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Archive for the ‘Patrick’ Category

It’s been about 2 1/2 years since we left Ohio for Arkansas. I really wish I would have kept up with my blogging during that period, but maybe it’s best that I didn’t. While I loved living in Arkansas and so many good things came out of it, I have to admit that the period we were there was one of the hardest times in my life.

There were so many changes that occurred during that time, as well as painful lessons, trials, loss, and revelation. Scott’s sister and her children moved in with us briefly as she and her husband attempted to save their marriage. First, it was just her teen son as she arranged for him to fly in and get settled first as she finished up last minute arrangements back home. That was an adjustment period itself and I regret that my kids struggled with some of the influence he had on all of us, as well as the leniency we showed him because we were trying to make the changes he was going through a bit easier to adjust to. I think our kids felt that we were making too many exceptions for him while holding them to a different standard, and I think they were right. We later learned that they had been exposed to some things they shouldn’t have been exposed to when we weren’t around. It wasn’t until he was gone they felt okay to talk to us about some of their experiences. It really got to me to think that my own children didn’t feel that they could talk to me about their concerns.

Finally, my sister-in-law made it in, and her husband promised to help get the family business settled back home and then he and the other three kids would join her and her oldest son. At that time, we were going to a smaller church we’d found and were just beginning to get involved in, but when my sister-in-law expressed that she was not happy there, we agreed to try to find a church that we could all agree on and go to together. And then we ended up not really going to church at all.

Later, when it was clear that my sister-in-law’s husband wasn’t really devoted to making the changes he needed to make in order to save their relationship, and when it was obvious he wasn’t going to move down to Arkansas as promised, a divorce followed and we all said goodbye to our hopes that they would make it, to each other as his sister and kids moved back, and to the hopes that our family could all finally live in the same town and settle down.

Scott and I really struggled during all this as we went through some major trials ourselves that tested our relationship and shook us both up a bit. Scott ended up taking on two separate roles with the company he works for – that is two full-time careers – and ended up in a near zombie-like state. That was miserable for both of us because even when he was physically present, he really wasn’t even there during a time when our entire family needed him as we went through other issues and hardships. When he asked his boss for help, he was promised resolution and assistance but nothing ever happened. Months followed and nothing changed. He and I both tried to deal with this and other issues on our own and in our own way, and that only made things worse. I think we both ended up hurting each other and ourselves in the process.

On top of that, I was already vulnerable due to other things going on, and ended up dealing with major self-worth and body image issues. I was fed a few lies about myself, and because I tend to believe the lies a lot easier than I do the truth, I lost myself. I was miserable inside, and couldn’t help but think that he was comparing me to every other woman out there. I suddenly only noticed every physical feature other women had that I didn’t and felt that there was no way my husband could be happy with me – with all my flaws. My scarred, stretched belly, and broken down body was ugly after having his children. How could he NOT want other women after looking at me? What was I? I was a stay-at-home mom…a housewife. What could I possibly have to offer him that was so great? Suddenly, I found myself striving too hard for my husband’s approval, affection, and interest. I noticed I was spending more time on my make-up, hair, etc.

Next, I contemplated plastic surgery. I even called and made an appointment to see a plastic surgeon for a consult – twice. But deep down inside I knew I would hate myself for trying to cover up the damage with a superficial bandaid of sorts. So I cancelled the appointments both times knowing it wasn’t the answer for me. I knew my problem wasn’t going to be fixed with surgery. I’d still look in the mirror and be the same insecure and lost woman trying to grasp hold of whatever it was I needed in order to feel whole and valued. I didn’t need to fix my body, I need to fix my head and needed healing in my heart and broken spirit.

So instead, I ended up going to counseling.

During this time, Patrick went to counseling too. We discovered he too, was struggling with his own issues. As we took a step back and really looked at the situation, we realized that our whole family was falling apart in a sense, and we couldn’t keep it together on our own. We realized we were relying too much on our own strength to make it through the hard times, and we really weren’t strong enough to make it on our own. We realized we’d kind of put God up on the back shelf and stopped seeking and relying on Him to guide us through the darkness.

The darkness – it was so, SO dark. Even as I read this, I can feel the darkness, the desperation, the helplessness, the sadness, the emptiness – all of it, attempting to creep back in.  I never ever want to go back to that dark place again.

But somehow, by His patience and grace, we made it through as truth was revealed and healing set in.  We learned a lot. Our dependence on God has grown as we realized how easily we slipped into a state of self-reliance. We now realize how He truly is the only one holding our family together.  It is not us!

We are weak without Him, and we will never make it if we try to do this on our own. It’s humbling and inspiring at the same time, because through all of the darkness, we’ve had a taste of His goodness.  He didn’t let us down, even when we were letting Him and each other down.

So here we are now, just as life was finally starting to get back to “normal.”  Just as I was finding myself again.  Just as I was truly establishing relationships and just as we were enjoying life even through the craziness…we suddenly are called to move back to Ohio.

And as I type all this out and reflect on the last couple of years, I am thankful that God had the patience and grace to work even in the darkness to reveal His truth to us.

It’s funny too, because it seems that God wants to make sure I don’t forget.  He seems to be speaking to me through my 3-year-old a lot lately.  Just last night she asked me a very serious question as she was coloring in her book, “Mom? Do you need Jesus?”

“Yes, America! I DO need Jesus!”

“Yes you do!” she replied enthusiastically.

The truth is, we all do.

YOU DO.

He is not just a free ticket to Heaven, He is so much more.  He is a loving God who wants us to be free from the things that hold us captive in our lives.  We do not have to be slaves to our sin, our past, our pain, nor weaknesses.  Where we are weak, HE is STRONG.  If we are willing to give ourselves to Him and totally rely on Him and walk in obedience, He will rescue us!  But we have to be willing to rely on Him to meet all of our needs.

He truly is a good and loving God, and I need Him!

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get ready.  This is the kind of stuff they’ll do!Door

See how the door is sticking out more on top than on bottom?  That’s because Dwight and Patrick pulled the door off its hinges.  Yup.  Dwight thought it would be funny to shut the laundry room door on Patrick while he was in there, so Patrick tried to get out. 

Best of all, they did this on Scott’s birthday!  Happy Birthday, Dad!

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A bus company requires a tune up every 3,000 miles.  Bus number 10 travels from Louisville, KY to Dallas, TX, a distance of 243 miles.  After 62 round trips, how many tune ups has bus number 10 had?

According to Patrick, all you have to do is take the number 21, divide it by 3, and then in parenthesis, write (thousands), and voila!  You have your answer.  Oh, don’t forget to subtract the 21 by itself and write zero so that you show you actually worked out the problem! 

UGH!  and HA! 

Ugh because this kid is quickly on his way to failing math.  I don’t get it.  It’s like he suddenly doesn’t care!  I told him this morning he can’t fake his way through math.  You can’t just make up numbers and then make it look like you figured it all out.  Math requires a precise answer, and specific steps to solving the problem. 

And Ha because…well, this was just so funny, trying to read his mind as I saw the problem he was trying to solve…”hmmmmm…let me just write thousands in parenthesis…ummmm…yeah, that will work…now my favorite number is 21, and I can divide the number up by 3 and yes, 7 seems like a good answer because 21 divided by 3 is 7…”

The parenthesis thing really did get to me.  I had to stifle my laugh in front of him.  I mean, the kid is in 6th grade.  He totally knows better!  Maybe I shouldn’t have hid the laughter.  Maybe I should have laughed and then said, “That was a good one, Patrick.  But really now, how many tune ups did the bus have?” 

But when I looked at all the other problems he missed – the kind of problems he learned way back in 3rd grade?  It just wasn’t funny anymore!  What am I going to do with this kid???

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Today in the midst of all my frustration with my kiddos (I know they probably can’t wait for me to go to the hospital so they can get a break from their grouchy, hormonal, nesting mama!), I got a good laugh. 

Scott and I had a meeting with one of the guys from church in order to help plan some events for the small groups in our church.  Scott was on his way home and I was trying to get the kids fed before we left so they could get ready for bed while we were gone. 

So I grabbed something quick, BBQ Pulled Pork from Costco, and heated it up (we have not been doing good with the healthy eating the last week or two!).  I slapped that meat on some buns, and tossed the plates on the table.  I opened the fridge and thought, Dill Pickles would go great with these!  And of course, I find two large jars of pickles in the fridge.  (Because obviously Dwight hadn’t discovered the last one sitting in one of the jars!)

So I stood at the counter and twisted the lid, only to have my hands slip around, accomplishing nothing.  I tried loosening up the lid with a knife.  No such luck.  Exasperated, I put the jar on the counter as I let out a big frustrating sigh.

“Do you want me to open that?”  Patrick asked.

I looked at him in disbelief.  My 11 year old son, with his hands, smaller than mine, thinks HE can open the pickle jar?  “You really think YOU can open this when I can’t?”  I asked in disbelief.  Seriously!  I’m way stronger than him!

“Yes,” He answered.

Well, isn’t he a being cocky tonight?  “No, I’ll do it!”  I insisted.  I tried again without any success. 

“Fine.”  I said as I slid the jar across the table.  “Go ahead and try, but you aren’t going to be able to do it.” 

And I turned my back to grab the other jar of pickles.  Naturally, by the time I turned my back on him, he says, “I got it.”  As if it were really no big deal at all.  Sure enough, he sat there triumphantly holding the lid. 

I admit it, that was a nice hit to my pride.  And it was only encouragement for him to be the smarty pants I do not want him to be!  So I tried the other pickle jar.  Dang it!  The lid was not going to budge.  Again, my hands just slid around the lid.

“Alright, Smarty Pants, Why don’t you just go ahead and open this one too?”  I challenged.  But truly, I wanted to see him fail, just so I could claim the first pickle jar was all a fluke – I’d loosened the lid or he just got lucky.  Two in a row meant he could open pickle jars, but if he failed this time, then I would have an explanation for his success the first time around…

I stood there with hand on hip, waiting for him to struggle to get the pickle jar open…waiting for him to fail.  Only he twisted it off like it was nothing. 

The worst part of it all was Scott was on the phone with me, listening to the entire conversation.  And he got to laugh.  At me.  And it really was funny, so I had to laugh too.

My 11 year old boy with hands smaller than mine got the pickle jars open.  I struggled and struggled and couldn’t get it to budge.  And truly, I could hold on to my pride and say that I loosened up both jars (2 fluke deals in a row!), but I’m thinking it’s just not the case. 

No, God was being funny, and at the same time, teaching us both some life lessons.  (And I have to give Scott credit for making me think about it this way!)

1.  For Patrick:  Don’t ever not try to do something you think you can do just because someone says you can’t! 

2.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help, and don’t underestimate a person’s ability to help just by their size!

That, and maybe God wants me to work on another weakness of mine.  I was just waiting for him to fail at opening the jar just for the sheer pleasure of saying, “See?  I told you so!”  It was more important for me to be right than to see him succeed, yet he succeeded anyway.  That’s when my eyes were opened to how selfish I was being.  I’d rather be right than see my son succeed at this.  How wrong of me! 

Had I been too proud to let Patrick help, the kids would have gone without the pickles.  They never would have really known what they were missing (except for Patrick), but would you believe they ate all the other pickles in the other jar too?  (There were probably about 7 or 8 in there).   They really enjoyed those pickles, and I’m still laughing about the pickle I put myself in criticizing my son for offering to help.

“I’m sorry, Patrick.”  I said.  “I shouldn’t have gotten onto you like that.”

“That’s okay, Mom.  I forgive you!” 

Even that stung a little.  Because as my son was forgiving me for being crazy about the pickle jar, he was also beaming with pride.  Not just because he “showed me, ” (although I’m sure he loved that!), but he was also able to do something I wasn’t able to do.  It’s the classic story of the woman in the kitchen needing help from her man’s big hands to open the pickle jar.  Only my man was still on his way home from work, and I had to rely on my little boy’s hands to open the jars.  

And as I brushed off my pride tonight, I have to admit, I couldn’t be more proud of him.  Next time, I won’t be so fast to judge or criticize!  Yup, my little boy is stepping into manhood, one pickle jar at a time! 

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Okay, Donna, here’s your post!  Sorry, I just keep forgetting to respond to how far along I am in my pregnancy!

We’re officially full term!  Now we just gotta wait til baby’s ready (and hopefully til my mom gets here next Saturday!).  Here’s a pic of me yesterday at 37 weeks.  No makeup or trying to look pretty in any way.  I was at Joshua’s baseball game and it was just too hot to apply and then sweat off makeup!  That and I’m outgrowing my clothes!

Here’s Joshua playing his favorite sport:

I think the coach in this pic is soooo hot.  I wonder if he’s married?  🙂

It’s nice having a big brother around to chase this little rascal.  She seems to think it’s okay to hang out with the baseball team!

Would have taken a picture of Dwight, but he was busy talking to another teen…who I’m sure would not have appreciated me taking pictures of the two of them talking.  And when I say Donavan was talking to this guy, I mean non-stop, won’t shut up talking.  I would have told him to give the guy a break, but then he would have just started talking to me!  🙂  So I enjoyed MY break!  I am a horrible person!

Kelly was busy making friends, as usual.

Oh, and Saturday, Scott’s friend came over to help put this up:

It’s supposed to be a swingset/playset.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate much until the evening, and then they figured out they were missing a part, so now we are waiting for them to ship that out to us before we (Ha Ha, I said WE as if I’m helping build this thing!) can finish it!  I’m hoping we can get it up before the baby is born!  Then we can throw the kids outside to play! 

Oh, and Patrick is going in Tuesday (next Tuesday) to check up on him with his jerking movements (See post below).  I explained to the nurse what was going on with him and that was the soonest they could get him in with their pediatrician.  The longer we are with this particular practice, the less impressed I am.  Soooooooo, I’m hoping when they open the new hospital close to our house, we can switch over to the new pediatrics practice right next door.  We’ll see…

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I really haven’t verbalized my ONE New Year’s resolution because really, it was between me and God…that and I was too afraid to say it out loud.

One night earlier this month I prayed to God and told Him that I was going to try to trust Him more – that I was going to try so hard to stop putting the sins of my earthly father on Him, making Him out to be the same Dad I grew up with.  Honestly, I tend to think that God is going to make bad things happen to me, that He is going to take away the good things I’ve been given, and He is going to replace them with heartache and sadness.  I just have not been able to comprehend in my warped little mind how to believe that He really truly loves me.

But deep down inside, I know that it’s all wrong, so I said that prayer.  This was my only New Year’s resolution – a prayer to God.  Simply put, I said I was going to trust Him more, completely, with every aspect of my life…but I knew it was going to take some time…and I’m trying.

But since then, God really hasn’t let me forget about my prayer.  Little circumstances seem to remind me that I need to remember who He is, and who He isn’t.  There is so much about Him I don’t understand.  And my trust in Him still isn’t where it should be. 

Ironically, in the Bible study I mentioned before,  The Patriarchs, by Beth Moore, she’s already pointed toward trusting the God of Abraham.  Listening to this woman talk, and digging into the study and getting the point she is trying to make, well…

It’s like somebody has pressed their hands on my back and then shoved me forward, never removing their hands, but continuing to move.  And it doesn’t matter how much I resist, I’m being plummetted forward against my will.

Way.  too.  fast.

I just want to slow down a little, take things at my own pace, because really, this is hard.  It’s hard for me to trust a God I simply do not understand with my life, and with the lives of those I love most.  In fact, during one of the devotions in the study last week, Beth Moore asks us to think of two difficult questions.   I couldn’t even write down the one question that came to mind.  It just hurt too much.

Yesterday was a bit rough.  I was just so emotional.  I haven’t been sleeping well anyway, but add that to the stress of trying to get kids ready and then.  *sigh*  And then Patrick telling me about his stupid dream.   It was just too much.  We were on our way to drop the kids off at a friend’s house so that Scott and I could go see Wicked when Patrick told me he had a dream the baby was born. 

“Really?”  I smiled.  How sweet. 

“Yeah, but there was something wrong with the baby .  You told us that it was a little bit mentally handicapped.” 

Did NOT need to hear that.  I lost it.  I chewed him out.  “Why would you tell me that?”  I yelled.

“He’s ELEVEN.”  Scott said.

It’s no coincidence that this happened during this time in our lives.  Scott is a bit more stressed with…well…with things that I’ll share later.  And I’ve had this fear that I’ve tried so hard to keep silent, that something is wrong with this baby.  So when Patrick brought up his dream, I freaked out on him.  He basically verbalized my fear, and I had to acknowledge that once again, I did not trust God. 

I was scared out of my mind, and I fell.  I screwed up.  I hurt, and I got hurt back.

I spent most of the day crying.  At least it seemed that way.  I held back the tears during Wicked, although a time or two I had to fight back hard to keep the tears from falling, and by that evening, I was just an emotional wreck.  I didn’t feel like Scott responded to my emotional outbursts the way I needed him to, and that just made it that much harder to get over it.  Sometimes I feel like he’s talking to me like I’m one of the guys, or one of his soldiers who just screwed up.  So we both wind up getting angry with each other.

Really, I just needed a night to be weak.  I feel like I’ve had to be strong all my life.  I’ve had to be strong for my sisters, my mom, my dad…and then getting married to an Army officer with a 4 year old son, there was no time for weakness.  I’ve never – NEVER felt like I could just fall to the ground in weakness while someone else picked me up.  Last night, I gave up.  I just couldn’t be that strong person anymore, and in the end, I told my husband so.  “I’m not like you.  I’m not a man, I’m not this strong warrior who stands up to fight every battle.  I’m a WOMAN.  I am going to have moments of weakness and I need you to fight for me when I am weak.  I need to be able to be weak for a moment, and to just be held and protected through it.” 

It’s true.  I am a woman.  Most of the time, I am strong, but sometimes I want to be rescued. I want to be the girl who’s father raced to the basketball court and scooped his daughter up in his arms when she got hurt.  I want to be that important – that I am noticed when I am hurting or scared.  I want to know I’m not going through it alone.  When I am weak, I want to be covered with the strength I don’t have, with grace and compassion.  And there will be days I will just want to be held, to lovingly be told truth, because I know there are times I need to hear it, so that I can rise up and be strong again. 

So last night Scott FINALLY got it, after a few harsh words, me resenting him for it, and then making myself completely vulnerable to him.  Sometimes I get so angry at Scott’s stepmom.  She tried so hard to screw him up the best she could.  Sometimes I feel like I’m torn down before he understands that I need to be built up (or picked up) – I tear myself down enough on my own.  especially when it comes to my failures as a mother!)  I really don’t need any help in that department!

But it’s a growing process, and I’m blessed to have a husband who tries and reaches out even after growing up in the kind of home he grew up in – one without compassion or love or understanding.  Honestly, I’m still amazed at what he’s overcome, that he is the kind of man he is.  He could have used his past as an excuse and made poor decisions for the rest of his life, but he fought against the odds and the lies and the hate, and he’s overcome.

So, my husband is the warrior, who is trying his best to understand and be there for me, his bride – a woman, who sometimes just needs to be carried in a moment of weakness.  And last night I had a very tearful talk with my Heavenly Father.  I asked Him to hold me too.  I’m still not quite there…not quite trusting Him.  But I’m trying, and I’m being pushed (even against my will).  So I know I’ll get there, one day.

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what a mom’s gotta do.

It’s been such a battle, trying to get Patrick to get ready for bed on time.  He RARELY, and I mean rarely gets ready by his bedtime.  In fact, lately, things have only gotten worse.  He took 2 hours to get ready for school yesterday morning, and still didn’t get everything done on his morning check list.  (Hey, at least he didn’t miss his bus, right?)  That was the last straw.  I grounded him for the remainder of the day and had him write an essay explaining why he was fighting this rule so hard (as well as what good things would come out of his obedience).  I told him his groundation would be extended until the report was written and we discussed it.

He managed to get ready for school in a timely manner this morning, but maybe that was because of the two hour school delay. 

Tonight, he displayed the same “I don’t wanna do it” expression on his face when I told that his bed time was still the same time as it always is (he asked!)  And I found him standing there aimlessly, like he always does when he really isn’t motivated to get ready on time. 

“Patrick, you and Joshua need to go take a shower.”  I ordered.  And he was off, but I know the drill.  He would dilly dally around in front of the bathroom mirror, or in the shower and still be late.

But sometimes a moment presents itself that a mom just can’t ignore.  And tonight when Dwight stopped to tell me he was heading to another bathroom, I gave him an opportunity any brother would love to accept. 

“Hey Dwight.  Why don’t you go ahead and go on upstairs.”  I winked.

“uhhhh, but, Mom,” He blushed, “I have to sit down.”  He gave me the look.  You know, as in to say, “you know what I have to do, right?”

“I know.”  I smiled.  “You don’t have to go up there, but if you want to gross your brothers out, you go on ahead.” 

If you have a boy, odds are you know that 9 times out of 10 they will take any opportunity to gross out their siblings.  So Dwight raced up the stairs and 2 minutes later, I giggled as I heard Joshua scream, “Oh, gross!  Ohhhhhhhh, groooooooooooooss!” 

Wouldn’t you know it?  Their shower only lasted about 6 minutes, Momma was happy and Dwight was thanked for his contribution to the family.  I love it when opportunities like this work out!

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