Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Visiting Family, Dairy Free Living and Losing Grandma

Three posts.  In one.  Here we go:
We are visiting family in Ontario and it's been a joy to see so many relatives at once.  God has definitely blessed me as I've been grafted into a large family who are all believers.  We share meals together, go for walks, go to museums, laugh, pray, and watch the mayhem of grandbabies running around.  Silas is loving the ready attention of available aunts and uncles to cuddle, kiss, tickle and play games with him.  He loves his cousins and is always asking "where Levi?  Where Jacob?  Where Allie?"  He is playing hard, eating hard and sleeping hard.  Although, he is having a crash course in what is acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour. He's been having a lot of time outs for pushing, shoving, grabbing and hitting.  Poor fella is probably overstimulated most hours of most days.  But he is loved by many and I am truly blessed to watch the security and confidence that kind of love and support gives him.

One thing I love about such a large family is so many hands to help and eyes to watch!  It feels like I don't even see Silas most of the day since he's busy running around and playing which leaves me to take care of Toby.  This 3 month old of mine is becoming more and more of a sweet child.  He seems to be getting better (?) with my dairy free living. I must have made some eating mistake just when we were flying because the first number of days he was very mucousy and coughing a lot.  Now he seems to be a lot better and is sleeping well- even putting himself to sleep without us holding and rocking him for hours on end (woohoo!)  Most of the time he is happily jumping in the jolly jumper, sitting in an exercauser and cooing somewhere on his back.

It's been a challenge being really careful with dairy but it's a lot easier since others here have diet restrictions too.  I catch myself almost unconsciously sneaking bites of cheese when I'm slicing it for Silas' snack or licking a yogurt spoon but I am not missing it as much as I thought.  Especially when I know that one lick or nibble could make Toby miserable for days.  At least he is a happy mucousy baby!  He has a huge coughing fit and then looks up at me and smiles =)

One downer however is I found out while here that my dear grandmother passed away.  It wasn't a surprise but isn't death always, in some ways, a surprise?  I wish I could have lived closer to her to help her through some of these hard last years.  Her mind was in a fog, her emotions were all up and down, and her physical abilities gradually declined.  In all of that I was busy far away going to school, getting married and having babies.  That doesn't seem fair?!  After all the influence she had on me as a young child and young believer, I hate that my life has had me so distracted and distanced from her that I didn't get as much time with her in the end as I wish I'd had.  I am ever, ever thankful though that she is in glory with our Jesus.  What a welcome she would have received!  What a joy knowing I have all eternity with her to eat the sweets of heaven and run and laugh and chat with her.

After much tearful contemplation, some arduous calling and a miracle of God- I was able to change my flights to go to her memorial in Indiana.  This does mean, however, that I'll be flying alone with an infant.  I have a 7 hour layover in Toronto, many connecting flights and will only be there for a day, and I'm missing ministry commitments back at home but I'm praying that it all works out okay.  I'm thankful I have this time to reconnect with family and pay tribute to a woman who although was imperfect like the rest of us, left a lasting legacy on my life and faith.

A few comments about Rolena June Jackson, my dear grandmother:
We played a lot of jacks together, I never understood how one so much 
older could be so much faster and stronger than me!
Vent-pokes was a running, chasing, laughing matter and I often had bruises 
to show for it!  You were always so competitive but I loved it.
You taught me how to clean, how to pray, how to eat sweets [coffee nips, hersheys kisses, 
cake, pies, you name it, you loved it] and love Jesus.
You were a faithful letter writer, package sender, and never forgot a birthday.
You sent me cassettes with songs and stories, brought special prizes in your red 
duffel bag and sent me many shoulder-padded-shirts which mom and I always laughed about.
Your sweet scent is not forgotten from my memory and I always loved your laugh.
You were a spit fire, full of life and motion
You never missed a hair appointment and I always thought it funny how you taped down your sideburns and wore scarves.  A silly memory really, but that was you. You were beautiful and poised.
You had great stories to tell and great wisdom to share
We had many great talks over slow poke suckers and sang a lot of songs together
I was told so often I am like you.  I pray and hope that I am as vibrant, as thoughtful, 
as encouraging, as prayerful, as energetic, and as loving as you were.
You were the one who told me "good things come in small packages" which gave 
me confidence when I was teased about my height
I love that even though you were imperfect, just as I am, that you were still a 
shining vessel of how God can use anyone for his glory.
You were loved, so much, and I cannot wait for your kisses and hugs on the streets of glory.
Praise Jesus for your influence on my life and praise Jesus that he released you from the prison of your failing flesh, clothed you in the finest heavenly form, and you are enjoying the spoils of heaven.
I cannot wait to spend eternity celebrating God's love with you Grandma.
You. Will. Be. Missed. Until. Then.
XoXoXo (how we always signed our letters)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Trying to Do It All

I feel bone weary sometimes.  Well, actually, I feel this a lot.  I don't think it's the myriad of things I am doing: although there are a lot of things on my schedule.  I don't think it's the busy days, the full days, of socializing, leading, planning, hosting, parenting, home-making and living.  I just feel weary internally of all my striving.  Why do I try so hard to do it all?  See, thing is, I always feel like I'm failing.  Like it's never enough.  Like I am further and further from my lofty goals.  When I sit back and ask myself what I want to be, the list is shocking:
1. a good mom
2. a devoted wife
3. a good leader
4. a growing Christian
5. fashionable
6. have a dynamic career and be moving up 'the ladder'
7. be fit
8. a faithful friend
9. a better evangelist
10. have a clean and beautiful home
11. cook healthy, whole nutritional meals 
12. a creative crafter
[there are more]
Seriously?  Do I really believe that I can do all of this?  NOW?  In this season?  Who am I kidding?  Oh, by the way self- you have a 3 month old and a demanding toddler and you don't sleep super well at night.  Oh, by the way self- every time you get in this frantic state of trying to do everything, God sidelines you to teach you that you can't.  I've sat on the 'bench' with a knee injury and blood clots, and with debilitating insomnia.  Yet I still haven't learned this lesson that it is not required or expected that I be the best at all things.

But here I go again.  I see other things women are doing and I feel somehow that their success means I failed. Does that even make sense?  Instead of using my gift of encouragement to praise their success, I bash my self internally against the wall saying "try harder!  be better!  do more!"  

It's no secret that I'm a perfectionist.  But why?  How do you figure out yourself?  Do I think everyone is watching me all the time?  Does the internet/facebook sense of a false audience make me think that all these little things matter?  And even if everyone could see all that I'm doing, isn't it only God's opinion that matters?

I'm feeling very stretched lately in my character.  I'm learning about how to be more thankful.  I'm learning about my automatic negative thoughts and how I filter everything through this lens of insecurity.  How I catastrophize and how things are often black and white for me: things are a disaster or are incredible.  I'm also learning that I'm not a superwoman and I need to prioritize the important things and be okay with {this is the hard part} the fact that there will be whole areas of my life that are left untouched, undeveloped, unexplored, for awhile.  Or maybe forever.

This is just hard.  You'd think that at 27 I'd know myself better: would know specifically what God is calling me to be and do.  But no.  I chase after everyone else's dreams.  I find out someone I know who's an incredible runner, running races and staying fit?  Oh, I should do that too!  Someone who's an incredible crafter with all kinds of ideas and creative projects?  Oh, I should do that too!  Someone who  ________ fill in the blank, I'll want to do that too.  But then I'm doing a bunch of things that I don't even really know if I like but I feel like I need to, to compete (?!), to find worth, to somehow make it.

Ugh.  This is an ugly side of me.  No one wants a 'perfect' friend.  Do I expect this of others?  No.  Then why do I try. So. Hard. To be perfect?  I'm weary.  And I want to learn this lesson of contentment, of resting in Christ, without God having to smack me upside the head and make me have to sit down and rest.  

So today's goal is to let my messy home go, to spend my mid-afternoon 'sabbath' time with God [resting], to focus on my kids and their needs and to be thankful for the little moments like Silas saying to me "God made the flowers" without prompting.  It's okay I haven't showered and probably won't.  It's okay that I'm wearing old capris with a worn shirt.  It's okay that I probably won't get any exercise.  It's okay that I won't climb everest and travel the world and learn a language today.  It's. Okay.  [Hear that self?]

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sick Babies and Dairy Free Living

Just got home today from my first 'overnight hospital stay' with a sick baby.  Poor Toby gave us quite a scare.  He has always been a bit stuffy-nosed (oddly) since birth, and many times people would comment that when he coughed, he sounded croupy.  But he was never really 'sick' with these symptoms.  If anything, they were irritating for us because 1. he is a noisy sleeper and 2. he doesn't always sleep well because he's so stuffed up and needs to be held upright.  Not. Fun.

Well, all of a sudden this stuffiness created a real problem when added to it he became very mucousy causing him to choke, gag, and sputter.  AND he developed a very serious sounding croupy cough.  All of this together + the middle of the night = a bit of fear and panic on our parts.  He was struggling so hard to breathe and would have these huge coughing fits.  

Somehow we made it through the night and he seemed to bounce back enough to sleep.  But, by morning his symptoms were the same so we did the practical and safe thing and took him to the ER (despite my nurse-sub-conscious screaming "am I being over-cautious? won't they just send us home?")  Well, they didn't think so.  They took us in and admitted us to the ward to keep a close eye on Toby.

A few masks of nebulized epinephrine, some steroids, and a night and morning later and I was scratching my head wondering why we needed to stay there.  All along he looked great (despite sounding like an old smoker with his raspy, throaty voice) and smiled often.  He was a happy little sick baby!  

All in all, despite that this could have been a scary time we felt very provided for and cared for.  The first face we saw in the Pediatric ward was a friend from Church, another friend works in the same hospital and brought me coffee [thanks courtney!] and visited. We also had some family visit and Jason got to do some work from a quiet hospital room for a change!  I even got to make some progress reading a book.

{Okay, it wasn't all fun and games. I slept for only 2 hours.  But it could have been much worse.}

I was very grateful my Mom was around to watch Silas through all of this and also thankful for family that jumped up and came over to be with us.  Sigh.  God is good.

At the end of it all, we were wondering why in the world Toby is snuffly to begin with.  Is it the shape of his nose?  Dr. didn't think so.  A floppy upper airway?  Not sure.  Perhaps reflux- without the spit up?  He's on ranitidine now to see.  OR the big one, perhaps he's sensitive to dairy.  Gulp.

No more dairy for mommy.  How am I going to survive?  As soon as I came home I looked in my fridge and was astonished at how much dairy I really consume and how little non-dairy options I had available.  Sour creams, cream cheese, cheese, yogurt, milk, cream, butter- my fridge is stocked full.  Oh man.  Already I'm craving sweets and wondering how I'll do this.  But then, I don't want to make Toby's breathing more challenging! I'll have to make due.  I started looking up recipes online and was a bit discouraged.  Swordfish soup? Seriously, that's the best non-dairy dinner out there?  Tofu pumpkin pie?  Seriously?  

Okay, is there anyone who can help me out and point out some good tricks for going dairy-free and maybe give me some good recipes?
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