Monthly Archives: August 2013

when we make ourselves bleed.

It is Sunday and I don’t normally blog on Sundays but I foolishly downed a grande Starbucks iced latte this morning so I’ll be awake and vibrating until Tuesday so MIGHT AS WELL EXPEL SOME FINGER ENERGY, AM I RIGHT? (The piano is getting slaughtered as soon as I’m done with this.)

Failure and grace are on my heart today, because:

  • I just got done writing an apology letter to a mother in our congregation for our streaming platform being down this morning during her son’s baptism.
  • Dan had to apologize for not being the husband/father I needed him to be on Friday.
  • And a few days prior to that, I had to send an awkwardly phrased apology email to a mentor whose blessings on me I have not exactly honored.

There have been a lot of “I’m sorry”s floating around my head this week, thrown both at and from me. A lot of disappointments. A lot of failures.

It’s easy for me to forgive Dan because he’s so silly and wonderful. But my mentor forgave me (for probably the millionth time) and I’m crossing my fingers that this mother will also forgive me. However, even though the reality of their forgiveness is within my reach, I still find it hard to forgive myself.

Last night I went to dinner with some ladies from our church. My friend Kimberly told us a story of her son’s experience at a local water park. There is an area that has big, floating lily pads with a rope suspended above them. The idea is that you can jump from lily pad to lily pad and use the rope to help you across.

Kimberly’s son decided to make his way across by only hanging on to the rope and not touching down on any of the lily pads. When he got to the other side, his hands were blistered and bleeding.

“Why didn’t you stop when you were hurting?” she asked.

“Because I didn’t want to fail,” he said.

WHAT.

Whenever someone forgives me for wronging them, it’s like I look down on their grace like her son did those lily pads. I dismiss it and choose instead to cling to my shame as punishment — a thick, tough, splintery rope — and mentally beat myself up. In a sense, I make myself bleed because I’m so upset that I failed in the first place.

Is it failure, though? Is it?

To admit you need help? To admit you made a mistake? To step down on a lily pad? To apologize to someone and say, “I missed the mark and I’ll try to do better next time,” and to let their grace be enough? 

Perhaps when we find ourselves in pain we should stop, step down on a lily pad, and apologize instead of making ourselves bleed unnecessarily.

And then, we move on, more aware of the reality of love and grace and mercy and redemption than we are of the lies of shame and guilt.

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things i love thursday! (august 22, 2013)

You’ll notice it’s been awhile since I posted a TiLT. From the worst Tuesday to a busy season at work, it’s been hard for me to stop and really grasp onto gratitude. But that’s not an excuse. There is always something to be grateful for, and when you don’t choose to acknowledge it, it only hurts you. Amidst Dax’s illness and all the other craziness of my life that is beyond my control, I should have made it a priority to sit down and record the things for which I am grateful to preserve my spirit. I didn’t, and that was detrimental to my already precarious situation.

BUT IT IS A NEW DAY OF A NEW WEEK! And each day is another second chance to get it right.

thirteenmonthscollage

THINGS FOR WHICH I AM GRATEFUL THIS WEEK:

  • Second chances.
  • My little boy is thirteen months old! BAH. Look at all that cuteness. JUST LOOK AT IT AND TELL ME IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU GO, “!!!”
  • Jars of Clay’s new album isn’t out yet, but it’s streaming for free here. You’re welcome.
  • The time after Dax goes to bed but before Dan and I go to bed.
  • Dinners in.
  • The ability to rent movies from Amazon WITHOUT LEAVING THE HOUSE! (Go go gadget laziness!)
  • The sound of acoustic pianos.
  • Emeals.
  • Knowing enough about food that I can whip up some sort of dinner from whatever is in the kitchen.
  • Smoothies that hide spinach.
  • Encouraging text messages.
  • Silly Snapchats.
  • Long naps.
  • Getting encouraging messages about how my blog has helped others. (Also file this under THINGS THAT MADE ME CRY THIS WEEK.)
  • Needing to drive to Ft. Myers for work, which allows for lots of drive-jamming.
  • When Dan’s Galaxy-equivalent of Siri says, “Ft. Myers” she pronounces it, “Eff-Tee Myers.”
  • Making friends!
  • Splurging on new clothes for the first time in OH I DON’T KNOW EVER?
  • Meeting and chatting up Ileanna, born and raised in Athens, Greece, who did my pedicure this past weekend. What a lovely person. Seriously.
  • Randomly ballroom dancing in the middle of Barnes & Noble.
  • Dax signs for “milk” now! He doesn’t do it correctly – he waves instead of squeezes — but I know what he’s trying to say because he always accompanies it with pulling on my shirt.
  • Baby sea turtles!
  • A parody of “Teach Me How to Dougie” that is “Teach Me How To Breastfeed.” It’s equally hilarious and informative! Do yourself a favor, if you’re not squeamish about boobs, and take a gander.
  • Bath time.
  • Dax finding it hilarious when Dan pretends to barf.
  • Not sure why, but lately, Dax is mega snuggly-clingy. Like all he does all day is nurse and cuddle. It’s bad for homemaking productivity but I am savoring it.

What do you love this week?

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real talk about social media envy.

This is filed under “ones that are hard to write”. 

There are so many sad/bad/frustrating things about being several thousand miles away from all my closest friends:

1. Despite being outgoing and outwardly confident all of the time, deep inside I’m unreasonably insecure, so I believe that I’m “out of sight, out of mind.”

2. Like it or not, relationships change when people move away. When you’re not with someone, it’s hard to really engage with them. Even though…

3. Social media makes it a little bit better/mostly worse.

You may recall I underwent a social media fast earlier this year. I wrote about how it was great for my soul and how everyone who’s on social media should do it every now and again and blah blah blah.

But since moving to Naples, I’ve attached myself to social media out of fear of numbers 1 and 2 on that list. By trying to be fully engulfed in Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I’ve tried so hard to fool myself into thinking that I’m not out of sight or mind and that my relationships aren’t different.

But the bitter pill I’ve had to swallow lately is that I am and they are

And so social media has — yet again — done little to help me but, instead, all it can to harm me. On Facebook I’m invited to events that I can’t go to and my newsfeed is flooded with pictures of those events that are somehow still happening in my absence. On Instagram I’m seeing photo after photo after photo of people I love doing things with other people I love where I might be if I was still home.

And the green-eyed envy monster wins another one.

It is absolutely crucial to my job to be active on social media so a fast is out of the question. But I will say this — my heart isn’t in a good place right now and maybe if I’m open about it, that’ll allow for space for us to talk about the reality that is social media induced envy.

TELL ME, READERS: 

Have you ever seen a picture on Instagram and thought, “Ugh, that person must have the perfect life.”?

Have you ever seen a status update that made you throw up in your mouth a little bit because it was so…just…perfect?

Please tell me I’m not the only one. Let’s be real, here. What do you do to combat these feelings?

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the worst tuesday.

Summer is winding down and fall is supposedly creeping in but I can’t feel it because it’s still hot as crap and the rain still won’t stop and I can’t differentiate my Mondays from my Thursdays or my Saturdays because everything is always the same.

Except this past Tuesday. Tuesday was vastly different from any other day of my life.

Late Monday, I noticed that Dax was running a bit of a fever. I never actually took his temperature, but I could feel that he was warm to the touch. Apart from that, he was acting completely normal; he was playing happily, sleeping fine, not coughing, not sniffling, not anything out of the ordinary. So I chalked the fever up to teething and just gave him Tylenol sporadically and thought nothing of it.

When I came home from work on Tuesday (thankfully a half hour earlier than I normally come home on Tuesdays) I found him lethargically lying belly-up on our babysitter’s chest.

Jeez, I thought. These 12-month molars must be brutal. 

I took him from the sitter, handed her a check, and said goodbye. I then took Dax into his nursery to nurse him and put him down for a nap. When we sat in the rocking chair, he nursed for maybe thirty seconds before stopping suddenly and throwing his head back.

His eyes rolled back and he started to shake and stopped breathing and it was a seizure.

The next few minutes were a blur of me screaming uncontrollably into his lifeless, purple face, splashing water on his body, crumpling to the floor and clumsily dialing 9-1-1, scream-sobbing into the receiver that MY TINY LITTLE BABY BOY IS HAVING A SEIZURE MA’AM AND HE IS ONLY ONE YEAR OLD AND PLEASE GOD CAN SOMEONE HELP ME HE’S NOT BREATHING DID YOU SAY SOMEONE IS COMING WELL WHERE ARE THEY HOW MUCH LONGER PLEASE HELP ME I AM SO SCARED PLEASE.

And then suddenly my house was flooded with upwards of ten men and women in different uniforms — EMS, firefighters, police officers — all trying to simultaneously calm me down and take care of Dax who, by that point, had stopped seizing and was draped across my chest in a collapsed heap of laborious breaths and pained sighs.

An ambulance ride, ER admittance, flu swab, chest x-ray, and long chunk of waiting around later, we found out that Dax came down with some virus (probably roseola) which caused him to have that high fever. The sudden temperature spike in his body triggered a febrile seizure.

Thankfully these seizures don’t cause any injury to the brain or the child — they’re just terrifying as hell for anyone, particularly a parent, who happens to be present.

And so, I learned the hard way that (until he’s older than 5) anytime I sense that Dax may be getting a fever, I have to be incredibly aggressive in treating it to avoid this happening again.

hospitaldax

As terrible as this whole experience was, there were some surprising bright spots. The first was in the form of a community — a new one — that wasted no time in showing us love. Three friends came to visit us in the hospital (two of which brought us food), and another friend came to check on us the following day. Not to mention the flood of prayers that washed over us by the way of texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages.

The second good thing to come of this was a healthy dose of perspective. Before I left for work that morning, I was freaking out about our house being a mess for the babysitter. I was running about like a chicken with its head cut off trying to straighten up and clean up and even as I was driving away I was mentally kicking myself for not having enough time to do the dishes. Because I was nursing when Dax began to seize, I was basically naked when the emergency team showed up at my house. I couldn’t have given two sheets about the fact that I was bearing it all (or that my house was messy) while a bunch of firefighters and paramedics did a life-saving dance around me. All I cared about was my baby and whether or not he was going to be okay.

Even though he’s technically still contagious, today you can hardly tell Dax is sick at all, let alone that he just had a freaking seizure. He’s eating a bit more today, playing happily, and sleeping great.

And I am worn a bit ragged but so very grateful.

happydax

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chasing sunsets.

I guess a part of Dan’s new gig around these parts is that he’s gone a lot more often than he was before. At this point in time I’ve already been a single mom for two weeks this year and LET ME JUST SAY THAT being a single mom is hard. Shout out to those who did/do it everyday. Lemme buy you a beer or five.

Since Dan is gone during the days while I’m home with Dax anyway, it really doesn’t kick in how much I miss him (or how lost and confused I feel without him here) until the evening. As soon as 5PM rolls around, Dax and I are staring at each other, wondering what to do with ourselves. Do we eat more food? Do we roll the ball back and forth again? Do we surrender to mind-numbing media and turn the television on? Do we cry?

Typically those options never really appeal to me, so I usually scoop up that little bundle of chunk and drive over to the beach to watch the sun set. I’ve already blogged about it here but it bears repeating — the sunsets in southwest Florida are stupid beautiful. Better than anywhere else on earth, I promise.

sunset_pelican

Dax could really take it or leave it but for me, watching the sun sink in a morphing, watercolor sky for those fleeting moments is a godsend.

dax_sunset

As I watch the sky change from blue to grey to purple to orange to red and, at last, grand-finale-pink, I forget that I’m still a foreigner. I forget that I’m in exile. I forget that I’m in Nineveh.

Unfortunately this mind-numbing process only takes about fifteen minutes, so once the sun is down it all comes rushing back with the waves. It seems as if the second I get to the beach I’m already thinking, How dare you, sun! Why couldn’t you have taken your time? You just blew through that like it’s something you do everyday! Do you REALLY have somewhere to be right now? Ugh. What next?

Annnnnd cue the lonelies.

The last time I did this (where I took those pictures) my heart was in a different place. In recent weeks, I’ve been really focusing on all the things for which I am grateful in my life — Nineveh included — and so, finally, watching the sun go down wasn’t just another goodbye I had to endure but instead the beginning of a period of rest and reflection.

Sure Dan was gone. And I love having him around so that sucked a little bit. But while I was aware of his absence I was also aware of the feeling of the sand between my toes, the breeze on my face, the LACK OF HUMIDITY AT THAT TIME OF THE DAY, the warmth of my son snuggled up against my chest, the sounds of children splashing in the surf, the sight of the pelicans swooping down in methodical dive patterns…

In a world powered by the Internet and social media, and the idea of who can get things done harder better faster stronger, it can be hard to sit and really appreciate the things that are going on around you at that current time and space. It can be difficult to not want to immediately move on to something new, something fresh, something different.

To chase the next sunset.

But even when the sun sets, there is still a real beauty left. There is real creation and, thankfully, real transformation.

If you find yourself looking around at what you’re currently dealing with and screaming out, Enough already! What’s next? I challenge you to stop. Breathe.

Slow down. Take it all in. Notice the things you feel like you’re too busy to notice.

This is the only life we have.

And oh, how beautiful.

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things i love thursday! (marriage edition.)

Four years ago today I married my favorite person in the entire world — this guy.

dan

In some ways, I can’t believe it’s ONLY been four years. In other ways, it feels like we’ve only been married for a minute and a half.

Either way, I love being married to this guy. So today’s TILT is for him. If that makes you hurl, sorry! Feel free to click the X in the top corner.

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BEING MARRIED (TO DAN IN PARTICULAR):

  • When we go on dates, I typically take off my makeup first, not because I’ve “let myself go” but because he prefers my bare face. (Sup, zits.)
  • This morning, right after we woke up, I demanded (seriously) that he make us pancakes. And he got right up and did it.
  • He has a beard which I never thought I’d like but now I do. (Don’t shave it!)
  • Because he’s such a reckless sleeper, we don’t use a flat sheet because it just (somehow?) ends up in a weird, knotted mess at the foot of the bed. HOORAY, LESS LAUNDRY!
  • He also refuses to buy new underwear (“It doesn’t matter if there are holes in them… they still work!”) so, again, HOORAY LESS LAUNDRY!
  • He gets up in the middle of the night for both Dax AND me, with very little complaining.
  • If I text him, “COME HOME WITH BEER PLZ  I HAD A HARD DAY MUST DRINK ALL THE DRINKS” he’s like, “You got it.”
  • His big ears and his fuzzy chest and his strong arms.
  • His laugh.
  • HE IS SUCH A NERD OMG IT ALMOST HURTS SOMETIMES.
  • Ask him what he’s doing at 2:30 on any given day and he will always tell you he’s going to be at the dentist. (Because it’s “tooth-hurty”.)
  • He loves to drive and I hate to drive so he always drives.
  • He has the worst memory of all time which is GREAT because it means he has no idea that we’ve ever had a fight. (We have, by the way.)
  • He’s so ridiculously in love with me. Like, it really doesn’t make sense.
  • He can make our baby giggle like no one else.
  • He always puts us first.
  • Except for Spider-Man.

Happy anniversary, Dan! Chant it with me, now! FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!

What do you love this week? 

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Filed under reasons my husband rocks, things i love thursday