Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've Got a Secret

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God will bring every work into judgment,
including every secret thing,
whether good or evil.

So, today it seems that I have accidentally, unwittingly, and sadly stumbled on to some pretty conclusive evidence that one of my VERY best friend's significant other is cheating on her.

I'm simply devastated and heart-broken about this. This is a person that I've been friends with since 1984. We have had usp and some serious downs, but we're friends through thick and thin. We were college roommates. She stood up in my wedding, and my daughter calls her, "Auntie." I have been in her corner as she dated losers, chumps, dead-beats, rapscallions, buttholes, womanizers, a guy that I still think was gay , liars, jokers and jerks. Finally. Finally, I thought she had met a good guy. A GREAT guy. I often spoke of how "nice" he was. How "caring" he was. What a "prince" he was. He seemed to be exactly what she deserved after enduring all of the lames and idiots she had endured.

When she told me that they were ttc, I was excited! I thought it was fantastic that she was planning on making a life with him.

Now, I feel like I've been doused with cold water. I feel like somebody pulled the rug out from under me. I am so hurt. I've been duped. My best (girl) friend has been duped and deceived.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar

Proverbs 14:10

The heart knows its own bitterness,
 And a stranger does not share its joy.

     One thing I have no interest in being...is bitter. I'm cool with being mad, angry, upset, disappointed, and disillusioned. But not bitter. I won't be bitter.

     I had a really terrible pregnancy with my daughter. I had miserable morning sickness that lasted from sun up to day's end, and kept me over the toilet, over the trash can, over the curb, over the grass, over whatever, throwing up constantly. The only time I ever felt good and/or "normal" was when I was asleep. This was all exacerbated by the fact that I was young, selfish, self-centered and spoiled. So, I went out of my way to make sure that those closest to me, suffered right along with me. And this was not relegated to family. Co-workers, commuters, the check-out girl, whoever. They all got to experience (and even take part in) my misery.

     After I gave birth, the picture that I painted of my pregnancy was a VERY grim one. So grim, in fact, that I had NO desire to ever repeat it, inspite of the fact that my husband DESPERATELY wanted more kids. As far as I was concerned, that was his business. He was more than welcomed to find a new wife who would make those dreams come true for him. I was NOT interested. (See, I told you...SELFISH).

     Years later (probably 10 or 11 years into our marriage) after the Lord had done a MAJOR work repairing (and in some cases rebuilding) my heart, and mind, I opened myself up to the idea of expanding our family. I mean in the 12 or 13 years since my daughter had come, I had slightly  (at times) entertained the idea of other children. Secretly, I hoped to "accidentally" get pregnant. (Here's the thing: I had worked hard to get pregnant with my daughter. It took six months of charting and timing and scheduling BD and such. Then, after such hard work to have such overwhelming morning sickness really felt like a slap in the face to me. I felt like such a fool for having prayed and WORKED hard to endure the misery that I was enduring. To basically have brought HELL to my own doorstep.) So, in my mind, if I got pregnant "accidentally", then I wouldn't be the one who brought hell to myself...it would just be like, "that's the way the cookie crumbles." I know. I know. Profoundly WEIRD.

     Anyway, turns out that I'm not one of those people who gets pregnant on "accident." After 12 years of marriage and sporadic sex, I had never missed another period. I realized that if I really wanted to get pregnant again, I was going to have to work at it again. But before I started, I had a talk with Jesus. I explained that while I wanted another child (as I did not want my daughter to be left "alone" on the earth if something were to happen to my husband and myself), I was gonna be just as fine if she was the only one He chose to bless us with. I assured the Lord that I was happy with K (the daughter) and I was gonna enjoy her to the fullest whether she was our only or the first of many.

     And that's where I'm trying to get back to, now. I want to feel that I will be just as happy if  K2.0 (the son) is the last addition, as I would if he was the middle child, or the 2nd of 4 children. I wanna be happy with what I have, rather than mourning for what I don't have. I wanna enjoy K2.0 to the fullest. I wanna enjoy his toothless grin, the baby "chub" that encompasses his thighs and forearms, his squeals, his attempts at balancing himself as he holds on to the sofa with one hand, the way he whines for the bottle / sippy cup, the way his head snuggles into my neck so perfectly, and how when I hold him, he wraps his tiny arms around me and "holds" me back. I wanna enjoy his babyhood, and not be obsessed with creating a baby that my husband and I may never create. I wanna be all right in the  "right now."

     And I think I'm on my way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray, it's a Gymboree Day!!!!!

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

   Wednesdays are the day that I take my ten month old son to Gymboree. Gymboree (for those who don't know) is a children's place where they offer structured play for little ones, that is "secretly" designed to help them build strength and learn motor skills.

     When my daughter was a toddler, my husband and I enrolled her. At that time, I HATED it. It was offered in an area that was less than friendly to people of color, so my family and I were somewhat "outcasted", and never really made to feel welcomed, even by the owner/operator (although our checks were cashed in manner that certainly didn't speak to their being any color barrier) . But 15 years later, I hoped that attitudes had changed. I took my son and was happy to find that they had. Gymboree is still offered in the same exact area, but I guess time changes (most) everything, color lines have blurred, and now, all are welcomed.

     I started taking my son to Gymboree when he was 4 months old. Once he learned how to sit up (5 months), he was promoted to the next level class. I was a proud mom. My 5 month old son was promoted to a class that was billed as being for 6 - 10 month olds. The new class was a lot more interesting. Instead of just laying on his back, looking up at the ceiling, while I ran my fingers up and down his body, and gave him "baby" massages, in the new class the world was his. He could explore (with the help of mommy) slides, and tunnels, and inner tubes, and even the "crawl-igator." He was the youngest in the class, so it was no big deal that his only claim to fame was the he could sit up unassisted for several minutes at a time. "He's still so little", the teacher insisted, as I attempted to encourage him to crawl up or down something.

     Weeks became months, and after a while, he was no longer the youngest in the class. But still, he wasn't crawling. Younger babies would race pass him on all fours, and he would watch...unimpressed and uninterested. I decided in my mind that he would crawl by 7 months, so that he could "catch up" to the others. Before  knew it, he was on the cusp of turning 8 months, and was no closer to crawling than he had been at 5 or 6 months. I scheduled an appointment with the doctor. Before the appointment, I was talking to a friend, telling her how I probably wouldn't have this expectation of him crawling at 7 months, if other kids at Gymboree weren't doing it. Now, I felt so much pressure for him to crawl that it kept me up at night. I debated with myself about dropping our membership. I even considered taking a leave of absence until he started to crawl. My friend said, "Imagine that. The baby not crawling at 7 months, embarrassing you at Gymboree."

     Was it pride? Was the pressure I was putting on my son to make it down that "purple wedge" on all fours about me, and not him? After a fruitless doctor appointment, and even a visit to a physical therapist (maybe he's too weak physically to crawl), where I was told that there was nothing physically preventing my son from crawling, (the physical therapist put it this way, "he's just not motivated to crawl.") that I decided that it was pride. He would crawl when he was ready, and not a minute before that time.

     No longer is Gymboree a place I dread visiting each week. No longer do I force my baby to struggle down the "purple wedge" for my benefit. Now, we go and enjoy the things he can do successfully. We laugh with each other, and share secret smiles. We hug, and engage...just the way that the creators of Gymboree probably envisioned parent and baby doing. And when we leave, it's with happiness, not disappointment.

     So, today I honestly felt it when I tossed my beautiful, barely-crawling, ten month old son into the air and said, "Hip hip hooray, it's a Gymboree day!!!!!!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Don't Know What I'm Saying

Romans 8:26 & 27
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people
in accordance with the will of God.

As I've attested to in an earlier post, right after I had my son, I fell into a bit of a funk. A depression, even. I was at a low point. And during this low point, I was in need of a serious life raft. Something concrete and tangible that I could hold on to and be saved from the abyss which had become my life. At the time, I felt like the life saver should be a third child.

It was the perfect plan. I could get a "do-over" on all of the things that went "wrong" with our son's birth. Like, the NICU stay, the unwanted/unexpected diagnosis, the hundreds of follow-up doctor appointments. Everything. So, I jumped right into trying to conceive again. January became February became March, April, May, June and July. Now, here I am in August and I'm realizing how very GOOD God actually is.

Me having a baby in those earlier months would have been a TOTAL and COMPLETE disaster. I mean, how can you go back and change a birth story? You can't. It is what it is. It's just one of those situations in life that you get what you get. Plus, I was reading an Infertile's blog (forget which one) and her post said that someone asked her did she have her baby to have the perfect birth plan, where everything went right and exactly as she planned it, or did she have her baby for another reason.

That REALLY struck a nerve with me. My daughter's birth was a NIGHTMARE, where I sincerely thought that the hospital staff was in a conspiracy to kill her. NOTHING went as I would have envisioned or even liked. But at the time, I was just happy to get out of there with a "live" baby.  My son's birth was a much better experience. As a matter of fact, everything was PERFECT until the NICU stay. Truth be told (and accepted), I'm probably never gonna have a the DREAM birthing experience. But I do have the DREAM children.

So now, I'm finally REALLY ready to add to my family. It's no longer about "recreating" an experience. It's about creating a family. Building on the love that we already have, with another piece of the puzzle that I truly feel is missing. I don't believe my family is complete. It's simply WONDERFUL, FABULOUS and DIVINE...but it's not complete. I still have work to do, but thank God I'm working for the right reasons now.

And thank God that He knew that I wasn't ready...even though I really thought I was. Now, as I look back on the months that have passed in 2011 without me getting pregnant, I don't have to feel disappointment. Honestly, what I feel is relief. Relief  that I'm not eight or nine months pregnant right now (as I REALLY thought I wanted to be) with a ten month old who isn't walking, and only recently started crawling. Thank God, that He met my need with more of HIM, and not with what I was "foolishly" praying for. Thank God that He, in His all-knowingness, understood that I needed time to heal from, and even time to grieve what I felt was taken from me. Thank God that the Holy Spirit was interceding for me. Thank God that my latter days will be better than my former.

Thank God.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hey Beauty

I Peter 3:3 & 4
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as elaborate hairstyles
and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Every morning, I make eye contact with my baby and greet him the very same way, "Hey Beauty." My husband dislikes the fact that I call our son, "Beauty." He wants me to address the baby as "handsome", or something else "manly" like that. But I won't. Not to be difficult, or "cutesy." But because every time I look at him...I simply see BEAUTY.

     In my son's face, I see a long-awaited conception. A surprise "positive" pregnancy test. A challenging, but exhilarating pregnancy. A quick and (all things considered) relatively "easy" labor and delivery. I see a scary admission to the NICU. A never-ending stay there (that lasted four days, but seemed to me like four years, as I wanted to take my baby home). Fear from an unexpected medical diagnosis. I see the black cloud of depression hanging over me from the overwhelmingness of it all. A praying husband who kept me spiritually covered when I couldn't pray for myself. A supportive teenage daughter who let me cry, and assured me that everything would be all right. I see a harrowing series of doctor appointments that lasted from his birth in October to the following April. Indescribable relief when each and every test came back as "unremarkable." Happiness as he met milestone after milestone on time, and even early. And I see a void in our family filled with a little boy, who exudes joy, energy and love every single day of his life.

     Who doesn't find that beautiful? I certainly do. I love my "Beauty." And I thank God for him!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Body

1 Corinthians 9:26-27

26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave,
so that, after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified.

Although it may not be obvious by the things I write, say out loud, or even the things that I sometimes think in the privacy of my own mind, I actually LOVE my body. It's the best body, ever.

Now, don't get me wrong...it's a fat body, an overweight body, and an in-questionable-shape body, but I really do love my body. My body is completely obedient! Never once have I worked to bring my body under submission, and it didn't respond.

I remember I tried my first diet, senior year of high school. I stuck faithfully by the diet (starved myself, and even did some questionable things, like force myself to throw up if I ever indulged in something I shouldn't have), did a few exercises that I picked up from TEEN Magazine, and lost weight. I was able to fit into clothes that I hadn't worn since freshman year, and looked good in my swim suit, and even better in my prom dress.

When I got tired of having chronically short hair, I stopped going to the hair salon, and cared for my hair at home. I discovered what worked best for my hair, and it started to grow like a weed. I went from having hair that was the length of a "pixie" cut, to hair that now drapes below my shoulders. And I've been able to maintain this length since 1999.

Again, when I playfully hopped on a scale in late 2007, and realized that I was as big as a cow, I started an eating plan and a work out regiment, and lost 50lbs in about 4 to 5 months.

My body is soooooo obedient. If I do right by it, it waste no time in doing right by me. Unfortunately, sometimes I'm like a distracted parent. I don't pay enough attention to me body. I go about life, giving my attention to other things, until my body starts to "act out." Then, I give it just enough of what it needs so that it "shuts up" and "leaves me alone." I personally don't think that's an effective way to raise children. So, why do I think it's cool to "raise" my body that way?

My body needs attention. It needs guidance. It needs discipline. It needs care. It needs love. And it's already proven time after time what it can achieve if it's given these elements. The rest is basically up to me. And I need to get on it!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Have You Done For me, Lately?

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God,
but those things which are revealed belong to us
and to our children forever,
that we may do all the words of this law.

In 2008, I considered myself fat. Not the cute fat, as in "F.A.T" that the comedienne Mo'Nique said stood for "Fabulous and Thick." And not even like the slang term "PHAT", that means "cool", "hot", "positive." I mean, just plain old FAT! Overweight! Husky! Big! XXL Large! I considered myself fat. I was definitely too wide, to only be 5'4 tall. So, I started an eating plan, working out constantly, and dropped 50lbs in about 4 to 5 months. And because I actually changed my eating habits, and the way I looked at food, I was able to keep the weight off. Now, I do like an occasional piece of cheesecake, a pint of ice cream, cookies, and/or a bag of chips every now and again. But still, I managed to stay within 15lbs of the weight loss.

When I got pregnant with my son, I was eating healthy and working out anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a week. I love working out. I think I'm some kind of endorphine "junkie." It really is a high for me. I feel like I can do anything, achieve any goal within 15 to 20 minutes of working out.

While I was pregnant, I had this fantasy of "rushing" the gym everyday, and keeping up my workout schedule well into at least my 7th month. I have NO idea where this thought came from, because I (of all people) know that I had morning sickness with my daughter well into my 28th week. And once again, with my son the morning sickness besieged me at week 10 and went on until week 37. Still, I was so sick with my son, that I lost weight every month, and was able to wear my regular clothes (as I did with my daughter) up until the day of delivery.

Here's where things went to the left. My son was put into the NICU about ten hours after his birth. He stayed there for five days. On the fourth day, he was given a DEVASTATING diagnosis. After this diagnosis was received, I went into a depression. It was a situation where I had to function. I mean, I had a newborn at home, and my daughter was into the throes of her junior year of high school (a very important year, that colleges look at). Things had to be done, tasks had to be completed. There was doctor appointment, after doctor appointment for my son. I just kept chugging along, but I was sinking. So, to keep myself afloat, I ate. Comfort food. Tons of it. Bags of cookies. Shrimp scampi six days a week. Buttered popcorn. Twelve packs of pop. Entire cheesecakes. Entire pound cakes. Pint after pint of ice cream. All the while, trying every month to pregnant.

Needless to say, I am FAT, again.

However, the black cloud is no longer hanging over my head, and I am starting to see clearly. Hear clearly. And what the Lord said to me, is that I have been trying to control an egg and a sperm. I've taken the vitamins, I've bought the ovulation predictor kit, I've timed the sex, I've visualized said egg and said sperm meeeting up for a rendevouz, I've done it all. But how can I control that? I wasn't in control of the egg or the sperm when my daughter was conceived. Nor was I inside my own uterus directing "traffic" when the sperm met up with the egg that created my son. So, why now, would I have any more control over things? I don't.

The Lord told me to spend my time controlling what I can control. And what I can control is what I put into my mouth, and what kind of care I take of my body. So, I'm back on my eating plan, and for the last five days, I've been working out. And I realized that I'm still a junkie. I still get high from endorphines. And even more, I feel FABULOUS. Because I realize that the weight of "getting me pregnant" doesn't lie on my (or my husband's) shoulders. That's God's business. And I will gladly hand it BACK over to Him.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day after day. Month after Month.

II Peter 3: 8 ~
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:
with the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.

Why is it that when we're waiting for something, it seems like it takes forever? This time last year, I was about 7 months pregnant with my son. Since I was still suffering from "morning" sickness, I definitely looked forward to the rising of the sun each morning. It signified that I was one day closer to giving birth. I won't say that my days dragged on, they didn't. But they certainly didn't "fly" by. It was what it was.

But I feel like since I've been trying to conceive again, the months are going by in the blink of an eye. Every time I look up, I feel like I have started my cycle, and another month is out of the window, with no pregnancy to show for it. Soon, I will be another year older. Soon, the statistics will decrease in percentage points about the likeliness of me conceiving again. But God!

Even though everything around me would discourage me from continuing to try, the reduced number of "good" eggs I supposedly have left, the increased likelihood of conceiving a baby with Downs Syndrome, and such, I know that I don't have to put my faith or hope in what the medical community has to say about the subject. I know that my hope rests firmly in the Lord. And I know with the Lord, that my eggs can do whatever He says they can do. I know that my body is at His command, and not the command of the statistics. I know that if it's in His perfect will, months may come and go, but I will be pregnant.

Before I know it...I will be pregnant.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Starting with the Demolition

II Corithians 10:5 says:
We demolish arguments and
every pretension that sets
itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to
make it obedient to Christ.

This is one of my favorite scriptures, because it spells out th practical application of the verse. A lot of times, people quote scripture and you're left feeling like, "Okay. Great. Thanks." Not really knowing how that quote can work in your life.

But with this scripture, the author tells you point blank, that you can take any thought (negative, wrong, out of order or otherwise) captive. Often times, when I find myself thinking about how I just wanna punch somebody, or (even more relevantly) how I'm getting older and my fertility is slipping through my fingers like so much sand through an hourglass, I visualize myself reaching into the sky (where ugly thoughts form), catching the destructive thought, ripping it down from it's perch, and smashing it to the ground. Sometimes, I even step on it roughly, like an unwanted cigarette (smile). And the thought that I have the power to do that, makes me feel TOTALLY in control. Like I don't have to be an unwitting participant in life. I can be active, and take a role in the disposition I display to others.

As I walk this walk of trying to conceive my third child, I often find myself wondering if it will ever happen. If  will ever again be able to experience the feeling of life, growing and flourishing inside of me. And I feel so discouraged and down at the thought that my last child, may really be my last child. Then I remember that it's in God's hands. And I can be encouraged while I wait. And it's okay for me to be positive while I wait. And I don't have let negative thoughts wander through the garden of my mind, as satan wandered through the Garden of Eden, looking for whom he could devour. And I'm glad about that!