Showing posts from April, 2013

Pouring Out

I come with joy, a child of God, forgiven, loved and free, the life of Jesus to recall in love laid down for me, in love laid down for me.     ~ I Come With Joy (hymn)
I nearly went deaf.

This child of God contained such Joy, and had contained it through two weeks of missed worship and Sunday School, that it leapt forth from her mouth with vigor and volume - free.

This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia ...Her exuberance, directed toward my right ear, left it ringing for a moment afterwards. I'm fairly sure the customers at the donut shop next door were made aware of this precious child's enthusiasm and exultation. Every Alleluia in every song was not just sung, but exclaimed as she did on Easter. I'm sure the Pastor who was filling in for our Pastor was at least a little taken aback at my daughter's jubilance. 

I found a part of me flinching at her unrestrained joy, her unbridled show of faith. Having grown up in the Catholic church, it's not in my worship …


Over two weeks of sick makes for a very cranky family. It's been a madhouse here lately. A mad house. People have been getting upset with other people for minor infractions and imagined hurts. This is a clear sign that we've been cooped up for too long. These children need to run free. They need space. They honestly need to get as far away from each other as possible.

And this Mama needs rest. 

Thank God for warm-ish weather and open windows and birds chirping. Thank God also for friends who call and ask if Mama would like to escape for a treat on a night Daddy is home to wrangle kids and for friends who call and ask if they can drop by so best friends can play and mamas can chat. And for kids old enough to stay home and take care of each other while Mama runs errands or attends worship. And for well-timed acupuncture and massage appointments for Mama.

There are benefits to a house full of sick kids. Mama got lots of snuggle time, did lots of reading to children, played games wit…

Narblies, Elephants, and Family

"It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in." This morning I found myself saying this to one of my coughing kids, and as I was saying it, I could hear my father saying it to me. 

There are things I say to my kids that my parents said to me at one point or another  and things we say to our kids or that our kids say that make no sense to people outside of our family, unless they know us very well. Just the other night at choir rehearsal, sitting next to my mother, after someone asked how many days were in April, I started,  "Thirty days hath September, April, June, and no wonder all the rest eat peanut butter except Grandma, she drives a Buick."  My mother joined me partway through, and everyone in attendance looked at us as if we'd lost our minds. In my family, we often remove narblies from things. The word narbly originates with Alexander, who used it to describe the stringy things on bananas, which are actually called phlo…

How Do You Feel Remix

When typing the title, I totally heard it in my head as the computer in Star Trek IV when it asked the same question to Spock, who didn't quite understand (at around 30 seconds in the video):

Perhaps it's coincidence, but sometimes my first thought when I hear the question, "How do you feel?" or "How are you?" is that I do not understand the question. Are you asking how I'm feeling in reference to how I normally feel living with psoriatic arthritis, amongst other maladies? Or are you asking in comparison to "normal" people? Do you really want to know how I feel, or do you just want me to say something like, "fine, thank you" and move on?

If you are really interested in how I feel, but are talking about how I feel in relation to healthy people, we need to go with the Wong-Baker pain scale:

My pain on my worst days would be a ... ummm.... wait - where's the want-to-rip-off-my-own-leg-and-beat-myself-into-unconsciousness face?  This pa…

Killing Me

Today is killing me with it's have-to's. Responsibilities weigh heavily on my soul. I pay my bills, wondering where our tax refund went so quickly. 

Then I remember: health and medical stuff not covered by insurance, clothes and shoes for the ever-growing children, clothes for the shrinking husband (he's lost a lot of weight over the past year!), homeschool stuff, camp, fixing vehicles, obtaining and registering a vehicle, memberships, a few treats here and there, probably too many books, and stocking our shelves with necessities, and I fell thankful for all that we were able to buy, to do, and for being able to pay all our bills without deciding which one this month. We are truly blessed.

Today is killing me with anxiety and the feeling like I want to crawl out of my skin. I'm fidgety - wanting to get up and do one minute and sinking into bed just wanting rest the next. My mind is either racing from one thought to the next as I try to take hold of just one idea or compl…

Either Or

Things like this

and this

have been floating around the internet for a while now. I used to be a person who heartily, one-hundred-percent agreed with such things. Enter severe, crippling psoriatic arthritis, and I realize it's not an either or proposition, it's not a this-not -that choice, as these may suggest.

I can, and in fact have, changed my diet dramatically to no avail. There isn't a combination of foods or herbs that can force my body to stop attacking my joints, my soft tissues, and my organs, or stop my bones from fusing. If I am to not suffer from psoriatic arthritis but instead Live with it, I need to infuse some scary, heavy-duty, incredibly expensive drugs into my body.

Do I think the pharmaceutical industry is without issues? Absolutely not. Far from it. Do I think that many people depend on drugs rather than also addressing their general health and the foods they consume? Absolutely. 

I think, perhaps, a more realistic point of view is to consider the following:

Lowest Common Denominator

Simplicity - a wonderful concept, and the topic of discussion amongst a group of amazing women who bless my life. What a lovely thing, simplicity. Simple. That's what it is. Well, what it seems it should be, anyway. But is it? 

It's something I strive for every day and something that was thrust upon me when my psoriatic arthritis spiraled out of control. It's funny how going from full steam ahead to full stop can simplify life.  

The leader of the Women's Circle I attended gave us homework to do before the Circle, which included defining what simplicity meant to us. In thinking about this, I realized that my definition of simplicity has evolved over the years. When I first decided to invite simplicity into my life, I got rid of tons of stuff, had plans to grow our own food, learn to sew in order to make some of our clothes, I baked our bread, cooked almost everything from scratch, and hoped to learn to do any necessary home repairs. Simplicity was a lot of work. Worth it…

Glimpsing Heaven

Some days I just can't.

I can't find the energy to accomplish anything.

I can't reach the joy that I know is there.

I can't feel the love I know surrounds me.

I'm paralyzed by fear and longing. Longing for something that will fill me. Make me feel whole, complete, full. Home. I want home. I say over and over, yearning for it - I just want to go home - yet I'm in my house, my home, at the time.

I fill myself up - with food, with things, with so many books, and with blogs and social media and other people's words. And yet I feel empty.

I fill myself up - with my kids' love, my husband's love, the love of family and friends. And yet it's not enough.

I fill myself up - with prayer, church activities, worship, the Word. Yet I feel something lacking.

What I long for is not like the comfort and joy I feel when I'm snuggled in bed under a pile of children watching a good movie. Not like the warmth and fullness I feel during the Evening Prayer at church. The…

Joy Comes In the Morning

Weeping spends the night, but joy comes in the morning.Psalm 30

This phrase echoed in my mind long after worship was over. With it, memories of long sleepless nights worrying, praying, and longing for the ability to put my mind at ease and rest. Always, always, dawn arrived, bringing with it perhaps a fresh perspective, maybe less worry, but always joy. 

Joy, perched just so, waiting for me to strip the fear and stress away and open my heart to receive it. Joy, looking very much like a smiling child awaiting a morning snuggle or a husband's kind care when my body resists movement or the beat of my own heart reminding me that life goes on, and where there's life, there's joy to be found. Joy, comforting me with the knowledge that God is holding me close, encouraging me as I travel through the unknown. 

Then it happened. Getting into the car to run a quick errand, I heard sirens and a reporter's voice on the radio. My gut reaction was, "It's happening again." …


Quiet moments of contemplation have been few and far between as of late. Even my two hour infusion turned into social time as pleasant conversation between myself and the fellow Remicade recipient beside me ensued.   She with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I with Psoriatic Arthritis, we had much in common medically speaking.

After talking diagnosis and treatment, we delved deeper, this new friend and I, into families and pasts, through love and pain. Laughing and crying together, we seemed more old comrades than strangers. It wasn't until I was on my way home that I realized that though we shared so much of ourselves with each other, we never exchanged names.

These encounters happen quite often in my life. Each time, I'm reminded of the thread that connects us to each other - the thing inside you that calls out to that thing inside me, pulling us toward each other. Sometimes the thread's tenuous grasp leads only to a smile or a nod, other times it winds itself around our hearts, join…

Dynamics and Day-trips

Chaos has reigned supreme in our house even more than usual lately. The dynamics between family members has caused tension and upheaval and yet another round of needed changes. Having a teenager with Aspergers, an almost-teen with depression, a ten-year-old with still undiagnosed joint pain and swelling issues, a seven year old with sensory issues, and an epic five year old all living under the same roof has proven quite a challenge. Mix in a Mama with psoriatic arthritis, depression, and anxiety, and a Daddy with his own peculiarities, and, well, things can get interesting. 

And then we took our show on the road.

"To Mystic!" the kids exclaimed. 
"Which part?" the Mama asked.
"All of it!" was the answer. "With Gram and Grammy when they visit from Pennsylvania!"

And so all nine of us climbed aboard the Ziggymobile for an adventure at sea. Or at sound, as it were.

The teenager moaned, groaned and sighed. "Do we have to? Why do I have to come? We&#…

That Should Cover It

As parents we hear the same things from our kids day after day.

I'm hungry.

I'm bored.

There's nothing to do.

I want.

I need.

Can I?

As parents we find ourselves saying the same things to our kids day after day. 

Stop whining.

Go find something to do.

Eat fruit.



The answer is still fruit. 

I'm tired. Tired of repeating myself. Tired of saying the same things over and over. Just plain tired. 

And so I made the sign. I want to hang one in every room so that all I need to to is nod to the sign and move on with my day.

That should cover it. I hope. I know, I know, the odds are that they'll come up with something new in a flash, which is why I'm leaving the document open on my desktop, just in case. 

Lenten Love Letters: 40 Letters Later

I have to admit, I did not write forty letters on forty note cards and give them to forty people. What I did do was write 27 love letters on 27 note cards, 7 love letters via email, three directly onto my blog, and three in my prayers. I didn't write notes to some people I was hoping to write to, simply because each day inspiration came to write to someone, and those people weren't my inspiration any of the days. Some I sat down with the intention of writing to them, but  couldn't find adequate words. Perhaps inspiration will strike soon and words that do justice will find their way to me and I'll get yet more love letters into the hands of those whom I love.

Interesting things happened with the writing of these letters.

A couple letters were not received in the spirit in which I intended, but in one case, understanding and healing was the beautiful result. Others were received with joy. Yet others with a touch of confusion.

Several people called with concern that perhaps…

Nothing Left to Give

It was 10:38PM when we discovered the broken glass from the dvd player display. 10:38PM and I had a situation on my hands and nothing left to give. Yet I had to deal with the situation, with the child responsible, with the "I didn't do its" and the "why are you making me clean this up now?"s. So I said I love you and I know you did it and I know you didn't mean to but don't lie and yes you have to clean it up now because it's broken glass on the floor and we don't want anyone to get hurt. And I said I love you and I know this is hard but you need to tell the truth and building trust takes hard hard work and please just give me a hug and we can both go to bed. There was no hug. Only an angry child and a heartbroken mother. It's 11:27PM and I go to bed but can't sleep. My mind races, trying to figure out how to proceed. I'm finding dealing with my own depression while parenting someone with depression and teenage hormones and a crazy fa…


Our journey through Lent and Resurrection Day has been full of memories.

From Tuesday Night Sunday School's Lent Trek...

To coloring eggs...
 To dancing while Mama tries to take a picture of someone in her Easter Vigil dress...

 To Easter Vigil Worship's journey from darkness into light, including hearing my eldest daughter's beautiful voice as she sang with the choir and reading from Genesis with both my daughters...

To Easter Morning's bounty of quarter-containing eggs and canned goods for the food pantry...

as well as a few treats...

To Resurrection Day greetings...

To seeing the hands of our church family transformed into Easter lillies in the sanctuary...

To yummy dessert...
 And another egg hunt, just for fun...

Our Lenten journey and Resurrection Day produced many precious memories. The best memories, however, were not captured by a camera. They were felt in the serenity of the sanctuary. They were heard in the voices of the church. They were absorbed through the sights an…

April Foolery

This April first was a three-prank day. 

Prank Three: It was a beautiful, sunny, warm Spring day, so I sent the kids outside to play. Zack came downstairs exclaiming that he couldn't find one of his shoes, while Alia was explaining to me that she had one croc and one Easter shoe, but couldn't find their matches. Alexander announced that apparently someone had taken one of each of his pair of shoes as well. They all turned to me. I pointed to the box where the matches to every pair of shoes my children own were hidden. There was much sighing and "Maamaaaaaa"ing. 

Prank Two: 
Zack: Daddy, there's a bee in the bathroom!
Daddy: Get me my spatulator (that's a whole other story!) and show me where. Did you close the bathroom door so the bee doesn't escape?
Zack: No...but it's still in there. 
Daddy, upon entering the bathroom and looking around for a bee: "Where is it?"
Zack: On the wall behind the door.
Daddy: *laughter*

Prank One: 
Daddy: Everyone come do…

Lenten Love Letters: Children

Often we overlook the importance of the children in our lives especially when those children aren't ours.

I did write Lenten Love Letters to my children, something I have decided to continue beyond Lent. We tell our children we love them and how special they are often, but somehow the written word touches our hearts more profoundly. Our hearts, because not only is the child receiving this precious gift, but we gift ourselves with quiet moments of reflection to fully feel the love we have for our children - something we often miss out on in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

There are other children in my life whom I hold dear. One lights up the room and warms my heart with her smile. Another entertains me endlessly with her fertile imagination. Yet another radiates love and generosity, while her brother's sly smile and loving snuggles brighten my day. These are my "extra" children, whose parents bless me by entrusting their children to my care.

Then there is that chil…