Thursday, October 30, 2014

the word I hate hate hate and ending spina bifida awareness month

Ive been silent the last couple weeks on the Spina Bifida awareness. But thats cause Spina Bifda took up my last few weeks.  Its life. Surgery and Healing trumps blogging any day.

But I knew I wanted to do one more post. That I had one on my heart and that I wanted to end Spina Bifida Awareness month with it.


I've written about it Here before and have talked openly about my own personal struggle multiple times.

When people describe Spina Bifida. When they talk about it. When you hear about it. When the conversation comes up there is a word that ALWAYS, ALWAYS ALWAYS comes up with it.

I hate the word.

Its awful.  

It makes my stomach sink

It makes me feel ill.


When someone uses the word around Toby I want to pop their mouth. With a chair. 



Defect.


I wish I could take that word out of the dictionary.

I have a strong dislike for it. (if you couldnt tell)

So whenever anyone throws that word around. (which i get the technicality of it, but we arent talkign technical we are doing mommy talk) it makes my insides feel they just got squeezed and spit out.



Here is the definition for it.



This is what what is used to describe my son. Before we heard spina bifida we heard the words birth defect.    


For a while I never really addressed this. Never sat and analyzed it. But it hit me. Defect means somethings wrong. Something went wrong. inadequacy, shortcoming, deficiency, imperfection.  For years I struggled with that thought. For seeing Spina Bifida that way. 

The word defect can give the thought of God missing something. All these other babies came out great and perfect and exactly right. Healthy. But oh....this one...this one slipped through the cracks and is now defective.  Defect gives the idea of losing importance or of losing its worth. Of God missing an opportunity to do what He was supposed to do.




is this the way we view disabilities?

But let me tell you. After years of struggling. After years of fighting guilt and uncertainty. 5 years ago this month God set me straight. 
God didnt miss something. God wasnt unaware. It wasnt something I did or didnt do. There wasnt something with my body and they way my body provided for my babies. 

5 years ago I wrote a post called, "The fingerprint"  of course I cant figure out how to find the link so I'm going to post a little section of it.  I wrote about sitting in Nates teaching to the teens as he hit on disability. He spoke of all the familiar feel good verses. 

He spoke on being knitted together. When God was forming Toby. When Toby was growing in my womb was Gods back turned? Does somehow the verse of being knit together not apply to Toby? Or does it even more so?

Nate described it this way, (I'm taking this segment out of his book Be Confident in Your Creation)

"Did you realize that you are the work of the only true God? The One God who formed and created all heaven and earth and the same God who only has power to rule all creation is the same God who took the time and care to mold you as a potter molds the clay! This fact should make you jump out of your seat and praise God for your creation. You are the possession of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Perhaps some perspective will help you wrap your brain around your personal value. The price of a well-made quality guitar can range anywhere from $250.00 to $1,000.00. Now you take that same guitar and have a big name country music star sign the guitar all of a sudden, the value of that guitar skyrockets. The personal signature of an important person adds to the value of the object. You have the signature of God in your life. If the signature of a country music star can add to the value of a guitar, how much more would you say the signature of God adds to your value? You are priceless because God created your personally and left His fingerprint of expression."



This is now have I view Toby now! Spina Bifida isnt a defect. Its not a mistake God made. Spina Bifida is God putting his signature of Toby's life, on all of our lives. He allowed Toby to be formed this way. He wasnt unaware. This was His purpose and His plan.  


So when I hear the word defect to describe Spina Bifida its like nails on a chalk board. Toby is not defective. His worth isnt diminished. His value hasnt changed. If anything God took special care to put a special touch on Tobys life. Toby has God's fingerprint right there on his back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I knew someone once with spina bifida and they walked great...

Spina Bifida is confusing. Its hard to grasp on to and understand. 
I know lots of us have heard, "I had a friends cousins uncles best friend who had spina bifida and he walked great and you'd never know."

And then...
you can see stuff like this and think, okay I think I got it. I have broke the code... 

and then.......



But then you see a kid walking without crutches at the same level as a kid thats a full time wheelchair user.


Why is this?  What's the deal?


There are kids who had fetal surgery. There are kids who didnt. There are kids who have had tethered cord surgery, there are kids who are waiting it out. There are kids who have shunt surgery after shunt surgery and then their are teens with the same shunt they had since they were tiny.  

We shout awareness and we play videos but then I think it gets a little hazy.  One kids dancing and jumping, another kids spinning in a chair, and another kid is running with crutches and we are trying to tell everyone they have the same thing!!?   


Well people, that's spina bifida. It doesnt pull punches. It cant be contained in a paragraph in your medical book. It likes to confuse and scare. As soon as you think youve got it figured out it laughs and pulls another crazy turn. 


But then I think it makes it hard for us mamas.  I dont know about you but every time I see a kid that is dong more than Toby that is his level I can doubt myself. Did we do enough therapy, did I push enough, did we mess something up. Why isnt he doing so well? We are happy for them to a degree but then we second guess. Because Spina Bifida is a guessing game half the time. We get offended by people posting about the joys of walking even though they have SB.  (because we know how much happiness we see when our kid zooms by in his wheelchair.) But then in the back of our mind. We wondered if we missed something. We worry we are to blame.And if we dont worry we are to blame we worry if others THINK we are to blame. A lot of the decisions surrounding spina bifida rest on our shoulders. How much therapy, how much pushing, this elective surgery, that elective surgery. Is it tethered cord, is it not tethered cord. Did we make the wrong choice? Did we jump the gun? Did we not move fast enough?

Remember how we all wish we could go back and talk to our pregnant selves and tell ourselves it will be okay.  
WELL....
I wish mommy of teenager Toby could come to me now and say, "hey dont worry about XYZ, thats not a big deal."  "hey dont blame yourself for that one."  "Hey you did the very best you could and knew how."  "Hey ya know that therapy just wasnt a big deal go let him play more."  "Or hey that right there, that is a big deal, put down the video game and go work him hard on that." 

But we cant. And so the doubt and the mess is there......And here is the only clear part that I've come up with.

It doesnt matter what others are doing. It doesnt matter the level. There is too much that comes into play with Spina Bifida. I couldnt figure it out if I wanted to.

But what I do know is that I want to be able to look at teenage Toby, I want to look him in the eye and say and know it to be true.....

We did our very best. We tried our very hardest. And we always did whatever we could no matter what. 

because thats what really matters....doing our best....... For Him.    





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Unsung Heroes are getting a Song

Toby and I hear a lot.....


"you are so strong."

"such courage."

"your faith is an inspiration."

"we dont know how you do it."

"You are so brave."

"Wow."

"You are such an example to me."




And we appreciate it. Every word of it.

but today in light of Spina Bifida Awareness month I want to take time to take the spot light off Toby for a moment.

I do believe he is all of those things, but there are others in our lives that are those things and more.

We know not every family has this. We know we are blessed beyond all we could imagine. 



To my Friends

You are so strong. You know that hanging out with me means baggage. You know it means helping me. You know it means work and you do it. You call me. You text me. You are there. You listen to my fears, you see my tears and even when there is nothing to say you are there. You can jump from having fun to hearing stories that break your heart. You sit in ICU rooms with me and sneak in ice cream. You are strong. You get 4 phone calls a day because I'm mad about the way insurance messed up again, and you still pick up the phone on the 5th call. You send boxes. You design and ship shirts. You are probably broke from fundraisers. You watch kids, lots of them. You go out late with me because thats the most feasible time for me to get away. You are what I need and when I need it. Week after Week, month after month, year after year. When I've lost all faith you give me some of yours. 
you are so strong

To the Siblings

Such courage. You get left behind. You get told to wait. You get a tired Mom.You sit by during endless phone calls to doctors and insurance companies. You know at any moment our normal day could end up at the ER or in a doctors office. You keep going and that takes courage. You wait. You help. You are sensitive to his needs and our needs. You are supportive and happy. You dont complain about the presents and the seemingly endless movies he gets to watch. You help with babies and do more chores than probably your fair share. You get scared and you get uncertain but you keep going. You stand by while people ask about him and not you. You stand by while people talk to him and not you. You are courageous. You are stronger than you know. 
such courage.


To Tobys Friends

You are such an example to me. You wait on him to catch up to you. You play the games he can join in on. You visit him in the hospital. You spend your money to buy him a present. You come hang out when you know there wont be any physical activity. You are the example. You carry arm crutches, water cups and balls. You dont bat an eye when he runs over your toes or knocks into your shins. You compete with him, because you dont treat him differently. You are the example. He's your friend not because you dont see the medical equipment, not because you haven't  noticed the scars, its because you dont know care.  I love each and everyone of you for that. 
you are such an example to me.

To the others (you know who you are)

We don't know how you do it. You bring us meals. You call us. You watch children. You fill bags full of snacks for hospital stays. You never seem to tire of doing for us. You call us and say, "We want to know. We want to understand. We want to know what he goes through," and you mean it. You pray. You think of us. You talk about us. We don't know how you don't get sick of us. You send us messages on facebook. You comment on every picture, blog and article. You go the extra mile to help us find equipment. You show up at our door with exactly what we are praying for.  We don't know how you do it.

So this is for you. The ones behind the scenes. The ones that really have all the strength. The ones who carry burdens we have carefully handed over. The ones we trust. The ones we love. The ones that make this month of Spina Bifida Awareness so much more than about Toby.

We love you all


So what about you?  Who is in your life that blesses your socks off and makes your journey easier?




Sunday, October 5, 2014

the purpose of the photo

Today I was asked/told

"I'm not sure I understand the purpose of posting this photo."

along with asking about his schooling, what he can do and what he cant do in regards to the photo.










and this is the photo in question.



  

Now usually im an oversharer. I share, share, share, type, type, type, photograph, photograph and photograph.   But this is something I've never shared. Nothing I've never done.   It just didn't seem like mine to share. My choice to show. 

But with it being Spina Bifida Awareness Month and all...I asked him.  He's talked a lot about showing scars and sharing things with close friends. I thought he might be ready for it.  And he was. He didnt bat an eye at it.   

It was a big moment for me, for us, for him.   And so when I clicked on facebook 700xs to see what the reaction would be to put something so "private" out there I was slightly shocked by the response of one.(especially because it was someone with Spina Bifida)

So I want to respond here. In detail and with some thought.


This picture means a lot.  It was snapped quickly with an iphone and uploaded in minutes, (because for real 8 year old boys have no patience for lighting and photo shoots) But this picture very well could have taken me hours, days and weeks to plan out.  I could look at this picture so many times because its so much all rolled into one.
  For one the fact that he would willingly share this image with the world shows me that he's in a good place. It shows me he's not ashamed.  He's not ashamed of his scar. Of what his body looks like and how its different.  It shows me I'm in a good place about it. Spina Bifida can seem like a shameful diagnosis for the mommies because so many people are misinformed about  folic acid keeping spina bifida away (not true, not proven, many mommies take folic acid months before their pregnancy and their babies still have spina bifida) I actually had a doctor ask me once why I didnt take my prenatals because clearly with Toby having spina bifda that was a fact.  (first and last appointment with that doctor,) But its always my fear, always in the back of my mind. that people think its my fault. So to put it out there says, a lot.
It shows me his courage. This scar isnt just from his orignal back closure surgery at 1 day old. This scar isnt just from his 2nd back closure surgery at 2 weeks old. This scar is also from his tethered cord surgery. Moving on from that surgery. Healing from that surgery. Walking after that surgery. That all took courage.  It shows me my courage. I'll never forget the first time they took his bandage off to show me his back as a few day old baby. I almost passed out. I felt like a coward. The room was spinning and I had to go sit down for a minute in a chair, but I didnt stay there. I didnt stay in that chair. I stood up, walked over and learned how to do dressing changes on his back. It took courage. When I held my 2 week old and had to hand him back over moments before  we were about to take him home from the NICU because I felt spinal fluid leaking all over his back, knowing this meant a longer stay and another surgery. That took courage. I was full of fear feeling that fluid on me, but we handed him over for another surgery. That took courage.
It shows me hope. When we saw his spot on his back at our 20 week ultrasound and first heard the words spina bifida we had hope. When Toby came on May 19, 2006 all we had was hope. We clung to it. When they took him to the NICU and I didnt get to hold him. I had hope I would hold him soon. When he had his first surgeries I had hope he would be okay. When he had his tethered cord surgery I had hope that he would walk again and be even stronger. Hope that better days would come. That it might not be so hard. Seeing the scar reminds me that hope is always worth it. Even now in these tough days. I need to be reminded hope is worth it. 
It shows me strength. Toby's body has fought. It has not beaten him. Toby's body has been through more things than I care to imagine. Toby is a warrior. I try not to glamorize spina bifida or say its more than what it is.  But for real people.  Check that stinking scar out. He's a fighter. He's got some kind of awesome strength. I'd be a fool to overlook that. The scar is a sign of everything we have fought against and yet everything that we have also embraced. 



and more than anything else 
It speaks of life.  
This surgery. Those scars. Those saved his life, and if that were the only thing that I could say,  then that's enough for me.


profits and prayers



Its Spina Bifida Awareness month but I'm jumping to a totally different topic today. 




Any idea where I'm going with this? Now this is a blog post that I want feedback on. I want to hear what you think.  So look at this as an open discussion.

In almost any church in America you can see this.  










And in and of itself none of these things are bad. As a matter of fact some of these products are pretty stinking awesome.  I've gotten a kitchen with some pampered chef, im typing with jamberry nails and Im wearing marykay makeup. I know you probably think I'm a hypocrite now. But I want you to understand that my problem is not with the product.

12 And Jesus entered the temple2 and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of fthe money-changers and the seats of those who soldgpigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, h‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but iyou make it a den of robbers.”

I dont know about you but the fact that Jesus was angry. That he actually overturned tables makes me step back and hesitate. Makes me want to sit back and think before I do. I certainly wouldnt want Jesus coming back and being angry at what He sees me doing in church.    I believe that there is a great need to network in churches and that is beautiful and awesome and really neat. I love when I see people using Christian businesses and helping them grow. I love when people have good products that I can buy easily. What I dont love is when I feel like church members are being bombarded and hounded and pushed to order, to go to a party, to spend money that maybe they really dont have.   Its frustrating to me and this verse pops into my mind. I think, man, are we any better than them.  With me having a photography business (and I use that term loosely) I feel like I have to be very careful when offering photography to people. I have to make sure that people want/need what I'm offering. That I'm not pushing, guilting or otherwise using my church membership in a way that shouldnt be done.  That if Jesus were standing next to me I would not be getting my pamphlets, catalogs and business cards knocked out of my hands. That if Jesus were standing right next to me He would see that my heart and mind is set on worship, on growing and on changing.  Am I worrying about my profits or my prayers? I think its a balance. But I feel like there are plenty of times we lose that balance. 


And please dont get me wrong. I think fundraisers and things like that are great. I think its great to get our church family involved. And I also dont think its wrong to offer these products. (so please ,please dont put words in my mouth that arent there)  I think its when we take it to the next level. And maybe that level looks different for different people. But I think its a least worth the thought. At least figuring it out. Making sure we arent crossing lines and we arent pushing and shoving and turning God's house into a marketplace for us to make a profit. And honestly thats hard for me to say as most of my photography profit comes from church people. Again I dont think its wrong to offer. (cause guess what!? Ill be offering some fall mini sessions soon as a fundraiser) But hopefully I wont be knocking anyone down and throwing flyers at you in church. I will post it and then wait for interest and if not then I will move on. Because for me thats the level I'm comfortable with. Its what God has put on my heart personally.

I know this wont be a popular post. I know this wont get a lot of shares. But its been on my mind.  and I'm curious. What do you think? What's your take on this? Would you be driven out?  Have we taken it too far in our churches or am I jumping to conclusions?



and just because....seriously how cute is she!!?




Friday, October 3, 2014

Filling up your newsfeed

Ive thought about what to write around this time. I've even sat down a few times to write and it just doesnt come.

None of it seemed enough.

Spina Bifida Awareness is important. Its super crazy important.  When we heard the words 'spina bifida' we had no idea what it was or what it meant. We had no idea what our future looked like. We had no idea of anything. We just knew it was bad, very very bad.

We sat in an office hearing words that sounded like a foriegn language. Hydrocephalus. spina bifida myelomeningocele neurogenic bladder.  What the what?!

We were young. We had a 8 month old (im guessing, im too tired to do the math) and we had no idea what what going on.

It was like this Hurricane diagnosis had just swept into our life and screwed it all up with a bunch of words that had no meaning.

We are 8 1/2 years out from those horrible hard first days.

In that time Ive talked to a few moms that were pregnant with their babies. Sitting right where I was sitting. Scared out of their mind and having no idea of anything except that it was bad, very very bad.

Ive gotten emails and phone calls. Ive had the opportunity to share how much worth Toby has and beg them to see the same for their child.  I've answered hard questions. Ive said hard things. Ive fought for these babies and fought for their mommies to see what we can see now. How worth it it is. Some mommies I've heard the end of the story, I've seen their babies born through pictures. I've watched their babies grow to toddlers through pictures.  And other times I've never heard back. I never got a return phone call, a facebook friend invite, an email to let me know all is well.  At that point I can only imagine what the end result was.

Spina Bifida awareness itsnt about finding the cure. Its not about folic acid and taking prenatals. Spina Bifida Awareness month is about sharing the worth.


Its worth it.  

We mommies with our babies with Spina Bifida. We mommies with our toddlers with Spina Bifida. We mommies with our kids and teens with Spina Bifida. And I think we can venture to say that the adults with Spina Bifida feel the same way.

For us Spina Bifida Awareness month is about letting the world see, We are okay. Its okay. The kids are okay. Its about sharing the journey. Seeing the joy. Its about one less abortion. Its about one more birth. Its about the worth.  They are worth it all. It is worth it all. Every fight, every tear, every pain.  Because we also get lots of joys, triumphs and greatness.

So maybe You think we are all a little crazy. Maybe we annoy you with filling up your newsfeed.  Maybe you think awareness is no big deal.
Id like to see you try to explain that to me 8 1/2 years ago.
But man if in that room 8 1/2 year ago I could have remember a video, a blog post, a picture and been able to attach it to the word Spina Bifida. Maybe that video, blog post or picture would have helped replace some of that fear. Maybe that video, blog post or picture would make me realize that it was gonna be okay and that itd be worth it.
Maybe it would have been easier to say, hey, its going to be okay.
It will be worth it.
because it totally is. 


So on I will blog, On I will post and On I will share. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear Shunt

Dear Shunt,

I hate you! Hate you. Hate you. Hate you.


But for real. I hate you.

I hate you because you put fear in me like I've never felt before. Every headache, every puke, every virus that hits my son makes me shake in fear because I think its you.My mind immediately jumps to you.  I think this is the moment, the moment you have failed us. Every day of exhaustion. Every bad therapy day. Every off day for my son, my mind goes to you. I hate you for that. 

I hate you for all the false alarms. All the CT scans that seemed unnecessary. All the ER visits and sleepless nights that weren't needed. I hate you for real.  

I hate you for the moments you've stolen from my family. I hate you for the fun things you've messed up. 

I hate you because tomorrow you will be replaced. Because today we found out that you really did fail us. Today the fears, the CTs, the pukes, the headaches, the shaking eyes all came together and this was the moment I feared the most. And here it is. So guess what, I hate you.


And yet I love you. Because you've been with us 7 1/2 years.  The first one like you didn't even last 7 1/2 months and so therefore I love you.  You stayed steady and strong. You did your job. You protected my sons life. You protected his brain. You protected who he really is. So I love you.   

But yet I still hate you.  because you have threatened to fail and today you did.

I hate that because of you we will be separated by a hospital again as a family. I hate you because we will miss days of school. I hate you because his hair that JUST grew back will be shaved. I hate you for the moments of playing and hanging out with friends that he will miss. I hate you for the IV and the pain that he will have.  I hate you for the scar you will leave behind. I hate you for the fear of infection that we will have for weeks after this surgery. 

and yet I still love you because I know without you we might not have him and that is enough to make all the hate worth it....

and yet I still super hate you. 


Yours Truly,



His Mom 


ps  if you dont know what a shunt is you can read more about it here. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

when your ministry doesnt look like ministry

Ministry looks so so different from what I thought it would.

For one it hurt a lot more.

For two I seemed to be doing a lot less of it than I thought.

As a 16 year old newly converted atheist to Jesus follower I was ready to serve Him and serve Him forever and ever. My dream was youth ministry, a Pastors family. I went on missions trip after missions trip. Visitations, activities, worked at a Christian Camp 2 summers. Met my husband there (who was studying to get his degree in Bible). I was in school studying to help churches, work hard and give everything I got to whatever church God brought us to.

And God did. He brought us to Texas but before that He allowed some things to take place....



Grace. We were right before our 1 year anniversary or right after (i can never remember this type of stuff) when I found out that I was pregnant with Grace. I was so close to getting my degree but I knew that my plans had changed from the moment I looked at those pink lines. We had Gracie and I began the most important job ever of being a mommy. (btw shes been worth it and Id give up a degree all over again for her)

15 months later Toby came. and again my plans were changed forever. Nate was in the process of earning his Masters Degree but with Toby's needs we knew it was now or never. At one point we were told that we needed to rethink serving full time in a church all together. That Toby's birth would make it hard. That I wouldn't be able to lean on my husband. That Id have to be independent with taking care of my kids. (for the record horrible advice. I am a hot mess without my husband by my side helping me along with this stuff. And I think the true model of an amazing Pastor is how he takes care of his family.) Toby needs us, both of us.

So we came to Texas and I dove right in. Ladies Conferences, Teen activities, Missions Trips to New York and Washington DC, plays, counseling, nursery, children's church.  We dragged our kids along where we could and got a babysitter for when we couldn't. My kids were not gonna slow me down!

I desperately tried to keep up. And wanted to. I loved it. I loved being in the work. Being a part of the work. I loved every missions trip. I loved every activity. (ok not true, but for the most part I did)

A few years later after being scared to death that SB would happen again and coming to grips with God's sovereignty we had Milo.  Milo was my sweet angel baby and now my very hyper 5 year old. He adores me. I adore him. It works out well for us.
A couple years after that we had Vander. My lazy snuggle bug. Daddy's boy all the way and one really bad two year old.  But he's super fun.

We were done. DONE DONE.  (yea right)

A couple years AFTER THAT we had Wren. You can read a little about her scary beginning here.

Somewhere between all those babies ministry changed drastically for me. It was a slow change not an overnight one. I stopped making it to every activity. I stopped going on missions trips. I stopped saying yes to everything and pushing myself to be a part of everything.

I felt like a failure. I felt like maybe I had given up. Maybe I wasnt trying hard enough. Maybe my heart wasnt in it. I was wrong somehow. Because it didnt even feel like I was a part of it anymore. The church had moved on without me and I was living a very different life than I had planned.

It has taken me some time, and its still sometimes a struggle to remind myself. But I am doing ministry. My ministry might look different from Nate's, but I'm doing it. I'm doing one of the most important things I could be doing. If I choose to look at it differently I can easily choose to be bitter against my kids, bitter against God for allowing my children to have special needs. The needs and their lives consume me. They are little vacuums that suck about all the energy and life I have.  I minister every day. When I change a diaper, I minister. When I make a meal, I minister. When I discipline, I minister. When I teach them, I minister. and heaven help me even when I do laundry, I minister. 

I miss things in ministry and honestly a lot of times its the fun things. The London trips, the Guatemala trips, The activities, (except for when we were with young families then my kids did the activities with us, it was awesome) I give up what some might view as the "REAL" stuff.  The hardcore ministry. But Im beginning to look at it differently. I'm giving up the really neat fun stuff, the spiritual highs and the great opportunities, for the front battle lines. I'm raising the next generation of ones that follow Jesus. Ones that stand for righteousness. Ones that will fight for their faith. Ones that will share their faith. And honestly with todays news, possibly the ones that will die for their faith. 

I'm IN ministry. The greatest most important ministry that God could have ever given me the responsibility for.

And trust me when I say, I know that this isnt just Pastor's wives that struggle with this. I know there are plenty of wives that are at home right now while their husbands seem to be a part of something bigger, something greater. I hope I can encourage you with, 
If you are doing what God has called you to do than you are doing the greatest, biggest something you could be doing. 
to doubt that would be to doubt God. 



ps  I still love working in the church and I do every chance I get. But I no longer feel the guilt when I say no because I know I'm choosing what God has called me to. He granted me these lives to take care of and he allowed 2 of these lives to need extra care. There is no doubt in my mind I'm doing what's best. And yes I do look forward to a time in my life when I will be able to do even more for the church and "traditional ministry jobs" but I dont pine for it. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

offense, fights and body slams

 Recently Ive seen post after post after post about things that offend people, hurt people, bother people. And granted there are some good ones and worthy ones to be upset about. We all know about the Kanye West mess. It was ridiculous and idiotic of him and honestly if for some crazy reason (heaven help me) that was Toby sitting there at his concert I would have flipped my lid for my child to be pointed out and put on the spot, humiliated and otherwise.  and really doesn't he just look like a total jerk.

I originally had mixed emotions about the whole thing when I first started watching all the shares and posts popping up.  At first horrified and then just irritated that there was ONE MORE THING that I had to get all witchy about. Was it just a harmless mistake that was turned into a big deal by the lovely media.  But then as I thought on it more it really was a big deal. It really was offensive and wrong.    had a fantastic response to the whole thing. It was well thought out and not terribly emotionally charged. It just made sense. It was wrong. And here is why. I love those type of posts.

But then again there are those things that just aren't big deals. And we  post about them and get all crazy. And we comment to each other the horror of it all. We practically pat each others backs for getting offended.

Tonight I read this blog entry titled, "When did we start hating big families."  Honestly I clicked on the link and read it, thinking Id be fist pumping the air, sharing the blog on my facebook and all us mommies of big families can comment on the horror of it all.  But when all was said and done and I sat there. I just couldn't share it. None of it really rang personally true to me. When people say "Whoa you got your hands full."  I don't think they are commenting on the fact that I have too many. Or that they wish some of my children weren't alive. But good grief that's how we can react. I merely say, "a really good full."   On the back of my car I have a vinyl that says, "if you think my hands are full you should see my heart." it wasn't because i got so many bad comments every time I went out but more in a way to make sure those commentators knew how awesome this was. This life of mine. Its AWESOME.  BUT FOR REAL, MY HANDS ARE FULL. I AGREE. Sometimes people even say, "You know how this works right?" or my least favorite "You need to get a TV in your bedroom." But honestly do they mean harm by it? I really don't think so. Dumb comments? sure. Harm? not so much. I cant say that Ive had any big family haters and honestly the thought seems a little crazy to me. Everywhere we go I get comments on our family, some odd, some not so thought out, but never straight up hateful.  And honestly for every odd comment there has been 2 great sweet encouraging comments. (and trust me I'm sure there are hateful people out there that would love to tell me to use birth control and all kinds of stuff but for us it just hasn't happened and I don't think society as a whole feels that way)

Another example.

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my newsfeed at a doctors office and this popped up
because of Wren's eye issues. (nystagmus and possibly occular albinism) I'm a part of a group called "Little Four Eyes" Its a support group for moms of kids in glasses and such. And let me tell you they were freaking out about this!!! A school had put this up for the science fair. Again, at first I was like "THE SHAME."  And then I was like, "wait, what? really?"  Is this really a huge deal.  I mean really. Dumb move by the school, But really awful, horrible, formal letter complaint? I don't know about that.  I think some of the parents need to realize that "being nerdy" is kinda in.  (I only know that cause Nate's back working with Youth for the time)  But these mommies (now not every one) were horrified by this.  And of course everyone commented and patted each other on the back and discussed the woes of how hard it is. (Which honestly, when you have a kid in a wheelchair its a little hard to feel too sorry for a 5 year old in glasses when they don't have a serious eye issue. )  But really, I just didn't get the horror of it. I didn't understand how horribly offensive this image is.


Sometimes I think us mommy's are such strong fighters for our kids because a lot of times we have to be. But sometimes because we are so used to fighting our first reaction is to body slam someone. (and yes Ive been the body slammer and the body slammed)  If I take myself out of my situation, baby with eye issues and Toby in his chair or crutches would I know how to perfectly respond or know what to do.  I know we all hear ADVOCATE. STAND UP. PROTECT. and yes absolutely we should. But trust me when I say I think can we do more damage than harm sometimes. I think so. Ive stared down a few moms that haven't handled things well with questions from their kids. Ive been ready freak the freak out on some.  Ive  seen posts of people chewing out someone.  I wonder if sometimes we make people afraid to ever talk to someone in a wheelchair. Do we scare them off with our ferocious body slams because they didn't use the terms we like.  They aren't in our shoes and in our situation. What would we be like if we we rent here. We might just be saying some dumb junk ourselves.  honestly, Im pretty stinking sure I would be.  
What you didn't use the correct term for disability??! BODY SLAM.  What you used the term disability, don't you know its differently abled!!?  BODY SLAM. You didn't bend down when you spoke to my son?! BODY SLAM. You bent down when you spoke to my son, do you think hes a baby!? BODY SLAM. 
 I mean really these poor friends of ours. I really am all for educating and teaching and helping people understand what is appropriate and whats not. But sometimes I think we have a long list of  "rules" and people ended walking around trying their best to not offend us. Or they just avoid us because well chances are we are going to be offended anyway.  And we just keep freaking the freak out. 

maybe when it really is time to freak out, maybe people aren't listening as closely because we just about pooed our pants about the past 7 things that didn't actually matter.

We are fighters. We fight for our kids in glasses. We fight for our big families. We fight for our kids in wheelchairs.  

And I applaud you because I do the same. 

but maybe.....just maybe we need to make sure its really a fight before we

BODY SLAM. 

(im a little afraid of getting body slammed for this post)





Monday, July 7, 2014

ITS YOU!

Im tired. Exhausted. Burnt out and done in.

Special needs his hard. Its hard hard stuff. Its exhausting and relentless. and sometimes ive had enough. I know there are moms out there that feel the same way Im feeling today.

I'm worn out of special needs....but not because of my child.... Because of you.

You. Insurance company that denies whatever they want whenever they want without seeing the whole picture.  Who seems to think they should decipher what can help my son and what is not medially necessary.

You. Medical Supplier that can NEVER EVER seem to get our order right. Always something missing or wrong. You, who doesnt look at my child as a child who depends on you to get it right. You, who seems him as a name on a paper....if even that, maybe just a number.

You. Doctor who just tells me to ignore things. They arent a big deal, but never bother to explain what is going on.  Who only wants to make decisions based on what will keep law suits at bay.

You. Hospital, who refuses to admit any wrong. Who refuses to see what ill trained and ill staffed hospitals can do to a child's life.  Who thinks a simple letter is enough to brush us off and pacify us. You, who asks us to blindly trust you and yet never does anything to deserve our trust.

I'm tired. Exhausted. Burnt out and done in.

Its not the wheelchair. Its not the needs every 4 hours. Its not the late nights and the hard talks.  Its not even the stares from others. 

Its you.  You are what makes our hard too hard to bear. Too much to handle and takes that last little bit of strength we have right out of us. 

How many hours must we spend on the phone fighitng. arguing, double checking and convincing. And when that battle is done we know there is just another one around the corner. just another time to do it all over again. Do you have any idea what that feels like?

I'm tired, exhausted, burnt out and done in.

But you haven't heard the last of me. 


because no matter what THIS is always worth fighting for!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I stink at Hard.....no really

I stink at hard.... like really.

If one more person tells me I'm inspiring, strong or the best mom they know i might just throw a brick at them.
(thats a little dramatic and btw I know you all mean well and it is incredibly heartfelt.)It can just sometimes seem like huge shoes to fill and a burden to bear. 

This month has been hard. hard hard hard hard hard.  Like cant describe it hard. Like cant even wrap my own mind around it nonetheless share that hard with you.

The reason I share this even now is because I again (I know I say it 100xs) I think there is beauty in honesty. There is beauty in the fact that we are not alone in our struggles and if no one is ever willing to share those struggles.....well then....we will all feel very alone now wont we. 

These past weeks have been dark. Theyve been scary. Theyve been exhausting and overwhelming.

And Id love to tell you that all around me I felt Gods grace, His mercy, His love and His strength. I would love to tell you that I walked away from this month unscathed and stronger in my faith and more sure of my foundation then ever before.

But its not true.

Because I stink at hard.....really stink at it.

This past month I questioned, I fought, I got angry, I got depressed and wanted to do a whole lot of screaming. (some of which I did)

It seemed that almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  Infections, bladder leaks, tubes coming out that shouldnt, things getting blocked, bowel obstruction, bed sores, watching my child in the worst pain Ive ever seen anyone in, calling the dr every single day because something went wrong.

And the thing I just couldnt wrap my mind around is that God could have stopped this. God could have kept this from happening. He has the power to keep the bladder from leaking, He has the power to keep Toby out of pain....He has the power and He chose not to. I have trusted and trusted and now questioned. I didnt question him when we found out about Spina Bifida. I didnt question Him through tethered cord, I didnt question Him through shunt revision. I didnt question Him with Wren......but now.....now I want to scream why?! Now I want to question, because now the unfairness of it all seems crushing.

God is soverign  and THIS....THIS of all things was His plan.

I just couldnt. I didnt read my Bible. I didnt want to pray. I didnt want anything to do with any of it. I was mad. Mad for myself, mad for my marriage, mad for my children and mostly mad for Toby.

(you see how bad I sitnk at hard)

I wanted so badly to be able to post beautiful verses on facebook of how God has taught me this, or God has done that. Or Gods grace is so awesome....but I couldnt....I couldnt do much of anything. I wanted to walk away closer to God. I wanted to walk away a beautiful testimony of how God works. But I felt alone and like God wasnt working at all.

Nate and I were falling apart. The kids were falling apart and life seemed to be just unraveling.

I thought multiple times.
This.....This is it. This is the time that tears us all apart. This is it. The thing that does us in. After everything else...one surgery. one surgery to take us all to the breaking point.

Id like to tell you at the end of this post that I'm completely on the other side of it and I can look at you in the eyes and smile and say how silly I was. But I cant.  Not yet anyway

I can tell you that I'm crossing the bridge though.

It seems to be that the moments I want to read my Bible the very least are the moments I need my Bible the very most.  And maybe thats why. Maybe thats why it was so hard to see His grace, His mercy, His strength.

Today someone shared with me
David Jeremiah said something once and I've never forgotten it, "When you cannot see the hand of God, trust His heart."

So let me say, I'm a work in progress...I stink at Hard. But I'm learning and trying to trust God's heart because heaven knows its been hard to see His hand lately.

So yea, I'm not super mom, I'm not inspiring, I'm not even all that strong.  But Ill get there. I know the way back and I know those first steps. I'm taking those first steps....its back to The Word. Back to HIS heart.
I'm ready to see His grace, His mercy and His strength. I cant possibly survive without it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UPDATE AND THE DETAILS

Wanted to take a few moments to update and clarify.

1. The reason we havent given the names of the surgery and been a little vague is that Toby is almost 8 and we know that he needs to start having some rights to privacy. This is a more sensitive surgery and have decided that even though we are asking prayers and giving some detail that we want it to be his choice if he wants people to know exactly what was done. Also, its just plain confusing. Its 7 surgeries done at once....hard to explain.

2. Toby has a vp shunt. Tobys shunt saves tobys life .Keeps him Toby. It is in his brain but drains down into his stomach.  
3. So when his fever spiked, and we found a pocket of fluid with signs of infection the doctors first goal was to protect his shunt tubing and act fast. It looked like one of those worst case scenarios fast. Crazy amounts of antibiotics and a drain later and we are in the clear.  It did have bacteria and everything else is being run through labs but we know that it is being treated and taken care of. We also found out that it wasnt a bladder leak which was great news!!! For something to go wrong this was the best of the worst if that makes sense.

4. We are also fighting bed sores from being on an operating table  for 10 hours so we are getting a special bed and doing lots of rotating and some training for us on how to deal with it.

5. we will be coming home with drains and things and well a new way of life. So we will need some time of adjusting..I still am unsure of all the details....our poor doctor will be bombarded tomorrow with questions.

Thank you all for praying. Thank you for caring. For checking. For notes. For presents. For meals. For babysitting. For all kinds of ways that so many have taken care of us and loved us.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two sided truths

Ugly isnt pretty. Which is why when you take a selfie its always one in which you consider yourself "looking pretty." Its why tagged pictures become untagged pictures quite quickly.The problem is both our truths. That selfie, hey we looked pretty (and we did) that tagged picture....well that day we looked....we will just say not so pretty...but they are both truths. we looked both ways. Its why we clean up our house from top to bottom right before a friend comes over. Its why we wear makeup, do our hair, pin 100 pins of different haircuts.....cause ugly just aint pretty. 


Sometimes special needs world is so two sided. Like crazy bipolar two-sided. Like jump the grand canyon in 60 seconds two sided. 

We like to blog the pretty side. The my kids a hero. My kid works hard. My kid is amazing. Look at what my kid did side. Cause well the ugly isnt pretty and who wants to show the ugly side when the pretty is just so doggone pretty.

I'm gonna step way out of my comfort zone with this post and show you the 2 sides. I know not every parent  of a special need child feels these. I know these wont apply to plenty of families. But this is my two sides. This is my pretty and my ugly.

The Pretty
1. I am amazingly proud of my son when I see him do something for himself and become independent in an activity. I can struggle watching him try so hard but in the end it is a beautiful thing.

The Ugly
1.  Sometimes I just dont care about independence. Sometimes I just want to pick him up. Do it for him. Let it (whatever it may be at the time) be done and over. and not for his good. but for mine. So my life can just move on and we dont have to wait another 10 minutes for the dreaded braces to be put on or the shirt to be buttoned.

The Pretty
2. When he is at a friends house or an activity I miss him fiercely and our family feels very incomplete.

The Ugly
2. When he is at a friends house or activity I realize how much easier it is to go places without a wheelchair and stuff. I can easily feel so overwhelmed with how hard it really is with a handicapped child. How what seems normal really is stinking hard. Then I can be overwhelmed with guilt at those thoughts.

The Pretty
3. I just want the world to give him a break and be willing to help him out. Teachers to show some special treatment. Move to the front of the line. Park close. Let characters at Disney world (not that weve been but if we had) show him some extra love.

The Ugly
3. I just want the world to treat him normal and see the other 4 beautiful children around him. I want them to take my other children's hands and show them attention and love and make sure they know they are just as special. That there is no difference

The Pretty 
4. I am thankful for this amazing gift that God has given us. That we have seen more grace, love, hope and faith through this child then I ever thought possible. I would never change anything about the journey.

The Ugly
4. I wish it were different

The Pretty
5. I am patient and understanding with him.

The Ugly.
5. I am short tempered and frustrated with things I know he cant help.

The Pretty
6. His disability has helped shape our family into what we are today. It has given his siblings a compassion and spirit of serving that I would never have been able to teach them on my own.

The Ugly
6. His disability can turn our family from stable to roller coaster in 60 seconds. Our children can be slammed with fear over puke. Our children understand that at any moment we could be in the hospital and they are tossed to and from other homes while we pour our time into one child. (thats hard people) We try to explain and compensate but really...right now...there just doesnt seem to be a way.

The Pretty
7. His disability affects his ability to walk and run.

The Ugly
7. His disability affects so much  more than you can see. It is much more than just his physical life affected. And I never want to admit that. It scares me more than wheelchairs.

The Pretty
8. He gets invited places and is involved in other kids lives due to loving friends.

The Ugly
8. I am always afraid he will not be included, not be invited, not be able to keep up because of his disability.

The Pretty
9. This is just our new normal. We do what we do and its no big deal. He is who he is, wheelchair and all.

The Ugly
9. I still cry.

The Pretty
10. I push for strength. We do therapy 5xs a week and constantly make him do more and try harder.Its worth it.

The Ugly
10. I continually struggle with fear that I'm pushing too much, too hard and that there is no way I can understand how he feels. Sometimes I want to give up, give him his wheelchair completely and just say, "Please, just be happy. Please."

The Pretty
11. Over time I've developed thick skin for words and stares about him.

The Ugly
11. Sometimes words and stares break me and a trip to Target can make me nervous beyond belief. All it takes is a couple stares, ugly comments, rude kids and the next 10 trips are terrifying.

The Pretty
12. Our family outings looks a lot like yours.

The Ugly
12. I wish our family outings looked a lot more like yours.

The Pretty
13. I'm so thankful for the wheelchair and how happy he is in it.

The Ugly
13. If I have to get that wheelchair out of my SUV one more time I might just chop my arms off so I am no longer able to. I hate it.

The Pretty
14. I'm confident in our Doctors and our choices of treatment.

The Ugly
14. It feels like there is no one you can trust. You are the one making decisions on ER visits, CT scans, surgeries and that burden is enough to crush you. The weight of his health is on your shoulders and that is something I never understood about special needs parenting.

The Pretty
15 I am upfront with our struggles, honest and transparent.

The Ugly
15. I hide a whole lot. There are parts that you will never know about our life and things we do that you wont understand. You think you know what it consists of. You think you understand our day to day. But really you dont.

So you see....The problem is. Both sides are TRUTH. There's just two sides. And yes someone pointed out recently. Blogs are weird. Its a journal but everyone reads it. Weird...creepy....But yet I think there is good.  I know that sometimes my feelings feel very alone. very isolating. if maybe one other moms knows hey its okay. there are two sides and sometimes there are people out there that get both sides. Or if one person says to me, hey I get number 14..There's community in that. There is rest in that. And at this point with the roller coaster, bipolar, jump the grand canyon life that we live...Ill take some of that rest.



Friday, February 21, 2014

my pretty package got thrown away

What a day. .....AGAIN. 

So thankful for this outlet to share our  lives and to have a way to just breathe through it all.

Im sitting here listening to my husband listen to "Jesus Bring the Rain." as I type my mess.  I guess we all deal different ways.  

So if you arent "friends" with me on facebook here's a brief recap.

Toby has a large bump on his vp shunt tubing for 11 days (a shunt tubing that keeps him alive and keeps him Toby) yesterday he started complaining of headaches and then puked.  Now some of you will be like...hey no biggie, sickness goes around...but all you SB mamas will groan with me and say, "oh man."  He felt somewhat better as the day went on so we just went with it. This morning hes struggling more with the headache and even got back in bed. (not the norm for a 7 year old boy) So my poor husband takes however many kids to a field trip with the Christian School and comes home to take over 4 other kiddos while I take Toby into the ER.  
(sorry i know some of the details bore you but some people really like it and well...i do what i want here) 
Loooong story short. We are home. We are home with almost less answers. The ventricles in his brain were larger than 10 days ago but not large enough that neuro says surgery is necessary now. He said is the shunt on the way to failing....maybe....Can we fix it with changing his valve setting.....maybe....Can the shunt fix itself....possibly....Is this related to the bump.....I dont know....Why is it changing shapes....I dont know. Whats the game plan....I dont know what to do with him.   So yea... So we are home with a valve change praying that is all it takes to kick this shunt's butt into high gear. And praying our incredibly conservative Dr is right. 
 So we go home and not 10 minutes after we get home we get the call from our realtor.  The people had to back out. The husband lost his job. Now dont think I'm insensitive because thats awful and I get that and Ive thought about and prayed for that guys wife that seemed so excited to buy our home.  But at that exact moment my thoughts went to more house showings.
NOOOOO....  More crazy momma clean house time. More leave the house. Jump in the car. Cant go home for naps. And I cried. I totally did. I got off the dumb ol phone and cried.  
The thing that is sometimes hard about the whole sovereignty of God is that sometimes you think you have His whole plan worked out. You think you know what He is doing and how He is doing it and then BOOM. Its different...and its usually not as pretty of a sovereignty package as you would like. 
My pretty packaged looked something like this.  a. go to the hospital there is something wrong we do surgery no longer worry and out done with this section.  b. go to the hospital nothing is wrong with shunt but they are sure it is a virus and nothing more, we go home and no longer worry.   All tied up with a great big red bow.
Or my pretty package of soverignty for the house was so nice and seemingly was already gift wrapped and delievered. someone buys are house for more than asking price in less than 2 weeks of it being on the market, then they dont ask for any repairs because they missed the option period. with a nice ending of  We pack up and move out at our perfect date.  Now its more like....all the first part (since it already happened) but then....And then they backout and we are now stuck trying to sell a house very very quickly.

SAY WHAT!!???

I really liked my pretty nice clean choices so much better.

And yet here we are.

Its not even a doubt God thing. And Ill tell you why. Its because I'm in the WORD.  Like really in the Word. Not just oh this verse sounds nice and this fits what I want to hear from God. But IN GODS WORD ALL THE WAY UP THE ELBOWS.  this is not a pat myself on the back moment but more of the difference to how i handle trials now that im truly digging deep moment. 
You see Ive been reading in Revelation. And well...Ive been really wanting to read Revelation but I figured there was no way I was going to "get it" "understand it" or "for petes sake apply it to my life today" but I really really felt like thats where I should be.  And let me tell you I love it.  Its awesome, amazing and has been so eye opening.  But here's the real deal. Here's where the POWER HITS. Last night I told Nate (and he so kindly reminded me today) " how can people think God cant handle and be in control of their little tiny problem when He will be in control of all the end time events. All the tribulation. All the things that happen will be within His power. His time. His way. How in the world can anyone doubt a God that can control so much and be so amazingly awesomely powerful?? Yea well, good thing I said that and good thing God showed me that because today when the temptation to believe that God's sovereignty might not be as sovereign as it is I got a good reminder that....His sovereignty is just that.  Sovereign.  
It doesnt matter if it looks like I think it should.
It doesnt matter if its going a certain way and then turns another direction. 
It doesnt matter that its not wrapped up with a great big red bow for me to open and holler about how Great God is.
It doesnt even matter that what I thought was my pretty package got seemingly thrown away.
He's Soverign. He's Good. He wants good for me.
                                   And well thats quite enough for me to get it together and go clean my house.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The mommy martyr

This picture.....

This picture  makes me smile. It also makes me feel slightly crazy cause well taking any picture with 5 kids is crazy. (though wearing pajama pants makes it feel somewhat better....it was sunday afternoon..pajama pants)

So if you cant read whats on the back of my car it says

If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.

This saying means a whole whole lot to me personally. Hence it being plastered on the back of my car.

So I thought Id do a quick blog post on why.

1. I need to remind others. Yes, I might look frazzled and crazy getting in and out of my car. You might see me chasing a wheelchair zooming down the slightly sloped parking lot all while dragging a grocery cart full of kids behind me. (its happened) You might see me even slightly (of course only slightly) lose my cool with a couple of the sweet charming children. I might drop 15 items and leave 5 more behind when I come to your home. I might misplace my phone 500xs because I'm always running around calling Doctors/friends/husband and then setting it down somewhere. And  a sweet smiling stranger....or okay a stranger EVERY SINGLE TIME I leave the house might kindly come up to me and say with a laugh, "WOW You've Got Your Hands full"  And yes I do. Yes its crazy. (Yes thats pee leaking out of diapered kid)....But these kids have filled my heart even more than they have filled my hands. And I truly want everyone to know that. Because today teens are taught to work harder, work better, get better grades, go to a better college, have a better career, make more money...more more more. being a mommy isnt enough. being a stay at home mommy sure isnt enough. and I want to fight against that thought. hey being a mommy is stinkin awesome world!

2. I need to remind myself. Through all those crazy things I just described. Through the spills, the tears, the fighting, the falling, the 'I need help',  the 'mommy can you...." through the middle of the night cuddles, the pukes, the dinners, the lunches, the clean ups and the 1000 other things that I know every mommy reading this understands.  Here's the thing though. Ive noticed a trend in blogs. And dont get me wrong I get it. I GET IT.!!! I can scream that at the top of my lungs before you read this next part.
There is a going trend in blogs and they all seem to have the same theme.."Being a Mom is Hard." I like to call it the mommy martyr.  And it is. I get it. But sometimes....just sometimes I kind of get tired of seeing the martyr flag rising high for us moms.  I get tired of the, "This is so hard." Lets all go cry in our cups of coffee together and talk about how wiping rear ends is so hard.  I know I'm not going to gain any followers with this post. But here me to the end at least. Are we truly martyrs? Are our lives really truly oh so very difficult? Or do we really truly have the most amazing job and responsibility in the whole world? Are there hard days? YUP. STINK YUP.  But are we doing each other any good by wearing our martyr robes for all to see? I get the honesty and as Ive said multiple times I love it. There is beauty in it. But from personal experience. When I wear the martyr flag for all my friends to see I also wear it for my children to see. They know when they are the burden. They know when mom is fed up, They know when mommy feels like she  has given too much too many times. And I just cant imagine what that must be like. If my friends all walked around acting like they just couldnt put up with one more of my mess ups or shenanigans......well we probably wouldnt be friends any longer. And I probably feel like a totally piece of doggy poo stuck on the bottom of someones shoe.
Then I think of the women who cant have children or who maybe have had multiple miscarriages. Or maybe have one child and would desperately love more.  What must they think of our martyr flags?? If I were them Id want to jerk it out of our scrawny spit up spewed hands and shred it! But really. Nothing puts it into perspective quite like knowing not everyone has this option, not everyone gets to stay home and have kid after kid after kid. So who am I to wave my martyr flag? Who am I to complain and gripe and roll my eyes at something God has BLESSED ME with!!! 
So with all of that said....I need to remind myself. When my hands feel so full I cant take another second. I cant take another day. I cant take another week. I need to remind myself..How blessed. How amazing. How crazy good God is. Because even though my hands are full.....and they are VERY FULL.....my heart is that much more full. And sometimes I want to raise my martyr flag the highest of all.....

God is good. God has blessed.