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It's interesting to look at your life, past to present, and think: "It has all led up to this...." And then wonder where it will lead to next.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The long, long haul.

Some days I want to give up. Some days those days are scary. Some days just frustrating. Some days both. Most days I am lonely and bored, even though I am around family and have plenty to keep me busy. I fill spaces with social media and take lots of pictures because my kids are so freakin' cute and I know I'll appreciate it later. Instagram is basically my family photo album. I'm in love with it. But I also feel empty, restless, and some times on the brink of something more. Something frightening. Some days I say, GO AWAY. And it works. Sort of. Other days I let myself sink a little. Because it's a place I've grown to know, and it's familiar. Scary. But familiar. I feel displaced and alone. I get sad when my computer does something funky and has no sound so I can't watch Lost. Logically I think, It's not a big deal. Stop your whining. Sad about TV? Are you three? But I get lost in Lost, and it makes me forget things I like not remembering.

I have long since disconnected with friends I have been so very close with. How long has it been? Two months? Three? Since we've really talked or communicated in any way but email/facebook or just in passing. Facebook is tricky in that it makes you feel like you're connected. I want coffee and a friend. I want coffee and ten friends, that I love and miss and want close again. But I also want to keep my distance. Protect myself. It's easier to move on that way. But how can you move on when you are in transition? Is this what purgatory would be like? Please rub your holy beads and get me out of here! Sometimes I think I am impatient. Other times I think, Girl give yourself a big fat break. You've been here a long time, and it hurts. Pain is not a fun companion. I want to kick pain in the balls. I feel no remorse. And yet pain is so often my companion. Walking steadily beside me. Sometimes holding my hand. Leading me down, down, down. Places I don't want to go.

I have to tell myself to focus. Focus on the fact that we are at least half way moved. That Aaron has a job and is almost done with the business transition. We have a house come September. A place to stay in the mean time. But there is that voice that says, Change won't change anything. This is who you will always be. This is how you will always feel. FIGHT! I tell myself. I gave up awhile ago. I don't want to do it again. But fighting is so tiring. And I'm sleepy.

Hugs, Tears, TV, and Popsicles.

Aiden has been having some difficulties adjusting to being in-between one house and another. As much as he loves his Poppy's and Nana's, he's been expressing his frustrations quite frequently in ways that make me both want to pull my hair out and hold him and cry with him at the same time. Today in one of those moments I brought him close and held him.

 Me: Aiden, sometimes life is hard.
Aiden: Yeah... (tears)
Me: Are you having a hard time with anything in particular?
Aiden: Yeah...
Me: [Wait for him to go on.]
Aiden: I haven't watched TV today and my Nana hasn't gotten any more popsicles! (sob)

I sometimes wonder if this is what we sound like to God, when he draws us near and we cry about the little things when the big things overwhelm us. I wonder if he smiles like I do, and holds us closer. Hurting with us, knowing it will all be ok. Knowing TV and popsicles are temporary comforts, and knowing this time of confusion and sadness will pass. Knowing even when we feel like the world is upside down and our insecurities make us act out, that He'll love us regardless. Hold us close regardless.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Remember to enjoy those days. They pass too quickly." - Every old person. Ever.

I remember when my parents bought their first laptop when I was ten. My favorite thing was Notepad where I would painstakingly type with my two index fingers. My first efforts of writing life onto computer screen. I thought, "If I am bored, I will write. And my life that I write will be an interesting one."

Who would have guessed 15 years later... still committed.

This is my life during the in-between. Staying at my parents. Not quite moved out of our place, not at all moved into our new place. Transition [sucks]. 

But life is interesting. Even in all the mundanities. Get up to little men demanding breakfast (in a cute, tousled blonde hair kind of way, even if it sounds like nails on a chalk board some mornings). The big man already long gone to work. Missed already. Get bottle ready for freshly weaned babe. Freshly weaned babe who does not like to wait for his milk. Change diaper. Sometimes a poopy one. Beg big brother to please use the bathroom. Yes, I know you peed last night. Go again. Sometimes I'm lucky and the poop diaper comes after my usual morning nausea (and no, I am not pregnant). Make breakfast for three. (Sometimes just two. Sometimes eating takes too much effort. I think I used to be a morning person. I can't remember.) Turn on cartoon for the child who is already waiting in front of the computer (or rather watch in amazement how he navigates Netflix himself so effortlessly). Somewhere in there I make coffee. Have some one-on-one time with the little dude, who likes to put small things in his mouth and play with potentially hazardous objects, who laughs and claps most adorably, and pulls my hair in what I think may be affection (maybe I hope). Eventually finish my no longer (even slightly) warm coffee. Enjoy it anyway. Turn off cartoon. Get exasperated by the fit that is thrown daily. Think about quitting the morning TV ritual. Know I don't have it in me just yet. Know tomorrow will be the same. Take the boys outside. Play for awhile. Get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Almost die of heat stroke. Drenched. Regardless if we play in the hose or not. It's so damn hot. I repeat those words daily. Sometimes hourly. Think about how I need to watch my mouth in front of the big boy. Think about how many times he repeats things. Think about how embarrassing it is when he does it in front of other people. Remind myself this happens to everyone. Think back to the days I got my mouth washed out with soap. Realize I can still taste it. Drink water. Wish I was drinking coffee. Wish coffee was more hydrating instead of a diarrhetic. Justify coffee obsession to myself. Realize I no longer breastfeed. Think dreamily about the next cup I will enjoy during small ones' nap times. Hope desperately they fall at the same time. Realize it's lunch. Make lunch. Or let my mom make lunch. Get on facebook (again), transfer pictures to Instagram. Instagram everything. Feel lame. Justify my lameness with the "transition" excuse. Keep doing the things that make me feel lame. Keep feeling lame. Know it's a vicious cycle. Know it will end. One day. Hope it will end sooner than later. But not yet. Realize it's nap time. Dance in my head. Fantasize about all I will do in my free time as I rock the little one and lay him down. Spend one-on-one time with the big kid, who I realize is still quite small. Nap time for little-big kid. Fantasize about coffee as I drag the screaming one upstairs. And as I read the same two stories over again. And sing the same song. Again. Remind myself to get more books next time I am home. Remind myself I will miss these moments. Kiss sweet heads. Enjoy. Enjoy. Then run. Run to the bathroom. Ask myself, How long have I been holding this? Remind myself to boil water for coffee. Get a snack. Tell child to go back to bed. No it is not time to get up. Last time I checked nap time lasts a little longer than 30 seconds, dude. Grab book. Grab computer. Debate about what to do next. Toss book aside. Facebook. Instagram. Lameness. Decide to write. Sometimes. Other times just sit there like a dumby. Tell child to go back to bed. Sometimes watch Lost. Tell child to get back in bed or so help me. Sometimes get to finish Lost episode. Feel sad, or sick, or intrigued, depending on the episode. Beg child to please, please go back to bed. More facebook. Realize you can't "like" someone's "like". Feel lame again. Realize I should just get used to feeling lame. For awhile anyway. Bribe child to return to bed. Feel bad about bribing. Feel like a failure of a mother. Feel sad that my kids will grow up to be under achievers who hate me. Remember my childhood. Remember, God is good. Feel better about the possibilities of my children's futures. Instagram my feet. Delete picture. That's lame, Faith. Too lame. Hear tiny one in the baby monitor. Be sad for a moment before realizing I like that kid and facebook is lame. Move on. Get kids, all smiling, so happy to be rested and free from their cages. Feel like a liberator. Feel good. Realize I never made that second cup of coffee.

The rest of the day is a blur. There is more playing. Sweating. Facebook. Plenty of Instagram. A little more feeling lame. Dinner. The big man comes home. Relief. Stinky hugs that are now so very, very sweet to me. Strong arms. Prickly kisses. Lots of wrestling on the foor, while I sit on the couch content in laziness. Make fun of husband for being tired after only 10 hours of working in ungodly heat. Feel bad. But not really. He knows it's foreplay [insert New Zealand accent here and receive high-five if reference is recognized]. Or so we hope. Bed time. So tired. Your turn. No your turn. Always ends up being both of our turns. Darkness falls. Last kid finally sleeps. Or at least quiet. Finally alone. Look at nails. Think about painting them. Laugh at myself. Talk till way too late with large sexy beast. More if we're lucky. Sleep. Phone beeps. Instagram alert. Someone thinks my life looks good. Success. Silence phone. Sleep.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hope for the Hopeless

Most days I am thankful that I even have moments, sometimes hours, of feeling like normal me. Other days I am consumed by the moments I don't, when I start to wonder when I will be "me" again. I can see all God has taught me over the months of darkness. I know He did not cause the darkness or lead me there maliciously. Yet there are times when I get angry. Why did you allow it? 

I look at my husband and wonder how he can put up with it. How he has the strength to comfort me, even in his own mourning. I look at my children and hope they can forget. Hope that any sadness won't scar into bitterness, but that time will heal and the good times will make the bad times a mere memory. They will have plenty of hardship in their own lives. I really hate the idea of adding to it.

Some days I feel the beauty of pain, and the hope of a future without it. Other days I get angry, and I question, and cry a tearless cry that wrenches me deep down where the pain still resides. Some days I keep it together. I smile and laugh, and you wouldn't even notice. The other days you won't see me. The ones closest to me do, and I see the fear in their eyes. Will it all start again?

This is not a cry for pity. Even in my pain, I can now feel hope, and that is worth sharing. Because the hopelessness I have felt is the worst kind of pain and I beg God never to let me there again. I simply want to reach out and say: You are not alone. Be weary, be afraid, be angry, but don't give up hope. And if you can't help it then know you are not alone. And if you can't feel that, it's ok too. You are not alone regardless. Hope will come again. Beauty will come again. It may not erase the dark times, but it will make them worth it. I hope.

God speaks to me through dreams, through music, writing, people, nature, and moments. I am thankful for this because I don't have the strength to open His book. There is a lot of healing to come before I can do that. Send me verses. I can handle those. Send me verses written out, don't make me flip through pages. There is hurt there I know needs healing, but I am not there yet. Send me verses and even if I turn away from them at first, they reside in my heart and I hear them and with them comes hope.

One day I may gather the strength to tell the story of what my last year looked like, the last few months in particular. For now the bits and pieces I have already shared will have to do.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Music. Change. Grief. Growth.

I suggest listening to the "Fun." radio on Pandora while reading the following. It is the soundtrack to my life right now.

Starting from a young age listening to my father play his instruments late into the night, on through puberty, high school, college, and into the beginnings of marriage and motherhood, music was my partner. It helped me through many difficult times. Helped celebrate the good times. Brought me places.  Made home in foreign lands. Lifted me. Enveloped me.

Music and I have had our time apart for the last year or so. No CDs, no mp3 player, no fancy phone, and my dislike for computer speakers, and well, that doesn't leave much but the radio. I think we can all agree the radio does not grace us with the good stuff (for the most part, there are exceptions).

I am here to say that music and I have reunited. Let me add: !!!! Because as much as I dislike exclamation points normally, it really is something to get excited about. I forgot what a balm music can be to hurting a soul, and what strength even to a strong spirit.

My family is moving from this place we have called home since before we were called a family. So much life, love, heart break, difficulties, triumphs, celebrations. Good food, drinks, and friendships. All here. A place I am soon not to be anymore. I can truthfully say I am ready to go, but that doesn't change the fact that my heart breaks. That tears threaten to fill my eyes as I drive the streets so familiar, drink the coffee so comforting, the beer so rich, and eat at my favorite restaurants. I order only my favorites, not wasting any moment on unknowns. Unknown is my future. I am soaking up the known while it is here.

Today as I had the treat of driving by myself while running errands, I blasted my music as loud as I have ever dared. I sang. That kind of singing where your heart bursts and as hard as you might fight it the tears come down. Soaking your shirt, the way the music soaks your heart. Bringing all the feelings you feel deep down to the surface where it can do nothing but be felt. It hurts. But the pain is beautiful. Grief in it's rawest form. Because I'm not just grieving a place. I can always come back here.

It made me think... You see all those guys blaring their music, seats leaned back, shoulders hunched, and scowls on their faces. At first glance you may laugh to yourself. Thoughts may wander to things like, He thinks he is so cool. Or even, What a douche. But I wonder, if those boys actually let themselves sing as loud as their bass booms, if they could free themselves from the heavy packs of bitterness they carry on their hunched shoulders. Maybe then they wouldn't feel the need to prove themselves or keep their stereotypical image.

Music frees me, anyway. It's like those rare moments when you find yourself bare before the mirror and are able to say to yourself: I don't give a f*** what anyone thinks. You look good. No matter the cellulite, the stretch marks, the wrinkles. Those are just details to your story. And your story is f******g awesome. You look good, girl. I like what I see. Keep it up. Those moments don't come often. But when they do, they feel real good.

I'm not just grieving a place. I can always come back here. I am grieving the end of a very special chapter. And if I get into a wreck while messing with Pandora. So be it.

Just some rambling about life.

I live life trying not to define myself by my gender, who I am married to, the children I raise, what I do for a living, the way I eat, exercise, who I vote for (or who I don't vote for), where I live, who my friends are, the animals I have, or by the hair on my head. 

Yet I am a woman and as I grow to understand all that comes with that, feel the blessing along with the curses, I find it really is a blessing to be a woman. The way God speaks to me, the way my husband looks at me, the way my children hold my hands and cling to my neck, the way I relate to friends, the way my heart is shaped to fit all these things in and more. These things outweigh the curses Eve passed down. Women are not perfect after all. It's about time we stop asking perfection of ourselves, accept the fact and live it best we can, don't you think?

I am a wife, and I love my husband. I cling to him not because I am afraid he will leave, but because being near him makes life better. Of course, I love him for his body. And his skills. But mostly for his kind heart and willingness to give. He carries strength I can't understand. His perseverance inspires me. His love for me helps me to see the beauty of being a woman. His manliness, incredibly hot as it is, helps me to see the value I carry to the equation. Together this partnership makes something resembling a unique piece of art. No one really understands it but it's maker, and everyone wants it in their own way. Whether we admit it or not, humans are not made to be alone.

My children are beautiful, I love to watch them grow, try my best to guide them, learn from them. I love how they resemble me in some ways, my husband in others. But mostly I love how uniquely themselves they are. They take it out of me some days, but mostly they bring so much to my life. It's hard to imagine a life without them being a part of it. I don't like thinking about that. The best part is realizing they are God's. Much of their life is out of my hands. What a relief.

I'm not even sure what I "do for a living," but I like living. Except for the times I don't.

I like to eat what makes me feel good. Whether that falls into someone else's category of what's best or not. But sometimes I eat things that make me feel sick. I try to make it worth it.

I like exercise. The kind that takes me places, gives me time to think, pray, and leads me to a goal. I like my body to feel good. Not necessarily "Vogue" or even J-Lo (ahhh if I could have anyone's body that was so far from my own!), but to feel good. The not feeling good most of my life, makes me really love the feeling good parts.

I don't care for politics.

I have lived so many places. Most quite amazing. Some for longer periods than others. But I will never be able to "settle down." Not because I am better than that, or even that there are better places to go. But because God is always moving me. So I enjoy each place while I can. Sometimes complain. Sometimes ask God to move me sooner. But I am always sad to leave and happy to move. Because this (wherever "this" may be at the time) is not my home, and we are all destined to leave at some point.

Friends. I can't say enough about friends, so I won't say much. I have had so many friends in my life. Each touch me deeply and in their own way. I hope I do the same for them.

I have loved every animal I have ever had, and I have had a lot of them. Even when I wanted to kill them and roast them over an open fire (we owned goats at one point, they got through any fence, climbed on my roof, and ate our neighbor's garden). I love my border collie, and know she'll forgive me the times I ignore her while my children are young and my energy limited. Dogs are understanding like that. I find it amusing when people try to make humans out of dogs. I think dogs like being dogs. I used to think I wanted a farm, but I think I'll raise my kids first and see if I have energy left over.

I don't dye my hair, and I rarely do more than wash it regularly. Sometimes I get really bad haircuts. But I like hair and the way it frames a face, or falls down a back, or exposes ears. I find hair beautiful, and do what I feel necessary to make it work for me. Instead of the other way around.

Through all these things God teaches me (yes, even the hair). Not how to be better, or perfect, or some other unattainable goal. But to know Him. Because knowing Him brings meaning to all other aspects of my life. The puzzle pieces that don't always seem to fit, and the frustration that comes with waiting for outcomes. But sometimes, when you can forget all the busy nothingness that sometimes consumes us and just sit near someone you love and work through a seemingly impossible puzzle, it draws you closer. Life can be so complex, unpredictable, and painful. Companionship is beautiful, healing, and always growing towards something better. God wants that with us. He makes it so clear even in all the little things.

Pretty cool, right?


Last night I slept fitfully. At least I think I did. I cannot tell how many times I woke up, or if I even woke up at all, as each time I woke I found myself still in a dream, and each time I fell back to sleep, the dream continued. Except it wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare.

The setting was a familiar one. We were at the park down the street from my home, taking a walk around the lake. Only it was not light, fun, and carefree as our walks there usually are. Everything was dark. The water, the sky, and shadows so dark you couldn’t see through them. I had a feeling of great urgency; something bad was going to happen. I began to rush Aaron and the kids; we need to get out of here. Next thing I knew everything else faded and tigers, lions, and other wild animals were hunting me. All chasing me. Threatening to take my life. Slowly. Painfully. I ran, but as in most of my nightmares, my legs were of lead and would not carry me fast enough to get away.

Before I was caught I awoke. Only, I awoke to find myself in the exact same setting. Walking around the lake. It was still dark and eerie, but no beasts were to be seen. I wasn’t fooled. I knew the dream was for a reason, I knew it was a sign of something terrible to come. I warned my family, I warned anyone around. I panicked, I screamed, I begged for any and all to follow. They told me to relax, don’t worry. It was just a bad dream. Can they not see the dark sky? Can they not see the waters, the shadows that seem to swallow all that is near them? I thought to myself, still convinced something was coming, not sure why I was the only one who could see it. Sure enough, it was but a few moments before I saw it not 50 yards away… A mother grizzly. With her cub. She was angry; she gnashed her teeth and threw her front paws up so high she’d have towered over a giant. Her sharp claws promising destruction over anything they’d come in contact with. Her cub, which was the size of an adult black bear, simply moseyed about, as though he were completely unaware of the violence at hand. For some reason I took note of these things before running, screaming, gathering any I could, yelling to flee. I frightened the people, but they did not follow me. It took me a moment to realize it, but the bear was after me.

Again I awoke. Or maybe I didn’t. Again I dozed back to sleep. Or maybe I didn’t. Either way, the dream continued. For the third time, I found myself in the same place. Everything the same, but no grizzly. No cub. I knew it was real, I knew they were out there. I asked some people fishing, Aren’t you afraid of the bear? Shouldn’t we stay away from here? It hasn’t been that long. It’s sure to be back soon. They told me my fears were irrational. They told me to relax. The bear was gone; there was nothing to fear. It was as though they completely forgot the terror that had just occurred. Out of sight. Out of mind. I was confused. Angry. Terrified. Why was I the only one concerned? It started to occur to me that perhaps the bear was gone for good. But something else was out there. Something much, much worse. It was then that I realized I had never woken but in my dream. My nightmare. And I didn’t know how to get out.

I don’t remember much else but the continued blur of panicked feelings of being hunted as monster after monster threatened me. I finally awoke at 5:00 a.m. this morning. Afraid to go back to sleep. Afraid of the darkness. The beasts were unseen, but they were still there. I could feel them. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Hopeless Feels Like

Left in ashes. Dried, dusty tears. Lost, broken dreams. 

A charred, lifeless being.

Still that bloodless heart is beating.

Why? Tell us why you don't take comfort?

Why? Tell me why am I still here.

So Much

Much has happened in the last few months. It's hard to know where to begin. But this is not a diary, so I won't be starting from the beginning, and I won't be filling in all the gaps. I will be vague, and may even leave you hanging. Because that is my life right now.

I am weak and tired. But I no longer stand in darkness, or rest anxiously on empty hopelessness. I have been brought out of darkness. I am on firm ground. God has proven Himself faithful, even when I was not able to believe it. God has been good, even when I could not see it. He has stood strong, while I have been so very broken. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am walking towards it. It doesn't mean there won't be more tunnels to come, but I am thankful for the light. The light gives me hope. Hope gives me strength. I need all the strength I can get.

There are many life changes for me and my family right now. Things have happened, are happening, and will happen soon. My life is UPSIDE DOWN. And it's good. I can't believe it. Years of prayers I thought were left to the wind are finally being answered. There are still unanswered questions, and I still question God. Do you know what you're doing? Will you really come through for me? Thankfully, He knows to expect it. He is faithful to answer. Even when I am slow to learn. I've realized it's ok to be slow. He has eternal love, patience, mercy, forgiveness, and strength. He can handle me.

You always want to be enough for your family. For your children. Your spouse. Even God. Today was one of many days where I was not enough. Simple fact. Not enough. Yet I can't beat myself up for that anymore. I can only trust God's promise that He is.

If this all sounds cliche, surfacey, and dumb to you, then I feel for you. I know exactly what it is like to be in a place where I can't see the truth and beauty of God. Where He seems fake, and my reality is only darkness and pain. It is terrifying and painful and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Yet so many find themselves there. That valley of death. I pray to never find myself there again. I pray for freedom.

Even if you can't always believe it, remember: God is good. So many tears wept into those words. So much life lived through those words. Those words have become life to me. God is good.