Dreams: Forgetting to Live

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Because every good self-reflection should begin with some Harry Potter and Thoreau…and Hillsong worship music in the background as you write.

It’s amazing where you find yourself in this adventure called life.

One day you just wake up and say, how did I get here?

And, where did I go wrong along the way? 

That happened to me this summer.

But to get to the end, it is best to start at the beginning.

I’ve been fairly truthful with what a struggle it has been to be Baby K’s mommy. He turned three this spring, and I had one of those wake -up -and -question -everything moments. Who am I? How did I get here? Where did my joy go?

I used to love being a parent. When I had Baby A, my heart was filled with so much joy and hope and excitement and patience. I loved every moment of being a mom! And my heart was filled with dreams of having more children, lots more children. Maybe 6 children. Klayton and I both come from larger families (Klayton from 9 and me from 5), and with me teaching preschool kids have always been a central part of our lives.

I always thought that I would have a couple of kids and then stop working. My life would be filled with many tiny faces that would look like mine or Klayton’s, and would consist of school drop off and laundry and playing and excitement.

This was my dream, to have a large family, and dreams come true, right?

Well, not for everyone.

After Kreade was born life became such a struggle. He was SO hard, for SO long. And I was SO mentally affected.

And along the way and after several difficult events it became clear that when it came to tiny little faces, we would only be producing two.

But when I woke up this spring and questioned everything, I realized several things.

I  realized that I was grieving.

It may sound weird to say that you can grieve a dream. But that is the only way I can find to describe how I feel.

It’s hard to let go of something that you have always wanted, always imagined, and always planned on.

There is such a sense of loss in knowing that you thought things would be one way, yet life has shown you that they need to be another. And your entire perspective on life has to change. You feel so guilty for knowing that you just can’t do it…that even if you tried, you know so deep down in your heart that it’s just not meant to be…and you’re not good enough, able enough, strong enough to be that person. But you should be – women are meant to be moms, so why can’t you just suck it up and have another kid?

And the little voices sometimes won’t leave me alone.

They attack me and shout at me until I think that I won’t ever be good enough…

But somehow, in these moments, my heart awakens and reminds my soul that His ways are not ours…and I know, this is what is meant to be.

But in the midst of grieving this dream, and surviving Baby K I realize that I also lost my joy.

I lost myself somewhere amidst the cries and sleepless nights, the years of trying to be everything that one little body needed…and failing.

I forgot what it was like to simply be…a mom.

Our journey with selling one house and building another has been somewhat symbolic for me. I dreaded having to live in our tiny 24ft camper while the house is being built.

But, it’s funny where this adventure leads you and what you meet along the way.

And what I thought would fill my life with hardship and more struggle has actually brought both healing and re-discovery.

I’ve met simplicity.

I’ve met time.

I’ve met experience.

I’ve met the person who I once was, and who I want to be again.

And somehow, this simple little life of working and living in our camper has reminded me of who I used to be.

I enjoyed being a parent.

I enjoyed life.

I had hope.

So this move is my fresh start. It’s where I find myself again, and will continue to grow into the person who I want to be.

And while I still know I am meant to only produce two tiny faces, I am hopeful for the future.

Because even if I only have two myself, God can grow our family in other ways.

And besides, I have 120 tiny faces to love on at work.

And even if I only have two, I can still love being a mom…even if it wasn’t the mom I once dreamed of.

So in the midst of this simple summer, I am remembering how joyful it is to just be with my children…to explore the world around us, to investigate nature and all it has to offer, to read and to play…and sometimes, just to cuddle and sing songs until Baby K falls asleep and then snuggle up under the covers with a flashlight and read “big kid” books with baby A.

And of course Dumbledore is right…in dwelling on my dream I forgot to live.

But thanks be to God who can restore both hope and joy, and resurrect me to be who He created me to be.

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me

-Elevation Worship

 

 

 

Note…Instrumental in my self-discovery this summer has been a book that my friend recommended for me…Simplicity Parenting. I’m only halfway through but I can already say, it is highly worth the read.

 

 

Mr. Aksel Turns 3 – On Letting Go of Birthday Expectations

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.  – Voltaire

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.  – William Barclay

I still haven’t forgiven myself for failing to have my hospital bags packed when I was a week over due. The irony is that, though my bags were not packed, my homework for the next two weeks was complete ahead of time. But my bags were not packed, and if they had been I would have missed Mr. Aksel being born on that infamous first day that people like to attempt to fool one another one. Alas…

And now it has been three years. Three years and finally most days bring more smiles than they bring tears. And while he still is a challenging child, speech delay and all, I finally feel like we are getting there. Like I can handle each day and not need to talk to a therapist at the end of each day.

But another year older bring another years party…and parties have proven to be all but disastrous for Mr. Aksel. I can’t remember one of his birthdays that have been “fun” or “cute” or anything that you would generally imagine.

Of course, year one he put the candle out with his fingers – and didn’t cry – I should have realized then he had sensory problems 😉

Year two, I can only remember thinking…let’s get this thing over with.

When your child, the birthday star, is clinging to you and fussing through his entire birthday, too overwhelmed to even eat his cake, and dis-interested in opening his own presents you start to wonder if having a party is even worth it.

It is sort of one more thing that I’ve grieved over this boy-I-never-wanted, but the boy-who-God-knew-I-needed.

So I won’t have all of the instagram and Pinterest worthy pictures that every other mommy posts.

So I won’t get to make my daughter’s day planning and decorating for a party (she on the other hand, thrives on parties).

No cute pics. No cute decorations.

I’ll tell ya, you definitely get some weird looks when you tell your family and friends that you are not having a birthday party for your own child.

But guess what?

We didn’t have a party.

And it was the best birthday that little boy every had!

All day smiles and all day celebration.

Ellie and daddy went to the store and got him balloons and a sister-present before breakfast.

He opened his presents from us, played with them, and ran around with his balloons most of the day.

Grandparents and his Aunt stopped by throughout the day to give him a gift and wish him happy birthday.

And we ended the day with cupcakes and candles and singing happy birthday.

Because even though you may think that society expects you to have a party and that is just what you do if you are a good parent – sometimes, it is just not true. And while you yourself may grieve the fact that your baby boy just does not like crowds, and noise, and parties and all the pictures and planning that go along with them…you may be surprised to find out that you like a no-party birthday after all.

Because every child is different. And every child needs different things.

This idea is the whole reason why I began studying child development and chose my career path anyways.

God made them all, but He made them all different too.

And what’s good for one is bad for another. And in learning about your own child you will learn a lot about yourself.

And so Mr.Aksel…I hope that you remember this day – your third birthday. Or at least the feeling of joy that we saw on your face. What a long way you have come! Like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon as a butterfly – finally prepared to face the world in a beautiful way, independent and with emerging confidence.

I pray that you take this gift of life that God gave you and live it well. I pray that along the road He takes you down you will come to understand yourself, and realize your purpose in this world. We are so lucky to have you in our lives…mom, dad and Ellie, you have taught us so many things. And because of you we have realized that it is okay to let go…and now we understand what is truly important in this life. The little things.

 

For me, to live.

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Sometimes I feel as if I am just barely keeping my head above the water.

I feel as if I am completely unequipped to handle my life.

Two kids – and here I am feeling all guilty because I really don’t know if I can ever have anymore and make it while also feeling like a terrible person for being almost completely unwilling to be pregnant again. All the while feeling completely overwhelmed with the life that having even two kids creates. The health issues, the growing four year old attitude, the exhausting fiery personalities, the speech delays, the discipline, the schedules, the laundry, the cooking, the trying-to-go-grocery shopping…the baths, the potty-training, the constantly applying Nantucket Spider Bug Spray.

The decisions- what to do, and when to do it and why to do it. And are you sure that you should do it? But what if this happens instead, what do you do then? And where and why and how all over again. Then the doubt. Oh doubt…

There are so many things. Relationships. Career choices. Friendships. Family. Life.

Life.

Maybe it’s just that I am home for the summer. I sometimes wonder if I am just a better person all together when I am working. But then the guilt sets in and I feel like a terrible mother for even thinking that.

I feel like I am in an endless cycle of waking up, Mr. Aksel waking up ten seconds later and screaching “Mummmmmmaaaaaaaaa”, fighting with my four year old about what to have for breakfast while my two year old is repetitively whining “can-cakes, ‘ausage” and proceeding to scream when I tell him we are having raisin toast.

And I just wonder.

Am I doing something wrong? Am I the only one who wakes up and winds up arguing with my children, even though I began the day with such resolve to be a calm, patient mother who blinks and magically calms her children and bends their will to hers.

It’s just exhausting, you know?

Proceed to finish breakfast when the children run off with sticky hands, drifting them all over your walls and kitchen cabinets as they gleefully run away from you. And before you know it you are wrestling trains and Elsa Barbies from their hands and half carrying them half dragging them up the stairs to brush their teeth and twist some clean clothes on – all the while hoping that you didn’t put someone’s pants on backwards.

And you spend the rest of the morning coaxing them to drink their water.

And there is no joy.

Because as soon as you collect your thoughts and resolve yet again to be a happy, calm person, you hear a fight break out.

And suddenly your life becomes some sort of raging tumult that resembles both screaming fans at a country concert and the crashing and banging of cars at a demolition derby.

So instead of enjoying playing with the trains, you are swiftly plucking them from sticky-again hands before they become catapult ammunition.

And I just wonder.

Why? Why me? Why can’t I have easy going kids? Or is it me? Did I make them like this?

So on a whim in an effort to calm the screaming-demolition-craziness you half begging half bribe them to go outside with you and play. Which is all happy and jolly until someone gets sand stuck between their toes, and the chickens start clucking and the four year old causes the two year old to believe that impending doom is near because the chicken are doing their scared cluck…so Armageddon is near! And everyone is running screaming and crying or semi-evily laughing back into the house and you are just standing there with weeds in your hand wondering….will I ever get anything accomplished EVER in my life?

Before you know it lunch is upon you. And you must know how this goes. It’s like a portal to another dimension – the window of opportunity for lunch time only lasts for a specific amount of time. Miss it – your toast. Try it too soon – you’re still toast.

So you end up bribing little Miss with a penny if she just sits down and eats her Annie’s Shells & Cheddar. And Mr. Aksel ends up sitting on you, spilling his milk down your shorts because  you bumped elbows as you were trying to shovel  your own food into your own mouth while simultaneously giving him a bite of his macaroni. I mean, he’s not going to insist upon sitting with me when he it ten, right? And by insist I mean scream and shout and throw his food and flat out refuse to eat. I can’t wait to tell his girlfriend about his childhood…

And finally, FINALLY rest time is here!

A half an hour, maybe longer if you’re lucky.

But instead of taking a nap or reading a book, there I am. At the computer. Working away on grad-school assignments in record time. I love school. But I’m not going to pretend…it’s downright hard when you have kids. Sometimes I look at other people, and I wish my life was like theirs. Two kids is hard.Two kids and grad-school is like climbing Mt. Everest. I guess we all have things we are called to do, and God allowed grad-school to call my name. So homework during rest time it it.

On a good day, Mr. Aksel wakes up happy as a lark.

Those days are few and far between.

Like maybe once in a blue moon (do we even have those?)

Most of the time when he wakes up from a nap he resembles a mummy emerging from a stasis-pod that he has been in for 20 million years.

If I could, I’d be on Mars.

But I can’t, because I’m his mother, and someone has to help the grumpy mummy.

The short end of the straw.

So then we enter the post-nap phase which is comprised of fussing and whining and trying to crawl inside my skin because I just love mom so much and want her to take away all of my post-nap woes. And I want a cookie, but I don’t want a cookie, and I want a banana, but not that banana…on and on and on.

Until suddenly a switch flips.

Was it something I said? Something that I did?

Am I the only one with kids like this?!

And off he goes, running with his excavator in one hand and green blanket in another to join his sister.

But little Miss is NOT okay with this, because she has happily been playing peacefully without him and really, if you were her would you want some clumsy two year old brother stumbling into the playroom and knocking over your train bridge?

Nope. Not me.

Take another nap, Bud.

So that screaming concert demolition derby thing starts happening all over again.

Sometimes I just get so tired of being a referee that I just stop.

Barely keeping my head above the water.

On top of all the other demands of life. On top of all the stresses that life brings. On top of all the things that need doing…sometimes it just all seems like too much. Too much.

And I just can’t help but wonder…why? Why me?

There I am again. Fighting through dinner time. Because Mr. Aksel is going through this phase where we won’t eat unless he is sitting with me.

And that alone brings so much stress. Am I doing this wrong? Should I just not let him sit with me? But then he won’t eat? People must think I am an awful parent – letting my two year old win the battle.They must think that I’ve allowed him to be like this, that somehow, it is all my fault.

But he’s not going to sit with me forever. So for now, let’s just get through dinner.

After dinner is probably the best part of the day. For some reason every one is generally very calm.

Maybe they just got tired from the drama of the day.

Until bed time. And I literally have to say to myself over and over…be patient, be patient, be patient.

The trying to brush teeth and floss but he just spit his toothpaste out on my face! And she took my blanket and put it on her bed. And I don’t want my diaper but I don’t want to use the toilet, and not those pajamas I really just have to have the ones that are in the washing machine!

And the thousand and one kisses that I love to give but really, who has energy for a thousand kisses? Mr. Aksel, that’s who. Because mommy, I just want to be awake with you forever.

And little Miss who likes to relive the entire day just as you are about the walk out her bedroom door. And yes, it’s just easier to pretend to listen as you rattle off the post-bedtime to do list in you head.

Just keeping my head above the water.

Or can my feet really actually touch the bottom?

Maybe I’ve had it wrong this whole time.

Perhaps instead of floating along struggling to keep my head up, the bottom has been there all along.

Yet I’ve allowed my perspective to overwhelm me and failed to see the truth that all I needed to to was stretch out my legs and sink my feet into the sandy bottom of water that is actually calm, but became rough when I began to struggle in my effort to survive.

 

Wilt the seeds of wanting more
Rippin’ pride out by the roots
And if I’m still, let me hear You speak
Not the tone of my transgressions,
But the song of the Redeemed

Because perspective can make or break life. And wanting more than the life you have is a dangerous path to travel. Sometimes you just need to be still, and in those moments allow your spirit to be refreshed by the simple fact that no matter how awful your day was, not matter how much you struggled as a mother, the song that is your life is one of redemption.

My great desire is to be with You
But this is the place you chose for me
This is the place you chose for me
To lift my cross and give everything
This is the time you gave to me
This is the time you gave to me

Because let’s face it, heaven would be amazing. I don’t think it is possible for my kids to fight with each other there. But there is a time for everything. And now is my time to be a mother. And even when I feel completely unequipped and unworthy…this is place He chose for me. No matter how exhausting, how messy, how stressful and overwhelming.

This is the time He gave to me.

I’ll never be the same, I’ll never be the same
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain

So let my dreams of perfect parenting die as I strive to pour my heart and soul into the life that He designed for me and the time He has given me to live.

Yep, that’s me.

I just stuck out my legs and my feet hit bottom.

I’m not struggling to keep my head above water.

I’m living.

 

 

Superheros and Villains: In Which I Consider Good vs. Evil and How To Explain It To A Four-Year-Old

“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson

While watching the Bruins game with Klayton the other night a commercial for the new ‘Batman vs. Superman’ came on. 

Really? Come on.

I just find this whole notion completely ridiculous.

Superman is a hero. A super-hero. Literally, the definition of a superhero is ‘a very heroic person’. It implies all of the things that we secretly wish we could be – brave, strong, amazing, possessing supernatural powers, full of never-ending goodness, and a life-long devotion to protect the weak.

Superman can’t be evil.

He is a superhero. He is good.

This is like saying that a red car is blue, and continuing to insist that it is blue when it is really red.

I will never willingly watch this movie. The whole notion is absurd.

But I haven’t been able to get this whole topic of good and evil out of my head.

Good and evil surround us every day.

The other day in Hannaford’s we had the unfortunate experience of not getting one of the three Race Car shopping carts that both fit and entertain Ellie and Kreade. So, Kreade ended up riding solo in the ‘old fashioned’ shopping cart while Ellie had to tag along beside me. Ellie is a very cautious child, and she almost always follows the rules to a perfect T. She helped me fill the cart with bananas, lettuce, carrots, rice, and all of the other things that we needed. What a helpful little dear. But as we were nearing the end of one aisle and preparing to move on the the next she ran ahead of me, out of the aisle, and into the great unknown beyond the reach of my hand.

I had a moment of panic.

Yes, we live in a small town. But you just never know. 

You never know if the other people in the grocery store are truly good, or truly evil. And while you certainly hope and pray that they are all truly good, you really just never know…there could always be that one who is truly evil.

Good and evil surround us every day.

With Ellie now holding on the the shopping cart, and my mind racing all I can think is: how do you explain to a four year old that not everyone in the world is good?

Parenting is hard. It is really very hard. You never think about all of these conversations that you will have to have with your children when you are holding their sweet, tiny bodies in the hospital.

You are responsible for your child’s perception of the world around them. You are responsible for the way that they view people. Their mind is yours, and the stories that you write in it will be with them forever.

Of course, you could simply just avoid these conversations with the age-old “I told you so.” Why can’t I run three aisles down from you?” “Because I told you so.”

But they never really understand.

And as my college professor always said  “they’re short, not stupid”. They will know that you aren’t being honest with them.

We have the opportunity to take these moments up, and not let them pass us by. We have the opportunity to teach our children, and begin to shape and form their hearts.

Yes, parenting is the greatest adventure of them all.

The greatest and the most difficult.

But what do you say?

What a difficult balance between instilling a sense of caution without causing fear. So I do my best to explain to my four year old darling that not everyone in the world has her best interest at heart. Not everyone can be trusted – and some people might even hurt you. So it is very important to stay with mommy so that she can make sure you are safe.

Kids don’t need to be lied to. They need to understand. And the lesson of good and evil begins when they are young – though I wish it didn’t have to be so at all.

But I don’t want to leave her with the caution only. I also want her to be confident. Most people are good. Most people can be trusted. You can smile at people. You can say “hello”. And so much of teaching children to distinguish between good and evil is to talk about things constantly. Teach them to identify good – acts of kindness, reaching out to the shy kid at preschool, staying with mommy in the grocery store. If they know what good is, they won’t have to wonder what evil is.

Give them the confidence to know what good is, and then to go out into the world and BE good.

Because good and evil are everywhere. We cannot escape the darkness that tries to surround. The fear sits there, like eyes peering at you out of the shadows. And your heart begins to ache with the burden of protecting your children from this. From anything that could take the form of evil.

And you fear.

How do you really teach your baby that the world is full of anything less than good?

Because it’s not. And this is our reality.

So, my dear Ellie and Kreade, I want you to know that this world is full of evil. It is full of things that can harm you. Full of people who are anything but good. It is full of heartbreak and heartache and pain. It is a world that is broken, angry, and selfish. And evil is almost everywhere you turn.

I want you to know that evil is there.

But in knowing this, don’t let fear fill your heart.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Because as long as evil exists in this world, good exists too. You can’t have one without the other.

So, my beautiful babies, I want you to go out into the world and BE good.

This is what God calls us to do in the face of evil. Not to fear. Not to hide. Not to be swallowed up in wishing that evil does not exist.

Overcome evil with good.

Fight for truth and justice.

Though I wish I could always be there to protect you, an imposibility this remains. But God is. Trust your heart.

And always know that I love you more than anything.

And yet He loves you so much more.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Letting Go: Thank God For Doctors

“The life so short, the craft so long to learn. ” ― Hippocrates

 “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

These days, I feel like I half live at the doctors office or hospital. I think since December it has been round after round of doctors, referrals, specialists, lab-work… And just when you get a month of perfect health…it all goes down hill again. Sometimes I wonder why they can’t just get a normal cold…instead it’s seizures and severe respiratory infections and blood in those bodily excretions that we like to just quickly flush away…

But not me. Nope. I’m the lucky one that got to get up-close-and-personal with what Ellie now calls “poop nast”. Yep…it all started one Saturday when she spiked a low fever, leaving us wondering if she had experienced one of her elusive seizures. And then the poop started coming…uncontrollably. So of course you have to look at it, since you’re scrubbing it off the floor and off her legs. And after it happens a couple of times you notice the blood…and all I could think was, great, another ER trip. But our doctor is awesome and advised us to just see her first thing on Monday. Which of course was a whole round of labs and stool samples and referrals. Which is really awesome when you have a needle-shy three year old who has experienced more needles and tests than most kiddos her age.

Which leaves me grateful for the access that we have to industry-leading healthcare professionals…and the appointment that we got a week later. At which point you keep looking at poop, which really doesn’t stop coming, looking for any little unexpected thing and trying to memorize what each poop looks like so that you can be prepared to offer a description for the specialist when you meet with them. And it just smells so good. And then, you get home from work one day, put your one year old down for a nap with a runny nose, and he wakes up wheezing. Great. Great, great, great. So you’re on the phone with the on-call doctor, a process you are all too familiar with, trying to ease the troubled breathing and freaking out trying to decide if the ER is appropriate or not. Meanwhile the three year old is still pooping – uncontrollably. Our poor babysitter.

You avoid the ER by the skin of your teeth again, the second time in one week, and see the doctor again the first thing the next morning. At this point, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been to this place. Really, I should get my own parking spot. It’s probably croup or RSV…we get a steroid and are reminded about the benefits of steam. At which point we meet with the specialist and end up waiting so…so…so long for an x-ray. Could be this, could be that. And I’m so glad that I’m not in gastroenterology – which I just shorten to “poop doctor” – I just can’t imagine doing that for a job/ But I’m thankful that someone does! Two days later, the three year old is still pooping but also freaking out every time her one year old brother coughs because it just sounds so doggishly weird. And he just doesn’t seem better. So a last minute call to the doctor who hears him breathing while I’m talking to her on the phone and you hear those words that really make you want to panic “You need to take him to the ER NOW”.

All I can say is thank God that people are where they are when they’re meant to be there. And we were able to leave the pooping one and head on out.

And it’s never a good feeling when you walk into the ER and there are three nurses and two doctors surrounding your one year old within a minute of being admitted.

Because no matter how hard you try…you can’t be perfect. And you can’t protect your kids from everything…no matter how hard you try. So you just feel so…bad. Like  you should. You should be perfect. You should be able to prevent this. You should do better.

After a long time trying to get oxygen levels to where they need to be, the restrictions had stopped and poor little guy is finally breathing better. But still, it’s safer to just admit him for monitoring. Sleeping in that hospital, I had flashbacks of this little guys cranky, colicky start to life. And here he is now…lying in that huge metal hospital crib. Alive. And he finally spends more time during a day smiling than crying. You finally see your way through one trying season when you fall into this unexpected sea of sickness. And you feel like you’re kind of just floating along, keeping your head above water – but barely.

So you float along through follow ups, and never-ending phone calls. Until finally it gets so bad that the nurses know your voice and basically your kids whole life stories when you call the doctors office – which I suppose is nice because you don’t have to go through the whole spiel of first and last name, phone number, date of birth, bla bla bla.

And finally! The school year is over, and you didn’t use up all of your sick time, miraculously! And everyone seems to be getting better!

But seriously, things seem to come in waves.

While one is up trying to poop at three o’clock in the morning…er, night. The other one wakes up with a fever of 104, vomitting, and diarrhea.

Here we go again.

We were at the doctors three days in a row, plus one night in the ER.

Poor little guy was up several times a night. And now they were both pooping. For different reasons of course. But poop is poop and really…it’s just poopy. But when you combine it with puke and fevers it’s basically quite unbearable.Sick kids are the worst. Geeze, at this point maybe just kids are the worst. But when they’re sick you secretly just wish that they could go back to being that twinkle in your eye. At least until they are better. So here we go on more rounds of lab-work and stool samples. Until you get a call from the pediatrician at the hospital on Sunday. Sunday?

Your son has Salmonella.

What?!

Well, I guess that explains why he is STILL pooping. Like twelve times a day.

Seriosuly. I am so.sick.of.poop.

And how in the world did he get Salmonella?!

At which point you begin to question whether or not you have any basic parenting skills. You feel so far from perfect at this point that you could cry. Or just eat a ton of chocolate cake. Or maybe both. And then you feel guilty. Something you did, or forgot to do, resulted in that horrific puke/diarrhea/fever experience that you just want to forget.

And you kind of just feel like you suck. You should be able to take care of  your kid and prevent something horrible like Salmonella.

But the truth is, you can’t. And the truth is, you’re not perfect. And you never will be.

If I have learned anything from this marathon experience with doctors and hospitals it’s that you can’t protect your children from everything.

And sometimes that’s okay. Because God has a hand in it all. And he has given people a passion to care for us when we are sick. He has given some people a passion to spend years of their life in order to learn how to help people breathe. And he has given some people a passion for poop. And I’m thankful for all of them, and the years of their lives that they have spent studying and learning and caring…so that when I’m not perfect, they can step in to help.

And when you feel like you’re still floating along, and you can’t keep your head above the water any longer…it’s then that you come to the end of yourself and are willing to just grab a hold of that life-raft He throws. And it’s then, maybe at three o’clock in the morning when you’re watching Little Einsteins,cleaning up puke and poop that you realize that you’re not meant to do it all…and the peace that passes all understanding fills your heart and mind.

And you know that no matter how many mistakes you make, or how many more hospital experiences you have, it’s all going to be okay.

Thank God.

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I Believe HE is Peace

“He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own. ” 
― Aesop

“A man far oftener appears to have a decided character from persistently following his temperament than from persistently following his principles.” 
― Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human

 

 
Last week, around this time, I was packing up my hopsital bags and loading our newborn son into his carseat. Two weeks into my latest college course, a two year old waiting at home, a newborn, and the warm spring air making my anxious to get outside…nothing could have prepared me for the past week. I don’t do well with change as it is, and who can really have any expectations when it comes to newborns? They are so unpredictable…which makes me more anxious. On top of it all Ellie and I have had a lingering cold and cough, which really has just made the both of us miserable and irritable. And then Baby Brother started his fantastic projectile spit up. And I don’t mean just a little bit of spit up, it was nearly enough to fill a bathroom size dixie cup. As Ellie say, ‘that’s yucky.” The whole spit up thing was totally new for us; Ellie never spit up and never needed to be burped. She was pretty much an angelic child; which was great because if she wasn’t I would NEVER have had another one. Well, the freaky spit up thing turned into Baby Brother losing eleven ounces in three days. Yikes! It’s not a good feeling when an already tiny baby is losing weight he can’t really afford to lose and then is spitting up the stuff that should be helping him gain weight. So yeah, it’s been a crazy week. On the phone with doctors, trying to figure out what’s gonna work for him, helping a two year old adjust to having another little person around, DYING to get outside because it’s finally nice out but being too sore to move…yep. Not exactly my “happy version” of life. But the good news is, Baby Brother is here and I’m not pregnant anymore.
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Kreade Aksel aka “Baby Brother”. While it may not be a common or conventional name it holds so much meaning and serves as a reminder of some important themes. Kreade means “a guiding principle or belief’ and Aksel means “peace; the Father is peace”. I hope and pray that the meaning behind his name serves as a reminder of the important things in life, and the fact that our peace is found not in and of ourselves, but only in the God the Father. And in a world that tends to compromise principles and form shaky beliefs I pray that he chooses to be guided by the only belief that matters: belief in Jesus as the one and only being capable of saving us from and forgiving our sins. 
 
Because what else matters? We can have principles galore, but if they are not founded in something that matters, that is real and true, are they really principles? A creed gives us guidance and helps to focus our lives. The Bible is full of them, and they really are so inspiring. 
1 Cor. 8:6:      yet for us there is one God, the Father,
                 from whom are all things and for whom we
                 exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through
                 whom are all things and through whom we
                 exist.
Deut. 6:4:       Hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD
                 alone.

Matt. 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
These are the principles on which my life is founded. And it is my greatest prayer that both Ellie and Kreade grow to live their lives in accordance with these principles and beliefs as well. There is no greater purpose in life than to know and love God, to choose to live as He would have us live, and to be guided by Him in all that we say and do. It is my hope that Baby Brother’s name serves as a reminder for me, and someday him, of just how important it is to be guided by Godly principles and to place belief in Him. 
 
And these guiding principles and beliefs remind us of who God is. I believe that He is peace. This has been such a theme in my life during the past year. In the midst of all of the craziness of life, the doubt, the unknown, the decisions, I have come to understand that we cannot bring ourselves to a place of peace. It is not a physical state of being: there may never be a time when everything is perfect, happy, and “peaceful”. The world offers an illusion of peace as being achieved through doing and having. Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is only one source of true and lasting peace, and that is through the Father alone. This peace is found in a state of mind and in a heart that trusts in beliefs that guide and shape. It is sustained throughout difficult situations, throughout trial and triumph because it is provided by the eternal source of peace. 
 
I pray that Kreade places his trust in the One true God who alone can provide for him this peace. I pray the same for Ellie, and find comfort in knowing however God chooses to use their lives He will also provide peace whatever the circumstances. 
 
So here we are. One crazy week later. With a greater appreciation for the Father of peace who has sustained us through this transition, and who will continue to sustain, and a rekindled desire to build our lives upon His principles. 
 
And so, Ellie and Kreade…while your names may not be common they are filled with meaning. I hope that you come to fully realize these meanings personally and to allow them to inspire your life. 
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