Thursday, June 27, 2013

the second baby drastically changes everything

She's changed me.

Maybe it's her content, chilled-out, "I'll-be-right-here" attitude.
Maybe it's her peaceful spirit that radiates with each sweet smile.
Maybe it's just her existence in the world.

Whatever it is, since she has entered into my life, I've changed.

My pace has become slower.
The pressure I usually put on myself has subsided.
A once-frantic soul has been quieted.

Moments are stolen here and there.
Plans are put aside.
The day is seized.

All because of her.

Is it because she's the second child?
-- because now, with two kids, life just had to become radically different?
-- or is it specifically something about her that has shifted my spirit in such a dramatic way?

What IS it, little one?

What IS this bewitching you have done in my heart?

How have you drastically impacted my personality in so short a time?

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the discipline of engaging

Life moves swiftly and I get caught up in its movement.
For these moments, I breathe easy as I find myself busy.
I find myself busy because I just keep saying, "Yes."

This time, it's okay.

I've gone from a time of nearly complete-disengaging for the sake of mental health
to just practically over-engaging for the sake of mental health.

And at the rate I'm going, usually by this point I find myself suffocating -- 
begging to come up for air.

But for now, it's okay.

I'm enjoying the service -- 
whether it's at church, for a friend, for my family, or for my job. 

I'm finding joy in giving myself up for others and things outside myself.

  • How have you experienced the discipline of ENGAGING or DISENGAGING? 
  • What has been bringing you joy these days?e

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Friday, June 14, 2013

lately I've been... in the ER

Where do I start this story?

I guess I start from yesterday morning.

After scarfing down a quick gluten-free millet-flax bagel with butter, I raced around my house to get into my running gear and head outside.  My husband had graciously decided to give me an extra hour in the morning to run, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity before my playdate guests would arrive at 10 AM.

It was supposed to be a routine thing.  I run or exercise 4-5 times a week -- and quite intensely, at that.  I was supposed to be out for a quick little sprint around the neighborhood and be back in time to shower and set up some toys for Gwendolyn's buddies.

It was around minute ten that I realized something was up.  I started to feel a familiar itch.  I looked down at my arms and saw them: hives.

At first, I just decided to ignore them.  A couple weeks prior, they had made a brief appearance at boot camp but had gone away quickly.  Five minutes later -- covered head-to-toe in itchy blotches -- I realized these were not the hives to ignore.

I stopped running, hoping that by stopping strenuous activity, I could stop the allergic reaction.  It was the longest walk home, as I felt my body burning up and getting worse and worse.  Finally, I said "to heck with it" and just sprinted home -- the desire for Benadryl far outweighing whatever I thought I was doing by walking home.

Running inside to the bathroom, I quickly took two Benadryls and was readying the shower when I just had to sit down.  I felt dizzy and lightheaded and fuzzy.  My thoughts weren't coherent.  I called for my husband who took one look at me and said, "We're calling an ambulance."

"What?"  I was surprised.  An ambulance??  This is a man who is very level-headed.  Why would we need an ambulance?  "No... I just took medicine..."

"Well, we're going to the hospital.  Get in the car."

I stumbled around, gathering diapers and things for Amelie -- who had to come with us, I told Elliott, because she doesn't take a bottle and would inevitably get hungry.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law was with us so Gwen stayed home to play with her Tia.

In the car, I felt my lips and tongue growing tingly, but tried to remain calm, per the advice of my husband.  My skin looked ... just unearthly.  Like some sort of lizard creature from a sci-fi novel.  I felt gross.  My skin was so itchy, it was burning.

This hadn't happened in six years

Six Years Ago
To make a long story short, since high school I had been having problems with hives.  They would happen suddenly -- usually when overheated or while exercising -- but not always.  As time went on, each reaction would get worse and worse.  Finally -- six years ago -- I ended up in the ER twice in one week.  The first time, I was home alone and passing out -- barely making it to the phone to call 9-1-1.  The second time, I took one ibuprofen (something I had taken my whole life), and my throat started itching almost immediately and my body inflamed into one big hive.  I took an Epipen and ... I think we drove to the hospital that time, as my parents were home (but I can't really remember...).

After multitudes of tests, my allergist told me that I have allergies to wheat/gluten, corn, shellfish, and (surprise!) ibuprofen.  Although I could eat bits of these things here and there (except for shellfish and ibuprofen -- I will most likely just stop breathing if I consume those things), the reality is that if I have it in my body, then I could very well have a severe allergic episode.  There's also this thing called exercised-induced anaphylaxis (I'm SO GLAD this is an ACTUAL thing now -- as I don't think anyone knew anything about it when I was going through this in high school/college and now I don't feel so crazy).  Basically, some people randomly go into anaphylactic shock when exercising -- not all the time, but some of the time.  For others, if they consume certain foods  (ie. GLUTEN) and then exercise, they will go into anaphylaxis.  I believe I am the latter (although I need to get my runner's feet to an allergist asap).

So even though I ate what I believed to be a gluten-FREE bagel the other morning, the bag says, "Contains Traces of Wheat/Gluten."  I guess I'm a little bit more allergic than I realized.  Oh bother.

Back to the Present
Thankfully, it was a short visit to the ER, only lasting a couple of hours (and a BIG shoutout to DCMH -- Ame's birthplace and the calmest hospital I've ever been to -- I LOVE that place!). I went home, complete with some Epipens and steroids and what-have-you.  Then I slept and slept and slept all day, woke up to eat, and then slept and slept and slept all night.

I am certainly better physically.  The hives and bruises from the hives have all disappeared.  But emotionally, I guess I'm a little more shaken up than I realized.  The scariest thing to me is that I have children now.  I'm no longer a single gal who can simply call an ambulance and head out.  I have dear little ones who depend on me -- and a little baby who probably doesn't know how to take a bottle and needs to nurse.  And even though there are many people in my area who would come to help at the drop of a hat, there's no guarantee that they would be reachable at the right moment.  So you know what?  I'm a little freaked out and fragile right now.

My plan moving forward is to be ever-so-vigilant about not eating things, even with traces of wheat, gluten, and corn.  This is going to take some concerted effort on my part.  I also should be very good about eating certain foods that have NEVER caused an allergic reaction from me -- like bananas and eggs.  Oh, and find a way to get to an allergist in the next couple weeks.

But hey, the good news is I'm fine, right?
And the even better news is that we're celebrating Gwen's TWO YEAR OLD birthday TOMORROW!
And I'm here to celebrate it.  Good stuff.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

the only words I know

I am
emotionally spent
for various reasons.

By the time there's a moment of silence, of stillness,
I have nothing left to give.
No words.
No energy.

I sit curled up on the couch, cradling tears in cupped hands, and all I can offer are words I've heard before...

O Lord, You are Good
O Lord, You are Kind
O Lord, You are Merciful
O Lord, You are Sovereign
O Lord, You are Savior

I cling to these words and repeat them over and over again until I am no longer drowning in myself and my own thoughts.  When I focus on the truth of who God is, I can let go a little bit of the present hurt.  I can be taken out of myself for a time.  I can refocus and remember what is Real and what is False.

O Lord, You are Good
O Lord, You are Kind
O Lord, You are Merciful
O Lord, You are Sovereign
O Lord, You are Savior

These are the statements I pray.  
These are the only words I know.  
These are the only things I have to offer.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

(slightly) wordless wednesday (because i like words)

Just uploaded this classic photo from Mother's Day...

(I'm looking forward to sharing this with them when they're teenagers.)

  • Describe your favorite "classic" photo of your kids or of kids in general ("classic" dripping with sarcasm here).

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

learning lessons from kid songs

Do you remember the song If I Were a Butterfly?

If I were a butterfly
I'd thank you Lord for giving me wings
If I were a robin in a tree 
I'd thank you Lord that I could sing
If I were a fish in the sea
I'd wiggle my tail and I'd giggle with glee
But I just thank you Father for making me, me

For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus and you made me your child

And I just thank you Father for making me, me  

I grew up with this song.  Maybe you did too, or maybe you remember your kids singing it along with their Psalty cassette tape (oh yeah!-- by the way, I totally thought it was "Salty" growing up, and I don't think I really understood what he was supposed to be...).  

So this song randomly popped into my head over the last week and I started teaching it to my (very-almost) two year old.  I especially like to teach her songs with hand motions and she loves animals, so this turned out to be perfect.  But as I sang it, I realized that I think God gave me this song for a reason.  

But I just thank you Father for making me, me

Do I?  Do I really thank the Father for making me ME?  Or do I spend a lot of my time wishing He made me someone else -- or at least gave me slightly different qualities?  

It's good to be humble, but it's not good to demean myself.  I was created by the Lord; I was made in His image; I have value.  So why do I find it difficult, at times, to rejoice in God creating me?

Just something to think about...

  • Have you ever learned something (as an adult) from a kid song or book?


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