Thursday, February 28, 2008


Mommy: "Guess who I love?"
Levi: "ME!"
Mommy: "That's RIGHT! How'd you know that?"
Levi: (With 5 year old boy exasperation) "BECAUSE, you telled it to me a million days!!"

Mommy: (laying on the bed with Mackenzie early in the morning to wake her up) "Hey, Love. Time to wake up."
Mackenzie: "Hey."

We lie there.

Mackenzie: "Mom?"
Mommy: "Yeah?"
Mackenzie: "Just so you know, you have two white hairs right there and right there on your head. Not gray hair, just white."
Mommy: "Thanks, Kenz. Guess that means we get to pick out a new hair color, right?"
Mackenzie giggles like crazy.

Thank God for my kids.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hope Indeed

Ever feel like your emotions got hooked up to a bungee cord? I do, right now. I'm all over the place!

I had a most fabulous weekend speaking at the state Acteens conference. Brought back some good memories of being an acteen when I was younger, and I met some wonderful girls. I was a little nervous about speaking to teens because I usually deal with grown up ladies. But I forgot how much fun teens can be, how smart they are, and how they have a way of appreciating the real and raw of life. I had a few tears thinking that I was their age when Jesus swept me off my feet, and where would I be right now if He had not? Wow. I'm surviving right now, literally staking my life on something that started at 12 years old when I gave Jesus my life and at 15 when I said yes to His call. And right now I need Him so much. I know I would be suffocating if He weren't here to breathe for me. And it all started back then, when i had no idea what I was getting into. Plus, I met a totally awesome band! Check em out!

Other end of the bungee, my heart is bleeding profusely. The whole "ash heap" thing is intense enough, and some other stuff has come to light that intensifies my pain even more. And I must admit, sparks my anger even hotter. I did let it spew, directed thankfully at the appropriate person. It was a strange thing, letting myself express anger that intensely. It wasn't pretty for one thing. It was a while before I could breathe again once it was over. I suppose that was a combination of the bronchial plague I've been fighting for a few weeks and the intensity of my emotion. I can't say it felt good. It was hellish, actually. But I can say that I feel a shift in my grief. Not sure its a shift away from anger, but maybe it is. The heat is gone, but it's replaced with a sorrow and sadness that catches my breath. It is almost as if I can see more clearly, as if I can finally take in the whole of what has happened to me. I feel like a severely maimed accident victim who has just regained consciousness and looked in the mirror at her injuries. I can see it all now. And I want to scream. Not from anger anymore but because it just hurts so much.

I just can't leave you with those words. So I'll go on to tell you something that is holding me up right now. My sweet friend Alli sent me a book that I love. One of the short chapters was about suffering. It made the point that we can't understand suffering. It always has been and always will be a mystery. But the author rightly pointed out that where there is suffering, there is love. If you look at a nurse who cares for sick children, a counselor who binds emotional wounds, a missionary who sees untold atrocities, or a soldier who holds a refugee child, you see suffering countered by love. I have no idea why I suffer as I do. But I know, thank God, that where my suffering is, there is Love. There is God. And He is love. And He is the One who holds me when I cry, listens to my insides scream, and even heard the seething anger explode from me. He is the Love that is present even right now as I suffer. That is hope indeed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Right now I feel like one of those guys on one of those survival shows on TV. Just me and my ingenuity against the elements. I'm having to get creative in order to make it from one day to the next. Forget luxuries like caught-up laundry, cleaned-off countertops, or home-packed lunches. We are down to the bare basics. Enough clean clothes for today and tomorrow, enough lunch money for school lunches, and enough... just enough... energy to make it through until bedtime.

So even though Martha Stewart LIVE isn't coming to do a documentary on my homemaking skills, and Parenting Magazine isn't tracking me for Mom of the Year, I'm surviving. I kissed my babies goodnight, soaking in their sweet smiles, and I'm off to bed myself. Gotta rest up for another day in the jungle that is single parenthood!!

Having it all together seems like a faraway dream right now. I am SO not together. But I'm alive. And my children are alive and well. And I'm grateful for that. We are going to make it. We ARE making it. Thank God, we are survivin'!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Ash Heap

So I went to counseling today. I've been trying hard to process my grief, but it's kind of difficult when I must put my feelings away for about 23 and 1/2 of every 24 hours so that I can hold down a job and be a mommy. I've had some really angry stuff that I've been needing to write out and process, but I haven't had the time or frankly the courage to do so.

But today my counselor taught me something profound. Processing the anger and pain are just part of grieving. My homework is to spend some time just taking stock of what I'm feeling. Just to feel it. Not solve it. Just feel it.

Just "sit in the ash heap" so to speak and survey the damage. And though I'm scared out of my wits to try to look at the gory scene that is on the inside of me, I'm also feeling a strange peace at the idea of having permission to simply feel what I'm feeling. I don't have to be brave, or try to explain it, rationalize it, or justify it. I can simply let myself feel it.

And though I know the ash heap is a place I'll go all by myself, I had to wonder if anyone else struggles as I do with allowing yourself to just feel what you feel and let it be what it is. I have such a tendency to try to force it to be ok. But its not ok, not at all. And right now, it's nice to know I don't have to pretend it is.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Happy Mardi Gras!

And here you have my sweet babies and some of their parade loot! We've also collected a total of 4 babies from various king cakes. A Mardi Gras ball has been attended (see below) and drunken foolishness has been observed along parade routes. We've taken in a total of 3 parades, but tomorrow, Fat Tuesday, will be spent peacefully at home.

And here I am celebrating with one of the residents at the assisted living home where I work. Mr. John and I were partying at the Mardi Gras ball. We are having just as much fun as we appear to be having! Guess it takes oh, 70 or 80 Mardi Gras celebrations to get it all down pat, since our residents sure know how to do it right!

It's interesting to think that for most of my life, January and February meant nothing much. I mean, most of Florida where I grew up is business as usual right now, and here I am in the middle of a major holiday. It's what I love about this city. You can always find a party going on.

So if you don't happen to be in the middle of it, I'll let a good time or two roll for you. Party on.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I guess we'll see...

Tonight I went out. Alone.

I saw a movie all by myself. It was strangely enjoyable. Wistfully pleasant.

It's not easy to parent solo, and I really didn't like who I was today. I don't want my pain to be dumped on my babies. Some days I feel like a total failure as a mother. So while they were with friends, I decided to have some sanity time. So I went to a movie, I even splurged on movie food and a grown-up treat.

It was a little weird. I've never done that before. Isn't that strange? Never in my life have I gone to a movie alone just because I wanted to go. Felt kind of overindulgent, maybe a little awkward.

There isn't really a how-to for picking up the pieces of yourself, but as I'm doing just that, I'm seeing pieces I didn't know were there. On the one hand, it's kind of fun to get to explore the jigsaw puzzle that is me. And on the other hand, I feel shattered into so many pieces... it's definitely not something that can be done in one sitting. I have to work at it when I have the strength, and then stop for a while. I'll come back to it later.

It's interesting to be alone for the first time at 31. I've never been alone. I shared a room with my sister and then went directly into marriage at 18. I've lived my entire life in close proximity to other people. I'm the type of person who likes people around. It's funny, though, what grief will do to you. When you grieve, isolation threatens to suck you into its black hole. It feels good to be alone. I don't have to face anyone or answer to anyone or let anyone see how not-ok I am. And some moments... like tonight... I could imagine spending long periods of time alone, never facing another individual, and be totally ok with that.

I've never HAD time alone, so I guess now that I am alone, I'm not quite sure what to do with that. At times like tonight I have an overwhelming desire to close the door to my room and never come out. And at times, the knowledge that I am alone brings such pain I can hardly stand the thought of it. I'm just not sure how much isolation is enough. How much is right for me? I suppose that's one thing I'll have to explore, until I find just the right combination of companionship and solitude. A combination that gives me enough alone time to remember who I am, and enough connection to live out who I am.

For a person who has never indulged before, I guess we'll see how I handle my solitude. :)