Monday, February 28, 2011

Rivers and Roller Coasters

Lots on my mind tonight. What better to do when I have loads weighing me down? Blog.
Blogging for me forces me to look deeper. Sometimes it forces me to read scriptures, and search out answers, and even when I cannot find answers... at least I can find peace.

Finding Peace... Peace Like a River
This song came to mind when I typed that... allow me to quote the first few verses, if you would.
Kinda sets the tone, or mood.. you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

That song has carried me through tougher times that I ever imagined I would walk through.

When I think of the phrase "Peace Like A River"... I don't immediately think of a calm serene scenic view where fish swim and frolic in the water, darting up and out, creating ripples. I almost always, think of rushing waters, raging against harsh cold stones and huge rocks, white capping and slamming into boulders. I can't imagine a single fish enjoying that. Then, I think of myself, forced in the middle of that madness without a boat... nothing ... not even a life jacket keeping me afloat, as I fight for my life, hoping with all that is in me to make it through to those scenic waters. The peace part? Well that is what I have during that whole struggle. Knowing that this very experience is going to make me stronger. Make me a believer. The fight is going to force me to face demons that haunt my mind and fight to take my thoughts captive. Where can I find this peace? Digging in, clinging to any promise He has given me... as if it were my last breath. I might even have to hold that last breath longer than I would have ever dreamed I could have held it. But, it's all I have. After all, I can't just give up my last breath. Where's the fun in that?

I'm figurin' life is like one big roller coaster. You have the highs, the lows, the twisty turns, taken at alarming speeds. Then all of a sudden it stops. I knew when I made the decision to surrender all, it would be a tough ride. But I, being the adrenaline junkie I am, love a good roller coaster. The lows, not so much. I mean, lets face it... the lows are no fun, it's all about the climb (right, Miley?). The anticipation of what is to come... And when you are there, at the top, you can see everything so clearly, everything looks so small now. It's that moment of clarity and peace. That scenic view that takes your breath away... and that is when the bottom is jerked out from under you. Then all of a sudden, abruptly, it's over and the ride has stopped and you are left thinking "Wow, I made it through, and I didn't puke!" I am also figurin' God is like my safety bar. He's holding me down, firm in place during my struggle. He's keeping me safe... and a lot of times sane. I kind of laugh when I think about how much worse it could be... and then I picture Him sweating, working double overtime to keep up with me because I keep throwing him curve balls. I wish I could just sit back and enjoy the ride, but I over analyze and think too much and before I know it all I can see is a loose screw and rickety old frame about to collapse at any moment plunging me to my death.

When I force myself to calm down, get in my zone and turn to the truth... that is when I find that peace lasts so much longer than a few seconds atop of some rickety old roller coaster. So yeah, sometimes I have to search harder than others to find that peace that passes all understanding. And sometimes I have to look even harder to find the silver lining everyone talks about. But, it is there. It's just waiting for me to find it... and when I do, I will not let go.

Valens-time Fairy

The Valens-time* Day Fairy visited and left us a gift... a new camera!
Squealing with excitement! New pics to come... new pics that ARE NOT blurry!
Again, with the squealing!

*Disclaimer: I realize it's Valentine's, but Lake says Valens-time and it's just so darn cute.
He told me "I know it's Valentines, but I like to say Valens-time."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Running With Purpose

So I started running with a "Couch to 5K" group a few weeks ago. I have totally let myself go since Lennon was born. I know "baby weight" and all but it's beyond that. I have just gotten lazy. So, I started this group as a last bit effort to get some sort of fire under me. It is working, slowly but surely. I have started making better choices with eating.

I can now run about a mile. (insert laughter here) Comparing myself to my pre-Lennon-pregnancy-self is a bad idea... Considering right before I got pregnant with her I ran a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) at a 9 minute 15 second pace. I gotta start back somewhere.

In order to keep the fire burning, I like a little healthy competition... so a friend and I have a contest going. In six weeks, we have to each have lost a minimum of 10 pounds. Whichever of us does not lose the weight, that person has to change their profile pic to a picture of Rosie O'Donnell for 2 solid weeks and it has to say "I am Rosie O'Donnell's doppelganger".

I will NOT lose this challenge. I WILL do it the healthy way.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who Doesn't Like Ham?!

It's Thanksgiving in February and she is my camera ham.
I have said it before and I will say it again...
Her cheeks have GOT to hurt from all that grinning.

Below is my favorite picture...
Her latest thing is turning her head sideways to see you, if you are hiding behind something.
I was behind my camera phone.

How yum is she?!?! She's better than a root beer float!

That grin... Those cheeks... even her therapist had to scoop her up today.
"Are you giving me the sweet eyes? How can I resist?!"
You can't. There is no resisting the sweet eyes.

Hammin' it up on her exercise ball...

Pardon my blurry crap camera phone... it's the only one I have currently.
I am hoping the Valentine Fairy gets me a new Nikon. I am the queen of wishful thinking.

She is a photographer's dream come true.
A little dream boat, floating down the river of life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tattoos Are For Life

I had wanted a tattoo on my wrist for years. It would be my 3rd tattoo. It was something I kept telling myself, "If you still want it in a year, get it." The next year came and I told myself, "If you still want it in another year, get it." I was, however, unsure of what tattoo I wanted.

In the Beginning:
During our first year of marriage, every morning I would leave our apartment for work. Outside on the telephone wire were two doves. They sat there snuggled against one another every morning. By noon, when I would come home for lunch, they would be gone. Every morning, there they were again. One afternoon, at lunch, I noticed one dove was still there perched on the wire. I looked up and around for the other but it was no where to be found. As I was leaving for lunch, I saw the one dove still sitting there. A great sadness came over me.... there on the street was the other dove. It had been ran over by someone's car. When I returned home from work that evening, the one dove was still there.
After almost two short years of marriage, Charlie and I made the journey to leave everything we knew behind and start a new life in Dallas, TX. We had wanted to leave Monroe for so long. What we didn't plan on, was that the opportunity would land in our laps smack dab during my first pregnancy. After Lake was born, I quickly realized motherhood is not that simple. Ha! I laugh now, but back then, I had no one. No one to pick Lake up at the sitter's when Charlie was working out of town and I was needing to work late. It already took me 1 hour to get to the sitter's from work and then I had to drive home. I LOVE Dallas. Love it. Love LoVe LOVE. I do NOT love the traffic. Not at all. Leaving for work at 6:15am to be there on time at 8am was extremely ridiculous.
In Dallas, while Charlie was working out of town for a few days, Lake and I would sit on the back patio of our apartment and watch 6 doves every day. You could tell which doves were mates, even as they played. When one would move away, the other would flutter over and perch beside it. It was so peaceful and sweet to watch them. Lake loved it and would constantly say "Bird! Bird!"
After a few years, we eventually moved to Baton Rouge. Of course, this was after I had a heart to heart with God about moving home. I really wanted to raise my son in a small town, with close friends and family at my fingertips. I missed home and that came as a huge shock to someone who was so willing to leave it. Once we moved to Baton Rouge, it took 3 long months to realize it was do or die.. get home ASAP.
When we moved home, I expected everything to "just be wonderful". We'd be back in our church, back with our friends, and so on... what I didn't expect was that a lot of our friends had moved away and others had moved in. Not that we didn't have friends here or couldn't make new ones, it was just different. I don't know how to explain it. It took a long while to get settled back in and finally have that "come to Jesus" moment where I said, "OK, you wanted me here. I know it and I wanted me here. So let's make the very best of it." But we did. We got back in a circle of friends we love so dear and met a few more. All of which have blessed us greatly. I realize now, a lot of my "adjusting" was pride. I did not think I would have a problem coming back home, but I did.
After a few months, and a few more trials, I knew it was time. I had fallen even more in love with my husband. And even more amazed at my God. So, right after my 31st birthday, Charlie took me to the tattoo parlor and I had a dove tattoo'd on my wrist. I knew it would cause a lot of jokes with the church folk because our Church symbol is a dove. That had nothing to do with my choice. I chose the dove, because I will follow my husband, the head of my household, to the ends of the earth, because that is the vows I made with him and my God, and nothing shall separate us.

The Dove:
God chose a dove to bring back the olive branch to Noah after the flood, showing there was once again dry land ... forever symbolizing a peace offering (extending the olive branch).
Genesis 8:11
The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf.
When Jesus was baptized, God descended His holy spirit on Jesus in the form of a dove.
Luke 3:21-22
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.
Have you ever wondered why God chose the dove for such catalysmic moments in history?
Well, I did some research, because I was curious. The dove doesn't have a gall bladder. It cannot produce bile, and without the gall bladder, it cannot store or concentrate this bile. The dove also mates for life. If one of the mates die, it will never find another. The dove is much like a pigeon. It has a great homing instinct... it always finds it's way back.

Home Again:
When we moved back to Monroe, that is how I felt. That God wanted to cleanse me of my pride. I had indeed found my life mate and I was beyond blessed to have had so many wonderful opportunities to move away with him. We were even more blessed to have found our way back home, in more ways than one... this time with a son. Here at home, we have expanded our blessings and now have a daughter as well.
I am home. I love it here. It is the place I found God. He is teaching me more and more about "home" and Himself every chance I give him. If there is anything I have learned from leaving and returning, it's that home is not necessarily a place, it's where your heart resides. I am forever grateful for my family and the strong bond I have with my husband. While marriage, and parenting, is never easy, I did say "for better or for worse". I love my Charlie and where he is, I want to be. I will gladly and boldly walk through the fire with him, because after the fire we will be refined.
Ruth 1:16-17
Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Catch Me, I'm Falling

A few days ago I read THIS ... and I was reminded of my own "Net". No, I don't have a cute little name for you all and to list each one would take too long and I would most likely get all ADD and forget someone and some feelings would be hurt.

The bottom line is... you caught me when I was falling.

Ten short months ago, I needed you all and you were there in one way or another.
Through, heartache and heartbreak and healing.
Through tantrums and fear and tears.
You all rallied around me, with hugs and support and food and conversation and cups of coffee.
With emails and calls and cards and gifts and visits and so much more.
You held my bug in your heart and my family in prayer.
You wouldn't let me throw in the towel when I didn't even know if I was breathing.
When my faith wanted to fail me, you didn't.
Thank you seems so petty in comparison to all that was done.
I thank my God for you.

We have come full circle because of you.

Life is Good

Right about now is the time where I should get in a real big hurry and clean like a psycho, but too much on my already wandering mind means it's blogging time. Blogging relaxes me.

Weekend wrap-up
Friday came and went and honestly I couldn't tell you what we did... Is that bad?
Saturday I went to an over-priced Estate Sell, then we had dinner with friends. Carla and her precious boys, and Caroline and her adorable family.... Chili might be my absolute favorite meal ever. Caroline was gracious enough to cook it up right and my belly was happy! Much coffee, brownies and laughter later, the night ended with Caroline's little boy, Lake's buddy Brayden, cannon balling off the top bunk and nearly breaking his back. Thank God it was just a nasty scratch - one in which, I am sure will bruise nicely.
Sunday was church, bridal shower, then Super Bowl party. I donned a giant block of cheese on top of my head... a first for me. Then I left the party a bit early because I wanted to snuggle my bug all to myself in a quiet house. She never wants to lay and snuggle any more. She is all play, that one. Rocking, she does, but laying she doesn't much.... until last night. She talked and giggled all the way home from granny's. I was sure she would be fast asleep as we hit the road, but she surprised me. Once our jammies were on and we were snug in my bed, she crawled over to me, hunkered down beside me in the dark, laid her arm over my chest and before I knew it, all was quiet in the house, except the slow sleepy breaths from my little star. I found myself smiling in the dark. At that moment, in euphoria.... I started to miss my Lake. A few minutes later, he and Charlie came home and Lake went off to bed. I heard Charlie tell him, "Shhh. Don't wake mommy and Lennon". Once Charlie climbed into bed, I scooped Lennon bug up and took her to her room. After I was back in my bed, Charlie said, "With this weather, I bet Lake will be sneaking in here." Before he could finish his sentence, a sweet little voice pierced the dark, "It's thundering and lightening outside." We all giggled and he jumped between us until the weather calmed. Lake said, "We're like a sandwich, you and daddy are the bread and I am the ham!" Never a dull moment with that one.

So morning is here and even though it is NEVER a smooth one... I am choosing to think of all the cuddles I got last night... and all is right in the world.