Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life Goes On...

It's March 20, 2011...and my boys are growing so fast.
So much has happened since the last post. Rowan is 6 1/2 months and Micah will be 6 years old on April 14. I just can't believe how fast time goes. I am finding it bittersweet to watch Rowan grow. Having a 5 1/2 year age difference b/w children allows me to see two truly independent children and how they interact with the world. Overall, I feel so incredibly fortunate to have such happy, healthy children.

Micah has had some struggles this year with kindergarten. We removed him two weeks ago from the private school he was attending b/c after much soul searching and prayer, we felt we needed to. Micah was in a class of 5 and while in the beginning we found it ideal for a learning environment, it proved to be stifling for Micah. He was in trouble every day, and after multiple conferences, a recommendation that he be held back in kindergarten next year (RIDICULOUS...the teacher apparently said it in the heat of them moment bc he is excelling academically) and a few conversations that got very personal, I knew it was time to do something. His light was going out, so to speak. I am not making excuses for his behavior, but at some point a child will grow to BECOME the "expected" or anticipated behavior and I saw it coming...Micah was, in a nutshell, BORED. He needs more activity, more people to be around, more to do. We enrolled him in the public school down the street and I was SICK about it. It just wasn't where I ever intended him to go...but then, God seems to have a way of directing me down paths I NEVER thought I'd go down. I prayed endlessly - as soon as we knew we were going to remove him - b/c for about 24 hours, I thought I was going to be homeschooling him through the end of the school year.

To our surprise, Micah was not the odd man out...the children all welcomed him...all 24 of them:), to their class and Micah was comfortable immediately. I visited for a day with him before we made our decision and I didn't leave feeling great about the school, but mostly b/c I was so nervous about the transition to public school more than mid way. Micah has been there two weeks and seems to fit right in. I haven't heard from his teacher yet, so I assume he's just one of the crowd...and that his behavior is acceptable - that HE is accepted. Academically the school he was attending prepared him VERY well. He seems to be ahead of the game and I am glad about that and irritated at the same time. Bft County does NOT have the best school system...

Micah had his first karate tournament earlier this month. He was SOOO very scared...I was nervous for him. None of us were sure what to expect...but he was basically asked to show his "stuff" to some teachers, which he did, very sheepishly, but I could see how PALE his face was and I wanted to run out and hug him...but I didn't. I knew he had to do this on his own...and he did...and as SOON as he did, he smiled a HUGE smile and laughed. Then he had a ball with the rest of the tournament b/c it involved a partner and all the kids had fun!

Rowan is a delight. I think about the next day with him as I'm going to bed every night. He is a BEAUTIFUL baby...and I can't believe how blessed I am. He is so very happy and seems to love us all so very much...he just lights up when we are all together and everyone comments on how happy he is.

Things he does:)

*PHYSICAL: Crawls around the ENTIRE house. He began really crawling just before he turned 5 months. Month 5 he began crawling short distances...and now...he crawls EVERYWHERE. He crawls on one knee and one's the CUTEST thing I've ever seen...

Pulls up to standing on anything and everything he can.

Attempts to balance himself and stand alone. He lets go of whatever
he's holding on to, smiles and just waits to fall back down on his
bottom. It's so sweet!

Rolls over on the changing table. HATES to be on his back. Changing his
diaper is HARD...I literally have to hold him down with my left arm and
try to tackle putting the diaper on in a way that does not hurt him b/c
I have to REALLY hold him down.

Babbles, makes an "s" sound, blows bubbles (or so he thinks, more like


Recognizes the dogs and loves them. When I ask "where is Summer? Where
is Uno?" He looks around for them!

* EATING: He LOVES his bottles now. Go figure. HOwever getting him to sit still long enough to eat is a feat! I am usually not one to nurse or feed a baby to sleep but I literally time his feedings just before his naps so I can sit and rock him and get him in teh zone to actually take in the bottle! He takes about 20 - 26 ounces (I think ) a day in addition to baby food. We started formula about a month ago on a regular basis and again, he just took it! Right now he takes about 50% breastmilk, 50% formula. We started this b/c he wouldn't eat enough by nursing and I KNOW it's b/c he couldn't SEE. This monkey has to be hanging halfway down my legs like a slide when he's eating or ready for sleep. He has had the following foods, homemade: apples, pears, bananas, sweet potatoes, rice cereal, peas, avocado, banana whole milk yogurt (the only thing he really opens his mouth for) and teething biscuits. He does NOT love to eat solids and flips out if we try to feed him when he's the least bit cranky or tired. I try hard to get him two feedings of food b/c I know he needs the calories to get him thru the night w/out being hungry.

General Likes and Loves: Bath time, though we no longer can use the infant to toddler tub b/c he launches himself out of it. I literally have to bend over the tub w/ my arm around his waist the entire time and wash him one handed. It takes preparation to be able to do this!

* SLEEPING: He sleeps pretty well. It could be a LOT worse. His is asleep by 7 p.m. most nights, maybe 7:30 p.m. depending on when he wakes from a late afternoon nap.

He's JUST now become more scheduled and able to be tracked:) He usually wakes b/w 6-7 p.m, sleeps from 9 - 10am ish, then again from 12:30 - 2:30is and then about 4:30 - 5:15pm or so. At night he is out cold very quickly and has thankfully stopped waking more than twice. It is rare that he wakes twice. Usually he wakes b/w 2:30 -4 for a feeding and then goes right back down.

I can put him down wide awake and tell him "night night" and he will soothe himself. He cries sometimes, but I just let him. I have become much more comfortable w/ a crying awful as that sounds...but I think it's b/c I spend a day watching him cry in his crib...when I was trying to get him to nap i NEEDED to see that he was ok through all those tears so I just stayed with him...and realized he WAS ok...:) And so did he:

*STRANGER DANGER: If he doesn't know you, he will NOT allow you to hold him. He will SCREAM immediately. Can't say I blame him

* He hates his bouncer, his playpen and his jonny jumper - basically anything that restrains him. He is great in all of those things for our sitter...but not for us. Little MONKEY!


I just ran my very first race yesterday, a 5K. My husband was so incredible and ran w me, totally supportive and loving. He knew how nervous I was, especially since I am a very slow runner and have only been able to run maybe 10 x since the baby was born. I finished and felt AMAZING. I truly see how it can become addictive...I signed up for my next 5K today:)

Work is going very well, I feel very blessed.

I feel like I have so much more to say, but am pretty exhausted as I type this, so I'll save it for the next one! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rowan James

It's now 2011. One year ago I was just starting my morning sickness...that would last a solid 15 weeks. Wow. One year...and my life has family's life has very much.

Rowan is 4 months old. At his check up he weighed 15 lb. 8 oz and was 26 1/2 inches long. That's 1.5 lbs. less than Micah was at his age, but 1/4 of an inch longer! We are through the colic stage...and thank God. It literally went away Thanksgiving Day. The constant, countable times of screaming and crying for 3 straight hours is over. There's so much I could say about those first 12 weeks and the hours of 5 - 8 p.m., but I don't have the energy to mentally put myself back there. Colic not for the faint at heart, I can tell you that.

The first three months, outside of colic, were challenging enough. Micah started kindergarten, and I am the one who takes him and picks him up daily, with baby in tow. Little did I realize that meant initiating any kind of schedule with the baby would be impossible - until recently. I also took Micah to soccer 3 x a week and karate 1 x a week...all while on maternity. I wanted Micah to have things to do, not just sit at home and watch me feed the baby...but I think I would change how MUCH he did if I could go back. It really was so hard.

During my last month on leave, finances were pretty scary. Everything that could go wrong, did...but once again, just as I was about to fall to my knees in distress, the Lord provided.

I've been back at work about 6 weeks and am finding balance. I am so very thankful that my sweet Rowan is not in daycare. That's not because it's a horrible sentence for a baby, but he's a "winter" baby...and has caught two colds already just being home w/ me and our wonderful nanny, Barbara who comes about 10 hours a week and has proven to be a wonderful - and much needed help. I'm guessing all the to and from kindergarten and Micah's other activities have contributed to Rowan getting sick already. Ugh...It makes me crazy. I'm starting to see everyone as a germ.

I have 3 accounts that I manage in that time frame that Barbara helps and in the evenings after everyone is asleep. I have had more calls for work than I could handle and have actually turned business down. I can't believe that...2.5 years into my business and I am turning AWAY work? I just take on what I need to financially - though it's hard not to be "me" and take on EVERYTHING. I love to work...especially now that I am working for's so freeing...making my own hours...making a diff. in people's business's all so wonderful. Someday maybe I'll make a GOOD living at it:) - but then I'd have to stop saying no.

Nothing is worth giving up time with my kids. Absolutely nothing. Having a second child has proven to be the most wonderful thing in the world. I am taking in every minute, every late night feeding, every new development and I can almost cry right now thinking of how much Rowan has grown in 4 months. He is BEAUTIFUL. He has this smile...that just breaks my heart in every great way possible. He laughs with such joy...he knows he is loved.

I feel like I'm all over the place, but if I don't get it out I'm afraid I"ll forget and then will be so sorry I didn't write stuff down. More about Rowan...

His hair continues to fall out..his thick blackish hair...falling out and growing in a little lighter..still waiting to see if it will curly like mine did the very same thing.

He never took a pacifier. Hated it always.

He took a bottle right away, only to turn it away one day with DETERMINATION that lasted about 7 weeks. I attribute that to my grasping at ANYTHING to help his colic. I tried soy formula mixed with breast milk, rice in the breast milk to help what was possible reflux...and I think he just stuck with what he knew was good...:) I made it through surgery w/ him not taking a bottle (3 hernias were repaired)...timed everything just right...and it wasn't until I was back at work and meeting w/ ppl that I truly knew I had to get him on a bottle b/c someone else HAD to feed him. We've had standoffs before...and they totally sucked and broke my heart. For whatever reason, all I had to do was wait an extra hour one day...and he took it. He fought it HARD the next day...but I held out a little ...and he took it. He still prefers me...and I allow that when possible during the day and during the night.

Rowan can roll over both ways...he's better rolling back to front than belly to back. While he doesn't love being on his belly for very long, it's as if he can't help but to flip his body as soon as I put him down. He is ALWAYS moving (like his mama). He can inch his way over to a toy on his belly, get up on his knees for a split second and then "splat!" he's back down like a frog:) I think he's going to crawl early. He shoves everything in his mouth and has been shoving his fist in his mouth steadily since 3 months. I suspect teeth are coming soon. Rowan wants to be weight bearing as much as possible...loves to jump up and down and bounce...and tries to hold his bottle on his own. He has a very short attention span and doesn't love his bouncer yet...maybe 5-8 minutes tops and then he cries to get out. He likes to be held - A LOT. He is very inquisitive..leaning over to see what I'm cooking...reaching for it, etc. When I read him stories, he tries to eat the pages:)

Rowan LOVES bath time. I think I could shoot water up his nose and he'd still smile:) He scares me with how comfortable he is in the water...would put his face right down in it if I let him.

He sleeps better than Micah did at this age. He loves his crib. He didn't always...but it took just a little fact I don't know how we got where we are with that...and now I put him down awake and he coos and moves around and pulls his blanket over his face and goes to sleep. It's hilarious. He also learned to turn his mobile on by himself...that in itself is HILARIOUS:))). I can count on at least one good nap - 1.5 hours, MAYBE 2...and two shorter naps during the day. By 6 p.m. he's pretty fussy and by 7 p.m. he's out cold in his crib. There are times when the crying lasts too long or he is NOT ready to be alone and he lets me know:)

We started solids this week. Rice cereal three meal a day. He doesn't love it. Who would? My bff from childhood, Elizabeth, is helping me by starting him out on totally homemade food. I wished I would have done this with Micah. We started pears and next up is sweet potato:) Rowan is only taking a little in, as he's still learning to push food backward and swallow thicker substances...but I feel so good giving him the very best.

Having Rowan in our family is PERFECT in every way. I'm totally exhausted...but loving every minute of this borrowed time I have with my beautiful son.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jesus Loves You, Everyone Else Thinks You're an Ass

Such was a bumper sticker I came across recently. Pretty freaking funny...and TRUE I'd say!

It's hard for me to blog without bringing up my faith...cause it IS my mind automatically goes to talk about Christianity or the "Mere Christianity" I claim so often. That being said...that bumper sticker made me envision some tried and true Bible thumpers shaking their heads and whatnot at that bumper sticker.'s funny...and if you think about it...probably a very true statement.

Who could POSSIBLY love some of the really detestable people out there...those that we think don't "deserve" to be loved...oh right, God. He loved us first, didn't He?

How about the BP freakshows...and this whole environmental NIGHTMARE? I've seen so much bashing and hatred for them...and I get it. I DO. I am def. not a supporter.

I think there are a lot of Christians/believers who are guilty of not caring about the environment b/c their belief is that the world is temporary anyway and that it's not going to be anything near what heaven is promised to be...their real home, and so what does it matter. I don't mean that they believe the BP crisis doesn't matter...but the ones who don't do anything to conserve, to recycle to show love for the world we were GIVEN.

Many believe that we will not abolish ourselves...that we will not be the ones to destroy the why care...right? How bad could it possibly get before it truly is the end?

Whatever your belief, somehow I feel a charge to state what I know to be true:

God created the world. Scripture clearly shows his enjoyment of creation...his delight in his creations. The idea, held by many, that man is free to destroy the earht is in DIRECT conflict with the recordings of how and when God created the earth and WHY...found in Genesis. I don't really know anyone who WANTS to destroy the earth...but who don't necessarily care when major things happen to it.

Psalm 104 says that God provides the water from the mountains for "all the beasts of the field and the wild donkeys [to] quench their thirst." He cares about what he created and provided means for them. Don't you think He hates seeing what we've done with what He gave us?

Could he swoop down superman style and renew the earth? Of course He could. But we pay the consequences for our actions. He was clear about that too. It seems we only want God in our world and in our lives when there's a major crisis...too big for human power.

BP...oil and wealth meant more than paying attention to detail when signs were there that showed something was wrong with that oil tanker. Now our waters are polluted, our animals are dead and dying and another part of our world is not what it used to be. I cried watching my son try to figure out the situation about the oil. Does he know that we may not return to the place we love most (which is the place he was conceived...haaa) on the Gulf b/c we will likely be unable to swim in the ocean? Scarier yet...will he know waht the world WAS like...what the oceans were intended to his lifetime? Will he get to dive for sea shells or experience the clear Gulf waters? Not that they weren't already polluted...but not like this. NOT LIKE THIS. Surely God is crying too.

It's like watching my son make a mistake and paying the consquences...he will never learn if he doesn't go through it...if he doesn't feel and reap what he sows. Same here.

Though I don't know how to directly link this..I've been thinking about recent shark attacks and things that we hear of more now than ever involving animals attacking humans. When you ruin an animal's natural habitat..when you steal it or become too gready with it, it will inevitably come into yours and take what it needs.

Am I crazy to keep my son out of the ocean or at least limit him to thigh high water? NO WAY. Not in this day. We steal the ocean, the ocean's gonna steal us. Even now, at almost 32, I can clearly see the world my son lives in is not the one I grew up in.

The Bible says that God clearly gave humans dominion over the earth...not to mistreat or abuse, but to CARE for was a gift. Look what we've done to it. The Bible/God asks very clearly encourages wise stewardship of the Earth. Period.

No matter what level of asshole I am or you are...God does care...and does forgive...but he's not going to give us a whole new world to crapeth upon anytime soon. So while we hate BP, God is watching and listening and knew they/we would shit it all must HE feel? Betrayed...disappointed? I don't know really.

If you don't care about the Bible, believe it's anything but a book or some good ideas, well that's up to you. I have found it a source of that does not conflict its statements.

So there.



So what could I be thinking NOW...I'm not sure I even know. I stopped blogging after my last post about my grandma due to nothing other than a sheer loss of interest in my own life...or at least talking about it...because I literally had just witnessed one end.

Since January I have discovered that I am pregnant and expecting another son in September, that I have a thicker skin than I orginally thought and that I have grown in a lot of ways (other than in diameter) and have more trust and peace than ever before.

I'll start with the first. Pregnancy:

Oh the joy of finding out that we were pregnant...seriously. My husband and I started thinking, feeling, rather, that another baby would be fit nicely into our world around Thanksgiving. To many others I am sure they thought we were crazy. We don't make a lot of money, I am usually stressed with work and the lack of childcare I currently have (a bit self inflicted as I am REALLY concerned with my kid's surroundings and influences) and so on.

I figured I'd be sick again, like with Micah. I found out I was pregnant New Year's Day, after going for a run and having certain body parts feel very tender. I took a test immediately, three rather (hey, better than the 5 I took with my son), and positive it was. We were shaking with fright and joy at the same time. I mean...we BARELY whispered the idea to each other weeks prior...and literally tried twice to get the timing of ovulation right...and that's all it took. How blessed we are and we do not take that for granted.

In a nutshell, I was sick for 14 weeks, less sick week 15-20, better weeks 22-29 and at week 30.5 seem to be returning to a bit of nausea. I also have one hernia that needs repair post baby, possibly another. And it's July in the it's fricking hot!

Other than that I am thrilled. Being self employed means that I do not have to rush to find childcare for an infant...and that weight alone being off my shoulders has enabled many smiles and sighs of relief. What I went through with Micah was hellish.

I am very healthy, baby - to the best of my knowledge - is growing strong and steadily and all is expected to go well.

Thank you, God, for another INCREDIBLE blessing.

Second - thick skin:

Watching grandma be so sick...and feeling the weight of lost time with her (and the many tears of guilt cried over this) through the years really did something to me.Watching my father return to a boy and a son for a short time was nothing short of painful...but in appropriate ways. It SHOULD hurt to see your father hurt and hug his mother and kiss her goodbye for the last time. Praying with her, for her and watching her deteriorate before my eyes for 48 hours straight is heart breaking. It's also quite sobering.

Immediately after removing things from my life that weren't healthy or a necessity became very important to me...some for the physical benefits for my baby, some for the physical and mental benefits for me. There was alcohol, clearly a no no at this time, certain foods and certain medicines that were off limits...and I feel cleansed. I have no dependency on anything...except one cup of coffee in the morning:)

I learned, after being the brunt of several really intense verbal bashings by a very close family member, that I am stronger than I thought and that God REALLY does listen to me and protect me. Without a relationship of some sort with the big man who created me, I would probably be on medication or living a very bleak life. I could have spent much time (as I would have just months ago) trying to prove a point or continue to participate in an unhealthy situation or I could see it for what it was.

I could have easily taken what this person said to me to heart instead of considering the circumstances (and the source on many levels)and stopping to become quiet. QUIETNESS is a treasured any mother will tell you (who can work ,make dinner, clean house and raise a kid simultaneously). But there's a different kind of that allows me to see the tiny being I really am in a world FILLED with people. One that shows me how insignificant I am AS WELL AS how significant I could be. Some refer to it as meditation. Ok. I think of it as trying to look God in the eye and ask Him to show me how HE sees me. This can be REALLy tough to swallow...especially when He answers right away and you feel like a total d-bag for how you've been living your life...ok, for how I'd been living MY life.

Things learned:

I have finally learned an important lesson. It's is that God is my provision. No one else. I've gotten a few pats on the back for jobs well done and accounts earned and clients signed...but the amount of work and the amount I am paid for that work has also been EXACTLY what I needed. Not always what I wanted, but waht I NEEDED. Most recently I had two major clients sign for 12 weeks...the 12 weeks before my maternity leave. who signs on to be "signed off" for a good while (maternity leave) shortly after? Not many. I can't take credit for being "so" good at what I do that ppl will just sign up for any amount of time...

Sure there are many who do it all on their own without asking God for anything. I, however, have evaluated and reevaluated my own relationship and belief in God so many times that I now ask for Him to provide and believe that He will - even in the craziest and most uncertain of circumstances AND HE has never failed to do it IMMEDIATELY. EVER. That doesn't mean I don't occassionally freak or doubt...uh, I'm HUMAN. I used to spend HOURS AND HOURS trying to plan and figure things out...and I am amazed at my new ability to to trust.

COULD I do it on my "own" without asking God...I have tried before and come up short...or have completely failed...and you know why? This is going to really going to sound strange...especially if you view the world with no God, or you view God as a REALLY distant being of sorts. I firmly believe that I will ALWAYS have the odds stacked against me because I DO believe in God, because I am God's. Ya know, the ole GOOD VS. EVIL idea. If God is for me, who will be against me...well, just about everything I'd say. Good thing I know...and have witnessed God be the strongest source of anything in my life.

I think that might sum a few months up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In Loving Memory

Regina Claire Bauer, aka "grandma around the corner"
December 6, 1924 - December 21, 2009

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God keep you in the hallow of His hand.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

can barely breathe

Just before Thanksgiving my father called me to tell me that my grandmother, his mother, was not doing so well. Her name is Jean Bauer and she's 85 and a tiny, spunky woman who doesn't complain about ANYthing. It's a Bauer trait.

She fell and broke her arm badly and upon examination, the doctors found lesions under her arm and then all over her body...that - after much speculation and testing - turned out to be cancer. Like I said, she complains about for the lesions to have grown the way they did...oh, i just feel sick. We got the news about 10 days ago that it was progressing so fast that it was time to come see her. My father and I weren't sure what that meant...whether she had just a few months, or few weeks or if this was our last time to see her alive. Intense. Seems we had JUST found out something was wrong...oh wait, we did.

My mother was too sick to make the trip and so it was myself, my father and my brother. Three Bauers in a rental car to West Palm Beach is not not try that at home:). Just before we arrived my mother called me and told me not to repeat to my dad, but that she learned that "the Catholic priest had come the night before." I understand that to mean it was so bad that the priest was brought in for comfort and spiritual guidance and to make sure she had peace. Or something like that.

What that did to me...that phone call 30 minutes from arriving at her house...I can't explain. I began to sweat. My spirit was soo disturbed. My lips were hands were shaking and I thought I'd never be able to hide the news. It meant she really was dying. I didn't want my dad to know because he was desperately trying to find something to be positive about upon arriving at his moms house. Turns out I didn't need to hide anything. We walked into her house...which she shares with my uncle tommy and his partner Jerry (who by the way take EXCELLENT care of her and have for the past 15 years). Greeting us was the caregiver/nurse who was hired to stay with her ever since the diagnosis. I put my purse down, swallowed hard and looked for her. No matter how sick I felt, nothing compared to seeing her. She was pale, skeleton-like and I could barely tell it was her. She has very specific cheekbones and when I saw her crooked smile, I could see that it was her. I have not seen her since my wedding 8 years ago...and just a few years ago...she was a knock out...a fabulously beautiful sweet little woman. And Friday night, she was dying of cancer.

I am told just 7 days prior, she was up eating cake for her 85th bday. I saw the pictures...the transformation in 7 days from his horrible cancer...devastating. She was still a beauty in those pictures. We all entered her room and it took a minute for her to realize that her grandchildren and her son were there. When she saw my father...she mustered all her strength and said "Jimmy! My baby! Jimmy!" And my fathers eyes grew wet with tears and he hugged her the best he could while she lie in bed. That broke my heart. She was terribly excited to see me and my brother and while it was hard to understand her, we could and did our best to "catch up."

Moments later, the morphine she was on helped her drift back off to sleep and we had some dinner with my uncles on their porch...a door open at all times to hear grandma. My father was crying. MY FATHER WAS CRYING. Not hard, not sobbing, but a painful, choking cry. Gut wrenching. He had his first beer in 15 years. Watching him deal with what he saw...his dying mother...was probably the worst thing I can remember seeing and feeling in a LONG time.

So then it was nighttime. I was alone with my uncles and grandma, as dad and jimmy went to a hotel. I drank a STRONG vodka calm down. I couldn't eat, I couldn't breathe...I was just so taken back. So then it was bedtime, and time to check grandma. It was also time for her morphine and as I saw my uncle measure it, my heart felt like it was going to explode because I KNEW I had something to say to my grandmother. What it was exactly, i don't know...but the leading to do something was there and I didn't want it to be. Before I knew it, I had asked for a few minutes alone with was about midnight and there was a ton of moonlight in the room.

Grandma was alert, thinking it was morning, and she and I talked some. I told her how much I loved her...I felt like I used all my muscles to say it...I wanted her to know how much. In the four hours I was there, my head and heart were reminded of my grandmother, all the years of love and support she gave me and so many special memories came flooding back.

So I told her I loved her and she said something funny. I can't recall it exactly (maybe due to the vodka) but it was something about how special I was and "if" she made it to heaven, etc. Then I knew. I knew she was scared. I told her...and normally I might hesitate to make this so public, but it's my blog and I think if anyone has read any of it, this probably won't see surprising...that God loved her. That she could know for sure whether she'd see heaven. That SHE was the special one and that she did a great job as a mother and a grandmother. And she smiled her crooked smile. I'll never forget it. I asked her if she was scared, through very hot tears ( I was FURIOUS, FURIOUS that she was going through this pain), and she looked odd she wasn't sure how to answer. I could also tell I was losing her. She was getting tired. I told her what the Bible says...which is just purely that God loves us. He made a way to get to him so that there is no question in moments like this. That way is Jesus and if she trusted in that truth, she had no worries. She would "make it". I remember speaking very steadily, very sure of what I was saying, yet inside I was shaking. This is not the first time I have felt God's strength when I was so weak. I prayed with her... then we were interrupted. Time for morphine. Time for grandma to slip away to sleep.

That is until about 1:30 a.m. I could hear grandma making noise. I was warned that she isn't sure what she's doing and tries to get out of bed. I jumped to my feet (as if my uncles hadn't been doing this for 2 weeks already) and went to her room. Indeed she was trying to get out. I asked her what she needed adn while she couldn't speak at that point, she nodded when I said "bathroom?". I was warned that she could fall, she could, if her source not strong enough, fall and break something else. She's been in a diaper and has a portable potty and that's what she has been forced to endure. She can't even use the portable potty herself. Did I mention she's the ultimate lady...always hose, heels and a purse...peeing in her bed or in a potty is NOT what she wants. She made that clear. I don't know what possessed me to do it, but I offered to take her to the bathroom. I knew that's what she wanted. I helped her out of the bed and as she shuffled with her arms around me, mine tight around her back ( I swear NOTHING would break my grip) I helped her. I got her back to the bed...and realized...I have to lift her totally up to get her on the mattress. It's 1:30 a.m. I have to pick her up, all 86 lbs. of her. I'm a strong girl, but not that strong. I couldn't leave her to get my uncles. I didn't want to alarm her by yelling for them. Again the calmness came. Complete calmness. I found myself picking her up, like a baby cradled in my arms and I simply lifted her into the bed. I realized I forgot to put her diaper on the bed first. That too was not hard. Her body simply lifted and I was able to get her snug and secure. Then it hit me. I didn't do that alone.

Saturday came and I spent the afternoon in her room. My brother had a few moments with her too, as she loves her "little jimmy" dearly. His eyes were red and bright for a good part of the day. There were so many people in the house...including relatives I haven't seen, one I had never met before and yet that prodding came AGAIN. Heart beating fast...sweat, teh whole thing. So I closed the door and prayed that God would tell me what he had for me to tell strange to know something like that, right? I mean, what else could it be? So she was really alert...and I showed her the scrapbook I made for her...and I was delighted that she could see the pictures...or at least she said she could. It was like she had gotten BETTER overnight. A good day. So we talked and I asked her if she remembered talking with me the night before and she looked blank. She said "can you talk to me now honey?" I didn't know what to say...but she told me that she was scared and then I started to cry. I sobbed and told her how sorry I was taht she was so sick. I told her how much I loved her, repeated what I said to her the night before and she said "you believe like I do, honey. I know how you must feel." Selfless grandma - she was trying to make ME feel better and she is the one dying. Shortly after, she fell asleep.

I guess the prodding to talk to her about heaven and God and well, the "big stuff" comes from the fact that I do truly believe in God. The past few years have been really tough in that capacity, lots of questions...but I DO believe. I search for answers, I search for Him constantly. And, regardless of what you believe, if you believe there's a path, a way, and that it is the TRUTH wouldn't you share it with a dying person?

I received an envelope from her that day..via my uncles. It was some of her jewelry that she saved for me. I will wear it with pride. I slept in her bedroom the night before we left and felt so comfortable looking at her figurines, her things...things I used to look at as a small child...and almost all of her pictures had me and my brother in them...and then I felt all the air had been sucked out of me...b/c I had not visited her often enough, had not written her enough...and actually, as sick as it makes me feel even now, i have two piles of pictures that i saved for her...and never sent. Shame on me. She never forgot me..ever. My god that is a horrible feeling.

Saying goodbye to her was the single worst thing. We all knew, including her, that was our last moments with her alive. My father knew it the most. He was very figity that morning and nervous. Dad came in to say goodbye and again, that terribly painful choking cry came out and i felt like someone stuck a needle in my body HURT. I couldn't look away...he was hovered over her (and at that point I noticed he signed her cast "Jim Loves Mom") trying to tell her that he loved her, he had to go and that she should get some sleep and dream great dreams and he'd see her soon. MY GOD...WHY...WHY does it have to be so damn hard? Then it was my turn and by this time her eyes were closed. I thikn she was doing it to make it easier. I thanked her for my jewelry, she smiled, eyes closed. I told her I loved her so much and while her mouth barely opened, I could hear her, from way deep inside, tell me she loved me too.

Apparently since we left on Sunday, she has been sad, feeling as though everyone has left her and what kills me, what is making me cry right now, is that she is so painfully aware of her impending death...and she's sad...she's trying to say goodbye in her moments of clarity...and is heartbrokern herself!

I saw her exrays...her body is spotted like a dalmation...totally filled with cancer...her bladder and her brain, her collar bones, ribs, etc...everything...cancer everywhere. Damn it. she's 85 and has had a long life...but the pain, the waiting, the detoriorating...the body is going.

...and watching her cancer filled body lie in that bed...and yet hear her ask about all of US, if we had eaten, if we were sleeping, if we "wanted ice cream on the patio" when she was alert enough, was just, well, something else - for lack of a better word.

When you see a sick body asleep..I don't know...for me this hyper awareness of spirit and soul was there. Watching a chest filled with cancer rise and up and down, struggle to breathe at times...but then see moments of HER...well, it was surreal.

So now I am waiting for the phone call that says she has passed. Most believe it'll happen before christmas, which breaks my heart. Until then, she'll be in that room, in that bed and I just hate it. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. I can't imagine how my dad must feel.

I feel like I have been run over by a truck and I am not the one who's sick...i can't seem to talk about it w/out either feeling completely sick or crying. I think it's the waiting...of knowing shes waiting too...maybe a bit unsure...maybe a bit lonely...and it's really tearing me up.

I wrote it out here in hopes that I will better deal, but she is constantly on my mind...the pictures of our family all over the her walls...the memories...the fact that a life is's just really...hard.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Decidedly Different

I was just sitting here thinking about the workload I've been under. Every minute of every day for the past week has been calculated - what can I do in 15 minutes? What can I do in 3 hours, before I have to pick my son up from preschool? How late can I stay up and how much can I get done to keep my clients happy? When will I get a break or when will I figure it all out? What am I supposed to do with my business? After all, my business came to be literally over night. How far can I take it (if left to my own powers, I'd be a workaholic, like my dad) while being the mother of a preschooler? Am I doing a good job? Do people think I am smart? Am I a quality worker? Does my son feel neglected? Does he know how much I love him while I stare at him over my laptop, juggling various clients and responsibilities?

What I do know is this. Every sentence above has been about me. I've been self absorbed and I hate it. I loathe it. I haven't even thought about how my husband feels with me so focused on what I have to do. Usually our conversations revolve around what I have to do that night to make sure MY job is done and that MY clients are happy. It has to be done, sure...I have to meet deadlines...I have to get teh work done in admittedly horribly small amounts of time...but I need to be more concious of the "partner" that I am to him.

That being said...and I realize I have concepts all over the place that I find difficult to put words to in order to string together, so bare with me. This recent stress has made it occur to me that there may be a completely different plan for my life than what I've been, well, planning, and I happy to hear it. HAPPY. I know deep inside, beyond any doubt, that I want to do work that is much more significant. Work that changes things....while that can happen in the smallest ways, I have always known that someday I'd be involved in something a bit more extreme. I don't know when that day will come...but I do think about it quite often.

I think it's part of the reason I am so focused on life's big concepts. I have been attending and am now, as of a month ago, a member of Community Bible Church, a church that has a huge following and is sometimes referred to a legalistic and a cult. I think it's because it addresses those big concepts over and over and over...very clearly. I also know it's because of the fact that its pastor, pastor Carl Broggi, is an incredibly strong man who is, to my knowledge, the most thorough, capable teacher of the Bible that I have ever come across. Do I love everything about the church? No way. Do I worship Carl Broggi? NO WAY. Does he want me to worship him? Absolutely NOT. But I do love Carl's teachings and feel thoroughly taught at the end of every sermon. Everything I could want or need is at my fingertips. I attended there as a teenager and actually have several hurtful memories that I have allowed, for a time, to keep me from really being comfortable there. In a nutshell, I was focusing on people who have hurt me, not on God. I have grown quite a bit as a person over the past year and have put it all behind me. I have an email that I sent to some friends about my decision, my family's decision, to join that church and I'll post it (when I find it) to give some additional background. Trust wasn't easy to swallow the fact that I knew several eye brows would go up when I made that decision. I am not one to stir the pot - especially with friends and people of different beliefs - eagerly...

Back to the big stuff. A recurring theme in my writings is my search for answers...and speculation on the human race and its attempts to find them as well...
Some things are easy to find parallels with, others not so much. One example is yoga. I have been taking yoga classes for several months now, some teachers more focused on a spiritual aspect than others. I know enough about the spiritual foundations of yoga to know that it many times is in direct opposition to scripture, the only source of instruction that I trust. Does that scare me? No. I have a body that physically needs to be taken care of. The physical benefits of yoga are amazing and I've always been aware of that as a dancer. I have not, until this weekend, felt any sort of, well, anything regarding yoga's spiritual roots. I mean, take a class at the YMCA or a local fitness center and more often than not, it's just about the physical practice. Find a private studio with a teacher whose life is yoga and the experience is very different.

I realize many are focused on their individual spiritual journeys, whatever they may be, while practicing (I almost sound like I buy into that concept...just give me a second). The chanting (I don't pretend to know enough about it to really speculate)and the acknowledgement of humanity and life and all that is good is, well, good. I can appreciate that. I was in a class this weekend where the teacher was very good...and what he taught was very fun and physical....but something in me wasn't at ease. I told myself I was being stupid. I did my best to take it all in, to try to really be "in" the experience, even though the chanting and some of the things being said made me uncomfortable. Things that were not bad, so to speak, but things that just made me, well...see a bit clearer the things I don't always wish to see. There were references to the universe, blanket statements about God, how we are all on this journey together, however we see it, however we take it, etc. At one point we were told to acknowledge our higher beings and that's when I felt that pain. That pain in my heart that while I don't want to feel it - it comes. My stomach tightens, without my doing, and I am overwhelmed with grief because I know this...THERE IS ONLY ONE HIGHER POWER and HE is who we are to honor. I would not be honoring God by honoring matter how I tried to distort it. I could be thankful to God for my body, but honoring myself instead of a direct "what up God, thanks so much for creating me" is very different. So instead of praising myself, I thanked the Lord for my body, for my health and prayed for those, including my mother, who did not have the physical capabilities that I did. DId I expect everyone to feel the same? Absolutely not. That would be ignorant of me and pretty obnoxious. Certainly not everyone in there is this "mere christianity" gal (thx again, C.S. Lewis) that I am....though I ache for them to see.

What's the big deal, right? So you say some really comforting words, some things that everyone can identify with and feel good about and get a fabulous physical workout in teh process. Yes. Those are good things. But for me, who has spent the past 2 years really digging around my own brain and heart...testing my current knowledge against old and learning all the time...this was not good for me. Well, actually, I guess it was good for me. It challenged me to get stronger. The teacher made reference, very respectfully to a religious man he came across on his journey here and very quickly commented that they were the "same"...both sharing their different beliefs, respecting one another, etc. He was trying to find common ground and that is great. He essentially said he and the jehovah's witness were the same because God/the universe is everything and we all find him a different way. He had some great points...about how any kind of mission brings about service, etc, and that is true. Hell, the fact that this teacher was in town was part of a "mission" to raise money for african villages. I thought of missionaries, of the homeless and abused, of the starving....and.... of this passage from "Jesus Among Other Gods" (i've referenced this before, I am guilty of not having finished this book yet, so this is what I got):

"All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions DO NOT say that all religions are the same. At the heart of EVERY religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not and accordingly, of defining life's purpose." Ravi Zacharius

But here it is, again. Is the purpose of our lives, of the human race, to find ways to be peaceful with our different beliefs during our time on earth? Is that it? To find ways to end war so that we live harmoniously, regardless of our beliefs? We can all do and be what we want peacefully? That's the American dream isn't it? Kinda? That sounds wonderful, and I wish it were that way. I wish everyone I loved and have yet to love no harm, no pain, no suffering. But the scripture is very clear that there is only ONE method, one way to God. That is through His Son, the ulimate sacrifice who paid it all, once and for all, Jesus Christ. We are also free agents to believe or not to believe.

I was thinking, with the aid of one of Dr. Broggi's sermon's ringing in my head, about Jesus. I have read countless words about Him. I have asked Him to change my life, to show me how to live my life and WHY? Because if history is true, if the Bible is true (and I say if lightly...) then Jesus is the prime example, source, giver of love and life. I didn't pray to a dead memory of a great man, I prayed to a living God to change me. If Jesus is God's son, part of the trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit - the Bible says He "is" God. Omnipresent. If He was able to make it through his human life and suffer all that he did, why would I not believe that it would be ideal to follow him? Surely he had some serious self control and strength, right?

Jesus, as a toddler, preschooler, child, teenager and adult ALWAYS knew the sequence of events that were to occur. He KNEW as a carpenter, every single time he hammered a nail that He would die by nails forced into and through his hands. He knew, everytime he smelled a rose, that He would gush blood from a crown of thorns being pressed into his head. And He knew, every day of his human life the physical pain he would have to endure to bridge the gap between the human race and a Holy perfect God. He spoke of his impending death so many times...and still served, taught and loved...every day of his human life. There's a passage that says that Jesus was found praying many times...knowing what his human fate was to be...the brutal death he would die..

Luke 22:42 states that Jesus asked God to "remove this cup from him". His cup was that he was going to BE MADE SIN and suffer the wrath of God on the cross. I'm sure a good number of people remeber the words, or something like it that say "Jesus Paid it all, all to Him I owe" But wait, He is God, so how does that work? Could he just say "screw it" and blow the whole world up and not suffer that way? Sure could. I will have to check for sure, but I think I remember reading that there were legions of angels ready to relieve Him at ANY time from this suffering (think about love someone, they suffer, you have the power to stop it, at their are on guard ready to fight!)But He loved us instead.

His "cup" was that he knew he would be seperated from God, as a member of the Trinity, in order to pay the debt, he had to be the object, for numerous blood gushing, painful, tortourous hours, of God's hatred and wrath, on a cross. It wasn't the PAIN he feared, but teh seperation from God, even for moments. I am sure Jesus would have been interested in another way, an alternative way to pay the world's debt...but that was never the plan and he accepted that. He knew it was to happen, so even as he was mocked while bleeding on the cross, he said nothing in his defense because it was supposed to happen. Nothing in the Bible contradicts that. There must be something HUGE to bridge the gap (Jesus) between imperfect people and a perfect God.....

So back to my yoga experience. That "pain" I felt was the pure knowledge that so many are told that anything is ok and acceptable and that absolutes are wrong or at the very least, worth an eyebrow raise and some talk behind the back. That we "all get there in our own way." My skin is hot right now as I am typing hoping I can get this out correctly....

While I wish it were that way, it's not. If it were that way, then Jesus DIED FOR NO REASON. He suffered that tortorous death for NO REASON. If we could earn our way to heaven, if we could do some cool rituals and say some great, good feeling words then JESUS DIED IN VAIN. And that hurts me. And I am glad that I felt pain this weekend because it shows me that my struggles, my earnest seeking has been for THE truth. Why else would I feel that way? Like I said, none of those words were negative or bad...on the surface....

Jesus died his human death at age 33 I believe. I am two years shy of that. I think about myself. If I knew, my entire life, what I was to horrible of a death I was to die and how much it would hurt....what would all the days before include? Would I hate everyone around me...those I could see through who would tellme they loved me but didn't? Would I have at the very least a bad attitude, a fearful heart, a sharp word? Would I think that everyone around me, mom, dad, brother, husband, son and friends weren't enough to bear that pain or even worth it? I'd like to say no.

BUT AGAIN. It was NOT the pain that caused Jesus to ask God to remove this " cup" from him. He didn't say "God, this is going to hurt so badly, this is too excruciating of a punishment...please." It was that he could not bear the thought of the seperation from God for even a moment in order to "receive" the punishment. Seperation had to take place for unification to be possible. Amazing. I didn't understand this until recently. Actually, at one time I thought that if crucifixion was how they killed ppl back then, then what was so special about Jesus dying that way? Two others died beside him that day...remember the visual of the three crosses?

And even I sit here chewing on the fact that I very well may sound insane to those who have never been affected by the scriptures, who are not worshipping God or really believing in anything...I smile and bite my lip in sadness at the same time that I am DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT.

That's all I can pour out of my head right now. I don't really get that many comments, and that's ok. I don't even know who is reading this. I know that it's healing to me, it's necessary to me...and it is....