Monday, September 24, 2012

Storms of life.....

A front of HEAVY storms rolled through our lives this weekend. There were scattered patches of VERY bright sunshine, BUT the storms were SEVERE and left a bit of destruction in their wake. Mostly they left me wishing... Oh how I wish there was a meteorological way to predict Satan's attacks a way to see when the storms of life are coming my way. Because if I knew there was a storm on the horizon, then maybe I could better prepare myself. I've been pondering that this morning and God brought three things to mind:

1. Pop Quiz - the trials of this life are like a pop quiz. The whole POINT of a pop quiz is to TEST if you are prepared. Therefore, ALWAYS be prepared. Soak yourself in scripture. Surround yourself with praise music. Pray CONTINUALLY. You don't have to know when the storms are coming to be better prepared for the trials of life.

2. Sunshine in the Rain - if you keep your eyes open, there is always sunshine poking through the rain. You might not see it at first. But it is there. It IS there. My ick of Friday night to Saturday was followed by a BEAUTIFUL spot of sunshine Saturday afternoon (see above link). Then Saturday night some REALLY bad ICK before Sunday dawned a BEAUTIFUL day\. One more time Sunday night got rocky again. The point is: Soak in the Son's rays during the beautiful times to help fortify you for when the storm winds blow.

3. Stay Safe - During a storm is not the time to be going for a run, trimming your bushes or cleaning the garage. During a storm, you should hunker down and try to stay safe from the ravages of the wind and rain. Yesterday was a BUSY day. I worked feverishly all day to get my meals ready for the busy start to our week. In the middle of that, John started feeling a flare-up coming on. I immediately curtailed my plans: changed mashed potatoes for dinner to baked, scrapped making the batch of sugar cookies I had yet to get to, and delegated the dishes to the boys. I needed to hunker down and survey the progress of the storm. I am happy to say that a little rest should be all it will take to get John back up and running, but I'm not sure that would have been the case if I had foolishly plowed ahead with my work. Be smart when trials come so you can stay safe through the storm.

I have to cut this blog a little short because I have a hubby home with a neck flare-up, a baby with an ear infection, and 2 pre-teen boys who will NOT get out of bed this morning. Whether the storms of life are on your horizon or not, I pray that God shows Himself to you in a new way today!

God bless!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A perfect moment....

[DISCLAIMER: this blog will be LENGTHY.... I'm not sure it will end with a "lesson"... but I need to document it for my most important readers: John Joseph, Noah James, Jeremiah David, Elijah Daniel, and Hannah Elyzabeth. It is for them that I write. So that if at some point, I'm not here to share my heart with them (hopefully when they are OLD and GRAY.... hopefully some time after my 100th birthday.... for that is how long I plan to live) my words will live on to minister to them.]

It had been a ROUGH 24 hours.... I will start at the beginning, because I guess that's the only place to start...

Friday morning dawned a bit daunting, but nothing I haven't conquered before. Novenah arrived bringing her sickness and tearing my heart in two. I LOATHE seeing babies sick! Ugh! Their poor, tortured, sweaty-skinned,  ragged-breath selves just KILL me. We had a tough but not overly out-of-control morning. After finishing our morning lessons and getting Novenah down for a second nap, I sent the kids upstairs to get some lunch while I quick threw in a load of laundry and made some work calls in peace and quiet. Halfway through switching the wash to the dryer, I heard screams and a couple of body slams from upstairs.

Rushing up the stairs, I found mayhem and lost my patience! One boy was clutching "the family jewels" and another was red-faced from being choked. Both were FLAT on the ground. I lost it! "REALLY??? I can't ask you to do ONE self-directed task without it dissolving into WWF Smack Down?"  I was LIVID from being forced to stay upstairs and chaperon lunch preparations. I angrily did the dishes scolding the children every other minute, "Quiet!" "Get on task!" "Finish your lunch!" I needed to finish my work calls before the baby woke back up.

Finally the children finished their lunch, and we returned to the basement as a group. I resumed my laundry job and casually asked Noah a question I would later regret, "Hey, can you check if my Fedex shipment arrived yet?" After doing my bidding, he returned with news that the package had not arrived but the mail had. As I was just finishing filling the washer with a new load I heard him say, "Mom, you got a letter."

I opened the letter (actually a brief note) from afar and quickly wished I had never read it. I suppose it was meant to be informative, maybe even helpful. However, the closing line of the letter will likely tell you why it wasn't very fun to read. "Don't continue to gain a lot of weight as it is not healthy for you."  Now I don't know if many of you have ever been in the place that I find myself. Over the past few STRESSFUL years I have put on more pounds then I care to admit here publicly. I have a scale. I know exactly how much I have gained. And in spite of my crazy busy life taking care of MANY people, jobs, and tasks, I occasionally DO find time to glance in the mirror and trust me I do NOT like what I see. I also have enough of a fitness/nutrition background to know EXACTLY how unhealthy this is for me. However, all of that being said, whether it is smart or not, I am currently choosing to put caring for the MANY I love... homeschooling my babies, offering my niece child care, nursing my husband through this time of sickness, giving my aunt a place to live that is not a nursing home.... over some things I would LOVE to do: sleep, workout, eat healthier. However, in spite of KNOWING how I've gotten here and that it is of my own choosing and a result of my own actions, I live each day in fear that someone will tell me what THEY see adding a whole new level to the disgust I feel about myself. So here it was looking me RIGHT in the face: you are gaining a TON of weight Jami and people would have to be BLIND not to notice. I dissolved into tears, most of the rest of the day basically lost in a fog of depression and pain.

That wasn't the end of the icky... this morning was the first day of Youth Cheer. I was still (in spite of my icky Friday) SO excited for cheer. Yet somehow, I overslept. Then after rushing about to still get there in time, I arrived at the school and in my haste, closed Hannah's hand in the minivan door. By this point, I dissolved. I was BAWLING and a WRECK.

Hannah is fine. Her hand has a small bruise, but the injury doesn't even warrant an x-ray. I was MUCH worse off than she. I was left feeling hungover from expelling WAY too many tears over the last day. Hannah and I had a GREAT time at her first cheer practice. Those little darlings, so cute it's almost a sugar overload, could improve just about ANY day. But still I was feeling the effect of too much crying. On the way home from practice, God whispered what would be the BEST idea ever into my ear... I came home and told John, "What if we blow off chores, get some subs, and have a picnic?" I told him I had felt God telling me to pull the ones I love the most close to me and find comfort in their presence... and OHHHHH did I ever!  Did I EVER!

The weather of today PERFECTLY mirrored what happened to me.... I awoke to a DREARY day. Gray sky.  Wet streets. COLD, damp breeze. I shivered all the way to practice. While, inside the gym practicing with my adorable girls, the weather broke. The sun came out. A BEAUTIFUL, crisp, sunny, fall day was born.

And while surrounded by my babies and the man I'll love till death parts us, hope was born inside of me.  The fog of my tears cleared. The pain in my heart was soothed.

We grabbed some subs and actually ended up having a car picnic in the parking lot of the library. We spent some time checking out books and then headed home. Then followed the most PRECIOUS moment yet... sprawled in various poses of relaxation, hands hugging warm cups filled with yummy beverages, with K-love playing faintly in the background, unintentionally, not even REALIZING where I had ended up (my FAVORITE place ever) we all just read some good books.... no communication needed.... It was SUCH a perfect moment! My favorite people in the room, my favorite beverage in my hand, and my favorite activity going on.

Next time you are caught in the middle of a foggy, gray situation REMEMBER the clouds and drizzle and cold wind will only make the beauty that comes after that MUCH brighter.
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