Thursday, May 31, 2012

We have a date for surgery......

We've had a rough couple of days this week.  Nathan got his last shot for a while on Tuesday which has caused him to not feel very good at all the last couple days.  I don't know if it was the shot itself, the combination of the shot and his medication, or maybe he is coming down with the virus we've all had; but whatever it was he has not been himself.

Tuesday we packed up the kids and drove to St. Mary's for his last shot for a while.  The girls and I waited in the car while he went inside.  From the moment he got back in the car he was a mess.  His back has been in so much pain he cannot move!  Every time he has had a shot the next few days have been really tough pain wise.  One of the side effects is that his pain will become inflamed and this time that has been an understatement.  For two days, he has felt hot and cold, nauseous and restless, and has not been able to do anything.  My mother in law has been coming over to help watch the kids when I have errands to run because he can't do it anymore which has made things pretty tough.

 We also spoke with his surgeon's office Tuesday and they let us know that his surgery is scheduled for October 5th.  It has been a little emotional for both of us to actually have a date now when it will take place, but then again it's a little bit of a relief that he will not have to be in so much pain for much longer.  We will go back to Charlottesville in August for one last appointment before the surgery.  We will get all the details of surgery day and accommodations for the girls and I then.  They will also be taking a CAT scan of his spine then in order to plan out his surgery.  But for now we are trying to keep him comfortable which has been proving to be more and more challenging every day!

I wish we would have re-scheduled his shot for next week instead of this week with all we have going on!  Little Bear had recital photos yesterday, today is rehearsal, friday we have someone coming to give us a 2nd estimate on our fence for the back yard, and Saturday we will be running between recital and a wedding.  His shot put a little kink in things, so far as, him not being able to keep the kids when we go to rehearsal, and photos, and the grocery store etc.  But my mother-in-law has been a huge help.  She picked up some milk for us last night and took her lunch break yesterday to be here with Nathan & the girls so I could take Little Bear for pictures.  I've been really thankful to have her help!

So today Nathan will have physical therapy this afternoon, before we head to rehearsal for Little Bear.  I'm praying that he will feel well enough to at least sit in the car with them while we are there!  Meanwhile, I've been chasing Sweet-pea around the house all morning long trying to keep her diaper on her!  lol  This kid (21 mo) is determined to use the potty, and I'm determined she is going to wear the diaper!  Ever since Hobble-bobble has been going potty, she has had to be a big girl too!  She will pull off the diaper (poop and all) and sit on the potty until I come in a make her put on another one.  Five minutes later I find that diaper laying in the hall and her sitting on the potty!  lol  I am just so scarred from potty training Pumpkin that there is no way it can be this easy with Sweet-pea!

On the upside, I received an email last night from Liberty University, that I have made the Dean's list!!  My GPA was a 4.0 this past summer semester!  This is HUGE for me considering I haven't even made honor roll since Elementary school, and it's been 12 years since I graduated High School!  I never thought I'd actually be in college, let alone that I'd be on the Dean's list!  I just hope I can keep my grades up that high throughout the next 3.5 years!

So with that here is hoping our day goes smoothly today!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Egg Shells.....

The one thing I hate the most about myself is my nervousness!  I get nervous all the time about stupid little stuff!  I guess it's more anxiety.  I get it when I'm around new people, groups of people I don't know, one person, I get anxiety when I'm trying to fix relationships with people, when something unbelievable happens in my life, when I'm driving, when Nathan drives to work, and most of all when someone else is driving.  I've had anxiety issues most of my life but never realized it was such a problem until the last few months.  At least two to three times a day something makes my heart pound, my chest heavy where I can't hardly breathe, and some kind of fear sets in; sometimes I get shaky and sick to my stomach as well.

The first time I ever dealt with anxiety was when I was 20 years old.  I was in several car accidents in a short period of time (all of them were the fault of others), and one in particular just really put me over the edge.  I stopped at a stop light and looked in my rear-view mirror; I actually watched another car slam right into me without even trying to slow down!  After that was when my anxiety showed up (or at least I was able to recognize it but I called it fear).  I couldn't drive a car for weeks without being in tears and shaking the entire drive!  It didn't help that the person I was in a relationship with at the time used my fears as his entertainment!  I would ask him to drive behind me on the way to and from places when we were in separate cars so that someone didn't tailgate me (when people got too close was when I panicked), and he would tailgate me on purpose the entire way to our destination, again causing me to be in tears the entire drive.  Anyways, so when I finally got over the not driving, and having to have someone drive behind me, I realized that I couldn't ride with other people because I would start panicking.  I would press my foot on the floor in the passengers side if I felt we were not stopping fast enough; I would also hang onto the side of the seat, and the door bracing myself the entire ride!  So I finally decided that I just can't let anyone else drive, and I would have to drive everywhere from now on, and I still do!  Occasionally, Nathan will drive, but not that often, and when he does that fear creeps back into my life.

This has effected me in other ways over the years.  And I didn't even realize it was anxiety until recently.  I have a fear of walking into a room full of people I do not know.  Because of this I did not take my ACT's or SAT's when I was in High School because I couldn't bring myself to walk into a room of people staring at me!  I often feel that I am the problem when things go wrong.  I examine, and re-examine myself during conflicts, I go over and over my actions and my words, and question everything I say or do within that conversation or confrontation, that might have caused the other person to react the way they did.  Even when things clearly are not my fault, I still find a way to beat myself up over it, "maybe if I had just said things clearer,"  "Why did I say it that way, it's not what I meant to say," and "I'm so stupid, WHY DID I SAY THAT!"  And then when things are my fault, it's even worse!  I start to panic that that person will never talk to me again, I get scared to even contact that person to tell them I'm sorry, I can't stop "wishing" in my head that I didn't say something the way I said it.  When I'm in a stressful conversation, or especially when I know the situation is very delicate and I need to chose my words wisely, is ALWAYS when I ramble or say something the wrong way and can't figure out how to get what I'm saying across.  My words get all jumbled up and I start to repeat things I've already said trying to re-think how to say it, and's hopeless.    I end up ruining the relationship.  I've lost several potential friendships because of this and even friendships that I've had for years.

I don't know when I became so self-conscious, I guess it might have been throughout my last relationship.  I married my high school sweetheart after high school and it only lasted about two years.  If there is one thing in my life that changed me as a person it was this experience.  It never goes away!  While I don't have feelings for him anymore, and I don't feel hurt by what happened anymore, nor am I angry at him now, the ramifications of that event still effect my life every day!  Some days it's in good ways, but some day's it's in bad.  It has effected my entire personality, and every decision I make.  (**note** what I'm about to share is not to make him look like a bad person because I realize people can change, and genuinely hope he has).  During that relationship I was a battered wife.  Now, back then I would have NEVER considered myself a battered wife, and even after my divorce I still would not have even considered it; however, over the years and looking back at what I went through with him and how people who really love you are suppose to treat you, it was nothing less.  There were people I worked with who would constantly slip me pamphlets and phone numbers of shelters and programs that could help me (based on the things I would share with them), but I always thought, "well, it's not that bad!"  But it was!  I should have never stayed as long as I did!  Every argument was a fight.  It wasn't always a major fight but it was always a fight.  Occasionally, he walked away from me but when he did he left and I spent the next however many hours in a panic!  Other times it became something where he would break something; a piece of furniture, or pull a necklace off my neck and break it.  But most of the time, it was him pushing me into the couch, the bed, and not just once but over and over again.  The biggest fights that happened were things like being dragged down the hallway by my ankle, and thrown through a wall where I had to actually pull myself out of the wall.  I think I didn't think these things were abuse because I felt like I had brought it on myself because I would be so bold to him at times and I would try to stand up for myself.  He never hit me or punched me, he would just push and throw me a lot, as well as verbal abuse.

People just couldn't understand why I stayed and allowed him to treat me that way, but I stayed even till the very end until he decided he didn't want me anymore.  I never was strong enough to actually walk away myself, it took him cheating on me, and then him filing for divorce.  Even then, I told him I could forgive him and we could get passed it; I even refused to sign the papers for a while.  By the time I finally left, I felt like an empty shell of a person!  I was ashamed, angry, hurt, betrayed, and felt like my life was over.  There were things he said to me during that time at the end, things that have stuck with me and will probably always be with me the rest of my life.  Things like, "you will never find a man who would be willing to put up with you,"  "she is better than you,"  "I didn't want a baby with you because I can't stand the thought of your big fat belly."  These things always stick with me.  I remember being so afraid to say anything around him sometimes.  I felt like anything I said or did would make him mad even if I didn't mean it the way it came out.  Life was nothing but eggshells that was already cracking!  

After the divorce, I found myself so conscious of everything I did that I wouldn't do or say anything unless I was convinced that there was no way I could be wrong in my actions.  I became the most confident person on the outside because of this, but the most self-conscious person on the inside.  When I met Nathan I gave him such a hard time!  I was horrible to him!  I pushed him away over and over again because I was so scared that he would eventually find something about me that he couldn't stand, or even worse SOMEONE who was better.  I became convinced that everyone I love would eventually leave me, and I accrued friendships where I even felt I had to walk on egg shells.  But while there were some bad and still some bad, there have been A LOT of good!  God has put people in my pathway over the last several years who have been in the same situations.  People whose husband was cheating on them, people about to go through divorce, people going through divorce, and people who have been battered wives.  I have been able to have the honor of being there for these women and being able to talk them through their darkest days.  While a lot of people have been through divorce, not everyone is able to really connect with people who are going through it now.  I've been able to help women come to the realization that they are precious when they've been told they are not, I've convinced some to try to work on situations that were fixable,  I've actually helped women leave abusive situations and get them out safely, discreetly, and securely, and I've just been there for a shoulder to cry on or vent to.  I do this not just because it's what I feel they need at the time but because I remember how it feels to sit in an empty house on a holiday without any family or friends around wondering where your husband is and who he is with!  I remember the fear calling 911, and stepping out to get the restraining order.  If I only had someone there with me to help me with these things it wouldn't have been as scary.  So that's my ultimate desire.  I would love to open up a Women's shelter one day to help these women who are walking on "cracked eggshells."   I want to be able to tell them that I know it's hard to leave, and to build them up and give them hope when they can't see a future or are just completely empty and broken inside.

So yes, maybe I say stupid things sometimes, maybe I will have to lose some really great friends who are completely dear to my heart because I just jumbled my words and couldn't get out my thoughts or exactly what I meant.  But if dealing with such bad anxiety the rest of my life will make it possible for me to help bare another torn down woman's pain, and help them to see that God values their life and so should their spouse; then I'd rather be lonely the rest of my life!  Life isn't about me, it's about other people (and of course worshiping God).  I can't walk on cracked egg shells anymore because it makes me too afraid, too nervous and panicked, and hopefully one day I will have thousands of women who can say they can't either!  It's hard to walk out of egg shells without someone there to guide you.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Day in the Life of the Coopers

So Today I decided to do a day in the life of the Coopers...well...really me.  It wasn't a completely typical day because today I had a mommy's night out; but you will get the idea!  Some of you already saw most of the photos on my facebook page today but here they are in order and with more explanation.

So our day started at 6:45am.  The kids were all 5 sitting on me, laying on me while I was still trying to catch that extra five precious minutes of sleep that would have made the entire day so much better!  Nathan got up before me and took them to the kitchen to start their breakfast so that I could work on getting out of bed; I am NOT a morning person!!  Once the kids were done eating Nathan got ready for work and I snuggled on the couch with all five of them...and some of them snuggled with each other.......

After about 40 minutes of television and snuggling so mommy could wake up, the television was turned off and all five girls went to their room to play until I was finished getting things together for school.  My sister gave me  a bag full of clothes she was getting rid of and in the bag was a huge soft furry robe, the girls stole it and Hobble-bobble sleeps with it as a blanket now it is so warm and soft.  Anyways Pumpkin and Little Bear came out both in the robe saying they were two headed sisters!  lol

Around 9:30am my sweet Goobies began getting tired and needed to go down for her nap.....

Then it was time to start school!  The babies played with puzzles and colored pictures while Little Bear worked on reading a few more words and writing and Pumpkin worked on her letter to her penpal....

While they were doing their busy work...momma worked too!  I printed, cut and laminated our new chore charts and hung them on the fridge so we could get started on them today.......

Then after school it was time for lunch.  While I cleaned up and put the school stuff away, Pumpkin made peanut butter sandwiches for everyone......

While they ate I started dishes and laundry and explained to them what their afternoon chores were and we got to it.....

After starting laundry I began unloading and loading dishes into the dishwasher but was interrupted when Sweet-pea decided to get a stomach bug and vomit all over the floor!!  So scrubbing the floor became my immediate priority (after her of course)!

Finally after an hour of trying to get the dishes loaded I had an empty sink!!!

Of course the relief of being finished with something didn't last long because when I came around the corner, into the living room I caught Hobble-bobble on the floor pouring out the baby powder all over the carpet!  So again I went scrubbing the floor!

And then left what I didn't get up for the vacuum, when I got to it.  So I then pulled out a few items to make some "respect" bracelets.  I had been having a hard time with the older girls teaching them to have respect for us and doing what we say when we ask, so I got this idea from a fellow homeschool mom's blog called My heart is at home. We did ours a little different, we only have 7 beads and our bracelets actually say RESPECT!

Then before I knew it, it was already 1:30pm!  The girls had finished their daily chores of emptying the bathroom trash, cleaning the bathroom sink, cleaning some of their room, and it was nap/quiet time.  Sweet-pea goes in her bed, Hobble-bobble goes in my bed, and Little Bear and Pumpkin were on the couch and chair looking at books for an hour.

During this hour I took time to re-organize our homeschool cabinet since it was a mess!  The kids get in there so often and pull things out and throw things in that it's just hard to find anything was well overdue...  before:


After the big girls were finished with their quiet time they helped me pick up the living room, and I vacuumed the floor....

When I was finished it was 3:00pm and the babies were still sleeping so I got the big girls ready to go outside.  As we were putting our shoes on to head out to play I hear coughing coming from Sweet-pea's room.  I sprinted back the hallway and found her laying sleeping in her own vomit!  It was in her hair under her head, in her ears so she ended up in the bath tub.....

And the big girls were sad because playtime outside had to be cancelled!! :(

But after the bath was finished, we pulled out a game and the girls all played "UNO MOO."  Even Goobies got in on the fun!!

So as they played nicely I received a phone call and felt like I was able to take a minute to talk.  I went into my room and was sitting on the bed.  A few minutes later Sweet-pea came into the room acting upset and whinny.  She pulled and yanked on me until I finally picked her up and sat her on my lap.  And then...yep...she vomited ALL over me!!  So I had another huge bag of laundry to add to my pile and another nice clean up session...

I finally got the kids settled down around 5:00pm with a movie.  No one was vomiting, no one was screaming they were all quiet and watching a movie.

So I went outside and threw some hotdogs on the grill for them for dinner since I wasn't going to be home for dinner tonight....

While I waited for them to cook I let the dog out, and watered the garden.......

Then I told Pumpkin she could come out and water their garden.........

When we finished, I rolled over the hotdogs and went back inside for the remainder of the time they cooked.  When I walked into the living room I saw Sweet-pea sitting on the floor naked trying to change her own diaper!!  LOL....

Once I got her diaper back on her I was relieved to see Nathan come through the door!!  We were ALL happy to see him!!

...but especially me because that meant I was able to finally take a shower!!  So I took a shower, did my hair, make-up, got dressed kissed everyone goodbye and was out the door for mommy's night out with a friend from highschool and two other amazing mothers!!  My friend won a mommy's night out at applebee's with three friends, and she picked ME as one of them!!  I was so honored to go with her!!

Once I found the place over in the west end, we had a great time!  We talked until almost 10:30 and then I was on a mission to get back home.....

Once I got home I talked with Nathan a few minutes and then went in to check on the babies.  They were all sleeping soundly.....

And then I ended the night with checking facebook, and writing this blog at 12:54am!

My evening is completely different!  I am usually on the computer after dinner working on my school work and then in bed by 12am!  Or spending time with Nathan watching a movie.  Anyways so this is a general typical day in our if you were a fly on our wall today this is what you would have saw.  Goodnight!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#3 is sick.....

So Tuesday we played catch up.  I'm still catching up from when everyone was in the hospital a few months back believe it or not.  What normal people with 2-3 children can do in one day, It takes me three months!!  So Today I did lots of laundry, dishes, and cleaned up the living room twice!  I did get the girls to clean up their rooms by making a game out of it.

After dinner I ran to the grocery store and got some snacks and a few things to get us through the week. When I got home I gave each kid a small pack of yogurt covered raisins to snack on before bed.  As I was on the phone with my sister in the bedroom, Nathan comes back there telling me that Hobble-bobble threw up!  When I came out to investigate, I realize that it wasn't much but she did.  I proceeded to get the girls in bed and worked on some school work while Nathan played Skyrim.  We headed to bed around 12:00 and I lied there watching a little tv and then read my book.  Before I knew it Hobble-bobble comes around the corner with her hand over he mouth heaving!  I jump up and push her into the bathroom and over the toilet and she vomits just in time to miss the floor.  We clean her up and put her back in bed with some water; thirty minutes later I hear a really strange noise!  I couldn't quite make out what it was but then I heard heaving and I ran into her room.  She was laying on her back with vomit all over her face and her hand over her mouth!!  And that is when panic set in!  Thank GOD I was awake and heard her and was able to get to her before she choked on it!  So Nathan helped run the bath and washed her while I stripped down her bedding, and made her a place on the couch for overnight supervision.

She is not running a fever but seems not to be able to keep anything down.  Once I got her on the couch I gave her a little sprite and within 10 minutes she was vomiting in her bucket again!  So I am all set up in our recliner with my book, and laptop taking the night shift again.  I'm hoping she just ate something bad and it's not a virus that we will have to have run through everyone again especially this time of the year when we have so much going on!!  Not a great time for everyone to get sick again!  So I guess the plan is to keep watch overnight and we'll see how she is in the morning!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Harassing Handicapped People.....

So Nathan had his physical therapy today at 2:30.  I was starting to get worried about him because it was almost 5pm and I had not heard from him  yet and he wasn't home yet.  Well finally he calls and says that when he got to St. Mary's the parking was horrid!  So he had to park in front of the Ortho building, he put his handicapped tag up and walked across to the hospital.  When he was finished he walked back to his car and had a note on his windshield that said, "we see you, is this really your handicapped tag?!"  and it had a card taped to it from the West End Orthopedic.  So he walked inside and asked for the lady whose name was on the card.  She said that she didn't believe that he really had a handicapped tag and thought he was using someone else's!  He asked her if she had a question about it why didn't she call the police instead of harassing him?  She told him because she didn't want to waste tax payer dollars and that they do this to people who park there all the time!   So Nathan took out his ID card with his name on it that goes with his handicapped tag and showed her that it was in fact his!

LOL- I just don't get why every time we are at St. Mary's we have stupid stuff like this that happens!! Seriously just because you think someone does not look handicapped doesn't mean they aren't!  And even then it's really none of her business what kind of condition he has and all over a parking space...seriously!!  If people have nothing better to do but to harass handicapped people then they need to find another job!  I'm just so disgusted with St. Mary's right now!  UNBELIEVABLE!!  What is even worse is the woman stated that they do this to everyone who parks there!! So sad!!

If you haven't heard from me.....

So yesterday we had a birthday party at pump-it-up for Little bear.  With everything going on recently I just needed a place that would take the stress out of it, and I wouldn't have to worry about anything.  I really didn't even put a lot of thought into much of it, I ordered a cake a few days before, had her gifts ready a week before, and sent invites through facebook of which again It was not well planned out because I left out a few good friends who we would have loved to have.  But overall it was nice, I had a blast with the girls- jumping and going down the slide with them.  I wish Nathan was able to do more but he did get to go down the slide a few times with the girls at least.  So one big event down and seems like A MILLION to go over the next two in a half weeks!

May 22nd through June 12th, is the busiest, longest, and most costly weeks in our entire year...every year!!  My weeks start to run together and this is the time that having a calendar is essential!!  So just this week we have (monday) Nathan's physical therapy, (tues) another shot for Nathan's back (we all have to drive up there and wait for 2 hours- this will be fun).  (wed) FREE (free days means cleaning day), (thursday) Nathan's physical therapy, (friday) I get to finish off the week having a mom's night out with a great friend from high school!!    Then next week is when the real fun begins!!  CRUNCH TIME!  (tuesday) Nathan gets another shot, (wed) Little Bear's recital photos where everyone has to be in full make up and dress, (thursday) Little Bear's dress rehersal for recital, (friday) Free day-cleaning, (Saturday) Little Bear's recital- then we run home drop the kids with grandma, change clothes and are off to the Jefferson for a wedding.  We then get to slow down until the next weekend when we have the homeschool convention, Hobble-bobble's birthday, and our Wedding Anniversary!     Throughout all this I will also be caring for 5 children, a husband who is limited in mobility, keeping up the house and going to college full-time.  So if you do not hear from me for the next few weeks this is why!  I am thankful that I've contracted some things out this year to take some of the load off me.  We have a nice man who comes and mows our yard every other week for only 35.00.  He does the trim and everything and all I have to do is the bushes (which I need to get on soon!).  This has been a HUGE help!  The yard has been the one thing that has been the hardest for Nathan to do, then last summer while I was pregnant I took over, and now this summer I just don't have time to even think about it!  

Well I guess I better get off here and get to cleaning before Nathan gets home from PT, I don't do well cleaning around him and tend to want to sit with him and spend time with him instead of going about my normal day!  I also need to make a trip to the grocery store so a grocery list will be in my near future!!  

~Happy Monday Everyone!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The perfect Saturday.....

Today was just a completely perfect day!  The weather was beautiful, and we just had the best family time ever today!!  We started out grilling out for lunch.  The girls played outside while Nathan grilled hot dogs.  We put a sheet down and all had a picnic, and then played frisbee.  We then loaded up the kids and headed out to run some errands.  Our first stop was Chesterfield Berry Farm.  The girls really love pretending that they have their own garden out back, and well, it's starting to become a little annoying having holes all over the yard where they've been trying to plant weeds!  (LOL)  So, a few months ago we emptied out the sand that was in their turtle because it was just TOO much of a mess!  We've had the turtle sitting next to the trash can for weeks debating on throwing it away.  So last night we decided to sit the turtle on top of a huge tree stump that every trips over, fill it with dirt, and let the girls plant their own flowers in it.  So our first stop was to pick out flowers for our turtle.  When we got home I dug out some dirt from our compost pile in the back and filled him up, stood back and let the girls go at it.  It's their baby!  They are in charge of weeding, watering and taking care of the whole thing all by themselves, and they are SO excited!!  (hopefully it will keep them from picking stuff out of my garden now!

After the Berry Farm we headed over to the library to return books and check out some more.  I challenged Pumpkin this summer to reading 100 books.  When she is finished we will have a little party with other homeschooling families who are joining us in this challenge, and then she will be able to pick out a toy from the toy store as a prize.  We just started mid-week last week and she has read 4 books so far, so we have a while to go but I believe she can do it!!  It has really encouraged her to read more instead of watch television (which I've been trying to limit more recently anyways).  Anyhow, she was able to get her first library card today at the library.  Little Bear and Hobble-bobble cried because they wanted a card too, so I told them that when they start reading their own books then I would take them and get them their own card too!  Hopefully that will be an incentive to finish Kindergarten this year for Little Bear so she can get started on first grade by fall!

So after the library all the girls fell asleep in the back of the car!  So I ran a few errands (1) to check out the pool we will be joining this summer, (2) pick up some ingredients at the Indian store, and (3) grab some hamburger and gas at Kroger.  Then we headed home to complete our projects and dinner.  I mad the girls hamburgers on the grill, and for Nathan & I,  Seek Kabobs on the grill.  And again we had a picnic outside and the girls played till almost 8:00pm!  Nathan and I dug up a few more flower beds around the back yard.  Since we have such a hard time with mosquitoes in the back, I have read that if you plant marigolds around the area it will repel the mosquitoes and other bugs.  SO I am on a mission to repel the bugs so we can enjoy our back yard a little better this summer.  We do have the most amazing back yard!!  Our house may be small but the back yard makes up for all of it!!
     Once it got dark out I took the girls inside and gave all five of them a bath, changed their bed-sheets, got their cups, and tucked them in the bed.  I pulled out two books from the Library bag and read to them, until they were fighting to keep their eyes open.
     We are very excited to see what tomorrow brings!  We will be going to pump-it-up tomorrow with some friends to celebrate Little Bear's 5th Birthday!  She won't be 5 till the 22nd but I just can't believe how big she is now!  It was just yesterday I was fighting to keep her from being born 10 weeks early!  I can't wait to celebrate with her tomorrow!  Hoping tomorrow is as amazing as today was!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A small update of the day....

This blog has become my sounding board over the last several months.  I feel like if I miss a day writing because I have nothing worth writing about for a few days that I somehow have been cheated out of spending time striking the keys.  So funny since I used to hate writing!

Today was more of a catch up day than anything.  Nathan woke up still really sore from his shot on Monday.  He is having some relief from his normal symptoms; however, it has awakened new ones in the process.  One of the side effects is that it will cause his pain to flair up for a few days before settling down.  He had a 9:30 appointment this morning for physical therapy.  When he got home his back so so sore all he could do the rest of the day was sit!  They did give him some great advice on how to sleep better and a website where he can order a 60.00 pillow for his legs.

I spent the morning trying to stay awake.  I don't know why I've become so exhausted over the last two days but I just can't hardly get myself awake!  The girls all snuggled with me in the chair taking turns getting warm next to me under the blankets.  Then about 20 minutes before Nathan came home from his appointment I unknowingly fell asleep humming "martha speaks" under my breath.  When he woke me Hobble-bobble was passed out in my arms and everyone else was resting on the couch watching episode after episode of Martha Speaks and requesting that we have alphabet soup for lunch.

After Lunch I cleaned up the living room, and hoped into the car to buy tickets for Little Bear's ballet recital before I completely forgot about it!  I then made a stop by payless, to find shoes for a dress I'm wearing to a wedding (which was not successful), and then off to walmart to buy more exercise items that were mandatory for Nathan's improvement.  Once I got home I dug in the closet and pulled out a slip n' slide that I had bought for $1.00 at Target's end of the summer sale last year, then off we went!  The girls played, and ran, and slid, and drank, and splashed in the water until I finally couldn't stand the heat anymore and made them come inside.  We ordered pizza for dinner and I crammed in a quiz and all my math homework for next week, a discussion board for english and half of the reading for next week all into my night tonight.  I'd love to get ahead so in 8 weeks when all four of my classes overlap for two weeks I'm not pulling my hair out trying to get it all finished up!!

And here I am at 3:04am blogging away!  I'm completely exhausted, I've not been to bed yet and already I've refilled 3 milk cups, changed a diaper, filled 1 bottle, prayed for 1 bad dream, and now I just need to figure out how to get Pumpkin out of our bed and into her top bunk without waking her so I can go to bed. ~Goodnight!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our long day was not without humor....

Today was a really long day for all of us.  I am imagining it will take us another three days to re-cooperate from this one!

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  We planned on making it to church that morning, but that didn't happen with everything we still had left to take care of before we left.  So first thing in the morning Pumpkin comes in and hands me this bundle of newspaper ads that she twisted to make them look like a bouquet of flowers.  She was so excited to give them to me and say "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!"  lol  Then they all disappeared into the kitchen and came back in with a bowl of frosted mini-wheats singing "happy mothers day to you!"  They were so cute!!  I spent the next 15 minutes scooping my cereal into each of their mouths, leaving myself about three bites.     lol

We then began the long process of packing for our overnight trip.  You would think that an overnight trip would be easy, just throw some stuff in a bag and be done!  NOPE!  Not for this family!!  There were bags upon bags of pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, sippy cups, bottles, clothes, extra clothes, night clothes, bathing suits, flotation devices, books, coloring books, snacks, dvd's, dvd players, laptops, school books, and toiletries (which we forgot).

We spent Sunday afternoon at my sister's house with her and her family, and my parents were there as well.  I had a really great time spending time with everyone.  My favorite part of the day was when my sister and I escaped to her room to try on clothes.  I needed a nice dress for a wedding and she let me borrow one from her.  I love spending time with her the way sisters should spend time with each other.  By the time we left, I really wasn't ready to leave and could have stayed there another whole day!  The girls were having fun, Nathan & I were having fun, and well...I just love spending time with my family.

We left for Charlottesville around 6:30 Sunday night.  The kids all slept on the way there so they were really awake by the time we arrived.  We unloaded luggage then reloaded the kids and went to the grocery for the toiletries we left behind, and some Arby's for dinner, then we were off again to the hotel pool for the kids to swim till bedtime.

Nathan's appointment with his surgeon was at 8am this morning.  I stayed behind with the girls at the hotel while he went, but he recorded it all so that he was able to replay it for me (although I still haven't listened to all of it).  They basically told him that he could still put off surgery if he wanted.  They said that if he is functioning at all that he still had time!!  They didn't think his weakness in his toes were as bad as the pain doctor had thought, and they gave him the option to wait longer or go ahead with it.  They said at this point if he had surgery it would only reduce 80% of his pain, so essentially he will NEVER be pain free unless God grants us another miracle.  He told Nathan that some people are just not ready for surgery and just have an epiphany one day that the time has come!  And I believe that time is here for here as it is going to get anyways.  He went ahead and told them to schedule the surgery.  They are about 4 months out with scheduling so that puts us in August/September.  They are supposed to call with an actual date soon.  Until then we will continue with physical therapy, cortisone shots, topical pain relief, and oral pain medication.  The surgery will be 6-8 hours long; he will be in the hospital for up to a week, and unable to do much outside of going to the bathroom, and laying in bed, for 3 months.  We go back for another appointment in August, before surgery, they will do a CAT scan and give us more information so far as living arrangements for me and the kids, and instructions for the surgery.

After his appointment we loaded up the kids and headed back home to Richmond.  We got home with enough time for me to put on make up (that was left behind too), and do my hair then we were off again. As we were coming out of our neighborhood Nathan read a sign that was hung up on a stop sign that said "missing cat"  he told me it said there was a 500.00 reward for a black cat!!  Just as I turned the corner I saw a black cat walking up a drive way down the road I just passed.  Starting to get excited about that $500.00 I pulled a U turn in the street and told Nathan we were going back for it!!  We get to the house where I saw it walking up into the yard and I ask him, "do you see it, right there behind the bushes!"  Nathan rolls his window down and starts to say, ""  and we both saw it at the same time...the little black kitten was one dimensional, and stuck in the ground between the bushes and the driveway.  It was a little  kitten carved out of wood!  And again I LOST IT!!  I was laughing so hard I was crying!  Nathan turns to me (thinking I was messing with him) and says, "whatever, look at you doing a U turn for that 500.00 reward...haha, there really wasn't a reward I was just kidding!!"  I promise though it was a real cat walking up that yard...I don't know where he went or what happened to him but he was there!!  And who in the world buys a wooden kitten and puts it in their bushes in their yard!!  Poor people probably thought we were out of our minds yelling at their decorations!! LOL

Anyways so our day ended with a trip to St. Mary's for Nathan's shot.  It took about 2 hours and the girls were really having a hard time sitting there so we walked around for a while.  After his shot he was not able to lift anything or bend over. He has to rest for 24 hours to allow it to take effect.  So that lifting kids, buckling kids, lifting strollers, holding kids, rocking kids, putting kids to bed, cleaning, you name it...he gets out of it for 24 hours!!  ;) sweet husband, I just wish he felt better!  So now...he has a physical therapy appointment this Wednesday, and another shot next Tuesday.  Hopefully they will work this time!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Awakening the heart....

Today has been an emotional day for me.  I'm really letting my mind get the best of me these last few days.  I really wish that we went ahead and got the surgery for Nathan's back when we first got married, but it seems we have chosen to do most things in our lives backwards so why not this too.  We got married, had kids then he finished college.  We had five kids then I decided to go to college.  So why not wait till I'm in college, taking care of five kids and homeschooling...THEN have the surgery.

I have a problem with really realizing that the people I love have health problems.  It's like I hear it, I know it but it never makes it to my heart until it has to.  For instance, six years ago my father was diagnosed with kidney failure.  His entire life turned upside down.  For almost a year or so I tried to ignore that it was happening.  I knew it, I had sympathy for him and wished I could take it away...but I didn't allow myself to feel the pain I should have felt knowing my dad had kidney failure, until I had no choice.  One day he was admitted to the hospital having some issues.  One minuted he was acting fine, had a conversation with me and the next minute I was being pushed against the hospital wall while over 20 doctors came rushing in with paddles and radios and called a code blue.  I just remember being in shock, feeling like the world just blew up around me and I couldn't figure out what was going on.  Life really comes into perspective when you are watching the man who used to rock you to sleep diminishing before your eyes.  He did stabilize and  was in the ICU for a while,  and they did not have to use the paddles on him, however; it was like they used them on me.  That was the first time since finding out he was sick that I actually allowed myself to feel the pain from it.  It became real to me then.

I have a slight problem with putting up a thin wall to guard my heart from things.  That is exactly what I've been doing with Nathan's back for so long.  I've known he has had back issues since the day we met, but I didn't care because I love him and that is all that matters.  I also tried to put the fact that he would eventually have to have surgery out of my mind since it wasn't happening then.  I just figured that when the day came I would deal with it then.  And here I am.  The day is getting closer and closer, and my mind is going a million miles per minute imagining the worse, the best, the in between of every outcome that is possible.  We haven't even scheduled the surgery yet but I feel so nervous about this appointment on Monday, almost like this is the surgery itself!  Probably because this is the preparation for everything and I just don't see how he will be able to walk out of there without them making him schedule surgery.  So needless to say my heart has woken up this week, and it has not been pleasant.

My husband, he is my best friend!  I know it's hard for some to imagine a husband and wife who never want to be apart but to us it's normal.  I've only been away from him 1 week, the entire time we've been married! I do go to mommy's night out's and go out with friends, but there isn't a whole lot in life that I do not want to share with my husband.  I'm so thankful to have found someone who feels the same about me.  Of course we have disagreements and we are different people but he is truly my other half and to be away from him makes it hard to fully function the correct way.  I just wish there was a way for me to take away his pain without him having to go through this, and without our kids having to go through this.

Tonight we were all in the car and Nathan ran into the store to pick up something.  I was telling the girls that we have to spend tomorrow cleaning up and packing because we were going on a mini-overnight-vacation.  I told them that daddy would have to go to the doctor to see if they could fix his back.  They of course wanted to know how that would work, and so I told them that they would put him to sleep and then do surgery to fix his back so he isn't in pain anymore.  Pumpkin says, "But mommy what if he won't wake up?  What if he sleeps forever?"   It was so hard to assure her that he daddy will be okay because we are going to pray that God is with him, when I myself have been having the same thoughts!  But I did tell her that and she was okay with the fact that God was going to take care of him.  If only I could have the faith of my children.  I do trust God, but I trust that he will do HIS will and sometimes what we want is not always in His will.  I just pray that this time it is.  I know it sounds silly to worry this much about a surgery but I have five children who need a daddy, five little girls who NEED a father figure in their lives in order to have a fulfilled life.

So tonight I just broke down!  I just needed a good cry, my heart, mind, and life has been so overwhelmed recently that crying was a good thing.  I believe that Nathan will be okay because God has big plans to use him and he hasn't even started yet!!  But it's just really hard to remember that all the time.  Fully surrendering everything to God, every single something that is so easy yet so hard at the same time.  Worry is my biggest demon!  But like everything else I'm determined to fight that with whatever is left in me to fight with.  It's going to be a long weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Surgery may be in our future, but God uses all things for good...

So in a previous post I wrote about our experience at Nathan's pain doctor and how we were surprisingly kicked out of the office because they didn't want to deal with a mistake they made.  Well that entire situation turned out to be a huge blessing!!  I told you all, God always uses everything for good.

To give you a little background on Nathan's back condition; He has a condition called spondylolisthesis.  After a car accident in college where a woman hit him from behind while he was at a complete stop his spine was shifted forward at his L5 S1.  Overtime it has become more and more severe.  At this point his spine is not fused together and it is shifted forward at a grade 4, which is a 75% slippage.  When we first got married he was always in pain, yet, he only had to take a pain pill on occasion.  The last two years for him have been really challenging.  We drive to Charlottesville to UVA, to see our orthopedic-neurosurgeon first it was once a year...then it was once every 6 months...then once every 3 months.  He originally told us that until he can not hardly even stand up anymore...wait to have the surgery.  And that is what we've been trying to do.  After a series of physical therapy, a round of cortisone shots, and upping his medication...he was getting worse.  In August 2011, was our last visit to UVA.  At that point it was getting hard for him to get out of bed in the mornings.  There were mornings his legs would go numb and he would lose feeling in them and he would fall over when he go up.  They did an MRI of his spine and could see where it was putting pressure on his nerves.  The doctor gave us 2 choices.  (1) schedule surgery today for November, or (2) wait a month, try strengthening his muscles a bit, pray for a miracle and come back in a month and schedule surgery.  At that point surgery was really bad timing for us.  I was due to have our 5th child in less than a month and having a newborn, recovering from giving birth, taking care of 5 children and helping Nathan through recovery was just not looking too great right then.  So we went home and prayed about things and we both didn't feel peaceful about it.

In January he spoke with his surgeons nurse practitioner.  She gave him the 411 about the surgery.  There is two different surgeries  that they could preform.  (1) would be a titanium disk replacement, which would give him more mobility and would be the best option, but the problem is that since it's such a new thing, insurance will not cover it at all!  or (2) Double spinal fusion.  This would be where they open him up from the back fuse his spine at L5, S1, and also L5, L4 (i believe) and it would be secured with rods and screws.  This surgery would limit his flexibility.  She said it would be best to put it off as long as he can because over time his spine will start to wear out at the next disk up, and that would would need fused, and on, and on...all the way up his spine.  It is possible he would have to have surgery every 10 years.  They also warned him that any twisting, bending and movement could cause the screws to pop out and he would have to have it done again.  So naturally we began praying for our miracle.  (we have actually been praying for that for years!)

We did receive a small miracle though.  At one of his appointments they took his x-ray and the doctor said, "wow, looks like there are little tiny bones that has grown up around your spine to hold it in place so it doesn't slip anymore!"

So back to now....

After our incident with the pain specialist, we were in search for a new one.  My mom works in a doctors office and sent me a link to another one.  We called and made an appointment for this past Tuesday.  They told us that they would send us paperwork in the mail to confirm our appointment, and when we didn't receive it we were a little hesitant for him to go that morning after what happened at the last doctor.  But he did.  When he was finished there he called me on my cell and said, "I am so glad what happened happened!!  This doctor is amazing!"  So basically he checked the strength in Nathan's feet and he had weakness in his toes.  He wasn't able to push up on the doctors hands with his toes when he pushed them down.  Right away he got on the phone with Nathans surgeon at UVA.  He told him he wanted to work with him in order to treat Nathan the best possible way, and that he had found weakness in his toes and needed to figure out if it was new weakness or if it's always been there.  He then scheduled him an appointment at UVA for this coming Monday morning in order to get it checked out!!  He assured Nathan that if it is new weakness that it would be in his best interest to get the surgery now because it will save his strength and prevent him from having to be in a wheel chair later in life.  He gave him a back brace to help him with stability when he is walking a lot and he has a cain now to help him take the pressure off his back while walking.

So, Monday will start the long process of events.  We will head to Charlottesville Sunday night and spend the night for him to be at his 8am appointment in the morning.  Then we will load everyone up and head back home to make it to his pain specialist by 3pm for his first injection.  Wednesday he will have to go back to the pain specialist for physical therapy, 2 more shots 1 each week for the next 2 weeks.  I"m sure once we get to Charlottesville we will more than likely end up scheduling his surgery.

I can't help but feel petrified at all of this.  I think my biggest fear isn't the surgery itself but the anesthesia.  Nathan has never had anesthesia, so we have no idea how he will respond to it, and he is very sensitive to medications so that worries me!  The thought of sitting in the waiting room for 6-8 hours while he is opened up and being operated on makes my stomach churn.  I know that God will see us through this.  He has everything else!  I know he will allow everything to fall in place the way it is suppose to but I'm human and it's a scary thing!

I wasn't able to hear the sermon at church Sunday since I had to stay in the nursery with the girls.  So I listened to it online last night.  The Pastor talked about Jonah and the whale.  He said that Jonah didn't want to do what God told him and ran, and because God loved him God pursued him.  He gave him trial, after trial after trial until FINALLY he got him alone in the belly of the whale where he had no choice but to listen to God.  He talked about how God used everyone of those trials to refine Jonah and open his eyes.  It really hit home for me.  I feel like after we were hurt so bad in the church, after Nathan was finally ordained.  We decided we had enough and didn't want to pursue ministry anymore.  Since then we've had trial, after trial after trial.  We've gone through losing everyone around us from family to friends until finally God has us all to himself.   Now I'm excited to see what kind of things he has in store for us!

Surprised by Grace: The Gospel According to Jonah: Kingsway Community Church

Monday, May 7, 2012

Accidents happen.....

So a few weeks ago, I was in the dollar tree and saw the cutest green Hawaiian grass skirts for the girls!  I bought four of them, along with a bunch of the leis.  The girls were so excited when I got home and they were able to dress up!  After about a day of them playing rough with the grass skirts, I started to notice pieces here and there around the living room; after a couple more days it got worse!  They were stuck to butts when we changed diapers, stuck to feet, legs, and hair.  I was pulling these green pieces of plastic grass out of the washer, the drive way, and our car!!  So tonight as I sat on the couch next to Nathan I look down and he has a piece entwined around his leg hair!  LOL  He says, "YOU better never buy something like that again!!"  hahaha!!

So again as we sat next to each other on the couch tonight, I was in a silly mood.  I have been trying to drink 64 ounces of water a day in order to help with my weight loss journey.  As I sat there tonight I began blowing bubbles through my straw and on the top of the lid was a hole that the air was blowing out of.  Nathan looks at me and was like "what are you doing!?"  lol... Me being silly said, "When I blow in my straw the air comes up and hits me in the forehead and it feels might delightful."  he just rolled his eyes and shook his head.  Then out of no where this huge stream of water flies up out of the straw and spills all over the front of my shirt!!  I started laughing so hard I knew that if I didn't run, I would not make it to the bathroom!!  I've had this horrible thing my entire life that if I laugh too hard, I cannot control myself!  And sure enough I felt it crawling down my legs turning my grey sweat pants black before I made it to the bathroom.  It didn't matter how hard I squeezed it was determined!!!  The whole way down the hallway all I hear is Nathan gasping for air in between his laughing!  Once I finished cleaning myself up, I came back out and sat down in my spot.  Nathan looks at me and says calmly, "I will never be able to forget that!"  haha!!  

So in an earlier post I was talking about Hobble-bobble and how she was potty training this week.  She has done excellent.  But she had a little accident today.  I hear her yell at me and I walk into the bathroom and see the huge turd laying on the floor in front of the toilet, and she was sitting on the toilet!!  I said, "Hobble-bobble did you do that?"  She says, "I was done going pee pee and when I got up it just fell out!"  I was DYING!!  I did take a photo of it and then posted it on my facebook page.  People were just roaring over this picture, it was so gross but it was unbelievable that you just couldn't stop looking at the darn thing!!  I eventually took it down because I started to feel bad posting a photo of my daughters poo for all to see but it is definately one "I will never be able to forget!"  LOL
****happy monday!***

Late to church...

So our quest to get back on schedule with going to church on Sundays officially started yesterday.  It was a really rough day but we were determined to get to church no matter what!

My morning started with waking up from a nightmare with Pumpkin (6) in my bed staring at me.     She said, "mommy why do you look so sad while you are sleeping?"  I told her because I had a bad dream!  Once we were up and about we fed the girls breakfast which they refused to sit down and eat.  I started bath water put all four in the bath.  Nathan washed and I dried.  He would wrap one in a towel and sent them into the living room to me where I would lotion them, diaper them, clothe them and brush their hair.  The first one out was Sweet-pea (1), I dressed her and put her down to play then out came Hobble-bobble (2).  I dressed her put on her boot for her ankle and put her down to play.  Then I hear this huge splash coming from the bathroom and hear Nathan say, " OH MY GOSH!!"  I run to the bathroom and am feeling dread at the sight of Sweet-pea sitting in the bath tub with her clothes on!  Not planning for her to jump into the bathtub I did not have a back up outfit on hand for church since laundry was still in process, so I stripped her down and threw her outfit into the dryer!  Then I hear Nathan again, "UM....Toneka COME HERE!!"  I go in the bathroom and see him looking at a huge black tick stuck on the back of Little Bear's head just above her hairline.  Of course we didn't want to tell her that a bug was stuck on her head so we told her she had a bump on her head and I had to fix it.  I tried smothering it with Vaseline hoping it would back out but it didn't.   So Nathan began to operate, he heated a small needle with a lighter and was able to pull it off with the tweezers at the same time.  Little Bear (4) was amazed that there was a bug on her head, that is, after we got him off her.  We continued to try to get ready to get out the door and the clock did not stop for us.  We had 20 minutes left for Nathan & I to get ready, put everyone in the car, make bottles, and dress the baby.    We finally made it to church 10 minutes after the service began and while taking the kids out of the car Goobies (7mo) pukes all over herself!   The girls were really excited to be there except for Sweet-pea (1) and Goobies (7mo).  I ended up in the nursery with them the entire time.  Anytime I was out of sight for either of them they started crying.

After church we went to get the kids from their classes.  The very first thing they did was start fighting with each other the minute they got into the hallway!  It then continued all the way out the door, into the parking lot and the whole way home.  I knew they were just tired and hungry since it was that time of day.  Once we were home they ate lunch and went to their beds for "quiet time."  Our plan yesterday was to clean up the house and get that back in order from when everyone was sick.  We needed to start with the kitchen, we cleaned the kitchen for three hours!!  We did two loads of dishes in the dishwasher, and then washed the rest by hand.  We pine soled the counters, cabinets, appliances etc.  It felt good to finally get that out of the way!!

Of course getting everyone back on schedule is going to be far from easy but we will get there!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Almost peed my pants....

So the last few days have been pretty stressful, but we are getting there.  Hobble-bobble had to put her boot back on tonight.  She fractured her ankle the first of April.  She fractured it in a growth spot and so they said the hardest thing for us is going to be keeping her from re-injuring it!  She wore a boot for 3 weeks and then they said she was able to take it off and try to regain strength.  They said it would take about two weeks.  But still she limps, some days worse than others.  She still stands on the bunk beds and jumps off onto the floor, although we tell her not to.  She came in from playing outside today and said it was hurting.  When I looked at it, it was swollen again.  So I put her boot back on and will keep it on her till Wednesday when she has her re-check.  I think if it's hurt again or they want her back in the boot for a while longer I'm going to ask for a cast this time since she thinks she is a super hero!

She also finally potty trained this week!  I do not try to potty train my kids.  I know most parents want their kids out of diapers as soon as they can, but for me I learned early with baby #1 that I'm not going there until they want to!  I would rather they keep their diaper on until they turn four, that way I can say, "happy birthday- by the way you get to use the potty now!"  and they knew exactly what I was talking about!  When Pumpkin was a baby, someone told me that the easiest way to potty train was to take off their pants and let them wonder around.  They said if I did this they would sit on the potty because they will not just stand there and pee.  Well, they were wrong!  I found poop in corners, in her toy guitar, in her sink that goes in her play kitchen!  She opened drawers and stood in them on her clothes and peed all over them!  And then one happened...she had her door closed in her room, I walked in and opened the door and there it was!  A HUGE pile of poo was behind the door; when I opened the door it went over the poo causing it to embed itself into the off white carpet, and spread like butter while oozing under the door and sticking to the bottom of it.  Being mad was an understatement!!  I put her diaper back on her, and told her until she started going potty herself we were not taking it off!!  She eventually got the idea.  It took her the longest out of all my kids to potty train, and still she was in a diaper until just this year (6years old) at night time!  Little Bear trained in a week!  The week she turned 3 years old I told her if she went to the potty I would sign her up for dance class.  By the end of the week she was even trained at night!  And now Hobble-bobble, she has trained the earliest!  She wont be 3 until June so I'm super proud of her!  She wants to wear panties all the time, even at night but I had to tell her she can't do that yet.  She is so cute!!  So that is my strategy just wait till they go on their own one saves so many headaches!!

So today I went to the library to start on my 1200 word essay that is due by Monday.  As I sat there something out the window caught my eye.  There were police officers combing the woods behind the library!!  I started to get a little nervous, but still I pecked away on my computer.  A few minutes later I hear the sound of police radios inside the library!  They were walking around searching the library!  So then I really started to get nervous!  As I was walking out to my car to leave a few hours later, I remembered that I didn't lock it.  I started to think that would be the perfect hiding place in someones car!!  I walked up to the van and saw this old man had just parked in front of me.  He was walking around my van on the passengers side.  When he got to the back of the van I began to open my car door, and the man sneezes so loud I jumped and seriously almost peed all over myself!! lol  

Anyways, so while I was doing my research for my paper I came across a website of people who lived green lifestyles!  This woman was pregnant but because she was so worried about saving the planet, she had an abortion in order to reduce her carbon foot print!!  Then another woman talked about how the only thing she cares about was keeping the earth healthy and in order to do so she is getting sterilized so she won't have any babies!  They say that basically baby + stuff + extra room in the house +babies the baby will have = pollution!  YES that is right they called babies pollution!!  Seriously!!  I was so disgusted and outraged by this that I couldn't even write my paper!  Do people not think that if everyone lived this way...humanity would die out!  Well, my babies are far from pollution.  "They is smart, they is kind, they is important!"  What makes these people think their life is anymore valuable than a child?  Anyways, I need to vent that out!  I know people can believe some crazy stuff but this was just shocking to me!

So for lunch today, Nathan and I took the girls to Grandma's for a few hours.  We went to Panera for some salads (since I'm watching the calories) and then to Starbucks for our "meeting."  We sat down and picked out curriculum for next year and scheduled appointments and put things on the calendar.  It was nice to finally have little bit of a plan for next year...once we finish school this year!  We are about halfway through this year and we will eventually get there!  Looking forward to getting the new curriculum for next year!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Broken Hearts and Spiritual Victories.....

It's been a week now since my last post.  I'm completely overwhelmed at the response I had from my "call to prayer" last week.  I had so many people reaching out to me, and praying for us!  I had people telling me how much I've helped them over the years and how much I mean to them.  It was really amazing how far a little openness and honestly goes.  I'm so thankful that those people have reached out to me and have been continuing to pray for our family!  Your prayers, thoughts, emails, and encouraging words have not been in vain.  Ever since I posted that blog last week, things have gradually picked up in our every day life and we are slowly getting our household back in order.

 People look at my faith and see me as a strong Christian mother.  I get comments all the time about how people wish they could raise their children the way I do, or wish they could have a relationship with God the way I do, and often I feel so much pressure to be that perfect parent and Christ-follower in order to live up to their standards.  For years my biggest fear was that someone would see me mess up and it would effect their decision to follow Christ.  While that may be true in some cases, I don't believe it's true in mine.  I believe that people can appreciate that I am not perfect; matter of fact it may make people feel a little relieved to see that we have struggles just like they do!  The last several years when people say those things about me being "amazing" I cringe because I feel a long way from amazing.  When we were in ministry one of the things I despised more than anything was when people put pastors up on a pedestal.  Yes, it's important to respect your spiritual leaders, but not worship them!  They struggle just as much if not more than everyone else.  I always felt like people were constantly watching me, constantly critiquing me waiting for me to slip up so they can call me out on it.  But I don't care what people see in me that they don't like, or that they feel is not "Christian-like"!  I do claim to be a Christian, I love Christ, I worship Christ, and if I were perfect I would not need Him, but I do, I need his salvation from sins.  

I'm taking an apologetic (defending your faith) class in college this semester.  We are reading the book Consider by Dr. Lew Weider and Dr. Ben Gutierrez.  In finishing the last few chapters tonight, the text really spoke to my heart and I wanted to share.  They were talking about how when shepherds lose one of their sheep they will leave their entire flock to find that ONE sheep.  Once it is found they put it over their shoulders and carry it back, breaking the leg of that sheep.  They will then hold that sheep until its leg is healed.  Because the sheep can hear the shepherds heart beating the entire time it is healing, it is guaranteed that the sheep will never wonder off again.  This is true for us as well.  Anytime we lose our way, or lose sight of our shepherd (Jesus), God breaks our hearts so that he can allow us to hear his heart so we will not stray, or lose sight of Him again.  I can honestly say that through all of our struggles I've been able to see God working, and hear his heart.  I'm so thankful for eyes and ears that Hear him.

Another great idea from the book is when you do feel like life has overwhelmed you and you can't see past things that are going on, keep a "spiritual victory" notebook.  Write down half-day, daily or hourly spiritual victories that happen throughout your day.  This will allow you to see what God is doing in the midst of your circumstances!  Sometimes we get so caught up in all the negative that we think God isn't there anymore- we have just lost sight of our focus.

So our next thing we are focusing on in our house is claiming a church family.  I've had such negative feelings towards the institutional church the last few years.  I hate how it has become, I hate how selfish and hurtful people can be.  I don't believe that the act of going to church makes me any better of a Christian; however, it does help us with our spiritual journey in order to to be lifted up, and have support and fellowship with other believers.  If the "church" is the "body of Christ" and the "Body of Christ" is His "believers" then "Church" isn't something you can go to.  We are the church; we should have fellowship with the church, a relationship with the church, love for the church, and respect for the church.  The mentality that if you are "not at church" you aren't "spiritual enough," or if you don't "join the church," you aren't part of the church is just outrageous.          And then there is the sad instances where you connect with church members, then you move on to another church and they stop talking to you because you aren't part of "their church" anymore.  While I know this is how our society functions with "churches" I just wish it would be easier for people to realize that Christians make up "church" not the act of going or the building or the specific people who meet in your building.  Church leadership of some institutions can be so quick to judge their people by their faults and condemn them under phariseedic standards instead of trying to refine them in love.    I am convinced more and more that the "church" is what is separating us from being "The Church" or "The Body of Christ."

All this aside, I do believe having a Church family is important for growth, accountability, and having support in our walk with Christ.  With that said we have found a great church that we believe we have found.  It's been difficult to be completely committed to it right now for us, 1. because of all the sickness we've had and 2. because of what I've written above.  I have not witnessed any of this at our new church so far, but we also have only been there a handful of times.  Every time we make it to church on a Sunday, something crazy happens the next week.  While I'm sure we will join the church eventually, maybe even the worship team, small groups, kids activities; our fellowship will not be limited to that specific group of people.  The #1 reason that I loved this church was because when we walked in and they saw our five precious girls people didn't say things like "don't you know how that happens" or "wow you have your hands full!'  They said things like, "WoW, five girls what an amazing blessing!" And, "I hope to have that many children eventually."  We are not the largest family in the church!!  Everyone there has several children, and everyone there homeschools!!  They have homeschool meeting for the mothers so the older mothers can encourage the younger mothers, they have dance class for the kids.  We are not "weird" because of the way we've chosen to live.  While I'm positive they are not perfect, and I'm positive we will not agree with everything there either....I'm thankful to have a church family.  While yes I wish church wasn't set up the way it is, I am still grateful for the people that God led us to!

So that is our next prayer, that we can get on schedule and have a good routine to become consistent in our new church home and that our experiences in the past will not hinder any relationships in our future.

**our spiritual victory for today: "no one was sick, Nathan was able to be at work, and we had no bad news"**  God is faithful!

Thank you again to those of you praying for our family!  We are so blessed to have so many praying friends!  Love and blessings to all of you!!