Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Taking Kids to Europe :)

I had such high hopes of "blogging my way through Europe"............uhhhhhhhhhhh I think deep down I knew that wouldn't happen but since this is our first time really traveling overseas with our kids I wanted to document it mainly for myself to look back on and enjoy! 

It's been a whirlwind 4 weeks yikes. I now have lots of survival tips for traveling all over several countries with kids! The rental car has been a HUGE blessing. Amidst all the constant change and chaos the car has always been the same for the kids and I really think given them a sense of some stability (I hope). The 53 hours of  driving so far has been a challenge though :) Our kids aren't those "love their car seats types" so we knew we would give more treats and more technology than we ever want to......and we were right! I brought a "FUN BAG" full of new books and toys and have slowly given them stuff along the way trying to keep things new and exciting.

With the type of trip we were needing to do (traveling to see lots of different missionaries and scouting new locations) we have barely stayed in one place for more than a few days. This for SURE has been the hardest. We are learning so much :) You know when you take your kids for an overnight trip somewhere and it's SO MUCH work even for one night. The packing up, unpacking then packing up again then unpacking at home. That's how it has felt these past 3 weeks especially! But we have gotten into such a good system haha. Like a well oiled machine we can be in or out of an apartment very quickly haha!

Starting at the beginning, I can't BELIEVE how well our kids did on the flight! I can only pray the way home will be as good after all this traveling!!! They both watched movies, ate dinner and "went to bed" for at least 5 hours of the total 10! Don't judge me I did give them melatonin. 
Although I wasn't prepared for the fact that there would be no blankets or pillows provided! Have you EVER been on an international flight like that? I haven't! We paid 10 bucks for 2 blankets which worked. When we arrived in Olso, Norway we had a 9 hour layover so even though the kids bodies thought it was 2 am we tried to make it "daytime"! 

Then of course another hopper flight and couple hour drive and we were finally to ceske budejovice in the Czech Republic. Had such an amazing time with our missionaries there! How beautiful are all those rooftops!  

From there we traveled to Austria to visit our good friend! She had such a charming town!

She's helping us map our way from there to Germany!

(Our first pastry stop in Germany. Why yes that is croissant stuffed in my cheek :) 
Our trek through Germany was a beautiful way to get to Paris where we had a meeting. We even got stopped to have our car searched and saw immigrants sitting all around the rest stops. Super cool to witness history happening. 

What a wonderful thing to have a meeting in Paris! Although this wonderful city is COMPLETELY different going with kids haha! I repeat, do NOT go with kids just wait and go alone with your spouse someday lol. It really is such a beautiful place but it's also a big city and hard to get to places with a stroller, jackets, backpack, etc every time you go out. Thankfully our kids adore the metro. I personally hate it -- yes please shove me into a hot stuffed underground dark moving train where you can't see out. 

When this door opens and we are standing there with all our stuff it's like REALLY! Where are we supposed to go in there! MMMMmmmmm all the smells. 

Juliana's happy place :) The metro! 

Something we continually are learning especially with so many meetings and so much driving is to take every advantage of "fun" things we could find for them to do! I kid you not these children have had ice cream every day. 

And when in doubt just feed them more crepes. 

Juliana's diet has been nearly impossible here :( I can't read or understand any ingredients and she can only have chicken and french fries for so many meals. UGH. And we are terrible people and continue to go into patisseries even though she can't have anything. We can't help it, they are so good. 

I have no shame in telling you we usually get at least 4. It's unlike any kind of pastry you'll have in the U.S. Their flour is entirely different. ahhhhhhh! 
I try to make myself feel better by the fact that we are walking so many miles a day. That counts right? This is how William's naptime often looks since we have to be a meeting or visit someone in the afternoon! What a trooper! 

We are learning so much along the way. No matter how much you prepare or have traveled before, traveling with children is a whollllllllle new story. Add that to being incredibly tired, not understanding the language, getting lost a lot hehe, not finding food, it can get ugly. Last night we walked for over an hour trying to find a restaurant that would serve us food since it was only 8 pm and that's too early for dinner. Our kids had ice cream again. yep. God has given us this opportunity to not only scout places for new missionaries and to encourage our existing ones but I think to work in our lives as well as always. Europe is beautiful and an experience but we are also so tired and it's hard to see your kids struggle with the constant change. They vary between doing so well and also big messes. Every day is different. William has had a hard time poor guy screams when we begin to pack for the next place (especially since we've only been in the current place a few days) so we are praying that God's grace will cover him and us and thank God he won't remember any of this. We have seen him provide for us in even the smallest ways. Finding playgrounds at the perfect times, supermarkets when we can't find dinner. and so much more. We are now in Spain! We have a wonderful time of a break for the next few days and then we complete our next 2 weeks with our missionaries here we are really excited :) 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back Again

I love blogging for so many reasons. First and foremost it was always a real space for me -- an online journal if you will. I love looking back (especially when I was diligent in writing) and seeing the memories. Since I had 2 readers for quite a while it never mattered what I wrote it was just a way for me to get words out that were making my head go crazy. Then when people start reading you start thinking about what they either do or don't want to hear.

I can't tell you how many times just this month I've opened up my blog, dying to get it the madness in my mind or even excitingly write about a passionate subject.....but then I just stare at the blinking line. I worry that because of the "season" we are going through no one wants to hear more depressing words or watch me wrestle with ugly issues that I can't clearly articulate. 

But I know that's a lie, everyone is struggling and the last thing they need is a "perfect" dialog of someone's "perfect" life. Or even worse, the perfect dialog of someone when they are suffering--as if even that doesn't phase them. I know words have power to impact people. Hopefully my measly scattered posts help you in some way or maybe if you're in a season of pure joy and excitement stash it away for later when troubles come lol. 

Last night I opened my blog intending to get something down and ended up going back through years of posts. It was joyful and also hard. Reliving all the moments of this past year. The ups, the downs, the ugly fears and small victories. It was hard for me seeing one post a month for most of this year -- again not because I didn't want to write but because when I would sit down I know what is going to come out and I worry people don't want to hear it anymore. But hey you opened this to read.

(How I wrote this blog :) 

When you are going through what you think is a "season" or a "trial" it's easy to just gear up and get through it. During a period of time like that we often respond to people in short manners, stressed or angry behavior........and then once that "trial" or stressful event is over we reflect and realize, "well I didn't handle that very well" and that's usually when (I) go apologize to my husband and whoever but usually justify it saying "sorry I was just really stressed with this or that".

But what do you do when a season looks like it's no longer a season? My daughter is just not getting better. So after a few months my husband and I both realized this was going to be a change in lifestyle not something we simple get through and then resume "life". It was going to be a different life. 

Living life in the midst of real pain and suffering. I did not understand this before a year ago. I don't mean that to sound like if you're not in a HARD situation you don't get it. But honestly, I didn't get it.  I would have small things here and there, but the reality of watching my kid suffer and struggle throughout every week has put me in an entire new frame of mind and guess what 

 Maybe it's not their child but it's something. And while I would never want to live this year again and would gladly move on from this and look back on it as "that hard time" we aren't out of it yet and it has given me empathy I really didn't have for others before. 

 I know this is the song I've been singing a lot this year but people are hurting. People with strong
faith in God are hurting. Ignoring that pain either in your own life or others doesn't really help anyone.
 After the first few months of our daughters issues we realized we couldn't and didn't really want to be texting our family or close friends every time things got bad at our house. We did for a while but it began to feel like same old same old "and everyone's life is going on"......but ours is still in this hard
hard place. We still reach out when things are particularly bad but it has really challenged me to look around my life for the people I know are or were going through something really hard recently and go back and encourage them. They most likely are still struggling daily with it but it's past that point of urgency and honestly people move on. I know I've done it and trust me from the other perspective it's challenging to remind people you're suffering. Who wants to be that person lol! If you go to someone who has been hurting for a long time or struggling with an issue for a long time and ask how they are you're not reminding them of something they weren't already thinking about. 

We've also been challenged (and told!) to share more what's going on rather than revert to isolation. It's not people fault they don't know when we are having really hard weeks if we don't tell anyone or ask anyone for prayer. It can be hard because you feel like you're saying the same thing week after week but reach out, community and fellowship have huge power. We have felt such weight lifted off of us when we have our community group pray for us.

This post doesn't have really any great form or flow to it but that's where we are at. Life still is a rush of doctors appointments and no answers, frustration and pain but also joy. We have ultimate joy because we know who holds Juliana's fate. This is hard to understand and even harder to accept. We can say we give our kids to the Lord, but what does that really look. Are you really willing to trust him with that thing so precious to you. I can tell you he is trustworthy to hold it. I remind myself this, I read scripture that reminds me of this as truth -- not just a good thing I tell myself to feel better. There are still lots of tears and God has worked through a lot of anger in my heart about watching her suffer -- that's another post for later when I'm ready to really show you all how nasty that process can be!


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Friday, May 29, 2015

Tasks Tasks

I would start out by saying the whole "this blog is so neglected" but let's be real, this blog is what it is right now. In this season of life it's more like the once every few weeks post. I start so many but inevitably something happens to take my eyes away....and I'm not complaining, honestly as challenging as having little kiddos is I really really love it. I am not anxious for school years, is that weird?! I just want to hold on to these sweet sweet days of no real "structure" (I mean of course we have appointments, meetings, the usual) but with a 1 and 3 year old my day is what we want it to be. If it's 10 am and we want to go to the park we can! I'm sure I'll love school age when we get there but I'm not ready yet :) 
People say constantly that life is about "balance", I've never really seen that so clearly as in motherhood. Because if I want to have a clean house I CAN -- it just means other things have to go or be sacrificed. If we want to eat healthy, exercise, do crafts, go on play dates, work, etc we can it's just a constant juggling act.  I know I'm preaching to the choir. And not just moms at all, that's just where I have seen it most clearly displayed in my life. Because before I honestly could almost get everything in. I can survive and function well on a freakishly little amount of sleep (this is now coming back to bite me MAJORLY in my children who inherited this amazing special gift aren't you jealous?) But a whole new adjustment had to come when I realized I couldn't and never will be able to get it all done. Lately I have been working on, instead of whining and complaining that my day's work is pointless and all I do is wash the same dishes and wipe up the same messes (I do this too, just ask my husband) I am trying trying trying (or rather, praying praying praying) to allow God to use these days for his glory. It changes my whole mindset, every task of every day when I can on occasion see it that way. This never ending "LIST" of things I think need to happen sometimes really don't. How can I even expect him to work and move in me when I'm running a million miles and hour in every direction?

I'm sure you've felt the same. Even just sitting in one spot and looking around at your house, yard, office whatever you can start to make a mental list of every task you need to do. All the sudden you feel overwhelmed with the ongoing maintenance of life. Part of this is our culture, we are so so so work driven, or rather, task completion oriented. Just travel to a couple other countries and you will realize how ingrained it is in you to work hard hard hard all day long. And this is NOT a bad thing, but sometimes it can be your enemy and something that really crushes your spirit because you feel like you just can't keep up. I remember in Italy, France, Asia and so many other places we've been afternoon time would hit and BAM store fronts start closing because it's rest time. You don't even bother going out in the afternoon because everything is closed. I wouldn't mind this being copied in our culture!! I think there are obvious positives and negatives to this, but what I love is the mentality that things can wait. In a culture where many of us or our husbands come home from work and after dinner work again until bed it does kind of make me sad that we can't adapt to that mentality that it's OK IF EVERYTHING doesn't get done. Guess what it'll still be there tomorrow! 
Anyways just some thoughts. Don't be crushed by the ongoing list or the tasks that are never ending. Take a minute and think "what relationships need the care and attention I'm about to give to my to do list". What if you spent your time, what if I spent my time encouraging, loving and supporting others as an integral part of my day.

Maybe add it to our list :) 
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Taking steps...

I had the awesome privileged of helping with a women's gathering this past weekend called the IF gathering. It was such an amazing time, if you ever have the opportunity to go to one, please please do and check it out here! I've been mulling over all the wonderful messages I heard this past week. 

I was especially thinking about them today as I was on a fun walk with my kiddos -- well I say it was fun now that's it's over, but during the walk I came upon several hills, one large one in particular. As usual, I began to think (or rather gasp for air) "ughhhhhhh I wish I was at the top of this hill. Done climbing and able to look back at what I just did." Of course this is true because pushing a stroller with one 20 lb and one 30 lb kid is challenging for me lol! BUT I couldn't help but see the blatantly obvious analogy to my life right now-- and everyone's I think....
I so often say to Jeremy that I wish we were at the point in this situation with our daughter's health where we could finally look back and see how it grew us, or remembering God's help and faithfulness during that time, anything to be past this trial--I'm done climbing I want to be at the top looking back! 
Looking at the top of the hill this morning I even thought "I can't, I'm too tired, I should figure out a different way back home. It's too steep I'll never make it up." But looking at the step in front of me, it wasn't that steep, I could take that step. And then I could take another, and another. 
I know this is no new analogy or way of thinking, but it really hits home for me today. Looking at the "task" ahead I really do feel often that I can't do it, it will be too hard, how will I manage......but I CAN take the step one at a time. 

Even just tomorrow......thinking about the day as a whole makes my anxiety rise. What if they do find something wrong in her brain? What if we find no answer again? What if she has a reaction to the anesthesia this time? What will the next steps be if ANY?! The day seems like too much because it is too much for me. I even catch myself thinking "I've done this 5 times before we CAN DO THIS" ya know, as if some sort of mantra in my head will help. But the reality again is that I can't. I need Jesus to help take each step in front of me. I can't handle looking at the top of that hill it just seems too high. So I can get her up and get through the morning without food or water, I can help her get through sedation, out of sedation, the long drive home and through whatever news we hear.
He can and I know he will faithfully help me with each step. 

One of the speakers this weekend talked a lot about how a racer would never quit on the last and final lap right?! For us we can't see the top of the hill with the mountains in our life. We don't know if we are 3 steps away or 50. But put your foot in and step out faith. 
And for us the "top of this mountain" might not even be a cure or solution for her but that we will see the blessing of this trail. I think we often think that the mountain is always a trial and being done with that "trial" is the top -- but I strongly argue that's not it. Because of course there's a new hill or mountain to face and it's about how you decide to go up. Alone, mustering up all your strength and feeling drained, tired, and done. Or with full understanding that Christ is who walking you up each step, supplying for your needs and tending to your heart so even in the midst of the climb you can feel refreshed and full of life. 
So whatever mountain you have in front of you that just seems too big, too high, too much please think about all this........I know you're tired, but look at that step in front of you? Can you ask him to help you take that one? Focus on that step and do it well. Whether it's going to that job and dealing with rude people all day, handling a medical issue, a family trauma or wiping poop and puke off yourself day in and day out, whatever it is. Continue to take the step. Not because YOU can, but because God is big! And he can and will walk with you. 

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Juliana update!

Just fillin you all in with where we are with Jules. (As always thank you to everyone for asking, sending cards, prayers, etc you are all amazing!)

Her long awaited appointment at Stanford is NEXT Friday the 17th! We have waited 3.5 months for this one! It going to be a long day though. We are very very thankful they will be able to do multiple tests under one sedation -- which is so nice since this is already her 6th time being sedated and every time I hate it. They will do a brain and spine MRI, then wheel her down the hall and do a nerve conduction test and some kind of muscle test (are you impressed with my medical verbiage?) and then a blood draw to check for a metabolic disorder.

One of the first BIG prayer requests we ask for is that she would stay healthy. If she has even a little runny nose or cough they won't do the sedation.....and we would lose that appointment and probably not get one for another month or longer again! SO please pray she stays healthy! We are pretty much staying home all next week :( I may go crazy since I hate being home and away from people for more than a day lol but it's worth it. I can't wait another 3 months for this appointment! 

We are as usual not even sure what we want these tests to show. Normal results are good but give us no answers and the mystery continues. So we do want them to find the answer we just want it to be fixable! And then for the treatment to work and her hiccups to stop! So it's tricky! We are both feeling like the nerve test will be very telling since this seems to all be related to some kind of nerve issue.

In the meantime she is still on her diet (no soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, diary, nuts or seafood) and GI medicine and she is also on an anti-seizure medicine 3 times a day to try and stop the hiccups. No luck there BUT they have gone longer stretches between ! 

Along the way we are so grateful that she is happy, growing, and the hiccups and spasms have been manageable (but still incredibly frustrating and hard to watch when they go all night and day). 

We are so thankful for you all that have come around us and prayed for her! Please keep it up! 

It's hard not to let my mind go to places like "oh they might find the answer and FIX it all and this will be behind us!" because I don't think that's really a reality. But it's a nice dream lol! She is a gift and we know God has her in his complete care........really. 

Thank you!!! 

P.S. If you happen to see us next week running and errand or if you want to come by please make sure your kids are healthy, hate to be that person! But this week it's important!!!!  

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Parenting without the goal of obedience

Tried to think of a snazzy title and that's the best I could come up with hehe!

Rule followers like myself tend to gravitate toward other extreme rule followers. They make us comfortable and happy lol.

 I've found it interesting how this has influenced my parenting. See, I think rule followers like myself and even non rule followers have this problem in parenting.......we creating a system where obedience and politeness are the ultimate goal. While it's right and appropriate to praise good behavior (especially in the tiny years!) so that they can learn what is wrong and right, when we make obedience the end all I think we are missing a really big big point. And creating and even bigger problem.

It's easy to begin correlating obedience and rule following with the state of their heart overall (not just in that moment). Even to the extreme of saying they are a BAD girl or GOOD boy instead of addressing the behavior alone. The reason I think this is so important is that it's so so easy to make obedience the end all because it IS so important in parenting. In no way is this saying to not discipline or help your kids strive for obedience -- but it's the practice of keeping their heart always as the focus. One child may be so "good" because they follow rules and hardly ever disobey-- but that is not necessarily a reflection of where their heart is with God.

I know this because as a rule follower it's incredibly easy to follow rules and please people without ever having a submissive heart to God. What I am trying to learn and grow into is constantly modeling what it looks like to obey God in pleasure not obligation as my kids get older. I (The PARENT) am not the supreme authority. They have to see that I too am submissive to Christ because I also make mistakes.  It's changing that conversation from "you need to be good" to "you can't be good on your own, let's ask Jesus to help you obey and be kind".  It's God's grace that saves them not their obedience.

Something that I've heard myself do also that is dangerous is using "Jesus" as a scapegoat in a sense. "God" wants you to obey and be good, it hurts "HIM" when you do this. That's almost like saying "we're ok, but you really made Jesus mad." I really think this also is so negative because it grinds into our children from the get go that God is up there with a rule list wanting them to be perfect or they're out! He's just waiting for them to fail! Instead of the opposite that we see in scripture of him welcoming home the prodigal son with open arms.

Parenting this way is a daily challenge. Because I gravitate towards just wanting them to follow my rules! Can't they just be GOOD?! But again no they can't. Just because as an adult I've learned how to act appropriately in society and be polite doesn't mean my heart is good with God. It also is crucial to remind myself my kids are children, and little ones right now! My mom always says "Isn't it amazing when kids act like kids?". Meaning, why are you surprised when kids do things that a KID WOULD DO! We are here to teach them, we are here to discipline and correct -- and to do those things with the grace God has shown us. Constantly pointing them back to him. Taking the time to figure out what's going on in their heart. Right now my kids are 1 and 3 so it's a lot of just managing and teaching. But I still think even at these stages it's crucial to begin the conversations at least daily about how we turn to Jesus for help in doing what is right and good.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

20 minute daily speed clean

Time for a fun post that doesn't involve any talk of MRI's or the word hiccup! 

My house is by NO means a "clean house", I am very aware of it's constant state of "messiness". However! I sometimes feel like I am just randomly cleaning up all day long. No real intention or goal and at the end of the day it still is a disaster. I hate doing that, I would so much rather just spend 1 hour cleaning in the morning and then enjoy my day! But that's not a reality, mornings are busy around here. 

This is no new idea but here is my 20 minute speed cleaning method. 
The key to why this is so effective is really one main thing -- 
1. You just START. 
Instead of spending time walking around looking at the mess, "making a list", or figuring out where to begin -- all of which could have already taken 20 minutes-- just start
By diving in you don't waste any time sorting or lets be honest, pouting about what the disaster that no magic fairy seems to be coming to the rescue to do for you. 
Bummer I know. 

2. Clean/organize/sort ONLY.
This 20 minute period is for cleaning only! No phone (ahem, scrolling), dilly dallying or distractions! It's harder to do this 20 minute speed clean with kids around because you can't just say "sorry no distractions!" when a little one is yelling "wipe meeeeeeeee please". Oh the joys. This is best done first thing while daddy is still around or if he leaves before little ones are up it's a good end of the day thing before crashing on the couch for the rest of the evening :) 

3. Work fast. 
This one's important. You know you only have 20 minutes so you just bust it out. Set a timer if it helps you or challenge yourself to how much you can get done--I know it sounds dumb and you might feel stupid, but A. you probably already feel silly at some point in your day between playing make believe or pulling a wagon of kids down the street and B. We all respond well to some sort of challenge. At work or school there is an expectation to meet and I think that does help. So whether it's tackling one room or just the counters push yourself lol! 

4. Keep organizing for later. 
This one is obviously up to you, but I've found that organizing sucks me in. It's a whole other aspect of cleaning altogether! Use your 20 minute speed clean for trying to find the floor again. Or the sink lol. 

5. Be smart. 
This goes along with #4. Don't spend the first 15 minutes of your speed cleaning filing the mail. Go for big things that will make you feel a lot more sane like vacuuming up the dumped out cereal or starting a load of laundry. Also don't spend time putting away things like all the blocks which in 10 seconds your child will just dump out again! Save that for an end of the day job. Scrub the toilets, dust or do something they can't immediately undo. Immediately being the key word. 

6. Become friends with the trashcan. 
I know that I toss things out almost to a fault, my husband likes to keep things a lot more than I do, BUT I feel like so much of the stuff around our house that makes it feel messy is actually trash. That random toy they got in a Valentine's day card, the in n out hat from yesterday, and OHHHHHHH the papers! The papers from church, preschool, speech therapy it seems to multiply everywhere! Save the special ones and toss the rest out or put in a drawer for scratch paper. 

7. Keep going if time allows.
 Ok this is where the 20 minute speed cleaning evolves into the hour speed clean. If I know I have an hour before someone comes over -- even with kids awake this works -- I clean in a particular order and it works super well every time! I start in one room and designate 10 or so minutes to each room. The key is that room is the focus, getting that room cleaned up. For some rooms this is a greater challenge and 10 minutes may not make a dent in one laundry basket let alone the whole room. But for the most part this works. What I do is I run around like a crazy person to get that one room cleaned up lol. If I find something that goes in a different room I just throw it in that room I do NOT PUT IT AWAY completely. That wastes time and distracts you because while unloading the dishwasher you see a hair tie on the ground and take it to the bathroom where you find toothpaste all over the counter and towels on the ground and suddenly you've switched rooms. I know this method sounds a little crazy and I don't know why but it works at least for me! So if while cleaning up the kids room you find a couple toys go dump them in the play room and run back to the kids room. Once you that room is "clean" move onto the next one! You should see how quickly our house gets cleaned up when my husband and I do this. Maybe next time you have plans to come over just show up and hour early you can see it in full effect lol! 

My last point--which ties into my philosophy of why you should make your bed everyday, anyways another post for another day--this really does kick start or end your day well. Have you ever noticed how getting started is actually the hardest part? Once going I feel like I could clean and organize for hours. And maybe you're not that way, you may hate every second, but once you get into it you realize how refreshed you feel and ready to tackle other things. I also really do believe you're most successful during your day with a clean(ISH) house! Knowing you're not coming home to a BOMB makes it easier to do more. Lastly, you are less likely to spend money elsewhere when you're house is clean -- really! I can spend all day at home when it's clean and organized but when things are a mess and sticky (a word that seems to encompass our house sometimes lol) I feel more like getting out or are discontent with what I do have!! 

There's your 20 minute daily speed cleaning tip from me! Happy cleaning!

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Filling an empty tank

Last week at the GF office we watched a really short video that focused in on identifying what "drains" and what "fills" you as an individual. It was really good, and last night the hubs and I went on a date and really got to dive into those things. {Side note, we had no money left in our January eating out budget so we packed sandwiches and walked around the pond at a park -- it was great!} 
Anyways, it was great to brainstorm those things for ourselves and also to know them about each other. If you know what drains your spouse than you can either A. NOT do those things lol or B.Understand they need some inflow since they just had a big out pour.
We are still working on our lists, it's hard to think of the specific things that just suck you dry but I challenge you to do it! With these past months being some of the most draining and exhausting of our lives we have learned firsthand how bad we handle stress at times in the sense that we just go into extreme survival mode. And I think there are times in life where that's just the reality. 
 If in the midst of  hospital visits, medications and appointments Jeremy had said "I need to fill my tank I'll be out fishing all day" it probably wouldn't have been the BEST form of refilling in that specific time. But to an extent we do need to do this. When Juliana was getting one of her many MRI's instead of sitting outside the room I went for a walk around the park across the street. Be mindful of things that are just draining you so that you can make sure to double up on things that fill you. 

For me just getting outside in some form of nature works, even 10 minutes. After a long tantrum and no nap filled day I will absolutely walk around our block when Jeremy gets home. Knowing the specific things that tear down and build up our spouse makes us able to serve each other better and a much better team overall! 

Here is the video check it out :) 

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

When you hear nothing.

This season of our lives has been more than the word "challenging" can really sum up. 

As I write I hear the steady "hiccup, hiccup, hiccup" of my toddler. I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it, I'm tired of talking about it. We are in a discouraging spot where we had been so full of hope  in the diagnosis of her having this esophagus disease and that it would be the SOURCE of her hiccups. Months into the medicines and rigid diet we still see no change. While we pray it just needs more time there's no other word for how we feel--aggravated. 

Sometimes we get into these habits of feeling entitled. Like God owes us. For whatever reason.....maybe we've been "good", or spent our life serving Him, or have already had so many bad things happen we don't deserve one more thing. But he doesn't owe us. I've been noticing that pattern in my thinking. I want to say that I am handling this season, the most difficult I've ever faced, with grace, hope and patience.
But that is not always the case.
 I've had to take captive my thoughts and attitudes of anger about this situation. I get so upset that is happening to her. That I feel like every family around me has normal 3 year olds with normal struggles (another misconception that we only see when angry!) My husband said tonight that he was grateful for what this trial was doing in our lives and walk with God.
My first thought was "really?!" I would so much rather have a trial of my own in my own suffering or pain than have to watch my tiny child go through anything. But isn't that just it? It's hardest to trust him with the things I value most, to hand over the thing clutched hard in my hand, unwilling to give up for fear that he won't handle it with the care necessary.
My husband has been the constant, daily reminder of God's goodness and faithfulness throughout this whole thing. My mind often struggles with why God is allowing this to a person like me who already has a tendency to fret and worry -- but again that's just the point. He has so much to teach me and has already in this.

I'm not in control.

I never have been in control.

When things are going easy in life there is the illusion that we hold some ounce of control but we don't. He is the only one I can trust with this. He will save the day. We pray that he will use doctors and some revolutionary cure or cause for her case that no one has ever seen or heard of.....but it will be him.

So as we pray and wait and hear nothing, see nothing, we trust. As I lay for hours and plead for hiccups to stop at night I rest in peace that he will take care of her. Even when they don't stop. My faith and trust in God is not dependent on if he does what I want in my life. He's not my genie in a a bottle who "if he really loved me" would do what I am asking. Bad and painful things happen in life and we spout out things like "God why would you let this happen, why won't you stop it, etc etc". God isn't in a box that we understand and control, and we never ask why he chooses to allow blessings when things are happy and good -- but yikes are we angry when they get bad.

He has this whole crazy painful life worked out for his purpose. None of it makes any sense or seems to have any purpose right now but it does in him.
Soon we hopefully come out of this, and it can be something to look back to and remember that urgent dependency on Christ. And if life doesn't change we continue to wait. Expectantly waiting on him even when we hear nothing.

I hope in some way this encourages you. I know my blog is kind of a downer lately but life isn't exactly easy right now, but is it ever? I know hurting people are everywhere. They are easier to see when you are hurting too. What a unfathomable joy it is to take this burden that feels like pounds of bricks on my shoulders at times and offload them on him. I can't imagine my life without Christ and what he has done for us.

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