Category Archives: Pregnancy
I am 31 weeks pregnant. I had two and a half glorious months, post-morning-sickness, where I felt AMAZING. Now, my large belly has caught up with me, and I am feeling rather crabby and swollen and it’s hard to breathe, and I generally feel uncomfortable. I’m also getting exhausted in a way… well, prior to my diagnosis with Celiac Disease, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome*. I remember how it felt in the evening, anticipating even ONE outing the following day, and having to fight despondency, because I knew that ONE outing would wipe me out, entirely. That is where I’m at, now.
Until the last few weeks, the worst I could say was that the mass of varicose veins on the back of my right leg was giving me pain. All things considered, being a 39-year-old pregnant woman, I figured that was quite good. I got my stinkin’ expensive “pregnancy support garment” — which is very much like a girdle, or a compression garment. On one hand, it’s a blessing: It allows me to walk around without feeling like my leg is going to fall off; it minimizes the pain and pressure, as well, from vaginal varicosities. However… it is 80% nylon and 20% spandex which, apparently, my skin doesn’t appreciate. If I wear it for too long, I get hives. But if I’m NOT wearing it, I can literally be on my feet for maybe 5-10 minutes at a time.
I went to Illinois this past weekend. I went to my maternal grandmother’s memorial service and visited my paternal grandmother, who is very ill. I traveled with my sister (who lives in the Phoenix area, as well) and my brother (who drove down from Utah to travel with us). It was, all things considered, a wonderful trip, in spite of the sad catalyst for the journey. I could write for a very long time on my thoughts and the events of the four days, but I likely can’t: My experience is so intertwined with others’, for whom I deeply care. Telling my tale would necessitate telling theirs, as well, and I don’t know if they would appreciate me broadcasting their story; it’s not mine to tell.
Still, in spite of late nights, days spent going hither and thither on necessary business, spending my days in the endless company of others (which generally drains me, as an introvert) — whom I needed to see and wanted to see and LOVED to see, cramming a couple of weeks of events into those four days, in spite of unending exhaustion of both body and mind, an aching leg, and the aforementioned hives, it was an exceptionally worthwhile journey.
I love Illinois. The above picture was taken from the back steps of my aunt’s home. I took it, steaming coffee in hand. The sun was shining, it was about 7 a.m., and the temperature was 35°. The view is a corner of a field, which will likely have corn growing in it within a month or so, and a little pond beyond that. In the timber behind the pond is the remain of an old road, likely last used in the early 1800s. It had rained torrentially in Illinois, the day before our arrival, so the ground was saturated and impassably muddy in many places, and I didn’t own the boots which would allow me to go down that lovely road-path.
My husband, though, is considering having our family return to Illinois for our family’s summer trip this year — which would be our first time as a whole family — and I will most certainly meander down that road…
It shouldn’t be odd that, with the absence of The Mom, there are many things, upon my return, that have needed my attention. Life does go on, even when I’m not here at home. Laundry continues to pile up. Children still need attention in their schooling. The dog’s medicine runs out.
Today was much busier than I would have preferred, even if I weren’t pregnant. So far, I have:
- Gone to a grocery store — needed especially for milk and meat for the week. (In related news, I got three gallons of organic milk for $4.99. This was accomplished due to the fact that Shamrock Farms organic milk was 50% off this week, with the final price of $2.49 for a 3-quart container. Two containers were near their “best by” date, and were marked $2.50 off. In other words, FREE. I figured that even if they went bad before we finished drinking them, no harm done; they’re free. I got two other containers, as well. Four containers, three gallons total, $4.99 spent.)
- Done two large loads of laundry — it’s still not folded, yet.
- Overseen school with my three older children. I will admit my first grader, Audrey, did pretty much nothing today, other than some self-directed art and Lego-building.
- I fertilized my mini-garden with fish emulsion and epsom salts — something that should be done every two weeks, but of which I was very overdue.
- I called LG for my washing machine — again. It keeps having issues. I’ve needed to call them for a couple of weeks now, but kept putting it off.
- I ordered Algebra 2 on Teaching Textbooks.
- I had an overdue, hour-long conversation with another homeschooling mom, helping her (I hope) with some issues she’s having with one of her children.
- I went to Trader Joe’s for more groceries.
- I returned some overdue library DVDs. Yes, even with a smart phone, I kept forgetting to renew our family’s DVDs while I was away, resulting in $7 in new fines.
- I went to the pool supply store and got chlorine tabs and shock. Our poor pool… It really needs a new pump. It is under warranty until July, but a repairman has already been out once, and he said that there’s really nothing he can do, under our warranty, until the pump breaks. If it breaks entirely before July, the $400+ cost of replacement will be covered. If it only limps along inefficiently, as it has been doing, we’re out of luck. I must admit that I am tempted to sabotage the pump to “help” it completely break. My husband, though, man of absolute integrity that he is, wouldn’t hear of such a thing. But, it’s in the 90s now, and our pool-cum-pond is unusable.
- I went to pick up more fluconazole for our dog, Tally, who is still recovering from Valley Fever.
- I stopped by a used furniture store and bought a small chest of drawers for the new baby ($25 — it needs to be either painted or lightly sanded and revarnished — I haven’t decided which, yet). I also bought a very solid, medium-sized bookcase for $35. It has a blond finish, and appears to be from the 60s. It is almost cool. Tomorrow, I will clear out the beleaguered particle board book case which is currently holding most of our school books for this year. It keeps collapsing.
- I still need to shower.
- I need to make dinner — which will be the Crockpot refried beans I made last night, reheating a roasted Costco rotisserie chicken, and likely some roasted beets from the CSA I host each Wednesday. Easy peasy.
- I need to pick out the worship set list for tonight’s small group. It is definitely one of those nights where, if I didn’t have to go to small group, I probably wouldn’t. Frankly, I’d rather put up my feet, watch baseball, and read my current book** during the commercials. When I’m actually there at group, I always enjoy it. Always. But, right now, I am tired, and wish I wasn’t compelled to attend by my responsibilities there…
So, that’s it! That has been my day. Too busy for me. Still not over. But, life could be worse, eh? All things considered, life is still good — many things have happened in the last week that are stellar, and on which I cannot comment.
If you’re still reading, thank you. Since it has been nearly three weeks since I posted, I felt that this post was overdue, as well… Not my best work, but it will have to do for now.
Blessings to all my readers, those whom I know personally, and those whose acquaintance I’ve only made through this blog… I’ve been feeling particularly thankful for you, lately.
*Virtually all CFS symptoms disappeared when I went onto a gluten-free diet. I do believe that the underlying cause of my chronic fatigue was celiac disease itself.
**In spite of middling reviews (which I have not read — only noticing it has only about 3.5 stars on Amazon), I am still very much enjoying it. Well, I just peeked at some reviews. It appears that those who love Anne Perry’s mysteries, set in 1800s England, are most disappointed. Perhaps that explains why I like the book: I don’t care for Anne Perry. (I did read her four-book series which was set in WWI, but once the series was completed, decided that any more of Perry would be a waste of my time.)
I have a one-ish track mind. I tend to bunch my thoughts, my efforts together in one spot… Right now, even though I’m 26 weeks pregnant, and one might think I have, “BABY BABY BABY,” going through my mind, it’s not.
Actually, that’s somewhat of a good thing.
Historically, I start nesting somewhere around five weeks pregnant and it’s all I can do to remain focused and engaged with the rest of my life, responsibilities included, for the whole pregnancy. I tend to spend eight solid months with a nearly compulsive bent toward thinking, dreaming, planning, preparing, for my new baby. I put a huge amount of emotional investment and TIME into it. On one hand, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing. But, when I have other children who need mothering and schooling; when I have a home that needs cleaning and maintenance; when I have a husband who shouldn’t have to fight for my attention; when I have responsibilities at church that need me to NOT be thinking, “I sssooooo don’t want to be doing this;” when I have friends who merit attention, my hyper-nesting isn’t that great of a thing.
So, for me, the fact that this is on the back burner of my mind: I’m going to be adding an 8th member to our family in three months or so… is rather a blessing. I’m not struggling like I usually do with wanting to drop everything and become a hermit in my home and feeling VERY CRABBY that there are other parts of my life that are calling.
I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone.
I, for one, though, am very happy to feel ENGAGED with the world at 26 weeks pregnant*.
- We’re still doing school (though I am REALLY looking forward to our Easter Break next week).
- My home is quite tidy (most of it).
- I’m still leading worship in a weekly small group (though I joked that I might need to obtain a dobro sometime in the near future to accommodate my expanding belly).
- I’m still leading worship twice a month for SuperChurch (the 6-12 year-olds’ Sunday morning service).
- I’m still singing with the “big church” worship team two or three Sundays a month (I keep telling myself that I probably look ridiculous dancing… Oh, well.).
- I’m still hosting the weekly CSA at my home, and even just decided that I’m going to do at least another 12 weeks, shortly after the current season ends on May 1 (even though I’ll have to find an alternate location for while I’m in labor…).
- If anything, I feel MORE connected to both my husband and our five children during this pregnancy. I also feel more peaceful. This is probably my happiest pregnancy ever.
Knowing my history, I wasn’t sure, three months ago or so, that I should do the CSA. I often start well, but don’t finish strong. I get all fired up for one project or another, then start to lose steam… I was more than a bit concerned that this would be a similar endeavor, and then, when I lost focus and dropped the project, not only would I pay for it, but so would the 25 or so other people who were counting on me, and their families…
Also… and this is hard to communicate; I can’t grasp the right descriptive words… But, I was uncertain if the CSA was where God wanted me to invest my time. I long to be fruitful. I want the things I do to have lasting impact. I want my time to be well-spent. I want my involvement with others to have more than just a tinge of “ministry”. I mean… not that I’m trying to make this The Christian CSA with a prayer corner, worship music in the background, and Bible verses plastered all over my fridge — not that at all. But, I wanted this to be worthwhile in every sphere, and I wasn’t certain if hosting the CSA was a good choice in how to spend my time — time which often feels spread too thinly as it is.
So, I prayed about it. “Is this where you want me, God? Is this OK?”
I got no discernible response. I’m not saying God didn’t speak, but if He did, I missed it. I didn’t even feel vaguely “led” one way or another.
I asked my husband — who is well-acquainted with my tendency to rush into projects hard and fast and then feel overwhelmed — what he thought. Honestly, I was a little surprised that he seemed to think favorably about the whole thing.
It didn’t seem like God was telling me, “No,” although a nice, clear, resounding, “YES!” would have made me feel much more confident.
So, I went with my husband’s approval.
I guess I had previously felt that I was hosting the CSA for my own personal benefit. I mean, from the bottom of my heart, I truly want to equip others to eat better. But, I was kind of compelled more by the fact that I would get roughly $40 worth of local, fresh, organic produce for FREE each week, plus earn $1 per person, per week for what seemed like very little time.
I was wrong on nearly all accounts.
In the six weeks the CSA has been operational:
- A couple of weeks, I’ve gotten much less than $40 worth. The remaining time I’ve received FAR more. We’re rolling in veggies, which pleases me to no end.
- I anticipated making around $40/week, thinking we’d have that many participants. However, we started with only 16, and are now up to 24. So, I am not making even enough money to pay the midwife each month, which was my thought going into it.
- It takes much more time than I realized it would. Not only do I devote time “on the ground” from 2:00 – 5:30 every Wednesday, but there is a lot of communication and planning involved, too. I probably spend an additional 3-3½ hours weekly, often more. Seven hours total every week may not seem like a lot to you, but in my world, subtracting seven hours from other things that I could be doing?? That’s huge. That’s a big commitment.
Much more significant, though, is how I have been absolutely surprised by the positive feedback I’ve received from so many of the participants.
I was thinking recently about how, when I started blogging more than seven years ago, I was just compelled to write. It was 100% for my own benefit. I saw blogging as an online version of journaling: simply documenting the time and thoughts as they passed. I wasn’t trying to gather an admiring crowd. I wasn’t trying to change the world. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone or even benefit them. I just wanted to write.
Similarly, with the CSA: I just wanted some veggies. Some free, organic veggies.
But with both endeavors, I have been very taken aback by the genuine thanks, the more-than-occasional encouraging note, the thoughtful gestures that have come my way… I never thought — not once — that hosting a produce-pickup was going to make a difference in anyone’s life; I entered into it as rather an indulgence in something of significant interest to me. But, similar to how I am now compelled to continue blogging by the random e-mails that will start off, “Thank you for your post on ______________ . I was in tears because of my situation of __________. I stumbled upon your post, and it was just what I needed, and here’s how it affected me: ______________. It was just what I needed and I can’t tell you how thankful I am.” — I am now compelled to continue the CSA due to letters like this (shared with permission):
You’re a good friend Karen – even if “long distance”. I don’t think I would have stepped into organic thinking without your help and encouragement. The rest of my extended family think I’m nuts…a super picky eater or whatever. But I have strong convictions to take care of the body God blessed me with and it brings joy to my heart hearing my kids happily talk about healthy vegetables during mealtimes! It’s sad. I never knew any fresh vegetables except iceberg lettuce when I was a kid…nothing but canned and always over cooked. Surprisingly I took after my grandma it seems in how I feel about my health and she lived to be 70 even after smoking for 20 years of her life! She found Jesus, quit smoking & drinking cold turkey and lived a life of joy I still remember this day. I guess I’m sharing just to show my appreciation for you Karen. You have made a difference in my life too. I Love you friend.
That made me cry. It also made me think that maybe why God was so silent was because He knew that I was just looking for Him to say, “Yes, it’s OK with me that you have this interest, and yes, it’s OK with me that you invest your time here.” I was just looking for permission. But He was setting me up.
I sent an e-mail of thanks back to my friend and asked her if I could put her story on my blog. She didn’t immediately respond and I got nervous. But, when her reply came, the tears flowed anew.
I would be honored to be a story in your blog – Please feel free to write whatever you wish! Amazing…Our Lord God never fails to love and “push” us into His most blessed plan if just choose to submit! Love you, your thoughts & prayers are never wasted.
I’m an ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale… If you click on that link, at least 95% of it is me, to a T.
- They have a strongly-felt internal sense of duty, which lends them a serious air and the motivation to follow through on tasks.
- They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are “good citizens” who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun – especially at family or work-related gatherings.
- The ISTJ will work for long periods of time and put tremendous amounts of energy into doing any task which they see as important to fulfilling a goal. However, they will resist putting energy into things which don’t make sense to them, or for which they can’t see a practical application.
- Once the ISTJ supports a cause or idea, he or she will stop at no lengths to ensure that they are doing their duty of giving support where support is needed.
- Traditional and family-minded, they will put forth great amounts of effort at making their homes and families running smoothly. They are responsible parents, taking their parenting roles seriously. They are usually good and generous providers to their families.
- They are very hard workers, who do not allow obstacles to get in the way of performing their duties. They do not usually give themselves enough credit for their achievements, seeing their accomplishments simply as the natural fulfillment of their obligations.
It has actually been quite a while since I reviewed what I’m “supposed” to be like as an Introverted Sensing Thinking Judger. But, re-reading that descriptive page makes me appreciate God more: He who made me knows who I am. He knows what I need. He knows what brings me joy. He knows what will surprise me. He knows how to stretch me without breaking me. And He knows just the right time to bring encouragement to me…
*It recently came to my attention that I never stated what this child will be: SHE IS A GIRL. My husband was 100% right. Not only was I pregnant, but the baby is a girl.
I hate to call any food endeavor on which I embark a “diet”.
But, I guess how I’ve been eating for the last 3+ weeks qualifies, since I’m counting carbs.
It took me a bit, but I figured out that I need at least 80 net carbs daily to NOT lose weight. My goal is NOT to lose weight; it’s to maintain or to gain weight more slowly. By 21 weeks, I had gained 22 lbs. Once my morning sickness was over (bless God) I was packing on two pounds a week, all while eating GOOD FOOD. Now, I’m eating MORE good food, but fewer carbs.
Here’s my history:
- I have veinous problems. I have varicose veins including up into my lower abdomen. More weight gain is even harder on weak veins. And my particular kind of veins increase my risk (moderately) of hemorrhaging during birth. Not good.
- I also want to limit the stress on my heart during pregnancy by limiting weight gain. (I have Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, which is fairly benign, but worrying symptoms ramp up during pregnancy.)
- I have a history of macrosomic babies. My smallest was 8 lbs 13 oz. My largest? 10 lbs even. Large babies increase one’s risk of hemorrhage.
- This is my 6th baby. For every baby >5, a mother’s risk for hemorrhage increases quite dramatically.
- I am planning a home birth and want to maximize my chances for success — to actually BIRTH in our home, not have to transfer due to blood loss.
- I did a similar diet under an OB for my last birth — I gained zero weight from weeks 28 onward — and the baby was STILL 8 lbs 13 oz.
- I have never had gestational diabetes but for baby #5, my oral glucose test (the nasty syrup) was “borderline-borderline” for GD, and I figured that a lower carb, no-sugar, high-protein diet wouldn’t hurt anything. It didn’t.
- In pregnancies #1-4, I gained 37-50 lbs each, ALL WHILE EATING A HEALTHY, WHOLE-FOODS DIET. My first OB told me that, for some women, their bodies go into “starvation mode” and operate with extreme efficiency, grabbing onto everything it possibly can and storing it as fat. He was pretty certain that that is what my body does. I did a food diary for him for a month (as I recall — it was 16 years ago!) and he was impressed with my diet. The only thing he recommended was taking out fruit. I didn’t, which is why I probably gained those 50 lbs.
- With pregnancy #5, on the lower-carb diet, I gained a total of 17 lbs, produced that 8 lb 13 oz baby, and recovery was immeasurably smoother for me, post-pregnancy. It was fairly easy to lose that extra 10 lbs, as opposed to being faced with a whopping 40 lbs to lose. I didn’t even have to try to lose those 10 lbs. They just melted off with a return to my regular metabolism, plus nursing.
For this pregnancy, in a couple of weeks, my midwife — who does offer the syrup-based oral glucose test, which I declined — is going to test how my body handles a “normal”/high amount of carbs via a large meal. I’ll go into her office at 7:30 a.m., and we’ll do a blood draw and test my blood-sugar levels. (She’s also going to re-test a couple of other things that were abnormal in an earlier blood test.) Then, I’ll go home and eat a “regular” breakfast — not one that contains 100 grams of glucose like the oral glucose test though it will be higher in carbs than I would normally eat for breakfast; I’ll probably eat eggs and a homemade muffin or two and shoot for 50 g carbs or so. Then, she’ll re-test my blood at 10:30.
We’re testing mostly out of curiosity. No matter what the results are, I’ll still maintain my current diet.
So, what am I doing in this “current diet”?
- Eating about 75-100 grams of protein daily, which is very similar to the Brewer/Blue Ribbon Baby Diet. (However, I’m not tracking my protein consumption down to the gram.) I eat 3-4 eggs every breakfast. I eat meat at lunch and dinner. My snacks tend to be high-protein, as well — nut-based or plain yogurt.
- Limiting myself to about 80 grams non-fiber carbs daily. (I have discovered that with fewer than 80g, I lose weight, which is not the goal.)
- Eating an additional 30+ grams of dietary fiber carbs daily.
- Eating at least NINE servings of veggies daily.
- NOT tracking fat consumption. At all. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that this is a high-fat diet.
- Sticking to foods that are MOSTLY Paleo: veggies and meats. However, I do eat some dairy and some legumes, which most people eating a strict Paleo diet, don’t. Many Paleo adherents don’t eat any nightshades, either: tomatoes, potatoes, etc. I eat virtually no potatoes, but I often eat tomatoes. I’m not avoiding nightshades. (In a Paleo diet, the goal is to train your body to burn FAT for energy, and for it to NOT rely on sugar-carbs for energy. That is how one can eat a high-fat diet and not gain weight. A Paleo diet is also healthy, long-term, for one’s pancreas as it profoundly limits blood-sugar.)
- NOT counting calories.
- Keeping my sugar-intake extremely limited. This is all sugars, including honey and naturally-occurring sugars in fruit.
- Drinking 80-100 ounces of water daily. This is in ADDITION to other liquids I may drink. I actually shoot for a gallon of water daily (128 ounces) but rarely hit that goal.
- Taking supplements in addition to the foods I eat: 6400 IU vitamin D, 1000 mg cod liver oil, 1200 mg calcium, 600 mg magnesium, 250 mg Horse Chestnut extract, a multivitamin, and 500 mg vitamin C. Some of them are chewables, which accounts for the 3g carbs for my vitamins if you view my sample daily diet PDF. If I take an extra vitamin C chewable, that adds another 2g carbs.
Here is a sample of what I eat, daily (click for PDF). A few notes:
- Yes, I drink coffee. Two mugs of half-caff. I put organic half & half in it, along with stevia.
- I do use a kitchen scale for many foods.
- I use this website: Self NutritionData to calculate the content of most of my foods.
- I usually don’t include ingredients in my daily tally, but on the opposite page of my spiral notebook, I do some serious figuring to many recipes in order to figure out the carb and fiber grams per serving. Yes, this does require some math. No, I don’t mind.
- Some things I have to estimate. For instance, we go out to eat about twice a month. I made a rough estimate of 60 grams carbs plus 10 grams fiber for a recent (splurge!) lunch at a Mexican restaurant. This was for beans, corn tortillas, and some tortilla chips that went along with my shredded beef tacos. But… some restaurants — chains, especially — publish their nutrition data online. For instance, I ate a Double-Double Protein Style Animal Style (with “wheat allergy” noted) at In ‘N’ Out Burger. No fries. I drank water. That felt like a splurge, but I found out online that it as only 8g carbs plus 3g fiber.
- My go-to snacks:
- Organic celery sticks with sunflower butter (I get sunflower butter from Trader Joe’s. Yes, it has a small amount of sugar in it).
- A half, large avocado
- A handful (two ounces) of raw almonds
- There are a few gluten-free, low-sugar, high-fiber snack or protein bars — like ProMax LS or ThinkThin Or Kit’s Raw Organic — and I do buy a few of these to eat in a pinch. But, I tend to shy from packaged snacks.
- At the end of the day, especially if I need more carbs, I will sit down with a bowl of plain yogurt with blueberries or — if my carb count has been REALLY low for the day — 1/2 cup of g.f. granola. It’s odd to consider, but if you truly stick with virtually all veggies, nuts, and meat during the day, by the end of the day, you will have to eat a relatively carb-heavy snack or meal to KEEP yourself from losing weight.
- I will admit that, once this month, I splurged at Yogurtini. I eat frozen yogurt about once a month from the store. Yogurtini’s no-sugar-added flavors do NOT contain aspartame (they are sweetened with maltodextrin, sucralose, or other “non-sugar” sweeteners) but they DO contain artificial colors. This is not a choice that anyone should make on a regular basis, but I’m just keepin’ it real and honest here and admitting to my yogurt consumption. One five ounce serving (including a scoop of fresh blueberries) ran me about 22 g carbs and 7 g fiber.
So… My husband and I have always been budget-minded. We came away from our respective childhoods after watching at least some of the adults in our lives be fairly irresponsible with money with a wounded awareness of how that affected us, as children. Both of us, independently, had said, “That won’t be me when I’m an adult.”
As a result, as young adults, each of us were already very mindful of responsible fiscal living, and that only increased after we got married.
However, it took Martin and me what I thought was a REEEEEALLLLLLYYYYYYY long time to get on the same page with how to approach exactly HOW to approach being “fiscally responsible.” His tactic, for a number of years, was, “Don’t buy anything, ever, and save all your money.” That sounds all right, but what about when there are real needs?
I was reminded of that time in our lives this morning, and one major way I got through his tight-fistedness.
Most mornings, I sit down with my six-year-old, Audrey, with my now-ancient copy of The Pregnancy Journal. There are daily entries in this spiral-bound book of what is happening in the mother’s body, how the baby is developing, plus other tidbits about childbirth in other cultures, hints on nutrition, pithy — or touching — quotes about parenting, et al. There are also lines on which the mother can record how her particular pregnancy is progressing: her weight, mood, and other thoughts.
My current pregnancy is only a week different than my first, as far as due-dates go. My oldest, who will turn 16 on June 23, was due on July 4th. This pregnancy, my sixth, is tentatively slated to end on June 27. So, I have found it especially interesting, comparing my thoughts now, as an experienced mother, with my thoughts from sixteen years ago.
This morning I read something particularly poignant: It detailed how I really needed maternity clothes, and Martin wouldn’t release the funds. I now find that almost laughable: He’s a lot more reasonable now; I almost can’t believe that I could have made it to 20-ish weeks in my first pregnancy with ZERO maternity clothes, and him still saying, “No.” Additionally, I’m now a lot better at finding good deals; most of my current maternity wardrobe came, second-hand, from Craigslist. Some items came at no cost via Freecycle. And just a few things, I purchased new. I’m certain that, back then, I had no intention of buying secondhand maternity clothes.
In my journal entry, though, I noted that even if my husband was wrong, I didn’t want to develop any bitterness. I didn’t want to harbor any anger for him. He wasn’t in sin. He wasn’t breaking the law. He was simply unreasonable. I felt it then, and now, looking back, I still think he was unreasonable. Reading that journal entry caused all my old feelings to come flooding back: I remember struggling mightily with feeling hurt and unprovided-for.
However, in the midst of that dilemma, I decided to pray. Really, it was my only option.
I’m 39 and have been a Christian since I was five years old. However, I still tussle with the basic premise of prayer at times. “Why would God listen to me? Why would He move on my behalf? What if I’m praying the wrong way? Or for the wrong thing? I don’t even fully understand why He wants His people to pray. He knows everything, right? He already knows my needs. I don’t know why He works like that. Hmph.” Prayer often seems like a non-action.
Even though I’m not really fond of aging, one thing that I am appreciating is having a history and a longer perspective. I can look back on a current difficulty and say, “Well, I don’t know why God would answer my prayer. But He has, so many times before. I’m just going to pray. I’m just going to exercise some faith that He will listen and that He will move on my behalf.”
And, whaddya know??? Sixteen years ago, God provided. He showed up, and in a BIG way.
My pen from 16 years ago records the names of seven people who had, in a period of three weeks, given me money for maternity clothes, gift cards, gifts of clothing, and loans of maternity clothes, all of them unasked-for. I don’t know what prompted them; but whatever the method of prompting, God was behind it.
There were seven of them*. In three weeks. Immediately after I started praying.
I wrote, “The Father has seriously overwhelmed me.”
Shortly after my firstborn entered my life, I started going to a ladies’ Bible study. It was held at a church so near to my house, I could walk. It was attended by about 200 women weekly, most of whom were in the midst of marriage difficulty.** The lady who led it — a wise and grandmotherly sort — was fond of telling us women that the line we draw is sin: If our husbands are so wrong that they are requiring us to SIN, we don’t comply. However, if it’s just that our husbands are wrong, if it’s just that we don’t agree, if it’s just that they’re unreasonable… The best course of action is to turn it over to God in prayer, and let God be God in our husband’s life, and trust HIM, Almighty God, as the true source of our provision.
Easier said than done.
Well, maybe. It’s not even easy to say! But, I’m glad for the reminder, this morning, of God’s provision. And, I’m glad for the reminder of how far my husband and I have come as a couple.
*Five of those ladies are still in my life, incidentally.
**I wouldn’t say that my marriage was in difficulty, however, I was — two years into it — still having a tough time adjusting to being married, being other-oriented, thinking in terms of “two become one”, etc. I learned a lot in the 3-4 years I attended.
I decided that as a 40-year-old mother of six, it was time to grow up and stop biting my nails.
I’m not actually either 40 nor a mother of six, but I will be both in about four months.
I don’t think my lifelong nail-biting habit is a nervous one; It’s just more of a compulsion… Especially when I read. But even if it’s a nervous habit, I figure it’s better than Xanax.
I have a friend who is older than me… Not quite old enough to be my mother, but definitely older than me. And she bites her nails. That always made me feel a tad better. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Until I glanced at her hands recently and saw that they had been nicely manicured and she said it had been some months since she’d bitten them. She still hasn’t resumed.
I have a number of problems with NOT biting my nails, in addition to the whole habit/compulsion part of it:
- I play guitar, so they can’t be long anyway.
- If I want to stop biting my nails, it really helps if they’re painted; that’s quite a deterrent. However, as a chemical-avoidant person — any kind of chemical, for any reason — it chaps my hide that nail polish is one massive bucket o’ chemicals. BAD ones. Ones that, under pretty much all other circumstances, I wouldn’t expose myself to. I felt like a hypocrite, buying nail polish at Target earlier this week. I had to, though, because all my other nail polishes were 5+ years old and gooey; they wouldn’t dry.
- If I want to stop biting my nails, it’s best if I just IGNORE them. But, when one has nails, there is a whole, new, mandatory hygiene regimen associated with them, and they can’t be ignored.
It seems almost like I’m doomed to fail before I even begin.
But, vanity and a bit of shame compels me — the shame part as described above: “I’m too ‘mature’ to bite my nails. What is wrong with me??”
And the vanity comes in when, on a near-daily basis, on the Birth Without Fear blog, I view the multiple awesome pics of mamas triumphing through labor, with joyful relief as they’re now holding the tiny one they’ve waited so long to behold… and can you imagine if you see the mama’s hand, cradling the perfect newborn, and there are gnawed off stumps where the fingernails are supposed to be?? Yuck. I’m not saying that a birth story and accompanying photos of mine will ever appear on the blog. And I’ve never had a birth photographer present for any of my births. I’ve never even had a friend or family member take pics of the process!! But, if I did… Would I want to see the remains of what should be my nails, but have been chewed into oblivion?? No. No, I wouldn’t.
And so, it has been two weeks since I’ve bitten. In my world, that’s a long time. I can’t quite call it “triumph” yet, but it’s a good start.
Now, all I need to do is color my hair — WITH HENNA — again. There goes the vanity again: I think I’m the grayest pregnant woman ever and it just doesn’t seem right. But, that’s a story for another day…
After a flurry of almost daily blog posts, this last week, I’ve ground nearly to a halt.
…has been consumed by the CSA — the farm share I’m coordinating for Crooked Sky Farms. It is wonderful, and I’m glad I’m participating. I’m certainly not regretting agreeing to be the coordinator — largely because I got two HUGE crates of produce out of it. Literally: Nine heads of Romanesco; four bags of baby lettuces; four huge (probably 2 lb each) bunches of carrots; two bunches of Swiss chard; about four lbs of red potatoes; 13 tangelos; three bunches of baby Hakurei turnips; and four bunches of “grilling” onions (onions with small white bulbs and very large but tender green tops). Part of this was my share, and part of it was — I think — people just not taking all eight of the bunches of produce allotted to them… Or something. I think the farm threw in some extra produce, just in case. And all those leftovers were even with me finding buyers for the produce that should have gone to two people who didn’t show! Anyway, that’s a good probably 40 lbs of fresh, organic, local produce, all for me — for my family. Ah-MAY-zing. Some of it we’ve eaten, some is in the fridge, and some is now in the freezer. However, it has been a lot of work, especially when one person canceled beforehand, and then the aforementioned two people didn’t show… I was supposed to have a minimum of 20 paying customers in order for the farm to deliver to me. I ended up with 16. Ack! But my contact at the farm has been very gracious and they haven’t dropped us or anything. But I am being encouraged to try to drum up more business. I’M TRYING!! I really am. Since Wednesday, I actually found two more full-time members (one is an airman from Luke AFB who calls me “ma’am”), and then another guy who wants to sign up for only the 2nd half, and two or three more week-to-week people, and at least a couple more potential CSA members… Plus the eggs. So many people wanted eggs, and I’ve found two people within a mile and a half who have eggs that I’m selling. Again, that’s GOOD, but it’s more work. More bookkeeping. More keeping track of this and that…
- And the seed giveaway. That took a lot of time, just regulating!! Especially on the second day, I had a lot of comments… I was trying to respond to everyone who asked questions, send e-mails to folks who hadn’t followed the instructions… Um, I gave that up after a while. But, the seed giveaway was fun!!
- My heart has been worrying me. I have Wolfe Parkinson White syndrome, where there is an extra nerve connecting the left (I think) atrium and ventricle, which produces a wonky feedback loop. It is benign — though I just can’t help but thinking it CAN’T be good, long-term, for one’s heart to beat wrong — and normally, I have 5-10 episodes (weird/hard/thumpy heart beat, heart stops for a few seconds, or it races for 10 seconds or so, etc.) while my heart resets itself. But, while I’m pregnant, it happens… I don’t know… 30? 50? times a day, sometimes for multiple minutes on end, especially when I’m just sitting down (after standing) or just lying down. At my midwife’s insistence, I saw my cardiologist (whom I really love — he’s my favorite doctor for anything, ever), and I wore a 24 hour Holter monitor a few weeks ago. I finally got the results this week. And they essentially said, “Why, yes, you are having quite a few PACs, but it’s OK. See you again in April.” And that made me feel a lot better.
- My pregnancy is going well. I am now 21 weeks along. All-day “morning” sickness finally ended about three weeks ago, to my great relief. I’ve gained 20 lbs already, which is not good… That’s more than I gained with my whole pregnancy with Fiala. In what is a recurring theme in any weight gain I typically incur, I do eat good food — not junk; I just eat too much of it. Even if my midwife doesn’t suggest it, I think I’m going to do a counted-reduced-carb diet — herder-gatherer Paleo — which is almost how I eat anyway… just that from weeks 28 – 40 (or whenever), I’ll be extremely careful. After about week 28, nothing new develops in the baby; she will simply put on weight and whatever is already there matures. So, it’s less critical that a mother gain weight. In case it sounds worrisome that I’m planning on “dieting” while pregnant, I did this with my last pregnancy (Fiala): I gained a total of 17 lbs and she STILL came out at 8 lbs 13 oz. I would have felt badly if she was scrawny… But she wasn’t. And I became a bigger believer than ever in eating high-protein and low-carb in the last trimester. With my first two pregnancies, I gained nearly 50 lbs, so I know that, left unchecked, that’s probably where I’d end up. I just feel better and recover faster when I’m not toting an extra 20-30 lbs, postpartum.
I just finished making the song list for worship tonight at my small group.
Last week, several people — literally, three — said something along the lines of, “Thank you for serving our group. Thank you for leading worship.” And my response, initially, was, “Wha…??”
These friends thanking me were sincere, but it seemed weird. “I really, really like to do this. I really like to worship. It’s a privilege to lead. I don’t need to be thanked!”
But then, I remembered only a couple hours previous: It was about 6:40, and my husband had walked me to the car. He loaded up the guitar into the back seat, and we kissed goodbye. Our little rascal, four-year-old Fiala, came running out — which she is not supposed to — and Martin turned to whisk her barefoot self back inside. The car still not started, I leaned my head back and gripped the steering wheel. “If I wasn’t leading worship, I would NOT go to small group tonight,” I grumbled out loud. I started the car and chugged down the driveway en route to the approximately ¾ mile commute to the home of the dear family who hosts my group.
I was feeling cruddy, as I do, most afternoons and evenings these days. I’m about 12 weeks pregnant, and I really dislike being pregnant. That is, I pretty much hate the first 20 weeks when I’m sick to my stomach 24/7 and I have no energy. Then, for weeks about 21-29, I’m golden: I have energy back, no nausea, and my belly isn’t so big to be ponderous, I’m motivated to get things accomplished, and excited about the prospects of a new baby in our home. Then, about week 30 hits, and I feel like I’m going to physically fall apart at the seams, and my giant baby-house gets in the way of everything, and I can’t breathe… So, I should say that I really dislike about 4/5 of pregnancy.
I was thinking that I’ve never led worship while pregnant… Wait. That’s not true. I haven’t led worship in a small group while pregnant. I started when Fiala was — if memory serves — four weeks old. I’d nurse my newborn, put her down to sleep, Martin would wrangle the other four, and I’d go off to group… I’d come home fairly promptly, and feed my baby again. It worked out much better than we thought it would, plus we didn’t have to pay for babysitting. (Prior to four years ago, Martin and I always went together, he always led worship in whichever group we were a part, and we always paid a babysitter to tend to our littles.)
I have led worship for the 6-12 year-olds at church while pregnant. Oddly, though, I have no memory of that… I’m not sure how I accomplished that with a big belly. I think I propped my foot up on a stool and rested my guitar on my thigh, out in front of the baby-protuberance. Anyway, that’s what I told my small group’s host that I would be doing, a month or two or three down the line… She now asks, every week, if I need a stool. “No, not yet!”
So, in a way, I guess it’s service, to lead worship. I can be an effort, at times. Most of the time, though, it doesn’t feel like it. Most of the time, I feel like I do right now: “I’ve got a great list, and worship will be great tonight! Come, Holy Spirit!!” I’m really thankful that I get to lead worship; I love doing it. It honestly feels like a privilege. I can’t help but compare myself to my husband’s guitar-playing and worship-leading virtuosity, and I come up way, way short. I feel like “they” LET me lead worship. I get to. And that’s when receiving thanks feels out-of-place.
Anyway. The baby is due the end of June. Small groups usually end for the summer the first or second week of June. I hope I can make it that far! My husband became the worship leader of our church when the previous worship leader was ponderously pregnant and in what was a shock to him, promoted him. He’s been there ever since. That was 20+ years ago.
Now, I’m questioning this whole post. I’m afraid it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn. That’s not my intention! What I’m trying to do is say:
- I feel like worship leading is a privilege.
- Sometimes, I don’t feel like going to small group, but by the end of it, with the presence of the Holy Spirit and the love and friendship of everyone there, I’m so pleased that I went, and I feel great.
- I’m not entirely sure how things are going to go, once my belly gets huge…
I guess that’s it.
Lordy. Blogging would be significantly easier if I didn’t second-guess myself about everything… I was hearkening back to the days when no one read what I had to say except my Uncle Steve, and I would write, shooting from the hip, about whatever crossed my mind. These days, I question myself endlessly, like, “Is this worthy of being published? Is my attitude crappy? Do I sound like a jerk? Am I a jerk? This isn’t a recipe. Or about birthing. Or homeschooling. Or even about parenting. Who in my not-really-targeted-but-certainly-niche-readership is this going to bless? No one??” ~sigh~ And then I shoot down the post I’d written in my head, or drafted out online… And thus, compiled with my time crunch, leads to me blogging less than ever. Ugh. /whining.
My midwife (who, by the way, is having her website revamped — the current one is sorely incomplete!) has, unsurprisingly, shelves full of books on birthing and mothering. I noticed one omission, and I think I’m going to purchase it for her for Christmas.
The book has been on my mind a lot, lately. Partly because, yes, I’m pregnant. But partly, as well, because I find the reviews for it on Amazon so indicative of our polarized culture. When we find someone saying something we cannot support, we automatically throw out everything they’ve ever said, put them on our personal equivalent of Santa’s Naughty List, and vilify them.
The book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, is written, as best as I can surmise, by a practicing Zen Buddhist, Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, MD. The three two-star reviews this book has received generally have this criticism: The book is too far “out there.” The doctor has sections where she describes her personal beliefs and experiences, and I must say that the Dr. Buckley and I have little in common, and many of the things she has chosen to do, I would not. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean the books is useless. It just means that our personal beliefs aren’t aligned.
After reading (not for the first time) the Amazon reviews on this book, I decided to write my own:
I felt the need to chime in my support for this book. I’m a semi-crunchy mother of five — many things I have learned and chosen in my mothering would be highly supported by the attachment parenting camp, and quite a few simply would not. I am also a committed, practicing Christian. I’ve had five, all-natural, unmedicated hospital births, and am planning a home birth for my sixth — not because I’ve had rotten hospital experiences, but rather because I have learned a bit more with each birth and am convinced that the best way to ensure that this, likely my last birth, is absolutely peaceful and perfect is to have my child at home. It is becoming increasingly difficult within hospital culture, even with a fabulous, naturally-minded care provider to have a truly natural hospital birth.
I particularly appreciate Dr. Buckley’s book because she, like myself, is both fully spiritual AND fully science-minded. I respect the fact that Dr. Buckley lays out her spiritually-based opinion and experience and then BACKS IT UP with hard science. There are a solid SIXTY PAGES of end notes. One chapter alone has 294 end notes!! This is, by far, the best-researched birthing book I’ve ever read, and I have read dozens.
In fact, of those dozens of books I’ve read, many start to sound the same after a very short while. Many other books on birthing rely heavily on the same stories, the same research, and similar experiences. This was the first book I’ve read on birthing in a very long time that had NEW, PROFOUND, and RELEVANT information about birthing and mothering. It is a unique and powerful book on many levels.
Instead of being a how-to on birthing, it’s more of a “why” book. Why choose one practice over another? Why are ultrasounds possibly harmful? Why are narcotics during birth so potentially harmful, both in the short-term and long-term health of mother and baby? Why is the use of Pitocin so destructive to the natural hormonal processes of birth? Dr. Buckley doesn’t just tell readers what to do, she tells us, very clearly, why one choice is helpful (even necessary!) and why another choice is likely harmful. In addition to that, she gives personal anecdotes about her own experiences with birthing and mothering that further support her empirical research, and show a mother how those scientific facts can play out in a very spiritually profound way.
It’s pretty clear that the author is a practicing Zen Buddhist. I’m not. However, I find that my discoveries have matched the doctor’s experience: The radical experience of a natural birth is the perfect marriage of mind/body/science WITH our spiritual/deep/intangible side. I found it pretty easy to make the shift, mentally, when the author talks about the soul of her child flying down from the stars into me visualizing, instead, the soul of my child being lovingly created by God my Father, and being deposited into the growing life of my baby, in utero. And so on. If the “language” of Dr. Buckley’s spiritual voice doesn’t fit with your own, feel free to substitute your own beliefs in the places where yours doesn’t match up with hers!
There is no ONE perfect book on any topic. Like any book, you chew the meat, and throw out the bones. If there is a story in the book that doesn’t click with you, it doesn’t negate the hundreds — or even thousands — of other bits of useful, profound information. It’s the mark of a strong mind that can consider something, hold it in one’s thoughts, sift it, and then say, “That particular part is not for me,” without throwing out the rest of the book or giving it only two stars. So, if that’s what you need to do when reading this book, please do so, but still PLEASE READ THE BOOK.
So, to sum up, my stance is that you don’t have to be completely aligned with Dr. Buckley’s spiritual beliefs, birthing practices, or mothering practices in order to benefit mightily from this unique and powerful book.
If that sounds intriguing, consider purchasing this excellent book for either yourself, a mother-to-be, or your favorite doula or midwife!!
It’s a good day when I look at the clock at 2:32 and feel like I’ve already had a productive day.
Confession: I long to be lazy.
Truth: I rarely let myself be.
So, most days, I spend a good portion of my thought life wishing I could lie down and take a nap. Or vege out and read a book for a few hours with my feet kicked up and a blanket tucked snugly around me. Or that I could turn on the TV in the middle of the day. (The only time, historically, that I’ve “let” myself watch TV during the day is when I have a nursing infant.)
I tell myself, “If you get x, y, and z done, you can lie down for an hour.” But, I never seem to get as much done as I think I should be accomplishing. Thus, I don’t usually indulge my inner drive for laziness.
I get a lot done, typically… But I’ve never felt like I was INDUSTRIOUS. Know what I mean? Like Proverbs 31-industrious, when I’m up before everyone else, weaving purple cloth. Or, in more current terms, I’m not a Pinterest mom, making and posting about the awesome projects I’ve done. So, the things I get done are mostly out of necessity: My family needs to eat. We need toilet paper. We need to not be drowning in clutter and covered in ¼” of dust. So, I do a lot… but I confess that I don’t have a creative, money-making drive. I’m not always trying to DO MORE. I’m pretty happy if all the basics get covered without too much stress.
I’m still not certain if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
I kind of wish I had more drive.
But, I’ve also observed Moms Who Do More having stressed-out kids and no time to snuggle on the couch in the morning. I’m not saying that every industrious mother has a too-busy life, but I myself haven’t found the balance of how to keep snug-time, storybook time, “Mama, can you hold me for a bit?” Or, “Mama, come look at the fort I made!” etc., AND get loads done every day.
This morning, before breakfast, four of my children and I were packed onto the loveseat, covered in blankets, trying not to jam elbows into others’ squishy parts. My four-year-old, Fiala, said with a knowing wiggle of her eyebrows, and a pointed glance at my belly, “Actually, there are five children on the couch.” We stayed for a good 30 minutes, until tummy rumbles and 6-year-old squirminess necessitated breakfast time. I LOVE MORNINGS LIKE THAT.
Shortly after, I made sure everyone had breakfast. I made the grocery list, comparing my list of things we need with things that are on sale at Sprouts. I got the kids started on their chores (which included grounding my 13-year-old and my 11-year-old from playing with friends and/or in the front yard for the rest of the day, as it took me about five times “reminding” them to get them back on track…). I took a shower, bringing a cup of baking soda and a cleaning sponge in with me and scrubbed down the shower enclosure, which was overdue. I went to the store for the remainder of the week’s groceries (I went to Costco yesterday). I came back, ate a good lunch — the first meal in WEEKS that actually tasted good, “thanks” to all-day-long so-called morning sickness. I then put tonight’s dinner in the Crockpot — Chipotle-Orange Pork. Lastly, I made sour cream dip and cut up mounds of veggies for my husband to bring to his home group Bible study tonight.
And that’s what got me to 2:32, feeling accomplished for the day.
I could still do the huge pile of ironing that has been taunting me. I could nip out and get some Christmas shopping done. I could sew my kitchen curtains, which truly is a necessity. (There are two kitchen windows, which meet at 90° — one is completely uncovered, and the other has a nice linen table cloth-thingie held to the spring rod with a binder clip, acting like a curtain. Classy.) I could do more Christmas baking. Or a load of laundry. Or clean the rest of my bathroom. I don’t even have my Christmas decorations up. (They were in the storage unit, which we obtained for our move, and finally cleared out this past Saturday evening. So, now they’re finally in boxes, in my garage….) In other words, I could do something productive. And maybe I should.
But, I’m not. I’ve looked at my day, and decided, “I think I’ll go onto Facebook, then write a blog post.”
Part of me feels extra-justified, because I’ve been feeling like absolute CRAP with this pregnancy. Mornings are better than any other time of day, so I’ve been scurrying through my mornings, getting as much done as possible. But, here I am today, feeling better than I have in weeks, in the afternoon, and I could do more… Yet, I’m choosing not to.
Again. I still haven’t decided if this is positive or negative, but I am — I think — coming to grips with the fact that I’m just not as industrious, not as motivated, not as creative, not as driven, as I think I should I should be.
I keep waiting for life to return to normal.
I used to think that “a rut” was the worst thing that could happen to one’s life.
I now have turned 180° — or at least 160° or so — and have discovered that there is a reason it is called “Domestic Bliss.” That is because when home life is wonderful, it REALLY IS wonderful. Philosophers can devise witty sayings about how boring healthy families are, but when it comes down to it, if you have one, it really is lovely.
This past spring and summer was perhaps my most wonderful ever in my 39 years. Well, I was 38, back then. Everything was just right. Parenting was going great. I thought my husband was fabulous. I had the garden of my dreams. I had enough “spare” time to sneak in novel about once every 2-3 weeks, which, in my experience and for my personality is just right; more reading than that means I’m not getting enough done in my home and family; less reading than that means I’m stretched too thinly and stressed out. We had just sold our house for more than we thought possible and had found the exact right place — right size house, right size lot, right location — for an amazing price. I had lost about 20 pounds and was feeling great, and down to the same size I was before I had my first child, 15 years prior. Other family relationships and friendships were sailing along at a beautiful clip. Friends even purchased tickets for our family’s first-ever Disneyland trip. Can you get much better than that?
I don’t think I’m a pessimist — truly — but I am enough of a realist to realize, even in the midst of all this amazingness, that it would probably not last forever. It was one of those seasons where my prayer was, “God, please don’t let me forget this lovely season, especially if You’re gearing me up for hard times.”
And hard times have, indeed, come. But, not exactly in the way that I had envisioned.
The good news is that I still think my husband is fabulous. I have, in fact, grown in love and appreciation for him in the last couple of months.
By early October, my mother was sick, in the hospital, and appeared near death.
We were also in the throes of a remodel — a MAJOR remodel of about 40% of our “new” home — which I envisioned would take us about five weeks.
We also had a serious issue surface with one of our children… Really serious, the sort of thing where it is just a deep, hard ache in a mother’s heart.
Then our dog got sick, a resurgence of Valley Fever.
Then my computer broke (I’m typing on my husband’s laptop), on which my children do about 1/3 of their schooling.
And… other things compounded my various challenges — like a dear friend (whose two sons are the best friends of two of my sons) moving out of state. And a few other dear, long-time friends feeling led by God to become involved in various other ministries — leading them OUT of “my” church. This put a hole in my heart, as well as made things logistically difficult, as I am now the lone worship leader for the 6-12 year-olds at church; no one with whom to share that responsibility…
AND THEN, I found out I was pregnant with our sixth child. And while that has been a huge joy — theoretically — I feel like crap, 24/7, and that just makes everything… extra-challenging.
And my mother did die, on October 18th. That was hard. It still is, especially when my four-year-old, Fiala, pipes up at lunch, scowl ensconced firmly on her face, “I don’t want Grandma to live with Jesus any more. I want her to be here.”
We are still remodeling, nearing our 11th week of that massive project. The good news is that I have a working kitchen. I still don’t have a back splash, there is still some touch-up to do, I still don’t have a working sink in our powder room, and the legs of our built-in breakfast table (envision a bar, only larger and more rectangular) still need to be trimmed and stained. AND, as I was dreaming — again — of the massive yard sale I’d have to enable the purchase of new furniture, it hit me like a ton of bricks that my Furniture Money would probably have to become Pay the Midwife Money. Maybe that’s stupid, but it was one of those reality checks that made me groan, “Aw, man…”
My child with the “issue” is now in counseling, and though we’ve just begun, I think that will be really helpful. Sometimes, it helps a child to hear truth from a different, non-parent source. My husband and I are fighting — and winning, I think — not to feel like Giant Failures in Parenting. Still, it’s been a blow to my confidence as a mother to have to call in the experts…
Our dog is still ill, but at least she hasn’t died. The vet said that he rarely sees dogs with her blood titer level, because, “Usually a dog doesn’t get to that level; they die before then.” But, she’s on antifungals. Sweet pup. We’re not out of the woods, and it was hard to admit to my husband that I didn’t ask the vet to call in a three months’ supply of meds, which we could have done, and which is less expensive than buying it month-to-month, because I’m still not sure she’ll make it three months… We’ll see.
My computer is still broken, which is making me feel like a bad homeschooling mom, because my kids haven’t done math nor typed anything in about a month. Grant and Wesley also read from the encyclopedia on my computer…
The Sunday before I had the spate of friends become displaced from my life, in early August, the presence of God fell on me very powerfully during worship, and I felt God calling me to serve Him, and Him alone, for His sake — not for what I get out of my relationship with Him or out of my Christianity; not simply because I was following my pastor (though I have a wonderful pastor — two of them, actually — absolutely amazing men of God who are excellent teachers and amazing leaders…) I just felt Him calling me to Himself, no matter who does what, and when, nor what goes on around me.
I have really been clinging to that, and thankful to Him for preparing me.
I’m 11 weeks pregnant, and I still need to actually TALK WITH and MEET WITH my midwife, rather than exchanging phone messages. I don’t know why, but I think I’m kind of dragging my feet about that. It’s just one more thing that will go on the plate… Know what I mean?
I hope this doesn’t sound like a bunch of complaining.
And I keep reminding myself how LOADS of people — billions of them — have it worse than I do. In many ways, things really aren’t bad at all! They’re just challenging, and I don’t enjoy being challenged. I really don’t.
So! That’s where I’m at.
Thanks for reading. I wish I had something clever with which to tidily wrap up this post, but my stomach hurts too much to think of what that might be. I think I’ll go make myself a piece of toast.