Archive for September 2015

Overused   Leave a comment

Maybe I’m a grumpy old lady, but when I am enthusiastic about something I hope people can just tell.

It might be they can because I never stop talking about it.  Ask my husband and my friends what I really get excited about. There have been different fascinating subjects I’ve fallen in love with over the years.  The Donner Party.  Getting pregnant.  Homebirth.  VBAC.  Healthy diets.  Food.

Maybe you can tell what I love by what you often see me doing.  Reading, cooking, being outside, keeping up with friends.  I moderate an online support group.   I invite people to dinner.  Working with my husband, I plan next year’s camping trip, and there is nothing better than traveling west with him and the kids.

It’s been a while since I’ve been asked what my interests are when introduced to someone new, so I am not sure how I would bring those things up in a conversation with a new friend.

But passionate is one word I would not use.

I’m honestly afraid that I could never live up to that level of pure emotion.  Shoot, when I was a kid passionate was reserved for how people felt when they were getting amorous.

I’ll try to stick to doing, rather than stating.

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Posted September 30, 2015 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

A Day with a Friend?   Leave a comment

It’s not that I have no friends.  Sure, I don’t have as many as I would like to, I guess because in my mind, I’m still living in junior high, where I had friendships with most everyone in my class of a hundred.  Apparently, that’s my model of what day-to-day life with friends should be.

Obviously, that is a bit out of date now that I’m pushing 50.

But I do have friends.

I have quite a few friends that I keep up with through social media, and a few less that I see every three to six months for dinner or dessert, to get caught up.  I have fewer friends that come to my house and sit and chat on the porch.  I have a couple of friends I get together with for longer visits, with my children and theirs.

Those are the relationships, the whole family friendships, that I really treasure.  They are jewels.

I know some of the reasons time spent with these friends doesn’t happen as much as I or they would like.

We have reasons like these: Homeschooling

Children’s activities

Distance

Chronic health problems and low energy

Five kids and counting

Doctor’s appointments

Work.School.Stuff.

You know what I mean?

I used to have time to spend a full day with a friend.

When our oldests were little, my closest friend and I would spend the day together about every month. We lived an hour apart, even then, but we enjoyed our time together enough that we’d book those days on our calendars and look forward to them, almost better than chocolate.  My son and I would get up, eat breakfast, dress, load our bag for the trip over and head out.  We’d come back barely in time to put dinner together before Dad got home.

The time would fly by.  We talked, took the kids for walks, took them outside to play, threw lunch together, dealt with needs, tried putting the kids down for naps, laughed, schemed, punned, and just generally had a good time.  (Wendy, please forgive me for being unwilling to get together on Mondays in those days.  🙂  I hope you know you really are more important to me than catching up on my laundry.)

I know I thought my life was full and busy then, but I hadn’t seen anything yet.

Now that I have more kids, I love the friends as much as ever, but apparently, I don’t have as many minutes in a day.

Posted September 30, 2015 by swanatbagend in community, friendship

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It’s a Wonderful Life – Part II   Leave a comment

Every now and then when I meet a new mother who has had a cesarean, or in early September which is the same time of year at which these events occurred, I remember.  I remember the feeling of shock that fall was already on its way–when I thought I was having a summer baby.  I had a due date of August 9th.  But he didn’t come until the 24th.  Then I didn’t get home from the hospital til the 27th.  Then before I knew it Labor Day was at hand.

The yellowing and wilting landscape personified my inner state.

Everything in my world felt like it was spiraling to an end.

I was sleeping again, which was an improvement and an escape.

Eating had started getting a bit better.

So I was functioning on some very basic level, but while the body was healing, the mind definitely wasn’t.

I wasn’t able to define it until several years later, but I was dealing with post traumatic stress disorder brought on by an unexpected cesarean at the end of a 30 hour labor with my son.

I had planned the birth of my first baby very carefully and thought I had the best care providers I could find.  All was well until I went past the time limits they were comfortable with.  Then my nurse midwives began to tell me I was too tired to go on, and their support for my natural birth went out the window.

I ended up in the ER an hour later, with a general anesthesia, for what they called an emergency cesarean.

That is not a good start for any major life transition, and it completely rocked my world.

I won’t define post traumatic stress in this post, but there is plenty of good information about what it is and what causes it on the net.  Suffice it to say, between new motherhood, the changes in hormones, a traumatic birth, the physical recovery from that birth, and wanting to generate positive feelings for my new son, and not having them–I was a big mess.

I really thought the world had come to an end.

It’s been twenty years now, and I’m happy to say that I was wrong.

It had not.

The reasons it did not come to an end were several: my husband, my parents, and some friends.  They were worth more than their weight in gold.  They were much more helpful than the counselor I saw for a month or two.  They were more important even than the medication I was given that let me finally sleep after a week with no sleep, and of course, that’s saying a lot.

These people were the reason because they kept on loving me and telling me the truth–that I would get better and that reality as I saw it was not reality.  Some of these friends took time every single week for months to call me.  They asked how I was doing, listened to and helped carry my despair, but kept encouraging me.

My husband put up with all my junk and kept on taking care of me, and of our baby, encouraging me to do normal things like go for walks, make dinner, go to church, with the assumption that one day, things would snap back to the reality I was actually living in, which was that everything was OK, even if I didn’t currently think it was.

So–

I have a life now, 20 more years of it, that I wouldn’t have lived if I had had my way and put an end to it.

Thank God for his indescribable gift.  It really is a wonderful life.

Moment of Truth   Leave a comment

Yes, that moment happened to me this summer.  We were on a road trip to a wedding, and stopping briefly at a truck stop to use the restroom, I was coming out of the stall to wash my hands.  I looked up into the mirror, under the flattering light of fluorescent bulbs, and it happened.

That’s really what I look like?”

Oh man.  Not a good feeling.  Old, wrinkled, and somewhat bloated.

Well.  There’s good in every moment, right?

So… if I’ve joined the rest of the human race in the dilemma of weight that appears in unwanted places, and does not leave just because we want it to–that’s not such a bad thing.

Could motivate me to consider a new hair style or maybe different color of clothes.  Definitely aware that I need to work on taking care of myself.

Practice seeing things from someone else’s perspective.

Hmm….If I was too good-looking, it would scare people off.

Reality check: God uses it all.

 

Posted September 20, 2015 by swanatbagend in identity, transitions

Ways of Removing a Loose Tooth   2 comments

You’ve seen the videos of children with floss or string tied around their loose teeth, squinting and grimacing at the camera and lisping out some variant of “Daddy, is this really gonna work?”  There are other ways to remove a loose tooth, however, which you probably have not seen.

I have a method to recommend that is pretty much foolproof.

Take the children with you to the grocery store.

Preferably do this at the end of a long day when everyone is already tired and hungry.

Put the two and a half-year old in the cart.  Obviously the seven-year old can’t go in the cart; he’ll have to walk.

Take the kids up and down every aisle to be sure you haven’t missed anything.

Look for them to start poking each other every time you stop at the cereal, baking supplies, produce, meats, etcetera.  They’ll be bored enough they’ll have to find something to do, since you are traversing every aisle.

By the time you get to the check out lane and all lanes are of course quite full, you’ll have to wait a few more minutes, so that will get them really warmed up.

When you have made it to the conveyor belt and unloaded everything, and the clerk is ringing up your order, just watch.

Your seven-year old will be dancing around in front of the cart, and trying to poke the two-year old in her adorable belly.  She will have had enough of his nonsense at this point, and drawing back her small, firm, powerful fist–she will punch him right in the mouth.

His tooth will pop out and go skittering across the floor, to the great amusement of you and the clerk.

You can’t go wrong.

 

 

Posted September 20, 2015 by swanatbagend in humor, parenting

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What Can It Do?   2 comments

How does the church respond to members of the body who live with chronic illness or disability?

How could it respond?

It’s a hard question to answer, because it is hard for anyone to know how to deal with chronic situations, that by definition are not going to go away, that may or may not get better.

In some ways, a crisis is more straightforward.  It can get a response from the body, because a straightforward response can be given.  If someone is in the hospital, very ill, or in an accident, obvious needs can be met — childcare, food, logistics, yard work, cleaning — all these areas can be picked up by other capable hands.

If someone has a serious illness, prayer is offered.  Healing is desired.  Often, it’s expected.  And practical help in the way of food and mowing the grass can be arranged.

If someone’s parent, spouse or child has died, practical help and comfort can be given.  If there’s divorce, an accident, a fire, a surgery, food is always good, and a listening ear helpful.

It gets messier and more confusing when there is no end in sight.  And that’s understandable.

If a person lives day in and day out in a wheelchair, or with chronic pain, or has a disease that is understood not to be curable, the situation becomes different, for several reasons.  A child with a disability, health problems that don’t resolve, ongoing financial problems, care-giving for a spouse or aging parent–these are all situations that won’t go away in a month or two.

I think the reason this is harder to address is because people love to help, but they would like to feel they brought about a solution.  They like results.

I don’t blame them.  We all want results.

The other reason is that chronic situations can become invisible.  The member of the body has to face the reality of the situation and find a way to go forward and live life.  They often do this so beautifully and bravely, learning through the trials to “keep on keeping on,” that the struggle they face may no longer be obvious.  They learn to cope, they find resources, they come up with a way to live or they die trying.  So, others walking alongside the person may not necessarily see the “thorn in the flesh.”

Honestly, those in chronic situations know these challenges are their own responsibilities.  They know nobody is going to be able to be able to waltz in with a casserole and fix the problem.  And they know that other people are understandably able to give them only so much.  Just because a person’s baby is born with Down’s syndrome doesn’t mean that person gets meals delivered every day for the rest of the child’s life.  It doesn’t work that way.

Yet–should the church ignore the struggle?

No.

Of course not.  While tempering its response with the known reality, that unless God intervenes the situation is not going away, the church can offer love in a practical way–the same kind of love it would offer in an acute one.

Affirmation.  Prayer.  Encouragement.  Food.  Help with yard work, house work, errands, or childcare for other children.  All of these gifts can be given to one whose disease is probably not going to be cured, to one whose difficult situation is not going to just evaporate.

The body cannot minister as intensely in a situation that is chronic–but it can minister.

The circumstances will be different, but the love can be the same.

Posted September 16, 2015 by swanatbagend in the church

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