Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(The) Wait for Love

Psalm 130:5-6

 5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
         And in His word I do hope.
 6 My soul waits for the Lord
         More than those who watch for the morning—
         Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

     I don't mind admitting that I have been known to struggle with waiting. I don't think that makes me weird or unusual. Patience, has not always been a close acquaintance of mine. I have gotten much better at it over the years. I like to think that with age, has come maturity. But FB has taught me that idea is not true at ALL. I am FB friends with PLENTY of people that I graduated high school with, and many of them are on FB bragging about how impatient they are. So, it's not the age thing. It's God.

     Patience has been one of my prayers for as long as I can remember. As a young wife and mom, I knew that I needed to have more patience with my husband, and with my daughter. But when it really became most evident, was when the Lord began to remake my heart. It was then that He showed me that I didn't have much patience for me. I was sooo hard on myself. Never allowing myself to get away with anything. The slightest infraction caused me to lash out at myself with ugly thoughts, and mean self-talk. I was a perfectionist, and so help me if something I did didn't turn out perfectly. I would have words with the person who pointed out my mistakes...but they got off easy. They would only catch my wrath as long as they were in my presence. I would catch my own wrath for years and years. Constantly reminding myself of the mistake I had made. Always aware that I could never make that same mistake, again. It was a hard life.

     But when God began to put me together, again, He left out a lot of qualities that weren't serving me well (Thank you, Jesus!). So, perfectionism went out of the door, along with negative self-talk, low self-esteem, constantly complaining, seeing the glass as half-empty, rebellion, discontentment, selfishness, unprovoked anger, meanness and general dis-satisfaction. He replaced that stuff with things I would need like compassion, empathy/sympathy, acceptance, positivity, happiness, joy, peace, desire to be harmonious with others, obedience, the ability to laugh at myself and patience.

     Soon, waiting wasn't as difficult, anymore. It still wasn't something I would choose to do, if given the choice. But, I no longer went into tempter tantrums at the thought of not getting what I wanted, when I wanted it. God even began to reveal to me the gift in waiting. The beauty in waiting. No where was the gift and beauty so evident, as when I was pregnant with my son.

     While I marked off the days of my daughter's pregnancy with unabashed impatience, my son's pregnancy was different. It was an easy, breezy period of time, where I grew to know him, and experience him daily for 39 weeks. I knew when he was asleep, or awake. Hungry or content. I knew when he liked something...or didn't like it at all. I knew that every night, when I settled down for bed, he would get geared up to play. He would kick, and roll, and have a jolly good time for about 30 to 40 minute each night. I could count on it. I would climb into bed, pull the blanket up on my legs, and watch and giggle in awe as my baby performed for his audience of one. I enjoyed that time sooo much. Not once, while he was dancing inside me, did I think "I wish he was out here dancing in front of me." I understood that time would come, and I was content to experience him on the inside, for as long as God saw fit for him to be there.

     To be honest, God has shown me these last five years or so, how much I actually enjoy being patient. I remember my life before patience. It was very stressed (not to say that I don't currently have stress, but over other things...not waiting), and I was often disappointed that things weren't happening on my timetable. I was often curt, and frustrated, because people weren't moving fast enough for me. I've had WAY more than my fair share of "road rage" experiences. I was often mad, cranky and short-tempered.

     But with patience, my temperance is MUCH more even-keeled. I like to joke and say I'm Like President Obama. I once heard him say, "my 'highs' don't go very high, my 'lows' don't go very low." That's me. The best things in life bring me joy, but I don't (try not to) worship them. The worse things in life bring me grief, but I try not to wallow there. Patience has given me the gift of even-temperance. (If some people from my past could see me now!!!) Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

     Sometimes, the evil which is impatience rears it's ugly head. TTC definitely brings out the beast in me. And I find myself justifying all of the reasons that it's only natural that I feel impatient about getting pregnant. I mean, first off...I'm 40. That alone is enough to make a 20+ year old TTCer cringe. Secondly...I'm 40. Thirdly...I'll be 41 VERY shortly. Each month, I remind God of my age while I'm doing my begging prayer work. I remind Him that the odds are rapidly gearing up to go against me. I remind Him of the (alleged) condition of 40 year old eggs. I remind Him that I'm only gonna keep getting older...not younger. I remind Him.

     And occassionally, He reminds me...sometimes, there is a gift in waiting. Beauty in waiting.

     So, I will wait for the Lord. In His word, I do hope. And His word, I will use as my anchor as I navigate the stormy seas of TTC baby #3.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Good Life

1 John 5:12
He who has the Son has life;
he who does not have the Son of God
does not have life.

     I have to admit, while everything is certainly not perfect in my life, I find it hard to complain. I mean, I have a loving, compassionate, caring, hard-working, tall, dark, handsome, hilarious, semi-sensitive, and all around nice guy as a husband.
     My teenage daughter has been known to give me the fits. She's at times varying levels of bossy, unappreciative, intolerant, messy, selfish, spoiled, entitled, dramatic, hormonal, bad mannered and attitudinal. However, for all of her annoying and problematic ways, she's a good girl. She's never given me one ounce of stress with fastness, sneakiness, lying, slickness, untrustworthiness, or anything like that. She spends the night with friends I'm able to be 100% sure that she's with the friends...and not with some saggy-pants, kinky-headed, white-t shirt wearing thug (or even a nice boy, who wears a letterman's jacket from his high school). I drop her off at school each morning, with no fear that she's leaving out the back door as soon as I pull off (hey, I went to public high school in the city, this was a real and frequent occurrence). Since the arrival of K2.0, and her subsequent "no holds-barred" introduction to wonderful life of having a baby in the house, I am POSITIVE that I have helped invent the first fool-proof method of teenage birth-control. K, for all intents and purposes is a good girl. She's the teenage a lot of parents would kill to have. But sorry, I'm keeping her for myself.

     The boy (K2.0) is soooooo mischievous. Granted, K was a FREAKISHLY well-behaved baby, but I have NEVER known or seen a baby get into as much stuff as this child does. My living room is a series of maze and obstacle courses, all designed to discourage K2.0 from A.) getting to blinds and tearing them down B.) Crawling into the dining room and finding some stray piece of food that I just KNOW will end up being a hoking hazard or C.) Crawling into the few spaces of the house that I let people wear street shoes, thereby exposing him to some incurable fungi or bacteria. But K2.0 is determined. He won't let a little obstacle course or maze stop him from attaining his goal. 20 times a day, I'm up retrieving 2.0 from the area in which the blinds are located. 5 times a day, I'm coaxing away from the dining room. He wears me out! And how come a baby that has yet figured out that he has to remove his pacifier from his mouth, BEFORE he can insert his bottle, has the cunning to work his way through obstacle courses?? I still can't figure that one out. But when he has finally had his fill of mischief, he will wander over and entertain me by clapping his hands, grabbing my face in his hands while planting a big, WET kiss on my mouth or climbing into my arms and resting his head on my ample cleavage. He's such a sweetie, that it's almost impossible to stay mad at him...ALMOST!

     I love my family...small, though we might be. I have enjoyed this month of September with them. It has included family birthday dinners, BBQs, apple picking, college open houses, parent-teacher night, shopping malls, uproarious laughter, embarrassing mishaps, group hugs, and prayers for good health and safety.

     Dear God, I'm so glad this family and these experiences are mine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dedicated to the Ones I Love

Proverbs 31:27-29

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
   And does not eat the bread of idleness.
   28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
   Her husband also, and he praises her:
   29 “ Many daughters have done well,
  But you excel them all.”

     In real life (IRL), I'm a very private person. I'm talking VERY private. I really have a thing against people knowing what I'm thinking. Not that it's bad (not usually. *insert wicked laugh here*), but it's just MY thoughts. MY private thoughts. Anyway, I think that's one of the reasons that I enjoy blogging soooo much. I can share and share and share, yet you wouldn't recognize me if I walked up to you on the street. it's so freeing! I have finally found a place to let my hair down. (Smile)

     Anyways, I've been thinking a lot about my family, lately. Not my entire family, but the small branch that lives in my house.  The hubby, K, and K2.0. The three of them are the loves of my life. I'm sure everybody feels that way about their spouse and their children, but this is my blog, so it's my choice to restate the obvious. (LOL).

     I met The Hubby during the summer. I was hanging out with a girlfriend of mine, and he was hanging out with one of his guys. I spotted him down the street, but didn't really think much of it (spotting him), or much of him (he was like a all, dark blur).  Then, my God-son asked me to go down the street with him, as one of the neighbors was selling "snow cones" on her front porch, and he (with his 4 year old self) needed "Auntie" Mrs. Mocha to pay. I don't know if the hubby was there when I walked up, or if he came later. All I remember, is that my God-son was enamored with the tall, dark man. My husband had ordered a "suicide." You know, where you get a little bit of every flavor. My God-son ordered a "suicide." A friendship was born. The hubby began to connect with my God-son, and engaged him in a conversation as they ate their matching snow cones. Looking back, it was CLEARLY a set-up. But at the time , all I could think of was how sweet The nubby was to take the time to be so friendly and engaging to my God-son (who was my "first" child, and who I will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart for).

     Anyway, The hubby won me, and soon we were creating a family of our very own.

     My daughter, K, was a planned pregnancy. Of course, I had no idea about timed-intercourse, Pre-seed, or any of those "high-faluting" aides. All I knew was that I needed some vitamins (check), and some sex (check). During ttc, I thought my cycle was late, so I visited Plan.ned Parent.hood for a free testing. BFP. I was sooo happy..but cautious. I only told one person (not DH) and wasn't overly optimistic when I shared the news. I needed to be sure. So a few days later, I returned to the scene of the crime and retested. You guessed it, BFN. Apparently, my test had been switched with some pregnant girl's test. I got her "yes" (*tears*), she got my "no" (probably BIGGER *tears* when she realized the mistake).

     Months went by, and in March, I realized that I hadn't had a period in February. 50 HPTs later (all BFN), I was still no closer to knowing where my period had disappeared to. I was distraught, and in limbo. What should a person think when they have no period, yet, are not pregnant? Whatevs! Life was marching on. On April 18, 1994 I called my Dr with renewed self-assurance. Somebody was gonna tell me what the HECK was wrong with my body. I wanted an appointment, ASAP! They really didn't care how badly I wanted an appointment. They're protocol was for me to take (yet another) pregnancy test, as I had never taken one with them (Didn't wanna pay the $10 co-pay). Once they had those results, they would decide how to proceed.

     I waited on pins and needles for the 24 hours to pass (back then, it took 24 hours to get pregnancy results at my Dr's office). Finally, I nervously phoned for my results. They couldn't tell me. They didn't have a test matching my name. They had a test for a name close to mine.

     Okay, I have to insert here, that I have a rather common first name. However, there is another common name that rhymes with my name, that I have been mistakenly called ALL of my life (think: Sharon/Karen ~ Nicki/Micki ~ Kelcey/Chelsea)

     I was beyond pissed. The stress of the situation, and the fact that I was now into my 2nd month with NO period was not helping matters. I KNEW the test was mine. I mean, I had been mistakenly called by this name my ENTIRE life. All I kept thinking was, "Who the $%#$%# writes the %^$$#$%# names on the test tubes???!!!?? Off with their head!!!!!!" They couldn't assume that it was my test (even though the wrong first name was followed by my CORRECT last name (and I paid $10 for this mess, when Plan.ned Parent.hood was giving out their mistakes for free!!!!!)), I would have to come in and re-test (for no charge, of course). The 2nd time I came in, the nurse let me write my own name on the test tube. I don't know why, but that made her look like the guilty party to me.

     An additional 24 hours later, and I found out that I was indeed, with child. The relief manifested itself in non-stop tears. Okay, some of those tears were from fear, as well.

     K2.0 was a planned pregnancy as well. Right before K finished grade school, I went on a health kick. I started exercising  and eating in a very healthy manner. I dropped a lot of weight and dress sizes. I looked good, and felt excellent. The hubby said to me, "Man, you look so good and you got the weight off. Now I know you're not gonna want to have more kids. I guess I should give it up." I assured him that I was still interested in more children. Whatever happened, happened. Then one night, I had a the most vivid dream. I was giving the cutest, caramel colored, little boy a shower. He was smiling at me, and giggling as the water rained down on his smooth skin, and I could hear myself saying, "who's the cutest? who's the cutest?" Then, I scooped him up into a towel and cradled him close to my chest while he grinned at me, and made me love him even more. The next morning, I told my husband about the dream. I said, "we're gonna have a little boy." TTC commenced.

     Six months later, I was at a birthday party.  I have never been a big drinker, but I do enjoy a cocktail every now and again. My girlfriend had paid for an open bar, so I decided to indulge. The hubby was driving, and I was showing off. I actually had TWO drinks. In the middle of the 2nd one, I turned to The hubby and said over the music, "wouldn't it be so crazy if I was pregnant, now. I mean, here I am drinking for the first time in like a year." Then, I was like, "hahaha" and finished the drink. I would've had a third and/or fourth drink that night, but after the 2nd one, I stumbled a little on my boots, so I knew that my drink tank was full.

     Fast forward two weeks later, my period was a "no-show." Unlike with my daughter, I knew. In my heart of hearts, I knew I was pregnant. I wasn't even concerned. I didn't even test for an additional week. I urinated on a Clear Blue Easy Digital test, and was only shocked to see the word "Positive" pop up, because I had never had an HPT reveal a positive result for me (not even when I was pregnant with K.) The hubby and K had gone to the store. So, I had to wait for them to return. It only took about 20 minutes, but I was going crazy. I wanted to call everybody. i wanted to run into the front yard and scream it to the atmosphere. I was pregnant. I was beyond excited.

     I showed The hubby and K the test together. K cried. it was the sweetest thing, ever. Her tears made me cry. The three of us hugged. It was an AMAZING day. I will never forget it!!!

     Dear family, this the story of us. If you should ever happen this one, you will know (maybe) a little more about yourself than you knew before you read this.

     K, you are my mini-me. You have definitely grown me up, and taught me about being self-less, sacrificial, loving unconditionally and being fiercely protective.

     K2.0, you are my life changer. You have definitely caused me to re-evaluate what healthy is, what adversity is, what acceptance is, and what beauty looks like. You are a reminder to me that God is in control, and He's overcoming this world. You have taught me about pridefulness, self-pity, happiness, statistics, advocacy, and God's grace.

     Hubby, you are the priest of my home, and owner of the key to my heart. I've made billions of mistakes in this life. I've done millions of things wrong. But the ONE thing I did right, was accept your marriage proposal!

Proverbs 31:27-29

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
   And does not eat the bread of idleness.
   28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
   Her husband also, and he praises her:
   29 “ Many daughters have done well,
   But you excel them all.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Plans? What plans?

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

     So, the Holy Spirit spoke this to me, on CD14, whilst I was in the middle of "doing the deed" (also known as DTD) with the hubby. And even though the time might have been a little "precious" for some, for me it was completely apropos.

     I mean, I have been known to schedule and plot when it's time for us to DTD. I have been known to purchase OPKs, and Mucinex, and green tea capsules, and Geritol. I have been known to scour the web looking for tips on ttc, and to consider buying Pre-Seed, or trying acupuncture, or purchasing CDs to help me visualize the sperm having a rendezvous with the egg, and the egg safely implanting itself in the loving confines of my uterus. I have been known to either do, or contemplate all of the things in my frantic attempts to render myself pregnant. And while logical Mrs. Mocha sees the irony of all of this, desperate Mrs. Mocha just wants to be pregnant already!

     The truth of the matter is that all of that stuff is just a distraction (for me. Others may honestly need them, me...not so much). I mean, I already have two children who were both conceived naturally, albeit 15 years apart. But even during the "hiatus" that is the length between the birth of my children, I was never really "trying" to get pregnant, again. I mean, we would go weeks...even months without DTD at certain periods during our marriage. And I can't ignore the fact that once we started actively "trying", I was pregnant within 6 months...and that was at the age of 39.

     I was naturally pregnant with my son, after 6 months of trying at the age of 39. No Pre-Seed. No OPKs. No Mucinex. No acupuncture. No special Yoga. No special diet. No Geritol. All we did was have A LOT of sex...and try to make sure that we got it in somewhere around the 14th day of my cycle, because that's when I assumed that I would ovulate.

     So, why all of the hoopla, now??? Honestly...I don't know. I don't know what has turned me from the cool, calm, and collected Mrs. Mocha who enjoyed DTD and found herself pregnant...into this raving, spending, fixated creature that I see when I look in the mirror. The only thing I can come up with is...KNOWLEDGE.

Don't get me wrong. I totally believe that knowledge is power. I want knowledge, and generally I love knowledge. But sometimes, knowledge can cause unnecessary stress, heartache and pain. When I was pregnant (PREGNANT!!! Did you just read that???) I would read this magazine at my Dr's office, called "Conceive." It probably goes without saying that this was a magazine for people who were having problems conceiving (did I mention that I was PREGNANT while reading this???). It contained articles with helpful hints, information and encouragement. I would practically study this magazine, knowing that the hubby and I wanted a third (and possibly 4th) child, and I was getting "up there" in age.

     Before I read this magazine, I had no idea that at 39 I was supposed to have trouble conceiving. I had several friends who had conceived at the same age or later. It was a pretty normal occurrence in my circle. ~ I also had no idea that so many things could kill sperm, and you should use Pre-Seed instead, if you found yourself a little less than moist "down there." I had never heard of Pre-Seed and had conceived two children using whatever was handy at the time. ~ Furthermore, I had never purchased, or even seriously considered purchasing an OPK. Shoot, every time I think back to 1994, I'm still pissed about the fact that I spent my daughter's college education on HPTs, only for EACH and EVERY one of them to come up negative...even when I was pregnant with her. So, the idea of me buying a $20 OPK was out of the question. I had read somewhere that women with a normal cycle usual ovulated around the 14th day of said cycle. I considered myself normal. I considered my cycle normal. It came every month, and lasted the same amount of days with very little variance in the amount of flow or pain. I assumed that I ovulated around the 14th day, and tried to tackle my husband on or around that day. ~ Not to mention that I have asthma, and I get REALLY bad menstrual cramps, so the thought of taking medication that I didn't need, when I needed so much so frequently anyway, was preposterous. I never would've entertained the thought of taking Mucinex to increase CM (what in the world is "cm???"), nor would I have been willing to spend $15 unnecessary dollars.

     So, who is the broad who has been doing all of this stuff? Who is this chick that is fixated on trying every wives' tale and witch's brew she reads about on ttc forums??? Who is this cow???? Cuz I, for one, don't recognize the heffa (or heifer, if you're into standard English). Nor do I like her very much.  She actually makes me think of another scripture, that didn't come for the Holy Spirit...

Ephesians 4:14
that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro
and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting

     But thank God for His faithfulness and mercy. Thank God that's He's willing and able to pull me out of the mire, when I'm, unable to do it for myself. Thank God that He's willing to bring me back to my right mind, and remind me of what I already know.

     What I already know is that I didn't conceive K or K2.0 because of anything I did. I won't conceive baby #3 (and/or 4) based on whether or not I go by the OPK, how often the hubby and I DTD, if I have acupuncture, if I take Geritol or Mucinex, if I use Pre-Seed of something else, if I waste spend money on visualization CDs.

     I will conceive the next baby (or babies) the same way I did the first 2...because "it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Same Time, Last Year

Psalm 17:1
Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry.
Give ear to my prayer— it does not rise from deceitful lips.

     "[Mrs. Mocha] has officially become an internet/bookstore Doctor. I gotta do MY own research on EVERYTHING, just to feel adequately informed. ~ Why is it normal for MAJOR surgery to be passed out like Halloween candy to women? ~ Self-preservation is a full-time job!"
That was my Face.Book status on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. It was after I had seen that documentary that Rikki Lake made on the over-reliance of C-Sections in this country, the night before. I remember it so clearly.

     My OB/GYN's office had repeatedly informed me since week 19 that under NO circumstances would I be able to have a VBAC. When I was initially told this, I was devastated. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, the delivery of my daughter into this world was a NIGHTMARE!!! Those people (and I use the term lightly) were doing whatever they wanted to me, with no explanation or compassion for the fact that was a terrified 24 year old, with no idea as to what to expect from a labor experience. My (then) OB/GYN was a no-show, so I was "handled" by various rotations of hospital staff...each one, doing their own thing, with (apparently) no conversation or input from the person before them.
I won't go into the entire story, I don't want to relive it anyway. Let's suffice it to say that I was given MASSIVE dosages of pit.ocin, that caused me to have UNBEARABLE contractions, while simultaneously stopping my dilation and progression. The situation ended in a C-section, with the causes given as "failure to progress/fetal distress."

      Fast-forward 15 and half years to pregnancy #2. I was determined to have a VBAC, as I have always come to feel that if things had been done differently, I could have avoided the original C-Section. So, it was a bit of a let-down when I learned that they wanted me to do a repeat C-Section (especially since I was led to believe that VBACs were commonly and routinely offered after C-Section births).  The nurse (whom I grew to DESPISE, then cordially tolerate) at my current OB/GYN suggested that I find a new Dr's office pronto, if I was really determined to have my VBAC. So, I began the task of trying to find a new Dr, who would do a VBAC, accept the hubby's insurance, and would take me on at 19 weeks & "advanced maternal age."

      I hit road block after road block. I was told repeatedly that the main Mal-practice insurance company that carried the doctors in my state, didn't cover VBACs, so most doctors wouldn't perform them. I was finally, at around 29 weeks, given information about the "holy grail" of hospitals. It is connected with a large, and prestigious university here, and they stay on the cutting edge, so VBACs are small potatoes to them. I called the hospital with fingers crossed. The woman who helped me was so nice, pleasant and sweet, but it was basically for naught. In order to deliver at that hospital, you had to have a Primary Care Physician w/that hospital, who would then refer you to an OB/GYN at that hospital. Unfortunately, all of the PCPs were full, and weren't taking any new patients. I was back to square one.

      Then, a friend of the hubby's told him how she went about getting her VBAC. She works in the medical field, so she was a trusted source. She suggested that upon the beginning stages of labor, I just hold tight. She advised me to remain at home until either my water broke, or the pain became so unbearable that I couldn't see straight. That way, when I got to the hospital, I would already be so far along that they would have to just deliver me. I ran this idea passed my aunt (who is a practicing nurse practitioner and mid-wife (who works and delivers at a hospital in another state)), and while she didn't give it a ringing endorsement, she certainly didn't shoot it down. Her only advice was to make sure I gave myself enough time to get to the hospital, in the slim event that there was a problem.

      That's what I did. When labor started that Saturday morning, I went about my day as usual. At around 1pm, I decided to go grocery shopping, so that the hubby and K would have food while I was in the hospital. The grocery stores that I shop at are about 20 and 35 miles from my house respectively. I ignored the contractions in Super Target, and prayed that my water didn't break in the store, resulting in an all-out pandemonium. It didn't. I made it home, put my groceries away, and endured labor for another 6 to 7 hours in the comfort of my own home. I breathed slowly through contractions, and basically functioned as my own doula. I was home alone with my 15 year old daughter, and didn't want to scare the living daylights out of her, so I forced convinced myself to stay as calm as possible. I think it helped both of us, actually. She was confident that I was handling things "okay", and (I think) remaining calm and keeping a cool head kept the contractions at a level where the pain was totally tolerable (I should insert that I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, in normal situations, anyway).
By the time the hubby got home from work, and we made it to hospital, the water bag was still intact, and I was 6cm and 70% effaced. Less than two hours and four pushes later, we welcomed our son. Via VBAC!

     Wow. Looking back it's funny to me how determined and militant I was about having that VBAC. Nobody told me that my lady parts would be on fire for three weeks following delivery. How it would hurt to sit down and potty. In the end, I have to say that there are pros and cons with both methods of delivery. If I had to have a C-Section with #3, I think I would be fine with it. I don't think I would mind giving my pelvic floor a break, at all. (smile)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Make Every Crooked Place, Straight?

Psalm 6:3
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD—how long?

BEWARE: This is a sensitive topic, with race-related undertones.

Today, I read a very disturbing article on Yahoo news. It's not the first time that I've read a story like this, and I am MOST certain that it won't be the last. Still, that doesn't make the story any less gripping, crippling, heart-wrenching or mind-numbing.

The story revolved around a young lady who is/was a very accomplished and heavily recruited basketball player from NYC, who was gunned-down in an apparent incident of mistaken identity. This story is heart-breaking on sooooo many levels. However, for me the story is most heart-breaking, because this 18 year old young lady was black, and I am raising a black daughter myself.

I am an over-protective parent. My daughter has never given me a reason to hold on to her so tightly, it's just who I am. It's my nature. My daughter has been educated mostly at parochial schools, and she's been raised almost exclusively in the suburbs. My daughter has never come face-to-face with violence (other than a school yard fight), nor has she ever been the victim of a crime (except maybe some teasing that went too far or bullying). Still, I've always been very over-protective. I've been like a hawk...a tigress even, making sure that harm has never been close enough to touch or mar my daughter's world. And as protective as I am and have been with her, I've always felt that she's had a little bit easier, because she is a girl...and not a boy. I don't have to worry about some of the things that parents of sons (black sons in particular) have to worry about. I've always been relieved to have a daughter.

Well, my innocence was brutally snatched away by a well-meaning u/s tech during a 20 week scan of my pregnant stomach, back in July of 2010. She happily announced that I was expecting a baby boy. My heart sank. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having three beautiful daughters. I felt confident that I was pregnant with daughter number 2, and that my long-awaited dream was finally coming true. However, all of my hope was dashed with three little words. "It's a boy."

My husband was excited, while I was numb. I walked around for the next several weeks just...stunned. I rubbed my belly and imagined the black baby boy growing inside of me, and all I felt was fear. Fear of what the future held for a black boy in the millennium, in America. I watched the news and heard horror stories of black boys gunned down in the street, left dead or "for" dead, like trash. And these crimes were mainly committed by other black boys. Boys who's mom had heard the words "it's a boy" either at an ultrasound, or in a delivery room, and began to contemplate a future for her son. Who had dreams of her son doing great things. Who had dreams of seeing her son marry, or become a father, or heck, even graduate from grade school. Moms who would now, sit in a courtroom and watch her son be judged for a terrible offense. Or moms who would a few years later be on the news with tears streaming down their faces, as they tried to wrap their minds around the fact that the baby boy they loved, prayed for, and had hopes and dreams for was no more. Now he was a memory. They would never see him walk into a room, in his oh-so-familiar way. They would never hear his unique voice call out to them , "Ay Ma." They would never feel the touch of his lips on their cheek. Or the grooves of his hand on their shoulder.

I was scared. I was scared for my son, who was at the time safe and protected by my womb. I was scared for myself. Scared of being one of those moms, crying on the news, trying to make sense of something so...senseless. Wanting and needing to hate and/or blame somebody.

I was resentful. Resentful as I walked through the mall and saw moms of other races pushing their strollers. Their little boys riding along happily. Resentful that they would never know my fear. Never understand it. Never be able to relate to the thoughts that would occasionally grip me. I was resentful that when the u/s tech had told them that it was a boy, they were able to celebrate without thoughts of their sons lying dead in the streets with bullets holes riddling their bodies ever ONCE entering their minds. It was sooooo unfair!!!

But God had to remind me that the battle isn't about flesh and blood, race or color, suburbs or inner-city. Those things are simply distractions to keep us as the human race from coming together and addressing the problems. The battle is spiritual. We've gotta find a way to win hearts, and change mindsets for all of our children's futures. We are intrinsically connected. And these killings aren't happening in my neighborhood, on my block, or in my backyard...but if they're happening somewhere in America, then they're happening to me. If they're happening to black children, white children, Latin children in America, then it's happening to my children. And it's affecting me.

God bless the family of Tayshana Murphy. May the Lord show Himself to be the Prince of peace in their lives, that they may have a peace that surpasses all understanding during this time unbelievable heart-break.

Good people lose their children to random violence, too. Every child that is killed in the ghetto is NOT necessarily the product of a broken home, a poor single mom, a crack mom, a negligent mom, etc. Good people live in bad neighborhoods, because it's all they can afford, and they do the best that they can to raise their children, the best way they can. ~ Evil visits all of our houses, and most of us don't invite him in with open arms. ~ Bad things happen to good people. Compassion and sympathy are free to give.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Random Thoughts

Psalm 94:11
The LORD knows the thoughts of man,
that they are futile.

My church called a fast this week, and I for one am glad about it. I have been praying to the Lord, and telling Him how much I desire really want to get my life back to that disciplined place that it was about a year ago. Once I found out that I was pregnant, and "morning" sickness subsequently kicked in, I let myself slide on daily devotions and such.

And once my son was born and the diagnosis came down, all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and eat chocolate cake. Of course I cried out to the Lord during that time. I thought I was losing my mind, while simultaneously falling into a black pit. But when I called out to the Lord during that storm, it WASN'T for relationship, it was for survival. I was in a place where I knew if God didn't do it (pull me out of the darkness), it wasn't gonna get done.

Anyway, today is my "fast" start day (even though everyone else started this past Tuesday), and I feel really good about it. I opened my scripture reading today with the story of Gideon. He defeated the army of Midian with 300 men, and freed the Israelites from (yet another) captivity. During my reading, and just in general some random thoughts popped into my head.

Things That Keep Me in Awe of God

  • God is faithful. It's so cliche to say, but it's so true. The Israelites (and Mrs. Mocha) were just so determined t get off track, but when they cried out to the Lord for help and deliverance, He answered their calls with mercy, grace and love.
  • God is patient. Enough said.
  • God is gracious. God doesn't go around throwing what He's done for us in our faces. He reminds us, but not with arrogance.
  • God is merciful. I can personally say that God has NEVER ONCE given me what I deserved. Knowing myself the way that I do, I can honestly say that based on behavior alone (we won't even take thoughts or words into consideration) I deserve hell, hell, and more hell every second of every day. And I have had some hell in my life, but the magnitude has been buffered lovingly by God, so that I'm chastised, but not defeated.
  • God is funny.
  • God is loving.
  • God is gentle. Again, God has had to "deal" with me on several occasions. But once I come out of the storm and can see clearly, I'm always blown by how God has handled me with kid-gloves, rather than giving me what I deserve.
  • God is patient. Did I say that already? It bears repeating.
  • God is amazing.
  • God is on His own time clock. Time in the natural is of absolutely no consequence to Him. What we expect to happen and when is our business.
  • God is forgiving.
  • God is kind.
  • God is strict. He doesn't take too kindly to a lot of foolishness.
  • God can not/ will not be bribed. You can try to cut "deals" with the Lord if you want to. Most of time, you're fooling yourself.
  • God is unbiased. "Good works" can't get you into the good graces of God. He gives gifts without works, and time & chance happen to us all.
  • God is unchanging. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. He remains the same.
  • God is mind-blowing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In This Season

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
       2 A time to be born, And a time to die;
      A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
       3 A time to kill, And a time to heal;
      A time to break down, And a time to build up;
       4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
      A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
       5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
      A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
       6 A time to gain, And a time to lose;
      A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
       7 A time to tear, And a time to sew;
      A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
       8 A time to love, And a time to hate;
      A time of war, And a time of peace.

This is my season. I don't mean that in the "holier-than-thou", "name it & claim it" way. I mean it exactly the way it sounds. This is my season. Autumn is my season. My ABSOLUTE favorite time of year.

For me, Autumn symbolizes rebirth. Which is weird, since Autumn is usually the time of year where nature begins it's death cycle, to actually be reborn again in the spring. But still, in my mind's eye, Autumn is about rebirth. School starts, which is the rebirth of learning. The green of the leaves begins to change into glorious hues, which is the rebirth of nature's beauty (to me). The holidays begin to approach, which is the rebirth of extended family-togetherness. My birthday comes, and it's the rebirth of me. I just love Autumn.

There's football, and Girl/Boy Scouts, and Mocha Mom meetings, and the school board committee, and apple picking, and pumpkin patches, and nature walks, and warm beverages served while steaming hot, and there's a crispness beneath the comfortable breeze, and the days get shorter, and the a.c. gets turned off, while the windows are opened, and fresh air abounds, and the clothes are cuter, and jackets come out, and I just feel soooo free and easy.

Last Autumn, I was 8/9 months pregnant. And it was so apropos, so appropriate that I would be completely filled to the brim with life, at the time of year that figuratively fills me with life. I was soooo happy. Exuberant even. It was one of the best times of my life.

How good is God to give us seasons, in our season? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Psalm 34:10
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
but they that seek the Lord shall not want
for any good thing.

Although I live in the "world", I am not of it. As one of my favorite pastors (Rev. Harvey Carey of Citadel of Faith, Detroit)  has said, I am an ambassador of Heaven, living and working here on earth. And sometimes, the ways of earth do "catch me up." Just as I'm sure the ways of America have "caught up" ambassadors from other countries.

So, lately every once and a while, I find myself behaving in ways that aren't cool with me. Like right  now, part of my brain keeps telling me that I should feel down about the fact that August has ended without a pregnancy. I should feel like a failure. I should feel old. I should feel hopeless and helpless. I should feel badly about myself. I'm a female, and I can't even complete the simple task of getting pregnant. Something must be wrong with me. I mean, I am married, so I can get sex anytime I want it. Something must be wrong with me.

 But as loud and as repetitious as that voice is, I just can't buy into the garbage. I don't feel badly about myself. Actually, I feel pretty good about myself. I managed to eat a healthy breakfast this morning, so I did something good for my body. I don't feel old. I can get up and down from the floor with my ten month old, as I prove 23 gazillion times a day. I don't feel like a failure. I'm on my cycle right now, which means that I ain't in menopause. Hope springs eternal! I don't feel hopeless. The Lord loves me. He hears me. And He does answer prayer. Like I said, I'm feeling pretty good.

I truly believe that God is not done growing my family. And although pregnancy is not happening in my time, that doesn't mean that God isn't working behind the scenes to put good things together for me. Pregnancy will happen. I know it will. I don't know how or why I know...I just do. I know in my thinker. Pregnancy is on the way.

Monday, September 5, 2011

You Can Get With This

(Subtitled: The Choice is Mine)

Deuteronomy 30:19
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you,
that I have set before you life and death,
blessing and cursing;
therefore choose life,
that both you and your descendants may live

So, today wasn't a bad day. I mean, I got up and spent some time by myself (which I LOVE) while K (the daughter) slept, and the Hubs watched K2.0 (the son). I prepared the food that we will eat for dinner over the next few days, and made bottles. Once the Hubs left for work, the K, K2.0 and I went over to my mom's for some Labor Day barbecue. It was all in all a good day.

Except, yesterday I got my period. Not that it should bother me. After all, this is the ONE month this year that I have NOT wanted to get pregnant. I'm saying, an August pregnancy equals a May due date. And K is a senior in high school. May is a very important month for her. There's prom, luncheons and yes, even graduation. I would feel worse than awful if I thwarted any of her plans and desires because I went into labor. And I would be COMPLETELY suicidal if I missed her graduation, because I was off giving birth, or recovering from birth. She was my only child for 15 years. She's my Mini-Me. I just can't risk something like that. I just can't be be all willy-nilly with something as important to her as having her mom help her get ready for prom, or seeing her graduate. So, I took extra precautions this month. I skipped on BD'ing around O, and really tried my best not to make any moves that might result in pregnancy.

And I was successful. K's prom and graduation will go off sans any drama related to having a 9 month / 40 week pregnant mother. I should feel relieved. Proud of myself even. But all I feel is ambivalent. I feel like, one more month has come to an end, bringing 2011 closer to an end, bringing my 40th year of life closer to an end, possibly bringing my fertility closer to an end.

I can admit that I'm so frantic to get pregnant, because I really need to know that I can get pregnant. Although I had a baby 10 (somewhat) short months ago, the fear that my age has caught up to me / is rapidly gaining speed on me, scares the daylights out of me. I don't want to go into menopause. I don't want to have reduce ovarian reserve. I want the opportunity to shut down the "baby-making" factory. I don't want the factory to shut down on me.

Fear creeps in somewhat subtly, but swiftly. Fear is soooo slick like that. Like a slutty chick, she moves in slowly, seductively, but once she's arrived it doesn't take long for her to pounce. I can be going along just fine, and next thing I know, BAM!!!! I'll remember that my 41st birthday is approaching. And after that, the 42nd one will want it's chance to shine. Then, the 43rd one will get impatient, and so on and so on. I don't wanna look up, and be 45 without another pregnancy.

I work myself into a frenzy of worry. I find myself googling AHM test. Wondering if taking one would do a person like me more harm or good (more harm, unless it came back favorably). I'm looking up the symptoms of "peri-menopause." Blessedly, I don't have any. I start reading blogs, and I come across a line that says, "I will have happiness." And I decide, "Hey, that sounds good." So, I too will have happiness.

And the Lord reminded me that I can have happiness anytime I want it. It's available to me All I have to do is choose it. So, I do. I choose it. I choose to believe that even though I don't always feel as positive about my situation as I would like to, I'm not about to start feeling/believing the opposite. I'm not about to get negative...or even worse...bitter. When I catch myself getting down about my situation, I will choose happiness. Positivity. Faith. it's my decision. I can choose whatever I want.

Blacksheep told me so, way back in 1991. They told me that, "I could get with this, or I could get with that." I think I'll get with positivity, cuz hope is kinda PHAT!!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From the Crown of Your Head

Psalms 115:15

May you be blessed by the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.

I follow a lot of blogs. And the majority of the blogs I follow are written women who consider themselves infertile.

I follow these ladies on the journey which is this season of life. The season that they long for motherhood, but it seems so heart-wrenchingly just out of their reach.

I read the blogs of women who have suffered countless failed IUIs and IVFs. Women who have suffered a heart-stabbing number of miscarriages, and even women who have suffered still births.

I read the blogs of women who are finally pregnant. The thing they've hoped for, prayed for, and even dedicated a blog to has finally happened. Yet, every post on their blog smacks of insecurity, disbelief, hopelessness, fear, turmoil and depression.

And my heart bleeds for them. I, as the mother of two, can not imagine their agony and/or pain. While I can not empathize, I certainly do sympathize. And I pray. I pray long, hard and fervently that these women will be able to experience joy in the land of living. I pray and hope that each of them is blessed from the crown of their heads, to the soles of their feet. I pray that everything they touch will be forever changed just from their presence and essence. I pray that their prayers will be answered.

I pray.