Saturday, May 31, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 5-31



Photos:

This aerial photo amazed me.

I love Scooby Doo, so I loved this pic too.

Trees and mountains are photo subjects that I just can't get enough of.

I hope this thing is animatronic. If so, why the leash?

Skateboarding in a suit?

This mosque is absolutely gorgeous

I am fascintated by this lady.

Articles:

The Old Testament matters. And by the way, so does prayer and Jesus

"God’s not scared by your journey, your language, or your struggle." Katie Axelson 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doubts about Motherhood: Pain Medicine

Two weeks ago I started a series about doubts I have experienced as a mother. I think every woman experiences doubt about something in her life. When we become mothers, it gets worse (in my experience). Today I have another doubt to share with you.


'Lidocaine HCl' photo (c) 2011, JL Johnson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/When I was pregnant with my first a goal of mine was to give birth without the help of any epidural or other drugs. A friend of mine gave me some wise words about the whole issue. She told me to make sure I was okay with the idea of needing drugs. She told me that she had been disappointed in herself for needing them. When I heard that, it upset me. I was upset with the fact that a woman could be disappointed with herself while she was giving birth. Where did we get the idea that giving birth should follow this pattern to be acceptable? That's a load of crap.

We go into the hospital as one and come out of it as two. That is a miraculous experience. I have only had two, but I'm guessing that each birth experience is different. And that isn't a bad thing. It is a good thing and should be celebrated.

One reason that each experience is so different is the number of choices that can be made and changes that have been made. To get an epidural or not is one of those choices. As I mentioned above, I was staunchly against it with my first one. My friend's words cautioned me to back down from that stance. When I went in to the hospital, I signed the release from in case I needed an epidural. I was told myself it would be okay if I needed one. I didn't need one and I was proud of myself. I have heard multiple times that I was blessed with a quick labor, 4 hours and 45 minutes of pushing. The second time around I thought I could handle it.

I was wrong.

Labor with my daughter started like it did with my son. Everything was going as planned. Then labor moved into my back. It hurt. It hurt bad. I got up out of bed and used the birthing ball. My husband used his elbows to massage my back during the contractions. That helped a ton and then it stopped helping. I would tell him when the contraction started to go away and he would let up. I told him it was okay and he let up, but it wasn't okay and it still hurt. So he would get back down on the floor and start on my back again. I remember looking at the clock on the wall and thinking, "You will have her tonight. This is only temporary. Keep going." That worked for a couple contractions. Then my thoughts changed to, "I don't know how I can keep going with this pain. I think it might kill me. And I'm not sure that I'm being facetious about that."

When those thoughts ran through my head, I asked my mom and husband how much longer they thought this would go on. That was a rather stupid question because of course they don't know and they said as much. The don't know part, not the stupid part. What I was really asking for was permission to get an epidural. I said something about thinking I needed one. My mom and husband both said whatever you need to do. So when the nurse came back in, (I don't remember why she had stepped out, but she did.) I asked about getting something for the pain. She told me there were a couple options and I picked the epidural. She told me it would about 30 minutes because they had to put a certain amount of fluid in me first. She went to go get that started and then about 5 minutes later I was ready to push. 15 minutes after I started pushing Lily was here. So I didn't end up getting the epidural after all.

So I have now had two children without any pain medicine. I am proud of that. However my pride in my accomplishment in no way diminishes my views of woman who do get pain medicine. Each woman is built differently and each pregnancy is different. I understand the need for an epidural or other medication. If you didn't get one, congratulations. If you did get one, congratulations. Either way, you gave birth to another human being. That is amazing and you should be praised for it.

Your ability to be a good mother or a good woman is in NO WAY tied to your lack of or need for pain medicine. Don't let anyone tell you any different. You gave birth. You are a mother. And I bet you are a good one.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Grace Freed Me From Myself: A Guest Post

Today I am honored to be a guest at Changed By Grace talking about the effect that grace had on my life.

"Goodie two shoes was an understatement. I was a perfectionist, but I wasn't smart enough to be at the very top. I wasn't athletic enough to be on the team. I want outgoing enough to be popular. I always felt I was just short of really making it."

Keep reading here.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 5-24


A couple awesome animal photos: Water Buffalo, Polar Bear

Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorites. This is part of the reason why.

Shawn Smucker always has a way of reminding me what is really important.

I have heard this from several different people. I'm glad many people are thinking this way.

My friend had a wonderful analogy about us and Jesus. Read about it.

It is good to know that I am not the only one who struggles with this.

Monday, May 19, 2014

What silence taught me

'Blank Sketchbook' photo (c) 2012, Wonderlane - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I suppose it is rather obvious that blogging for the last year or so has been difficult. There were months that went by without a word being said on here. In some ways I'm glad. The silence allowed me to see how many ways I was chasing after something that I didn't want. I don't want this blog to become 'famous' because I am following this rule or that idea. If I write good stuff that people read and they share and then it gets 'famous', that's great. But there were many times I wrote something because I was supposed to write something. It wasn't really good content. I'm sure that will happen again, but it doesn't have to happen very often.

I don't need to follow a ton of blogs and comment on them all. I don't need to tweet a certain number of times a day. I don't need to participate in x number of chats per week. I don't need to post x number of times. I don't need to follow the script that works for everyone else because it feels false. It makes me fall out of love with writing.

So the silence has been good and healing. However, it also made me forget about something important. You. I forgot why I am blogging. I forgot that my stories and ideas can make a difference. They can encourage someone or make them laugh. I forgot that sharing my story and my journey might help someone in their journey.

I will readily admit that those posts that only have a few views bother me. I want to have big numbers on everything I post. I want to have lots of people reading what I say. It is the hope of every blogger, writer, or artist to  have a mass appeal. We want what is in our head and in our hearts to fascinate people and inspire them. The problem with that want is that we start looking at numbers. We start thinking that it isn't enough to have 10 people reading, viewing, liking, or commenting on our stuff. We need 20 or 40 or 100 people. If we just had that many, then it would really matter.

That is a lie.

Just one person is enough.

So thank you to those of you that read. I hope that my words can encourage you or inspire you or challenge you or make you laugh because each one of you matter to me. You encourage me and inspire me and challenge me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

30/30: My Biggest Regret

The 30/30 prompt today is: One Big Regret.

I have long said that I don't have any regrets because all of my choices have gotten me where I am today. I wouldn't want to go back and change things because then something else would change and who knows where I would be.

So I hesitate to call it a regret. It's more of a what if.

My big what if is: What if my husband and I had listened to God's plan when we first got married. Shortly before we got married, his aunt passed away and shortly after we got married her husband passed as well. Drew's dad was the executor of the estate. As such he offered us the house and all we had to do was to take over payments. So we would basically have gotten a house for free!

We said no.

We had these big plans. I was going to finish my master's and then we would move to Florida or up north or somewhere else and live this grand life. We didn't want to move back to here. We didn't even have to ask if that was a part of God's plan. We knew it couldn't be.

Then 4 years, thousands of dollars in debt, and 2 moves across the country later, we were living here. And the 4 years it took to get back here were not particularly easy. We lost people, jobs, and confidence. They were painful. So what if we had listened the first time?

Would they have been that painful? Would we have gotten so far in debt?

Then the other part of me says: What if we hadn't met those people along the way? What if we hadn't ended up at the churches we were a part of along the way? What if we weren't in the house we are in now and in the neighborhood we are in now?

So even though I have a big what if, the what if we weren't here now is a bigger one. So I don't really regret it and I don't really want to go back and change anything.

In case you are curious, you can check out Carl's regret here

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Doubts about Motherhood: Breastfeeding

'18/52 - Motherhood' photo (c) 2012, Nana B Agyei - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Search motherhood on the internet and you will find numerous blog posts about dozens of topics. One of the hottest topics is breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. Hospitals aren't even giving pacifiers any more to encourage breast feeding. Insurance companies offer breast pumps for free as well. As a culture we advocate very strongly for breast feeding. And I think that is awesome. There are a ton of resources out there for women to help them breast feed. That's great. Most soon to be mothers that I talk to say that they are going to try to breast feed. We have reached a point that women feel confident enough to  try to breast feed. I think all of that is awesome.

But....

Breast feeding is really hard and even when people don't mean to they add stress to the process. There are in my estimation about 10,212 things that could go wrong with what is supposed to be a natural process. In my case, I can't produce enough milk. Lily is two months old today and taking 6 oz at every feeding. The last few days I have pumped have garnered about 2 oz. per day. At that rate it would take me 3 DAYS to give her ONE bottle.

I'm sure there are numerous websites with hundreds of tips on how to produce more. And I have a few ideas from friends. I might try them, but the bottom line is that I am a working mother of two. Besides the things that I have to do, I want to play with my son and spend time with my husband and my daughter. It is difficult to plan a separate meal for me. It is difficult for me to set aside time away from all 3 of them to pump extra. Basically, it is difficult for me to validate taking so much time away from my family to create more milk that my body is supposed to produce on its own. I don't want to go to extreme lengths to make my body do this because that will stress me out.

With my son, I couldn't produce enough either. However, my hypothyroidism wasn't under control. Now it is, so I thought this time around it would be easier. One of the nurses or doctors even said that it might be easier this time. This time I thought I would just start magically producing all that was needed. The first week or so hurt a lot, but she didn't seem to be hungry. Everything was going well. A few more weeks passed and she seemed to be eating all the time. It seemed odd, but I was still on maternity leave and she was still little, so I fed her. Then I started working again and started pumping. I would get 3 to 4 oz a day. She was eating 4 or 5 oz. per bottle. I knew is wasn't enough, but it was almost one bottle a day. A couple more weeks passed. She is eating 6 oz. per bottle and I'm producing 1 or 2 oz per day.

So I give up. I can't do it and I feel like a failure as a mother.

Well I don't completely give up because I'm still pumping at least once a day to see if I can get anything at all for her. And I don't completely feel like a failure. In my head, I know my ability to breastfeed does not determine my maternal success. I talked to my husband about it and the first thing he said was, "This doesn't make you a bad mother. This doesn't mean you can't provide for her." I think he was reading my mind.

I won't give in to those thoughts though. I'm going to keep pumping and feeding the little bit I can for as long as I can. Every little bit helps and when I can't produce any more, I will be happy with what I have been able to do. I am a good mother and my goodness is not dependent on my ability to breastfeed.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 5-10




Articles

In honor of Mother's day a definition of good mothers.

I wonder how many wrong ideas we have about God. Here are 5.

I love this idea. A small thing can make a big difference.

Photos

Numbers 2, 3, 5, and 9 were my favorites.

She is absolutely gorgeous

Huge toes

This is just too cute!

I want to do this!

Chicago 

One more reason, I'm not getting on a cruise ship.

I'm not sure that I believe this is a real photo, but it looks awesome either way.

I don't think this is real either.

The gas price impresses me as much as the line for the movie.

I can't believe they caught this on camera!

Old advertisements crack me up



Friday, May 9, 2014

How Not to Get Ready for Church

Every so often we have a crazy day where most things go wrong and we just have to laugh. Last Sunday was one of those days. So my natural instinct is to write about it.




It started the night before, Saturday. Ben doesn't like milk, but he needs to drink some. So we have our own little wrestling match over it a few times a week. Eventually he drank it all and we went to bed. A little while later my husband came to take him to his bed. That's when we discovered that he had peed in our bed. More specifically on Drew's side of the bed. I took him to get changed while Drew took the sheets off the bed and cleaned the mattress. I got Ben in his bed and Drew got to go lay on the couch.

During the night Lily woke up and needed changed. As I was changing her, she peed on her changing pad. So I took that cover off and changed her clothes. She got settled and I got a little more sleep. Drew and I both woke up a little early and decided we had enough time go get breakfast at Bojangles.

Both kids slept at the same time long enough for Drew and I to both get ready for church. It was amazing and seemed like it was going to be the kind of morning you only dream about. And for about 20 minutes it was fabulous. Then both kids got up and the craziness from the night before continued. I got Ben up and smelled pee again. I even said out loud, "Do you still smell from last night?" Nope. He peed in his bed too! So I settled him down because he was upset about having an accident. I got him in the bath and stripped the bed. He got out and was getting dressed in the living room. Drew was feeding Lily and she spit up. Except her spit up wasn't caused by gas or anything. It was caused by the sinus drainage she had. So it was a massive spit up of milk and mucus that covered her and Daddy both. In fact, a little bit even got on me across the couch dressing Ben.

So two more costume changes later, we were ready to leave. We weren't even too late for Bojangles. It was close, but we could make it. Except when we pulled into Bojangles the drive thru line was almost in the road. The line inside looked short though, so Drew parked the car and went inside. He came outside a short period of time later saying that the people waiting had their arms crossed looking mad while there was one person he saw working. Of course today would be the day that Bojangles was understaffed.

That left us with only one option, the gas station on the way to church. By this time it was getting a little late, but we were all getting hungry. We had to eat something. We all went in and there was a selection of biscuits  in the front. Drew and I chose one. Ben put in his request, a slushie and mandarin oranges. Drew entertained Lily while I warmed the biscuits. We paid for them and the cashier informed us that one side of the biscuits was cold. I went back and warmed them again.

We finally got back to the car and ready to go to church. Ben ate the oranges on the way to church and got a few sips of his slushie in. Drew and I ate our biscuits on the way as well. We pulled into the parking lot and managed to only be about 5 minutes late.

3 pee-pee accidents, 2 tries to warm up a biscuit, 1 spit up, and 1 understaffed restaurant later, we made it to church. So now you know how not to get ready for church.

Friday, May 2, 2014

30/30: What if I Stumble?

Today I had intended to write a funny story about our crazy Sunday morning. However, those words seem to have escaped me. The words that I am finding go along with the 30/30 prompt for today.

Something that scares me.

Originally I thought that I didn't have much to write. Not that I am fearless, but that I don't have any interesting fears to hash out in a blog post. Then I found out some news this week that I thought I could handle. 2 days removed from the news and I'm not handling it well. So now I have something to hash out in a blog post.



So what news did I find out?

My job is going to be changing a little. The change isn't a bad one. It's actually a pretty good change, but it will be challenging. It will require me to step up my game as a teacher. When I first heard this, I thought I could handle it. I'm not going completely into the unknown. I've done it before, so what is there to fear?

FAILURE

Yes I have done it before, but I'm not sure that I did it well. I'm pretty sure I was really sucky at it and that was several years ago. I'm more experienced now. I know more than I did back then. So I can't afford to be sucky at it this time. But what if I am?

And that's not it. I feel like I am just now starting to be a good mother. You know the kind that gets in the floor to play with her kids, the kind that reads them stories before bedtime, the kind remembers to have them practice that life skill they really don't want to learn, the kind that makes sure they eat healthy and act healthy even if they complain. I don't get it right every day, but I find myself getting more right than wrong. I'm putting aside my preferences for theirs. I'm putting aside what is easy for what is hard, but necessary.

So what if this change at my job causes me to lose this progress I have made as a mother? What if I end up putting too much effort into my job at the expense of my family? And what if I put too much effort into my family at the expense of my job? What if in my effort to balance both things I stumble and drop them both? What if I suck at both things?

Maybe a better question to ask is what if I'm being too hard on myself? And what if I need to trust God more and my ability less?

Yeah those are better questions.