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Evidently I think this is who I am. I have really over committed myself this week and I’ve done a poor job of managing my time. Where does that leave me? I’m going to bed before 10 p.m. (You’re gasping, aren’t you Jan?) I’m turning into my dad…or my husband. yikes. I’m so tired I can barely type. So why am I still typing you ask? Good question. I wish I could remember. Oh yeah. To tell you that I’ve once again signed on to be part of a blog tour. Join me tomorrow so I can tell you about the book, Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couple’s Guide To Keeping It Together by Tricia Goyer. I’m a Gen Xer and thought this book sounded interesting, especially since it was written for my generation.

I am holding a contest on this blog as well as my Sex, Love, and Marriage blog, to win a copy of the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with either a title or a line from your favorite 80’s or 90’s love song. Sounds fun and easy, right? The contest will only run for 5 days beginning tomorrow, April 3rd and ending Monday, April 7th. If you think that’s fun, this is straight from the blog tour host site:

Oh…and you can win a date with your spouse (whoohoo) Love Gen X Style!

Share your story and WIN a dinner for TWO to the restaurant of your choice! ($50 maximum)

Tell us the story of how you and your spouse met. If you have photos, send those along, too! All the stories will be published on this blog.

The winning story will be the one with the most comments…so tell your friends. A winning story will be chosen at the end of the blog tour and will be published in Tricia’s monthly newsletter! (Just think, you’ll be famous!

Contest entry form for Generation NeXt Marriage blog tour!

See you tomorrow! 🙂

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The weather was great and we made it to Buena Vista to see our friends. I enjoyed a cup of chai and two hours of conversation with Linda. I bonded with my in-laws. We came home and Adam came for a visit. We had a wonderful time with all. And now for today…

Happy Easter!

This morning our family, including my friend Heather, visited a church that our new friends Steve and Missy (and their team) planted in Boulder. They are meeting in a high school and they had a pretty good crowd for their first Sunday. What a great day to open the doors of a church for the first time! The music was good. The message was encouraging. The people were friendly. Their was an excited buzz in the air. God was present. I was moved. It will be nice to visit the High Way Community from time to time to encourage our friends and join them in praising God.

We spent the afternoon with the Captivating families minus my dear friends Paula and Jerry. Paula has a killer toothache and isn’t functioning very well, so she was home in bed. 😦 Please pray for her. We all met at Wendy’s house and had a great time eating, laughing, talking, having an Easter egg hunt for the kids and reading an Easter story together. 8 adults and 16 children. It was fantastic. After we prayed together, Wendy said, “He is risen!” and everyone responded with “He is risen indeed”. Everyone except me and Benny. Was this some secret ritual we didn’t know about? We had never heard that before. I guess it’s some sort of liturgical reading and response – something we never did in the C of C. Nobody really knew the exact origin of the phrase. Anyway, it was cool and we joked that they needed to teach us the secret handshake as well. 🙂 It was an afternoon with our extended family and it was refreshing and filling.

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This picture was taken last summer at Wendy’s murder mystery birthday party, “Killing for the Crown”. L-R is Me, Wendy, Paula, Abi, and Kristi.

In the Broadway hit, Les Miserables, one of the lead characters sings, “To love another person is to see the face of God”. How true. God has moved, shaped, loved, stretched, comforted, and grown me through the relationships I have with these 4 fabulous women. I am who I am today because of their influence and the road we’ve walked together the past two years. My sisters and friends. I have experienced God in new ways through these women and their families. He is risen alright! He is alive and at work all around me and in me! He is risen indeed!

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My Journey has led me to the grandest of mountain peaks where the sun glinting off the snowcaps was blindingly beautiful and my heart soared with eagle’s wings of joy. It has also led me through the driest and darkest of valleys where I felt like I would die of thirst if nourishment didn’t somehow get past my crusty and cracked lips. Such is life…and I don’t view it as something to be endured as much as something to be experienced while being fully present through the pain and the joy. I walk with God – or more like He walks with me. He chose me first and when I chose Him back, He promised He’d never leave me. In the past few weeks, I’ve clung to that promise.

I debated for a long time whether or not I would post about my sorrows. I’ve been skimming along the surface for awhile now, avoiding some tough things I’m supposed to discuss here. Blogging what I’m about to share is me taking the deepest breath I can and diving for the depths – partly out of obedience and mostly hoping and praying it will help someone else. If you’re coming along with me, breathe deep friend. I’m not coming back up for air until next week sometime.

I miscarried.

Those two words sent me into a state of shock and I’m still recovering. I think I will be for a long time. Without sharing all the details here, let me share with you why I was/am so shocked. I had a tubal ligation done 4 years ago when Petey was born. That decision was based on discussions with doctors about scar tissue I have from 3 previous c-sections. My babies don’t come out the other way. I felt strongly like I shouldn’t have a 4th c-section. We have always planned on adopting someday, so I was o.k. with not having any more babies.

Three weeks ago I miscarried. I didn’t even know I was pregnant until it happened. I think I was about 10 weeks along. It didn’t require any medical procedures. Though oxygen when I figured out what was happening would have been nice. Shock doesn’t even begin to cover it.

What does this mean? Questions flooded my mind like a geyser had erupted somewhere inside me and shot them straight through my brain stem. Was the tubal a mistake? Did it not work on one side or both? Did it work but my body healed itself during the recovery process after delivery? How did this happen? I know there are no guarantees but this method is one of the most fool-proof forms of sterilization? How could I beat the odds? I’m a statistic! Is God trying to tell me something? Am I supposed to have more children? We talked through that decision for a long time – were we wrong? Is sterilization wrong? Does God care about such things? Am I in danger of this happening again? Do we need to start using birth control again? Do I have another surgery if needed? Should I have exploratory procedures done to show me what happened? Wouldn’t it be nice to have health insurance right now? How do I feel about the possibility of having more children? How does Benny feel about it? What’s my fear here? Do I just wait and see what happens next? Do I tell people and ask for prayer? Who should I share this with? Why do we always think things like this happen to other people and never to us? Do we tell our kids? (We decided they are too young to understand.) How common is this?

The first week I spent in shock and asking questions. I was trying hard to wrap my brain around it. I was pregnant? Really? Then I taught at FACE and a girl in one of my classes wore a small pro-life pin on her shirt. It was baby feet at 10 weeks gestation. I saw that pin and felt like someone simultaneously slapped my face and punched me in the stomach. I faked my way through the rest of the morning, and came home to fall apart. The emotion I felt guilty for not having the week before came on hard and fast in tidal wave fashion. And here I sit two weeks later still processing and crying at the oddest times. I’m sure my hormones are still not back to normal, but I’m a crier anyway. Most of the time, I can talk about it without crying. Today has been hard though.

Yesterday I received an email from a college friend whom I’d not yet told about what I’d been going through. She was distraught because she miscarried this week. She had just found out last week that she was pregnant (5 weeks) and she was deliriously happy. This week she is depressed and healing and reaching out for support. I love this woman and I want to encourage her but I’m struggling with the how of it all. We all deal with loss in different ways. She knew about the baby before it was gone. I didn’t know about mine. It took me a week just to acknowledge that it was a BABY. Then came another shock. I had sent out an email to several friends telling them what I’m going through so they could pray for me as I process and grieve, and MORE THAN HALF of the women who emailed me back had miscarried and I didn’t even know. A few of the men had experienced the loss from a husband’s point of view. I hadn’t given much thought about it being a subject that isn’t discussed. I had no idea how common it was – even among my friends.

WHY??? Why didn’t I know? Why isn’t this shared? Why do people suffer alone and not surround themselves with a supportive community to help them cope? Am I strange to be so open in talking frankly about it? Is that just MY way of coping? I would have taken every opportunity to encourage and love on a friend going through something like this even when I didn’t have the first clue what it felt like to suffer this loss. I felt alone and didn’t know who to call when I was freaking out…I didn’t know. I did call a local friend who gets me and lets me be blunt, and she was fabulous! She had experienced miscarriage herself and she was of great comfort to me. Maybe I’ll get to be that person for someone else someday. Maybe it will be sooner than I think. I want to minister from in my pain. And that is where I am…in pain. Physically I’m fine. Mentally I’m still processing.

I have more to say, but it will have to wait until next time. I’m spent. I would appreciate your continued prayers that God’s will be done in my life and that I rely on His strength to get me through my valley of the shadow of death. Pray for my friend as well. If you’ve already prayed and/or sent me an email, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I’ve always said I’m richly blessed when it comes to friends.

A few facts I found on the web:

25-50 % of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Many women miscarry and don’t even know it – they think it’s a heavier than normal period.

Approximately 143 in 10,000 women get pregnant after having a tubal ligation. Most of them miscarry within the first trimester. The odds go up slightly 10 years after a tubal, but this is still one of the most effective (human error free) methods of sterilization.

A website I found helpful: www.pregnancyloss.info

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My friend Jan is discussing the Santa debate on her blog this week. She asked me to join in and since I already have a post written regarding that topic, I directed people to my own blog to read my opinion. Wasn’t that nice of me? 😀 So, If you’re here from Jan’s blog, or IF you care at all what I think about Santa, then click here to read that post. I will say that I wrote it last year and as our children grow, our holiday traditions evolve and change. This year is going pretty much as we’ve been celebrating the past few years. We’ve already talked about next year looking a little different.

Back to the discussion at hand here on MY Journey. I’m pleased with the responses so far regarding the questions I asked in my last post. I shared them so we could discuss not only what I’ve been thinking about, but to make you think as well. I’ve already said that, but there are still a few that think they need to take this opportunity to lead me to the “right” answers. That’s not where I’m going with this discussion. Even I am not trying to lead you to the “right” answers. Yours may be different than mine. I’d like to keep the discussion going. And let me just jump ahead of a few of you here. Based on previous comments, I know where you’re headed mentally and I’m NOT saying there are no absolutes when it comes to “right” answers. There certainly are. But the tension usually comes from discussing the gray areas.

I’ve been talking with God and I’m confident that I’m to stay on this path…asking questions. I’m going to see The Golden Compass tonight with my husband. I’m still reading books 2 & 3. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and observations as I finish each one. If you tire of the discussion surrounding the books and movies, my hope is that you’ll still stick around to dialog about the deeper issues that they bring up. I appreciate your comments and the wrestling through the faith discussion. Don’t feel you have to agree with me, but please do remain respectful. I’m glad you’re here, and thank you for your input.

I will also be blogging about other topics during this faith discussion. The dialog about TGC stuff is not my only focus. Life is happening all around me and I’m not just an observer, I’m a participant. Coming up next week: My review of the movie, a review of August Rush, where the Nowell family is at this holiday season, some really great song lyrics, and more discussion about tough faith questions. See you then!

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I’m feeling much better today and finally out of bed.  I thought I’d post something to make you smile. 🙂  A week of me being in bed gave Benny a run for his money. He was talking to his brother on the phone this morning and told him that if I ever die, he’s marrying the first woman he meets.  He said he didn’t want the family to get mad, but he just can’t do the whole single father thing.  Should I feel good knowing that I’m greatly needed and that life without my help is difficult? Or should I be offended that I could so easily be replaced? lol

Turkey day is over for you, but I have a special dinner to plan, pies to bake, and many, many things to be thankful for.  I’m going to celebrate with my family, then get working on those Christmas cards.

Happy Monday Friends!

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Catching my breath…

I have a lot to say about the past month, but it’s gong to take me a few days to say it. Here’s the general idea of my life over the past month:

Tawnya came for a visit and we had a great time. I have some great stories and pictures to share. So did she…Have you checked out her blog yet?

Benny decided to rearrange the house and build loft beds for the kids to create more floor space to play. Quite a project, but it was done with FREE wood – yeah Craig’s List!

Benny went out of town for a few days to help his brother with some projects.

I flew to MN/ WI for my sister’s wedding, which went pretty well. Be watching for “A Princess Story – Part 3”.

I got back to CO on Wednesday and I’ve been running since then! It has been nice chatting with friends on the phone while I’m getting caught up on housework/laundry,etc.

Benny left Wednesday for a healing conference in Castle Rock and he’ll be home tonight. There’s some really amazing things happening there!

My friend Tonia is coming to Denver today and will be here for a week staying with her childhood friend that lives 10 minutes from me. She’s a blogging friend I’ve not met face to face yet, so I’m excited to meet her.

I’m excited about worship tomorrow!

Petey is being healed from his allergies. He even had regular milk this morning on cereal with no reaction. 😉

So much to say…so little daylight. I’ll try to blog after the kids go to bed tonight and before Benny gets home. The kids and I are off on an adventure!

Have a great day and be sure to stop back this week to check out my pictures!

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Today’s post will make more sense if you read this one first. Also, Tawnya’s post titled “God’s little gifts” is related as well.

Three weeks ago today I sat on this very rock. I was hurting and broken-overwhelmed by the unfair hand life had been dealing me lately. An upcoming trip had me nervous and on edge. I had been awakened that morning by a horrible dream that left me feeling dirty, exposed, and shamed. I had asked God to purify me before my feet could hit the floor and to help me release and get rid of the images seared into my mind. Our worship service that morning had left me wanting to escape, and I shared an awkward moment with a friend whom I’d never felt that tense with before. It was hard. I was feeling lost and not like myself.

God had given me a song that morning, as He often does. “My Rest in Faith” played over and over in my head. It was a comfort, but I needed something more. I needed to get away and I needed to give some struggles and fears to God. My friend Heather had posted on her blog about a healing exercise she did on July 4th. I found it inspirational and decided I would do it too. Paula and Heather picked me up and we drove an hour into the mountains. We had lunch in a cozy little cafe in Georgetown, and then drove further up the mountain. There was a road that wound down and around leading us to a stream. We parked and Paula pulled a big blanket from the trunk which we laid on the ground and then we dropped to our knees. My friends held my hands and prayed over me, and in the middle of her prayer, Paula began to sing one of my favorite worship songs.

All who are thirsty, all who are weak

Come to the fountain, dip your heart in the stream of Life.

Let the pain and the sorrow be washed away in the waves of His mercy

As deep cries out to deep, we sing:

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

As tears formed mini rivers down my cheeks and my nose began to drip, I thanked God for meeting me there and comforting me through my friends. It was a good thing we had remembered to bring Kleenex. After a long, beautiful prayer, I took the plastic bag I brought with me from the car and began to gather rocks. Heather settled in with her journal while Paula went for a walk. All of us were lost in our own thoughts, yet somehow together. I set out looking for stones smooth enough to write on. I came across a small round one and picked it up, letting the coldness of it sink into my hand as I thought of King David. He too had gathered stones once. Five of them, though he only needed one.

“I need a rock, Lord” I told Him. “Can you please just give me one heart-shaped rock today? Please Lord?”

I dropped more rocks into my bag, and then sat down on a big boulder away from the road. I talked with God for a few minutes and even sang a song to Him. I thanked him for my friends and the blessings in my life. I told Him my plan for the sack of stones I was carrying. When I stood up to start back up the path to the stream, there right in front of me in the middle of the path was my answered prayer. A sob escaped my throat and the tears came quickly as I cried out loudly, “Thank You Lord!” I wept as I picked up my granite gift. Almost immediately I asked the Lord for another one. Isn’t that just like me…asking God for what I want, Him giving it to me, then me asking for more. Later as I retold this story to Benny he pointed out that maybe I had not asked for enough in the first place. Interesting point he’s got there.

As I settled in on this rock hanging out over the stream, I pulled my hot pink sharpie from my pocket and grabbed the first stone. One by one I wrote a word on a rock, explained to God what it meant to me and why I wanted to give it to Him, then threw it into the rushing waters to symbolize me giving it up. FEAR was the first one to go. Then Lust. Then self-hatred. That was followed by pride and anger. I tattooed rocks as fast as the thoughts came to me. Some I threw as hard and far as I could, and some I carefully positioned to drop into certain parts of the rapids. Some made me cry, and some just brought flooding feelings of relief. The words of Forrest Gump came back to me then, “Sometimes I guess there’s just not enough rocks”. And I cried some more.

When I couldn’t think of anything else to write, I asked God if He had anything in mind. The words He gave me came in waves as I acknowledged each thing He reminded me of. When it was finished, I had seven rocks left. I smiled…my favorite number…the name of our ministry…God is funny like that. Twenty-one rocks sank to the bottom of the stream that day. Seven came home with us. Not the ones I had left over. I took those and named family and friends, prayed over them, and released them to God as well.

By the time I was finished, a soft rain was falling. It was cool and healing, and I took it as a sign. He was washing away the residue from the things I had just given to Him. As I went to find my friends, I found two more heart-shaped rocks. We met back on the blanket, and I showed them what I had found and we laughed and delighted in God’s abundance. Then I walked back down to the stream to wash the marker off of me and found two more in the clear flowing water– which I presented to each of my friends. We packed up to leave and talked about how good it felt to get away like that and to meet God in His beautiful creation. We also talked about how glad we were that we had brought jackets. 😉

We decided to take the long, scenic route back to Denver, and as we drove over Guanella Pass, we came to a waterfall on the side of the road. I had to get out of the car to get a better look, raining or not. There in the gravel that lined the road, I found the last two rocks of the day. Seven in all. Though I saw several more, they were too big to carry home. I was surprised that they just kept coming, so Benny’s comment made sense to me. While I was more concerned about being selfish in my asking, God had more for me than what I was asking for! Why do I do that? How do I get over that?

Today Heather and I returned to that spot and I spent some time on that same rock that had been my platform of freedom three weeks ago. I journaled a bit and began writing this post. And guess what? A soft rain began to fall and I was reminded once again that God is renewing me and restoring my soul. I also found two heart-shaped rocks. I remembered not to sell God short this time. After all, He loves to show me how much He loves me, and Forrest was right…sometimes I guess there’s just not enough rocks!

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