Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sweet bedtime memories.

As we were walking to the bedroom last night my Man of the woods asked if maybe Daddy could cuddle with little brother so I could cuddle with him.  I wasn't going to pass on a request for cuddles.

It was my turn to tell the bedtime story so I talked of grey skies, the Son having time alone to speak with His Father, rough waters, Peter walking on the seas.  The moral of my story wasn't keep your eyes on Jesus, but that even Jesus needed to have quiet time to talk with God.  From there we went to our nightly prayers.  This night was different.  We all prayed that was normal.  This night we spent minutes not seconds thanking Jesus for the big and small things in our day with short sentences.  I'm not sure my Man of the woods wanted it to end.  I'm not sure any of us wanted it to end.  It was beautiful to hear my men talk to Jesus with excitement.  That is pure Joy.

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
~ Psalm 54:2

726.  Man of the woods asking, "Momma do you know how much I love you?"
727.  Popcorn Thank You Jesus' at bedtime as a family.
728.  A crown of curls for my Man of the woods. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fleeting days

My Strong man was trying to clean the drain to the tub yesterday, but once again forgot that he's not human like the rest of us, and over used his giant sized strength, ending in some broken pipes.  Oops! (Actually I love his strength, and usually end up smiling over the broken pieces.)

Today as our plumber has been replacing the pipes the boys and I have been cooling off in the yard.  At one point our handy man stopped and said, "My little boys are 25 and 29.  It seems like just yesterday they were that size.  It's true what they say, they grow up fast."

He's right, I know.  It won't be long before my boys are grown men.  When sticks, bugs and Momma are not on the top of there fun list.

I know someday soon there going to take that leap into life without me by there side.

I know someday I won't be the one receiving the flowers picked by those boy hands.

Until then I'm going to enjoy them and soak in each minute of there boyness; bug bites, bruises, fat lips and all.
Together we will savor the simple pleasures of life.

We'll embrace the messiness too.

I'll join in the fun, even if it's a tight squeeze.

I will do my best to capture the moments.

I will see each day as gift to be cherished.  I am blessed to be called Momma by these two boy men.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
~ Psalm 127:3

716.  Man of the woods excitement over fruit salad.
717.  Little fingers running through my hair at bedtime.
718.  Strangers smiling at my playful boys.
719.  Strong man scrubbing house beside me.
720.  Handpicked rose from my handy Mom.
721.  Little boy kisses begging me to get out of bed in the early morning hours. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 3

The thoughts of cutting have past.  Anger and uncontrollable shakes have left this broken body of mine.  Smiles and laughter have returned, along with the enjoyment of little boy lives.  The in and out of daily life just seems normal rather then the unbearable task that it was.

As night comes and lights go out it seems that an uncontrollable IV of adrenaline has been inserted into my life veins.  My nights drag on as every few minutes I have to manually calm the body back into sleep only to wake and do it again.  Maybe in a short time these nights will pass into restful sleep.  Only time will tell.  Until then I play the most unwanted game of waiting.

Oh taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
~ Psalm 34:8

710.  Notes of love from my mother across the sea.


Here's a video we showed in our Jr. high VBS program this week.  It got me to thinking.

As I watched this video I was reminded of my young man of the woods that loves to use our couch as a launching pad rather then a place of rest.  This past weekend my Strong man and I were in the kitchen talking when we heard a thump followed by crying.  Sure enough the floor turned out to be harder then my sons head.  After comforting him we pointed out that we ask him not to jump off the furniture because we love him and are trying to protect him from pain. 

Just few hours later as I'm walking by the living room I see a boy flying through the air.  This time landing on his feet rather then his head.  He's ecstatic with how well he landed that jump.  I once again tell him not to jump of the couch because one of these times he's going to get hurt badly.  Off I went for a quick shower...If you're a mother of boys, you know where I'm going with this...About half way through my shower I hear screaming and small feet running to find me.  This time he's bleeding, bit both his upper and lower lip.  Four days later he's still got a big ol' fat lip protruding out of his freckled boy face.

I am so much like this son of mine.  Growing up I always had to learn the hard way.  Just like him I climbed everything and have many scares to show for it.  Still as an adult I have to be intentional about doing what I know is best.  As I deal with this depression my naturally, introverted self wants to just fade away into aloneness.  But that is not how God intended us to function.  First he created man and wife, then parents and children, and then later He compared the church to the body.  If I'm going to overcome this, I need to intentionally be making the right choice.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
~ Ephesians 4:4-6

706.  Bloody lips to teach and remember.
707.  Freedom to make our own choices. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Round three

Here we go again, onto a new medication.  This is that last of the trials.  Basically there are three different categories when it comes to depression medication.  One deals only with the chemical serotonin.  This medication helped my depression but I also had some very strong unwanted side effects.  The next medication we tried dealt with neropinephrine, and this medication deeply exasperated the depression.  Round three is a combination of the first two.  In theory they should offset the side effects of each other all the while helping my mind to relearn how to function normally.  We shall see how things go...

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for Your are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.
~ Psalm 25:5

700.  Time.
704.  Books to read.
705.  Internet, a researching tool.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baking with Laughter

Today my Strong man and young man of the woods are fishing.  They are completely in there element.  So I wanted to make the day a little extra special for my Son of laughter here at home, who is not yet ready for the stream.  We decided to make a cake, something I never do with this boy because it always gets a bit out of control.  Usually big brother is overwhelmed with the chaos little brother is causing and it ends with tears and frustration and then the boys get kicked out of the ktichen.  So this is a pretty special thing to my young son.

Just as we dumped the first of the ingredients in, my phone rang.  I didn't mind if the sugar was mixed a little more, so I chatted.  Besides it's dry, it's sweepable.  Even if he was using it to make foot prints on the table. 
I learned that mixing is hard job requiring many tools.  We used at least three spoons and every measuring cup out.  At one point a spoon was completely baried in the batter.

Did I mention that a hired handy man was here working.  I got called away from baking for a few minutes.

Somehow he took a whole egg out of the cake mix.  This is when I decided that he needed a bath and my kitchen needed cleaning.

This is memory that will last a life time.  A simple everyday thing going way out of whack.

Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
~ Psalm 51:8

696.  Baking with my son of laughter.
697.  Not becoming overwhelmed or angery at the mess.
698.  Enjoying my son's pleasure.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fully wife.

I had this crazy idea when I first got married that married life would be a lot like having a room mate.  Only a little more intimate.  I thought he would have his job, I would have mine.  We would have our own friends and shared friends.  He would cook some, I would cook some.  We'd be best friends for life and it would be good.  Basically I would still do my thing and he would do his thing.  One of the major problems with this twisted idea was that he was on the other end of of the spectrum.  My strong man thought that we would do everything together.  Wake up together, go to bed together, brush our teeth together, everything together.  As you can imagine it was an interesting first few months of marriage.  Both of us realizing that our fantasies of how married life should be were very wrong.  With each season of life we learn better how to love each other.  We've learned to become quite the parenting team to our boys.  For a while we lead youth group together, then we divided and conquered with our teen ministry.  Once again we're changing.  As he works part time at church and the other part at the law office, my only responsibilities are mothering and being wifey. 

Some days I feel helpless and on the sidelines.  I feel like his world is changing and moving.  All I can do is watch and pray.  At first it saddens me to think that he gets to go and do while I'm here sitting and watching.  I'm a do-er.  Sitting doesn't come natural for me.  Then I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul's words, Pray without ceasing!  I realize again what an honor it is for me to sit before the Creator of the heavens and the earth on behalf of my husband!  I know my Strong man in a way that no other human being will ever know him and I've been called from the beginning of time to be his helper.  To share my husbands burdens, weaknesses, strengths, all that he is with the One who loves us both perfectly.  A huge responsibility, and a gift has been given to me and only me.  That is not a job for one that spends life on the sidelines.  That's what makes me fully wife. 

Some days I really am helpless and on the sidelines.  I can barely get out of my own way, especially with this depression.  Something I cannot control.  Those days I have to rely on his judgement, words of love, and allow him to carry me through.  Honestly how can I expect him to love me as he is required to if I don't show him my breaks and cracks.  Letting him see all that I am, broken and empty, is living my life as fully wife.

I love learning to be a fully his wife. It is taking our relationship to a completely different level of trust, love and communication.  It is good.

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man."  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and the shall become one flesh.
~ Genesis 2:23-24

688.  Laughing late into the night with my Strong man.
689.  Being skunked in Cribbage for the very first time by my Strong man.
691.  Praying for my husband.
692.  Able to trust my husband with my brokenness.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Going public

Since I started blogging about my depression I have found many people who shared with me that they too are walking the same path.  I've found that this depression is opening a door for me to build friendships with others. 

Just the other day I was in a store.  I had to ask for help from one of the workers and as she was helping me she started telling me about her recent heart pain.  After just a few minutes I told her that I fight depression and that one sentence opened up the floodgates for her, and she went deep into her pain to share with me.  In just a few short minutes we had connected.  As she left she turned and asked for a hug giving me then the opportunity to let her know that I would be praying for her.  What a gift!  For a stranger to trust me with her piercing hurt.  What a gift to pray for this lady friend of only a few short minutes.

This conversation got me to thinking, that if I can spend just a few minutes living life with some other beautiful, hurting soul then maybe my blog, which really is just an outlet for me, can give joy to a hurting soul sitting at another computer screen.  I've decided to open my blog up for any and all to see.  As I do this my prayer is that I can just walk a bit with somebody else who fights beside me.  That we can encourage each other. 

God bless all who read my messy thoughts.  God is bigger then any crater that sits before us.

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
~ Isaiah 25:1

677.  Depression opening doors of friendships.
684.  Those who have gone before me checking in to help me along.
685.  Life long friends, more like sisters, who love me at my worst.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Your third Fathers Day.

My strong man, I was going to have pictures showing what a fantastic Daddy you are, but my computer crashed this morning, so I'm out of luck with the pictures, and extremely grateful to you for allowing me to use your computer for a few hours so that I can write.

This time three years ago our tiny man of the woods screamed night and day.  Neither of us slept and there was no joy in this crazy thing called parenting.  I think at the time it was harder on you then me.  Who would have know that our baby would scream night and day for months?  You sacrificed fishing trips just so that I didn't have to endure the screaming alone.  A very large gift that I still cherish as I think of those days and the days now that you stay home with me to endure beside me.  Praise the Lord we have found the joy in parenting our two small men as we learned how to love them.

You are an amazing Daddy, well loved by these boys and this Momma.  It's the simple daily things that you do.  This year the boys and I made a very simple card for you.  When I asked what should be written on it, even though I suggested the standard, "Happy Fathers Day", our three year old said, "Momma you should write something like, Thank you for tucking me into bed."  A small thing that needs to be done each night before bed is adored by your boys.  As you put them to bed each night you are teaching the boys how to men.  They see the extra time you take for them to laugh, tell stories, sing songs, cuddle and pray with them each night.  These nightly rituals are going to be remembered and copied when they become fathers like you.

Thank you for loving our boys the way you do.  It's beautiful to watch and it's a love I as a Momma could never give them.  You do a great job living out Deuteronomy chapter six to our boys. 

I love you.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:5

2.  A husband that prays.
12.  Husband that loves without judgement.
33.  A husband in control when I'm a mess.
74.  Date night.
144.  Strong man doing last minute bed time stuff.
163.  Hubby and I playing with the littles toys while they sleep.
212.  Daddy that takes time for each son.
223.  Hubby that helps just because he loves us.
300.  Husband that makes supper with the boys so I can get housework done without interruption.
446.  Family dinners.
458.  Char's voices.
569.  A strong man to hold me physically and emotionally.
570.  Husband/Daddy that leads us with love.
649.  Little boys giggles as they wrestle with Daddy.
653.  Bedtime cuddles as a family.
656.  Picnic lunches at the park during the lunch hour.
663.  Pizza nights.
674.  Hubby that spends over an hour on the phone trying to get my computer working again.
678.  Man dates with the boys.
679.  Daddy death matches.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Joy in the transition

I've written about a lot of heavy stuff lately, especially as I've begun transitioning onto an mew medication.  Really only a few hours a day are dark.  Most of each day is full of joy as I raise my boys.  Here are some of the highlights for this past week.

Pizza night, it's becoming a weekly tradition.  Everybody loves it, even those who have to eat cheese free pizza.  Momma gets her favorite, green pepper and onion with extra cheese, Daddy usually mixes it up this week it was buffalo chicken with ranch dressing.  The littles love green peppers, chicken, and sausage.

My 1 1/2 year old has decided it's time to use the potty.  I wasn't sure how well this would work for me, thought it might be one more stress...He's doing great!  Really only has accidents if we're out.  He always has to say goodbye when he's done (what he's doing here.).

Lots of bubble were blown and whacked with sticks.

My son of laughter and I had some just us time this week. We worked in the garden.  Some onions were picked and replanted.  Some worms were found and loved maybe a bit to much.

The best though, was the hugging of the "mato" plants.  Actually only this one.  He just loved it.

The first day without rain this week we spent the lunch hour at the park. 

A caterpillar joined us for our picnic lunch.

On the rainy days we spent time in our pj's, watching movies and doing in door stuff. 
A pretty good week if I don't say so myself.  I love these boys.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An add on

I went back and reread yesterday's post.  If you haven't yet read my last post, A day like no other, then this one probably won't make much sense to you.  Here are a few problems I found in how I lived out yesterday.

1.  I looked to logic for help, the logic of my broken mind.
2.  I didn't look for the joy so I couldn't find it when the meltdown hit.
3.  I didn't once open my Bible. 
4.  I didn't talk with Jesus until I was sobbing.

Notice the common theme, here?  I left God out of everything I did.  No good.  It's not enough to know it, I have to practice joy. 

For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
~ Ezra 7:10

655.  My besties loving on me.

A day like no other

Today was like no other day I've seen.  Looking back at today's break down I think that it was because my "safety nets were missing"  Usually I have a husband home for lunch break.  Usually I have play dates to help me stay involved in others and to be refreshed.  If all of the above fails I can always phone a friend.  I have a very good support system of besties and I know I can call any of them to let them know I'm down for no good reason.  I know they'll love me through it. 
Today was different.  Today is Wednesday so my Strong man leaves for work early and isn't able to come home for lunch.  Today, my youngest was gushing greenish, yellowish snot, so home sick we were.  Today, my phone died and both chargers were with my husband.  I was alone.

So like any other day when the time came I went to the bathroom for my five minute break to gain control back until nap time when I could have some rest.  This time was different.  As I've said before it's like a war going on within myself.  Today I was shaking, and I couldn't gain back my control.  The logic kept screaming for me to just do the next thing.  Logic said the way I felt wasn't real, it was just a sickness. 

My body was shaking and I was sobbing.  I just wanted the tension to stop.  I wanted the battle to go away.  I needed rest.  So for a slight minute I thought one of the most horrific things I've ever thought.  The thought crossed through my mind that if I just cut myself.  Not the life taking kind of cut, but if I just was able to release the tension in some other way.  If I could focus on some other hurt in my body then maybe I could deal with this one.  Oh the horror!  I gasped that I could even think such a thing.  I did not give in. 

I did remember that I was able to stop biting my nails by snapping a hair elastic on my wrist when I caught myself biting.  Maybe I could hold myself in line and change the focus enough to move on.  So I put a brand new hair band on my wrist and as I pulled not to hard, I didn't really want to hurt myself, just enough for it to smart.  It broke.  It flew across my bathroom.  That was enough for me to find the joy and move on.

I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking of the few minutes in the bathroom.  My heart began to break for those that really do cut themselves.  Up until today I never understood why somebody would do that to themselves.  Today, I get it.  I'm with you.  Except God is bigger then that.  God's grace is perfect and is waiting for you and me.  Broken people to fall into Him and to trust Him with our pain.  He wants to heal our brokenness.  (If anybody who ever reads my blog struggles with cutting, God is so much bigger, and I get you.  I don't judge you.  I'm broken right beside you.  Jesus came for us broken people.  We're the ones He wants.  Matthew 11:25 says, "...I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.  Infants, that's us, those who don't know how to live life well.)

I have found that when I am transparent with my life, I get through it much faster and don't have to revisit it.  I think in part it's because of those who have gone before me.  They are able to come along side and help me sift through the crap.  They help me see the path, and give me a hand over the bumps. 

I will win this battle of depression.  I will find my joy.  I will fight for it every day.  As I was reminded today, I need to fight for it every minute with every breath that I am.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
~ Matthew 11:28

FYI:  No worries, the doctor is getting a very good account of these foreign thoughts of mine.

650.  Broken hair band
651.  My strong man reminding me that hurting ones self is no worse then punching somebody else.  Sin is sin-destructive.
652.  Bed time cuddles and prayers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gift number 646

As I read my "Joy Bible" I'm amazed at how often darkness comes before the joy.  The grace given for those who stay faithful. 

"They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.  so they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:40-42) 

Did you get that?  I had to let it soak in.  I have read it over and over for three days now.  These men were beaten and then left rejoicing.  They left acting out the Joy they were full of.  They were full of joy after being flogged.  The were full of joy because they were able to suffer for Him.

Some how these thoughts reminded me of Psalm 37.  David is writing and I don't really know any of the back ground to this psalm, but I do know that this man was human and suffered in many ways.  First he followed God when the mightiest men wouldn't dare to fight a giant.  He was then loved by the king and fought beside him in many battles only to end up running for his life because the king's jealousy of his accomplishments.  He spent years living in caves.  Then when he did become king he made a grave mistake that caused war within his own family and lived to see more then one of his children die.  If anybody thinks they have had a messy life, they should read about Davids life.  Because of his mistakes he watched not only his children die, but his nation hurt deeply.  My highlights of his life have only begun to scratch the surfice of what his life was like.  Back to psalm 37.  He starts off saying don't worry because of the evil people around you instead..."Trust in the LORD and do good;  dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it" (Psalm 37:3-5) 

Two years and two months ago I experienced for the first time depression and it was dark.  As I walked through that, begging to feel God's love, I wanted my son to be named laughter.  I love to laugh and during that pregnancy I couldn't.  I couldn't even smile.  I stayed faithful to God and I cultivated my faith.  It was hard work.  Pulling the weeds everyday, still only seeing blackness.  Until the moment my son of laughter entered the world.  He didn't scream like most babies.  He was content.  In just a few short weeks he let out his first laugh and has been full of laughter ever since.  Laughter bubbles out of him in uncontrollable ways.  God gave me the desire of my heart.  Like in Acts the joy followed the flogging. 

As my brain has once again attempted to take me hostage I am fighting for all I am worth.  I defend myself with trust.  I trust in God's faithfulness to keep His Word.  As I randomly read each book of the Bible I see these words:  Joy, thanksgiving, joyful, grace, rejoice, give thanks.  This is what God wants from us and for us.

Today, God showed me that I'm winning this battle against myself.  He showed me that He is faithful and my trust in Him has not gone unseen.  The joy is followed by the flogging.  I received a note from a friend that brought beautiful tears to my eyes.  Gift number 646.  "...I always have a sense of calmness and joy when I have spent time or talked to you." 

Thank you friend for letting God show His love through your words.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
~ Proverbs 3:5-8

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I want to see it in His Words.

Thirty-three pages into her book this is what I read:

"Charis.  Grace.
Eucharisteo.  Thanksgiving.
Chara.  Joy.
A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black.
A threefold cord that might hold a life?  Offer a way up into the fullest life? 
Grace, thanksgiving, joy.  Eucharisteo.
A Greek word...that might make meaning of everything?"
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Really?  Could life, the believers life, be that simple?  As I continued to read her words I pondered this.  Now that I am finished with her book I have continued to ponder.  It sounds so simple and in these three things are all that I want right now as I fight against the hopelessness that my mind is stuck in.  I made a decision.  I am going to read through the Bible, maybe not cover to cover, but book by book, and look for these three things.  I want to see how they fit into God's story.  

Today I found a NASB thin line, chocolate brown and turquoise, cutesy Bible.  I don't want my old thoughts hindering me as I read through again.  I want eyes to see the grace, thanksgiving and joy.  I look forward to meeting God again.  Meeting Him in a different way then I have before.  I look forward to this adventure. 

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  if anyone adds to them, God with add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.  He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly."  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.
~ Revelation 22:18-20

596.  A God that isn't easily offended. 
597.  A Friend that lavishes love and grace.
599.  A begged prayer over months, granted.
600.  A note sent over the computer simply saying I love you.
601.  Two tomato plants waiting for me on my doorstep.
602.  A quick errand done with my lovable three year old.
603.  Man of the woods holding doors for strangers.
604.  Boys remembering manners in public.
605.  New Bible not only the price, translation, and size I hoped for, but super cute.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A four letter word.

I'm trying for the sixth time to lock the well worn entry door.  Already frustrated with how the last half hour has gone.  I now have pretzels covering my living room floor.  Both boys have decided that clothes are pointless and battle to get them on.  Not sure why I fight them since if we ever get out the door they'll be wet in our friends small pool anyway.  My small man is trying to help, stubbing his toe in the process.  Would have had less tears if I had just done it myself...Will this door ever lock?  What is this a dozen tries now?  The boys are who knows where.  I'm hoping in our yard and still dry.  I slam the door and begin trying again.  I know my anger isn't going to help things go any faster.  20 tries, and that's when it happens.  The four letter word slips through these "godly" lips of mine.  Quietly said, so only God and I hear.  Words of the past.  Guilt rushes over me.  What kind of Christian would let that come out?  What kind of Christian would even think such things?  I've been a believer for what almost 20 years, maybe even more.  I've graduated from Bible school and am a former missionary.  I'm married to the Youth Director at church.  Just as quietly as before I pray that the Lord will show me the Joy in all of this...I give up, the door will remain unlocked.

In the car I ask the boys not to talk to me.  It easier that way, less frustration for both Momma and the little boy who is soft spoken.  They can look out the window and listen to the music.  I contemplate my filthy mouth.  Wasn't I just writing about how God loves me with all the trash that I'm full of?  Yes, I was.  It's still true 24 hours later.  Who was offended in that outburst anyway?  It was just me and God.  Did I offend God with my harsh words?  Is He really that small?  No, He's not.  He doesn't care about words.  He cares about my heart, my soul.  I am a broken person doing all that I can to love Him more and more each day.  I fight to give Him thanks even though my broken mind says all is hopeless.  I don't think He's the least bit offended at my words.  He wants me to be my raw self with Him.  He wants me to let Him into my deepest, dirtiest places.  He wants to clean with love and grace.  Isn't that His way?  He didn't destroy the people He created, He sent His son to take the punishment for them.  To show His love and grace.

Where's the joy?  The joy is having a Friend that isn't easily offended.  The joy is having a Friend that gives me a big hug of love and grace when I'm having a hard few minutes. As we drive I find more of His strength.  Not the strength He gives to me, but the strength of His never ending love. 

My man of the woods and I at the same moment notice a turtle on the side of the road.  I try to pull over, but there's to much traffic.  Thank you Lord for the turtle.  A rough morning melts away as we chat about that small animal.  I find a morning full of excitement and wonder at God's creation.

A lesson learned from a worn out lock.  A love better understood.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
~ John 3:16

The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.  He will exult over you with joy.  He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
~ Zephaniah 3:17

581.  Friend, more like a sister, who calls to say I love you.
582.  A sticky lock to teach me.
583.  A Love I've barely begun to understand.
584.  A turtle to bring excitement.
585.  A turtle to help me find the joy.
586.  Reconnecting with friends.
587.  A gift of a tank top.
588.  One year old arms wrapped around my neck.
589.  Three year old in tears learning to grow.
590.  The mention of bubbles brings uncontainable joy to the littles.
591.  Bubbles carelessly floating on the wind.
592.  Boys trying with all there might to catch a bubble.
593.  Beef stew and relaxed evening with friends.
594.  Strong man who gives me the night off of the bed time ritual.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Warring for Joy

Warring with oneself is exhausting.  Every minute I fight the battle to see and feel the Joy.  It's as if I'm watching a tug of war contest within my own self.  I can almost physically feel the pull for joy and then the pull for darkness.  Joy.  Darkness.  Joy.  Darkness.  Joy.  Darkness...I need a break; a retreat.

I run to the bathroom.  I sit on the tub's edge only to say, "Lord I know you are enough. Like Paul who was in prison fighting, himself, for perfect joy I know that You can get me through this."

A knock at the door, my oldest needs to pee. Didn't he just do that? Oh well it is enough. To know that this battle against these destroying emotions of lies will be overcome with Joy. God is enough. If He could give Paul joy he can surely give this simple Momma joy. 

He is enough.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
~ Matthew 11:28

568. Happy, joyful boys even though I'm fighting tears.
569. A strong man to hold me physically and emotionally.
570. Husband that leads with love.
571. Songs of praise to clean my soul.
572. A Maker that gives me rest.

As you've noticed, I'm sure by now, I'm an Ann Voskamp fan.  Today's post When you're looking for patches of light encouraged me.  I recomend you check it out if you haven't already.

Beautiful Dirt

Dirt.  A constant fight.

A losing battle when it comes to boys.  I consider it a success if they are clean 10 minutes after bath time.

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

The Maker of the heavens and the earth, the One who knows nothing greater then Himself, used dirt to make man.  He spoke the rest of creation into being, but man the highest of all else created, made in His image, the Maker used dirt to create.

Just as dirt brings joy to little boys.  Dirt brings joy to my Creator.

I am a dirty, messy person.  On both the inside and the out I'm filthy.  Yet I am loved, pursued even by my Maker who doesn't mind a little dirt. 

The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love;  Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. ~ Jeremiah 31:3 

563.  Husband sacrificing shower so I can sip coffee in quiet.
564.  Friends who call.
565.  A creator that lavishes love on me.
566.  Examples to follow.
567.  Dirt

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New medication

According to the Doc. we just need to use the medicine to get my brain retrained to produce the correct chemicals.  The only problem, my body may not react well to certain medications.  Trial and error are the only ways to figure out what works.  So we spent the last six weeks on medication number one.  It worked well actually.  My Doctor thought if we slightly raised the dosage then I'd be back to my old self in no time.  Of course this medication had some unwanted side effects and if we increased the dosage then we would also increase the side effects.  On Monday I started a new medication.  This one like the last will take four to six weeks before we can fully see the effects and know if it's a good fit for me.  Until then I'm back to being an emotional roller coaster.

Some days I wish I could go back to my last pregnancy and spend nine months hooked up to an IV vomiting every few minutes so I could never have known this grey cloud.  I wouldn't have to have it over my shoulder for the rest of my life never knowing when my brain would reset itself to depression.  Back then things were worse then they are now.  Life was black.  I knew God loved me, and I knew nothing could separate me from that love and yet I was surrounded by blackness.  I couldn't feel, see or hear.  My head told said there was hope, but I found nothing to hold onto so I could be rescued from the darkness...If I really could go back and change the choices I made to go on medication I wouldn't.  Even with all the blackness I would never leave my daily life with my sweet man of the woods to live attached to some fluids.  I would do it again for the sake of building into my little boy. 

This transition is hard.  I had a fantastic morning with friends, and before that with the boys as we played on the living room floor.  Yet the afternoon was a battle to fight for joy.  By bed tonight I spent at least an hour crying for no reason other then I had to stop fighting in order to sleep.  By letting go the tears took over.  Even with the tears there was no rest.  Once I realized I couldn't hold back an longer I hoped that at least I'd fall into that peaceful sleep after a good cry, but no luck.  I think this week in some ways is harder then before I started this whole medication process because I've tasted the honey.  Just days ago I was able to look ahead and dream of the future.  I was able to rest.  I remembered what life was like without the cloud.  I over flowed with joy just from a smile on my sweet boys face.  Those things that beg to be enjoyed I'm fight with all that I am not to be angry or overwhelmed by.

I'm even more determined to remember the little joys given to me each day.

545.  Five soaking wet boys on a hot summer day.
547.  Little boy who lugs puppy everywhere becoming my buddy.
548.  A seven year old who adopted my sons as little brothers.
549.  Summer days with spontaneous play dates.
551.  An encouraged husband.
552.  An unexpected gift to spoil my family.
553.  Giving the boys shoulder rides as we walk.
554.  Lollipops at bath time.
555.  Two little boys wanting my lap.
556.  Sharing onion rings with my son of laughter.
557.  Little boys not content to go to bed until they have a super kiss, and Eskimo kiss, and a soft kiss.
558.  Words of encouragement from my strong man.
559.  Summer night thunderstorms.

The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
~ Lamentations 3:22-25

Living Life--Age Appropriate

My three year old and I had a late night conversation about the size of the Moon last week.  Last night he was telling his Daddy how big the moon really was.  I had no idea he was truly awake for that conversation!  He's much smarter then I give him credit for.  Scripture tells us as parents to use life to teach our children.  That's why we've decided that we'll talk about anything with our kids.  At two I took my tender spirited son to my sisters grave.  He began to process and understand death.  Words such as, sin, respect, disobedience, responsibility, consequences, free will are all included in our boys vocabulary.  Even my one year old understands most of these words.

So as I struggle with my depression I talk with the boys about why Mommy is sad or having a hard day.  This week the topic has come up again as I'm trying a new medication.  We talk about how my body forgets to allow me to be happy.  We also talk about how just because Mommy's feeling badly I still have a responsibility to show respect and love to other people.  We as a family need to work through this.  The boys watch me as I go through my highs and my lows and we talk about it.

Our goal in living life with our boys is for them to learn to work things out on there own and to understand that hard situations are just apart of life there is no way to get away from them, but we can control how we deal with them.  Once again most of all we want the boys to watch God lead us, and protect us as He always does.

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation."  Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. 
~ Isaiah 12:2-3

486.  Late night talks with my three year old.
487.  Moon reflects the sun like a mirror.
488.  Being "followed" by the moon.
534.  Man of the woods asking if I will be his Mommy forever.
535.  Drawing chalk on the driveway.
537.  The information a three year old mind retains.
538.  A husband to admire.
539.  A God to find my place in.
540.  A God who says no to my requests.
546.  A God who knows what I need before I do.
550.  A God who always keeps His promises.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An unexpected retreat

A week ago I received an email from some very dear friends asking us if we'd be willing to animal sit for them.  Of course we were more then willing!  However this was not your normal animal sitting of your friends cat.  This was taking care of 2 dogs, a horse, some chickens, a few pigs, half a dozen cows, and the cat.  We quickly agreed but gave them the disclosure of who knows what there animals will look like when they arrived home. 

Don't be fooled by these pups, they are full of mischief!  At dusk these pups came to the door and one was missing her collar.  The next morning as I watched them play I realized she didn't just loose her collar, but they take each others collars off. 

This is Sarah the horse.  Of the farm animals she was the least favorite of the boys, but I didn't mind.  I spent lots of time talking with her as I fed her.  I think we were friends by the end of the weekend.

This boy loved helping.  Even though he didn't care for Sarah he loved the cows and was more then willing to feed them. 

Of the 17 eggs we collected only two were broken.  Mainly because a one year old loved the chickies and the eggs a little too much.  He couldn't wait for this part of chore time.

My oldest though helped clean the eggs and didn't break a single one. 

I realized just as the first feeding time ended that I really didn't do too much.  I feed Sarah, but mostly took pictures of my three favorite men.  I don't think they minded too much. 

While we took care of these animals my Strong man still had to work, the boys and I went to birthday party for two of our favorite friends, and we still went to church on Sunday morning, but somehow being away from the city noise and taking care of the animals brought us rest.  It was a retreat without truly retreating.  Praise the Lord for the simple things in life.

Three little chicks hatched while we were visiting.

There Momma built a nest in the bird feeder on the deck.  I guess we're not the only ones that find rest here.

We went for walks on the property and did lots of rock hopping. 

I was given stemless flowers full of love.

All in all it was a great weekend!

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. 
~ Genesis 1:31a

467.  Feeding friends animals
468.  Watching my man of the woods feel purposeful.
469.  Simple meal after busy day.
470.  Brothers wrestling as friends.
471.  Son of laughter enjoys having his teeth brushed.
472.  Boys go to bed well in a new place.
473.  HGTV-Relaxing TV as I wait from my Strong man.
474.  Friends who trusts us with there house and animals.
475.  Beautiful view.
476.  Dog missing a collar--quickly found.
477.  Waking to a beautiful view.
478.  Great weather while visiting.
479.  Wonderful worship service.
480.  Vibrant colors of wildflowers along the walking path.
481.  Flower with no stem picked by my youngest son.
482.  Generosity of friends.
483.  Greeting friends as they arrive home.
484.  Farm life for two days.
485.  Car ride talks with my oldest son.

My dearest Dads,

I was sitting in church this past Sunday and while I took part in one of my favorite things, sing songs of praise to the ultimate Father, I couldn't stop thinking about either of you.  I've been trying to post a blog about an unexpected retreat my family had this past weekend, but I decided to put it on hold until I sent you a quick note.  I think maybe I thought so much of you this past Sunday because I used so much of what you both taught me over the weekend.  I stopped and enjoyed the simple, and listened to the birds sing.  I also lived my life on a farm and couldn't stop thinking of the time we were running around the yard trying to catch that bloody chicken that was literally being peeked to death.  You and I were the only ones home and I'm sorry to say I wasn't much help.  I said from that day on I would never own chickens.  Anyway, I'm getting side tracked.

Here's the thing--life, people actually, are messy.  All three of us are messy people.  Having two Dads is not the way God intended the family to function and yet here I am your daughter.  When I think of the three of us I'm am constantly reminded of Romans 8:28, which says, in my own words, that God takes our messiness and uses it for good.  I have found that to be true in my life.  I wouldn't change a thing if I could.  You both molded and shaped me in ways that only a father can.  Thank you for loving me. 

If you look back over my blog you'll notice that I'm making a list of joys in my life.  Here are a few from the past.

489.  A father that enjoys the Small things.
490.  A father that chose me and my family.
491.  You taught me to enjoy the songs of nature.
492.  You taught me to see the beauty of creation.
493.  Fixing cars with the smell of burnt hair.
494.  Learning to enjoy the unique.
495.  I loves yous written in soap.
496.  You taught me to enjoy the simple.
497.  Waking to say hello as you passed my room for bed.
498.  Teaching me to follow my dreams.
499.  Teaching me to fight for what I value.
500.  Many foot rubs.
501.  Learning the importance of hard work.
502.  Loving me for me.
503.  Late night talks.
505.  Understanding each persons values are important.
507.  Pizza money.
508.  Stopping by work just to say hello.
509.  Learning the foolishness of holding a grudge and not talking to each other for long periods at a time.
510.  Strawberry picking.
511.  Taking me hunting even though I couldn't sit still.
512.  Laughing together.
513.  Appreciating food together.
514.  Learning to make beef jerky.
515.  Talking with you as you drive home from work and I lived across the ocean.
516.  Roses on my birthday.
517.  Weekly letters.
518.  Leaves from Maine.
519.  Steak and lots of it.
520.  Loving my three men.
521.  Fishing with my littles-more like feeding worms to the fish.
522.  Baking with the boys & forgetting the raisins.
523.  Wild towers built and destroyed with my little
524.  Uh-oh deer.
525.  Loving me as if I'm your own blood.
526.  Ice cream topped with Bailey's Irish Cream.
618.  Ponytails in Dad's hair.
619.  Acronyms of love from Dad.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
~ Romans 8:28

I love you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Walk

After lunch, our last day at camp, my small man of the woods asked me to walk back to the lodge with him rather then ride in the van.  I agreed.  It was one of the best walks of my life.  At first we started down the road, the fastest way to our goal.  I was enjoying my conversation with my three year old so much I didn't want it to end so we took a side trail.

Isn't it beautiful?!  Isn't he amazing?  I can hardly believe how grown up he is. We talked of nature, our weekend, about how much fun little brother would have if he were with us.  We looked at spiders, avoided the mud, even though Mommy had no problem walking through it, and simply enjoyed each other.  Time froze for us or at least that's how it felt to us both.

Looking back over these photos I see so much.  I see a small child who has a long journey ahead of him.  I pray that he runs the race well.  I pray that I am an example worthy of following.

I hope that when the bumps come, as we all know they will, that he is able to take them in stride with joy.

Just like he did on our walk.

I pray he's able to always see that there is a path to take no matter how narrow it may be.

Most of all I pray that this is where he finds his life's directions.

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, he spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.  The LORD alone guided him
~ Deuteronomy 32:11-12a

409.  Being asked to walk from lunch by my 3 year old.
410.  Walking through the woods and playing on rocks with my little man of the woods.
411.  Taking fun pictures.
440.  Nature.
441.  Life teaches.
443.  Seeing God's "bigness" through some photos.
444.  Being reminded of how to pray from my children men.