A Whole Lifetime In 17 Years

It has only been 17 years ago today but in so many ways it seems that it has been a lifetime that Dennis and I stood before God, family and friends and took our wedding vows.  Vows that seem SO real right now in many ways……

For better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live………those words, when we said them on a stormy Friday night 17 years ago were so easy to say because everything was better, richer and in health.  Today, much of that has changed…..life and circumstances have literally turned our world and life as we know it upside down and news today made that roller coaster ride even harder.  But, even though our life and circumstances have changed from those vows 17 years ago, I am so thankful that the love, commitment and devotion that we said those vows with remains strong and in tact.

For 17 years I have had this man beside me not only as my husband but as my best friend.  In the happy times he makes me laugh and I keep him laughing as well (at me, not necessarily with me).  In the hard times, he is my strength.  In the sad times, he is my rock.  In the times we aren’t happy with each other there is that underlying peace that no matter what, neither of us are going anywhere and we will work through whatever the issue is.  He has defended me, protected me, loved me, and provided for me for 17 years.  There is NOBODY I feel safer with and in this day and age that is an amazing feeling.  I trust him completely and I know I am safe.  My heart is safe.  My feelings and emotions are safe.  Heck, my anger is safe (can y’all believe I get angry?)  HA!  I can vent to him and tell him my deepest confidences knowing full well that he will never repeat it.  When we had Hannah 13 years ago our world crashed down around us a lot…..a sick baby, 3 open-heart surgeries, many other surgeries, procedures, hospital stays, her now being immune compromised and she and I basically being stuck at home 24/7…..never once has he said to me…..”I don’t want to do this anymore.”  Multiple times I have said to him, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”  Never once has he said, “I can’t do this.”  Multiple times I have said, “I can’t do this.”  Never once has he said, “I am angry at God.”  Multiple times I have said, “I am angry at God.”  Never once has he said, “I want to run away.”  Multiple times I have said, “I want to run away.”  You get the picture?  He is my rock…..when I get defeated, battered down, worn…..he is the one who picks me up, encourages me and gives me the strength to carry on…..he and The Lord are the 2 people who have truly seen the good, bad and ugly in me and yet, they are both still here fighting for me and with me, pushing me, loving me and at times being my punching bags.

17 years…..if feels like a lifetime (in good and bad ways); but these past 17 years one person has been my constant.  One person has seen and heard it all and trust me he has heard a lot (and some of it not very pretty).  For 17 years I have had this man stand beside me through battles that most people will never face and carry me through many of them.  He is strong, he is optimistic (where I am not), he is loving (that is not the word I would use to describe me), he is faithful, he is kind, he is compassionate……geez, I am typing all these words to describe him and I realize just how wonderful he is and how wonderful I am not…..I kinda suck!  HA!  You see, God knew I needed a man like Dennis……I am so thankful for these past 17 years because I have had an amazing man to go through this journey we call life with.  What a life it has been and I am just thankful that he has stuck with me.  No matter what, those vows we said all those years ago not only hold true today but have made us realize we are stronger together.  Together with the Lord, there is nothing we have faced or will face in the future, that we can’t get through.

Happy Anniversary my love…..thank you for choosing me, vowing to love me no matter what, honoring me and fighting for me!  I love you now and forever.

Then:  August 31,2001….seems like a lifetime ago! Yes, I was a blonde, but not naturally! HA! These 2 “kids”had no clue what life had in store!

 

Now…….March 2018…..

Until next time……..

 

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When It Rains…..It Pours

My cousin texted me this week and said, “when it rains, it pours.”  My response was “at this rate, I need to build an ark because it is flooding.”

What do I do when times are tough…..I write…..so that means you have to endure all my thought-sharing.  Aren’t y’all lucky?

2018 has dealt us a hard blow……okay, let’s just be real; it hasn’t just been this year, it has been the past 4-5 years.  Life has been so challenging but this year; well it hasn’t just been about hardships in life but extreme sadness, suffering and loss as well.  In May we lost Dennis’ dad.  Ten days later I got sick and have stayed that way.  Not too long after that my grandma spent 18 days on her deathbed with an around the clock bedside vigil from our family until the Lord called her home.  Then, unexpectedly (although she was in hospice care she was doing much better) we lost Dennis’ mom this past Monday.  Wednesday morning at 7am I received a call from my dad that he found my perfectly healthy, energetic mom after she passed out in the shower and became unresponsive.  She was rushed to the ER.  She is still today (Sunday) in the hospital.  Even though we have a better idea of what happened (she had a pulmonary embolism and passed out thus fracturing multiple vertebrae in her spine) she has a very long road to recovery.  We are praying she gets transferred to a rehabilitation facility tomorrow or Tuesday.  We will then lay my mother-in-law to rest on Tuesday and I will be meeting with my team of doctors for all my test results and hopefully a diagnosis after almost 4 months of not feeling well this Friday.  Needless to say, life is just hard and keeps getting harder in so many ways.

I feel pulled in so many directions, weary and worn and yet through it all ONE thing remains……PEACE…..I cannot explain it except that The Lord promises to never leave us or forsake us, to sustain us and keep us in perfect peace and I feel all of those things.

Weary, worn, exhausted, lonely at times but at peace. HOW?  BUT GOD!  Only through Him do I continue to press on.  I am thankful for a peace that passes all understanding.  I am thankful for the promises God gives us and I am clinging to so many of those right now.  God never promised that life would be easy; in fact He said in this world we would have tribulation (I do think some people seem to have more than others though, lol).  I do know that NOTHING AND NO ONE can separate me from Christ and His love and goodness.  His mercies are new every morning and right now, in this very moment I am thanking Him for our trials and tribulations because in those times of helplessness He is building us, growing us, and making us stronger, more resilient and in my case more determined to NEVER let the devil win!  Yes, I am giving my self a “blogging pep talk.”  HA!  In all honesty I need to go to bed and really rest……I just needed to tell myself and maybe someone out there that no matter how hard life is you keep going, fighting and put one foot in front of the other until the storm and rain settles and God provides the rainbow you are praying for.

Prayers appreciated for my sweet mom………

Prayers appreciated for Dennis and our family…….

Until next time……..

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……..

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……….