist at God, but I didn’t understand why things happen the way they happen. I felt frustration and anger. Maybe I was the only one? I don’t know I am just thankful that He loves me no matter what I think or feel. He can handle my honesty. And He can handle yours too.

So, I hope these lyrics help you as they have helped me. To know that I can hit rock bottom so that Jesus can pick me up and heal all the broken pieces. But before He can do that I have to acknowledge that I am broken and ___________(insert appropriate feeling). If you gloss over the feeling you are not being true to yourself or to God. He can handle your honesty. Trust Him.
And please pray for JC, Jeannie and Sheldon. And pray for the Huber’s and their little Bobby.

Neither family knows when they will be able to bring their precious children home.

To follow JC, Jeannie and Sheldon’s journey, follow their blog HERE.

"Just Cry"

Why you gotta act so strong?
Go ahead and take off your brave face
Why you telling me that nothing's wrong
It's obvious your not in a good place
Who's telling you to keep it all inside
And never let those feelings
Get past the corner of your eye

You don't need to run
You don't need to speak
Baby take some time
Let those prayers roll down your cheek
It maybe tomorrow
You'll be past the sorrow
But tonight it's alright
Just cry

I know you know your Sunday songs
A dozen verses by memory
Yeah they're good but life is hard
And days get long
You gotta know God can handle your honesty
So feel the things your feeling
Name your fears and doubts
Don't stuff your shame and sadness, loneliness and anger
Let it out, let it out

You don't need to run
You don't need to speak
Baby take some time
Let those prayers roll down your cheek
It maybe tomorrow
You'll be past the sorrow
But tonight it's alright

Just cry
Just cry

It doesn't mean you don't trust him
It doesn't mean you don't believe
It doesn't mean you don't know
He's redeeming everything.

You don't need to run
You don't need to speak
Baby take some time
Let those prayers roll down your cheek
It maybe tomorrow
You'll be past the sorrow
But tonight it's alright
But tonight it's alright

Just cry

Why you gotta act so strong
Go ahead and take off your brave face