I’ve Been Thinking

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately….I know that could be scary!  I haven’t been able to fall asleep or stay asleep the past few weeks as the wheels in my brain keep spinning and thinking and I can’t shut them off.  I have thought about everything from my past to the present to the future.  I have thought about family and friends and enemies.  I have thought about successes and failures; challenges and blessings.  I have thought about God, His promises and my faith and how it has grown and changed in so many ways especially the past 13 years.  I have thought about receiving grace and extending grace.  I have thought about hurts, sorrows, wants and longings as well as joys, accomplishments and having my needs met.

When you are laying in bed and can’t sleep the thoughts are rampant.  I have laid there in tears and with a smile.  I have felt sadness, grief and anger and also joy and happiness.  I have done the whole, “if I had done this different where would I be” thought process and also “if I hadn’t done this where would I be?”  Thinking can be good and really bad if you allow it to be.

Last night I laid in bed thankful for friendship.  True, loyal friendship.  Those kind of friends who know you and still love you no matter how much you might not love yourself.  The ones you can be TOTALLY yourself with and have no judgment placed on you by them.  Those you can trust with your deepest and darkest secrets and know those secrets are safe!  I had dinner last night with 2 of those friends.  These 2 girls probably know me better than anyone as every time we are together we lay it all out on the table.  There are no secrets, nothing to hide and absolutely ZERO judgments!  I am so thankful for those kind of friends……I am also very thankful for a husband that sees that I need that time and those girls in my life.  I have had a rough few months and that 6 hours last night sitting at Seasons 52 was the best time I have had in a really long time.  They say laughter is good medicine and it truly is.  We shared our sorrows of life with each other and then we just laughed.  We made fun of life and we just laughed and it felt so good.  I am so thankful for those rare moments where I have not a care in the world and I can enjoy those special true and loyal friendships that God has blessed me with.  It is funny too…..the 3 of us; we are TOTALLY different people on completely different journey’s yet we have a bond from our past that has carried us to where we are today.  We are stronger, better, able to show more grace than we ever received and we have persevered some of the most traumatic life experiences ever and we have come out better because of it and stronger together for it.  Some of our worst past experiences have molded us into who we are today and even though I would never wish certain experiences and challenges on anyone I am thankful for those experiences and the man who brought us all together into this place we are today.  I cherish these women and our friendship.

 

 

Life is hard for everyone…..no matter the journey you are on I would venture to say nobody truly has it easy but if you have a friends or a group of friends or a whole tribe to help you endure the hardships of life then you are truly blessed and it makes life and the sucky parts of it so much more bearable.  When you can look at that friend and say “life really sucks” and then laugh hysterically…..now that is a gift and one I was so thankful for last night.  Yes, life sucks sometimes but finding the humor in it all and a friend to laugh about it with…..well, that is an amazing gift and one I will never take for granted!

Until next time……..

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Trying Harder

I logged onto Facebook this morning and it is flooded with back to school pictures of my friends children.  Watching our kids grow up is so surreal.  One minute you are holding a tiny baby and the next minute they are entering middle school and high school.  Where does time go?  It goes so fast and as a mom it is hard sometimes.  That whole cutting the apron strings, turning them loose and allowing them to fly; sometimes making mistakes and falling flat on their faces so they learn.  So hard to watch, I am sure…..many prayers for my friends who have kids starting back to school today.  My situation is a tad bit different from most……

I have to admit, seeing all the pictures this morning made me happy for my friends but sad for me.  I so wish Hannah was heading back to school.  Tomorrow would be her first day at the school she would be going to.  We are entering our 5th year of not being able to go.  Hannah loved school the 3 years that she went.  She couldn’t wait to get in the car each morning and head to school to learn and play with her friends.  The past 4 years have been HARD on her and me.  I will admit to not being the best “home school mom.”  In fact, in all actuality I really suck at it.  With PANDAS, Hannah’s anxiety, her past aggression (hopefully this part is gone for good), her lethargy and no energy, etc homeschooling is really hard.  Some days I have allowed the iPad to replace actual work.  Of course when I say iPad, I am referring to educational apps and ABC mouse; things like that.  I am bound and determined to do better this year.  I am not starting until after Labor Day though.  I guess that is the good thing about homeschooling…..you start and end when you feel like it and you make your own schedule.  It is hard though…..constant 24/7 cooped up in this house.  I wish we could do field trips and co-ops; but not only due to germs but also Hannah’s increasing anxiety cripples us and we never leave the house.  Don’t get me wrong, I try to get her to just step foot outside but she is not interested.  She just wants to sit in her playroom (schoolroom) and never see the sun.  I even bribe her with Chick-fil-a (her favorite) just to get her outside and in the car and most of the time she changes her mind and wants to stay home and eat a PB & J instead.  Her anxiety has gotten worse and it is so hard on her and this weary mom.

I am struggling horribly with so much.  The day-to-day routine of the same repetitive conversations, routines, OCD behaviors and tasks.  It is like living in the movie Groundhog Day every single day……the same thing and I can understand how it could make you lose your mind.  I definitely have less patience than I used to, less motivation and drive than I used to and I find myself feeling like a zombie most days……just getting through the day anxiously awaiting bedtime!  HA!  Of course, me not feeling good now for almost 4 months doesn’t help.  But, we press on; what else can we do.  This is the life we have been dealt and I tell myself daily that it could be worse.

So, our school year will officially start in September but I am preparing now to do a better job than years past.  It is just hard to embrace home school life when it was NEVER your intention.  I applaud those friends of mine who chose this home school journey….you are better moms than I am.  I was forced into it due to Hannah’s health.  I LOVED the school she attended and she could have stayed there her entire school career had she not gotten sick and that makes me sad.  But, just like everything else in life, we take the good and the bad and we press forward and make the most out of it.  I believe that no matter where in life God has us we need to do it to the best of our ability.  We need to strive for doing all we do well; even if it is staying at home with a sick child…..circumstances shouldn’t change our strive to be the best.  That is my goal…..I have a job here at home.  It doesn’t pay financially but it pays in ways that matter the most…..I have the unique job of caring for a chronically ill special needs little girl who has had a grip on my heart from the moment I found out I was pregnant.  THIS job is the hardest job I have ever had, the saddest, the most challenging but the most rewarding as well.  If nothing else I can say I have given it my all for 13 years and now it is time to try to embrace this homeschooling journey as much as the parenting one……I am certainly going to put my best foot forward.

Praying we all have a good school year whatever that looks like in your world!

Until next time………

 

Just Keep Swimming

I tell you what, the past nearly 3 months have been HARD!  I got sick on Mother’s Day, the roller coaster ride named “Hannah” is in full force (although we have had more good days than bad ones, the bad ones are so very challenging), my Grandma held onto life with sheer force (18 days with no food or fluid and unresponsive…..how did her 95-year-old organs sustain that).  Plus, a slew of other infuriating things I won’t talk about.  I feel like I am in a toilet bowl that is in continual flush mode and it keeps circling down……then I am reminded of Dory from Finding Nemo…..Just Keep Swimming.  Problem is I never learned how to swim (literally) so if this was truly in a body of water I would have drowned by now.  Fortunately, this body of water is just LIFE.  Some days I am swimming like a pro and other days I am barely treading water and then days like today I am holding onto the side and a life-preserver for dear life.

Life……isn’t that how it goes…..sometimes you are on the mountain top singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music” and other days you are in a body of water nearly drowning and you have to keep saying, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

My calendar the month of August is covered with medical testing and doctor appointments for both me and Hannah.  Some of the testing I am dreading but I am thankful my Neurologist has heard me, thinks he knows what the problem is and is doing the appropriate testing.  I don’t like the sounds of the “possible diagnosis” but if it is confirmed then at least we will have answers and can move ahead with treatment.  I covet your prayers.  I am not 100%, haven’t been for nearly 3 months and I am tired and weary.  My sweet husband is pulling quite the load right now as he works all day and off-duty then comes home and has to help more than usual.  He has eaten cereal a lot for dinner too; which makes me feel awful.  Each day is different and some mornings I wake up and I am able to function fairly well but then other days I barely have the energy to get a shower (just for the record I still get one though, HA).

Anyway, I was sitting here with Hannah and she put Finding Nemo in her DVD player and it made me think of Dory and how through the hard times she was so positive and just kept swimming…..amazing what you can learn from a Disney movie.  So, today, I will just keep swimming, swimming, swimming and thankful that it is figurative and not literal because I would rather not drown.

If you feel alone, if you are sick, if you are tired, if you are struggling, if you are weary…..just keep swimming.  You can face whatever comes your way if you have Jesus.  He alone will sustain you even if rest of the world walks out…..He is always there!  JUST KEEP SWIMMING!

Until next time……….

 

Death’s Perspective

I wrote this on Wednesday night (7/18) at midnight.  I didn’t publish it as it wasn’t the right time but now it is.  Rest in Peace Grandma.  I know Grandpa was waiting for you and so happy to be reunited with you.  Hug him for me and I will see you both soon!

Reunited in Heaven……..July 30, 2018

I am sitting here alone by my Grandma’s bedside.  I am literally watching her die.  She is unresponsive but still here.  I have sung to her (she probably wishes I had not done that), read the Bible to her, talked to her.  I have held her hand and told her Grandpa and Jesus were waiting for her and it was okay to let go.

Imminent death and death puts life in a whole new perspective.  Life is fleeting.  We need to embrace it no matter the journey we are on.  Life is precious.  ALL life is precious.  Some have life for just a few hours, days or years while others like my Grandma have had many years (almost 96 for her).  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow so clinging to and holding tight to each day is important.

Things I have learned:

  • Forgive…..don’t let petty arguments or differences stand in your way.  Forgive those who have wronged you.  It is more about you than them.
  • Accept others apologies……don’t hold grudges, bitterness or resentment in your heart……that only hurts you BUT allow yourself the ability to move on from toxic people in your life.  Sometimes you just have to move on, let people go and not look back.  Forgive but move on…..it is okay to do that; sometimes even necessary for your own heart, soul and sanity.  I have learned this again just recently.
  • Love Others……you truly don’t know the struggle in other peoples lives.  Sometimes an act of love can do so much for someone’s heart.
  • Give of yourself.  Minister to others.  Care more about others than you do yourself.  Don’t be selfish and self-centered.
  • Life is too precious to waste on things that don’t matter.  Make each day count.
  • Be kind……always!  You never know the hell someone else is living (even if they don’t show it on the outside).
  • Laugh a lot; it is true that laughter is good medicine.
  • Throw a smile at someone…..it might just make their day.
  • Dance and sing (even if you are like me and possess NO dancing or singing ability).
  • Tell your loved ones how you feel about them before it is too late.
  • Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath……put aside anger.  It is not worth it.
  • Agree to disagree
  • Be strong, resilient and tough.  Don’t let anyone walk all over you…..you are no one’s doormat; but be compassionate, kind and loving.  Interesting mix there but doable.
  • Share Jesus with everyone you meet not only in words but in actions and deeds!  Actions truly speak louder than words!

I don’t know how much time my Grandma has left.  She is a tough, stubborn and strong-willed woman (always has been) and she is proving it again even now.  She is doing this her way even still and that truly makes me laugh because if you knew my Grandma you would know this is just like her.  Live, laugh and love……that is my new motto.  Everything else just doesn’t matter.

Grandma and me a couple of years ago.

***UPDATE***

Grandma lost her fight with life about 1am this morning (July 30, 2018).  She fought hard for 18 days.  She loved life and clung onto it dearly until the Lord called her home.  I like to envision my Grandpa waiting there with Jesus at the pearly gates to welcome her home.  See you soon Grandma…..

Christmas 2010….the first Christmas after we lost Grandpa that August.

Until next time………

 

The Good and Not So Good

A friend of mine has a blog and used to do posts every so often of The Good and Not So Good and today I thought I would try it.  I honestly am just procrastinating cleaning my house if truth be known.  But, here are a few of The Good and Not So Good happenings in our life:

 

The Good:

  • Hannah is still celebrating her birthday.  She keeps asking for chocolate cake, presents and birthday videos from people.
  • Hannah’s sweet prayer at lunch today…..”OH Dear Lord, THANK YOU for peanut butter.  THANK YOU for mommy.  THANK YOU for daddy.  THANK YOU for poop day.  Help Hannah be happy, good girl all day long for Chick-fil-a tomorrow…..I LOVE YOU SO MUCH ALL MY HEART…..in Jesus’ name I pray AMEN!”
  • Sweet neighbors…..we have the most absolutely amazing neighbors on our street……they love us and Hannah.  They have become family to us!  So blessed.
  • Hummus and pita chips…..the only thing that I can eat and keep down.  I eat it all day long!
  • COFFEE……oh how I love thee!
  • Friends who bent over backwards to make sure Hannah had a happy birthday!
  • Air conditioning….I think the dude who invented the AC should have his own holiday each year!
  • Cecil the cat…..he loves me unconditionally (well, like only a cat can when I feed him and pet him).
  • God’s grace that I need every day.  Without it I don’t know where I would be.
  • Online shopping for me
  • My home
  • My new radio/CD player in my kitchen.  Music all day long….kinda loving that!  Makes me feel not so alone.
  • A hubby who doesn’t complain when dinner is less than fabulous because his wife is too sick and tired to cook
  • What is in my 4 walls
  • CBD oil….yes, I am thankful for the oil derived from marijuana….it is a miracle worker
  • The fact that I had more good than not so good on this blog post!  HA!

 

The Not So Good:

  • Mean people……geez!
  • Trying to please others…..so over walking on egg shells and making others try to like me…..so done!  Like me or don’t like me……I don’t care anymore!  Years of trying to please people has worn me out and I don’t have the energy to try anymore.
  • Poop day (as mentioned above in Hannah’s prayer)  LOL
  • Headaches that you wake up with and go to bed with 24/7 now for almost 3 months.  So over it!
  • Hannah being a teenager……can you say hormonal rollercoaster ride?  UGH!
  • Insomnia
  • We have had so much rain that we now look like we live on an island….there is water surrounding us on all 4 sides!  I would love to send some of this rain to California where they need it due to the fires.
  • The rain has caused the humidity level to go to about 300%!  I despise humidity.
  • Today is Sunday…..I despise Sunday’s…..worst day of the week every dang week.  Come on and get here Monday!  HURRY!
  • Online shopping for Dennis and his wallet!! HA!
  • Cleaning my home!  I am supposed to be cleaning right now but I keep procrastinating!
  • Politics in Hollywood…..actors and talk show hosts should stick to acting and humor!
  • Watching a loved one die
  • Stressing over people/things that don’t matter

Until next time………

How Can It Be

How can it be that 13 years has passed since I gave birth to the most amazing miracle baby?  How can it be that it has been 13 years since she totally rocked my world, flipped it upside down and drastically changed life as we knew it?  How can it be that I am old enough to have a 13-year-old (HA).  I guess truth is I am old enough to have one much older but I got a late start!

I would like to say that I have been looking forward to Hannah’s 13th birthday but so far this birthday is worse than when I turned 30.  My 30th birthday was AWFUL!  40 was great but leaving my 20’s was quite a shock to my system.  I think some of my sadness with this birthday for Hannah is the fact that she is now a teenager but yet still a toddler in so many ways.  I am just plain worn out and tired.  I look at other teenage girls going shopping with their moms, getting manicures and pedicures, family vacations, camp, church activities, school sports, etc and I realize that is probably never going to be Hannah doing those things.  Perhaps if it were just Down Syndrome she could participate in all of those things but her numerous health issues keep her from doing anything outside our home.  Fortunately, Hannah has no desire to leave our home (she doesn’t even want to step outside, but who can blame her as it is like 3,000 degrees out there).  But, for this mama…..it is hard to watch and KNOW what she is missing out on…..again, fortunately she has no clue.  That is my silver lining I suppose.  If she knew all life had to offer and wanted it but couldn’t have it that would be far worse.

Today, we celebrate her life, her 13 years.  Thirteen years we were told we would never have with her.  When that doctor looked at me at week 17 of my pregnancy and said, “don’t plan on bringing her home, plan her funeral instead” I wondered if he would be right.  But, here she is 13 years later with a personality bigger than the planet, a twinkle in her eye, a smile that lights up the room and a mischievousness that keeps me on my toes all day every day.  So, today I am grateful for the 13 years that we have had and I will focus on that instead of my sadness.

Hannah Brooke Blankinchip, born 3 weeks early weighed 6 pounds 0.1 ounces and was 17 inches long.  She had a head full of black curly hair, beautiful blue almond-shaped eyes and the cutest button nose.  Her entrance into this world scared the daylights out of me.  How was I going to take care of her?  How was I going to be enough?  How was I going to meet all her needs?  But……with God; His grace, His mercy, His strength I took care of her and continue to.  I am enough and her needs and some of her wants are met because she has a Heavenly Father and a mom and dad her LOVE her with every ounce of our being.  She rocked our world (literally threw us into a different orbit I think) but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I would do it over and over and over again and will continue to love her, take care of her and provide for her until I take my last breath.

Happy Birthday beautiful girl.  Your mama and dada love you more than words can say.  You are our greatest gift and biggest blessing and there is no one more important in this world than you.  You make us laugh, you make us smile, you drive us batty, you are loud and full of life even on the days you feel bad you keep me on my toes.  YOU are worth celebrating today and every day because you are a special gift from God!  He created you in His image and you are fearfully and wonderfully made EXACTLY the way He wanted you to be!  I celebrate that fact and I am so very thankful He chose me to be your mom.  Even on the hard, challenging and difficult days I am still grateful that I was chosen for you.  I love you baby girl……always have and I always will.

 

 

Until next time…….

Alone

I think we can all agree that life is hard.  Life is sweet.  Life is precious.  We all have our challenges and difficulties; none are immune.  A plethora of emotions daily in life is not abnormal.  Does it seem though that some people get hit all the time with one thing after another though?  Is that a real thing or does it just appear that way?  Feels like life keeps throat punching us lately and I am so very weary.

Do you ever feel alone even we you physically aren’t?  You know, you are surrounded by people or at least one other person all day long and yet, inside, you feel completely and utterly alone.  That is how I feel right now.  Like there is no one that understands.  I find myself talking to God more in those moments; which I guess is probably His plan and a good thing.  But, then as I talk to him more times than not I just cry.  Not those sobbing tears but just those heart aching kind of tears that well up in your eyes at the thought of what you are dealing with and that no one “gets it.”

It is no one else’s fault…..it is just life and we all go through things, I know that.  I am not alone in my circumstances as others go through things way worse than I have but sometimes I feel so greatly overwhelmed at my own circumstances and the sadness and loneliness creep in like it has the past 2 months.  Of course my own health issues at the moment have compounded everything else so when you don’t feel good on top of the other challenges in life it makes it all worse.  It would be nice if we could pinpoint a true diagnosis for me (at least we would have answers).  I am a firm believer that answers are half the battle.  But in these moments of no answers, all we go through with Hannah (and there is so much I don’t say), among all the other sadness/heartbreak and circumstances we have faced this year, I just feel alone.

I find that I build walls up and I surround myself with those walls and they are strong.  Nobody breaks through……do you do that?  Build up walls of protection around your heart (which truthfully causes more loneliness in the long run); but it is out of self-preservation!  I find that I am grieving more right now.  I think some of it has to do with Hannah fixing to turn 13.  I mean, how is that even possible and in full disclosure, in being real and truthful…..my heart aches that she is turning 13 and yet, still a toddler in SO MANY ways.  I see friends who have kids Hannah’s age (or younger) and how independent, self-sufficient and HEALTHY they are and I have to fight back the jealousy.  I am happy for my friends, don’t get me wrong….I would never wish some of the issues we deal with on anyone but there is a heartache that I have when I see so many healthy, happy, self-sufficient kids and know that Hannah might never get that kind of life here on earth and it saddens me greatly.  I think now that we are a few days shy of her 13th birthday it has really hit me hard……a teenager…..how is that possible?

Perhaps I shouldn’t publish this post….but, I am going to because maybe someone out there needs to know they aren’t alone even though they feel like it.  I will leave you with the words to one of my favorite songs from Elevation Worship called Do it Again……

“Do It Again”

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yetYour promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

[x3]
I’ll see You do it again

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

And You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
I never will forget

Until next time…….