Saturday, November 14, 2015

Off the Rails Part 2

pretty much the same things I said yesterday but I needed more clarity.

Yesterday someone I care about told me that I've changed over the last two years. My heart dropped into my stomach. In my head I'm asking "has she done the math?!" Kind of shocked that she says it like its something I should contain. January will be two years since my Alex. My soulmate, was killed. This isn't like my mom and dad dying. This is like the best part of me dying. Yes. I have changed. I'm not the same person. I'm off the rails. I get up in the morning, late as always (not a new thing, trust me)... Take care of my last snuggle bug... Talk to friends.... Wait for the bigs to get home... Talk reports and homework... LOVE THEM HARD. Put them to bed... And TRY MY BEST not to cry until 2:00am. It's not every day.... But most. I used to want to go go go. Now I never want to leave. Funny thing is in big ways my trust issue has little to do with her dying, but the aftermath. My trust issues are huge. My trust issues FREEZE ME DEAD IN MY TRACKS.

But in many big ways I'm better. I'm more generous. I'm more empathetic. I'm less likely to let someone roll over me. (Maybe this is what some are seeing?) I'm FAR more in tune with my God. My family. Closer to my husband than EVER before. My friends now are friends who love me for no other reason than for who I truly am... Broken, derailed or not. And my love for helping children? Has grown exponentially. All the things that I should have done for Alex I MUST do for someone. My PURPOSE is now for two souls.

So even though I'm Off the Rails? The track I'm on now is far better. Join me or not... It's up to you.


Friday, November 13, 2015

"Off the Rails"

"off the Rails" were the words you were looking for when describing my last two years. "You're not the same". Negative. January 25th 2014. She left. Was killed by a drunk in a pick up truck with a bad attitude towards rejection. She was my trust. My hope. My beautiful sister. My daddy's last baby girl. What could POSSIBLY be wrong with me? Now? Almost two years later? She's gone. The only person outside of my small family that I ever truly believed in. With her... Went the rest. All the people who were supposed to be there.... Weren't. Angry. So much so many could have done differently, even me. Especially me. She shouldn't be gone. What a sad fucked up two years it has been. But I'm supposed to be normal. NORMAL! But she's gone and everyone else is not trustworthy. No one else will do. It was our turn. Then the crazies made a sad situation crazy. Ugly. Closed her up into a little box and only gave a key to those they could manipulate. Keep your key. Keep the box. She's not there. She's free. She's home.  Thank YOU for turning something beautiful into something that makes me cry to see. Yes, I am off the rails. And when you "see me?" It's because I fought like hell to leave my house. I don't want to be here. I don't want to be anywhere around anyone but my four loves. I don't trust anyone. Anymore. I am trying like hell to get back. In fact I am in hell thank you very much and running through it just to get to the other side. So yes. I'm sensitive to everything that makes me feel less human. I'm sensitive to those who think this isn't NORMAL. It is. I'm different. But I'm the same. I just have to fight with all of Gods power to stay that way.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Just the Three of Us - Chapter 2 - Running away

Chapter 2
Daddy was always running. Always hiding from someone. At least as I was growing up. We packed up the Impala with all that it would hold, including mom's prized notebooks. I was told later that it was because daddy couldn’t pay for the car. Or the IRS. Always someone. We “camped out” under the San jacinto bridge for a while. For a four year old thats quite an adventure! We always had white bread with mayo packets and potato chips. Dad would fish too. I’m sure he caught something, but I never remember anything. I remember the click clack of the bridge as the cars passed by. That’s still one of my favorite sounds. I dug in the sand a lot, built sand castles. I remember finding a perfect tiny china teacup. Not a chip to be found. I cherished it as it was my most prized possession.

Late one night I was laying awake gazing at the stars on the sand by myself. I'm sure mom or at least dad was there with me close by, but I remember being alone, awake, and afraid. Suddenly, I remember this brilliant white light descending above me, almost surrounding me. A feeling of peace washed over me and soon I was fast asleep. I remember nothing else as the sun arose the next morning. I know how silly it may sound, but I always felt it was there to tell me that everything would be OK. I "felt" there would be trials, but that it would make me grow stronger. Finally our “camping permit” ran out about the time the police found us there.

Like I said we never stayed anywhere long. My mom got a job as a waitress on Washington avenue in Houston. We were still sleeping in the car for a few days, right there in the Shipley’s parking lot. My mom had an aunt that lived nearby. Soon we rented a room at a place called The Alamo motel on Washington avenue. I met my first abuelita there. :-) Actually she wasn’t old enough to be a mexican grandma, but she didn’t have kids of her own so she took to me. We would stand in her warm kitchen making tiny tortilla’s. I would eat them with a toothpick. She would tell me stories. I will never forget her kindness. The thing about being poor, not having it all… is you learn to appreciate every small kind act. It’s the people you remember. My maternal grandma stayed with us there for a while. I’m not sure where…. as even I never had a bed. My grandma was crazy sometimes... with a capital C. She left one night and left the gas stove on, blew out the flame. I don’t recall how we survived… She was crazy, but I loved her with a capital L… because she adored me. She made me feel loved and special... when she wasn’t trying to kill me? The story I've been told is that my dad dated my grandma before he started dating my mama. not sayin that she was jealous or anything. I'm just sayin... it's a possibility.

We left there...I was still four four at the time. We started staying in this abandoned building down the road. Upstairs. I guess it wasn’t really abandoned, because my dad was supposed to be remodeling it. He may have… but the upstairs remained the same. Plywood floors, sheetrock dust and an electric heater. I’m sure I played, but all I remember doing was looking out of the window. Washington avenue was a fascinating road then. I remember seeing a billboard for a TV. I missed TV. My mom was still a waitress so we would go and eat at the restaurant every day. I’ll bet the manager never charged us. Mom would bring home any leftovers at night. Warm and sweaty in a styrofoam box. It was so much fun to see what surprise was left over that day. We just left one night. It seemed we always left in the middle of the night.
How excited I was!! Momma had extra tips one week and we went to a drive in movie. Such a big deal then.  I had to hide beneath a blanket though, so I could be free. I was just about to turn five. I remember my mom arguing with my dad telling him that I HAD to start school soon. We couldn’t keep moving around like this. He decided to send me to my sister’s house in Conroe. She had five kids of her own. She made me mind and eat my carrots. I cried and gagged. I really hated carrot's. I still do. As an adult now, I appreciate the structure that her home provided. Even though it couldn't have been easy taking me in. I was thrilled to start school. Pretty sure they didn’t have carrots there. haha. Sam Houston Elementary in Conroe. There were pretend kitchens and puzzles and kids! Of Course I was shy. But I loved learning. My mom had taught me to read a little bit. You must remember, adults around me were making all these decisions for what was best. I just followed along. Went where I was told. I remember someone picking me up from my sisters. I can’t remember who he was, but I was scared. I didn’t close the door properly and I sat as close to it as possible. The door flew open and I fell out as we drove. He grabbed my hand as the other scraped the ground. I was all bloodied and crying and he was kind. The next memory I have is being back in Houston. Mom made dad stoop at Lane Motel. She got out then and there and said that she would work there but wanted it to include free rent. She was done with the moving. I didn't see mom put her foot down often, but she did then.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Just The Three of Us - Chapter 1 - My Mommas house

She ran screaming from the back room, my mother. He was dead, the old man laying on the bed. That was my first memory as a child. I can’t recall who he was. Maybe an uncle or my grandmothers male friend? I just recall death and curtains, white and blowing in from the window. I was two and the house was small, but clean. We had just returned from church I believe, because of the dress that I was wearing. My mom was so proud of that little house. She had not much to hold onto, but that house meant life. Normalcy… for her little girl. For me. She loved the baby me with every ounce of her. There were notebooks stacked in the corner, upon the shelf. I remember seeing her write in them every evening, sitting in the queen Anne chair by the lamp. I would also see her read by that little lamp. She would read to me passages, didn't matter the book. Didn't matter the words. I learned many years later that within those stacks of notebooks was a book written by my mother. Completed. They were stolen not long after… when we no longer lived in the little house. I have dreamed of this book many times since. To know her. Not the woman who raised me. Who long later drank and became occasionally violent. Who cried and whom I saw never really live… but the woman that she was supposed to be. I have a feeling that she was locked in those pages. The real mom was locked inside of herself. Inside of that little normal house.

   My Aunts, my sisters... they tell me now that my memories aren't exactly correct. They tell me she was the kindest, most gentle person they ever met. I believe them. I saw that side of her too. I counter that they rarely saw my mother after I turned seven or so.  Please don't misunderstand me so early in the story. She was not mean. She had moments of meanness. She had demons from her past... her present... that could hold her sometimes. Meanness is not my most prominent memory, even then it was mostly directed at my daddy... and as you'll learn later, he probably deserved it. It was sadness. It was a waiting. Like a clock just ticking quietly in the room. When my mother broke through the shadow of herself, she WAS the kindest, most gentle mother to me. I can understand the feeling because I am a mom myself now. If I'm not careful, I can find myself in that same place. It's easy for me... because I have Joe. He is not my father. I think that mom spent my childhood praying for Joe. :-) My boys will read this one day and see me in her. I've come to terms with that. They will also remember my determination to keep the shadows at bay. To participate. To commemorate. To BE their mom. 

 I recall the alarm sounding in the kitchen. I was three… maybe four, by this time. I wanted to be helpful so I opened the stove and reached in with the mitt, just as I had seen my mother do many times before. The tv dinner tilted and spilled on my arm. I screamed. My mother ran in and cried. She cleaned me up as the skin peeled away from my arm. She made a paste with bitter cocoa powder and smoothed it gently over the burn. Just as her mother before her. She did this for days…weeks. I don’t recall exactly, but I recall the ritual. I had the scar for many years, but as I grew it left me. I miss the scar and the gentleness of her touch as she healed me.  I miss the smell of the bitter cocoa. I felt so safe then. It was life as it should have been. Church on Sundays in pretty dresses, fried chicken on the table. I even recall teenage boys with white shirts and black ties on bicycles knocking on the door and mom inviting them in... to listen about Jesus. I always assumed that was my first Pentecostal encounter. Now I think... Mormons in Tomball? Did they exist?

We were singing “Jesus loves Me” during mother’s day out one night when we heard a crash. Some teenagers threw a rock through the beautiful stained glass in the rectory. Shattered. Some teen boys were running by having fun destroying something so beautiful to me. We were so frightened . The teachers huddled us up in the room while one of the elders ran outside after the boys. We waited to be picked up. It was the church that I was baptized in. I walked up the wet steps and slipped. But I made it to the pool behind the altar. The safest place in all of my world, suddenly became scary. It’s the last memory that I have of the church by the little house. In fact... my next memory is loading up the car with whatever we could carry....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fibromyalgia - I Refuse to Surrender

I remember one moment as a young girl.... Possibly 12... Sitting on the school bus being astounded that I had no pain. An odd thought for a young girl now that I think about it. I had been hurting for months with what my mom called "growing pains". Back, legs, neck... Burning pain, doubling over back pain, leg cramps, joint aches.... As I grew older I knew there was a definite pattern to the pain. I'd feel great for a long time, then I'd hurt all over for a time.

Now I'm an adult and I'm finally to the point that there seem to be more bad days than good days. Infections are a definite trigger. A cold knocks me out for months. The stomach flu sends me to the ER. Exhaustion and stress is another. If someone brushes my shoulder I want to cry for the burning pain I may have for ten minutes after. Having my blood pressure checked brings tears and anxiety. I have actually SWORN that I must have laid on a lit cigarette.

My husband tells the kids that "mommies fragile" I know he's "just helping" but it hurts to hear that. I have great bursts of energy in which I will be able to clean the entire house but then I'll be down for two weeks. I will have debilitating pain starting at one point... By the end of the day every joint or pressure point on one side (sometimes both) will flair up. I have medicine sensitivities too, so that can hinder treatment or at least cause severe side effects. If I take one simple steriod pill (prednisone) for a cold I want scream from my joints being ripped apart as a side effect.

Mind you, this isn't the "me" that most people know. Most of my friends see me as a great mom, wife, friend... most of the time. And when I feel well, I am superwoman. Just so happens that fibromyalgia is my kryptonite. Even Joe didn't realize the half of it until the last few years. When you deal with pain every day it can almost become like a background noise. You can look completely normal while your body screams.

When I am pregnant, all this goes away. Which leads me to believe that hormones play a large role in fibromyalgia. I feel great, look great and can conquer the world blindfolded... but after having each of my three boys I would have at least two really rough years. I always understood that it wasn't post partum, but lack of sleep leading to an endless flair... Of... whatever this was. Of course... Everyone assumed that it was "baby blues". I dealt with these times by withdrawing and focusing on being with my baby and my health. This has actually caused a loss of friends... Sometimes family, since the "no's" came as second nature. I have always called these times a "season" and dealt with them the best way I knew how by trying to cope with the stress and fatigue which was a causative factor.

As for treatment... I finally sought out help (for the IBS) after wanting to faint, sweat, throw up from stomach pains any time I left the house. After a really bad case of colonitis that sent me to the ER, I made a vow to get to the bottom of it all. When talking to my doctor (a great guy) I mentioned the pain, but kind of glossed it over and put it in the backround as I always tended to do as I didn't want to be seen as weak... Or a hypochondriac.

The doctor did bloodwork... Vitamin D was really frighteningly low, IRON was low, thyroid levels were "fine" but I did have a pronounced goiter. He diagnosed fibromyalgia and sent me to a GI specialist. Meanwhile, He prescribed Cymbalta, belladonna (IBS) Levothyroxin, Vitamin D and Iron. The cymbalta really did seem to work pretty well for the "surface pains" My skin wasn't as sensitive, my joints felt better... I was still having all over pains but they were better. Much Better. For a year. BUT I am in a new flair now. Two months in. My elbows are in constant pain. The other pains travel. There were two days last week when I was hardly able to leave the bed. Every joint and muscle ached. I just cried. Joe just worried. I think I'm through the worst of it...

My lower GI revealed no celiac. No Crohns. No unusual bacteria. So... The official diagnosis is still IBS, Fibromyalgia with a side of chronic fatigue. The worst part is the stigma. All of those are officially... Unofficial. There are... or were no definitive ways to confirm them. They are, by definition, whats left after everything else is ruled out. So instead of the "relief of diagnosis" I'm left with more questions than answers. That said... While watching a recent episode of Dr. Oz I watched a woman cry as the Dr. showed a brain scan of a fibro-brain. There is finally evidence that the brain of a fibro patient receives pain signals differently. There is also evidence of problems with blood flow within the brain in fibro patients. I understood her tears. To know that we aren't crazy or just "fragile" is a powerful feeling. You can find more on that brain scan here-

The part that frustrates me the most is that my doctor wants to treat the depression/anxiety as the assumption is that it leads to the fibromyalgia/IBS. It is my belief that the fibro/IBS leads to the depression/anxiety. When I feel bad, I get anxious. Not the other way around.

I am thankful... However... To have a husband who understands... And a doctor who takes my concerns seriously. I am also VERY thankful that it isn't life threatening... nor will it lead to not being able to function on a daily basis.

The overall treatment is a whole body approach. I surround myself with people who love me and a God who heals me. I 'want' to eat right. I'm at my best when I sleep when I need to sleep and eat when I need to eat. I no longer feel guilty taking a nap when I need one. Exercise, although very important, can make me much worse if I choose the wrong kind. Walking, swimming, kayaking, yoga... Gentle, low impact movements are best. Sunlight is very important since vitamin D plays a factor. Most importantly, I have learned to grab those good days and use up every ounce. I have also learned that going "outside" of myself and focusing on those that I care about at home and through volunteering helps more than any medicine. This shows me the God connection. Letting Him work through me helps more than anything, so I am learning to give Glory to Him on those good days. By surrendering to Him, I refuse to surrender to fibromyalgia. :-)

This morning I woke up and thought... Nothing hurts. It's a good day. :-)

P.S. After my youngest starts school, I'm considering trying the guaifeneson protocol as seen below. It seems promising... But it will send me into a flair . I may feel much worse before I feel better.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dear Friends Who Voted for President Obama

Dear Friends Who Voted for President Obama,

Please... Tell me more about how you "Hate filling out all the paperwork for the new 'Health Insurance' exchange forms." I am gleeful with anticipation. Truly I am.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

He died for me... Would I die for Him?

As I lay in bed this morning in a lucid state of dreaming, I recalled a memory from long ago. I was at an east Texas camp with a group from school. I was 11 at the time.

We were walking through the trails with our group counselor discussing all that surrounded us. We stopped for a discussion. I don't recall how we breached the topic of conversation, but I recall very strongly my response to a personal statement that the group counselor made. He told us that he was a naturalist and that the trees were his chapel. I think I would have been ok if he had stopped there... But no... He went on to inform us that he didn't believe that there was a God. That God was a mythology created by men to control the masses.

I remember standing with my feet firmly pressing into the ground... My hands pressed to my side with my fingernails pressed into my fist. I told him that there was most assuredly a God and that God was the director of every tree that he worshipped. That God was all around us... And furthermore... He should be ashamed of himself for telling a group of children that God did not exist. I didn't do this with a childlike faith. No... I did this with my faith as firmly planted as my feet. With a steely resolve and little doubt that I would die for my faith in Jesus Christ where I stood, if the need be.

Most who knew me as a child probably never thought of me as someone who even knew Christ, let alone defend Him so fiercely. I never discussed it. As a teenager, I really didn't care to go to church. Fought against it, actually. Even as a young wife, I chose to marry in a courthouse. It was never Christ I was against... I knew this. (I'm aware this makes me a terrible christian. I guess I take the whole "personal relationship" clause seriously.) I don't recall ever not knowing Christ. Even when He felt far from me... I never doubted Him. It was me stumbling away. Not in defiance, mind you... But as a toddler taking first steps away from his mother.

I know that it is said that Christianity is not something that is inherited. We are each supposed to make our own commitment to Him. I have just never felt a time when I wasn't committed to the knowledge that He died for me. I've had the alter call. I know that I was (am) a lost sinner, but I feel that He has been with me since time began. I KNOW that is not the right thing to say.... :-) But it is what I carry with me. I am so very flawed... And so very thankful for His grace. I am truly unworthy of such a gift.

This brings me back to my dream. I'm not sure why this memory comes unbidden from time to time. As I lay in bed pondering this memory I began to wonder if I were still that courageous. Would I have the courage to die for my faith... Would I die for Him as He died for me, If the need should arise? I pray so.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Problem with American Socialism and Religion

Why ARE so many Americans against Socialism? Simply Put (at least for me)... Freedom of Religion.

 We are a nation founded upon the freedom of religion. Our constitution was written with Christian principals, while at the same time, respecting other religions and putting no religion over state.We have a very fair separation of church and state.... as long as we have smaller, well controlled government. The problem comes in when the modern interpretation becomes Freedom FROM Religion.  The problem comes in as we let government take over more and more industry.

 Take education for example. Government created the Department of Education in 1979. This was not a complete takeover, as local and state school boards are still designing curricula, but it was just enough to intrude upon such things as school prayer, holidays and politically correct school textbooks.  Almost immediately upon government taking over education, we had people demanding that Christianity be removed in any form, from our schools.

 Ask yourself.... Are our children better off without God? Is the dropout rate better without God? Are our children smarter... kinder without God? Are the test scores higher without God? Are families stronger without Him?

Now we have government assuming a very large role in healthcare. How long before Catholic hospitals are forced to A) close or B) perform abortion? How long before the chapels in hospitals are removed? How long before you are told that your pastor can't come in to pray over you because your bedside neighbor MAY be offended?

Financial Aid - How long before your religious affiliation plays a role in getting a loan. Sorry we don't give loans for someone wanting to study theology or Creationism. Sorry our Christian Quota has been met.

Auto Industry - How long before we are told that we can't express our faith with a symbol of Jesus? When a Co-Exist becomes a requirement.

Gay Marriage - How long before churches will be sued over refusing to perform gay marriages?  Two Catholic innkeepers are now being sued for refusal to room a couple.  As well as a church camp, who is now counter-suing. (I'd like to point out that I have nothing against gay unions. As a secular issue, they have a right to love whom they wish and a right to benefits of their partners. My problem comes in when it starts impeding on the rights of churches to stand by their convictions.) Who will Protect the Christians?

I have NO problem with the separation of church and state. It makes perfect sense when government stays within the confines of their constitutional duties, but as government starts taking over state roles and spreads across industries, my religion become less and less respected and more and more vilified. Socialism in my mind is a back door way of removing our faith.

I have read that the Wall of Separation only applies to government but as the government continues to overreach into more and more areas of industry what will that mean for our Faith? What does a socialist America mean to our religions and the freedom thereof?

When does Faith become Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Think it can't happen? Think I'm over-reaching? Look at our schools. High school seniors are being told that they can't include God in commencement speeches. Teachers are being fired for prayer groups. Children are being suspended for crosses. There was a time when that couldn't happen either.

Remember this....
If we take God out of the founding... Then we no longer have inalienable rights. If there is no God to create free men then freedom is a myth. How convenient for a controlling government

Ok, This has been on my mind and I'm not sure if I am being very eloquent so if anyone can elaborate or clarify my thinking...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Today isn't a celebration for what we're losing.... It's a fight. For our freedom. For our liberty. The socialist mindset is that tradition is insidious and holds us back from progress. For an American, tradition is a way to uphold and honor our values. Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Matt-Moo

Matthew,my firstborn son, will be nine in three days. I recall how much I longed for a child way back then. Joe and I had been married eight years before I got pregnant with Matt. We wanted children, but we didn't spent much time ruminating on with the fact that it didn't seem like we ever would. We were happy as a couple. Six years into our marriage, however, it began to concern me.... enough so that I asked my doctor about it. He ran a few basic tests, came back into the room and told me to give it nine months. Eight months later I was back in his office. Pregnant! Of course, I was only two weeks pregnant. I just knew. Thats the way its always been with Matthew, one small vision of Providence after another. Matthew is why I believe in miracles. Matthew is why my faith in God is so strong. I have no doubt now, that it took so long to conceive Matt because God knew that I wasn't ready. I had just come through the hardest year of my life then. I had to walk through flames and come out strong enough to be his mommy.

I was working then, seven years as a retail administrator. I had every intention of returning to work. I didn't see any other way. We couldn't afford to live on just Joe's income. I went back to work and was informed that I would have to take another position. The hours were terrible and it wasn't the job that I enjoyed doing. I left holding back tears. What were we to do? Joe and I discussed it. I prayed about it. I loved this new little man so much that I really wanted to be with him. The decision was clear. I wanted to stay at home with him. I was so afraid, but I knew that this was the direction I was meant to take. After making that decision, everything began to fall into place. My retirement gave us the funds to buy our company. Providence... This isn't to say that it's been easy financially, because it hasn't. This is to say that every time we suffered a setback, a new path opened before us.

As for Matthew, he is the sweetest,silliest kid. He has such a big heart and empathy large enough to move mountains. I remember when he was very small, maybe eighteen months, crying as he watched Winnie The Pooh. Eeyore was all alone, floating sadly down the river. I watched as Matt's lip began to quiver and I knew then... this is a special little boy. He's almost nine now and I still see that. He's so helpful to me and his new baby brother. Although he fights with Daniel more than I wish, I know that one day they will be best friends. I know that Matthew will defend Daniel with all that he has one day. I'm saddened to watch him grow so quickly. I still see him as my sweet blond little baby and I wish that time had stood still for a little while. I look forward to watching him grow and learn. I look forward to seeing the man he will become. Matt has taken the  very BEST of Joe and me and I know that he will make the World a little bit better.

Happy Birthday my sweet Matt-moo. I am so thankful to be your mommy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Funny Thing Happens When You Let God Take The Lead

Thirty-Eight years of life for me as a Christian (no semantics here, I'll save it for another blog) and this is the very first time that I've practiced Lent.You see, I had this strong pull to do so and that usually means that God's got big plans in store for me, so I told my heart it's time to dance. I thought long and hard about what I should give up. Should it be my cell phone? Perhaps my daily dose of caffeine? Surely not chocolate. God loves chocolate... right? I spoke with a very dear friend of mine and she explained that it was better to give... than to give up. For Jesus, Lent represents his 40 days in the wilderness fighting the devils temptation. For us, Lent is more about saying "I understand your sacrifice and I Trust in You, Lord" I felt the Lord pull me into a slow waltz in that direction.  I could volunteer more, but that didn't feel right. I didn't want to let Him down. He has, after all, given me everything. I went to my office and ran my fingers along the spines of the books on my bookshelves, thinking... praying. I stopped on one that I hadn't gotten around to reading. That instant, it all clicked into place. I knew that my focus would be on Joe. I knew in my heart that I haven't been the wife that Joe deserves in many ways. I was too quick to anger, too quick to scold him as I would my children. He is my husband and I needed to remind myself of that fact. I am a good wife, but I want to be an exceptional wife, a Godly wife.

   The book was "The Love Dare" which is based on the Christian movie "Fireproof". To Fireproof a marriage is to build it to withstand anything. There are so many things pulling couples apart these days and without a strong foundation, mutual respect and a loving God, it is all too easy to lose sight of each other.  It was so important and it was obviously something that God wanted me to work on but I was so afraid of not following through. After all, I'm terrible with resolutions, why would this challenge not end in failure? Then I remembered...

When you wholeheartedly take on a challenge with Jesus, he takes the lead. In all my worrying, I forgot the obvious. This isn't just me making a resolution. This is me saying to God, I can do this with His supernatural assistance. This is me saying that I have Faith in His ability to dance me through this. You see, I've felt this before. This isn't our first dance. When you cry out to Him in sincerity... When you can no longer dance alone... He steps in. No judgement, no demands... This is what He wants from us.

I am now in day six of my first Lent and I have this calm that has overtaken me. I have found myself smiling during an instant that would normally bring a frown. I am seeing things through new eyes and I've noticed myself following the steps with the children as well.  The truth is my first thought was "This is too simple, I don't feel like I've sacrificed." I reflected on why I decided to choose my marriage to work on and I remembered the hurts, the anger... I saw my actions as a wife and mother. It was then that I realized that Jesus had taken the lead. There is even a difference in Joe, although he doesn't even realize that I'm doing all this. It seems that my opening myself up to the assistance of Jesus has opened up my family to His assistance as well. It's not that Jesus isn't always in my heart, of course, but the truth is we humans tend to have strong wills that like to lead instead of follow.  I am so grateful to have had this dance.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, 

bearing with one another in love. —Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32
How precious also are Your thoughts to me. . . . 
How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, 
they would outnumber the sand. —Psalm 139:17–18
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.  -Proverbs 16:32

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Heart Belongs to Thee.... and Thee... and Thee... and (the wee little) Thee

My Funny Valentine's

How lucky am I? Seriously?

Those eyes
That smile
That gaze
 That kiss

Love is Patient

"When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part." Captain Corelli's Mandolin

This reflects where we are now... in this 17th year of marriage. The madness has subsided... the falling has settled to a slow waltz. We are so entwined with one another that there is no vision outside of one another. It's been a strange year. We have a new little boy in our lives. A little boy, of which, I cannot get enough of. We have two older boys that occupy our time. There have been many moments of frustration with one another. Sometimes we aren't on the same page when it comes to this parenting thing and it worries me. I feel that we are failing the boys when this happens. Of course... then I remember... The most important thing that we do for our children is to love and respect one another. I believe that our children pick up on this...the love of one parent for another... more than they pick up on our love for them. Our love for them is a given, whereas, our love for our partners takes a commitment. THAT takes work and respect. I know that what I say is true, because nothing pleases our children more than mommy and daddy time. These are the lessons they will carry with them into adulthood, not whether they ever made it to bed on time or watched too much television.  Our children will leave us... They will march headlong into their own loves and futures, but Joe is my partner for life. It is up to me to show him that he is loved and appreciated.

He is my partner. All of the roads of my life have led me to him... to these children... to this moment. I am thankful to God for leading me here and I am grateful for His grace that carries us through the difficult times. He (and he) completes me.

Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.”

 1 Corinthians 13:  

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Story of Dash

Dash was scheduled to arrive on September 13th. True to his name, he had a faster plan in mind. The night of September 9th, I made sure that my bag was packed, down the the last minute items. I took my antibacterial shower and had no intention of eating breakfast before my final doctors appointment and pre-surgery interview at the hospital on September 10th. In a word, I knew. I thought.

I woke up the next morning and insisted that my bags be placed in the car. Joe just figured it was just typical manic me. He dawdled, so I did it myself. I don't like dawdling. The boys were both sick so we took them  to grandmas for the day. I held back tears as I kissed them goodbye, knowing that I wouldn't see them at home that night. I also held back tears because I yelled at Daniel just as we left the house. He was upset because I didn't let him carry my suitcase and he cried, so I yelled... Instantly I felt horrible. He just wanted to help his mommy and I was taking it out on him because his daddy didn't do it.

I go to my doctors and get my exam. At this point I'm having contractions, which I assumed were Braxton-Hicks. As we were in the waiting room, I asked Joe if it seemed like my ow-ow-ow's were coming about every eight minutes. He said indeed they are, so I began timing them. I tell the doctor that I feel that the baby has dropped because I can hardly walk with all the pressure. He told me that he didn't see any signs of Dash dropping and that I hadn't dilated at all. He said, though, that he didn't want me to wait until the last minute if anything changed over the weekend, saying he had nothing better to do anyway :).  Being as I hadn't (according to him) dropped or dilated, I didn't see the need to tell him that I had been having "braxton hicks" all morning running at five minutes apart. (Thank you trusty i-phone)

Truth is, although this is my third child, I wouldn't have known a contraction if it came along and slapped me in the face. I was induced with Matthew, so I did experience labor, but labor under a pitocin drip is much more intense than what I was experiencing on this day. I was terrified of going into labor and delivering this child at home. I was more terrified of looking foolish.

But I digress. Joe and I head over to the hospital to pre-register and to get lab work done. I feel silly for thinking that I had dropped. I feel silly for not being able to shake the false contractions. So when Joe tells me that I should go ahead and eat something since I'm having labwork, I do. He brings me a tuna sandwich... Yeah, tuna. An hour into waiting for my appointment, I'm still timing contractions. Joe just grins. When I go back to have my labwork done, I mention that I think I may be having false labor. She notices that we live in Conroe, so she suggests that I may want to run up to L&D just to be safe. No sense in driving all the way home, she says. She calls Dr. Schettler, whom I had just left a few hours before and he recommends that I go also. At this point, the contractions stop. I'm sweating on the inside and clutching my stomach every five minutes anyway. I've decided to keep up the charade. The damage is now done, and again... I don't want to look foolish. :) All the time, I;m answering questions, I keep cutting my eyes at Joe, mouthing my apologies. He has so much work scheduled for the afternoon and now I'm worried that I've blown his whole day, all on a whim. He just smiles.

We go up to L&D and we see Dr. Schettler at the desk. He just grins (men) and says well at least you haven't eaten anything.... I glare at Joe and explain to the good doctor that Joe made me eat. He just shakes his head.... and smiles. The next thing I know, I'm in the lovely backless gown provided by the hospital being strapped up to the monitor. The nurse interviews me for 20 minutes or so, as I lay there looking foolish. I assume that this whole time she's watching the steady flat line of my uterus, getting ready to send me home. She then flips a switch.... looks stunned... and says "are you having any pain right now?" I tell her that I'm feeling some pain, but nothing serious. She then informs me that I have been contracting the entire time and that they are 2 minutes apart! She is stunned that I can actually hold a conversation. I burst out laughing and grinning (my turn now). I feel utterly elated and vindicated and I tell Joe that "Men... They don't know nothing about birthing no babies!" I'm gloating... I KNEW it! I was RIGHT! hahahaha. I told you I was having contractions! And so it went. I laugh maniacally until I realize that within hours our new son will be here! There are things that didn't get done! The boys aren't prepared!

By this point, my blood pressure is spiking and the word is I have borderline preecclampsia. They prepare me and walk me back to the OR. They sit me down and curl me forward as they insert the spinal line into my spine. The room is freezing cold and sterile. Suddenly, I'm nervous. So many things run through your head, most of which involve my babies already at home. I miss them and need them here with me. I worry... They lay you down on the table with your arms out to the side in  the shape of a crucifix. The spinal begins to work and it feels as if I can't breathe. I think the dose is a bit too high and he gives me oxygen and tells me to squeeze his fingers. My pulse rate is erratic, so they give me another med to combat that. Joe is at my head. I feel the tugging and pulling and then I hear his cries. They are angry, lusty beautiful wails and they continue... until they carry him to me. I speak to him and tell him thats it's lovely to finally meet him. Instant silence as he hears the voice that has been with him for months. I cried.

We are apart for hours as I lay shivering from the spinal wearing off. The cold you feel is indescribable. Joe is with Dash at first as they assess him and clean him, then he is with me again. there is more to the story of Dash, but I'm going to stop here for now. I want some time to process the rest.

Jacob Dashiell Asaro
September 10th 2010
7 pounds 9 ounces - 20 inches long
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Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten Blues

reason# 10,010

Who would have thought that I, as involved as I am, would have such a hard time letting my kindergarten child go on the very first day of school? It was an eye-opening experience that I won't forget any time soon. 

   My little one was so excited about school, that I was completely unprepared for his unraveling as I sat him down at his table. He looked up and me with his beautiful eyes and asked me to please stay with him. I hugged him and told him that mommy had to go but that I knew he would have an amazing day. I stood up and walked out as he clung to his daddy begging him to please let him go home, for just today. He wasn't ready, he whispered. I stood by the lockers outside of the room, crushed, as other parents walked out with much more strength than I had at the moment. I had an image of running in and picking him up in my arms as we bolted the halls together. Just then, Mrs. Fossler, our school counselor, rounded the corner. I told her that it was MY kid having a meltdown and that daddy wasn't about to leave him. You see, his daddy is worse than I am. Well, of course, Mrs. Fossler knows that the best way to deal with this situation is also the hardest. Just leave, brave parents, he'll be fine. She sat with him for a few minutes and ushered Joe out of the classroom. He and I peeked into the window one last time, watching as he stared at the door, waiting for our return.

Normally, as PAW president, I would stay for a while, do a meeting or two, but I knew that today my only option was to leave. So we left and went home to a silent house. That is when, dear parents, I lost it. I cried. I missed him so much. It dawned on me that the first time I went through this with my oldest son, I came home to a two year old. I worried all day about the little things. Would he be able to open all of his lunch packages? Will he be able to manage his buttons? Will he ever find his way home to me? The little things. :)

All I can say is this... It was the longest six hours of my life. We could not wait one second longer as we headed back up to the school to gather our children. We drove up. As my youngest climbed into the car, I asked him about his day. He informed me that it was a great day and that he was ready for tomorrow! He told me about how much fun he had and that he made friends just like I said he would. I was stunned. At the end of the day he was fine and I was a wreck. I am so proud of my big boy and I am looking forward to another great year at Creighton!
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reason# 10,009 - He loves US! How sweet is that.

Joe says he loves US. Not just me, but us... as a couple. During a conversation, he informed me that he has always seen us as a good team. We play well together. I've always known this and others have always seen this, but I was never sure if Joe did. To hear him say it just takes my breath away. We balance each other out. When the kids frustrate one of us to the point of anger, the other steps in. When one is sick or dealing with a hardship the other is always there to lead us through it. Since the very beginning we have always managed to fill in the gaps. A wise person once told me that love is NEVER 50/50. Truer words have never been spoken. In the best relationships, there will always be one pulling the other out. When one is weak, the other is strong. He has never said anything more romantic...
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Friday, August 20, 2010

It's My Party (that I don't want) and I'll Cry if I Want To

Matthew I understand completely
enough is enough already
I have been a giant fuzzy ball of emotional mush lately. I cry for an hour at a time. It isn't a pretty dainty cry, but the ugly puffy face cry. I have never had an emotional pregnancy such as this one. Of course, then I worry about the harm I'm doing to this child I'm carrying and I read that emotions lead to extra cortisol which lead to an emotional baby as well. Today I cried for hours because a few dear friends want to have a baby shower for me... and I DON'T WANT TO. Why? Because I'll cry... that's why. I also feel  uncomfortable having a third baby shower. Yes, its been five years... and yes I've given away almost everything baby related, and yes, every baby deserves a celebration but I just DON'T WANT TO. I don't have the energy, or the patience, or the desire to be the center of attention right now, what with my puffy red face and mucous. It doesn't help the fact that my sister-in-law questioned the etiquette of it all to ME... the emotional one... who didn't want to have one in the first place. I just have the desire to stick my tongue out at her right now.

Of course, I cry over school starting and Daniel venturing out into the world of education. I cry because I'm not ready to be a PTO mom and president again right now when all I really want to do is lay on my side and feel Dash roll around and watch him practice to breathe. I cry because I really WANT to be at the school as much as I can, but I know I won't be able to and I know I'm letting a lot of people down, even though they keep telling me how unimportant I really am in the grand scheme of things.  I cry because we didn't spend enough time reading together this summer... or camping together... or playing together.

I cry because my sweet husband tells me that if he were home all day like I am, he would choose to home-school the kids and would do just fine thank you very much. (yes, he knows he's a jerk and yes he apologized and yes he appreciates me and NO he wouldn't be able to handle it just fine thank you very much.)

Ok, that's enough for now

Other things that make me cry

Books - The Last Christian
Movies - The Last Song
Commercials - The foundation for a better life gets me every single time
Blogs -

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reason# 10,008

We were so young 
 I have the most amazing husband... ever. Seriously. Who else would get up at 6:00 am to cook lasagna for the PTO? Or clean anything that I can't bend down to do? Or read a book beside me in bed until we both fall asleep? I have to admit reading beside him was quite alluring.... I had to work really hard to keep my hands off of him. I should stop now... Reason# 10,008

‎"People will tell you that this kind of love will fade
That bein in love like this is only a phase
But baby after all this time ain't nothin changed
All you gotta do is look at me that way

 There ya go
Makin me fall in love again
Oh and I gotta tell ya

Theres nothin better
Than you and me together
Workin on forever" 

~ Kelly Pickler ~ Makin me fall in love again

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Daniels boots

Dad: "Daniel, stop going outside without your shoes on."

Daniel: "Everybody's a Critic"

#Danielism of the day

Backstory: We were in a hurry to leave. Daniel wasn't. He kept insisting that he wear his red rain-boots to the store.

Reason# 10,006 AND 10,007

Just when I think I will never survive the next 30 days in my cumbersome, roly-poly stage of pregnancy, my husband says Thank You. "Thank you for carrying my children" as he bends down to put on my shoes, of which I am tired of doing. He also cooked an amazing dinner last night, followed by a healthy fruitful (speaking of fruitful) breakfast this morning. I love him so much and I am honored to carry his children.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Maternity Overnight Bag (check)

baby Stuff

My hospital bag is officially checked off of my list of things to do! Of course I still have six weeks to go, but you never know when you may need to be prepared. I'm having a C-section, so there are some things that I don't need... and others that I need more of since I already know I'll be there for at least three days.

List of essentials:


* Pajamas
* slippers
* socks
* robe
* Shampoo/conditioner
* makeup (for lots of pictures)
* toothpaste/toothbrush
* hand lotion
* cell phone
* book or e-reader
* pictures (they're in my phone)
* comfy clothes to wear home
* breastfeeding essentials (I'm not going to list these... nope)
* hairbrush! I forgot my hairbrush!


* two outfits newborn or 0-3 months (keep weather in mind)
* hat
* socks
* baby blanket
* baby book (for footprints!)
* baby clippers OR mittens
* CAR SEAT ( a must have... seriously... I really don't have to tell you this)

Daddy (Yes Daddy):

* change for the vending machine
* pajamas (if he's staying overnight with you)
* socks
* book
* snacks
* phone list
* camera
* insurance information and hospital registration ( yes, this IS his job, at least for now)

Humility: the quality of being modest, reverential, with a lack of arrogance and contempt

I talk a lot of (respectful) smack about this man, our President, but I have to say that I love this picture of him. It shows a humility and a kindness that I think I've been missing from him. It shows a great father and someone not afraid to get down on a child's level. It shows a man not afraid of grass stains. :) I like the pure joy of a child unaware of who he is and the impact he has on our world. Beautiful and I want to see more of THIS while he is our President, even if our opinions differ.

Old Spice Is Sexy Again

I bought some of THIS for my man....

So he could smell like this guy
Of course... sometimes dirty is good... :)