July

I know it’s already August, but who cares? We moved the last two days of June, which means we spent July living in a new place. The move was not planned or expected, but has been quite a large blessing and relief to us in many ways. 

July celebrated one year since my cancer diagnosis and surgeries.  Happy to be cancer free now. 

July also celebrated something else. It was our anniversary. 17 years. Not quite twenty, it’s not any official milestone, like 20. 

People always say “Don’t get married too young!” and “Don’t have children too soon!” and all sorts of other things about marriage. Our world isn’t really totally sure about what marriage means it seems. I’m not going to claim expert status. My marriage isn’t perfect. It’s not even always fun, actually. 

We we’re married young. I was 19. We started having kids 2 years in. Basically we grew up together. We weren’t very good at it for awhile. No one is at first. (Sometimes we’re not good at it now) The main thing though, is that we didn’t quit. Every year, every new life experience changes us and we have to learn all over again. I don’t take it for granted. It’s truly God’s mercy that we didn’t quit.  Everything that they say drives people apart, really just made us stay together. Financial trouble? Who could afford to live alone? Kid stress and lack of sleep? Who wants to do that by themselves? Grief, anger, trouble with friends and family? I’m sticking with the one who knows the whole story from my perspective.  

Too immature? We are growing up together. We are changing into those grown up people at the same time. I get to see the once hotheaded job-hopping boy, turn into the steady, provide for his family kind of man. He did that for me, and the children we have together. He knows me, the real me, I don’t have to hide a single thing. He still wants me. What’s more attractive than that? I can’t think of a single thing. 

We’re learning how to be content no matter the circumstances. We’re learning to forgive. We’re learning that laughter is essential to life. Knowing those things makes us better people, better spouses, parents, employees, citizens. Money really is not everything.  If you can pay bills and feed your family, you’re fine.  If God can show me love and mercy, with all that I’vedone, then I can show love and mercy to my spouse.  Love, mercy, forgiveness. Those are what life is really about. 

 I never learned any of that in college. 

I’m sure glad we didn’t quit. It’s hard work, but it really is  worth it. 

Ballgame with Papa

This weekend was the scout night for the Arkansas Travelers baseball team. Scouts could go watch a game, and then pitch a tent on the field and stay the night. Isaac and Elijah got to go with Papa.  

The game started at 7:10 pm. After the game they played The Sandlot on the screen, then kids ran around til their parents made them sleep. Papa said it was about 2 am before they went to bed. 

They were woken up at 5:15 over the loudspeaker. So it was a long night full of fun 

   
    
   

Some days . . . 

I can hear the loud chatty birds through the open window. It smells like summer. The light is soft coming in the window, filtered through the tree branches. I rarely get to experience this time of morning in this spot, my cozy bed with its quilt jumbled from by little bitty bed pals. One of those dudes was up from 2:30-5. So now at 9, I’ve woken up before him. The other boys are still sleeping, or old enough to entertain themselves til I get out there. I hear supermario on the Wii and someone else opening the fridge.  I love this moment. A fresh day, no alarm to stress me out. Even the little guy soaks it up. 

  

Being the Debbie Downer

No one likes a complainer. That being said, I’m going to put myself out there as the complainer, with full knowledge this may make someone mad. It’s okay, we’re humans. We’re allowed to be mad at one another and disagree from time to time. Several people that I know sell a certain product. They sell it based on testimonials and on their Facebook feed. They link this product to several other internet sites with so called “proof” that the product works. What are the products for? You name it, it fixes it! I’ve seen such a broad range of illnesses and problems that this is supposed to fix, that alone makes it unbelievable. One thing isn’t the cure for everything. Well, technically, Jesus is the cure for sin. Which is one thing being the cure for everything. But they aren’t peddling Jesus. Also, if I tell you about Jesus, I don’t get a percentage of the sales you had to pay to hear the good news. That goodness is 100% free. 😉 But back to my complaint, no one purchaseable thing is the cure for all the illnesses in the world. There is no magical panacea that replaces good diet and exercise. There is not a product in existence that will prevent your body from dying at some point, in some fashion. When did this start to bother me, the gradual losing of my friends, the turning point when they only viewed me now as a potential buyer of their stuff? I know exactly when it happened. When I became a cancer survivor. After the surgery to remove my thyroid, radiation treatment, and subsequent permanent state of hypothyroidism (permanent because I have no thyroid to stimulate now) I learned what it is to suffer with an illness that is not visible. It changed who I am, and how I function. Not symbolically, literally. I have a completely different level of health, with altered body and brain function. It’s been a difficult journey of research. I’ve had to up my health game, intensely, just to maintain average health.  I work with a team of health professionals who have dedicated their lives to understanding and treating the conditions I have. Their knowledge has saved my life. So when a person makes the claim on Facebook, that their product they are selling cures cancer or hypothyroidism, I find myself offended. I don’t want to be offended. I’m offended by people who are constantly offended by things, actually. However, seeing these things from the other side, I realize how insulting those Facebook posts and blogs are. Some quack knows more than the team of professionals who have a combined education of DECADES? I think not. Those posts can be so insulting. It says to me, you’d never have had that illness had you been purchasing this product I’m peddling that hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA, and has been in existence for 5 minutes and the long term use of it’s components hasn’t even had enough time to be studied. I wonder do the people with the other illnesses it claims to cure feel the same as I do? Are the parents of autistic children offended, or maybe the people with diabetes or psoriasis? How about those suffering from being overweight? These conditions are things people wrestle with. I have seen posts listing every one of those conditions as treatable or preventable by this product. It takes long term care and planning to live with and thrive with these issues. There’s no magic potion in a bottle, and I believe saying there is, is mean. It’s borderline preying on those who strive for hope and healing. Do I struggle? Sure. Am I worried? No, I have that one free cure, Jesus. Although that healing comes in the next life, I’m content to live the life I have here in the mean time. I’m not desperate. Some people, though, are desperate. They will gamble any amount of money for relief. Who can blame them? Everyone wants a quick, easy fix, NOW. Especially when they suffer now.

Please don’t misunderstand. If a product makes you feel good and you’ve lost weight with it or are just so darn excited you want to share that news with people, I get it. Also, it’s a free country so you have every right to do so. I just wish people would think twice about the testimonials and “Oh look at this interesting link I found!” and the messages that they are sending. Some of us are getting a message, alright. It’s just not the one I think was intended.

Some Lessons are Learned the Hard Way

We were getting ready to leave for school and work this morning when it happened. Steven’s been staying home with Oliver and Jude during the day right now and I drop the others off at school on my way to work. It was already after 7:30, and I had made my trip down the hall and through the house saying the usual, “Get in the car, it’s time to GO!” at the various locations where they were each puttering away. I was right behind them grabbing my purse, and my leftover-from-one-of-them-from another-school-year-spiderman lunch box, when Oliver wandered in the kitchen having just gotten up. He needed to toss his pull up in the trash and his drawer didn’t have any fresh underwear. So I had to go rifle around to find a clean pair for him. As I’m coming back down the hall, Elijah comes running in the house. “My mouth is on FIRE! My mouth hurts!” In a whirlwind he rushes past to the bathroom and while I’m about to turn and go follow him, Isaac zooms past me saying “My mouth!” and heads for the other bathroom. I won’t lie, I was thinking, “What the what??” Then Alex comes in, same story and finally Thomas heads for the kitchen sink. I find myself wondering did some street bug sprayer go by while they were getting in the car? Did they eat something? I couldn’t figure it out.

Finally, they start meandering back towards the door and I hear the word “Mace” and “Thomas”. Then I know what happened. “Thomas, did you spray my pepper spray in the car?” He replies, “I didn’t know it would do that!” I just shake my head. I go out there and roll down the windows turning the ac on high to air it out. I had to wipe the residue off the driver’s seat where the spray actually landed. They were just hit with the residual air spray that filled the car.

I go in and tell them it’s all clear now. When they’ve all gone to get in the car I just look across the room at Steven and we are both smirking and chuckling. He said, “Boys.”

After getting in the car I said, “Thomas did it automatically spray when you opened the top?” He said, “No. There was a button so I pushed it.”

“Well, I hope we all learned a lesson about touching Mom’s pepper spray.” I said. In unison they replied “We DID!”

I laughed on the inside, and I’m giving Oliver an extra cookie when I get home for making me delayed getting in the car. I’m pretty sure he single-handedly saved my morning.

Pepper spray

A Mother’s Day Secret 

I’m not going to lie, I love Mother’s Day. I love the little handwritten notes from the boys or the cute checklists from school. I love the cards and the special thanks from Steven and the boys. If they want to handle Sunday lunch today so I don’t have to, I’m all in. 

There are moments, however, that I feel like a fraud in this. I mean, I wouldn’t be a mom if not for them. Steven made me a mom. Those boys, well, they are my world. I’ve got six walking talking miracles.  

 They are so smart, they are hilarious and could they BE any cuter? Jude has been taking his first steps, Oliver is talking nonstop about Mario Brothers, and Thomas is all about the cars these days.  Alex and I have been talking about school and switching from track to cross country in the fall. Isaac is on the last level of Lexia at school meaning he’s reading on a 5th grade level and he just started Lexia this year, in first grade. Elijah’s as sweet as ever, giving me flowers he picked on his birthday. 

That’s all just now. It doesn’t include the years of hugs and cuddles and fun.  If anything, Mother’s Day always makes me pray, please let me be the kind of Mom they are glad to have on Mother’s Day. We’ve had some struggles and there will be plenty more of that, I know. I hope that I will remember to ask forgiveness when I need to and to offer forgiveness when they need it. 

On this day they say they are glad to have me but I know the truth. I’m the lucky one here.