Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me

There's a gorgeous full moon out tonight and since Grama has died I feel close to her when I look up in that big sky and see that bright moon.  About a week after I got home from Montana and her funeral I was putting Casey out and saw that moon shining down and I knew, just knew, she was in a better place.

Although my three weeks with her were labored with questions and wondering why God had brought me to Montana and it appeared she wasn't going to die, the time together was precious.  Sacred.

One day, one that I spoke of in her eulogy, was particularly sweet.  I was sitting there holding her hand and offered to paint her nails.  They were brittle and peeling; she wasn't getting nearly the nutrition she needed to sustain them and I thought a little polish would be cheerful.

She agreed and I ran to the drugstore down the street and picked out a few colors.  When I returned I laid them out in front of her.  Without hesitation she quickly chose the brightest and perkiest pink of the bunch.  I polished her nails and toes and when she fell asleep and scuffed her thumbs I polished them again.

After she had fallen asleep I went into her bathroom to put the polish, remover and q-tips away.  Before putting it in the cabinet I looked at the name on the polish and it was "Rosy Future."  I just loved that.  Her future was indeed "rosy" as she prepared to meet her Savior face to face.

For the first week and half our days were filled of drinking milk shakes together and having candid talks about death and Heaven.  She wasn't afraid.  She didn't want to die but she certainly wasn't afraid.  We told each other a thousand "I love you's" and kisses.  As the days went on it got to the point where I couldn't bring my kids anymore but in the first week she had some special time with those great grandbabies who had come up with the name, "Gigi."

This picture just busts me up; here are my two Emily's sleeping in a little twin hospital bed.  It just cracks me up that Gigi's teeth have fallen out and are under Emily's arm.

Late in to the second week Grama's rally began to decline.  She stopped eating the few bites of 3 square meals and was sleeping almost all the time.  She was still able to swallow water and so we didn't have to give her her medicine through a syringe yet and that was a blessing.

At times she would seem to be hallucinating; she would look at me and her eyes were bright and voice clear but she would call me "Mama."  Towards the last week she called me Mama more than she did Jenny.  It didn't hurt me, in fact, I thought it was tender and precious.  I felt honored.  I also thought it was precious that in the end, no matter how old we are, we all want our mothers.

After we stopped going home at night and started staying with her around the clock I was on the night shift, sleeping in the recliner adjacent from her bed.  I heard her cry out, "Mama, Mama."  I sat up and saw her sitting up, wide awake.  "Grama, what do you need?  I'm here.  What do you need?"  "Whose cat is that?" she asked.  She was looking at the foot of her bed where there was no cat.  I got up and walked over to her bed.  "I don't know whose cat that is.  Is it yours?"  She nodded yes and smiled.  "What's your kitty's name?" I asked.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said in a know it all voice, "Kitty Cat."  Duh.

I asked her if she was thirsty and she said yes so I gave her a sip of water and she made a spitting sound over and over and then said, "Don't give that to Kitty Cat."  With that she laid down and went to sleep.

Thanks for letting me process through this bag of sorrow I'm dragging around.  It isn't much fun but as I cried and smiled while I wrote this I know its necessary.

One last picture.  I love this one; I loved her hands.  Even as a little girl I just loved how soft they always were.  This picture is special because we're holding hands and you can clearly see her two rings: her mother's ring and the ring my Mom bought herself, Grama and me.  We buried her with her mother's ring and the other one rests in a box waiting for little Emily to be old enough to wear and cherish.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Did You Expect?

It was exactly 23 hours from the time I got the phone call from Hospice to come to the time I was walked in to Grama's room at Autumn Springs. I held my breath and walked in...

She was sitting on the foot of her bed. Dressed. Talking to my Uncle Gene. Waiting for dinner. She squealed and held out her arms when she saw me.

To say I was surprised at her perky condition is the greatest of all understatements. I had read and re-read Hospice's booklet on what the last days of life looked like, you know the ones where they call family all the way from Oregon to come because they are the LAST FREAKING DAYS OF LIFE, and this picture of sass was not it.

Seeing that Gigi wasn't gasping for her last breaths, I ushered in Deb and the kids. My Mom arrived shortly after and we both just shrugged our shoulders. This wasn't the first time we had thought Grama was dying.

Later that evening Deb and the midgets went home with my Mom and I stayed with Grama. She was lying in her bed and smiling up at me. I told her how good she looked and that I was actually surprised to see her doing so well. She smirked and said, "What did you expect? This?" and with that she closed her eyes and folder her hands on her chest as if she were lying in a casket. I nearly choked with laughter and said "yes."

I told her Hospice had called me and that's when she got serious and said that the last few days had been very rough and that she didn't remember much. I asked her if she had remembered telling me to come. She said no. I asked her if she remembered not getting out of bed for the last week? She said no. I didn't get into the hallucinations and the other end of life signs she had shown; I just held her hand and told her that I was glad she was having a good day.

On my drive home I began the defeating questions that would plague me for the next 3 weeks. They would rob me of my joy, my faith, and my confidence. I would become so blinded by my own petulant selfishness that I would nearly miss the sacred joy of being with my Grama in her last weeks of life and the fulfillment of God's promises that He would never leave me nor forsake me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Beginning of the End
Probably the biggest hurdle to getting back in to blogging is knowing that I need to to blog about losing Grama before I can blog about anything else. And the kids' Halloween candy...that delicious goodness is also a hurdle.
I know you'd all, and by you all I mean Bestie Kim and Christene Johnson who are my only remaining readers, would still read if I just jumped into Samuel's epic melt down over wearing eyeliner on Halloween night and just completely skipped over the last 2 months.
With that said, for myself, I need to write about this. I was explaining to Bestie Maryanne yesterday that I've come to a good place: I have a deep wound but it is sufficiently scabbed over. To write about it will reopen that and I need to do it because I don't believe I've "dealed" with it. I'm a processer and I do that through writing/journaling and I have not had the time, nor the courage, to begin to do that.
November is blogging month and I guess bloggers try to blog once a day during blogging month. I'm hoping to blog once a day for the rest of the month and redevelop that muscle and maybe do a little healing in the meantime.
It was Wednesday, August 2nd, and I was having brunch with Bestie Kristan at French Press. I told her that Grama had worsened and that Hospice Sherry had called me that morning to tell me she thought it was nearing the time for me to come. Only the day before I had spoken to Grama on the phone and she was confused, restless, journeying back through time and asking me to be with her "in the end." As usual she was funny; I said "Grama, you really think it is close?" She replied, "Yes. Maybe this week or next." There was a long pause while I collected myself and she added dryly, "Or maybe a year." Hilarious.
Over our quiches Kristan encouraged me to go, she reminded me I would never regret the time.
All morning long I had been praying for God to show me whether or not it was indeed time to go. How can one predict death? How can a person just put a life on hold in Oregon indefinitely to go sit in Montana while one life ends? I was torn. I desperately wanted to be with my Grama. I wanted to hold her hand, to comb her hair, to kiss her face. I was tired of updates over the wire and wanted to be there. Grama had never asked much of me and she had clearly asked me the day before to be with her.
I wrestled, round and round, with the question of "what if?" What if I go out there and spend a few weeks, a month, and she doesn't die. Am I ok with that? Am I ok going out there and then not going back until it is time to bury her? What if she's right and she knows and it really is close? How will I forgive myself if I don't go and she dies without me kissing her one more time.
I prayed to God, "If I should go to Montana, give me a sign." I was going to set out my fleece: if Al was supportive and said to go, I would go. If he was hesitant and worried about coverage in the office I would wait it out until Gigi worsened.
After brunch with Kristan, I called Mom while driving to the office. "I don't know what to tell you" she said. "I will just pray that God shows you through Al if you should come or not." My jaw dropped. That was exactly what I was praying. I told her that and we both marveled at how God moves and works and orchestrates. God still speaks to us. If we will listen, God still speaks.
So I went to work, talked to Al and awaited his response. Without even asking to think about it he said, "You need to go."
Humbled at God speaking so clearly to me and humbled at Al's kindness.
Sweet Deb had said she would drive out there with the kids and me if when it came time Jeff couldn't go with us and then just fly back to Oregon. Hot Jeff decided he couldn't go with us for an indefinite amount of time but would fly out for the funeral and then drive us home so Deb and I set our sights on Friday deciding that tomorrow, Thursday, we would use to pack and get ready.
At 5:00 that same, long afternoon Hospice Sherry called and asked what I had decided. I told her I would be coming on Friday. She paused. "Should I come sooner?" I asked. She said she thought I should, Grama seemed to moving quickly through the last stages of the dying process. I hung up quickly and called Deb to see if she could leave by 8:30. She could.
There would be no words for my surprise when I saw my Gigi 23 hours later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Mother Hen is Back

I have gone back to being a stay at home mom; after much discussion and prayer I asked Al if I could only work one day a week and he said yes so now I'm back to blogging. You may wonder how the connection works. Well you see, when you are a SAHM you have to do a lot of housework and before you do a lot of housework you have to sufficiently procrastinate and blogging is the perfect procrastination tool. You with me?

I've missed blogging. Mostly I've missed you coming up to me or commenting and telling me how funny I am but I'll play it cool and just say I've missed blogging.

All sorts of things have happened since I last blogged, the biggest being that my sweet Gigi has gone to Heaven. This alone is like 14 of its very own posts. My emotional breakdown and long road back to a somewhat stable mental state is a couple more posts. I'm not in the dig deep emotional place this morning so instead I will tell you that I learned to crochet while I was in Montana (you will read later that I was there for almost a month, taking care of Gigi and being with my Mama). Turns out I'm not great at crocheting but I love it. Seriously, On Pinterest I pin all these wonderful and adorable things I want to crochet but the fact is that I only know one stitch and want to stay married. If I took the time to make all that cute stuff Hot Jeff would most certainly leave me for a cooler wife. One who vacuums and doesn't crochet all day long. I can crochet his new wife a nice scarf.

Samuel started Kindergarten and loves it. He's amazing. The other day he was talking to his dad about "tag" and I only caught like 2 other words besides "tag" and I thought he was talking about the Talented And Gifted program but it turns out he was talking about the playground game so he's not that amazing but amazing still. Ha!

Emily started preschool and then dropped out of preschool so we're pretty sure she has solidified herself a career of walking the streets but we let her dropout anyway. She loved it but said she "wanted to stay home with Mommy." Who can blame her? I'm buckets of fun. Roo didn't need preschool the way that Samuel did so we relented and we'll put her in next year to make sure she's Kindergarten ready. We're going to put her in a dance class instead. That way she can work on her moves and maybe be a pole dancer to supplement her street walking career when she inevitably drops out of high school.

Roo's most exciting news is that she asked Jesus into her heart! This too warrants its own post...but I'm just catching you up on the Henderson news.

I know this post is a little lame and I'm already bored with it; I suppose it is going to take a little bit of time to get back into the blogging frame of mind. Good thing my laundry and dishes never stop to help inspire me!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Lot of Catching Up To Do

You know it has been a long time since you blogged when a friend who like doesn't even have an internet connection (yes, I'm talking to you Bex) tells you that you need to blog. It has been so long since I blogged that Bestie Maryanne has stopped asking. Bestie Kim is down to checking once every 3 days. It is so sad. So sad.

Sometimes I think that I just can't come up with anything funny but I know that isn't true because my Facebook posts continue to be so maybe that it is that I just can't be funnier for longer than 240 characters? Do you think Facebook has ruined what would be my wonderful, blooming, blogging career?

Since I promised a blog post--tonight--I will write about the golden silence in my homestead right now. It is 8:30 on a Summer night and my kiddos are next door tormenting Melissa. It is blissful. I can hear them so I know they are happy and well cared for yet they are not here tormenting me. 8:30 is SOOO past their bedtime but don't you just love Summer and breaking all the bedtime rules?

On Monday I realized that I had cleaned my kitchen and living room (Which room is the living room? The one with the TV? Or is that the family room? I can never remember. In my world the living room is the room with the TV.) no less than 4 times. FOUR TIMES. That included vacuuming. My kids aren't exactly hoarders, I'm not sure what you would call them, but I am certain TLC could make a reality show out of them and what filthy little children they are. Not only filthy but messy. Even after I bathe them they manage to get sticky. It is like our whole house is made of syrup and they are incapable of not getting sticky. They are also incapable of not bringing toys downstairs from their bedrooms or the bonus room. They somehow have become convinced that the world is their oyster and my house is the epicenter of that oyster, the epicenter where they can just spread their toys and cars and babies and legos and foam swords all over and then when told to take them back upstairs claim that those very same toys are "too heavy."

Since I started typing this, Hot Jeff has brought them in, marveled at their filthiness and is now appropriately giving them a bath. I heart him.

So what else is going on in the Mother Hen's world?

Well we got a dog. And even more amusing than the fact that we got a dog is how we got a dog. First: I am not a dog person. I don't like dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, neighbor dogs. The only kind of dog I like is a rescue dog and only if I am the one s/he is rescuing.

So one weekend Hot Jeff went to the Deschutes for some testosterone time and the kids and I had some time on our hands. Hot Jeff and I had briefly discussed getting a lab. And when I say "briefly discussed" I mean like Jeff said, "Boy, it would be fun to have a dog." And I said, "Maybe." and the kids said, "Yah. Wahoo. Can we have pie?" (They are very random like that.) So anyway, as a means to kill time (and to tangibly show my kids what a poorly thought out decision looks like) I decided to take them to the Humane Society. Um, yes, the Humane Society. I don't know whatever possessed me to do this other than sheer lack of sleep and adult conversation.

We walked in and I said, "Do you have any puppies?" Maryanne has since told me that when you go to the Pound and ask if there are puppies AND you have two preschoolers in tow, that automatically translates in Humane Society language to "I am a sucker. If you show me a puppy with sweet eyes AND A FREAKING CONE OF SHAME (e-collar) on its neck, I will pay you a ridiculous amount of money to take that dog home with me."

You see...I really didn't want a puppy. But I certainly wasn't going to traumatize my children by taking them back to see the nasty, lice infested, found under a bridge dogs...what kind of mother do you think I am? So puppies it was.

There were 5 puppies in the kennel. The first one not only had the cone of shame on but it only had 3 legs. Are you kidding me? You would have to be dead inside to not take that dog home. Fortunately for Tri-Pod it had a nice family of 5 cooing over her. I lingered at the second kennel and pondered the smell in the air when Samuel's shrieking pulled me back to reality. He and Roo were kneeling in front of a kennel that held the little bittiest, sweetest black puppy I had ever seen. The HS volunteer, trained to watch for signs of weakness, must have seen me start to lactate a bit and said, "Would you and your kids like to go play with her in a private room?"

If you don't speak Humane Society, as Maryanne does, then you should be warned that this does not mean its 10 minutes of your kids rolling around with a pup, you take the pup back and everyone has their puppy fix. I quickly learned this as I, like a sucker, said, "Sure."

She escorted us to a little concrete room with one chair in it. The room was designed to make you feel bad about any living thing who had to permanently reside in this drab, dreary, depressing place. The volunteer told us the dog's name was "Maggie" and before she could get any further Roo exclaimed confidently that we would change her name because we already had a Baby Maggie. Taken back by her sweetness and affinity for Maggie DeBacker, I didn't even notice how Roo had already decided we would be taking this dog home. Roo, you are so smooth. I am not only impressed but threatened.

We played with the pup for almost 30 minutes all while the volunteer "interviewed" me. I explained to her that I wasn't really in the market for a dog, that my husband didn't like "little" dogs and that he wasn't even in town to run the decision by. She then proceeded to tell me about the "hold" policy...

It was time to take Puppy Maggie back to her kennel and the volunteer knew she had me right where she wanted me when I told her that I couldn't be the one to take the puppy back, it would just make me too sad. Sucker.

Cleverly I had taken pictures of the kids playing with the dog and texted one to Jeff. Not expecting him to have cell coverage well past the time the HS closed I sent him a picture of the puppy on Samuel's lap and wrote, "We have something to ask you." He surprisingly responded in minutes with, "What kind is it?" Here is the transcript of our texting...

J: Little. Chiuaua? Pomeranian? Terrier? Full blood mutt.
HJ: Absolutely not. No way. Don't get the kids' hopes up.
J: Too late.
HJ: Jen...
J: She is really sweet. Samuel is crazy about her. I think it would be good for them.
HJ: No response.
J: Kids need a dog.
JH: You hate dogs.
J: Not this one. We have a hold on her until 7 tomorrow. You can think about it.
HJ: The kids like her? Even Roo?
J: Love her.
HJ: How much?
J: What? You're cutting out.
HJ: How much is she?
J: I'm surprised you have coverage. Did you have fun?
HJ: How long is the hold?
J: Until 7 tomorrow. There is a 30 day return policy.
HJ: Go get her.

This is how the Henderson family makes decisions. Half-assed. This is what I love about us.

Before we left we sent him a video of the kids going bonkers because Daddy had said yes.

The rest is history. Now we have a sweet, sweet puppy named Casey (after the Beavers baseball coach who lead the team to back to back College World Series wins) and why I have a discussion happening AT THIS VERY MOMENT on my Facebook Wall about dog's anal sacks. In addition, I dress her in cute little outfits and carry her in a dog purse while shopping at Target. I am totally all Paris Hilton about this dog. For the record, I still hate all other dogs though and Christy Lowry your video of Ditka pulling out your daughter's tooth almost made me vomit. I did find it highly entertaining though which eventually won out over it's vomit factor.

Wow, that took a long time. Now I'm too tired to write about how I got a Smart Phone and how I love it even more than my stainless steel dishwasher, which up until I got the Smart Phone, was my favorite thing in the whole wide world. I named my Smart Phone Lola.

Of course I did.

J-Bang out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Faithfulness I Don't Deserve

My Mom was able to arrange for Gigi to stay in her little apartment! Praise Jesus. Hospice will just come there instead and the nursing staff will give her extra care than what is expected of them for an assisted living home.

They love Gigi there and were eager to keep her there and let her be in her home.

It was such a huge relief for my Gigi; Mom said she was so happy to get to go home. My Mom sounded like a different person than the one I talked to this morning...she sounded more like herself and I felt peace.

I read some articles tonight on grief, mourning and "anticipatory grief"--what we are going through right now. I was relieved to hear that all this weight and grief and anger and sadness is all normal. I guess it is also normal that one night I will write an angry tirade and then the next morning feel peace. the last 24 hours?

I'm not ashamed to say I am scared...I'm afraid of grief. I'm afraid of unbearable sadness and loss. I can't imagine not having Gigi in this world with me and I'm afraid I just won't be able to handle it. I know that sounds really melodramatic but that's just how I feel.

So back to the title: faithfulness I don't deserve. In my skewed sense of a holy God I thought, "Well He is being faithful to Gigi and to Mom..."

Isn't that what the enemy wants me to think? Doesn't he want me think that because I get mad I don't get God's faithfulness anymore. But that's not how it works...I can never, ever, ever earn the faithfulness and redemption of a blameless Savior which would mean I can't un-earn it either. I simply get His faithfulness, mercy, grace and redemption because I believe in Him. It seems almost too good to be true.

My Mom said tonight that she and Gigi had a talk about their faiths tonight and that they discussed that this is the time, more than ever, that the "rubber meets the road" per se. Will the profession of a Saving God and the belief in eternal life with Him all Gigi's life be what she clings to in the end or will she fail to trust in Whom she's believed at the most crucial time? Without question, she's holding tightly to Hope; she will meet Jesus with confidence.

Gigi's daddy died when she was a little girl and she has felt his loss her whole life. Tonight she told Mom she's been thinking about Heaven a lot; Mom said, "You'll get to see Bobby." and Gigi replied, "And my Dad."

Who, without Hope in a living Savior, can speak with such confidence?

While the journey ahead of me and my family seems fraught with grief and mourning intertwined with grace and peace, it appears to me that Gigi's path is straight and short and her reward is in clear sight.

May we all be able to die so well.
A Follow Up to My Drunken, Weepy Post

I woke up this morning with this verse below on my lips; thank you Jesus for speaking to me even when I don't trust You and doubt Your promises.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his mercy never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22

And this one, which my Mom read to me this morning:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Long Goodbye

I make a lot of jokes about drinking too much wine but the truth is I really don't drink very much. I don't even drink once a night but tonight...well tonight is a little different. I've polished off a whole bottle of Riesling and am going strong.

I wouldn't be a good alcoholic though because I don't feel numb at all. Not one little bit.

Gigi went to the emergency room for the 2nd time in 6 days this afternoon. Tonight the ER physician was brutally honest with my Mom: she is the final stage of congetive heart failure, she needs to move out of her little assisted living apartment in to a nursing home where Hospice will to comfort care until the end. He said no longer than 6 months.

For 30 years I called Gigi, "Grama" but since Samuel came along we've started calling her "Gigi", short for Great-Grandma. Tonight in the bathtub I heard Samuel tell Emily that Gigi was too sick and she was going to die. Emily said she wanted to go and hug her Gigi.

I know some of you have experienced unbearable, unimaginable grief and I'm not trying to "one up" or try to get a bunch of sympathetic comments or anything...I'm just writing. I'm just wondering. I'm just processing.

The one thing I keep thinking about is how Grama knows what is happening; she cried when Mom told her she had to go to a nursing home. She understands...she knows she won't see another Winter, she knows she won't crochet another blanket or do another puzzle and she has to walk that journey herself. I can't walk it for her. Mom can't walk it for her. With all the love and support she has, she still has to do this alone.

I wonder if she senses when the end will be or if she is wondering like the rest of us.

When Uncle Bob got sick and the end came the last 2 weeks were brutal. Horrific. I couldn't go see him, I was afraid, but everyone told me it was horrific. And there we all were--just waiting. Waiting. The Hospice team said it was time and we all were there just waiting. And hours turned to days and days turned to more days. 2 weeks in all and we all prayed to God for mercy and it didn't come and it didn't come and it didn't come until was over. And I thought I understood God is soverign and I thought I had found peace but when I heard my Mom say tonight that she was praying for God to be merciful to Grama I got so angry I almost screamed. I want to know where the mercy is. I don't know that I can see it right now and I don't have the courage to believe in it.

I think I'm surprised how heavy this grief is already. I wonder if it is more regret than grief. When I moved from Montana to Oregon I knew it was to start a new life with Jeff and I know this is the life God has for me but tonight I feel so far away and all I want to do is crawl up in to that bed and lie with her and tell her I love her.

We have a trip planned out there at the first of July and my first reaction is that I don't want to go now because if I go I don't want to leave. Not until it is over because I can't say that final goodbye. There are no words to tell her how much I love her and how thankful I am she helped raise me and how I will never, ever, forget her or stop missing her. How do you do that? How do you walk away and get in a car and frive 18 hours knowing you won't be back until it is time to lay her next to her son? I simply can't do that.

We talk just about every other day and our conversations are so light and casual.

I don't know where I was going with that. I'm a little drunk.

I actually have to go to work tomorrow so I need to go to bed. I just needed to write and this is where I do it. I'm probably going to turn in to one of those rambling bloggers that write all in one paragraph and don't capitalize or punctuate. Shut this damn thing down if that happens.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Seattle= Kindred Spirit Capital of the World

Friday morning started off as any other morning: me waking up from a dream in which Mitchell and I were having brunch with Elton John and Catherine Middleton. While getting ready for work (I was working a 1/2 day before Hot Jeff and I headed North to Seattle) I packed a bag for Samily who were staying with Grammy Deb Sherwood and whistled a happy tune--I was only a mere 11 hours away from reuniting with Mitchell.

An hour or so into my 1/2 day I called a client and my heart stopped when I heard his ringtone, it was Journey's "Midnight Train!" Are you kidding me? I mouthed to Maryanne that I was getting an omen, she mouthed back, "what?" I left a voicemail and said in a clear voice to MA, "I got an omen! ________'s ringtone was "Midnight Train." As only a Bestie would do, Maryanne started singing, "Don't stop believing."

The morning passed quickly and before I knew it, it was noon and Hot Jeff was waiting for me outside in our gassed up Pilot. We started up the highway and Jeff said, "Are you going to be warm enough?" Odd question since he packed the coat that I had sitting on a bag next to the door but I answered cheerfully, "For sure."

Hot Jeff and I were merrily making our way up the highway and cracking each other up with our own lists of Michael Scott's best moments. We were on the north side of Olympia when he asked me again if I was going to be warm enough. "Yes," I answered. "I put my warm coat along side my bag that was right by the door."

"What bag?"

"The Mickey Mouse bag right next to the door with a black coat on top of it."

"I didn't know I was supposed to put that in. I didn't put anything in the car for you."

A sinking feeling swept over me; I immediately knew what else was in the bag and what wasn't in the car. My black hat; the one that makes me look like a celebrity. Mitchell wouldn't have his identifier. I quickly texted Maryanne who texted back she thought Jeff was trying to thwart my reunion with Mitchell.

As my mind raced Hot Jeff said, "That is all you have. You are going to be cold."

Ok...if he didn't pack the coat I had set out and he knew I didn't take a coat with me to work and he was clearly overly concerned about my warmth, why didn't he pack me a coat? I'm not sure I'll ever know the answer to this question. It turns out I never got cold but still...

We arrived safely in Seattle and awaited outside Safeco field for 15 minutes until the gates opened. The seats were all general admission for the evening and Hot Jeff wanted to be on the first base dugout directly behind the Beavs. We had no problem getting those seats as we were second in line and there were only about 4000 people in attendance.

After we found our seats I nervously looked around trying to spot Mitchell. It dawned on me at this point that if I actually saw Mitchell I may get a little shy. I mean, would I just walk up to him and ask if he remembered me from the football game last October? Has he been thinking about the connection we made? Have my hilarious lines been running through his mind the last 7 months? Has he been dreaming of the day, like I have, when we could exchange Facebook identities and outwit each other with our status updates? All of a sudden I was feeling chicken.

I was brought back from my reverie by a blond woman coming up next to me and taking pictures of the team. It was just a few minutes from the game starting and she was trying to get her unwilling son to smile while his buddies around him sweetly obliged the young looking mom to my right. As the Freshman scampered off to the dugout below us she looked at me and said, "Someone ought to talk to his mother." We laughed and she walked to her seats a few rows up.

The game started and I found myself not thinking of Mitchell as I started crushing on #2 Infielder, Carter Bell. There is something deliciously creepy about crushing on a college boy. You know that its wrong but you also know that he's over 18 and you couldn't do jail time for it. I'm just sayin'.

Around the 4th inning the crazily young looking Mom reappeared with her camera. This time I asked which player was hers and we started up a conversation. The conversation turned from small talk to Mom talk and I found her to be engaging and really, really funny. For example, after I had everyone move down a seat to make room for my new BFF Debbie so she didn't have to take pictures on her knees, she said, "What happens to those pitchers if they have to go poop? You know they have nervous stomachs. Like are they just supposed to stop the game and run off the field? You just can't trust a fart in pants like those."

Ok. Stop.Right.There. Are you kidding me? Who else in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD would say that to someone they've known for 30 minutes besides me? No one. I looked at her with dreamy, glazed over eyes...she was a kindred spirit for sure.

We chatted up the night and I revealed my crush for Carter Bell to her. Upon saying it I felt the rush of embarrassment go to my cheeks...that's a risky move when you're talking to a player's mom. There was a slight pause and I waited for her to storm off in a disgusted huff calling me an old dirty whore as she went but she said, "Don't get too excited. I've had him and it wasn't that great." Bwahahahaha! Hello? Bestie alert!! Kim White couldn't have said it better or faster herself.

It wasn't long until we were exchanging phone numbers and email addresses and making plans for lunch when she comes down to Corvallis next (she lives in WA). As we said goodbye I realized I hadn't thought of Mitchell all night.

Call me fickle; its ok. On the drive home, in which BFF Debbie and I texted the whole time, Hot Jeff reassured me I wasn't fickle, only friendly, and would have a better chance of reuniting with Mitchell at Husky stadium where we first connected. Until then, I will hold fast to the dream that my gay best friend is still out there, waiting for me and planning facial dates for us. I hope he doesn't mind if I bring Debbie with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Won't Stop Believing

On Friday Hot Jeff and I are blasting up to Seattle for the evening for the Beaver baseball game at Safeco field. That's just how we roll--we blast to Seattle for the evening because we are just that cool.

This weekend Hot Jeff got all spontaneous and asked if I wanted to head North for the game and while he was droning on about a fun date night, all that time in the car to visit, time alone in a fun city... I was thinking "Mitchell. I am coming. Can you feel it in the air? I am coming."

If you're new to The Mother Hen then you need to stop right now and catch up. Mitchell is the one who got away...I was this close to having the great gay friendship I've always dreamed of.

Since last October I haven't been able to listen to Journey's Midnight Train (aka Don't Stop Believing) without thinking of Mitchell. My mind goes back to his infectious laugh at all my jokes, how he held an air microphone and sang with me to the Husky pep band, how handsome he looked in his orange and black scarf tied in a trendy knot.

Just a small town girl
Livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train going anywhere
A singer in a smoky room
The smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on

I'm going to take a moment and speak directly to Mitchell. Mitchell, if you are reading this...Hot Jeff and I will be sitting behind the first base dugout. I'll have on my same black hat; you know the one that makes me look like a celebrity, and I'll be holding a Journey album with a long stemmed red rose. Wear skinny jeans so Hot Jeff remembers you're gay and doesn't think you're hitting on me but is assured that the Universe has finally brought us back together so I can have my gay best friend that I've always dreamed about.

Now, excuse me while I take a minute to speak directly to the Universe. Universe, if you eff with me help'll be sorry. I have held my tongue with you regarding these saggy boobs and this enormous not screw with me again.

Just a small town girl
Livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day
A Letter from Mama

Dear Samuel & Emily,

Today is Mothers Day and you have made a fuss over me all day. You're just getting to the ages where you can see, if only for brief moments at a time, that not everything is about you. Finally, if only for brief moments at a time, you're beginning to figure out that it is all about me.

Now before I go getting all sappy and slushy lets keep it real. You make me crazy. Like I'm on a 2 prescription cocktail of anti-depressants/anxiety pills because of you two knuckleheads. Don't be fooled by a "chemical imbalance" diagnosis--someday when my liver and kidneys are shot and Dad can't wipe himself you'll be getting a little knock-knock-knock on your doors. You fight, you whine, you keep our home in a perpetual state of needing Federal assistance, you eat every 2 hours and when I pulled the couch out yesterday to vacuum I found thousands of half-eaten, abandoned goldfish crackers.

Yes, life with you isn't all rainbows. With that said, I love my life. You have made my life complete in a way I never knew was possible.

Samuel, you made me a Mommy. I went from being focused on myself to being focused on another human who was completely dependent on me. I gave you life and I sustained you but you saved me. You saved me from a self-centered life and taught me the fullness of giving yourself unconditionally to another. How can I ever thank you or show you the depths of my love and gratitude for you?

Emily, you completed me. You have taught me that I cannot run out of love. It sounds like a cliche but the more I love you the more love I have for Daddy and Samuel. It is funny because I seem to cling to you more than I do Samuel. It seems natural to give Samuel wings as I remind him of boundaries, but you are the baby and I find myself clinging tightly to the "littleness" of you for as long as I can. All of Samuel's "firsts" were met with excitement and anticipation (and yours are too) but your "firsts" have a tinge of bitterness to them because I know there are no more to come. So forgive me if sometimes I hold too tightly.

One thing that being your Mommy has shown me is how much God loves me. I grew up knowing he was a heavenly "father" but after becoming I mother I understand God's "Daddy" love for me so much more...and yet I know that is just but a glimpse of His great love for me.

I remember one night we were training one of you to sleep through the night so I wasn't going in and breastfeeding you but Daddy or I would just walk in and pat your back and then leave. You were both fast learners and after 2 nights or so you both decided it was easier to sleep through the night and have a big breakfast. On one of these nights I remember laying in bed listening to your sad little cries, my heart breaking because I wanted to go to you, hold you, comfort you and give you warm, soothing milk. I knew though that the best thing for you was rest and to learn to sleep through the night. I'm the parent, I saw the bigger picture and I knew sadness and confusion for a couple of nights was worth your well-being in the long run.

Samuel and Emily, this is how God is with us. He sees the bigger picture and when we're neck deep in pain, confusion and suffering He sometimes lets us "cry it out" because He knows there is something better for us on the other side. I will come to your rescue most of the time; when I don't though, don't think it isn't because I don't want to--sometimes I just know better. God won't always come to your rescue. He hears your cries, He sees your pain but sometimes we have to go through the suffering to be better on the other side.

I have all sorts of little lessons like these...little epiphanies that God has shown me as I travel on this journey of being your Mommy. I'd like to write them all down for you but so far I'm a little too busy getting gum out of carpet and making macaroni and cheese. Someday...

Know this: you are my greatest joys.

Love, Mama

Friday, April 22, 2011

A re-post from last year (April 2010) but one of my favorites and expressing some of my thoughts again this year.

Good Friday from a Mother's Eyes

Since I've had my own children I read the stories of Mary, the mother of Jesus, a little more keenly. I remember being 8 months pregnant with Emily during the Christmas season and thinking of how much Mary's hips must have ached as she made that long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey. I have a little more empathy for Mary since motherhood has given me new eyes.

Today I'm thinking of her again.

3 years ago this month my dear Uncle Bob was dying from pancreatic cancer. Every day he slipped further and further from this world and closer and closer to eternity. Our family circled around him except for one person--Gigi, his mother. Seeing him in such agony had become too physically hard for her own weakened condition and so she said her final goodbye to him 2 weeks before he died as he lingered in his last moments of consciousness.

I try not to think about that goodbye but when I do, tears spring to my eyes and my heart hurts and fear wells up inside of me at the thought of having to say goodbye to my own children. There is something very unnatural, something horribly cruel, about having to bury your children.

Today I'm thinking of Mary. Today I'm thinking about how horribly cruel it must have felt to see her son struggle under the weight of a cross, broken and bleeding, dying for sins He didn't commit.

I see her standing at the foot of the cross, arching her neck to see her son as he labors for breath, moaning from the pain and praying for those who torture him.

Can you see her? Her hair is probably more grey and her skin more wrinkled than the 3 decades earlier. She has become a woman, made a home, raised a family and now she stands just feet away from her dying son. I can imagine that as she stands there watching his clothing being gambled for she remembers his first grin, his first wobbly steps, the way her heart stopped when she first heard him say, "Mama." I imagine that as the blood drips from his torn body she remembers kissing skinned knees and singing lullabies goodnight.

I wonder if Mary bargained with God. I wonder if she silently pleaded, "To hell with all of them, that is my son." I have no doubt that as He gave His life for us she would have done anything to give her life for His.

Mary couldn't see in to the future; she was as bound to this earth as much as we are. We know her faith was strong, the early chapters of Luke leave us no doubt that it was, but at that moment in time, as her firstborn son hung on a cross like a criminal, I wonder if her mother's heart didn't break, beg and bargain for a different ending.

Today I'm thinking of Mary. Before He was ever her Savior He was her son.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Calling All People Who Are the Opposite of Me

You know who you are. Your name may rhyme with Vanessa, Shannon, Kara or Mia. You have a place for everything and you keep your home running with well oiled systems. You meal plan, you use crock pots, you read "Real Simple."

I'm not very good at asking for help. I'm not sure I know anyone who is but I'm going to bite the bullet and ask for help. And I'm going to see if the "help" can't come in one day or two and it be kind of fun because we're all together and making fun of how I ever survived these last 34 (gasp) years.

So who is in?

I'm thinking we (me and everyone who has gifts/talents that I don't and who needs a project) meet at my house and we start with some before pictures. Then you give me some good ideas of how to get organized, you give me ideas for systems and storage. We sit down and you teach me the art of meal planning (not freezer cooking--meal planning) and then we drink some wine. Then you either stay and help me get organized or you go home and wait for me to post pictures online or we drink some more wine. Or mix margaritas. If your name rhymes with Karen or Cary and you need help just as bad as I do then you can come over and mix the drinks and and drink with us and kick yourself because you didn't think of this first.

I'm a genius.

Who is in?

Monday, April 11, 2011


It has been over a month since I last wrote. Do you know how I know that? Because you all keep telling me. Little FB messages, little comments here, little emails in my inbox. And oh how I appreciate them (well except for the one from BlogHer telling me they were suspending my ads) because it made me feel missed and it made me feel loved and oh how I do love validation--just like my book Breaking the Chains of Low Self-Esteem says I do.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging, besides that I just didn't feel like it (you other writers understand this) is that I've been in the process of making a big decision.

Early in March, members of Council were asked to turn in their decisions of whether or not we would be returning in the Fall. For those of you who don't know, for 2 years I have served on a leadership team at my church. It has been an amazing experience that has grown me as a leader, a wife, a mother, a Christ follower, a friend...etc. etc. etc. Serving on Council and doing what I got to do week in and week out felt like the greatest of all sweet spots. I don't know that I have ever felt that I was doing EXACTLY what God created me to do more than when I was doing what I was doing on Council: public speaking, teaching, leading, being a part of an amazing Bible study. So that's why it was so weird when earlier this year I felt God calling me out of it. I felt myself losing joy and losing passion but passed it off as just being tired. Remember I've been going through all this sleep apnea business and chalked up to that. Yet part of me knew that God MAY be calling out of this ministry and I told Hot Jeff that I was going to start praying about it very intentionally but that if God was calling me out and I would have to let go, that it would have claw marks in it.

To make a long story short God showed me in several different ways, on several different occasions that I should resign. Then I asked Him for confirmation. And He graciously gave it to me...that very evening. God is so patient. So eternally patient.

So March came and it was time to give an answer and this is where we come to my blog and me not blogging. I've been a little too busy wrestling with God. Desperately trying to make it work. Desperately trying to misinterpret the things I've heard for what I wanted. Here's the interesting thing though, God sometimes calls us out of good things. Sometimes He just wants obedience and for us to trust Him that there's something else around the corner and we can't be in His Will and we can't experience the richness of of His promises unless we're willing to let go. Even of the good stuff.

Last week I told my sisters in Council that I wouldn't be serving with them in the Fall. And I cried the whole time. And I told them I was sad. And I told them I didn't think I would ever, ever, ever leave Council and so that's how I knew it was God (amongst a lot of other reasons). I'm not exactly sure what this next season of life is going to look like or what God is going to have me do. Sensei Jen Roth has suggested that God may be calling me back into a season of fully pouring myself in to my children and husband. Samuel will start kindergarten next year and if you've met Samuel you know that this will be a huge transition for him. It's huge for any kid but Samuel is ultra sensitive to change and will need my full attention and time. I'm blogging while I sit outside and I'm watching them ride their bikes in our and my neighbor's driveways and my heart feels such contentment and peace knowing that I'm going to be spending, at least the next year, just loving on my kiddos. Just watching them ride bikes. Mixing paint for them. Building legos with them. We go, go, go and going back to work part-time has only magnified that feeling of always being on the go. We are a family of home-bodies and having somewhere to go every morning and almost every night is exhausting us.

So here's what I'm coming away with and going to hold tightly too until I'm told to do something else: margin. Sustainability. Freedom. Rest. That may sound a little cryptic and I may or may not elaborate in a later blog post but the bottom line is that I'm in a good place of knowing that I've made the right choice, despite it breaking my heart.

Finally, for those of you who I've been in Hearts at Home with over the last 4 years and on General Session team with 3 years ago and on Council the last 2 years with--thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. We had been attending Salem Alliance for over a year and I knew about 6 people. Going to Hearts at Home introduced me to countless women (and in turn their families) who changed my life. You know who you are. You gave me community; a true place to belong. You showed me that being a mother and wife is the highest of all callings and that I could honor my Maker by serving my family. You brought tremendous joy and laughter in to my life. You have loved my kids, my husband and me unconditionally and without limit and you have brought us meals and cards and flowers and coloring books when we were sick. You have loved me through seasons, surgery, bad moods, good moods, depression, joy, milestones, craziness and everything else. You have taught me to read my Bible deeper, trust God more wholeheartedly and the true joy of being my authentic self. I am in debt to every single one of you who has smiled at me, remembered my name, hugged me, invited me to sit with you, invited me to serve with you, laughed at my emcee-ing antics and told me that something I said meant something to you.

My cup runneth over. Thank you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Southern Baptist Churches and Boot Camp
Somehow I Will Weave It Together--Stick With Me

From my earliest memories up until my Sophomore year in high school my Mom and I attended a Southern Baptist church. We lived across from the church when we lived in Billings and my cousin Jeff and I would ride our bikes in their parking lot and wondering, even at our very young ages, what a Southern Baptist church was doing in Central Montana. Even at my early age I couldn't seem to reconcile all they held sacred with what I knew to be right. When we moved to Park City we found the one and only Southern Baptist church in an 8 mile radius and began attending its 3 weekly services and giving to the Lottie Moon fund.

Pastor Willis was the pastor of the rigid little church filled with men who prayed for too long; not because they liked to be in communion with God but because they liked the sound of their own voices. There wasn't an ounce of grace to be found at Calvary Baptist Church and even when I found my way to Christ at age 11 I did so out of fear instead of adoration and worship. I wanted redemption not to be in fellowship with the Redeemer but because I had been scared out of my mind of hell. You could look deep inside its dark corners and lofty steeple but you wouldn't find anything that resembled grace. Not in the building and certainly not in Pastor Willis. It was shortly after he criticized my 30 year old mother's parenting for allowing me to try out for cheerleading that we left Calvary and never looked back.

Of course you all know that high school girls in short skirts who cheer for high school boys end up pregnant. My Mom, who had ended up pregnant at 15 and had never once worn a cheerleading skirt found his philosophy (and theology) to be pious and self-righteous and off she went taking her single mother-single income 10% tithe (never more,never less...remember NO Grace, dammit) and Lottie Moon offering and politely told pastor Willis with his nagging voice of guilt and shame and his wall of doctrinal beliefs to kiss off.

We landed at a church not even 2 miles away from Calvary and as its name promised, grace abounded and Mom and I felt relief and weight removed.

Years later while in college I attended another Southern Baptist church one Sunday with an Inter-Varsity cronie. We sang all the familiar songs (all 6 verses of "Just As I Am") and at the end of the service after a typical hell, fire and brimstone sermon the Pastor gave the weekly alter call and like so many, many Sundays as a child I felt like I needed to walk the length of the aisle and beg for forgiveness not because of the prompting of the Holy Spirit but so he would stop asking the pianist to play "one more verse" and we could all get home to our crockpot lunches.

That afternoon I was decompressing with my Mom and I told her that despite my bitter memories and utter distaste for anything and everything to do with the Southern Baptist church I had oddly felt "at home". There was something proverbial about the hard-back hymnals, the shame filled message, the never ending alter call that was comforting and familiar deep in my soul. I have no way to explain this.

And so this long cathartic story brings me to Friday where I found myself at Boot Camp after a short, 2 week break. A footcation I call it. As I was getting my butt handed to me on a sweaty, weighted platter I thought back to that Sunday at Rimrock Baptist church and how I had loathed being there yet found it to be wonderful--every single gut wrenching minute of it.

My body tells me 'no' but I won't quite 'cause I want more filled the room and my heart beat to the rhythm of the song but the difference between this song and songs sung from "The Baptist Hymnal" was I didn't feel any guilt, no shame. I felt camaraderie with my fellow classmates whose legs were aching and lungs were burning. Tina, much to her credit and despite her tough outside demeanor, is filled with grace and she while she pushes you to your uttermost limit there is no shame, no embarrassment, when you modify a push up or walk the last lap of power skipping (aka as meth addicted Jan & Jill skipping).

And so there it was at Boot Camp on Friday morning that I began thinking of grace. And acceptance. And community. Every time, every.single.time, I go to Boot Camp I get acceptance and encouragement from my classmates who are all in far better shape than I am. Not even one time have I felt looked down upon as I stumble into class (always the last one) after laps. Never ever, ever have I been embarrassed or felt I was being judged while doing stairs and the first person in a line of 25 has caught up to me and is now slowed down because of my lagging, exhausted, barely moving legs.

God, as He so often does, confirmed my thoughts this weekend with Fowler's message (available on SAC's website in about a week) as he talked about coming along side people in their "journey of healing" and loving them rather than discouraging them.

I feel such gratitude for Tina and every single person in Boot Camp (ESPECIALLY Shannon, who will not give up on me even when I wish she would) who encourage me and hold me accountable. For whatever reason they have invested just a little bit of themselves in me as I am on my journey to wellness.

I can't help but wonder what community, acceptance and grace would have done for my young Mother as she sought Christ's love and forgiveness in church that didn't know how to share what it didn't have.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Heart Charlie Sheen

Seriously, I am going to devote this whole blog post to Charlie Sheen quotes. Jeff and I are keeping the 20/20 interview on our DVR just so we can go back to it every now and then for awesome lines we can use. Hopefully over time people will forget Charlie Sheen said these things and we can just totally take credit for them.

I was born dead. It was radical. I'm alive. Bring it.

I'm proud of the way I party; its epic.

Bangin' 7 gram rocks because that's how I roll.

Ambien: the devil's aspirin.

People can't process me because I'm not normal. I'm not interested in the past; I'm the sum total of what's going on right now.

I look around and I see my perfect family and I think 'Not only do I deserve this but wow'.

[Referring to porn stars] They are the best at what they do and I'm the best at what I do and when we're together it's on.

Hey kids, your Dad's a rock kids are going to realize I'm a rock star and that I'm bitchin'.

People misinterpret my passion for anger.

People are relying on [my] money to fuel the magic.

I expose people to magic; I expose them to something they will never see in their normal, boring life.

You borrow my brain for 5 seconds and just be like 'dude, can't handle it, unplug this dude' because you can't handle it because maybe its not of this particular realm. When you've got tiger blood and Adonis DNA man, its like get with the program man. You've been given magic, you've been given gold.

Boom, believe it.

What's the cure? Medicine? Make me like them? Not gonna happen. I'm bi-winning. I win here and I win there. Now what?

What'ts your favorite line? It doesn't have to be here, in fact, even better if it isn't because I just can't get enough of them. I think my favorite is "I'm bi-winning."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I don't really have anything to write about but my "fans" are demanding some new material. And when I say "fans" I mean 2 people and when I say "demanding" I mean they both Facebooked me about it.

I don't have anything interesting to say. Not a thing. Well I guess I do have one thing to say, today I braided Emily's hair in a way that it made her look like Legolas from The Lord of the Rings. It was accidental but all she needed was some little pointy ears and a bow and arrow and she would have been set.

You other bloggers may understand how sometimes material is just flowing out of you and you just can't write fast enough but then other times, like lately, nothing seems blog-worthy.

Oh, oh...I just thought of something. Last night in the middle of the night, Samuel came barging in to my room crying and saying, "I swallowed some hair and now my brains are going to fall out." I said, "Swallowing hair doesn't make your brains fall out" to which he replied, "You said if Em and I ate hair our brains would fall out."

Here's the amazing part, somehow in the middle of the night I was able to reason where he was coming up with such nonsense and I said, "I did not say that. I said that if you chewed your nails and ate your finger nails you would have to have your appendix out. Now go back to bed." Smarty pants replied, "I'm going to go to bed and eat 100 pieces of hair and you're going to find my brains all over the bed."

Wow. He may be a fuzz crazy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just Call Me Lance

So as you know, Dr. College Ex-Boyfriend suggested I lay off the Boot Camp for a couple weeks to let my foot heal a bit and said instead I should try a spinning class, or as us out of shape folks say, a stationary bike.

When I told Samuel this morning I was going to go ride bikes with Auntie Shannon he freaked out a little bit thinking I was leaving the Y and that he would be at the kid center by himself. I told him no, its a bike that doesn't go anywhere. Samuel, in his cutest little voice said, "That doesn't make any sense. How do you get exercise on a bike that doesn't go anywhere?" Love that kid.

This being my first spinning class, Shannon graciously accompanied me although she is leaving for Hawaii in the morning. She reminded me of this later when half-way a painful "climb up a mountain" she looked at me and said "one hyphenated word: mai-tai." I hate her sometimes.

The spinning class pretty much sucked for a whole 50 minutes. Sucked in a good way, like the teacher is easy on the eyes, the playlist was rocking and it was an awesome work-out but oh wow does that class suck. Why didn't anyone tell me my cooter was going to hurt that bad? Why don't they just make those seats, or saddles as they call them, out of razor blades and get it over with? 10 minutes in and I started composing a letter to Hot Jeff in my head apologizing to him that we would never, ever, ever have sex again. I seriously do not see how putting a little cushion in to those saddles is going to make anyone's work-out less effective and maybe they would be a little more apt to go back if their butt bones weren't bruised after the class.

After a few sets of 8 counts up, 8 counts down, 4 counts up, 4 counts down, 2 counts up, 2 counts down we did ANOTHER freaking mountain climb, well the rest of the class did, I mostly sat and pedaled and wondered when were we going to get to the part in the class when the instructor told us to get off our bikes and walk it up the hill. It became very clear to me that's not how they roll in spinning class and I was going to just have to keep pedaling. Pedaling. Pedaling.

So here's the good news: I did not cry. I did not throw up. I did go buy a little Schwinn gel seat slip cover and I'm taking it with me to class tomorrow because I'll be darned if I'm not stick with this awful class just because of some sort butt bones. Although believe me, there is absolutely nothing I would rather do more tomorrow than sleep through my alarm that will be going off at 4:30am. I take that back; a butt and cooter transplant sounds pretty good right about now. What would that be called? 'Ginaplasty?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Musings

Tonight I fed my husband and children a smattering of things I found at Safeway and called it a well-balanced meal. Salami & cheese on a baguette, tomato-basil soup (my latest obsession) and bananas. What kind of mother am I?

I came home to a house that looks like a tornado ran through it and I'm thinking of hiring a housekeeper and chef and see if they'll let me pay them in compliments.

I have to take a minimum of 2 weeks off from Boot Camp because it appears I have plantar fasciitis. I'm going to go to a spinning class that meets at the same time instead. Boot Camp Tina said it's a "hell ride." If BC Tina is calling it a hell ride I wonder if I'm going to come out of this alive? I'm taking holy water in with me.

Wanna know the best part of the plantar fasciitis "diagnosis?" Well you know I'm seeing a local podiatrist but I felt like I needed a 2nd opinion so I Facebook messaged Eric the not-a-bastard anymore. He's an orthopedic PA and had all sorts of good information for me. Because it was so much information he ended up calling and discussing it with me and I am telling you that it was only really strange to hear from my college boyfriend, whom I haven't spoken to in like 15 years (besides FB) for foot advice for the first few minutes.

I think when 20/20 does those shows on how evil/wonderful Facebook is they should include my foot story. I personally think I have a whole lot going on that would be very interesting to the American public and that 20/20 should just follow me around with cameras for a good week or so.

Button. Have you noticed the rockin' button Heather over At The Picket Fence made me? How great is she? I have a big ol' girly cyber crush on her and her sister, Vanessa. See the code below the button? Now you can put my button on your blog and give me lots of publicity so I don't have to pay my new housekeeper and chef in compliments.

And finally. Lots of you have been asking about Boot Camp and where you too can go sign up for this particular brand of hellish torture and I have good news for you. For the rest of THIS MONTH if you go to the YMCA downtown and tell them you heard about them through The Mother Hen blog you will get your $99 initiation fee waived! How about that? And when you are so sore you can't get out of bed and all you can do is lay there and read archived posts from this blog you will thank me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Along Comes Polly

Polly is in my Boot Camp class and we are the real-life version of that Arnold Schwarzenegger-Danny DeVito movie Twins. She is tall and thin and blond. I am...not. If we were a food she would be the spaghetti and I would be the meatball.

On Friday we had to workout with a partner and since I was standing next to Polly she turned and looked at me and said, "Wanna be my partner?" First of all, how sweet is Polly? Who wants to be my partner in Boot Camp? That class is filled with hard core workout freaks and I was thinking the only person who would want to be my partner would be someone who had just called the suicide hot line and felt like they needed a really good laugh and that watching my face turn different shades of red and purple would surely cause them to realize that their life was worth living.

For the split second before Polly asked me to be her partner I was convinced it was going to be just like 5th grade when everyone is picking teams for dodge ball and Steve Downing and Ryan Hunt are the team captains and its down to you and Sammie Fee and Steve picks Sammie.

Ok, I digress. Anyway, tall Polly and I were partners for this sick and twisted exercise that involved bungee cords of torture that we put around each other's waste and then took turns pulling each other around the track. It turned out to not be that bad until we had to turn around and do it backwards.

When I was telling my Mom about the exercise she said, "Oh yeah, I've seen that on The Biggest Loser" as if that's supposed to make me feel better. "Oh yeah, I've seen that on that show where they torture fat people and call it entertainment." Oh yeah...

So anyway, bottom line: Polly blessed me. And seriously, who doesn't need to be blessed at 6:00 in the morning when they have sweat dripping down their face and a spilled chocolate protein drink on their shirt? Yes, I dribbled some of it on my shirt in the car, on my way to BC. Polly told me she thought it was blood! Ha!

One final thought from yesterday's Boot Camp. What is with all those stupid freaking mirrors all over the place? Seriously. Yesterday during our cool down, for the first time since I started, I didn't feel like I was going to vomit or pass out. I was feeling so good about myself and feeling like a rock star and like Comcast was going to be calling me to star in my own On Demand workout show when I caught a glimpse of my butt in one of those mirrors. It startled me. No kidding--IT STARTLED ME. I was like "when did Gigi (who has an enormous ass) get here?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Drama Queen

Today Samuel got his foot stuck in the door. It bruised it a bit but didn't break the skin. He was able to walk on it but was screaming like a banshee. I mean screaming so loud that I became 100% certain there are alien life forms and that Samuel has been chosen to communicate with them through his painful screams.

He made me carry him to the couch and asked if I would prop his foot up. Then he had the audacity to say, "I have a bad foot just like you Mom." No you don't Samuel. In fact, I told him just that: "No you don't Samuel. I know excruciating-talk-to-aliens-foot-pain and this isn't it." He didn't seem to buy it and just kept talking to the aliens. It's almost as if he thinks I'm being melodramatic.

I said, "Samuel, can you please stop screaming so loudly; it is going to be okay?" and he said, "Why do you keep saying it is going to be okay? It is never going to be okay ever again."

See what I'm living with? I'm living with myself. Only a worse version of myself: a 4 year old, out of touch with reality, version of myself.

If aliens really wanted to make contact with someone here on earth they should have chosen me over Samuel. I can give a much more accurate account of things.

Oh my gosh, while I was spell checking this Samuel said to me, "Mom, come over here and kiss me. I am close to death." Hahahahahaha! Is he English?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shout Out

A shout out to Jana Avison who did this gorgeous header for me. I'm too lame to figure it out and Jana not only did it for me, but then revised it after I asked her to.

How awesome is that?

Thanks Jana!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Devil Lives in Cone Lunges

I made it to Boot Camp today. I got my butt handed to me on a sweaty platter. Oddly it felt wonderful. Thankfully my pants were black.

What is it about that class that is so addictive? I wish I knew so I could cut it out and go back to sleeping in. My arm held out great--thank You Jesus. There is something to be said about adrenaline and every other part of your body being on fire to make the pain in your arm dissipate.

On an unrelated note, Molly died. Seriously. Why can't this family keep a hamster alive? I swear I am doing everything right yet this is the second one to die after having her for only 6 weeks. Even though we all seemed to be a lot more attached to Molly than Riley there weren't as many tears. In fact, there weren't any tears at all up until I told Samuel we weren't going to get another hamster. Hot Jeff piped in and said we could get a dog. What??? A dog? Why would I add a 3rd factor in to the ruin-Jen's-carpet equation?

On another unrelated note, I am having my sleep evaluated tonight at Willamette Sleep Center. I have to be there at 7pm--that's like a whole 3 hours before I go to bed! It sounds positively delightful. The rooms are so cozy and there is a big TV and wireless internet. Sounds dreamy to me--I'll probably sleep wonderfully and they'll tell me there's nothing wrong with me. More to come on the sleep study experience for sure!

So on this sunny Monday morning I am thankful for sleep studies and friends who are holding me accountable. What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Don't Cry For Me Argentina

You'll have to forgive this blog post, it is going to be a little stream of consciousness and maybe it will contain some bad grammar and maybe some bad spelling because I think I'm a little high. The atomic fire ball in my foot is throbbing (thanks to way too much grocery shopping today and standing in lines at Costco and Super Walmart for way too long) and my arm hurts--story is coming up--and I'm under the philosophy if one pain pill is good then two pain pills are better and instead of knocking me out they've kind of wired me. Not in a where-are-the-cheetos way but in the I'm-trying-to-sleep-but-can't get-comfortable-and-can't-shut-my-brain-off-way. I'm thinking a little bit about how if I accidentally overdosed (which I don't think you can do off of just 2 vicodin) how everyone will think I'm Heath Ledger but mostly I'm feeling kind of sorry for myself.

Sidebar: I know you guys like the funny posts so I'll try to pepper this post with some funny lines but I am high and I am feeling sorry for myself so you'll have to just sit through a gloomy post. I've heard that whatever emotion you're feeling when you get drunk, that emotion is just magnified. I haven't had a lick of alcohol but I'm thinking that may be true of narcotics as well. To make up for my doom and gloom, in my next post I'm going to write about the time Traci and I found a bleeding guy in the parking lot of the Metra and drove him to Lockwood because we thought he had been shot. Yes I said Lockwood and not the hospital. I think you'll like that story.

Ok, so here's why my arm hurts. Today Emily and I ran out to my in-laws' house before we ran some errands. MIL Cheryl had picked up Em some new clothes and we were going out to get them. When we got there the front door was locked so we went around back. Well because I was wearing my sporty new running shoes and because I am in Boot Camp and all of a sudden think I am an athlete I was kind of like jogging and I bounded up the back path and on to the wet deck and totally wiped out. My arms and legs went flying and I somehow hyper extended my right arm and I could tell immediately I pulled or tore something in my bicep. (Upon reading this post this morning Hot Jeff has informed me that the injured part of my arm is not my bicep. Nor is it my tricep. Its right in the middle of the two and he doesn't know what muscle that is.)

(Um, seriously, I would make the worst drug addict ever--my skin is so itchy. Can you take benadryl with vicodin?)

I hopped right up and brushed myself off and carried on with my day. My arm has really hurt all day though and while at Costco pushing that huge freaking cart and lifting 175 pounds of frozen chicken breasts and laundry detergent I started to think about Boot Camp and how my arm may not feel better before Monday.

I'm going to go off on a tangent right now. You have been warned.

I know some of you that read this blog are not Christ followers so this may sound a little hooie-hooie or like the vicodin is talking but honest to goodness I feel like I'm being "attacked" by the enemy. The Bible is very clear that Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy doesn't want us to thrive, live life to the fullest, be healthy or to be joyful. He wants us to be miserable and depressed and overweight (along with a whole host of other things). He is the opposite of light. He is the opposite of goodness. He is the opposite of health--he is death.

So when I make a choice to get healthy; to lose weight and join a class that is going to help me lose weight, be disciplined, live a healthy lifestyle, fight my depression with endorphins, live to see my kids grow up, He is going to hate that. I believe he is going to try and thwart my efforts. He may do that through tempting me to stay up too late watching TV so that I can't drag my butt out of bed at 4:45am. He may do that through tempting me with food. He may do that through injury.

Right now I am feeling really pitiful with my aching foot and now my aching arm. I pushed through the pain in my foot last week and I was really proud of myself for doing it and I planned on continuing to just keep on pushin' on (because I love to be a walking bumper sticker). To be honest though, I'm wondering if I can push through the pain in my foot, the pain in my arm and the natural pain/soreness that comes from a vigorous workout.

I don't mind being transparent. In fact, I know that I very often cross the line between transparency and TMI. So this is what you're getting tonight--me being super transparent and vulnerable and writing that I feel pathetic. I feel banged up. I feel klutzy. I feel fat. I feel incredibly discouraged. Some of that comes from my own insecurities of wanting to control what people think of me--something you know I've been struggling with for over a year now. God showed me this control issue that I have last year at women's retreat and has been gracious enough to keep bringing it to light so that I can recognize it, name it and then pray for the Spirit to help me let it go of it. So I am totally aware that some of this discouragement is really a fear that Shannon or Kara will just think I'm looking for excuses to get out of going to Boot Camp. I know that in my dysfunction I don't want Tina the instructor or Lori who stands behind me or that guy in the red shirt or the girl in the grey pants (all of them whom I've known all of one week) to think I'm a quitter or that I can't handle it.

Ok, speaking of the girl in the grey've been very patient so I'm going to toss in some funny. On Wednesday I got to Boot Camp and there was a lady in there wearing the same workout pants as me. And it just made me laugh because she looked ADORABLE in her pants and I looked like I was carrying around two Christmas hams in mine. It absolutely cracked me up. This was also the day and these were also the pants that taught me you have to wear black workout pants to class because the grey really shows off your crotch sweat. If I can teach you anything let it be that no one wants to see your crotch sweat. You're welcome.

So, where was I? Oh yes, about to jump off a metaphorical cliff.

I don't know where I'm going with all of this. I guess I just needed to get it off my chest. Do you ever wish I would just journal about this stuff instead of sharing it with the whole-wide-internet? You know I used to journal back in high school and college and I was a very melodramatic journaler and I was always copying lyrics from songs I heard on the easy listening station to try and summarize my feelings. Sometimes no one can say it better than Lionel Richie--you know what I'm sayin'?

Ok, one final thing before I take my loaded self to bed--I haven't had a label for all my Boot Camp writings so I've been putting it under the "Can You Believe I Don't Have a Label For This" label but I think I've come up with 2. I'm going to put a poll up at the top of the blog and let you guys vote the winner. Here are your choices: "(I Feel Like I'm Gonna) Boot Camp" or "Boot Camp Chronicles". You can also vote for your favorite in the comments section.

Thanks for listening. I would hug you if you were here. And like Kenneth the page says, "All good hugs last for at least 10 seconds."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tina Eats Her Young

Tina greeted me at this morning's Boot Camp with an unreadable "I read your blog." I looked at her skeptically wondering if she was going to make me drop and give her (a modified) 20. She started laughing and said she loved it. Whew. It looked like today would be just a normal amount of torture.

I was nervous about today's class for several reasons and only one of them was if Tina had stumbled upon The Mother Hen and if I would have to pay severely for it. The biggest concern was that I have a heel spur on my left heel and it was KILLING ME after Monday's class. By Monday afternoon I had made an appointment with my podiatrist to see if I could get a cortisone shot and by Monday night I was hobbling around like Gigi and making my husband and children wait on me hand and foot.

Alas my podiatrist would not give me a cortisone shot citing "I'll be damned if I'm going to give you a cortisone shot because you'll feel better and go prancing off to that class when you should be doing non-weight bearing exercising in the pool". Ok doc, number one: I rarely prance. I mostly parade. Number two: Pool exercising is so geriatric. Number three: What kind of doctor says 'I'll be damned'? Number four: Non-weight bearing exercises? Ok, so I have a few pounds to lose but its not like I need a crane to get me out of my house man.

The good doctor did give me some anti-inflammatory pills. And some Vicodin. You know you have seriously had your fanny handed to you when you need narcotics after the class.

When I was complaining to Hot Jeff last night that the doctor would not give me a cortisone shot he said, "I think he's right. Its not like you're Kobe Bryant or anything." That just seriously irritated me because I loved, loved, loved the idea of having a cortisone shot so I could go to class because that is just such a real athlete thing to do. All athletes play through the pain with a cortisone shot. It is so Jennifer-Grey-Dancing-With-the-Stars-finale. Thanks for robbing me of my real athlete dream Dr. Old School.

So back to class today and why Tina eats her young. For the majority of the class we had to carry around a 25lb. weight. And I don't mean carried it around as a group as a team building exercise on working together, no I mean doing flights of stairs carrying a 25 POUND weight. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Wall sits with a 25lb. weight on your lap. Walking the track carrying a 25lb. weight. More wall sits with a 25lb. weight.

It was during one of those wall sits and shortly after Tina told me to "get down" and "get your shoulders back" that I realized Tina has never heard of the Geneva Convention. IF I could have spoken (not enough oxygen) and IF I wasn't afraid of her, I would have gently reminded her of it. And I'm certain she would have laughed her little maniacal laugh and made me take a lap.

When I got home sweet little Samuel was up and watching some "Curious George". He smiled and said, "Mama, where have you been?" "I was working out with Aunt Shannon" I answered. "Did you throw up again?"

"Nope, I sure didn't." But there's always Friday.

Monday, January 31, 2011

This Ain't Yo Mama's Jane Fonda Workout Tape

Shannon, who used to be my best friend but is now dead to me, invited me to a workout class she goes to 3 mornings a week. Our other bestie, Kara, also goes to this class and then goes and teaches a body shaping class afterwards (because she's sick that way). The class is called Boot Camp. And its at 5:30. In the morning.

The course description is "a high intensity, military style workout class. It will incorporate cardiovascular & strength training. The class routine will vary from obstacle courses to circuit training." What they meant to say is, "This is a high intensity, military style workout class and it may kill you and your unborn grandchildren."

The instructor is this woman who is like the love child of GI Jane and Hannibel Lecter. She's pure evil and at one point in the class I thought she had sprouted horns; it turns out I was only hallucinating from the lack of oxygen but seriously, horns would be appropriate for this she-devil, drill sergeant, our-airplane-crashed-in-the-Andes-and-we're-going-to-eat-each other woman.

Surprisingly though, she does have a heart. For example, after running a million laps and then "cooling down" by doing wall squats she came and let me know she saw me in my pain on my very first day and she sat on my lap. Now I know when I think of the word "lap" I think of library books and kittens and a warm fire but I want you to know when I say "she sat on my lap" I mean the lap that was my legs that were struggling to hold me up as I sat in an imaginary chair and the only warm fire was the one that was raging in my lungs and butt.

Later in the class we "skipped" around the track but it wasn't skipping like sweet-hopscotch-and-ice cream-cones skipping it was like Jack and Jill-are-coming-down-off-heroine-and-are chasing-you-because-they-heard-you-have-a-dollar-in-your-pocket skipping. It was while I was running from meth addicted Jack and Jill skipping that I started cussing. In my head. Under my breath. Cussing like I have never cussed before. Words I didn't know I knew. Cussing to dull the pain. Cussing. And then the cuss words didn't seem quite adequate. And I began creating my own guttural, asphyxiated, hateful language that finally expressed the reaction my body was having to this concentration camp of a workout.

I'd like to interject a little something about myself at this point--it is true, at this point in time of my life I am a "little" out of shape and yes, it is true, the only exercise I have been getting lately is walking to the fridge but dude, this was too much. Too much. It was too much. I am not even kidding you when I tell you that at one point I started crying. I.Started.Crying. The actual exercise we were doing is fuzzy in my memory but I know it had something to do with weights and push ups and me not being able to get up off the floor after 4 of them and all of a sudden my eyes just welled up with tears and Kara turned around to see if I had died and I flipped her off.

I think I was embarrassed because I really didn't think I would be able to finish the class and I kept thinking about how it would really suck to have to crawl out on my hands and knees but then I just dug deep, like deeper than I even had to dig when VAGINALLY BIRTHING MY CHILDREN and screwed the weights, did the push ups on the wall and sucked it up. It was at that very moment I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would come back to this God-forsaken class on Wednesday and get my ass kicked every which way to Sunday again.

At the end of the 50 minutes I had made it. Done it. Finished the class without collapsing. It wasn't pretty but I did it. I stood with Shannon, red faced, dizzy and sweating, talking with Tina the instructor (who turns out is a pretty cool lady when she isn't making Jillian Michaels look like Mother Theresa) when I started to feel quizzy. I must have gone a little pale because voices started shouting directions to the bathroom while I looked around panicky. I ran to the bathroom, bending over the toilet just in time before I projectile vomited. I stood up and wiped my face, thinking I couldn't believe I had just thrown up when I threw up again. I started to weakly laugh when I threw up again. 3 times total.

Shannon and Kara have already warned me that Wednesday nor Friday will not be any easier and that in fact the class is just pure torture all the time. I don't even have illusions of grandeur that I will go on Wednesday and do anything but be completely dominated but I am hoping that I can, once again, hold the vomit off until class is over.

Here's to aiming high.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today I Even Surprised Myself

I shock others regularly. Pretty much daily. And every few minutes on Thursdays while at Bible Study but today I even surprised myself. I was putting the kids in the car, buckling them in their (car)seats and I thought to myself, "I can't wait until they are old enough to buckle themselves in".

And just as soon as I thought it I gasped and "took it back". With one lazy thought I wished away several years of learning, firsts, snuggles and laughs. If I would have had a magic wishbone in front of me I would have sacrificed so much because I don't like the inconvenience of having to leave a few minutes early so that I have time to buckle both of my kiddos in. All of a sudden they would be 5 and 7 and who knows the joys I would have missed out on and I would have stood standing there, looking at them wistfully, wishing I could "take it back".

One thing I always do after I snap their buckles is kiss them. Its my little thing and no matter how annoyed I am with their putzing around they can always count on me smacking their little lips with mine before I shut their doors--why would I want to hurry those years up? I don't know...

I did get to wondering though, how much of my day is spent "wishing" instead of living? If I'm being honest, I think its a pretty substantial amount.

I look in the mirror and wish I was prettier or smaller or younger. I look at my house and wish I was more organized. I look at my husband and wish he was more romantic. I think about my Mom and wish she lived closer. I think about Ames and wish she was my neighbor. I think about Shannon and wish she still worked with Maryanne and me. I look at my ministry at Hearts and wish I had more time. I look at my time and wish I was better at managing it. I look at my checkbook and wish it had more in it. I wish, I wish, I wish.

Instead of living in the moment, enjoying the body I have, the home I live in, the life I have I tend to think ahead (or sometimes I think back).

This just came to me today so I haven't had any time to pray about it and ask God to show me some things in Scripture about it but I'm wondering what you do to keep yourself grounded in today? In the moment?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Make Someone's Day or Get Sick & Watch a Movie

Today Al came out of his office and told me he wanted to get rich off my blog. He said he is going to start looking for "investors" and then get my writings published. We went off on a tangent about it but in the end he said how much he enjoyed reading it. It was a great compliment and made my day.

It got me thinking, if a little bit of praise can make my day, what can a little bit of praise from me do for Hot Jeff? My Besties? My co-workers? My neighbors? The lady at the bank? The checker at Safeway?

From Day One of having babies we're told how important it is to praise and compliment them so we do it all the time and most of our kids are going to grow up with super inflated egos healthy self images but what if we did this with people we came in contact with all day long?

It takes no effort at all to tell someone you like their hair or that's a cute shirt or your yard looks nice or I think you're a great mom, friend, sister, hair dresser. We all need a pat on the back; we all like to be told that someone else thinks we're funny or pretty or smart or talented, right?

Hot Jeff can say whatever he wants but I know he likes being called "Hot Jeff".

On an unrelated note, sort of, I saw Salon Sara on Monday and Slutty Vixen is back baby! If you call my house and I don't answer its probably because I'm out hitting on your husband. Oh yeah, I've got the super dark tresses going and am loving it!

Who LOVES Anne of Green Gables? Don't you love it when Anne asks Diana for a lock of her "black tresses" and Diana replies, "I don't have any black dresses". Oh my I love that movie. I can't wait for Emily to get a little bit older and get a bad case of the flu so we can sit on the couch all weekend long and watch all 8 hours of Green Gables and Avonlea. Seriously, best.movies.ever. The other great sick-on-the-couch-sick-for-3-days is Lonesome Dove.

What movie do you always watch when you're sick? Who are you going to compliment today?

Friday, January 21, 2011

For the Haters

You know I get all the smack talk about Facebook. I understand the criticism, I get it, I really do. Even I hate Facebook sometimes; I've said to much and been misunderstood. I've said just enough and been blasted. I've said things I shouldn't have said and would have never said to someone's face and just when I think I'm never going to make another Facebook mistake I go and make another one. I get it.

But I just gotta say, for all the haters, Facebook just may have been instrumental in saving little Maggie's life this week. If prayer releases power from heaven then 100 people praying is better than 10 and 1000 people praying is better than 1000. Within hours of Maggie's birth and subsequent intubation and other life saving measures, people were praying. They were leaving comments and posting status updates and pretty soon 20 people turned into 200 and 200 turned to 2000 and now after 4 days of having her own blog up, Maggie's blog has had over 4000 visitors. That is amazing.

In Maggie's situation, where time was critical and she would be progressing one minute and at Heaven's door the next, you can bet that the prayers of the people who were literally stalking Maryanne's Facebook page released power from Heaven.

I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind about Facebook because of this one blog post and I'm not planning on doing a series of why Facebook is great or is evil. I simply wanted to write, for all the haters, that Facebook can be pretty awesome when it comes to gettin' the word out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dear Kind Father,

It is so easy to call You good tonight. It is so easy to praise You. For tonight, in a hospital 50 miles North of me, my dear friend is holding her baby for the first time in 4 days. For the first time in 94 hours wee Maggie is being held. She is warm. She is hearing her Mama's heart beat. She is feeling the warmth of her Daddy's chest. It is easy to call You good tonight.

You, however, are always good. You are always kind. You are always sovereign. And while I don't understand Your ways and I question Your timing, I know You are always good. You are always kind. Your timing is always perfect.

The image of a limp baby being attended to by a team of doctors will never leave me. As I stood with a petrified Auntie Jana, peaking through a crack in a curtain, we declared Your Presence in that room. As I sat holding my precious friend, whispering Your promises to her I felt Your hand on her; loving her, infusing strength in to her, filling her with hope and peace. A peace that passes understanding. Your Word is true and You never go against Your Word. You are always good. You are always kind.

Tomorrow I will get to hold baby Maggie in my own arms. I will tell her how Samuel & Emily have prayed and prayed for her and can't wait to meet her. I will tell her how Uncle Jeff has stayed awake at night praying for her and her Mommy & Daddy. I will tell her that from the moment I found out she was growing in her Mama's belly to this very moment in time I have loved her. I will tell her (with a giggle in my voice) that I'm the one who sang the "Sound of Music" soundtrack to her when she had the hiccups and that it is oh so very good to finally meet her. I will tell her that the God that her Mommy, Daddy, Grammy & Grandpa love and serve is merciful. I will tell her that He is always good and that He is always kind.

Thank You Kind Father for answering our prayers the way we wanted them answered. I know it doesn't always work that way and I trust You when that happens, but tonight, thank You. With more gratitude than I can express, thank You.