Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm not sorry to see it go


It has been a rough year for us.

My eldest girlie turned 14 in January...

The top of the year brought surprising orders out of the desert and into the big city. Which brought the loss of our lifestyle, our ranch, all that we had known for 3 years abruptly to an end. With any major military move, it also brought the loss (or changes) in many of our friendships much to our dismay. And I wish I could say after being married to a military man for 15 years... that I get used to it. I never have.

With heavy hearts we headed to the coast of CA. The beautiful warm sunshiny coast. We LOVE the area... in fact for me its safe to say I could live here forever... but God may have other plans so I am afraid to get to comfortable.

The 1st 6 months we struggled finding and fitting into a church... and in the midst of that the news rolled in late spring that my dad had stage 4 terminal lung cancer.

By the end of June he was critical so I flew back to NC fully anticipating to bury my dad... and yet I was haunted by an ache. The ache of knowing he had never trusted Christ as his Saviour. And while I watched my dad in the hospital, a man who at first didn't even recognize me, day after day...he seemed to get better. He beat the odds and even came home... I do believe God let him live for that 2nd chance and he took it.

Once I flew back home life was a whirlwind of kids, undone assignments,Kiah turned 5, another homeschool year to plan for and a baby arriving in the fall...

and in the midst of that we got a call that we had gotten base housing... so now yet another major move. We found a church to call home....HOORAY!!! And then a monkey wrench. My parents were about to lose their health insurance AND their home.

so being an only child, and doing the only thing I knew to do, we moved them in on October 2nd. At first my dad seemed pretty ok. My mom was angry, bitter and a whole flurry of emotions from leaving the past 12 years of her life behind, all her animals, her cars... everything was packed into 6 bags...everything else left behind.

I packed as much as I could in for my dad (as much as I could without health insurance that is) social security appointments,Micah turned 8, medicare/mediCal appointments, appointments to the clinic,MaryRachael turned 3, trips to the ocean, the pier, anyplace dad still wanted to eat. I cooked a turkey with all the trimmings...knowing he may not make it to thanksgiving...

And then Aaron arrived. The glimmer of light in this year. He was * 8 lbs, 15 oz the biggest baby I ever delivered. But I didn't even know his name when I went back in for the 2nd surgery... because he was yet another c-section... and I they didn't think I was going to make it. Once they stitched me back up they couldn't stop the fact the very last thing before I fell asleep tot the anesthesia combined with the lightheadedness from the loss of blood) I heard was ..."I dont think she's gonna make it..."

When I woke up I was in and out of a daze. My husband was there..the next hours are a fog. And over 6 hours later I met my youngest son Aaron. Oh what a doll. He is just so precious...

He got to come home and meet his grandpa.

There were challenges that 1st week though. like a slightly high bilirubin, which had us feeding him every two hours per the hopitals "recommendations" so on the Sunday morning following his arrival when he was listless and unresponsive we called 911. And off we went. A flurry of tests. I remember telling the doctor, just save my son... I am about to bury my dad I cant lose Aaron too. And after a 48 hour stay in the Naval hospital I got to come home ...just in time for Justyn to turn 10.

It was a rough day. By the time I had arrived home my dad's condition had gone from bad to worse. He wasn't really even here anymore. During Aaron's birth I had an incredible nurse who called social services and they called a local hospice company who took my dad on as a compassion case.

But on November 4th around 5 am, my mom came into my room in tears. My dad was gone.

Then came trying to get back to a new normal... whatever that was. I was emotional and postpartum, and simply trying to maintain my house with a newborn and 5 children, a husband and a mother who clearly did not want to be here.

Then the holiday season was upon us. We all got the stomach flu for thanksgiving, so that got postponed. Then the flurry of the Christmas season, trying to keep Christ as te focus for the season.

AS the holidays have come and gone, there have been yet other challenges. A close friend of mine lost her newborn baby girl, which has laid heavily on my heart. Aaron has had issues nursing and just this last week my milk supply has been danger low...

But I am going to continue to do what I have done ALL year through. I am going to trust God, and continue to put one foot in front of the other and trust that God has it all in control... and no matter the outcome. I will choose to praise Him.

I don't know what 2010 has in store for us. I don't want to put a bunch of unrealistic expectations to anything. I just want to live to serve God and glorify Him, not matter the circumstances in our life. I want to be a beacon of light in this dark world, I want to be different, set apart. I want to capture the moments that are so precious on my camera, I want to pray without ceasing, I want friends near and far to know I love them, and if everything seems to go wrong yet another year, I want to choose to praise Him through the storms.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The stockings were hung...

I am an only child. That said, Christmas in my house, for me, was always awesome. Lots of baking to do...some with mom,some with grandma's, sometimes with Aunts... weekend shopping trips with my dad...lots of them, presents to wrap... I dont ever remember a Christmas where I didnt get pretty much every single thing I had asked for.

As I got older I wanted to make those kinds of christmases happen for my children. the big tree, lots of cookie making, craft making, Christmas card sending, and lots of presents under the tree...

And I KNOW that is not the point of Christmas. NOT.AT.ALL.

We don't even celebrate the man in the big red suit... he has a place in history, and my children know of the guy, but they also know our Blessings come from God.


We still put up a tree...

Do Lots of baking....

wrap bunches of beautifully clad packages....

make wonderful homemade crafts...

send cards to friends near and far....

But do I do ENOUGH to let my children know that it's all about Jesus?

Would it be enough to gather Christmas morning in the living room and sing Praises to our God and Newborn King... if there was no tree? no gifts? no Christmas dinner? no special desserts, no cards sent or received...?

I strugle with this every year since coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. My kids do know the true reason for the season... but would even they want to celebrate if I served hot dogs and chips? and there was no present... not even 1.

Would it even feel like Christmas to me?

Honestly, I would like to say yes... but I just don't know.

Each of my kiddos are getting one thing they asked for, and while we started out trying to stay small, stockings are filled to the brim, 15 different kinds of cookies are in the house, gifts are in abundance, its not all at once. Its a little here and a little there... and all of a sudden it is bigger than I thought it had gotten.

I dont want to be so focused on the things that if we took them away, Christ wouldnt be enough. Because HE is. At least, He ought to be.

But here I am at 2:45 am blogging about what CHristmas should be.... and if I answer honestly ... why I am up.... it was because I was wrapping those oh. so. unimportant gifts.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A line in the sand

well I did it this time.... I have laid it all on the line... and discussed with my mother the possibility of her moving out at some point.... and I suppose we will find out how she took the news over the next several days....

but she seems miserable here. She hates being here all the time. On almost a daily basis she tells me how trapped she feels, how worthless her life is here... and I just can't fix it for her.

and when she brought groceries home today I helped her unload them and I was hit in the face by a smell I have come to loathe.... cigarette smoke. I have suspected, even gone so far as to ask her if she was smoking again. She adamantly denied it. Before my parents even stepped on the plane they were both told they had to completely quit smoking to move in with us. Smoking outside and coming in was NOT part of the equation. And as I leaned over to grab the bags I saw it.

The ash tray in my dad's car was 1/2 full.

I came in and asked again. She lied straight to my face. I could still smell the lingering smell of smoke on her clothes.

It was all I could do not to lose it.

I told her she has a choice to make.

She does.

I will not tolerate a smoker in our home with our children. If she wants to put herself in the ground by smoking those horrible cancer sticks I will not support it.

I do not know what to do. I suppose I wait and se if she chooses to move out.

Let me say this. I am not throwing her out or asking her to make a choice with no income. Last week she went to SSI and applied for widows benefits and she has already received her first check - and it is more than half of what Frank and I make monthly. SO she can afford to live on her own, should she choose to do so.

and try not to listen to the sound of my dad's voice in my memory saying... "but you promised to take care of her"
And I did... but that promise was made that I was not moving smokers into my home. They had agreed to COMPLETELY quit. And yes. I knew I was asking a lot.

How many people have to suffer for her choices under our roof?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I stopped biting my nails 15 years ago, but then

my mom moved in.

I never realized how stress free life was (yes folks- my life- and I said stress FREE) until my parents moved in. At first I thought that stress was both my parents, and I suppose to a degree it was, but I have come to realize it is mostly my mom.

And absent I have been, unable to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, because to be honest the shiny happy days are not here, and adjusting is hard. Not so much about my dad's passing. I mean, he had lung cancer and we have known for months, and it was terminal. I suppose I had come to terms with that. And while his passing hurt, in some ways knowing the pain for him was gone was almost a relief for me.

But my mom, who does no more than get angry with my children, who wont even hold the baby, who hates everything about the life I live, who cuts me down about being a stay at home mom at every opportunity she is presented with... yeah. for me ...that has been a challenge.

and I dont know how much to "talk" about.

so.... yeah. Do I allow myself to share our real life struggles here? Frank would say yes. But I don't feel like I am doing such a good job juggling. ANyhow... i HAVE started a half dozen other posts that need finishing (and time to finish them) I am trying to run our household, begin homeschooling the children after a month long break, and get our life a little more back to normal... whatever that is:)