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Yesterday I received a few compliments on my NMM post I put up.

My initial reaction was, “Oh, wow, thanks – but….” and I proceeded to negate those compliments with various thoughts:

– I’m not as coherent as I once was

– My vocabulary has dwindled such that it is an insulting caricature of what it used to be, and I’m only as “good” as I seem because I rely heavily upon a thesaurus

– My posts have been either really fluffy or all woe-is-me mommy-blogging and didn’t I used to be more interesting and, oh, happy, than that?

Et. Cet. Er. A.

You get the point, right?

It’s no different than when someone says, “Wow, your hair looks great, and so shiny!” and you proceed to tell them that really you haven’t. done. a. THING. to. it, and the luster they are seeing is caused by the 3 days you’ve had that haven’t seen a shower.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why can’t we just own a compliment and soak it up with grace and decorum?

I am especially prone to doing this, but I’m trying to work on it.  It may seem cheesey, a bit Stuart Smalley for my tastes, but I need to affirm the truths of life – that is to say those things spoken positively about me as well as reminders of God’s promises to me [and anyone else who follows Christ for that matter].

This re-wiring of the brain is sometimes called Flip Switch– ing, as coined by several New Age self-helpers, but really it’s just substituting positive things for negative – pretty simple if you ask me, yet so terribly hard to implement!

At risk of sounding pathetic, here goes:

I am a good writer – talented even if I am to listen to my English teachers and various professors over the years.

I’d love to do something big with my writing someday, too.  And that means I need to keep at it.  Keep in practice, keep thinking on things that make my wheels turn, and keep on dreaming.

(I obviously did NOT start this on Monday and leave it in my drafts folder for days afterward!)

It’s been awhile since I played along with Not Me Monday, but this week there were a fair amount of things that dealt a blow of conviction to my gut.  And a few funnies.  Perfect mix for Not Me Monday, eh?  So without further ado….

Last week I definitely did not get so frustrated at my dishwasher (which has suddenly decided to rinse with water rife with all that chopped up bits of food it creates and therefore deposit a gritty, albeit[food] organic, silt-like substance on all my glassware) that I proceeded to handyman it myself.  I certainly did not unscrew the lower rinse blade and pull out the perceived culprit, what appeared to have once been a cheesestick wrapper (thanks kids!) only to put it back together somewhat askew.  Because none of this happened, there was not a huge increase in the volume of the dishwasher  while running.  I mean, this never happened because I would never, ever, attempt anything mechanical on my own, right?  And then, I did not get freaked out by this hypothetical noise to the point that when Seth arrived home I surely didn’t forget to greet him with words other than, “I think there is something really wrong with the dishwasher.”  Because I appreciate my husband as more than the appliance fixer!  So, because I did NOT say that in a huff of frustration as Seth came thru the door, I don’t know why he proceeded to say, “Well the bushing isn’t on right,” unscrew it and adjust only to rescrew it in.  Too tightly, thus REALLY breaking the dishwasher as the part in qestion snapped in two.  :sigh:

($5 bought a new part and it has since been reinstalled…the food grit is still, however, occurring.  I am NOT frustrated wit this at all!)

On Friday, I did NOT impulsively jump on the facebook bandwagon and post my bra color as a status update without thinking it thru.  Because I think more about those sorts of things, after all, right?  Whoopsies.

Sunday morning after Christopher had the nastiest diaper known to moms (thank you spinach…I feel sorry for Popeye’s mama now!), I did not contemplate using (and subsequently disposing of) a spatula to  scoop the poop into the toilet because it was sooooo copious!  (we’re cloth diapering for all you disposable users going, ‘toilet? huh?’) Well, ok, maybe I did think that, but I certainly did not just toss the insert into the tub as I harriedly swished the nastiness in the toilet, because that would be lazy!  And I didn’t later toss it in the bathroom sink when I needed to shower, because the diaper pail is Just.Right.THERE.Outside.The.Door!  And I definitely didn’t put my finger in residual pooh when I finally went to put it in the pail, because I remember these things and handle all waste gingerly!  :shudders:

I have not washed and rewashed the same load in my washer 3 4 times this week.  That would be wasteful.

There are more things I have Not done, but it would take me another week to write them all out – enjoy!

So my sister is getting married in March.

And I am her maid (matron, technically, but we both think that word is woefully OLD sounding, which I of course am nothing of the sort!) of honor – and totally flattered to be considered such, too!

Most of the dresses for such a person as me are, uh, strapless.

Which presents a bit of a problem, as 1.) even though I have lost 30 lbs in the past 8 months (w00t!) I still have some chub on my arms, and 2.) between breastfeeding 3 kiddos and uh, the passage of time, well, gravity has not been kind suffice to say.

Today I began to tackle #1.  Seeing as our temps have been FRIGID of late I have not been running as often as I’d like (averaging about 1x/wk – BOO!).  So, I knew I needed an indoor venue.  At mentioning such to a friend of mine, I was told that there was a local gym offering a free month’s membership in the coupon mailer this month.  And I was totally on it!  This morning I was running on a great treadmill while Christopher chilled in the nursery (all the while doing great there).  When I got done with my 30 min run, I said, “Hello, Mr. Dumbbell!” and proceeded to work my arms into jello.  Bonus of this outing?  Guaranteed shower for the day – at home, this is not always feasible.  So I felt great and then looked and smelled great for the rest of the day, hurrah!

Now….problem solving for issue #2 is not quite there, but I’m sure there are strapless bras out there that are not torture devices, and may help with lift.  Right?  This is your cue, dear internets, to clue me into the great products out there – that great word-of-mouth advertising that mommybloggers tend to promote.  Only caveat is BUDGET.

As for my title….well, I like to shop in a hunter-gatherer sort of mode.  Meaning I like to know EXACTLY what I’m after, spy it and walk out with it.  Not much for trying on millions of things, making an hours-in-the-making decision, and leaving unsure of whether I’ve got the right thing.

So, again, this is where I’m calling on you, dear readers with GREAT taste, who love to shop!  Help me find a MOH dress!

  • The dress must be green, in the sage or lighter variety (however, I do not look quite so hot in pastel shades, so the sagier the better).
  • While I’m working on being able to pull off strapless, I’d love a cap sleeve or even straps, spaghetti or otherwise.
  • Empire waist is a plus over fitted shapes, imo, for my shape
  • I’m pretty evenly proportioned, not too pear shaped (though have a bit of a tendency that direction), so something that flatters curves of an average height
  • I think tea length is more appropos than floor length given my build, but it’s not a priority per se

Send in your links in the comments.

Thanks!

Twelve years ago tonight I said yes to Seth, to our lives together.

Sometimes, on nights like last Friday/Saturday, I get all frustrated and think, “This is not the life I envisioned then.”

And it’s not.

At all.

But that’s not such a bad thing, ya know?

I had no idea how full my heart could get when I’d hear my six-year old son singing to his baby brother a made up lullaby about how much he loved his sweet baby brother.

I had no idea that I could love harder, faster andso fiercely over time than I did at 18, but I can, and that is a beautiful thing.

I had no idea that to grow we often must break first, and that these broken pieces can be fashioned into a new you that makes a devastatingly beautiful mosaic.

I know now that my mosaic is still being patterned and fashioned…. I’m finding theat letting go is the greatest thing we can do for ourselves, especially when we remind ourselves that we have chosen to let it go, meaning things are not going to turn out as we may have hoped or previously planned for.

My resolution is to more consciously let go of the things that I want to have my own control over and hand them to my God.

Tonight is a family night, watching movies, eating a good dinner in, and getting up in the morning to snowshoe (which we’re hoping to make our NYD tradition now that we all have snowshoes!  Well…Christopher has a backpack to ride in).

Be Blessed.

:this post was started on Saturday, December 26th:

So groaned my husband late last night early this morning.

Christmas was great – both sides of our family significantly downsized the presents aspect, something I’ve craved for years, everyone got along despite the lack of sleep afforded by Christmas Eve, and the juggling between my family and Seth’s was a piece of cake this year – no guilt-inspired tug of war.

And yet, at about 11:30 I fell apart and sobbed on my husband’s lap in front of my in-laws for a good ten minutes.  Exhausted.

****

We sing a song in the children’s programs at church:

The wise man built his house upon The Rock, his house upon The Rock….

The foolish man built his house upon the sand, his house upon the sand….

****

Tuesday night we experienced one of Kelsey’s sensory superfits.  While we saw the beginnings of one over Thanksgiving, we hadn’t seen a big one in a LONG time.  Like long ago enough that sensory integration dysfunction seemed like a distant memory.

Well, Tuesday not only recalled that memory but brought it front and center.

Sleep has been an issue of late for Kelsey.  She’s had trouble with insomnia, and calming her engine enough that she can successfully relax and induce herself to sleep.  Result: chaos for an already disorganized brain.

Add to it that her school was in session Monday and Tuesday, yet really, all bets were off re: attempting  normal schedule.

Mix in one mother, caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle, also deprived of sleep because of one teething infant, whose hypervigilance at waiting for the other sensory shoe to drop has been greatly reduced, and well, I completely missed the triggers.

At bedtime, we had a battle royale about sleep and it escalated such that I had to put her in her room and hold her bedroom door shut for a prolonged period (45 minutes…have I mentioned that the child is stubborn in addition to neuro-atypical?) while she screamed and beat at the door.  It broke my heart to see her like this again.  It made me want to crawl into a hole when she proclaimed that I was the “meanest mama ever,” because when I tried to see things from her eyes I could see how she felt betrayed by me essentially locking her up, BUT I knew it was for her own good, lest I hurt her or she me.

****

It’s Christmas night.  We’ve just returned to Seth’s folks after eating with my folks, exchanging gifts and playing Wii.

It’s late.

I told Kelsey it’s time to get ready for bed and she protested.  She wasn’t one bit tired!  She wanted to read!

This is stubbornness, not a sensory issue, it seemed.

I told her she could read in the entry room but that the adults were playing a game and she didn’t need to be in the same room.

And the melt-down began.

I want to cry and scream and pitch a fit because I am bone tired after Christopher’s weeks of teething have been topped off with traveling sleep, which means none.

But I called upon some reserve somewhere within me.

After Seth had tried to reason with her, and failed, I began to see this was going sensory.  She was hysterical and repeating that she’d never be able to get to sleep, all while having that other worldly look on her face.  Nothing penetrates this look.  Just gotta take the wild wave and ride it.

Manic, she flailed at me, screamed, shook her head and just fell apart as I tried to touch her, hoping that the deep pressure could bring her back to me.  Her eyes held a look of fight or flight, terrified at what was going on inside her.  I almost broke at the helplessness of knowing her neurons were in chaos and firing excessively – lot of good knowing what does when there is no rhyme or reason to alleviating the why of the problem.

Eventually, I got her to a spare bedroom.  There I cradled my biggest baby like when she was a newborn and we rocked while she continued to huff and puff and slow her engine down.

At this point my sister-in-law entered the room, tears streaming down her face.

At first, I interpreted her tears as those of the “I can’t stand her pain, make it stop” variety and felt a twinge of defensiveness raise its ugly head.

“What…can I do…to help? I want to help her….and you.”  Her face crumpled and her tears fell faster.

It was then that I sensed that she’d gotten a glimpse of what it is for me to mother Kelsey, this bittersweet hellish rollercoaster that I ride, along with two other children who need me just as much.  Her words from our morning present-opening (we make a point of having the gift-giver tell their giftee why they love them before each gift is opened) echoed in my mind, “You’re so brave.”

I motioned her over to the bed with us.  And she just sat while I numbly and automatically did joint compressions on Kels to calm her down.  I remember at one point squeezing her hand so hard that my knuckles turned white and Kelsey whispered, “Harder, Mama.”  As I could feel her body quiet, I began to murmur to her that I knew it was beyond her control, that I wasn’t mad and that I just wanted to help her come back.  My sister-in-law asked Kels what would help her, which caused her to stiffen.  She couldn’t have known that in this state an open-ended question is just more chaos for Kelsey’s disorganized brain.  So I intervened.

At home Kelsey and I have a nightly prayer together before bed, but when traveling this nighttime rite is often tossed aside.  Routine and ritual help soothe her.  So I prayed while I held my girl, all gangly limbs curling over my arms, one of the longest, most heartfelt prayer I’ve prayed with her.  It was long after she fell limp in my arms that I closed the prayer, my own eyes moist and damp.

I hefted her 75lb, nearly as tall as me frame, into her bedroom and tucked her in.  Asleep.

Mission Accomplished.

But at what cost?  Would she be mortified in the morning?  And how can I keep this from happening?  What’s she gonna do when she’s at college and noone knows to squeeze her feet, hands and compress her other joints?

These and other racing thoughts plagued my exhausted mind such that I gave voice to them with the hiccuping sobs that I melted into on Seth’s lap.  It was now 11:30.  We’d battled for right at an hour and a half.

****

Sometime after midnight, we settled into bed.  And Christopher awoke.  Inconsolable.

We each took turns trying to soothe him.  But no amount of rocking, nursing, Orajel, Tylenol, or Motrin would help.

Around 3am was when Seth made his statement re: how this day was going to go down in my mind’s history.

It was then that the childish song popped into my mind, and I realized how this incident might have undone someone else, that someone else might have slipped into their own sleep-deprived, incoherent raging.

But that reserve from which I drew?

The rock upon which my faith is built, from which I draw my strength.

****

This week has been hard, as the sleeping has still yet to resume back to N-O-R-M-A-L, whatever that is anyway.  But I have to say that the fact that my husband is an angel, my sister-in-law’s empathic gesture of just BEING with me, and a silly little song have all helped remind me that I’m not alone and I don’t have to do this all by myself.

Click here for our Christmas newsletter.

2009 was a wild and crazy year, best summed up by Kutless’ song “What Faith Can Do:”

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think its more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You do have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That’s what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

My illness threw us for a loop this spring, but faith in God’s promises have gotten us through, per the letter.

May you all be blessed with such faith, hope and love this Christmas and for 2010!

 

Seth is not as addicted to observant of the e-mail as I am.

Nor has he ever really read my blogs without first being told to do so.

Which means, he did not look at the Invisible Woman e-mail his mom sent the other day, entitled “FW: Merry Christmas, Please Watch.”

Last night, he sat down and looked at the e-mails in our inbox and he points to it, and asks me, “This any good?”

While it is the kind of e-mail that is easily relegated to the genre of “chick flick,” I told him, “Yeah.  It is.”

Afterward, all he said was, “I see you too, though often it is in hindsight.  Thanks for all you do.”

And so ladies, perhaps that might be a reason to forward the e-mail on to all the men in your life – as they might need a prompt to tell their special lady who feels none so special, invisible even,  something similar.

P.S.  Note he WATCHED the e-mail, which means the video not the text one.  This is important when sending to men!

I believe that God speaks to us through many different media.

There are written words, both those breathed by the Holy Spirit in Scripture and those penned by people (who often will not know their impact) in tomes of literature, on display of a computer monitor or some other format.

Nature speaks to me, not audibly to my ears, but to my heart and soul which “hear” things my ears never could.

Music speaks to me in a way that integrates all the senses.

The analysis of a series of events often conveys messages to me – though some might call it superstition, I feel it is more of a discernment and intuition.

I could go on, but that would take me away from the point at which I’m trying to arrive.

I also believe that God, when He really wants our attention, will cause the same thing that speaks to us to lend itself to repeated surfacings.  In the past I’ll have read a certain passage in Scripture and then it will come up in class or a sermon, or in conversation with a friend – usually a combination of all of those, too!

Recently, I got an e-mail from a friend called The Invisible Woman. The words, dealing with the frustrations of being a mom who often comes last, can be found below.  A few days later, I received the same e-mail with the message being spoken by the lovely and talented Nicole Johnson.

God’s doing it, trying to get my attention. The overall theme of The Invisible Woman is directly applicable to my life, particularly the part about God seeing ME and caring about what I do or don’t do and His admonition to keep at it.

And the timing….could it come at a better time?  No, in the midst of several attempts to do fun things with the kids for the holidays (salt dough ornaments and then the painting of them, holiday baking with the kids’ help, gingerbread cookies and then the decorating of them) and their quick lapses into complaints of “We NEVER get to do ANYTHING fun,”  not to mention my recent little pity parties, I’d say the timing on this is nothing short of perfect.

I’m going t share it with y’all, in the hopes that it uplifts you and speaks to your heart.  Blessings!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible.. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? Â I need that now Mommy!

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’ Hurry Mom, I’ll be late!

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe

I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it t o me until I read her inscription: ‘To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fuelled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become. At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there..’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.


I'm a 30-something with a bend toward the spunky and unconventional. I like to accent big words and academics with slang and pop culture - makes me a little more well-rounded. My husband and I follow Christ and am training up my 3 precious kiddos to do the same. This means that I'm human and I fail - a LOT, but there is beauty in sharing that with others. Last, but not least, in case you haven't noticed, I'm prone to rambling. It may seem unrelated to you but the little "tangents" I go on are all interconnected in my mind!

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