Time

Time is a ripple

Ever moving away

Ever changing

 

How is it

That the same storm

That brought you blessed rain

Also spawned the tornado

That leveled my home?

 

How is it

That your life goes on

When mine

Will never be the same

Ever again? 

 

Why does the sun dare

To shine 

on the shambles 

That is now

My broken life?

  

The only thought

That gives me the strength 

To breathe

To move

Is this:

 

Time is a ripple

Ever moving away

Ever changing

And tomorrow will be different 

From today. 

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My Life Is Not a Pinterest Page

This is something that has been on my mind for a while, so I thought I’d say something about it. My life isn’t a Pinterest page. Neither is yours. And that’s ok. 

I scroll through my Facebook feed. Someone’s made brownies. Someone else’s kid won a trophy. Someone got promoted. I’m happy for these people, but wonder how their life can possibly be so much better than mine. 

I scroll down farther. Someone’s kid is sick for the fourth time this month. Someone went to the ER because they had a headache. Someone else feels overwhelmed because they don’t know how they will make ends meet. I’m frustrated with these people, because I feel like they are using Facebook to complain or garner attention. 

But at the end of the day, I know it does no good to fuss about social media, because none of us actually live the life we portray to the world. I put cute pictures of my kids on Facebook, and random thoughts and activities, but no one there sees the realities of my life. 

***DISCLAIMER*** Because I am using these examples, please do not think they all apply to my life right now. They don’t. But either I or someone I know has been there at some point. 

I don’t post a picture of my son’s black eye, because someone might think I beat him. He actually ran into a tree while playing tag. 

I can’t say how many times my water got shut off because we couldn’t pay the bill, because I feel like it will be construed as a request for my rich friends to give me money. Seriously, I’m friends with you because I like you, not because I want your money. 

I don’t feel like I have the right to complain about being sick, when I’ve got a friend that’s been in the hospital fighting cancer for months. 

And I can’t just post on Facebook asking for prayers, because in a few hours the whole city will have assumed several different horrible things about me which will then get passed around as facts. 

So I can’t talk about my problems. But I don’t feel right talking about a lot of the highs of my life either. 

I can’t share what a blessing it was to get unexpected help with our bills, because that would necessitate admitting that we couldn’t pay them in the first place. 

I can’t tell you about how we got this blessing after sharing with someone else in need, because then I’ll have people telling me everything from “You should have saved your money and taken care of your own” to “Don’t be boasting about what good you do.”

I can’t tell you about the miracle that let us heat our house for two months for $25, because someone I don’t even know will take it upon themselves to text my extended family saying we must not have had any heat before. 

I can’t talk about how my husband is always there for me through everything because either someone just had a bad breakup and obviously I’m just saying that to make them mad, or someone else will assume that we are on the brink of divorce and I’m just saying that to make things look good. 

I can’t even post a picture of my son’s new bike, because someone will complain about the mess in the background. 

So I’ll keep posting my shiny Pinterest life online, and put my “normal” life on when I go out in public. But I’m not really like that. And neither are you. 

Thankfully I’m blessed with about three friends that I can be totally honest with. I don’t have to show them my front. I pray you also have friends like this. Live. Laugh. Love. And keep it real. 

Meanwhile…continue to watch my Facebook page for cute pictures and random quotes. 

Where Are You, God?

I’m going to set this post to publish a long time from now, so we will be removed from the situation by then, but this is too awesome not to share. 

It began with a pay cut. It wasn’t really a pay cut, it was more of a slap in the face. My husband decided to change his work schedule so he could attend church with the family. His boss promised to give him full-time status if he would leave his schedule alone. He’d been working full time for the company for over two years, just under a “part-time” label. He refused. They said they would cut him back to three to four days a week if he didn’t comply. He wouldn’t – his hours were cut. So technically it amounted to a significant pay cut as far as we were concerned. 

It didn’t take long to go through what little savings we had. We were scraping by but some unexpected bills came along. 

One day the situation really began to get to me. By this time we had spent most of a week eating mainly lentils, potatoes, and rice. Sometimes I’d give all the food to my family and just not eat. My birthday was a week away and my six-year old son asked for a couple dollars so he could buy me a present. I had to tell him no. 

That night after my husband went to work, I sat down and did some figuring. With the money we were expecting in pay for the two weeks left in the month, we would have exactly $5 left over after all the bills were paid. That $5 would have to stretch to cover gas, food, and anything else that might come up for two weeks. 

I began to cry. I cried and cried and then I started crying out to God. 

“Where are you, God?” I wept. “My husband stands up for you at work and this happens to us. Don’t you care?”

“Remember My servant Job,” said God. 

I knew right away what He meant. We’d just finished a study on the book of Job at Community Bible Study. God used Job as an example for Satan. Yet Job was not perfect. He complained that God was treating him unjustly. Yet by the end of the book, Job apologized to God. He came to realize that the ways of God are often beyond our comprehension. 

I apologized. “Yes, Lord, I know that you are God and I am not. Help me to wait patiently for your plan.”

After a while I had peace and was able to sleep. 

The next morning I got up and walked the six blocks to Community Bible Study, because one of our cars had expired tags and the other had hardly any gas.

Once I arrived, everything began to go wrong. The Internet was not working, so I couldn’t download the pictures I needed for our guest’s talk. The audio out wire for my computer was missing from the sound system. I went to lead the song and it was to a totally different tune than I was used to singing with those words. 

“Where are you, God?” I cried. 

But the pieces began to fit together. I was able to sight read the music and sing the song, even though I’m not usually that good at sight reading. While I was up leading the music, the Internet came back on just long enough that my email program loaded the pictures. The sound guy came from his office with the missing cable and put it back. 

I started to breathe.

I went home and had an uneventful afternoon doing schoolwork with the kids. Then I left for choir practice and work, using up the last of our gas. 

While I was at work, my husband texted me, telling me that a family member would be able to send us some money for gas and food. I felt better. Things would still be tight but not as bad as before. Then a friend texted me, asking if she could stop by my house later and drop something off.

When I got home from work, I waited for her to stop by. Since my birthday was only three days away, I figured maybe she had gotten me a little something. 

She pulled up in her SUV. “I got a message from God,” she said. She opened up the back. It was full of groceries, and even a toy each for the kids. 

“I don’t know why,” she said, “but God told me to get you this. And when He tells me to do something, I listen.”

We carried all the groceries into the house. The kids danced around and hugged their toys. Finally it was just my friend and I out in the cold. We hugged. “You don’t know what an answer to prayer this is,” I said. 

She got in her SUV and drove out. I went back into the house and pulled the door closed. My phone dinged. 

It was a text from another of my friends. “Would you accept some money from me and my husband as a gift to get your tags?” it read. 

I couldn’t say anything. I stood there with one hand on the doorknob as the tears ran down my face. My heart was full. I knew where God was. He was in my family. He was in my friends. But most of all, He was here, with me. 

Scars of the Soul

My son is almost six. He’s terribly excited about his birthday, and although I wonder where my baby has gone – I also look forward to the adventures to come. But with his birthday also come the flashbacks. And this is something I suffer alone, in silence.

My son was born before birth trauma was a “thing.” But even with the recent advocacy for women’s rights in childbirth I still feel guilty somehow that the day my son was born was simultaneously the best and worst day of my life.

Six years. Isn’t that long enough for the wound to heal? I go to yoga class. It’s core day. We do plank, and side plank, and locust. My scar burns. All that is left is a thin white line, but six years later it still burns. And six years later, the scars on my soul, although healed, still burn.

The day comes back to me in snapshots. My water breaks, my husband rushes home from work. We speed to the hospital. Today is the day we get to meet our son.

The doctor comes. She does a vaginal exam. “You’re having a boy,” she says. “I can feel his butt.”

Breech. How can my son be breech? “C-section,” the doctor declares. “Get her ready.”

I’m alone in the hospital, my first time admitted there since my own birth. My husband is on the phone, working out some details he had to leave undone at work. A flock of nurses descends on me. One of them puts in an IV. Another shaves me, naked in a room of bustle. Another is asking me questions, filling out forms, expecting me to focus.

I’m in the OR. They’ve taken my husband away to get dressed. The anesthesiologist is getting ready to stick a needle into my spine. I’m shaking so bad a nurse has to grab onto me and hold me still. My body goes numb.

My husband comes in. The screen goes up. I feel weird pressure and tugging. “It’s a boy!” the doctor says.

The screen is in front of my face. I can’t see. There are spots on the screen. I try to scrape them off with my fingernail. It’s my own blood spattered there.

I hear crying. “I want to see my baby, please,” I ask.

“Well, what are you planning on doing this weekend?” the doctor says to the nurse.

“I think I’ll go to the lake,” she says.

“I want to see my baby,” I say.

“The weather should be good for that,” says the doctor.

A nurse brings over a baby. He’s all wrapped up, all I can see is his face. She lets me kiss him on the forehead. The nurse, my husband, and the baby leave. I’m alone again.

I scrape on the screen with my fingernail again. The spots bother me. Why are they there right in front of my face?

The doctor is happy with the surgery. “You did great,” she says. “I’ll be back to check on you tomorrow.”

Recovery is on the other side of the hospital. The nurses don’t want to have to take me there. No one else is using the OR, I can just stay and recover there.

The screen comes down. They slide me off the table onto a bed. I’m still alone. Nurses bustle around, carrying away trays and buckets of blood. Maybe that’s the placenta. I’m glad blood doesn’t make me queasy. So much of it.

Finally they take me to my room. They bring me this baby – my baby, I suppose. I finally get to count his fingers and toes after everyone else in the family has gotten the chance to do it. I lay him on my chest and hold him tight. I don’t want to let go. He IS mine.

The next day the nurse comes by to take out my catheter. “Stick your butt off the edge of the bed,” she says.

“Close the door,” I tell her.

“It won’t take that long,” she says.

“At least close the curtain,” I insist.

“It doesn’t matter,” she lies. “Your room is at the end of the hall.” It was really smack in the middle of the hall. People kept walking by.

I consent so that I can be rid of her.

Finally we leave. I’ve never been so glad to leave.

Six years ago this was. I’ve been to a dark place and I’ve clawed my way out. But I’ll never set foot in that hospital again. I’ll continue to feel a wave of nausea whenever I hear of anyone having a c-section. And if I hear anyone else say, “All that matters is that you had a healthy baby,” I’ll slap them.

No I won’t. But I’ll feel like it.

You can’t see my scar. There’s no way you’ll ever catch me in a bikini, and even then you probably couldn’t see it. But it’s still there.

And so are the scars in my soul.

On the death of bugs

After I lost my friend Joy, I wasn't quite sure how to deal with my loss and explain it to Trip. He had just turned three at the time. Joy was like a grandmother to both of us, and he loved to go over to her house. I took him to visit her in the hospital a couple times, but after she was gone I didn't know what to do.

I decided not to take him to the funeral. I wanted the freedom to be able to cry, to grieve, without a little boy to try and comfort.

But after a while he started asking about her. “Mommy, is Miss Joy home from the hospital? Mommy, can we go over to Miss Joy's so she can give me crackers and read me a story?”

As best as I could, I explained to Trip that Miss Joy was with Jesus now, and when Jesus comes to take us to live with him in heaven, Miss Joy will be there too. I had to explain to him a bit of how death was, that it's not reversible. He was upset but seemed to take it pretty well. When we drove past a cemetery, I explained to him that was where all the people who had died were, with the tombstones that were signs telling all of their names.

When the one year anniversary of her death came, I decided to share this time with Trip. He still remembers her and the times we used to have with her. So I took him to the store and we picked out some flowers and went together to put them on her grave.

A few weeks later, Trip and I were driving in the car and were discussing some pesky bugs we are trying to get rid of around the house. I explained to him that I was trying to kill them, but some of them would take a while to get rid of.

He thought about it for a while, and then said, “Mommy, when they all die, we will take them to a bug cemetery and bury them and make little tiny signs that says 'BUG'. OK?”

I wasn't sure what to say.

 

The start of a blog

So I have decided to start a blog, just to have a place to talk and ramble about life’s various quirks.

20130805-161242.jpgI haven’t written for over a year. On July 17, 2012, I lost one of my dearest friends to leukemia. Her name was Joy Conner. I began to work for her several years before that. Although I was supposed to be “helping” with the computer, as our friendship grew we spent more time talking and less time actually working on boring stuff. She wanted to write a screenplay, and her life’s dream was to have the movie premiered here in our small town. I typed up one of her screenplays, and together we wrote another three. None of them were ever published or sold, but we had so much fun writing together.

Then she got leukemia. It came fast and hard. In April we got the diagnosis. In July she was gone. I cried for weeks. Afterwards I couldn’t bear to write. So I decided to take a year off from writing, kind of like a year of mourning. Now I’m ready to move on and write some more. Maybe I’ll end up writing something that sells.

It would make her proud.