Sunday, July 6, 2014

Feeling Rusty

 So..... it has been awhile... a little over two years. I want to write. I need to write. The past few weeks I have been toying with the idea of my book and blogging. The sermon series at church has been the boost I have needed. Life Under the Sun. We aren't promised tomorrow. We have today, so why not do what we want, as long as we keep eternity in focus? (nutshell version)
As I scrambled to remember my login information, I decided this blog needs spruced up and updated. I logged in and realized I don't remember how to format anything or change photos. Unfortunately, 10:47 in the evening is not the time to start on this. :)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Favored and Blessed

Have you ever gone through something, when afterward you think, "did that really happen?" I had one of those moments yesterday. I am still processing what could have been a tragedy.

I had picked up Luke from the playground at Parkside and Isaiah & Elijah from an after school activity. We were on our way to Northside to pick up Elizabeth. We were taking our normal route south on Westenedge. This route is high traffic and one we take 5 out of the 7 days of the week.

It was really hot yesterday so we had all the windows down on the van.  We were talking and BOOM! Out of nowhere there was a tree on the van and then I found myself driving through limbs and leaves.  I slammed on the breaks. It all happened so fast, it was like it was in slow motion. What the heck?! All I heard was one of the boys asking if I was okay and the baby screaming.

I pulled out of the limbs and leaves into a driveway. I checked to make sure the boys were okay and got Noah calmed. The baby had been hit by a piece of bark that scared him. Isaiah was hit by debris on the passenger side and Elijah was hit in the eye by some as well.  Thankfully, they were all okay, but the van was not.
The hood received most of the damage. You can't see it very well in this photo but there is a dent that goes all the way across the hood along with scraped paint.

The back end was dinged pretty bad. It looks worse in person. There is also a big dent at the top of the passenger sliding door. There are scratches along the whole side of the van and on the roof.

The man behind me pulled off to see if the tree actually fell on us. When I replied "yes" all he kept saying was "you are lucky!" He said that multiple times when he realized none of us were hurt.

There was a lady who lived a few houses down, named Rachel. I am thankful she was there because she held Noah and let the other boys use the bathroom. The boys commented today that she was our guardian angel. (I thought that was sweet) The resident who lives on the tree property came over as well. Both of them explained that not even 60 seconds before we got hit about a third of the tree had fallen in the yard. A third was left standing and, ummm, we know where the other third landed!

The resident explained that she rents the house from her parents and she has told them, more than once, there was a dead tree in the front yard. Rotten would be a more appropriate term. You can see it in the portion still standing.

We called 911. Twice. It took about 29 minutes for the policeman to show up. In the meantime, the northbound lane was completely blocked and most of the southbound lane. It was a dangerous situation. When the policeman finally arrived he took my license and registration and I gathered information from the homeowner once she arrived. The policeman and my insurance agent said it was an "act of God." I am still pondering that. Thankfully, it is covered under our comprehensive and will be no out of pocket expense. It seems like the homeowners insurance would be responsible but I don't want to create trouble or anything.... just one of those things that doesn't make sense to me....

Reality of the situation did not fully set in until about an hour or two after it happened. A tree fell on my van. While I was driving. With my four boys in there. A TREE FELL ON MY VAN WHILE I WAS DRIVING WITH MY FOUR BOYS IN THERE!!!!

An "Act of God"...  I always try to use a situation and see God in the midst of it. Last night when the reality set in and  the realization that a tree fell on my van while I was driving with my four boys in there, two words popped into my head... favored and blessed. God has His hand of protection on me and my family, no doubt. I am still processing that. A friend suggested this evening to think about what could have been and how much God loves me! Awesome point of view!

What could have been... Last night and this morning all I could do was thank God over and over for sparing us and keeping us safe. I also kept replaying the scene in my head. I also thought about what would have happened had I been in the northbound lane. Chances are... I would not be typing this right now.  Mike would be a widower. He would have no sons and Elizabeth would have no brothers or mama. There is no doubt in my mind that tree would have killed us.

Favored and Blessed. Thank you, Father, for reminding me of Your mercies and the vastness of Your love for me. I am blessed, indeed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Silently Suffering

I have a blessed life. God has blessed me beyond what I could have ever dreamed or imagined. I am married to my high school sweetheart. We have 5 wonderful kiddos. We live in a nice home and neighborhood. The kids go to great schools and we are part of a superb church family. All is well, right??

Noah was born December 26, 2011. What should have been an exciting, joyous time was overcast by a  little cloud of anxiety and fear. Fear of going into my 3rd C-section. All went smoothly, without complications. Thanks God for answering that prayer! Later that evening I could not get to sleep... I just kept replaying surgery over and over in my head. I was extremely anxious. I was anxious enough that the nurse noticed and suggested that I begin Zoloft the next day. Yes, I was going to talk to the nurse or doctor about my friend, Zoloft.

In case you didn't know, Zoloft used to be my best friend. We go back to when Luke was born. Well, about 8 months after he was born. I experienced Postpartum depression and that is when the love hate relationship began with Zoloft. I decided in 2000 I would remain on the drug throughout my childbearing years. Over the past 4 years I had tried to wean off of it but kept going back to it.

So, when the nurse suggested I start Zoloft the day after Noah was born, I was comforted that I would be reunited with my old, trusty friend. That was the beginning of the end of my relationship with Zoloft. About 2 days after coming home, I began noticing heart palpitations. At one point it was so bad I was coughing and taking gasping, deep breaths. I was freaked out. My mom died at the age of 46 of a heart attack. Anything that messes with my heart sets me on edge! I suspected my friend was to blame. I felt betrayed. I read the side effects list and all of the possible but rare side effects. I had almost all of them plus the ones that read, "call your doctor immediately if...." ZOLOFT, how could you???" After all these years...  It is over.

I felt great once it was out of my system. Maybe I didn't need anything. Maybe I was going to be great. Then, little by little, so subtly, weeping crept in. Irritability crept in. Then shortness with everyone and feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks. Do I dare say it? Suicidal thoughts. I have absolutely no desire to end my life but the thoughts randomly pop into my head, "my husband would be better without me." "My kids deserve a mom who loves them and cares for them better than what I can." I loved how a friend stated it. They are escape thoughts.

It is like a dark cloud resides over me. I can't really describe what this kind of suffering is like. Yes, I use the word suffering. When someone asks, "How are you?" it makes me kind of cringe. Do they really want to know what is going on???  I can walk into a room, see clutter and it makes me irrationally cry.  I have cussed more in the past 2 months than in my entire life. Just the simple tasks of folding laundry or cleaning up the kitchen seems almost impossible. Overwhelmed and agitated are the two words I would use to describe me. Just the voices of the kids or even hubby can send me over the edge. The sound of "Mom!" being yelled or the kids just picking at each other.  The dog begging for his food or water... oh boy, that one... Isolated, lonely.   A homework assignment that needs help, at supper prep time, baby starts crying... let's just say, Mommy has more than one meltdown over the past two months. Then, the guilt sets in. What kind of example am I setting for my children? Really? I need to feel guilty on top of all of this. Yes, there is this thing called Mommy Guilt and let me tell you, it is amplified when you are hitting rock bottom. It feels like I have lost the ability to respond appropriately to anything. It feels like I have no control over my emotions. There are so many emotions and feelings going at once that it cannot be conveyed into words. Simple, everyday life seems so daunting and overwhelming on most days.
It's not about my spirits being lifted. When I was much younger and went through this with Luke, someone suggested I was under attack by the enemy. Don't get me wrong, I am a strong believer in the Lord and have been on the frontlines of spiritual warfare. However, there are times, things just go crazy in our bodies. Now is one of those times. I have clung to Jesus so much over the past months I think my knuckles are scabby from clinging so tightly. When I was younger I believed it was all because I was not a strong enough Christian.

Just to feel normal. Enough to function properly. That's my desire. The term "happy pills" was used recently. Really? Happy? I don't care about being happy. I want to just feel normal. I have been following and have been encouraged by knowing that what I have been feeling and experiencing is very real. There are some very helpful tools and resources on the site. It also explains why it is so hard, so hard to make the first call for help.

I made the call. I made the call yesterday and took the first step. I saw my ob/gyn doctor today. I will be starting Lexapro and he also suggested counseling. I was relieved to hear him say that a pill (by itself) most likely won't fix it! In my previous dealings of depression, the doctors were quick to push the pills but not offer help or even chat there may be other things involved. He ordered a blood draw to check thyroid and my iron levels. I was so excited... hope... hope that I might be feeling better in the near future.

 I decided to wait until evening to go pick up the medication. So, I found a small window to run to the drug store. Apparently, my busy Dr. forgot to call it in. Really??? REALLY??? I found myself standing at the drugstore weeping. I left thinking, maybe he misunderstood and called it into the neighboring drug store. I drive over and waited in line. I was just short of emotionally losing it when the tech said "no." I, thankfully, made it to the van BEFORE I broke down. I came home crying. Once I calmed down I was able to rationalize that I can just call the doctor office tomorrow.

I am hoping that Lexapro would like to be friends.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Ummm, yeah, that is me there. I didn't swallow a watermelon. That was taken last Sunday marking the 20th week of pregnancy. On May 11 we found out that God wants us to be a family of 7! This came as an absolute shock to me as MDR had a vasectomy 3 years ago.

After experiencing a panic attack in the bathroom and envisioning punching MDR in the face, I adjusted to the fact that we are going to be having another baby. Wow! Maybe I haven't fully adjusted.

This has, by far, been the most difficult pregnancy, emotionally. First, a baby, pregnancy... was NOT on the radar for this mama. I had hopes of going back to school to work on a nursing degree. I was enjoying all four kiddos being in school full time and still have a dream to write a book.... someday. Second, I thought was entering menopause or having thyroid trouble. My mom went through "the change" early. It made sense that some of the symptoms I was experiencing would indicate the same. Third, I am wired as a glass half empty person.... I really have to work at seeing things full! When I am not pregnant I take an antidepressant. So, you can imagine what emotions are like without medication and then add in the ever fluctuating hormones. I have been struggling... I am trusting that God will carry me and my poor husband and kids through this time.

The day I found out I was full of fear and scared. (Now, I am just tired!) I shared my fear with a friend and she led me to Jeremiah 29:11. It is a verse I am very familiar with: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I thanked her for sharing with me and I had a peace...for about an hour. In an effort to distract myself I went to a local thrift store on a quest for a piece of dining room furniture. While I am looking, I had (what I believe to be) a Holy Spirit moment. One of those times when God is trying to get my full attention. The name "Susanna Grace" was placed on my heart. I am looking around thinking, am I really experiencing what is going on?! I looked over and on the counter was a 3 ring binder filled with Bible name cards. I looked up Suzanne and the card, read, "lily of the valley." The verse? Jeremiah 29:11! I quickly looked up Grace. I don't remember which verse was on the card but I heard, "Karen, my grace is sufficient for you." How was I to process all of this? Did that mean, I was having a girl???

The next morning at the gym I was listening to my i-pod. The song Faithful by Steven Curtis Chapman came on. Through that song, the Lord placed on my heart that this baby I am carrying is somehow a redemption. For that to make sense it would, most definitely, have to be a girl. (In 2002 I gave birth to Emma, born 16 weeks premature. Emma was only with us for about 35 hours before going to Jesus.) Was this going to be the sister, Elizabeth has always dreamed of having?! I could only dream!

Fast forward to August 16th, ultrasound day. I went in all excited that we would be seeing pink, once again... 3 brothers later, surely Elizabeth would be blessed with another sister!!! The doctor is scanning and scanning and can't find any genitals. The baby was lying in a breech position which made it impossible to see anything. Since I am a high risk pregnancy, I got to have a cervical ultrasound {enter sarcastic excitement there}. Once again, because of the baby's position, it was extremely difficult to see anything... I told Dr. I only wanted to know if it is a girl. He suggested that he would say "I'm not sure if it is a boy." Let's just say, he wasn't sure....
REALLY??? Are you kidding me??? Another boy??? Poor Elizabeth.... poor Mommy.... Dr. did say he wasn't positive and they would schedule another ultrasound. Although, I would love for September 1 to reveal that we will have another daughter, I am not getting my hopes up, again.

Here lies the struggle.... did I not really experience God in those early days? This has shaken me to the core. It is what Henry Blackeby refers to as a "crisis of belief." The past week has been extremely difficult for me and I have cried a lot. The dream of another daughter, a sister for Elizabeth, is most likely gone, once again. In a way, it has been like mourning Emma. Although we didn't get to make memories with her, it was the loss of the dreams and hopes we had for the little girl, daughter, sister. That is what I am experiencing.

People will ask what we are having. Am I excited to share we are having another son? No, not really. In time, I will be excited. That is why I wanted to know the sex of the baby. I would hate to be shocked like this at delivery. Will I love this baby, absolutely, I already do. Will I care for this baby, of course!

I just need time to work through this and get on with life. In the meantime, I thankful for a healthy, growing baby, kicking in the womb, regardless of the sex.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dare to Dream?

When I created this blog it was with the intention of actually keeping up with it. Well, so much for good intentions... I noticed the date, it has been almost a year. At least I am consistent with the month. I guess it is like most things in my life. It gets put on the back burner due to priorities and others' needs.

Not long ago, and again today, I was asked what are my dreams/goals? Isn't it sad?! I couldn't think of one thing... Over the course of the day that question has been haunting me.

The two biggest dreams I have had are for Elizabeth to have a sister and to write a book. Obviously, I have no control over the first and God has no plan to fulfill that dream for me. The second, well, I have an awesome laptop that has been under the bed collecting dust waiting to be repaired. The book has been started and is on there. I can't access it, though.

I am in a valley right now and am having trouble climbing back up the mountain. I am like one of those little stray sheep Jesus mentions. (although he is talking about the lost souls, I still think we stray and need to be redirected.) I need to be led. I know there is only One who is up to the task and willing to do so. Maybe, someday, when I am up the mountain, I will dream again.