Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
My life has been so stressful lately! Many have expressed concern over the blogs I've been posting. I guess that's the downside to bare naked honesty. Too much is never enough. I try sometimes to keep a few of MY details out, in order to make my writing applicable to more people, but then I seem to muddy the water and arouse suspicion. Idk...
Just this week I told John, my gut was getting sketchy and was telling me to run away from my life as a lesson for awhile, like I did this past summer when the heat was turned up too high. He encouraged me to take a different route this time. Wisely advising, that possibly by standing through the heat God would reveal even more to me.
So here I stand. My yuck displayed (or at least mostly displayed) for all to see. I've really been going through it lately. I can't EXACTLY finger when this most recent plunge into the depths began, but it has been a rough start to 2010, a year I had hoped would be MARKEDLY better than its predecessor 2009, a year which will go down in infamy as the year that nearly destroyed Jami Lynn Kastner.
Since the middle of January, I have been helping the rest of my family to care for my elderly grandmother. This is a labor of love for all of us; however, even when laboring for love you can get depleted. All of us are playing different roles in this play entitled Keep Gma out of a Nursing Home as Long as Humanly Possible. For me it involves traveling to Franklin (a 1-hour drive one way) twice per week and working and homeschooling from my parents' house while caring for Gma. I also prepare dinner (most of the time) for my entire family on those days and try to keep Hannah from destroying my mother's things (not very successful at that one). Caring for Gma is not THAT bad in the grand scheme of things. Her care involves mostly gently cajoling her to do the things she needs to do: teeth brushing, hair brushing and ensuring her meds are taken and vitals are recorded. I do prepare her meals (but big WUP I was doing that for four little ones anyways.... what's adding in one more mouth to prep food for). Most things she is still capable of doing herself. Also, this labor is not without its perks. I am compensated monetarily. We are fed from my parents' pantry two days a week. They have cable, a fact the children RELISH. However, it is still exhausting to take the Crazy Kastner Show on the road two times per week.
Add into the insanity the fact that our washer broke about a month ago. So for that long I have been dragging the laundry of a family of seven to and from Franklin with us twice per week. Again.... there is ALWAYS a silver lining.... my Gma and Auntie Marge fold all my clothes while we are at my parents, but still it is EXCRUCIATING to have this big of a family and have no washer. We are VERY close to hopefully having enough money to replace the beast, but until we do.... on I plod dragging my dirty (and then clean) clothes to and from Mom & Dad's.... being a burden to my parents electric bill and depleting their laundry supplies... and remaining incapable of instantly cleaning up any childlike emergencies (puke, HUGE milk spills which become VERY stinky when stored for 3 or 4 days, other things to delicate for the senses to be posted here).
Oh and that brings up the next little stress to my system. My Great Aunt (also elderly and now incapable of living independently) moved in with us at the beginning of February. In many ways, this is not so bad. She pays us room & board (which is a HUGE help). She LOVES and ADORES the kids and frequently occupies them (especially Hannah who could definitely use 24-hour observation to keep her out of trouble). However, it is still a shock to our system to have a new person in our house. She does require assistance and care, which is a little hard but I keep telling her (because she feels bad and that she is a burden to an already stressed out woman) she changed my diapers when I was a baby... I can do my part and get her a cup of coffee or remind her to take her meds. It is, however, quite "interesting" living with someone who has spent the past five years basically being a hermit. She has REALLY toned down the continual talking about inconsequential things; however, she still reads me EVERY SINGLE street sign we pass when we are in the car. It's like I have a living breathing GPS system sitting next to me. That means that four times a week for one hour each time I have to hear,
"Madison Road. Turning onto Madison Road."
"Hwy 33. We're at Hwy 33."
"Washington County. We're in Washington County now."
"Hwy 41. That's how we get to Milwaukee. Hwy 41."
"Germantown. Already in Germantown."
ALL THE WAY TO AND FROM Franklin! It is interesting to say the least.
The typical Kastner stresses have been heating up too.... John's neck/shoulder muscles have been revolting lately. They seem to get tighter by the day. The other night he walked into the bedroom, and his shoulders were nearly touching his earlobes. The pain and tightness tends to make him a "little" crabby to the point that I'm about ready to make a bed for him on the front porch and start sliding his meals through the screen door. And lack of money... ahhhh lack of money my constant companion..... we are now just $106 away from paying off our van yet last month we had to scrape and struggle to come up with a HUGE amount of back payments to ensure we were allowed to keep the dilapadated beast we just about own. I cannot remember the last time I was able to go to the grocery store and just BUY the things we need. This week I promised the kids that the second I had the full amount budgeted for groceries they could each pick their favorite meal and that week we'd have "Favorites Week" for dinners. They are so sick of having no "snackies" in the house, but yet they still don't tire of pancakes for dinner. PLEASE!!!! No one tell them that this is because pancakes cost just pennies per serving and make a VERY economical dinner. They think I am spoiling them!
Finally, add into this recipe for a breakdown: stress with my work, still adjusting to living in a new community, my oldest entering the "tween" stage and acquiring a rare, but oh so lovely, teenage type attitude, rolling my stinking ankle every time I try to get a little "me-time" by working out, a bum back cuz I'm old & out of shape, my face breaking out like a teenager, having a husband I rarely see cuz he works two jobs, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! STOP THE RIDE I WANNA GET OFF!
I've been begging God for answers, solutions, coping strategies, and as always, He "gives generously to all without finding fault" (from James 1:5) I have been getting some answers, and here's the first one.
pray continually; I Thessalonians 5:17
That's the entire verse. I swear it is. If you don't believe me, look it up! It doesn't say, "Pray when you're in trouble." It isn't, "Pray when good things happen." It isn't even, "Pray morning, noon and night." I think that I Thessalonians 5:17 may be the most poignant verse in the whole Bible.... "pray continually;" (emphasis mine)
I looked up continually. Here's what I found:
1 : continuing indefinitely in time without interruption
2 : recurring in steady usually rapid succession
Continuing indefinitely in time without interruption.... recurring in steady usually rapid succession.... Is that how you pray??? I guess I'll have to examine that idea to arrive at my answer to that question.
At first I guess I thought that God was saying to me, "Pray some more, Jami." But the more I looked at it, the more I came to a different conclusion.
If my directive from God's Word is to pray "Continuing indefinitely in time without interruption.... recurring in steady usually rapid succession...." I guess I would have to look at EVERYTHING I do as part of my prayer. I stopped to think: Is my life lived as a prayer to God? Are my words formed as a prayer to God? When I'm talking to my children? Is it language worthy of being before the throne of God? When I'm working? Is it work worthy of being before the throne of God? When I am relaxing? Is it in a manner worthy of being before the throne of God?
This concept is rocking my world. [Quick Sidenote: I absolutely LOVE and ADORE the way God takes a concept we know... one we have known since Sunday School.... one we memorized in AWANA.... one we heard about in Youth Group.... even one we clung to in previous dark days.... and REVOLUTIONIZES its meaning to us so we understand and KNOW it more deeply more completely... the same yet completely different.] This morning it came to fullness in my heart. It had been kinda lurking around in the shadows of busyness for several days and today it stepped out into the light and made itself FULLY known.
So that's the first coping strategy God is giving me.... turn my life into a prayer to Him.... make every word I say.... every action I execute.... a PRAYER TO HIM.... make my inner thoughts and the aroma of my attitude a PRAYER TO HIM.... be CONTINUALLY (Continuing indefinitely in time without interruption.... recurring in steady usually rapid succession....) in prayer.
That's my challenge to you today too....
I've got tons more that God is teaching me through all of this, but today's blog is long enough. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for more. So until tomorrow...
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless
There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City