Archive for February, 2009

With Our Toes on the Edge

I wish I could describe it better, or set out this full disclosure. But I can’t. Not yet.

The best I can do is to say that it is like standing on the edge of this abyss, arm in arm with DH, our ankles bound together with bungee cord, facing the same direction, toes on the edge, and this unseen force standing behind us, waiting for the all-clear before giving us a shove. It feels like we might fly and we might break the cord and plummet to our tragic demise.

But at least we are facing the same direction. At least, I think we are. I know, I shouldn’t be so sketchy on a bit of info like that, but I am. I’m still trying to sort this out and feel it out and discover how it could all possibly make sense. I feel like I’m going to wake up from this dream at any second, and I’m not sure if I’ll be okay when I do.

DH has been so long facing the other direction, running, denying. So much, so hard, for so long that to feel him standing here next to me is difficult. Not because I am bitter or harbor resentment, but because I’ve had to turn my face and my heart away from this road for so long and at such a price that this hope brings physical pain. If I have to let it go again, I might break.

I already feel broken. All I can do is wait. When the waiting is done, and we fly or we fall or he turns back away from this road, and I have nothing more to do but choose to turn my face and heart away again, what will happen to me?

I feel terrible because I have not been honest. But I can’t talk about it yet. And if nothing happens or changes and life has to go back to normal, it might be easier to just never talk about it, to pretend it never existed.

Advertisements

Glasscapades

It was a dark and stormy night. All right, maybe it was more like a dark and snowy night. But the point is that it all started the night before last.

We had casserole and beans and rice and cottage cheese for supper. Everyone ate it up nicely and I was cleaning up while ELA poked and prodded at her food. I told her to eat 5 more bites and then she could get down. So she ate the last few bites of beans and rice and cottage cheese, but didn’t touch her casserole. Finally I went over and told her she could get down if she ate just 1 bite of her casserole. So I scooped up a bite on her fork and held it up to her mouth. She looks at me and says, “I don’t like it.”  To which I replied, “You haven’t even tried it!”. But I relented, and put the bite back down and cut it in half.

“Okay”, I said. “Just a tiny bite, and then you can be done.”

She took the bite in her mouth and immediately gagged.

“It’s okay, just chew it up slowly!”

Or not, I thought as she proceeded to gag until finally throwing up most of her dinner back onto her plate.  Hmm.. yummy.

She has an overactive gag reflex. Always has. I felt bad for trying to get her to eat the casserole, but it’s not like it was LIMA BEANS or anything!

Yesterday started out reasonably enough. Had breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, watched some Curious George. EM went down for a nap a little early, but I had to go rescue her from the top of her dresser half an hour later. She had pushed her toddler bed over to the dresser and climbed up on top, then couldn’t get back down. It’s not the first time she’s done this, and I’m starting to get the picture that it’s time to remove the toddler bed and graduate her to a low twin bed.

We had school with J and ELA and worked on letters and reading for quite a while before lunch. J practiced writing the word “dinosaur” in his workbook. He’s decided to become a paleontologist when he grows up and right now it’s all about the dinosaurs.

After lunch it was naptime so we all headed upstairs. J to his room, where he locks the door now from the inside to keep his sisters out. ELA to her room where she routinely takes off her clothes and wraps herself up in her pink blankie so she can get the full effect of the silky side. And Em goes to my room, where her little pack-n-play is set up.

Except now she has remembered why she got moved to the toddler bed in the first place – she can ESCAPE! from the pack-n-play. She has done this for 4 days in a row now, getting out of her cage and terrorizing my room, spreading legos and marble tower pieces everywhere, plus emptying my drawers from my nightstand. Yesterday she discovered a new way to be naughty – she had climbed up on top of my dresser, had a hey day with my little glass nick-nacks, then proceeded to break one of the chimneys for my oil lamps. It’s amazing that she didn’t cut herself with it. Glass chimneys don’t just break – they shatter into a million tiny pieces. Or at least the cheap Wal-Mart ones do. I rescued her from that mess and took her downstairs to inspect her thoroughly and change her clothes in case there were glass shards stuck to her socks or something. And then, because it was still nap time and she wasn’t hurt a bit, not a scratch anywhere, back upstairs we went. I took her into the girls’ room to nap with ELA since she was still awake and playing. I closed the door to my room saying I’d clean up that mess later when the vaccuum cleaner wouldn’t disturb the napping process, and went back down stairs.

I got out all of my paperwork for taxes that I’ve been trying desperately to sort out and make sense of, and dove in. What a mess. 20 minutes into it I had papers scattered around me in a big circle, covering the floor and furniture in little piles. I listened to the girls playing and wondered if either one of them would get any rest.

And then ELA started her …thing. It is an indescriminate wailing, screeching, fussing cry that could mean anything and is used in every situation from being frustrated that someone won’t give her the book she wants to being stuck between two chairs to being in genuine distress or hurt. She uses this fussy cry way too much. And I was quickly annoyed by it, thinking she just didn’t want EM on her bed with her, or whatever her petty frustration at the moment was.

Plus, it was breaking my concentration. Grr. So I made up my mind to finish sorting this one pile, then I could get up and deal with that fussy girl without completely losing my spot. 5 min. MAX.

5 minutes later I got up, ran up the stairs, and opened the door to the girls’ room to find ELA sitting on her bed, naked except for her pull-up, and covered in blood.

I crossed the room pretty quickly, to discover her still holding a piece of a broken Mason jar. Okay. Stay calm, I’m thinking. I get the glass away from her and glance over at EM, sitting on her own bed, next to another piece of glass, but thankfully not bloody.

I picked up ELA very gently and started toward the door, then realized how many pieces of glass were scattered around the room. I couldn’t leave EM there in that situation, so I picked her up in my other arm and carried both girls down the stairs. I set EM down on the couch and carried ELA to the bathroom and set her down on a towel and tried to get a better idea of where all the blood was coming from. She was scared and crying and shaking. She had blood on her face, streaks across her stomach, covering both hands, and down one leg. My mind was going a million miles an hour trying to figure out how on earth I was going to get her to the ER and take care of my other two kids at the same time.

I started the bath with warm water and started wiping her down where I could see the blood was drying and not flowing. Her face was fine. Her stomach was fine. Her leg… was also fine? Just a tiny scratch? Hmm. Her right hand was fine. Where was all this blood coming from??? When it was all said and done, she had one very small cut on her left ring finger which seems to have produced the copious amounts of blood that she tried to wipe off on every part of her body readily available to her. *sigh* Talk about giving me a heart attack!  She seems to be a bit of a bleeder like I was when I was a kid, and I’ll have to remember to talk to her doctor about it next time we go in.

I filled up the tub and put EM in there, who wouldn’t leave ELA’s side for a second, she was so worried and kept trying to help me clean her up! Then I put ELA in there too and she got warmed up and calmed down. After the bath when all was said and done, she has one little Lightening McQueen band-aid on her finger and no serious damage anywhere. Thankfully!!  I’d post a pic, but that’s probably not something I want floating around on the internet.

Clean up was a circus, though. While the girls were in the tub I ran upstairs to pick up some of the pieces and try to make sure that if J woke up and wandered through the hallway upstairs he wouldn’t become the next victim in this whole crazy mess, with glass all over in the two rooms next to his! Meanwhile, downstairs in the bathroom, EM was keeping busy in the tub by scooping cup fulls of bathwater out onto the floor. I came back to a flooded room and a mischievous giggle. Great. Another thing to clean up.

Eventually, I did get my room picked up and all the tiny glass shards swept up and vaccuumed up, the pack-n-play repacked and put away, and all the legos and marble tower pieces put away, too. And, of course, the girls’ room had to be picked up, vaccuumed, the bedding all changed because it was bloody, etc. etc.

Dinner didn’t happen until after 7, the only help from DH at all being that he came in the kitchen and helped me retrieve my pizzas from the abyss of the oven.

I think it’s amazing that kids live to reach adulthood. It’s not like my house isn’t baby-proofed! It’s not as if I let my children play with knives!!! And yet, just when you think you have things pretty much under control and safety isn’t a big weight on your mind, something like this happens. I am not a bad mother.

I am not a bad mother. I am not a bad mother. And yes, I am trying to convince  myself of this just as much as I’m trying to convince you 😦

Writer’s Block

I have a definite writer’s block. It’s called my Dear Husband. He makes it very difficult to write in the mornings.

About Vaccinations

Okay, I have to say something about this. This is just insane.

Last week there was a lawsuit where 3 of the 5500 claims were tried in the matter of whether vaccines had caused their child’s Autism. Specifically the MMR vaccine. The Special Court ruling was NOT in their favor. They said there was not enough evidence linking vaccinations and autism to warrant a ruling in their favor. Of course, if they did rule in the favor of the 3 families it would have been a very damaging precedent, the consequences of which would be very expensive and very far-reaching.

The media has been all over this like a duck on a june bug. What they haven’t been focusing on is this small but very significant fact: the “Special Masters” (as opposed to judges being as this was tried in the special court set up specifically to hear vaccine injury cases) specified that they could not rule that the vaccines caused the child’s autism, but that’s not to say that the ingredients in vaccines did not (such as thimerosal, which is mercury) .  The media promplty threw that bit of info out after the initial coverage and hasn’t seen fit to bring it up again.

So now when you turn on the news, whether it’s local or national, there is an abundance of doctors, nurses, parents of fully vaccinated children all angrily bashing the parents who choose not to vaccinate of putting all of society at risk of horrible outbreaks of deadly diseases.

Just today, on my local news, there was extensive coverage of a pertussis “outbreak” in a neighboring county. Both of the children who had it were unvaccinated. How this poses a threat to those children who are fully vaccinated is still a mystery to me. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection which does not offer complete immunity even if you contract and fight off the infection with your own antibodies, recurrence of the infection is possible. Contrary to popular belief, however, the vaccine schedule for DTaP does not offer complete immunity, either. It is formulated to give a child immunity through roughly the age of 10, when they are most likely to be more able to recover fully. Since Dec. 2008, it is now recommended that all adults and children ages 11 – 64 receive a booster shot to continue their immunity and lower the risk of infecting newborns who have not yet received the full schedule of DTaP.

DTaP stands for: Diptheria, Tetanus, and a-cellular Pertussis. The original DPT vaccine contained a whole-cell version of Pertussis and it was blamed for many cases of brain injuries. The negative publicity caused a huge backlash and was actually the cause of the US government establishing the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Then it was changed to only contain the a-cellular version and to be given in several small doses to protect during childhood rather than throughout life as the whole-cell version was supposed to. Just a little background for you!

I actually have nothing against the DTaP vaccine. Two of my children have been partially immunized with it, and I will continue to proceed further with it at my own pace. I think it makes sense for us living on a farm to be fully vaccinated against Tetanus, and the research that I have done on the Diptheria and Pertussis aspects of that vaccine have not shown to be significant enough in risk to outweigh the benefits.

The other one covered extensively in the news lately is the 5 cases of meningitis in Minnesota. This is caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. The bacteria attacks the fluid around the brain and can cause severe brain damage and deafness, as well as death. The funny thing I’ve learned about this vaccine is that if you wait or delay getting it until after your child is 5 years old, they won’t give it to you. It’s only meant for children and infants under the age of 5. Also, they recommend getting doses at 2 mo., 4 mo., 6 mo., and 15-18 mo.  What they don’t tell you when you go to the Dr. office is that these are the requirements for your child in order to go to state licensed day care or Head Start.

So here’s the thing about the “outbreak” in MN. 5 children contracted the hib infection. 3 of them were unvaccinated by their parents’ choice. One of those children died. 1 child was fully vaccinated but had in immune deficiency disorder. The 5th child was vaccinated, but being as it was too young to have received the full schedule, was considered to be “not fully vaccinated”. Okay, what I want to know here is this: if a child does not have immunity until it has received the full schedule (which would be between the ages of 15 and 18 months) why is it necessary to give shots at those younger intervals? Why not just wait until 15 months and receive the full dose and be done with it?

The MN dept. of health issued this statement during their news conference: “We had a death from a child who was unvaccinated. We want to encourage parents who have delayed or refused vaccination to reconsider. Hib vaccine not only protects your child, but also protects babies who have not completed their primary series or those who have immune compromise.”  *

To me, this just embodies the attitude that fosters anger among those parents who have fully vaccinated their children, taking upon their own families the risk of autism that is now commonly acknowledged as real. They seem to believe society as a whole is becoming a riskier place to be because of all of these unvaccinated children running around with their fully vaccinated children. Or that if their child is too young to be fully vaccinated or has an immune deficiency contracts one of these diseases it is solely caused by an unvaccinated child, when in reality it is just as likely to have come from an adult or family member, since adults usually react with less severe symptoms to the same bacteria and may not know they have something like pertussis.

Both of my older kids have received the full vaccine for Hib – in a single dose because they were over 18 mo.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on information available about vaccination, and even though I have been researching this for years now, I am still undecided about some of them, and whether or not there is an actual correlation between the number of vaccinations recommended for infants by the CDC and the exponential growth in the number of autistic children. But something out there is causing this epidemic, and a basic study of genetics will tell you it is impossible for a mutated gene to cause the cases to now be at an alarming rate of 1 in every 150 births, growing at 10-17% annually.

One of the biggest factors for me in deciding to research each and every vaccine before injecting it into my children was the ‘risk factor’ factor. When I went to the hospital to register before having my second child, I received a packet of information to fill out, including sign-off sheets for the erythromycin eye salve and the Hep-b vaccine. Until that point, I’d had no idea they gave any vaccines to infants under 24 hours old. The eye salve is routinely applied to the eyes of infants immediately after birth to prevent the infant from being infected with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia when going through the birth canal (and yet they still give it to babies born via c-section too, just to be safe).

This is what the CDC says about Hep-b: “Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It ranges in severity from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long-term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.

Transmission: Contact with infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids from having sex with an infected person, sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs, or from an infected mother to her newborn. (hello, not infected here!)

Vaccination: Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all infants, older children and adolescents who were not vaccinated previously, and adults at risk for HBV infection.”

I also opted out of the Vitamin K shot, not because I had done any research on it, but because I believed that God gave our newborns everything they needed and that less intervention if possible would be the way I would try to go. I didn’t think about it again until just recently, when doing research for this little speech of mine. Here is what I found:

http://babyreference.com/VitaminKinjectORnot.htm

That’s pretty scary. I don’t know what else to say about it at this point. I know that that is the one thing my best friend conceded to with her newborn, and I also know that if any child is going to be healthy, it is her little boy. He has a very dilligent momma.

Honestly, I saw no reason to go forward with either the eye salve or the hep-b vaccine for my newborns. There was no risk for any of these things, and I had no reason to believe they would be at risk for contracting any of these things in the very near future, so why would I do unnecessary procedures to my tiny little perfect baby?

At that point I realized the gammut of vaccinations and procedures were given through a “one size fits all” mentality. It was up to me to take charge of my children’s health and make informed decisions. My kids are hardly high risk – they don’t go to day care or school of any sort. Yes, we go to church, but that’s hardly a place for exposure to people who live in those high-risk lifestyles. There shouldn’t be this gross lack of distinction between high-risk kids and low-risk kids. Of course, then if they implemented some sort of different schedule for different kids it would quickly expose the truth. If there is no correlation the truth would only benefit everyone across the board. If there is – the lawsuits would be unstoppable! Particularly from those whose diagnosis of autism came after the differentiated guidelines.

Well, I may not always get it right, but the best I can do is keep looking for more information and keep praying that God will fill in where I am ignorant. But what I won’t do is sit back and trust either the media or the health care industry to make the right decisions for me.

Can you tell I’ve had my second cup of coffee this morning?

More info:

* http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20090123/hib-outbreak-kills-unvaccinated-child

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pertussis

Need. More. Coffee.

The girls are just now finally asleep. As in, within the last 20 minutes. Right now it’s a quarter to six.

It all started when ELA wouldn’t lay down for a nap yesterday afternoon, and we went the rounds over it until she finally went to sleep at about 4:30. EM was in the pack-n-play in my room, which she finally remembered she can escape from and happily did so, spending the next hour and a half wreaking havoc and destruction. When I went up to get her she smelled like the Mentholatum I keep in my bedside drawer. The big box of legos that we have in there right now to bring out on Sabbath afternoons was in various places around the room, including IN the bed.

The rest of the evening ELA slept hard and didn’t wake up when I called her, so I let her sleep. DH came home late since I sent him to the store for me, and I figured I’d wake ELA up when we put EM to bed so she could be up with us for a couple of hours. But then she hardly woke up when we laid EM down, and acted sleepy and even a little sicky. I thought she just needed the extra sleep to fight off a bug or something.

That is, until at 12:30 am she started bouncing off the walls. I tried to sleep through it, thinking she’d wear herself out and go back to sleep within an hour. Not a chance. A little after 1 I went downstairs to get the girls a snack and some more water, knowing she had to be hungry. Okay, I thought, now they’ll go back to sleep. I myself had been tired enough to go to bed at 9:10. I was not ready to deal with this in any other way but to hope they played a bit then went back to sleep. DH slept through all of it. I got up about every 20 min. or so to go in there and tell them to lay down and go to sleep. Seemed like as soon as I laid my head back down on my pillow there would be giggling and jumping on the beds. Finally around 3:30 DH woke up and asked me what all the ruckus was about as I climbed back into bed for the 12th time. As I tried to explain the situation to him, I heard him start to softly snore. Hmm. Grrr. 10 minutes later when I heard what sounded like Emmy jumping off the dresser, I kicked him awake and told him it was his turn. He told me I just needed to let them play themselves out and go back to sleep on their own. In other words, I should just ignore it and not let it disturb my own good night’s sleep. Uh. Okay. That’s why I’m the Mom. I can’t sleep through noises at night when it has to do with my kids. It’s not a choice, it’s how God made me. And that’s why our infants didn’t starve to death when they needed to nurse every two hours when they were little. Now get up and go deal with them.  Not that I really talk to him that way, but I wanted to!

He finally got up and went in there, then came back and said he was going downstairs (to watch Gettysburg) but would listen for thumping. I turned on the story hour tape and fitfully slept for the next hour until the alarm went off. If I’d have just had a hammer…  I finally got up and found two little girls still awake but with droopy eyes, got them all tucked in again and got an extension cord to plug in the tape player just outside their door. Now if they would just sleep till noon.

Fight Night

Babysitter: $40

Dinner at Taco Bell:  $7.50

Cageside Seats: $80

Bottled Water: $2.50

NOT seeing Luke fight:  Priceless.

Yep, that’s the long and short of it. It was the most expensive date I’ve ever been on, but by far the least romantic. We got there shortly after 5 and went in to hopefully score some last minute tickets, but the only ones left were the cageside ones. So we reluctantly paid for those with an arm and a leg and then left to go grab a cheap dinner. Then we went to KMart and walked around for a few minutes before deciding to head back over to the club. We got our wrist bands and headed in to stand in line in front of the pit doors, since there were already people standing there waiting, but then realized we still had 40 min. to wait so we went and sat down and watched people for a while.

When we finally got to go in, we had our choice in where we wanted to sit, so we sat in the second row. And after a while we realized why we had our pick – the fights weren’t going to start until 8:30, an hour and a half after we got in there. It wasn’t so bad at first, but the music kept getting louder and louder until you couldn’t hear the person next to you unless he was shouting in your ear. I finally got up and went out to the club and sat by the doors trying to get some fresh air. I remember sitting there watching people come and go through the bar and thinking it was definitely a small town bar scene. Such a mix of people – some looked like they had just woke up from their afternoon nap, left the kids screaming and snotty nosed with grandma and came to the bar ’cause that’s what they do every friday night. And some looked like wannabes for The O.C.  Most of them were just standing around smoking and drinking beer, so why they were at a club is still beyond me. I mean, you can do that at home, right?!

I eventually found the room where the fighters were hanging out which was closed to the public, and stood at the door hoping to see Luke somewhere, but no luck. When they started saying among themselves that it was about to start, I went back in and found my seat. The announcer climbed into the cage and started calling the refs and judges to their places. Then we watched as Small-Town Fight-Club Barbie climbed up and sang the national anthem and the crowd went crazy.

The first fight was more like a wrestling match. The most shocking thing about it was that as the ref said, “Fight!” the music stopped and it was silent except for the fight itself. Second fight was between two 300 pounders who were exhausted after 30 seconds and could barely rally enough strength to hit, let alone wrestle. They were both 0-1, though, so someone had to win and eventually the taller of the two got a good choke hold and managed to hold it long enough to get the other guy to tap out.

When the next set of fighters climbed up and the horn rang out they rushed at each other like mortal enemies, came together in the air and fell to the mat rolling like a tangle of wild cats. They were ruthless and brutal, which they both seemed to expect and enjoy as a piece of their own personal contest. When it was done, one was bleeding down his back, with a bright red smear from his shoulder to his waist and a trickle through the middle of it. The other was on the ground, slumped against the cage with a bloody face, some coming from his lip, some from his nose, and copious amounts from a large jagged gash on his forehead. The crowd chanted, “stit-ches, stit-ches, stit-ches!” until he was helped down by the paramedics and headed off to get his trophy stitches.

The next fight was more like a fist fight or bar brawl than the others. Bloody and quick, and over before I knew it. The 5th fight was a little different. In the same row as us was a family, including the mom of a high school senior up to fight for the first time. She begged us to tape the fight for them so they didn’t have to miss anything. I told her I would, and traded with her for taping services. I’d tape her son Derrek if she’d tape Luke. So her son’s turn was up next and I got the camera all ready, waited for his entrance, and ignored the people I was standing up in front of. The “kid” that came down the row was hardly a kid. He was built like…. well, there are hardly words. There are no movie stars or celebrities to compare him to. He was built like Luke, about the same height, but perhaps 10 or 15 lbs. heavier, all muscle and sinew. Maybe like Tom Cruise in the first Mission Impossible, but with less bulk and more definition of each and every little muscle across his stomach and back.  He was no backyard fighter, he was debuting in the ring with the intention of winning championships and after several months or maybe even years of training with the welter-weight and heavy-weigh regional champs.

The ref turned to Derrek and said, “You ready to fight?”,  turned to his opponent and said, “Are you ready to fight?”, then dropped his hand like a knife between the two of them.

36 seconds later the ref threw himself over Derrek’s opponent who was pinned down beneath Derrek’s stout legs and taking blow after blow after blow to his head – right, left, right, left in quick succession. I don’t think his opponent even got a single blow in. It looked like a broken nose, judging by the amount of blood and how crooked it looked. I taped the whole thing from the announcing of his name to his victory dance to his scooping up of his mother as he descended from the cage and carrying her up the row. In total it was less than 2 minutes.

After the 7th fight there was a first intermission. There were 7 more fights to go before the second intermission, after which the featured fighters were supposed to be up. The crowd continued on their merry path toward drunkenness, and in the second round of fights a fight broke out on the wrong side of the cage. The announcer threatened to clear the room, and the ref threatened one of the guys to lay some smack down on him himself if he didn’t quit. It was at that point I realized how crazy it was to be there will all that adrenaline, testosterone, and alcohol floating around in a small enclosed area.

During the second intermission, after having watched and looked for 4 hours hoping to see Luke, I finally got up and went over to the announcer and asked him if he knew if Luke was fighting. He looked through his fight cards and no Luke. Hmm… *(arp)*

I was struck by the way the fighters seemed to be little troups of misfits. The lost boys. They were loyal and caring to their own, like that was the only sort of family unit they had really ever known. They had their own rituals, and they each seemed to have their own place within their troup. There was an entourage for each fighter as he came down the row. It was led by a veteran fighter, with the fighter himself second in line, and following along were the other fighters from that troup, and then by the tag-alongs who wanted to be fighters but couldn’t cut it so settled for carrying the shirt and pants and shoes of the fighters. Someone checked the wrist tape, and someone made the sign of the cross, and then someone handed him up into the cage. This same scene played itself out over and over until I realized that something didn’t fit for me. I thought about Luke and couldn’t picture his place in that scene. And I know now why he’s a featured fighter instead of a troup fighter. Even among misfits Luke is a misfit.

They all, each one of them, has a screwed up sense of worth. I imagine the great majority of them came from broken and abusive homes, with stepfathers who called them stupid and mothers hooked on crack. They came from school systems that categorized them as belligerent and with below average IQs. They had no one to stand up for them and no one to teach them any skills. So they found themselves in fights and won those fights because they weren’t afraid of pain. At least to feel pain was to feel something. And the respect and awe that won them set them apart from the out-and-out losers everyone said they were. Someone says to them one day, “Hey, we could use another kid like you in our fight club.” And to them, it’s like coming home. At least, that’s how I picture it.

But to Luke I think even that kind of family structure is too much. Why? I’m not quite sure, but I can’t picture this for him. Yes, I can picture him fighting, winning, dominating his opponent. But not the rest of it. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong there.

As we picked up our things to leave I explained to the mom I recorded the fight for that we were leaving and that Luke wasn’t fighting. And then I screamed in her ear that if she put that video up on youtube to email me (since she still had my info in her pocket) so I could show my friends. She looked at me like I had two heads and thanked me again for recording it. I don’t blame her – I would find it odd too if some stranger wanted to show something like that of my son to her friends!

I went to bed last night just before 1, thinking of how this would probably all feel like a strange, disjointed dream in the morning. Took a couple cups of coffee this morning before I realized it wasn’t!

25 Random Things. Version 2.0

The other version, not facebookable! 😉

1. I’ve Skinny-dipped in Lake Michigan, the mighty Columbia, and the Pacific in the month of October, as well as various other bodies of water, like the ponds on the golf course of the Lodge at 5 am on Thanksgiving, and those gorgeous little waterfalls off the American. Mmmm… good times, good times! I don’t know – I have this thing for water. Good lord if I could just find a secluded place on Torch I’d be in heaven.

2. I had my belly-button pierced (as did my gorgeous and very supportive best friend!) while at WC for my 21st b-day! And I will never forget the catch in Jason’s breath whenever he got to see it after he begged me to show him on our walks around the circle.

3. I was 19 the first time I saw Dirty Dancing. I was so embarrassed by the dancing I could have crawled under the bed. I’d never seen anything even close to that growing up – we didn’t have cable and rarely got to rent a movie, and when we did, if there was anything close to a swear word or an inuendo it went straight back to the movie store.

4. I’ve won a lot of freeway races. Before I had kids I was a Fearless driver. I only lost one race that I can remember – and that was to a dark haired boy in a beemer. I’m just glad I lived to tell about it. Crazy, crazy risks.

5. I can change my clothes from a skirt, slip, tights and button-down shirt to jeans and a sweatshirt while driving down the freeway at 75 miles an hour dodging through CA traffic. No joke.

6. I can give a detailed list of what not to throw up in case you want to learn all about eating disorders. Chocolate is definitely not recommended. Or apples. I can also tell you all about how to hide it and when the best time to do it is. Yep, those were definitely the dark days. Never did so very badly in school as when I was half-starved and puking my guts out the other half of the time.

7. The first time I tasted alcohol I was 21. And contrary to popular belief, strawberry wine is NOT the stuff you write songs about! Vodka is! Duh!

8. I ran away from home once when I was 17 because my dad cut the phone line outside the house when I was talking to a boy. And not even one that I was dating! Or even wanted to date! I jumped out my window and hiked through the rain into the woods and didn’t come back until late that night and then only because I didn’t want to die of hypothermia. Well, that, and I’m really afraid of wolves. And then my ex came driving up in his crappy little truck like he was on a white horse and was all, “don’t ever scare me like that again.” all huggin’ on me and stuff. *Smack!* Not really, but that’s what I wanted to do. And tell him to go home and be with his new little girlfriend. Jackass.

9. The first time I was really kissed I was 20.

I gotta run for now, might update this later! Hope you get a good laugh!

Perspective

Why is it that the second you open the wrapper on a gordita little pieces of cheese and lettuce fling themselves out onto your lap? It’s hard enough to keep a car clean (ha ha ha) with three little kids, I don’t need to be fishing pieces of lettuce from the cracks in my seat! But when that’s the first stitch of food I’ve eaten in 24 hours, I’m definitely tempted.

Anyway, I just finished the second chapter in GC this morning. I’m also reading a book called, “What Every Child Should Know Along the Way”. I love it! It’s full of practical ways to teach your children the basics of Christianity and household tasks. It’s perfect for me because I am not a teacher. I’d much rather do it myself, get it done right and in a timely manner, and that doesn’t teach the kids anything except maybe that Mom is the personal maid. Someone should have warned me that in order to be a mother a degree in teaching is practically a necessity.

I can feel a difference in just two weeks of a more focused devotional life, though. I feel like I don’t have the same sense of need to get the questions and doubts out of my head and onto paper. Maybe that’s why I’ve been stumped on the whole writing on the blog thing for the past week. I feel a lot less worried and a lot more positive.

And there have also been a few things going on that make me put aside my own doubts and realize that I have a lot to be thankful for. So this morning I’m going to count some of my blessings.

I love the way my husband blinks the lights of his truck for me as he drives away at 5 am. Every day, without fail, three times in a row to say, “I love you”.

I love the way my littlest girl puts her fists up to her eyebrows when she says prayers. I have no idea why she does it, but someday soon she’ll stop and I’ll miss it.

I love the way ELA thinks that orange juice comes from carrots. 🙂

I love watching my son RUN until he’s breathless and his cheeks are red. I love when he comes over and sits next to me when he’s tired and I put my hand on his chest and feel his heart beating strong and I know it is working just like it’s supposed to be.

We are so blessed to have our health, our children are growing strong, and our parents are all strong and healthy, too. We’ve had the incredible blessing of good, steady work all winter long and will come into spring ahead of where we were going into winter. Our home is warm with a wood stove that not only heats it well, but heats it cheaply. We have potatoes to eat and wheat to make bread with, which is more than many can say these days.

Yes, my perspective is changing a bit from where it was a few weeks ago, and that’s a good thing.

Merciful

I was reading in GC the other day and came across this:  “The future was mercifully veiled from the disciples. Had they at that time fully comprehended the two awful facts – the Redeemer’s sufferings and death, and the destruction of their city and temple – they would have been overwhelmed with horror.”

I know this is taking that statement kind of out of context, but it made me think. Sometimes as a kid I’d wish so hard to just be able to see into my future.  I’d want to know who I would marry, where we’d live, what great adventures I would go on later in life. My Dad would always tell me that it was God’s mercy that kept us from seeing into our own futures. That if we could have that ability, we would soon be sad we ever asked for it. I used to think he was crazy.

Last Friday when I was driving to the store I heard the song “Truly, Madly, Deeply”. Okay, I realize that you are laughing now, but hear me out. It took me back to January 1998 when I had a huge crush on Carl. That was the winter John taught me how to ski, the winter that we went to Erika’s parents’ house to play Murder in the Dark ’cause we were all so into that back then. That was the winter our youth group did everything together, even going to see Titanic together. I sat in between John and Carl, with Erika over on the other side of Carl, and someone else on the other side of her. Was that Jeremy? I think it was, yet that just doesn’t seem like something Jeremy would have gotten in on!!  That was the night that I saw Erika’s apartment for the first time, and realized that she was not nearly so innocent as I thought she was. Her life at 17 was so far beyond that line between childhood and adulthood that I couldn’t even  comprehend most of it. That was the New Years that we all went to John and Carols for the party and left when it all blew up between John and Jake over Erika.

So as I was driving along listening to this song it took me back to standing in my bedroom, listening to this song and picturing Carl standing on that cliff on top of Table Mt. and how it felt to think it was all going to work out exactly as I had planned. It was merciful that I could not see into my future at that moment. That knowledge would have taken my innocence away before it was necessary.

I started writing this post a few days ago, but didn’t get to finish it, but had this light bulb moment last night, so if this seems a little disjointed, that’s why. I was remembering more about that winter with John and Carl and the youth group. We used to get together at the church every week, with no leader, just us young adults, and have these Bible studies and prayer times. It was usually John leading them, since he was charismatic and driven to lead us in these seasons of prayer for the latter rain. And also for the healing of one of the other young people in the church who had been in an accident at the age of 13 and suffered severe brain damage. When he came out of a coma many months after the accident he was taken home to live as a somewhat functional vegetable. He’s now almost 35. John used to lead us in prayer for miraculous healing for this young man for hours at a time (no joke) and would bring up the miracles in the time of Jesus and how Jesus exhorted his disciples to work by faith the same kinds of wonders. When the healing we prayed for didn’t come about, John became more and more angry. Angry with all of us in the group, because obviously someone didn’t have the faith necessary to bring this about. He asked us to (read: told us we’d better) question our hearts and find out who it was that didn’t have the proper amount of faith. Our group dwindled in numbers as the weeks went by and John became more adamant that we needed to find enough faith to heal the young man. After a few months, it was just John, Carl, and me. Remember, I had a crush on Carl? But eventually I stopped going, too. That was after I realized it just wasn’t going to happen with Carl. He and I were good friends, but just friends.

Anyway, as I was remembering all of this, it seemed like the Lord had brought this to my mind to help me understand some of my bewilderment over the healing of peoples’ hearts as I wrote about a few days ago. John believed the miraculous healing of the body (as in the case of the young man we knew) was possible, and would without fail happen if there were prayers made and faith in the heart. But he was demanding it of God. He vascillated between blaming us for a lack of faith, and God for not following through on His promises. After a while I began to think that John was wrong in his thinking. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first because his reasoning seemed so well drawn out. John didn’t believe anything else should be a factor in the healing he was praying for. Like whether or not God was saying, “yes”, “no”, or “wait”. I believe in that case that God was saying, “Wait.”, that he will be whole and healed in that moment, in the “twinkling of the eye” that we all wait for. John didn’t take into account God’s will for everyone involved, or His purpose in teaching through adversity. He wasn’t willing to take No for an answer, and didn’t think there could possibly be any purpose for not granting the healing. But who are we to say what God’s purposes are? I know the life of that young man has taught those who love him very dear lessons in patience, compassion, steadfastness, hope, and probably many more things that I cannot even fathom since I’ve never been in their shoes. And I can just imagine that the day they see his face shining with the glory of  Jesus in heaven their joy will be so intense as to make the angels weep with joy.

I’ve been praying for the healing of the hearts of some people very dear to me, and sometimes it seems to me that if that healing doesn’t happen that there can be no going forward, no life to be lived, that it’s hopeless. But I think sometimes when the answer to our prayers is “No”, or “Wait”, that there must be a purpose for that answer and a lesson to be learned. I think I need to be willing to continue praying in faith for that healing, but to accept the answer whatever it may be and learn how to refine my character by living with less than ideal or perfect circumstances. Sometimes the best thing for us is to accept our challenges, embrace them even, and keep walking the path God has given us to walk. And if you think that is something easy for me to say, or that I say it lightly, you are wrong. I know I’ll still fight against those challenges daily (“kicking against the pricks” we’re all like that now and then, aren’t we?), but hopefully less and less as I learn more about God and His ways.

Yay!~

The scales at the gym last night said I have lost 6 lbs. in the past month! I’m beyond thrilled. Yesterday was a good day between finding Silver jeans at the goodwill, getting out of the house for longer than it takes to get groceries, and seeing the number on the scale drop like that. Trying on clothes was less of a depressant and I actually had a really pleasant surprise in pulling on a pair of size 7 jeans that fit perfectly. They have big blingy crowns on the pockets, but oh well. They fit. I’m wearing ’em.

The other night when I was feeling really down and unable to deal with any more, I sat down at the computer with J and EM on my lap and looked at a disc of pictures from Christmas 06 in WA. It was really fun to see the videos of J wrestling with his cousins and to hear his VOICE again. It didn’t sting so bad this time to hear it. I hadn’t realized how much deeper his voice is now, his voice in the videos was much much stronger, so vibrant, and so babyish! It was good to remember how innocent those days were, before the knowledge came.

It was also good to see those pictures of little ELA! She was so sweet and litttle and round, back when she was just barely over a year old! Such pinchable little cheeks! I remember how much I didn’t want to take that place from her, the position of baby of the family. I cried many tears over that, wishing she could stay my baby just a little while longer. It was just not in God’s plan for our family that she stay the baby, and I know the timing was exactly what it needed to be. Things could have turned out drastically different with J had EM not shown up when she did.

I look forward to the days when I can spend special time with ELA, though. I know that someday she and I will share a special relationship and bond over things that will be different than what I share with EM. She is fearless and has that spirit of adventure that will be fun to watch (and scary!) and maybe even share in now and then if she’ll let me. I have had to be more purposeful in finding those times, but they are worth it!

Well, I have to run and get ready for the day. My in-laws are coming up this afternoon, and my house isn’t perfect, but we are still going to the library today anyway.

« Previous entries