Friday, March 10, 2017

RISE!



March 2017. I'm declaring it's my time to RISE! I was truly listening to the words to this song the other day, and it hit me how much I can relate right now!
"But something inside, you can't deny. You hear the call of your Creator. I made you for more, unlock the door. I wanna restore your glory. So, RISE! Breaking the dark, piercing the night, you're made to SHINE! An army of hope bringing the world a radiant light. A radiant light. You were made to RISE!"
I have been stuck. So, so stuck. Grief combined with depression combined with self-loathing. It's been a deep, dark mire I've been stuck in for a while. I decided a bit ago that I've had enough of it. No more. So, for Lent, I'm trying to give up negative self-talk. I know that's not something I can just completely get freedom from - but it's amazing how much less I struggle with it once I made the decision to let it go. With the Lord's help, you begin to recognize it so much more quickly. He helps you to realize you're doing it so that you can make the purposeful choice to stop it!

I was just thinking today how much my current journey is like this house we bought. Oh, yeah. This house. I haven't mentioned it on here yet, but we bought a 1977 fixer-upper on 10.5 acres in Ada. And when I say fixer-upper - I MEAN fixer-upper. The journey of how we came to buy this house is a story for another day. I just need to share my ah-hah moment before I forget it.

You see, I have really been questioning if this house was a wise choice. The amount of money it's cost and attention it still needs are wearing on me lately. We have prayed about this whole process, and really felt that God wanted us to have this house. But lately, I sure am wondering if we heard Him wrong. I've been thinking a lot about why it is that God has us here - if He really does. I mean, if this is where we're supposed to be - then all these issues and struggles are certainly part of His plan. In fact (whew!), even if we heard Him wrong and this was all a big mistake - it's all part of the journey. We've given this house and our lives over to Him, to do with as He sees fit. So - mistake or not - we're here. And what in the world is He trying to teach us?! Well, I may have begun to understand.

Going back to my March 2017 RISE idea from earlier. I am determined to get back on the healthy wagon I was on in 2011. I lost 60 pounds then. Felt amazing. But, over the course of the last few years, I've put back on about 40 of those pounds and I feel like crap. Just like the journey of how we bought this house is another post - so is the journey of the last 6 years and my weight struggles. I've learned a lot - both about myself and about the struggles of being an emotional eater struggling with depression and grief. In fact, I am going to try to finally write a book about all I've learned. (But that's several months and many pounds away from being ready to be shared.) Anyway, I'm just a few days into really being serious about losing the weight again. And I'm already feeling noticeably better. But as I was driving today, I realized something. Just like I'm working to love myself and take care of myself again, I better learn to love this house too...'cuz we're just alike. I mean, like, for real.

This house was built in 1977. I was built in 1971. This house has been pretty neglected the last few years. Uh, so have I. This house needs a lot of attention & time & hard work. Ahem. Yep. Me too. This house has AMAZING potential and does have a lot of good parts already. As much as I might sometimes forget it, yeah. Me too.

One area we've been working on around the house lately is the yard. It all needs a lot of work, but the area just by the driveway is what we've been giving a lot of our attention to. It just has no curb appeal whatsoever. Dave's removed a nasty old mice infested dog house. And a rusty fenced area around that. He's cut down some over grown trees & bushes. Luke's been working to remove the chain link fence. The girls and I have raked and raked and hauled many a wheelbarrow full of leaves and twigs away. But this area of yard is still a ginormous mess. It's full of vines and poison ivy and every other gangly, messy, overgrown twig. For all the work we've done, it feels like it will be dozens more hours of work before there is anything pleasant to the eyes. Supposedly, this house was quite well taken care of several years ago. But it's amazing how much damage those thorny vines can do in a short amount of time.

Just like negative thoughts. Six years ago, I was a different person than I am today. I was actively losing weight. Full of self-confidence and self-discipline. I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was excited to get on the scale and see it progressing downward. But slowly, I fell back into my old habits. I allowed the enemy to convince me once again of his lies. I returned to the same old self-defeating choices. I allowed my head to once again be full of negative thoughts. And the spiral continued downward. And downward.

Just like those nasty old vines have to be pulled out at the root. So do these negative thoughts. And just like that area of yard won't grow pretty, lush grass until we plant more seeds...neither will my mind be full of positive, live-giving thoughts unless I am purposeful about putting them there. If we just rip out the vines, we'll have an ugly area of dirt which will quickly turn into a weedy mess. But if we rip out all the prickly mess and replace it with green grass and flowers...we'll eventually have a gorgeous corner of yard.

But that's just the beginning. That section of yard is just one tiny portion of this 10.5 acres of land that needs lots of TLC and attention. Same with me. My negative thought life is just the first area that I need to get back on track to get myself where I want to be. I've been also working this week on getting my eating back under control. There's also water intake and exercise and positive affirmations, etc.

Yep. Me and this house. We're more alike than I'd like to admit. I have a feeling this is going to be a year of lots more of these ah-hah moments.

What a loving Lord we serve. He knows just what we need to hear. And He knows just how to get our attention so we can actually hear it. Let's all determine that we'll seek His voice daily. Let's take our hands off the wheel and buckle up for the ride. With Him in the driver's seat..it's going to be a fun, fun ride.

😇

Friday, July 22, 2016

Good, Good Father

It's the 22nd of July, and life - for all practical purposes - is in our full normal. Travel basketball season is coming to an end. Summer is just over halfway through. Family vacations are just around the corner.

Yet, really, life isn't normal. Not the old normal. If it were, I'd be able to stop in at my parents' on a weekday morning and find my Dad enjoying the Price is Right. Or he'd be sitting in his lawnchair in the garage watching the cars go by. I'd sometimes get his voice on the other end of the line when I called their number.

Most days, my grief has come to a place where I can think of and talk about him with no tears. But some days - like today - it feels so incredibly raw once again.

It doesn't help that I've had dreams about him the last two days. Or that we keep singing "Good Father" in church (Seriously - it even got one of the pre-schoolers in our VBS group bawling last night. Can we stop singing that song soon, please?! No, I'm only joking. But it does set me off nearly every time.)

I know that this is all just part of the deal of losing someone you love. I'm not trying to say it isn't. I just needed a place to process these feelings tonight. (It's currently 1AM.)

If I were to say what makes these bad moments tolerable, I guess it is that I know my hope is in the Lord. I believe whole-heartedly that my Dad is in heaven with Jesus right now. I know that someday -  in a blink of an eye - I'll be there too. Our separation is only temporary. We WILL spend eternity together.

Also, I know that the life my Dad was living his last months on this earth was not anything I'd want him to still be suffering through. The Dad I long for is the Dad of 5-10 years ago. That's the version of him I dream of. That's who I wish was still here.

 I just wonder sometimes what sets me off. The other day, as Luke was driving, I was wiping away tears because I saw a sign for the Allendale Tractor Show. I remember - probably 10 years ago now - when he and his friend Bud would go to that. Dad was like a kid in a candy store around all those tractors. And then, because Luke was driving, it made me think about how Dad didn't get to see the twins get their permits last month. Or hear about Luke's MBA season. Or how Mikayla worked 12 hours the other day (he'd be so proud of how hard a worker she is). Or how Hannah was helping me lead a group at VBS this week.

Or sometimes I think life just slows down enough that I remember who's missing.

A friend, who had lost her Mom to cancer several years ago, told me something very wise right after Dad died. She said that even though you're a grown child with children of your own...losing a parent still makes you feel like an orphan. Parents are the people (if you're lucky) who have been with you since you took your first breath. In my case, they were my biggest fans. My loudest encouragers. Even though my husband and kids think I'm pretty great...their adoration isn't the same as that of my Mom and Dad's. If you're lucky enough to have parents like mine, you know what I mean. Those kind of parents are the bomb. So when one of them leaves this earth - that's a hole that just can't ever be filled.

Earthly parents like mine are such an amazing testimony to the love of our Heavenly Father for us.

That's what gives me comfort.

My Abba Father God loves and adores me even more than my Dad did.

Just like the words to that song that keeps bringing me to tears in church:

"You're a good, good Father. It's who you are. It's who you are. It's who you are.

And I'm loved by you. It's who I am. It's who I am. It's who I am."

It's pretty emotional to think that my Heavenly Father loves me that much. That I am loved by Him. The Creator of the universe.

So as I dry my tears tonight, I have that song running though my mind. I'm so thankful for the Dad I had...and the Abba Father who will never leave my side.

But before I go to bed, I think it's time to re-watch my Dad's slideshow. No one else is awake, so I can see his smile and have one more good cry.

I love you, Dad. Missing you a little extra tonight.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

New Normal


I'm blogging today because my heart hurts. It was 8 weeks ago yesterday that Dad took his last breath (1/6/16). I've noticed lately that my grief strikes me more frequently again. And when it does, it hits hard. Dave and I created a slideshow of Dad's life - which was a complete labor of love. We began work on it long before Dad entered Hospice - trying to be ready for when the time came. Even though it was time-consuming...I'm so thankful we made it. It's been such a blessing. First, to be able to share it with others. But now, to be able to watch. To remember. To see him. (Click here to watch.)

For several days I've been wanting to watch the slideshow again. But, because I was never alone, I kept putting it off. Putting off the emotions. The tears. Knowing that as soon as I hit play, those tears were going to flood. But just now - while the kids are gone to PTC and it's just me and the dog - I watched it. And I cried. And I cried. And I cried. And I'm still crying. And I want to watch it again, and again, and again.

I had a really good Dad. The kind that makes growing up such a joy. The kind that makes losing him so, so hard. I miss him terribly. It's not that he was such a conversationalist. Or such a presence in the room. But he was my biggest fan. He was always glad to see me. He loved to see my kids and hear all about basketball and music lessons and what they did to make me laugh. As life keeps moving on without him...there's just so much I want to share with him. So many little stories I don't get to tell.

And you know, I need to share about Dad's last day. The Wednesday where everything changed.

Up until that day, I'd never been with someone when they died. I'd never experienced death so closely. Up until that day, the hardest experience I'd had was seeing my Dad in the recovery room after he'd had his open heart surgery in July of 2010. That day shook my world too. To see my tough guy Dad lying there looking so helpless with the tube coming out of his mouth...I had a hard time with that. I suppose in some way, that experience was God beginning to gently prepare me for January 6th of this year. But then again - nothing prepares you for losing a parent.

The day before Dad died, we had a family meeting with Hospice. They informed us that Dad's body was shutting down and they were expecting that he only had a day or two to live. Strange how hearing them say that didn't shake me. I knew it was coming. He hadn't had any quality of life in weeks. I wasn't naive to where this was headed. I was in manager mode. Managing my emotions. Managing the to-do list for Mom. Managing my busy life. Just figuring how all of that day's to-dos were going to get "to done".

Since my brother was there (and I had to leave soon to get kids to basketball), my Mom and brother headed to the funeral home to start getting some things figured out. The neighbor came to sit with Dad until Mom got back. I went back to my day.

As I was in such a non-emotional mode, I didn't fully process the weight of what I was about to share with the kids. My kids knew - just as I did - that Grandpa's time on earth was coming to an end. They had seen him decline. They saw him "check out" of life. They knew. But this is where I made a crucial parenting error. I chose to share with the girls what Hospice had told us as I was driving them home from practice that day. In the van. Just driving down the highway. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Here I am, going from 131 to M-6 as Hannah is bawling in the passenger seat. What was I thinking?!

The next day, my Mom had already planned to go to lunch with her friends (she hadn't really been out of the house much at all in over a month - so we all felt this was a good thing for her). I was going to go sit with Dad while she was gone. Because of the news Hospice had shared, Dave and I talked to the kids Tuesday night to see if they wanted to go "say goodbye" to Grandpa when I went there the next day. Hannah bawled and climbed into Daddy's lap (he was bawling too). Mikayla was visibly sad. Luke was stoic. They all decided that they wanted their last time seeing Grandpa to have been when he was still talking. Still interacting. They knew that now he was just sleeping. That's not how they wanted to remember him. And we got that. I think when we went to bed, we were somewhat expecting they'd change their mind and want to go with me. But I'm glad they had the chance to choose.

When I woke up that Wednesday and was getting ready to go to Dad's side...I was so glad that it was just going to be me there with him. I had been saying for a while that I wanted a picture of his hands. Those hands that touched so much in his 85 years. I took the camera figuring I'd take time to do it while I was there. I didn't know this would be his last day...but I was excited to be alone with him. I hadn't had that opportunity since he'd been in Hospice.

As I look back on those couple of hours I was there with Dad...I'm so thankful for that gift. God granted me the chance to say goodbye. Even though I didn't say those words. I just sat there and enjoyed Dad's presence. Much like our time together had been my whole life. Dad was a man of few words. But I still treasured our father-daughter time. This was just the same. Me and my Dad. In the same room. Experiencing life together. I held his hand. I sat across from him and watched him sleep. I was praying and asking God to show me what to do. Asking myself what last memory would I want with Dad. And over and over again, I felt the Lord saying - "What you're doing is exactly the right thing." Any pre-conceived ideas of "how to say goodbye to a loved one" didn't apply here. Dad and I did things our way. Even on his last day.

Before Mom came back, I had taken some pictures of me holding Dad's hand. I enjoyed just sitting there soaking it all in. As I gave Dad a kiss and said goodbye...he did something he hadn't done before. He squeezed my hand and pulled me back. It was like he knew. He knew.

I got home about 2PM. Jumped right back into homeschool Mom mode. Task mode. Normal life mode. At 3PM, I was getting ready to take Luke to his guitar lesson when Mom called. The Hospice nurse had just left. She said Dad probably only had a couple hours left.

Boom. Life changed.

I cancelled Luke's lesson. Got a message to Dave at work to rush home. Within 30 minutes, both me and my brother were there. I held Dad's hand. Mark read the Bible to him. I played his favorite waltz on my phone (the one we danced to at my wedding).

The amazing thing about this day? At 7:30 that morning, Dad's newest Great-Grandson had been born. Little Karson entered this world the same day Dad would leave it. My brother came from the hospital visiting his newest grandchild...to the house to say goodbye to his Dad. Surreal doesn't even come close.

By 4PM, one of my nephews and his wife & daughter were there plus my brother's wife and their grandson (who had just met his new baby brother). My parents' pastor had already planned to be there then to go over some things for the funeral. Turned out his timing - God's timing - couldn't have been more perfect. By 4:30, Dave was there. We all surrounded Dad's bed. The pastor prayed and read more Scripture. He left about 4:45.

At 5PM, we were all sitting around. Waiting. Figuring out who was hungry & what to eat for dinner. Shortly after that, we knew. Dad's coloring had gone from pink to grey. His breathing had changed. We all gathered around his bed. We watched him struggle through his last breaths. And then...that was it. At 5:06 he was gone. Just about two hours to the dot. (Dad always was one for being punctual.)

Once I got out my ugly cry and shed a bunch of tears...it was time to switch gears to manager mode again. Phone calls to make. Things to take care of. No time to think about me. Time to think about Mom and what she needed.

Soon it was just my Mom, my brother and me. Waiting for the funeral home to come for his body. Sitting in the other room sharing memories. Eating pizza. Moving on.

The thing about that day that I don't know if I'll ever fully grasp...is the fact that one second Dad was struggling to breathe in the middle of his family...and the next he was standing in the presence of Jesus. I mean, I've been a Christian virtually my entire life. But that's just something my finite mind can't even begin to understand.

There are so many memories from the days that followed - planning the funeral, visiting with people at the visitation, getting used to our new normal. Some memories were able to be captured on Facebook. Having that ability to chronicle the experience has also been a blessing.

Like this moment from Dad's visitation:


Mikayla's basketball team surrounding her in prayer - literally and figuratively. Precious, precious memory. 

Thankful today for time to write. To work through the grief. To reflect on the man. On his life. On his legacy. 

As one of my friends told me after seeing us at the visitation, "You grieve as those who have hope." And so we do. So thankful that one day we WILL see Dad again. This isn't goodbye forever. But it is sure still hard to lose him. What a great man he was too.

Love you, Dad!




Sunday, December 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Life is rather surreal right now. Hard to believe this moment is actually here: my Dad is dying.

Even though his quality of life has been diminishing over the last year or so, it's still hard to grasp that we're actually in this place. Hospice care. Hospital bed in my parents' living room. Trying to figure out how to let him go. Just 10 days ago he was still walking to the bathroom. Eating. Taking his breathing treatments. Taking all his meds. Interacting with life.  Living the best version of his 85-year-old self. And seemingly overnight - things changed. It's like he just got tired of it all. He just didn't have the energy to do this one. more. year.

When Mom and I walked into his hospital room on December 4th - he was angry. Agitated. "Done with this." And so, since then, we've been learning how to say Goodbye. Learning how to give him the best quality of life at home that he can have in the time he has left. Learning how to let him go. Husband of over 61 years. Father of 60 years (44 years to me). Grandfather of 32 years. Great-Grandfather of 20 months.

Because I tend to overthink EVERYTHING, and because I have this ridiculous desire to turn everything into some sort of Norman Rockwell picture (or to feel like a failure when life's not full of those Norman Rockwell moments)...I'm constantly consumed lately with making sure I've said all I needed to say. Questioning how to suck every possible memory out of the time we have left. And in a constant state of near-panic as I realize that he's fading faster than any of us could have believed just a couple weeks ago.

I've learned already that the grieving process doesn't start when someone dies. I'm already grieving. So, I'm sure, are my Mom, my brother, my kids, my nephews. Like I said - the whole thing is so ridiculously surreal. Since my Dad was a few days shy of 41 years old when I was born, I've known my whole life that I was most likely going to be losing him at a younger age than most of my friends lost their parents. For most of my adult life, I've sort of resented that fact. But I know the truth. The truth that I have friends who have already lost parents to cancer or other reasons. The truth that I have been beyond blessed to call my Dad mine for the last 44 years. I have lots and lots of amazing memories. God knew what He was doing when He surprised my parents with me. And He knew what He was doing when He made Clinton Sylvester my Dad. :-)

So I peruse the internet for "How to Handle Losing a Parent", "What I Wish I Would Have Said Before They Died", "Signs of Death". Again - surreal.

Here's what I know: God is in control. His ways and His timing are perfect. He is in control of Dad's last moments here on earth. I'm praying that He'll guide us in our time we have left with him. I'm praying for wisdom on what to say - if to say anything at all. I'm praying for Dad's countenance to be full of peace and joy as he ends his time here with us. That Jesus will wrap him in His loving arms and lead him to eternity. And, selfishly, that we'll get a glimpse of that moment. To have blessed assurance of Dad's heavenly journey.

When you have a quiet man with a quiet faith - it's hard to have complete trust that he's heaven-bound. But I'm trusting God's promises. Trusting that even a quiet man with his quiet faith - even if it's just the faith of a mustard seed - that God's got Dad's place waiting for him. Jesus went and prepared MY DAD a place in His Father's house. My Dad is about to be in that house. Just a few steps ahead of the rest of us spending eternity together there.

So we will live in the moment. Treasure each day Dad's still here. Prepare our hearts for what's to come. Lean on Jesus just a little more.

Praising God for the man he's blessed me with. Dave has been my rock.

Praying for my Mom as she learns how to say goodbye to hers.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Getting Back On Track

Haven't written a post since November, and I'm kind of chuckling to myself as I read what that post was about. It was ALL about handling "busy." So how'd I do??

FAIL!

This past school year was a real struggle for me. It was one of those years where I constantly questioned whether ANYTHING I was doing was right. Every aspect of my life felt out. of. control.

Due to the level of busy and my introverted self never getting time to re-charge - my emotional eating kicked back into HIGH gear. My desire to exercise and eat right went out the window. And now, here I am. Trying to let go of the shame and the guilt and the depression and trying to get my health journey back on track. And so...I must write.

Weight Loss is ALL in Your Head

Yes, you read that right. I'm here to tell you with 100% confidence - you'll never lose weight if you don't have your head on straight. Never.

Now, of course, the WAY in which we choose to lose weight is important. And, I'm all about choosing the healthy way. It's how I lost 60 pounds four years ago. I know my tools are healthy and I know they work. But when my head isn't on straight, my weight loss tools really don't matter. Why? Because I will self-sabotage myself. Every day. Self-sabotage is what us emotional eaters are experts at. And, I am THE best at it. :-/

Now what?!

The realization that I'm stuck in the pit of self-sabotage is all fine and dandy, but now what?!

Well, I'm not saying I'm doing this well at the moment, but my history of winning this battle means I do know what I must do. So here's my list (and my reminder to myself, most of all):


  • Shower myself in grace. This is seriously hard to do. Perhaps you're not someone who has every struggled in this area - but if you're a woman, I'm guessing you have at some point. I can NOT un-do my past mistakes. They're done. Over. All I can do is to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back on the right track. No looking back. No guilt trips. Just making better decisions going forward. 
  • Recognize that the voice in my head is the devil. OK, I'm not saying my inner voice is always the enemy. But when my inner voice is lying to me and condemning me and showering me with shame - that's from the enemy. Romans 8:1 tells us "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." This is how I know that negative voice isn't from the Lord. He isn't condemning me. He's not banging me on the head with all my past mistakes or all the ways in which I screwed up to have gotten back to this place on the scale. Nope.  That negative voice that I keep falling for - that's the enemy. And every time I give in to those lies - I'm doing the devil's work for him. It's time to STOP it!
  • Choose TRUTH! When you're in the pit of self-sabotage, it's so hard to even distinguish what the truth is. Until I can right this ship and get going in a positive direction again, I literally have to take EVERY thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ~ "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." That also entails taking quiet time every morning to pray and re-direct that day's goals. Bad habits are easy to make...and good habits are easy to forget. I haven't gotten to this place because I've been following good habits. So, to re-create a good habit it is going to take some VERY purposeful and consistent effort. For at least three weeks straight. Until this good habit has been re-created, it takes work. Hard work. Questioning every thought. Praying over every food choice. Staying right by God's side and CONSTANTLY asking Him for His help to make the next best choice.
Honestly, we're all human. We make mistakes. We struggle with something. But when your struggle is related to your weight, it seems to add a whole other layer of condemnation. Others can see me. They know I've gained back weight I worked so hard to lose. My personal failure is public every single time I step out of my house. And that's why it's so hard. But guess what - that just shows I struggle with pride. And God detests pride. Check out this verse: Proverbs 11:2 ~ "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Wow. 

So, this summer my #1 goal is to re-claim my positive self-talk. To let go of all the junk I just shared...and to choose grace. To choose freedom. To choose to hear God's voice every day. 

This is hard stuff, folks. And, for me, life-long struggles. Praise the Lord that He's not done with me yet. 



Monday, November 10, 2014

God's Time

So, I don't like to busy. Not anymore than anyone else, I'm sure. Actually - I probably like to be busy slightly LESS than the average person in my life. I'm content with slow-paced, hanging out at home, just chillin'. Well, as you probably imagined, that's not something I normally get. But this isn't a post about how busy I am. Or how much less busy I wish I were.

This is a post about all the posts I'm seeing on Facebook about how "sinful it is to be busy" or "how to stop being busy" or any of the posts claiming to know everything about how busy (or non-busy) each of us should be.

Blech.

I'm tired of the whole conversation.

Here's the conversation I've been having - and one I think all those online bloggers ought to be asking their readers to have too: "OK, Lord. Is our family honoring You through the use of our time? Are we finding the right balance for our household? Is what we're choosing to spend our time on wise? or should we modify it to be more pleasing to You?"

It's not about comparing our family's level of busy-ness to other families in order to gauge whether we're doing OK. It's about taking regular assessments as to whether our time management skills are pleasing to God.

Here's why I think this is such an important gauge: because if we value our "down-time" too much or our "go-time" too much...both of those extremes can become idolatry.

I know for a fact that we're busier than I ever wanted to be. But - we have three healthy, social, active kids. And - praise the Lord - we're in a place where financially, we don't always have to say "No!". Part of our busy-ness stems just from the fact that we're homeschoolers. That's not something I'm willing to give up. Then there's the music lessons. Those are a non-negotiable in my house. Then there's the sports/physical activities. I'm THRILLED that my kids are athletic and into sports! Hard to say no to that. Then there's family & church activities. Also important. Let's face it - we are just right in the throes of the busiest season of our lives as parents. One day (all too soon) we're going to look back on these busy years and miss them. For now - it's a constant reminder to myself to just hold on tight and enjoy the ride. :-)

When I feel like my world is spinning just a bit too fast for me - I've learned how to say "No!". Thankfully, I've gotten pretty good at this. I find that I stay grounded when I'm staying in the Word - and when I'm getting enough alone time (I'm an introvert, remember). When things get too busy for me and I'm not getting my down time - yes, I do sometimes have mini meltdowns and end up having to stay home from an activity in order to re-charge my batteries. But, praise God, I've learned over the years that this is OK! And there's no guilt involved.

So - if you see one of those posts online about making sure to stay away from busy...I hope you'll read them with fresh eyes. Busy exists. It's just whether or not you're keeping God in the middle of your busy, or leaving Him out. Keeping Him in it? Good for you.

Now - hold on tight...and enjoy the ride!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Real Truth

I'm no longer sharing my blog updates on Facebook. So - if you've stumbled across this...you must really be a true friend. :-) I hope to get on here more frequently to share my latest thoughts. But I really prefer that no one reads them. Unlike most bloggers, I just want to use this site as a means to save my ramblings for the future. Keeps them from getting lost in the piles on my desk, you know. 

Speaking of which...

I'm sitting here typing away at my cluttered desk on a gorgeous sunny fall Sunday afternoon. It's the "Fall Back" Sunday - so I'm remarkably refreshed (how can one little hour have that big of an effect?!). The washing machine and dryer are busy. The kids and Dave are each otherwise entertained. I have some rare moments of "down time". Well, not really. I have lots of other things to still be doing. But I'm proclaiming this moment as one worth sharing what's on my mind. 

If you were to ask me how I'm feeling lately - as is probably the case with everyone - my answer doesn't truly reflect what's on my mind. Wand to know how I truly am? Something like this:
I'm feeling overwhelmed with my homeschool Mom title right now. I'm pretty much convinced I'm screwing up the kids by being their teacher. But I don't want to send them to public school. And we can't afford Christian school. But I really want the twins to have a more school-like environment for high school. So, even though Dave tells me not to - I'm already thinking ahead to next year and trying to figure out which one-day homeschool program to have them in. Which, I think I have figured out. Which is good. But there's still this school year. And I already feel like it's a disaster because we can't stay on schedule and I'm tired of never getting everything done I say we're going to. So I'm already feeling defeated and that the kids are going to be screwed up because their Mom couldn't get her act together. Then, there's the fact that I not only don't seem to be doing this homeschool Mom thing very well, but I'm also completely angry with myself that I've gained back 30 of the pounds I lost and I can't seem to get myself back on the weight loss track. (Can we say "Emotional Eater"?!?!) So I have MAJOR self-loathing again, which I know is absolutely NO help. But no matter what I do I can't seem to string enough good days together to re-form a habit...so the calendar is just clicking away and I'm not losing weight and I HATE looking in the mirror and feeling how I feel. And then there's the fact that my Shaklee business requires more time of me than what I know how to give it. Because I already am spread too thin being a homeschooler and taxi cab driver for the kids. And my parents will be heading to Florida soon which always throws me for a loop. And the fact that they're aging and I don't know how much more time I have with them...but yet I can't seem to spend as much time with them as I want because I'm so busy all the time and not carrying my weight on everything I have to do at my house let alone trying to help them do more at their house - that weighs heavy on my mind every day! 

Can you relate?! When people ask me how I am, I'll obviously NEVER answer with this. But - depending on how crazy that day is feeling - that's probably what I'm really thinking. Of course - all anyone really wants to hear (or has time to hear) is that we're "good". That's part of why I wonder why that is the question we open with. Why are we asking something probably none of us really wants to know? I mean - if I'm rushing past you and saying hello to be friendly...when I throw on the "how are you" question, it's not that I actually have time to stop and hear how you REALLY are. Right? I know that. And, really, it's not that I'm not good. I am. I mean, I'm blessed beyond measure. And you probably are more "good" than anything too - right? This question and its expected answers - they're just part of social "niceness". Same with social media. That's all we really want to hear - everyone's funny stories and cute updates. Don't get too real. That's just a downer. And, really, who has time for that?! (Sarcasm intended.)

But what's really true in the middle of all of this? God knows. And He cares. And He wants to carry all our burdens & anxieties and give us a fresh start. He's 100% on our side. Loving us. Directing us. Rooting for us. He knows what's on our heart better than anyone. And He's also got every single detail of our crazy life all figured out.

Praise God! We don't have to know it all - we just have to know the One who does.

So, I know we have to keep asking each other how we are. (And, I also know "good" is really the only acceptable answer.)  But - if you and I schedule a coffee date  - I'll gladly hear how you really are. And then we'll share some laughter and encouragement too. 'Cuz you know - we're not supposed to go through this journey all alone. Let's get off Facebook...and meet each other at Biggby. :-)