Monday, January 05, 2015

Reading List


I've been reading some great things lately.

Brene Brown
- Daring Greatly is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I can't imagine a person on earth not being impacted by the practical application of her research on shame, vulnerability, and wholehearted living.
- I received The Gifts of Imperfection for Christmas (thanks Em!!!) and can't wait to start reading it.

John Pavlovitz
- John's blog is a breath of fresh air to my church weary soul. Five years ago I would not have been such a fan, but the recent paring down of my belief system has made way for a new understanding of God's love.

Vox
- I got so sick of the ridiculous BREAKING NEWS push notifications and the monotony of news apps that I deleted them all. Vox is now my go-to news source and I'm pleased with the choice.

Digg
- I'm a fan of interesting articles and the Digg app does not disappoint. I don't read everything they post but I can always find something worth reading to the very end.

Carolyn Hax
- Carolyn Hax is the best advice columnist I've ever read. Ever. I want to be just like her when I grow up. I want her to be my therapist. I can't even read another advice column now. All I can think is that their shallow and trite advice isn't helping anyone and the writer should have asked Carolyn instead.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Welcome 2015

I love a new day, a new week, a new year.

New Years Day, 2018, is going to be on a Monday... BOOM!

But I'll take this New Year as it comes, on a Thursday morning, with no mistakes in it yet.

Last week Matthew and I had our end-of-year discussion. It was hard to imagine back before 2014 sucked but there were some highlights. I was super sick in 2013 and last January I started getting better. It didn't happen overnight but by springtime I was feeling like my old self. I even volunteered as the swim team pep rally director over the summer. As I think through some of the other highlights of 2014 these things come to mind...

- Hannah was diagnosed ADHD Inattentive Type which was a total blessing. Medication has been a godsend for her school day and she is experiencing the confidence that comes from being fully present with her teacher and classmates.

- We cracked the code on Christopher's medication and have been savoring the joys of a cooperative, helpful, super sweet 10 year old.

- Matthew and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary. Each of us also celebrated our Married-For-Half-Our-Life days. We're both soaking in this sweet spot of life.

- I've been getting paid for my StrengthsFinder trainings (YAY!) and getting all kinds of energy from my work with individuals and teams. I never get tired of talking to people about how their unique combination of Strengths makes them a valuable, vital member of their team.

- We have great friends. That is an understatement. Our friends are a blessing we neither deserve nor have earned.

It is hard to give thanks and be grateful in the aftermath of a tragedy. There is no getting over it or moving on with life. We are different people than we were four months ago. This chapter in our life will never be fully closed.

My prayer has been, and continues to be, that our faith will bring us through this storm. I've been weeding out all the irrelevant things I used to believe were so crucial. My absolutes now consist of about three things. God is. Jesus came, died and rose from the dead. All my faith and hope for eternity rests on His sacrifice. Everything else is uncertain and unclear... and I'm learning to be ok with that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A New Definition of Good


I feel trapped in this place where I want to write about the last eleven weeks, but I'm not ready to write out all the details... and I want to do it justice, but I'm not ready to share all my thoughts and feelings with the entire world.

Eleven weeks ago my friend Rachel lost her baby boy about a week before he was due. I've never experienced a loved one losing a full term baby, one that she could deliver and hold but not keep. It was, to that point, the worst week of my life, full of anxiety and worry. The world was no longer the safe place I'd imagined. A world where babies just die, for no reason, is a world where no one is safe.

I know now, as I knew then, that this world isn't really safe. The safety I enjoy is a middle class, western, suburban illusion... but it was one that I was enjoying, even if intellectually I knew it was false.

Rachel's baby Caden was due on September 8th, the same day as Corinne, one of my closest friends (who happens to also be my SIL), was due to deliver my niece. Corinne had endured nine months of the ultimate difficult pregnancy. She had hyperemesis gravidarum of the most-severe variety. Multiple hospital stays, a PICC line, home health nurses and bed rest were finally coming to an end and we were all so very excited.

On the Tuesday before she was set to deliver, Corinne had a non-stress test and sonogram that showed baby Clara moving and healthy. The next day her home health nurse couldn't find a heartbeat.

The week that followed Clara's death was a nightmare. Even now, just thinking about all I could write is making my heart race and my head pound. I don't even know where to start or what to leave out. It was awful, I didn't sleep or eat for days. Meeting and holding and saying goodbye to Clara was pain I can't begin to explain.

It's been 11 weeks since Caden died and 10 weeks since Clara died and none of us will ever be the same. Everyone I see on a regular basis is grieving. Everyone close to me has been deeply affected by these two events.

The day of Clara's death I wrote these words, "The same Truth I believed last month is true today. The same God that was good in June is good in September. Tragedy has always been reality to somebody, and now that somebody is me. But Truth is true, always."

I only partly believe those words now. Corinne put it perfectly when she said that God's definition of good and my definition of good are not the same. I know that God hasn't changed but I am beginning to see the lies I believed. I believed in a God that I created in my own image, who cared about the same things I did, in the same ways I cared.

God is still good... but my definition of good is changing.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Hey


It's really hard to write a back-to-blogging post. Like when you haven't talked to someone in a really long time and the longer it gets the more there is to talk about so you need to set aside a huge amount of time to catch up... but you don't have that kind of time and so things get awkward and life changes and then it's been eight months.

Eight months since I last blogged... and only 11 posts in all of 2013.

Ugh.

A lot has happened. I don't care about the things that used to be so important. I don't think about life the way I've always thought about life. I don't want to write in the same way I used to... but I'm not sure what the new way IS yet.

Is this what a midlife crisis feels like? Woah.

I think I still want to write though. I have a lot of things in my head that would be nice to get out... might give me some much needed space in there.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Cleaning Out My Brain

I've had lots of random thoughts this week. No one of them is worthy of an entire post, but if I don't get them out of my head I'll never have room for anything else!

The other day I met someone who guessed that I was 33 years old, "tops!" She asked me how I manage to look so young and I wanted to say, "I try to stay a little chubby, helps fill in the wrinkles." But instead I shrugged my shoulders and said thanks. Don't want to scare off the source of future ego boosts by revealing too much of my true personality.

I have Bizzaro World body image issues. I know that many people have real problems with scale/mirror dissonance that cause them much anxiety. My problems swing the other way. I genuinely think I look great all the time. My mental image is fabulous, and then I see a candid picture or catch my reflection as I walk by a mirror and think, "Who IS that?! That can't be me, I'm WAY better looking." My anxiety comes when I'm faced with the reality of my unhealthy BMI and wonder when that extra chin (or two) arrived.

I wish I could be funny on command instead of in response... then I could choose more appropriate times to crack a joke. If I could pick one friend's humor to emulate it would be Kasey. She's a riot and I laugh without ceasing in her presence.

My husband has been reminding me lately that conservatives are interested in conserving things while progressives are interested in progress. While I care very little for political passions, I don't really get the focus of the conservative agenda. It seems like they put a lot of energy into conserving things that are already gone or are on the way out. If I was going to pick some things to stick around forever I'd choose differently.

I love a full house and all the noise it brings. We had (another) snow day this week and the kids had friends and cousins sleep over. I once again witnessed this truth: when there are a lot of kids in one place they ALL TALK AT THE SAME TIME!! LOUDLY!! They all ask me questions at the same time. They all move at the same time. And I love it. I couldn't do it 24/7, but I'm happy for the noise of a full house.

If I was going to write about the last year of my life it would sound a lot like this. I like that Jamie doesn't care about what other people think of her... or maybe she does and she's just braver than I am. It's hard to put it all into words but I will say that I'm forever thankful that Jesus was there to get me through while I was waiting for the drugs to get me better... and he's still here to keep me going.


I have been more productive in the last two months than in the previous 12 months combined.

My brain feels lighter! Lots of room for more random thoughts!


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