Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marriage 101

Jarrod and I recently celebrated our nine year anniversary. Now there is a chance I may be biased but we have the best marriage of any couple I know! Really it is so good and so easy. 

I told Jarrod recently that we should write a book about how to have a successful marriage. His response, “that would be a short book.” He told me his opinion on why ours works so well. It’s really quite simple. Put the other person first! 

No way! It cannot be that simple. One reason I knew this to be true it that I don’t really put others first. I would have a very good marriage to me! But it just does not come naturally to me to think of others. I like me, I like to give me what I want, and meet all of my needs. 

Jarrod is always putting my needs above his own, thinking of what would bless me first and making me number one priority. He is so much better about it than me. But I leaned somethings during this conversation. (because my husband is so wise, and very good at helping people see things clearly)

Jarrod started pointing out the areas in which I do put his needs and wants above my own. I hadn’t seen it before, but he was right. As he rattled off this list I began to protest. “Well yes, but those are such simple things. I don’t consciously think, ‘I am going to make sure the freezer is stocked with Jarrod’s popsicles so that we will have a good marriage’ I do it because you love them and I love you.” 

Come to find out this was his point exactly. This sounds like a silly example, I know. But it is the simplicity of it that makes it so beautiful. Let me show you another way this has worked, on a much bigger level. Every few months Jarrod sends me away to spend the weekend scrapbooking with my mom. He watches all four kids by himself and I am “off” for 36 hours of fun. 

Now, let me just say my husband works very hard - but instead of thinking “Boy, I work hard I could use a break?” He realizes that I also work hard and if he wants a break chances are I probably also want one! This in turn gets me thinking, “Gosh that time away to play is nice, I bet Jarrod would enjoy that too.” And so the cycle begins. 

In nine years this concept has seemed to spill over into every area of our marriage. Because my husband is most always thinking first what would be best for me and now also our kids I can plainly recognize that his decision making is done with this in mind. It is so easy for me to trust the choices he makes, not because he has never been wrong, but because I know they have been thought through with my best interest in mind. 

Recently we made a big decision for our family. Jarrod and I had prayed together about it, talked about what was the most biblically sound thing to do and ultimately left the final say to Jarrod. The choice he made was a good solid one...and it came back to bite us in the rump. We are STILL paying for it. Sometime later Jarrod told me how much he appreciated my not getting upset with him for having made what seems to have been the wrong choice. “Why would I?” I asked, “You were doing what you thought best for us, you could not have seen this coming.” He makes it so easy for me to trust him. He doesn’t demand my honor and respect he earns it every day in the way he cares for me. In doing this I have slipped so easily into the habit of caring for him above me as well that I had not even noticed. Because he has shown me by example what it looks like and because it is the natural response to the honor and respect he pours out on me. We don’t always do this perfectly, but it has become so natural that it is not work. Our marriage is pure joy and security. 

I am sure you more seasoned couples are thinking “just wait” and I know we have not faced every challenge a marriage brings. But I will say these past years together have been extremely eventful and we have not wavered in our commitment nor our love. Marriage to Jarrod is a piece of cake and it turns out I’m not so hard to live with either. 

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Rant Against The Machine

Had and MRI of my C-Spine (that’s fancy talk for neck) this morning. Though I was very calm about going in today, I did have one fear a few days ago that I had to discuss with my husband. Our conversation went something like this. 

Me: “I have always been afraid of getting an MRI because I have that permanent retainer that was bonded to the back of my bottom teeth when I got my braces off.”

Jarrod: “What does that matter?”

Me: “I can just see it, I just know that they are going to slide me in there, turn on the machine and ‘whack,’ my whole face will slam into the machine having been pulled in by the magnetized force.”

Jarrod: “I am pretty sure that is not going to happen.”

See this is why I discuss these personal fears with my husband, he always has a way of calming me down with his level headed reasoning. 

Me: “Really, you think it will be ok?”

Jarrod: “Of course, it’s not going to magnetize you face to the machine. The most it will do is rip the retainer out of your mouth taking your teeth with it.”

See, level headed reasoning! 

Also talking to the lady at registration a few days ago and being assured by her that it was fine to get an MRI with a permanent retainer in did a lot to calm any anxious feelings I might have had. She also asked if I was claustrophobic. I wasn’t sure if when you crawl under one of your kid’s beds and then fear that your head will not fit back through on the way out, counted... so I said no!

So today I went in without any (other) preconceived ideas. There was really very little to it, just a few observations from my experience. 

  1. Tying my own hospital gown takes a lot of concentration and would really be made easier if I had access to some go-go gadget arms. I tied the middle ribbons together. Used the contortionist skills I have acquired over the years to reach back and tie the top ribbons. Did a quick back check in the mirror and noticed the middle strings had come undone. Got those tied back nice and tight only to have the top come undone. I am pretty sure I spent more time on that gown than Diana Ross spent on all 4 of her super bowl half-time show costume changes.
  2. The MRI tech gave me padded headphones to muffle the noise of the machine. I was surprised when he told me I could choose some music to listen to during the scan. I settled on The Eagles and thought, “this is going to be nice. I’ll lay back and relax for 20 minutes and listen to one of my all time favorite bands.” Instead what I heard was, “Take it easy... CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG...Well I'm running down the road trying to loosen...DEET, DEET, DEET, DEET, DEET, DEET...She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls... CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG...” and so on, for 20 minutes. Was not relaxing!
  3. When a person is having an MRI done because one of their symptoms is muscle jerks, said person cannot be expected to “hold completely still” said person will experience 2,553 muscle jerks in 20 minutes.
  4. The best way to get me to need to clear my throat is to tell me not to clear my throat. 
  5. The best way to get me to swallow like I am chugging a gallon of milk is to tell me to try to swallow less.
  6. If I am going to lay still in a tunnel like contraption and feel like my skin is literally melting off my face from the heat of the light - I at least want to come out with a fake tan. 
Other than that, not so bad! 

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Friday, October 26, 2012

I Looked My Gift Horse In The Mouth

I suppose it’s no big secret that I LOVE to write. I have for a long, long time. I remember the first thing I ever wrote (of any sort of significance). The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with it. It ended up being some sort of dramatic monologue. When I was 19 I wrote an ewwy- gooey christian romance novel. Every spare minute I had was devoted to that thing. To tell the truth I am terrified to go back and read it now, there are many ways I can think of that I do not want to die... embarrassment is close to the top of that list. In my early twenties I worked as a receptionist at my church. One of my duties was to create and write in our church newsletter. I rushed through ALL other tasks and spent about 90% of my time on this one. (shhh, don’t tell my boss, aka dad)

Nobody is paying me to write any more and I learned my lesson with the first book, I am NOT a novelist. This blog has become my outlet now. As much as I enjoy the writing, and now here is my very ugly admission, I also love the comments, the “likes” on facebook, and people telling me in person how much they enjoyed reading a post. 

I found out earlier today that my comments have not been working for a few days and I was so bummed! I tried to figure out what was wrong, asked my husband to comment (ahem, from work), to see if I had fixed it. I tried to retrieve old comments I had missed. I was like a crazy lady searching for the answers to life’s most meaningful questions. 

After I gave up and installed a new commenting format, which makes it look like I have never had a single comment ever, which makes me really annoyed, I went blog hopping. I visited one I have not been to in awhile but really enjoy. (Here’s a link to it: In The Trenches) One of the writers posted this "I am praying that I would honor... my (heavenly) DAD by doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in everything consider others better than my self.” (Philippians 2:3)

Ugh, I didn’t want to see this! But I realized I had completely lost focus somewhere along the way. I usually hear God best through writing - and blogging is a great way for me to learn. This is what I told my Aunt Becky recently, “apparently He (God) knows how much I love to hear myself talk that He realizes the only way I will learn anything is through hearing myself say it.” That’s about the truth! Strangely I can hardly ever just sit down and start typing UNLESS God gives me something to say. You would think this alone would be a huge tip off. That it would move me towards humility and I would not seek my own glory. For what? Quite obviously I have nothing to say on my own. I have not even been blessed with the eloquence of most lovers of journaling. God has given me the privilege of being able to throw some random words together in a way that makes sense to me (and often times me alone) so that I can learn a thing or two. He has taught me to see Him in everyday events around me because I am horrible at looking for Him myself. And, I believe, God has used technology to keep me accountable to what He has revealed to me. I cannot deny it when I have put it out there for all to see. 

I do want everything I do to be done for the right reason, to put others first and, most importantly, to please God in all I do. I just haven’t quite learned how to keep myself out of the way. The only place I know to start is to meditate on scripture and keep humble prayers always on my lips. Prayers of thanksgiving - to a gracious Father - that will pursue me using any means by which He can get through, prayers to keep my focus in the right place, but also prayers for somebody other than me.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Don't Waste Your Toilet Paper

My kids love toilet paper rolls, as all kids do! They use them for everything from telescopes, to crafty little animals, to instruments! 

Today Hannah was going potty before nap while I cleaned up numerous crayons scattered across her floor. As I peaked in on her in the bathroom I caught her unraveling an entire roll. This is, I believe, some sort of right of passage for all children. I gently told her, “No. You only need a little bit.”

“But,” she responded, “I like that part.” She pointed to the brown tunnel the toilet paper was wrapped around. I rolled it back up and explained that she could have it when all the tissue had been used.

This reminded me of what I have done in my attempt to get back to reading the bible this week. Before I begin reading each day I pray and ask God to speak to me where I am at. Then proceed to skim through until I find something that makes me feel all warm and squishy inside. We tend to want to hurry up and get to the good stuff. 

My daughter wanted to hurry up and get to the good part of the TP roll, but she was wasting some very valuable stuff in the process. 

What am I missing out on that I may need in the future? If I would absorb (pun only intended if you thought it was funny) all that I read, whether I think I need it then or not, I would be much more prepared for life’s little dumps... ok, perhaps now I am just taking it too far! ;)

Don’t let anything go to waste in your search for something “good!”

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Monday, October 22, 2012

It's as Easy as Riding a Bike

Lots of parks, parks with nice playground equipment, parks with plenty of shade for mommy and daddy, parks with sidewalk tracks - perfect for bike riding. This is one of the many things I have enjoyed about this town we moved to a year ago! 

Yesterday we took advantage and drove the kids to our favorite bike riding park after church! They had a blast! One of my children loves to ride, carefree, as fast as they can round and round the loop. I love to watch them - confident grin on their face, flushed cheeks as they pedal past me, eager to make another circle. In fact our child was doing so well we asked if they wanted to take the training wheels  off... again. They agreed, Jarrod preformed the procedure and began the task of training... again. After about 30 minutes of fear, tears, and near accidents the child gave up and went to play in the sand box. Happily this kid made the decision to have the training wheels returned to their rightful place on the bike (as is the normal course of action every time they give it a try on two wheels). Content to ride with the security those two extra wheels provide. Grateful to have something else to hold them up instead of mastering the skill themselves. 

Now, I don’t blame my kid for wanting it this way. I don’t fault them for deciding they would just rather have fun. This is a child we are talking about and children are allowed to act, well, childlike. But what about you and I? Is it wise for us to continue to take a few steps forward and then decide it’s just too hard, too much work, too tiring - and go back to the security we have known since first learning to ride? I am no longer talking about bike riding, assuming (hoping against hope) none of you are still pedaling with your training wheels on. I am talking about our spiritual lives. Look what Hebrews has to say:

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 12:12-14

We should be teaching the truth to others yet some of us keep going back to the basics. We won't grow up and grow in the word. We want it bottle fed to us. 

I have had my training wheels back on for months now. I don’t want to go further. I don’t want to go deeper. I want to stay here where I can feel confident in the familiar. With my training wheels on I can go it alone and breeze down the lane. If they are removed, I may teeter, there may be tears, I might even fall on occasion. Growing up spiritually requires that I ask for help from time to time. If I get help somebody might witness my lack of understanding, they will see my confidence shatter before I can catch on. Moving forward means I can’t just go out there knowing how to live, what to do. It means I will have to put in the time. I will have to invest. I won’t have as much time to play in the sandbox. 
If my little one would keep at it they would soon be breezing by me at top speed every bit as confident in what they now know. They would be ready to move on and learn more. The training they endured would be so worth it. Reminding them to dig their heels in next time they face transition and continue to learn all that it takes to grow up and move forward. 
Imagine how much further I would be if I had never put those two wheels back on. What joy I would be experiencing in my relationship with the Lord right now. My confidence in the truth and knowledge of God’s word would be so much more than it is right now. I would be mature and immovable. I would be headed towards the grand prize... and I’d be closer to the finish line. 
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Next time we take our child’s training wheels off we have decided it will be for good! The knowledge that they can go back, I believe, has hindered them. I wish I had somebody who could make those decisions for me. But I am my own person now, responsible for my self. In wisdom and maturity I must decide, there is no going back! 
A little challenge... I am going to TRY to remember to post more regularly in my Praise Journal. I am also going to make it a priority to get into the word more. Who wants to join me? To be my "helper" to hold me accountable and be held accountable? If we do this we may witness each other's mistakes. We may fall flat on our faces in front of each other. But there will also be somebody there to help us back up and hold on to the back of the bike until we are steadied. 

I am starting a new page here on this blog called, "What I Am Reading" (click HERE to see it). I will post what I have read in the bible that day. It may be as simple as book, chapter and verse, may be a little bit of what God taught me. If you want, leave a comment to that post and tell me what you read that day. 

In my "Praise Journal" here on this blog (click HERE to go to the Praise Journal) I will be posting more often on what I am praising God for. I encourage you to keep your own journal whether online or in a spiral. It is SO encouraging to go back and see what God has done. Some days I just need to force myself to look for what He did that day, especially during a particularly crummy time. Along with keeping your own record of your praises, post a comment to mine and tell what you are thankful for that day. 

Please join me, I need all the encouragement and help I can get! 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where Did You Come From?

Our sweet Hannah turned three yesterday! This was bitter sweet. To me a two year old is still a baby, but three... We might as well start packing her bags for college. 

I spent the day thinking about life before Hannah or rather life leading up to Hannah. Four years ago Jarrod and I were undecided about having a fourth child. Just about the time he would think we should go for it I would decide, “No I think we are good with three.” Then I’d start coming around and he would change his mind. This went on for months.

I do not think I will ever forget the night that we came to the same happy conclusion. I had run out to get some dinner at one of the four restaurants in our tiny little town. Jarrod, after having spent the weekend at home alone with all three little ones who were, at the time barely 4, just turned 3 and 1 year and 5 months old, was surprisingly in favor of having another. I was still on the fence. 

Now I like to day dream, it is what I do with every happy spare moment I have. I have dreamed up and drawn up plans for our future million dollar home. As well as several scenarios in which we become multi millionaires. Often times my day dream believing mind will wander into that home and picture our family at different stages in our lives. A saturday morning a couple of years from now (because let’s be realistic, it will take a couple of years to earn our fortune and build our mansion) I will imagine a school day when the kids are in intermediate and junior high and we are happily getting ready for the day, and running on time. Yes, sometimes I even believe the impossible can come true.

This particular evening on my drive to the local Dairy Queen I was picturing the kids as they would be in high school. In my imagination we were sitting in our beautiful spacious living room and talking about the events of the day. Jarrod, Elyse, Isaiah, Elijah and myself. We were laughing and visiting and into the living room from the back of the house walks this beautiful girl a couple of years younger than Elijah. 

“Wait a minute, back up. Aren’t I suppose to conjure up what happens in my own fantasy world?” It was the strangest thing. I hadn’t meant to imagine this girl in our home. It had not come from me. But somehow immediately I knew, “this was our daughter. She was suppose to be in that living room with us. She was a part of this family!” 

I could not get home fast enough. I told Jarrod what had happened and that I believed we were suppose to have another baby. Neither of us changed our minds from then on. 

The two doctors that performed my scheduled C-section, (the other three had been c-sections as well) were shocked that I had made it through the pregnancy (Men you should now insert your fingers into your ears and repeat after me, “Nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh.) Okay now while they are doing that I will tell you, my uterus was see through. When the doctors opened me up they could see Hannah’s hair and watched her looking around through my uterus. (yoo-hoo men, it’s safe to listen up again) I was told after that, in no uncertain terms, “NO MORE BABIES!” But you know I never would have known there was a problem and God brought our precious Hannah into the world and into our family... right were she belonged! This will always be a precious story to me! My own little vision of a life that God had not yet knit in my womb. A child of His that he has big plans for. 

Hannah (4 weeks old) and mommy

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

(Big sigh) Fall is in the air! It is by far my very favorite season. I must not be alone in this, seems like everywhere I go people are talking about this cool weather, how nice it feels, how great it is to finally have the fire place going, finally getting to break out those jeans. 

I think I could be content for it to always be fall! No more summer... that would totally work for me. I don’t like the heat, I don’t like the attire, I don’t like that I NEVER spend the other nine months of the year getting in shape for the attire. Give me a baggy sweater and long pants any day. 

Same goes for my life, there are seasons that I LOVE. Let’s keep things just as they are,” I tell God during those times in my life. Kids are in order, marriage is in order, church is good, a little extra money in the bank and everyone is healthy and happy! It’s like everyday is fall! 

But inevitably the seasons change. Disaster strikes, hard times come, somebody gets sick, somebody acts human, that unexpected bill shows up in the mail. Like the summer these changes bring oppressive heat that makes me miserable. I find myself suited up in clothing that leaves me feeling much too exposed and vulnerable. Ick!

However I know I desperately need these changes. They bring the elements my spirit requires to grow, to become stronger. 

Could you imagine our beautiful world in a constant state of autumn. Sounds pretty, but we would never have the shade of summer leaves, the spring rains that bring necessary growth. Nor would we experience the rest of winter. God uses these seasons in life. I can dread the ones I don’t enjoy or I can learn to allow them to do the much needed work in me. 

Rest, when the cold desperation of winter requires it. Spring rains are a blessing that refresh and restore, but wisdom would have me soaking up all I can in preparation for what lies ahead. No matter the season wether you are feeling parched and dry or the winds are rustling and rearranging your leaves know that everyone is needed to strengthen and mature you and allow you to bear fruit. 

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Friday, October 5, 2012

The Cover Up

I have to say, I think I can be a pretty brave mom. Or at least I have learned to be, several years and a number of ER trips down the road. I no longer hover over my children at playgrounds. I let them climb trees. Hey, I may even let them back on a trampoline once they are in college, even after Elijah nearly broke his hand on one. 

Admittedly I still have to muster up some courage when my two year old wants to break out the markers. I check often for unattended and open markers, I am always anxious for her to be bored coloring and for clean up time to commence. 

A few days ago I got distracted cleaning the kitchen while the three youngest were coloring in the living room. Now Elyse and the boys do fine, they are old enough to have experienced my wrath enough times...markers are treated with respect. But I was not really paying much attention to Hannah. 

A few minutes into their coloring one of the boys came and found me to report, which sounded suspiciously like tattling, that Hannah had drawn on herself. I had visions of not just Hannah but curtains, furniture and walls being covered! I took my time getting to the living room then breathed a sigh of relief. It was not too bad. A little on her fingers, a few intentional lines on her knee. 

Sitting down on the couch, I called Hannah over to me to talk to her about it. 

“Hannah, where do we color?”

“On paper!”

“Do we color anywhere else?”

“No, ma’am!”

“That’s right, we don’t color on walls, or ourself...”

At this point she began to pull her little dress down over her knees, squatting down to make sure she had it covered. 

“I already saw your leg, I know you colored on it,” I said. 

With a bit of a guilty look on her face she slowly stood and let go of her dress. 

We talked some more and took care of appropriate discipline (also snapped a cute picture) and Hannah went on her merry way! 

Excuse my dirty wall...
paint colors have been selected to make it pretty again!

I thought it was all pretty cute and went back to the scene in my mind off and on for the rest of the evening. 

It brought to mind how I try to cover up my own sins from God, who is already so aware. He has seen the marks on my knee. I know it, He knows it, yet I still try to pull my dress down over it. 

It’s like the little white lies I tell my friends, “I am very satisfied with my prayer life.” (Really my prayer life consists of one sided conversations throughout the day. Quick requests thrown up half-heartedly.) 

I tell them, “I didn’t do my bible study homework because the kids were sick and I just didn’t have the time with taking care of them.” (I did manage to get caught up on my favorite television show in between wiping sweaty heads and administering tylenol. I bet I could have gotten some homework done.)

 My friends might not be aware. But I take it so far as to try to convince God in order to push aside my own guilt. I begin to tell Him those same lies. It’s the ultimate cover up.

Remember Adam and Eve in the garden? They took and ate of the fruit they had been told not to eat. Then they tried to cover up...

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:7-10
Considering the kind of fellowship Adam and Eve had with God at this time, they had to have known He saw their sin. Yet their own shame caused them to try to hide it from each other, and then from God. 

It’s funny that they shared the same exact sin, they were also both naked, yet they felt the need to cover themselves. Funnier still they attempted to keep it from God - all knowing, all seeing. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be naked and unashamed, before each other, before God? Look here...

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5 

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13 

I am sure, I hope, that my sister’s-in-Christ carry around some of the same sins. (I don't want to be the only screw up) I wonder, if I would begin to be honest about my own, if there would be a freedom that came with that. 

I know the safest place to start, to get a little practice. I can stop trying to concealing my sin from somebody who is already so intimately aware. I can begin to confess my sins to my Heavenly Father and receive the mercy he is so ready to give. 

You know with a little scrubbing the marker came off of Hannah just fine. If I had never seen the scribbling on her knee it might still be there today. Can you imagine the pains she would have had to go through to keep that hidden from me? It would have hindered her at play time. It would have affected our time together. I can just see it, as I am tickling, kissing and giving raspberries on her tummy, instead of being free to giggle and wiggle she would have been trying to be mindful of what lay just under her pant leg. “What if mommy sees, how can I continue to keep this covered?”

I had already seen it, already knew it was there but it had to be dealt with. We mothers know we must sometimes wait for our kids to show us their disobedience in order for them to learn to take responsibility. God is the same with us.

Now Hannah's disobedience has been revealed. It's been washed away and forgotten. Sure there was discipline. I know her day without markers served as a reminder of how to use them next time. But today she is free to run, wiggle, roll and giggle to her hearts content without any fear of her “cover” being blown. 

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When I Am Too Much Like Me

SLEEP! I love it, I need it, I never seem to get enough of it. Especially here lately. For the past couple of weeks I have been waking up at 3:30 every night and do not go back to sleep after that. Also I occasional wake up off and on between bedtime and my new 3:30 “rise and groan” time!  And I mean I am WIDE awake. I move to the living room, back to my room. I read or watch T.V.. I have tried hot tea, no caffeine during the day... You name it I am sure I have tried it. (Yes mom I have even tried the “s” word) I may or may not have downloaded an app for my phone that was sounds specifically put together to help you fall asleep. I am sure you will be shocked to hear... It didn’t work (if in fact I did try it) 

So guess what I was doing at 4:00 am this Tuesday morning? Nope, I actually made it past 3:30 and was sleeping soundly in my bed when my oldest daughter tiptoed into my room. She came straight to my side of the bed (because apparently at the stroke of midnight I turn all powerful and daddy is just that guy that produces funny noises in his sleep... at least as far as my kids seem to understand it) and whispered, “I had a bad dream, can I sleep with you?”

Now, my daughter does not sleep in a bed at night, what she does is more like a break dancing, while loudly sucking her thumb routine, combined with the occasional hand to your face. I love her, LOVE to snuggle with her! HATE to share a bed with her. But I was powerless with exhaustion and so I mumbled some sort of agreement and and she climbed in. 

Twenty minutes later when her slender frame was somehow managing to take over my entire side of the bed, I kindly sent her back to her own room. I drifted back off to sleep (which I have not been able to do for at least two weeks at that hour) and a few minutes later here was Elyse, standing over me once again. 

“What?” I groaned!

And then she said pitifully the three most terrifying words a child can utter in the middle of the night, “My tummy hurts.”

Now this is the part of the story where I tell you that I got up with my 8 year old daughter and, despite my exhaustion and the warmth of my bed, in the end I was able to look back over those precious hours we spent together, just the two of us in our quiet darkened house and smile. 

Sadly that is some other mother’s precious story. 

I am pretty sure my exact response was, “you know where the throw up bowl is.” 

In my last post I boasted of my home being a safe place for my children. Apparently that is only between the hours of 6:30 am and 10:00 pm.

She did not come back to my room after that but I also never went back to sleep. And thus my cycle of, not enough sleep, has not yet been broken. I was aggravated when I woke up. I felt slightly guilty when I went into the girls room to get them up and saw the throw up bowl next to Elyse’s bed. But then I felt annoyed again when she told me in a chipper voice on the way to school, “I slept GREAT after I went back to bed mommy. My tummy didn’t hurt anymore and I did not have any bad dreams!” 

I rejoiced out loud with her, but mumbled “must be nice” in my heart. In my defense, I am kind of a jerk until about 10:00 in the morning. 

I don’t want to become that mom that posts about middle of the night moments with my children that I cherish, because, quite frankly I want to be sleeping. 

I DO want to be somebody my kids can run to when their tummies hurt. I want to make them all better. I want to wipe tear stained cheeks and quote verses with my children when they are afraid. I want to always be the one that is available, comforting, willing to listen, slow to voice my opinion. I’d rather do it after 10 am but that is not always the clock my babies run on. 

Lord please give me a listening ear, a compassionate heart. Energize me during those wee hours, and refresh me during those seasons when sleep does not come easy. I can’t be everything my children need, but with your strength and wisdom I can be a good example of the One who is Everything, All in All. 

Help me to be alert and humble enough to ask for that strength and wisdom. Without it... well, I tend to come across as a selfish brat. My kids need better than that! 

Elyse and I spending a day together, sometime after 10am.

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