Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A More Disciplined Life

The last couple of weeks, I have been trying to live a more disciplined life.   In “Christian circles” we often talk about the spiritual disciplines; praying, reading Scripture, silence, and the like.   While I have been trying to incorporate that in a little more as well, I am talking about another kind of discipline.  This is the do the laundry, wash the dishes, make dinner, get your crap together sort of discipline.  Let me tell you folks, I have been slacking in these areas for quite some time; dreading the thought of putting together a meal plan, cringing at folding yet one more towel.  But guess what?!!  Unbeknownst to me, doing these things has actually made my life less stressful!  Yes; less stressful!  Each day, I have been going to bed feeling like I accomplished something and that is worth folding one more towel!  I’m finding though, that I still don’t have enough time to do all of the other things that I love, like reading and sleeping- maybe when the kiddos get a little older.  J

Also on my mind most of the time are the musings of this wonderful author named Glennon Doyle Melton.  If you haven’t heard of her, you must, must, must, check out her book, Carry On, Warrior.   Oh, and also, read her blog at momastery.com.  That might be the best choice you can make today.   Go.  Read.  Now. 

P.S.  Here’s a little video to tide you over.


Friday, January 24, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

Wow. They weren’t kidding when they said that three years old is harder than two years old. As of late, I have really been struggling with my three and a half year old. There is pretty much no one else on the planet right now that can push my buttons like my little lady can. It’s pretty unbelievable actually.

I have been talking with close friends about methods of discipline, ways to keep my heart and words in check; and how to navigate this crazy thing we call “parenting.” It’s challenging. Definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Definitely.

I could (and have) talked circles around this subject. And so, while I sip my gin and ginger after a long few weeks of hard parenting, I want to reflect on some of the wonderful things about my sweet daughter. Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite things.

- She is just so gosh darn beautiful. Several times throughout the day I just stare at her and wonder how on Earth she could be so gorgeous.

- She has a great sense of humor. I mean, belly laugh, sense of humor.

- She loves her daddy and tells him that in numerous ways all the time.

- She really enjoys art.

- As of late, she loves building things out of duplos and blocks. So, so fun.

- She is so uninhibited in everything she does; whether it be singing at the top of her lungs, or running around in circles, she is not scared to be who she is.

- She has a mind of her own and isn’t afraid to express her opinions.

- Her eyes tell me so, so much.

- I love when she creeps out of her room after naps and says, “Mama, I just popped out of bed.”

- Though she seems to be quite timid in some areas, she is not scared of any rides at a carnival or amusement park.

- Her memory is incredible. INCREDIBLE.

- She loves, loves, loves to read.

- She is learning how to be a big sister and to love her brother. It brings me so much joy to see them loving and enjoying one another.

- She cares for me and is concerned when I am hurting, in pain, or upset.

- The kid has got a sweet tooth like no other.

- She loves her grandparents and often asks about them.

Tonight, I’m tired and worn out and overly emotional. But, it does my heart good to reflect on some of the things I love about this sweet three and a half year old. It does my heart good.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tonight, I Am Thankful

A year ago tomorrow was the day that changed our lives forever.  I think I can remember talking with Andy around this time of the evening and saying, “If he isn’t better in the morning, I think I better take him in.”  I’m so thankful I did.  At one point during our stay, Andy asked Dr. Lam (Jeremiah’s surgeon) how “close we were.”  All Dr. Lam said was “Close.”  It’s still haunting to think about that.  Many nights I have to consciously tell myself to stop reliving those early days in the hospital- just after his surgery when everything was settling in, when we still didn’t know if he had cancer or if he would even make it through the worst part of his pain.  I wonder if that will ever fade; probably, with time and lots of prayer.

I was just reading through some of the messages we received after we posted on social media what was going on with Jeremiah.  It is incredible the support we received and the prayers that were offered up for our little boy; surely more than we could ever count.  It’s so strange to look back and see some of the verses and words of truth people sent and to think about myself reading them a year ago.  I know I cried a lot.  I was thankful for the encouragement and still am.  Jeremiah will hear the story many times, and it will be amazing to show him how God worked through His people to pray for his recovery and healing (I’ll probably have to explain to him what facebook was haha). 

So, on this night, the eve of an awful day one year ago, I am thankful.  Tonight I got to watch the wonder in my son’s eyes as we did our advent devotion.  I got to see the joy in his smile as he “blew” out the match when we lit the candle.  He sings with us as we sing and prays with us as we pray.  I watched him a little more closely tonight, just remembering how much has changed in a year.  Tonight, I am thankful.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Can't We See God?

Today, my Lydia asked, “Mama, why can’t we see God?  She’s three and half. 

I remember back to what was the worst night, maybe even worse than finding out our son had a brain tumor, the night that he was in writhing pain after his surgery.  You can look at our blog, http://jeremiahsbiggestfight.blogspot.com/2012/12/from-day-of-fear-turned-joy-to-night-of.html if you want to read the whole story, but the summary is that he was in incredible amounts of pain and was being ignored by the doctors.  I was enraged; more angry than I have ever been in my entire life.  If my heart was broken and torn out before, it had been smashed onto the floor into a million pieces.  My body was shaking uncontrollably, I had no control over my speech, my thoughts, or anything really. 

“Mama, why can’t we see God?”

I was wondering that very thing.  After being told to stay in our sleep room, as I was no longer safe to be upstairs with Andy and Jeremiah, I remember taking a shower and pleading with God, crying out from the primal places of my being.  Our friends Mike and Becky showed up not long after I had gotten out of the shower and into my pajamas. 

(taken from a blog written by Andy)
 If there was one area of God's clear presence in our life during this time, it was in the presence of our amazing friends Mike and Becky Nowak.  After Jamie became enraged in the waiting room, I did not feel that it would be safe for her to be back in Jeremiah's room.  While my wife is one of the most loving caring and people in the world, she is also a mom (and a hockey player) and there was the possibility that our nurse or the fellow would have been the recipient of an enraged mother.  I called Mike and Becky around 11:30 PM and asked if one of them could come, and 40 minutes later they were both here to spend the night with Jamie.

We are so blessed to have amazing friends who will give up so much to care for us.  Mike and Becky - I honestly don't think we would have gotten through that night without being in jail or restricted from this hospital room if it wasn't for you.  You were clearly the peace of Christ in our lives that night in caring for us.

“Mama, why can’t we see God?”

“Babe,” I said, “that is a good question.  You know what?  We can see God.  We see him in other people.  When we love people or they love us, we are seeing God and feeling His love.  When we are kind to people or they are kind to us, we are seeing God.  Does that make sense?”

“Yeah Mom.”

I remember the conversation I had with Becky that night.  I told her I thought Jeremiah was going to die.  I will never forget her face.  She didn’t say anything, but just hugged me.  All the while, she was praying.  Mike ended up leave that night, but Becky stayed with me.  I asked her if she thought God would be okay with me sleeping.  She said, “Jamie that is what I have been praying for.”  Becky then continued to pray over me, starting at my head and working her way down to my feet.  She told me that once she felt that specific part of my body relax, she would go to the next, until I was finally asleep.  I slept a solid 6 hours that night- probably the most sleep I got consecutively the whole time we were in the hospital. 

So my sweet Lydia, this was a very, very dark time in our lives.  But looking back, I can see God was there.  Even in our darkest of dark He was there.  It still hurts to think about that time.  My emotions still run high, my heart beats faster, and I get a pit in my stomach when I re-read the story of that night.  But now I have seen the hope of a new day.  God was faithful.  He showed up in our friends, in our surgeon, in an incredible nurse, and in our souls as we clung to Him. 

Climbing out of the Rubble

(December 2, 2013)
Today is the beginning of the week that ends in the 1 year anniversary of finding out that Jeremiah had a brain tumor.  Today, I have been so, so sad.  I honestly didn’t expect to feel this way, though I didn’t really know what to expect. 
In the days, weeks, and months after Jeremiah came home from the hospital, I don’t remember externally processing much (or internally for that matter).  It seems that I had to just keep going, just keep surviving.  There were many follow-up appointments, therapies to be scheduled, exercises to do, not to mention taking care of a 2.5 year old whose world has just been turned upside down for the last month.  Like I said, I had to keep surviving.  Well, It has now been a year and things have thankfully slowed down.  We still have doctor appointments, and therapy, and just recently have been slotted to be evaluated for orthotics for our little buddy.  But, I’m not in survival mode anymore and I think that may be why I am finally feeling. 
I had my fair share of sadness and anger and every other emotion under the sun during our stay in the hospital but those very raw, in the moment, not thought out emotions; it wasn’t because I was doing real processing, but because my heart had just been ripped out of my chest and handed to me.   Now, a year later, I can sit in my home, with my sweet babes sleeping (finally J) and think about what really happened.  Our Great God did a mighty miracle and so this season of advent I am hoping to have my own hope.  You see, last year, I couldn’t hope on my own.  I am so, incredibly thankful for the dear friends and family who encouraged us and had hope for us when we could not.  Those people, who God surrounded us with, stand with us today, loving us and praying for us, and helping us to continue to process through everything we have gone through in the last year.  Just prior to writing this entry in fact, I sent an email to the women so close to me to ask for prayer, that God would heal my heart during this advent season.  Advent ends when Jesus is born, when the people got to see the face of God in a baby boy.  Last year, our advent ended with seeing the face of God in a baby boy as well.  We took our sweet Jeremiah home on Christmas Eve, the very last day of advent. 
Throughout this week and probably through Christmas, I plan to try and process through what I am thinking and feeling.  In beginning to process all of this, I’m reminded of the Sara Groves song that starts out, “It’s been a hard year, and I’m climbing out of the rubble.”  Slowly, slowly I’m climbing out of the rubble and mess of this past year and moving towards what God would have for our family as we live into the healing and miracle of who Jeremiah is to our family and how we tell our story in a way that can bring hope and healing to those around us.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Lydia Ruth!

After a terrible night and next morning, we decided to do a c-section. Lydia was born at 1:48pm on June 22, 2010.

The sound of her first cry was beautiful. Andy was weeping. I shed tears (although not as many as I would have, had I not been so, so drugged up.) I got to kiss my sweet baby and calm her crying before being taken into recovery. I was then unable to see Lydia until early Wednesday evening. That was incredibly hard. Andy, did however, get to spend a lot of time with her that first 24 hours (which I am very thankful for). When I was finally able to sit up and get into a wheel chair, I was taken down to hold my little girl for the very first time. It was beautiful.

It is unbelievable how fast babies grow in the first year. Lydia is now so full of personality and spunk. She makes us laugh everyday. She is such a joy I cannot fully express what it means to be her mother; I am so blessed and honored to have her in my life. So today I wish my sweet girl a very happy birthday and look forward to all the years we have together! Happy Birthday Lydia Ruth!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day of Last Year

My sweet baby turns 1 year old tomorrow! I cannot even believe it! Wow, that just may be the fastest year of my life so far. Thinking about Lydia turning one, can only remind me of the events leading up to her birth... the longest day of last year. Here is just a little recap of the turn of events for all or any that care to read on.

I had my standard weekly appointment on Friday. The doc was a little concerned about some of the protein counts and had me go to the hospital for more blood tests. I also had to take a 24-hour urine sample (gross right?!). So I did the sample on Saturday, the lab was closed Sunday, and I took it in Monday morning before work.
That day at work, I felt just terrible. I don't remember a lot, except that I did go home early and take a really long nap. Shortly after waking up, we got a call asking us to "come in for more tests." "Don't pack a bag," she said. I did anyway.
We got to the hospital and the nurses were like, "We have been waiting for you." We were whisked off to "my room," and I was told to put my clothes in a bag, get on a gown, and lie in bed. By the time we realized what was happening, well, we realized what was happening.
I won't go into all the yucky details of what followed during the next 12-16 hours. It included lots of feeling terrible and lots of wanting the child to be out of me as soon as possible. This was all without even having any contractions, labor pains, etc. It had turned out that my protein counts were in the 6000's. They said they get worried when they are in the 300's. Needless to say, there was no option to waiting a few more weeks. Lydia was coming 4 1/2 weeks early.

To be continued...