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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Marriage, Miscarriage and Intimacy.

I find marriage to be difficult.

It's not difficult in a way that makes it unenjoyable or not worthwhile; what I mean is, it's difficult for ME to navigate. My husband is almost always accommodating, easy-going and considerate. As far as most men go, I'm extremely fortunate to have the husband I do.

I'm ashamed to say I'm a bad wife. I do try, but far too often, I place my own selfish feelings and desires ahead of his.

Mothering is also difficult at times, but it's instinctual. Even during trying times, for the most part, I have an inane sense of what is right and how to handle situations. Marriage is not like that, not for me at least. While I know what my husband thinks, feels, desires and needs for the most part, he's a grown adult and I can't make decisions and "lead" him like I can our children. I'm not his boss, nor his mother and I don't desire to be.  He's as strong-willed as I am, and I respect (and appreciate that) but it takes a lot of humility to have a healthy marriage, and I lack that gene.

Trust me when I say I'm working on that! I pray for humility. I strongly desire a more humble attitude and even writing this post is meant to help me with that endeavor.

However, it's not simple. You see, I have no example. I've been accused of being "too hung up on" my childhood,  but as I age, the more I realize just how much my past affects me now. With parents who could barely stand to be in a room together without verbal and physical altercations, I was not shown an example of humility and putting another's needs first. Being neglected, taught me to be fiercely independent. Being deprived of physical contact taught me to be distant. I was often not allowed to speak (during meals, when the TV was on, in the car, at family gatherings) so I learned to stay silent. I was hit, so I learned to remain still, control my breathing and essentially "hide in plain sight." I learned to survive alone and that is my comfort zone. I had parents who put their needs first at all times and told me I was unwanted and "ruined their lives." So, probably stemming from a survival instinct, I learned to completely detach and distance myself whenever there is any type of stressful situation.

It wasn't until I unexpectedly found myself in a committed relationship that I had to learn to change my way of thinking. I had to put another adult first. While that can be extremely easy at times, where I fail the most is when my "survival instincts" take over. On an average day, I'm more than happy to give up that doughnut for my love. On a stressful day, I find it VERY difficult to think of anyone else by myself. Tooth pain? Forget it, leave me alone. It's like there is a wild animal raging inside my brain. My anxiety goes through the roof and it's all I can do to control my thoughts from swallowing me into an abyss. It sounds dramatic, but it's honest.

Disclaimer: For all mentioned, children are easier to me. They are innocent/helpless souls and it's instinctual (easy) to always place a child above my own self. I believe that stems from my upbringing as well--never being able to rely on adults and wanting to take care of children who I can emphasize with.

Simply, it takes serious thought to 'remember' to put my husband first, in all ways; which I do want to do. I honestly, with all my heart, want to put him first no matter what. I cannot, no matter how much I try. It's not natural and I can only do it after I take (far too much) time to think things through.

I had a miscarriage recently. It was traumatic, to say the least. My body is just now healing and admittedly, it's been nearly 2 months since I've been intimate. I'm still not willing, though I can't explain why (don't know!) and I handled it poorly. I'm writing this post because I'm trying to sort out my brain and I'm procrastinating when I know an apology is due.

This is my process. At the time, I was annoyed and thinking "why do I have to deal with this" instead of looking at it as a distraction from my hardship or an opportunity to bond, love and be loved.

I'm a jerk, but more so, I'm lost. I have so many issues to overcome and it is embarrassing that at my age, I cannot let go of my past. It continues to ruin me and affect the people I love, who were never there and can never understand.

I'm only sure of one thing. I can survive with the Most High God and He's been with me, holding my hand all along.

I just have to keep working and asking for forgiveness--from both of them.

God, help me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

We May Never Know Why

We were surprised with an ectopic pregnancy despite having a tubal ligation performed 2.5 years ago. I will write more later, I'm not up to it now, but Rest in Peace, little angel. I wish it could have happened differently.

You may not have been here for long, but you'll never leave our hearts.

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Freedom of Trust

Do you ever think of Trust equaling Freedom?

I have lately.

I'm guilty of harboring an excessive amount of worry, paranoia, etc. My health is an especially sensitive topic for me. I was raised in an environment when I rarely saw a doctor. Sometimes years would go by and even then, I was often so sick before I saw a doctor I was hospitalized. It's even the reason I pursued a medical career. I wanted to learn more about an industry that intimidated and confused me. While I'm comfortable in my career and of course learned a lot, it's a mixed bag. I often find that after my cancer diagnosis as a teen; now working in an oncology practice might make me worry more.

I'm constantly scared that I'll have a recurrence. While it wouldn't have bothered me before--now I have something to live for. Now, I want to be able to provide for my husband and watch my kids grow up. Now, I have people that would be let down if I became incapacitated or left this world.

I never received follow-up care to address my thoughts/feelings/emotions after my diagnosis. I had surgery to remove the tumor and I was sent home. There, I stayed in bed for weeks with few visitors and little to do but sleep and watch TV. My grandmother called up a couple times a day to check on me and my mother stopped every couple of days to visit for a bit. I lost friends and family were afraid to talk to me. My (diabetic) father called to ask if I would give him a kidney "since you were just opened up, it'd be easier." I flatly said No. I felt empowered. It's not as though he was even a transplant candidate, it was just his way of pushing more emotional abuse upon me, but that's for another post.

I was alone afterward. My teen-aged friends abandoned me entirely. My family tip-toed around me and began to make comments about my "barren" status and how I'd "obviously never have kids". I was lost, sad, scared and maybe worst of all, indifferent.

Fast forward nearly 17 years later and nearly all of those emotions still plague me. Any twinge or unusual cycle makes me consider the cancer is coming back. My IBS diagnosis makes me think colon cancer is in my future. Everything leads back to cancer in my mind and I'm tired of it. I started a facebook page promoting "Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Support" but I'm in a leadership role and that's not benefiting ME like I'd hoped it would. I need help.

I hear people say "Trust God" and I do. I can honestly say I trust Him entirely. I don't always like His plans, but I trust Him. My problem comes from being human. Something upsets me and I search for signs and answers. Those usually lead me down a dark path. Because Christianity is my "second language" based on coming into it later in life, it's a bad habit of mine to worry/fret/panic before I even remember to meditate with God. To pray but more so to listen. I need to RUN to Him with open arms before I fall into worry. I need to SHOW my trust not just talk of it. I need to get into the HABIT of TRUSTING. (That is also a lesson I have yet to learn fully)

What I finally realized is that I've wanted freedom my whole life. Freedom from worry, pain, abuse, etc. It was right under my nose the whole time. If I can LIVE with Trusting God, I will truly be free. I will be more carefree and happy, like my father-in-law who is always happy and has a close relationship to God. My challenge isn't trust but letting go of my need to understand. Trusting God means accepting that I may never understand and it's OKAY. I just accept His will and live minute-to-minute if I have to.

It'll be a difficult journey for me, but it's one I'm willing to take.

Guide me, Lord. Help me release my fears and Trust You and love You more each day!
Amen!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Holy Gift of Easter

Let us Rejoice, He has Risen!

Thank you, Lord, for your only begotten son. Thank you for your sacrifice and the hope and salvation it brings us.

Let's honor the great sacrifice by working. Let us work on becoming better Christians; better servants to Christ. Let us help our fellow man and learn to love each other more. Let the spirit of renewal overcome us!

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
~Henry Knox Sherrill

Lord, guide us and help us become vessels to complete the tasks you set before us. Let Your work be done through my hands and heart. Give me the courage and fortitude to see Your will be done. Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.
In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kudos, Clean & Clear!

Clean & Clear (Johnson & Johnson) has made a controversial decision to hire Jazz Jennings as the new face of their product.

Kudos, Clean & Clear! Congratulations, Jazz! 

Jazz is a beautiful person which makes her an excellent candidate to represent a skin care line. I was excited with the announcement because it shows tolerance and acceptance. It also makes Jazz a very fresh and (young!) face of the transsexual rights movement. I'm impressed with the strength and fortitude of a person this young who is able to stand up to their oppressors.

What disappoints me is the reaction I have seen by those who identify as Christian.

I am a Christian. It is my fervent belief that it is not our place to judge. Jazz is a human being created by God. Whom are we to judge? Obviously, she was put her with a divine purpose as we all were. If God created her, who are we to judge His splendor?

Matthew 7 English Standard Version (ESV)

Judging Others

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Some may say she "chose" this life of being a transsexual. That being born physically male is more determinate and transcendent than her emotions or mental reasoning. Why would that be true? Do we not, as Christians, put more value on our soul than our physical body? Do we not believe that our body is merely a vessel?

No matter what your interpretation on male/female anatomy and sexuality, Christians cannot rightfully deny the teaching that we are not to judge others. Even if you interpret another person to be wrong in their lifestyle choices, it is never acceptable in the Christian faith to do wrong by others.

The Golden Rule

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

It is not our place to judge or condemn.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

James 2:2-26

I like to randomly open my Bible and discover the message God has meant me to read. I find this particularly helpful and relevant to every day life. Something we should all try to focus on to improve ourselves and our servitude toward God. 

James 2 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Sin of Partiality
2 My brothers,[a] show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Footnotes:

James 2:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 5, 14
James 2:16 Or benefit
English Standard Version (ESV)

I pray for those who ask. I pray for those I love. I pray for children, military, police, rescuers, pedestrians, bike riders, teachers, doctors, homeless, persons of faith. What good is it if I don't reach out my own hand and help them? I pray for the homeless man on the corner, but I do not offer my money to him "in case he's a liar/drunk/etc." just because I once saw a wealthy young man deceitfully beg for handouts. He became my excuse not to act and to judge others. It's not my place to judge, it's only my place to help. Prayer is valuable and great but faith alone is dead without works.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Class Valentine's Are Complete!

Here is our idea for a kid-friendly Valentines that will be a huge hit!

We found these cute little eyeball rings at the local party supply store for $.25 each. A bag of treat bags was $2.50 and I printed the toppers on leftover card stock. Total cost: $.26 cents each!

The treat bag toppers were a template I found at Avery.com . I printed the text on one side, flipped the paper over and printed the template so we could cut on the lines without them showing.


"Eye think you're nice!" 
"Eye like you!" 
"Eye think you're cool!" 
"Eye want to be friends forever!"


Cut out the treat bag toppers and fold over.





My daughter wrote her name on the front of the topper and the recipients name on the back, before we assembled our bags so it'd be easier to write.

Cut the treat bag down to the size you'd like, put the treat inside and staple the card stock topper on top.

That's it!
This was a lot of fun and it didn't cost much more than buying a box of generic cards to pass out.
We did 22 total with two extra "just in case".


"Eye" thank you for reading!
Happy Valentine's Day!