Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Broken Trust

Broken.

I just felt broken.

My son Nolan, who has had digestive issues for three years, has now had a headache for 35 days straight.  It's been more painful at times and less painful at times, but he has not been pain-free for 35 days.

We've been to every professional at our pediatrician's office except for our actual pediatrician.  We've been to the Emergency Department at the hospital.  I've lost track of how many times we've called and talked to nurses.

No one has helped us.

Then I got hit hard with a virus (I'm assuming influenza).  I've been in and out of sleep, day and night.  My husband has been working long hours and has had to be gone every evening.

Last night Nolan was up multiple times throughout the night, clutching his head, in too much pain to sleep.  I have devoted the last decade of my life to taking care of this boy and giving him whatever he needs to be healthy, safe, and thriving.  And for the last 35 days, he has come to me and I have not been able to help him.

So this morning as I drove my other children to school in my minivan that had one tire low on air and faulty heat in the midst of our frigid winter, I felt broken.

For just a moment, I started to angrily lash out at God.  You know what's causing all this.  Why aren't you doing anything?

But I made my choice to trust Him, no matter how Nolan feels.  So I kept praying.  I trust you.  I know you never allow your children to experience pain without a purpose.  I know you're doing something and I don't have to understand it.

All throughout my crazy morning, the same sentence kept repeating in my mind.


Seek His presence more than His power.

Once all the younger kids were safely at school (and I had taken Nora's forgotten gym shoes to her and put air in my bum tire), I left Nolan clutching his head while eating breakfast.  I went in my bedroom and closed the door.  And I got ready to seek God's presence.

For me, praise and worship music is the vehicle through which I most easily connect with God's presence.  So I pulled out my trusty smart phone to play music. 

Every time I've gone through a difficult season of life, God has given me a song to help me through that time.  The song He has chosen for The Nolan Headache Battle is Trust in You by Lauren Daigle. 

I first heard this song on Pandora a few weeks ago, and I instantly loved it.  A friend who has been praying for us sent me the lyrics to this song on the day we were at the hospital with Nolan for some testing.  Today when I turned on my phone to praise God, that song was the first to start playing on Pandora.

God is good.

The chorus of the song says:
When you don't move the mountains I'm needing you to move
When you don't part the waters I wish I could walk through
When you don't give the answers as I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you
You can view all of the lyrics here.  You can also listen to the song here:

I sang and cried and raised my hands to God right there in my bedroom.  The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people, and I gave Him a place to fill today.

It's not that I don't still feel broken.  I just know God is holding my pieces.  And He knows how to put them back together.

Jessica

Monday, January 11, 2016

Today's Time: Badge Removal

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  sometimes it's really hard to explain where my time goes.

For example, let me tell you what I did with today's time.

I've been down for two days with the flu.  I'm talking down like I don't think I have the energy to get up and pee.  The problem is that I really don't just sit.  Or lay.  Ever.

So today I pulled out a project that could be done from a sitting/reclining position since that's all my flu-ridden body would allow me to do.  I've been working on this project on and off for a few months.

These are Caravan sashes and scarves:


What's Caravan, you ask?  It's a Christian-based scouting program that takes place at our church on Wednesday evenings during the school year.  Kids earn badges that are added to their sashes and scarves.

Those sashes and scarves and badges cost a lot of money for the church.  Another church donated two boxes of used sashes and scarves to our church.  So I was given the task of removing all the badges.

I'm stripping these babies for parts.

Roughly 30-40% of the donated items had current badges on them, and the rest have outdated badges that can no longer be used.  But we could really use the sashes and scarves once the outdated badges are removed.

Some of the badges were hand-sewn on.  More were machine-sewn on.  I can use my seam ripper to remove the stitching and ultimately the badges.  Then I have to pick all the little threads off the badges and sash/scarf.

Some of the badges were hot glued on.  These peel off fairly easily and leave behind a white-ish shadow where the glue was.  Other badges were applied with some sort of mystery adhesive.  Some of these leave behind a thin shiny layer.  Others require Hulk strength to pull off and leave behind a thick rubbery glue.


A few of the sashes had badges that had been safety pinned to them.  These just required time and diligence to not give myself tetanus.

It's slow going.  It makes all my fingertips bruised from pulling on every badge and thread.  It makes my fingernails rough and broken and split.


It also occasionally does this to my seam ripper:

If you are not a seamstress, you may not realize that this is missing two parts that snapped off.
I have to take a break until my fingers heal and I get a new seam ripper.  Then I'll tackle the remaining 19 scarves (yes I counted).

I now have a bag of badges that can be reused:


A bag of badges that can no longer be used:


And a stack of stripped sashes and scarves that need to somehow have the adhesive removed:


So...does anyone know how to remove mystery adhesive and hot glue residue from fabric?  If so, PLEASE leave me some advice in the comments!  I'll be asking the Google for help on this one, but I'd rather hear from actual people.  If I can't get these sashes and scarves clean in order to be passed on to kids in our church, then all my hard work (and sacrificed fingernails and seam rippers) will be for nothing!

Now my nighttime cold medicine is kicking in and my head is getting fuzzy.  Does that make anyone else think of Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail?  If so, we should be friends.  Or we probably already are.

Ok, time to lay back down.  And find something to do while I'm resting.

Jessica

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Family Getaway

*This is my last chance to publish this post this year, and--by golly--I'm gonna do it!  I've been working on it since EASTER.  The stupid problem my computer has been having with pictures caused this post to be impossible to prepare.  Each and every picture took anywhere from 10-20 minutes to upload.  Ridiculous.  But I win.  I'm publishing this thing.  Happy Easter and Happy New Year!

One night several weeks ago, Jared and I were discussing the upcoming Easter weekend.  We realized that it is the only Sunday during the entire year when neither of us has responsibilities at church.  Whole year--one Sunday off.

We contemplated this fact.  We added other facts.  He was running ragged at work.  I was running ragged at home.  We missed each other and desperately wanted time with just our family.

These facts added up to one very controversial conclusion:  we should go away for Easter weekend.  That's right:  we would not be in our home church on Easter Sunday.

Before you get too bent out of shape, keep in mind that we try to be grateful every single day that Jesus died for us and rose again, conquering death and allowing us to be forgiven and spend eternity with Him.  Prayer led us to a sense of peace about skipping town for Easter weekend in order to be renewed as individuals and as a family.

We didn't even book our trip until about a week and a half before the getaway weekend.  Jared picked both the location and the actual house we rented.  I didn't make a packing list.  I didn't plan meals ahead of time.  We did not schedule activities ahead of time.

If you know me at all, you know this is NOT the way I usually operate.  I admit it was kinda awesome.

So where did we go and what did we do?

We went to a little town in Southern Illinois and stayed in an awesome house on lots of acres of land, including a pond for fishing as well as woods for exploring and rocks for climbing.



The house had one wall of windows, and it led out to a balcony with rocking chairs.

The back side of the house with an outdoor eating area and a grill


We weren't sure how the kids would do with this kind of vacation.  They expect "vacation" to mean beach and pool.  We did have our amazing vacation last year to Michigan, but even that had swimming in the lake and a brief trip to a beach at Lake Michigan.

The first day we were there, I suggested that we go hiking in the woods to see what we could find.  The kids referred to this as "exploring," and it became their favorite thing ever.

When we were out exploring for the first time, Nolan and I had this conversation:
Nolan:  Mom, I've never seen you get dirty.
Me:  See?  I told you Vacation Mom is different than Everyday Mom.
Nolan:  I like Vacation Mom better.
Guess what?  I like Vacation Mom better, too.

On our exploring trips, we tried to find as many things as possible.  We focused on plants, animals, and other living things.  I found that taking pictures of the things we found helped me not to get too grossed out.



It's too bad this picture came out so dark because it is FUNNY!!  The lizard moved suddenly right as I took the picture.







There was a road from our house to the nearby pond.  We LOVED fishing there, and we also found more critters in and near the water.





These are slimy strings of frog eggs, and there were tons of them everywhere!



A tiny minnow Griffin caught in his net



A clearer view of the frog eggs


Ants on a log.  Literally.
There were about six turtles that lived in the pond, but they never let us get close enough to get a decent picture.

We weren't sure how fishing was going to go.  Jared had to do all the gross jobs of baiting hooks and touching slimy things, of course.  Griffin hooked nearly every family member at one point or another.  For awhile, it was just a game of keeping everyone safe and not bleeding.

Eventually everyone found their fishing groove.  The kids figured out how to cast and how to enjoy the game of trying to get a fish.  Jared and I even got to fish once we got the kids set up.































Jared caught the first fish.  Then I caught my own little bluegill, just slightly larger than Jared's.  Then the boys caught bitty fish of their own.  Nora pouted because she was the only one who hadn't caught a fish.  And then, she caught THE fish of the trip.  And on a Barbie fishing pole, mind you.



This is one of my very favorite pictures!

















Seriously.  She puts her Nora girly flair on everything, even fishing!






Griffin ADORED this tiny baby bass





I loved the kids using their imaginations with the sticks and rocks.





We were not afraid of dirt on this vacation

When Jared and I wanted to sit together, the kids could go play on the swing set.



Going on another adventure

























My boots!






We had a super awesome Easter egg hunt on the property.




























These were the "horses with shirts" on the property next to ours.









This is "Donkley" (named by Nora).  He is a lovable donkey who enjoys eating fresh chives pulled from the ground and hand fed to him by adorable children.













It was such an amazing weekend filled with adventures and all sorts of new things.  We will remember this family getaway forever!

And we might not be around next Easter either...

Jessica