Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day Fruit

Friday was a big day for me. A busy one, for sure, but one of blessing.
Nothing really noteworthy was planned for the day, just a lot of errands to run which becomes especially difficult with four children in tow.
We started the day by cleaning up the house a little and then the kids played outside while I organized some paperwork and the itinerary for the day. We loaded up the car and headed out with 8 things on the to-do list. First we went to the mailbox and then we got gas; these were easy. Next came Target, Ross, and JCPennys, looking for Christmas program dresses for the girls. Then came a quick trip to the thrift store (50% off day) to see if there were any deals we couldn't leave without. We left with our first find for Lowell's Christmas presents.
These few outings would not have been so difficult on a normal day, but I didn't remember that Veterans Day equals big sales in the stores... Everywhere was packed but, on the bright side, we ended up getting 60% off at JCPennys on the dresses the girls finally fell in love with. And, as a bonus, Nathan got a Star Wars shirt on clearance at Target. Everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except me.
By stop number 7, I was tired and grouchy. I didn't want to get in and out of the car anymore or pack Wyatt in and out of the stores or fight the battle between the skinny ailes and the fat shopping carts, and I was bummed because when we went to Michaels (to get another small part of Lowell's Christmas bounty) I learned that my coupon wasn't effective yet -- I had to wait until Sunday to get the good deal.
And all this before stop #8 - Walmart, where we still had to do all the shopping for the week, complete with couponing and price matching. Walking up to the store, my brain was fried and I was about to throw in the towel when Nathan asked me a question.
"Are you weary and burdened, Mama?"
From his phrasing, I knew exactly where he was heading and I broke out into a smile. "Yes I am, Buddy. Why do you ask?"
"Because Jesus can give you rest, Mom."
Brings tears to my eyes even now.
"You are exactly right, Baby. And that's exactly why we are memorizing scripture - so that, in these moments, we are reminded of how much God loves us."

I am so thankful that God used my son to speak truth into my life and I'm so happy that my kids are hiding God's word in their hearts, and, as we're promised, it is not returning void. It is so important to me that my babies know and love God's Word and I was so encouraged standing in that parking lot. I hope they were able to see a practical application of the words they are learning and I'm so pleased that all the work I'm putting into teaching them these verses is producing fruit. They are getting it. Praise God.
The day was long and we were all weary by the end of it, but thankfully, we knew where we could go to find rest.

"Come to Me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love on a Soap Box

I fell in love last Tuesday. I spent a hour with the sweetest little 3rd grader... She is spunky, honest, creative and a worrier. She's really smart, (she knew about her second and third cousins -- my kids have trouble keeping their aunts and grandmas staight!) friendly and funny. The only down side of the day was that she had to come see me. You see, like everyone, her family is messy. All families have their own little pockets of yuckiness, but, for this little one, what should be an issue for the adults involved has fallen squarely in the lap of a total innocent. What angers me is how common a story like hers has become. What we adults expect our children to shoulder is absurd, irresponsible and can be terribly damaging to the ones were are supposed to protect. This sweet, spunky kid is dealing with all the jealously, anger, malice, distrust and sadness that her parents are experiencing. If certain life events are tramatuzing to adults, how much more terrifying and upsetting must they be for children???

It was obvious that this little girl (I'm going to call her Amy) has been used as a pawn by her parents to work against each other. Amy uses phrases and says things that obviously came from the mouth of an adult in her life. Its sad that she hears things that are negative about the other parent and that are meant only to incite disagreement and dissention. My goal with Amy is to help her work though her anger and to realize that she doesn't have to feel responsible for what her parents are choosing. That's my hope... But I know personally how difficult it is for a child to let go of personal cupability even if its irrational. I hope giving her someone to talk to, someone who understands what shes going through and what she's feeling, will remind Amy she's not alone and help her process through this terrible situation she's been forced into. She is such a fantastic little girl; I'm gonna try to be sure she doesn't forget that! :)

I wouldn't wish divorce on my worst enemy for sure, but I feel even worse for the innocent children who get tangled up in the mix. My prayers go out to the families for sure. And some words of warning to those thinking about getting married or considering having children... Children don't improve bad relationships and, honestly, they put strain on even the best relationships. If you're in a relationship and considering children, please think seriously about the long term consequence of your choices. It may not be romantic, but its important. And your children will thank you for it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I had a house full of little wonders... Chloe was a bee, Nathan was a SWAT member and Jillian was a vampire princess. Wyatt was the giraffe costume that all of my babies have worn... Lowell didn't work so that he could participate in the festivities. We went over to our old neighbors house, the Taylors, visited with their family and then walked around our old neighborhood. It was a calm evening, the weather was beautiful and the kids all agreed that they got enough candy. (When they had almost filled a freezer bag apiece, they announced that they were done. :) I have such good kids. :))

A Decision Not Made Lightly

More information about my seizures... I've been thinking more and more about my decision to go off my medication. The pills obviously control my seizures at least a little but they also give me some horrible side effects. The most minor nuisance is that my body is extra sensitive to stress and to allergies. Whenever I come in contact with something I might be allergic to, my reaction is must more substantial than it would have been previously, and whenever I get stressed my body has developed a new symptom - I break out in hives. And sometimes when I'm not even stressed my body decides to break out in hives just for the fun of it. Then there is the lethargy. I am a part-time working, full-time student, mother of 4 - including a 5 month old, and so I am tired in general. However, when you add in this medication, I have a hard time keeping my eyes open whenever I sit still for more than 15.8 seconds. This makes ordinary life VERY difficult. However this is not the most irritating, frustrating side effect... The worst part of this medication is its effect on my memory. Clinically, only 7% of users experience this particular malady, but I'm one of the lucky 7%. Epitol can lead to amnesia. It affects both my short and long term memory making it nearly impossible to remember what I went to the store for, and also to remember how we celebrated Jillian's 3rd birthday.... If it wasn't for my scrapbooks and Lowell's blessedly wonderful memory, I wouldn't be able to tell you more than a few scant memories about how I've spent the past 30 years of life. I can't even begin to express how devastating this is. I don't remember more than one or two small events from my wedding day; I have five or six memories from college and only a few more than that from high school.... Its almost like I don't have roots to speak of... My only ties to my life and my family are whatever happens today. I think this has a lot to do with why I have such a hard time with criticism or arguments... I don't have a solid base to rest on, I don't have a foundation to fall back on when times are tough -- the only reality I have is the here and now. So when things are good, I'm good but when they are bad, my world is completely shaken.
I know this is a little too psycho-babble-ish for some of you, but I share it only to justify my decision to go off of my medication. It was not a choice made lightly and was not one done on a whim. I remember what it was like to be "normal" and I have SSSOSOOOOOOOO relished these past few months when I actually had a memory. I felt so proud of myself that I could put down my keys and then, the next morning, I knew where they were. And I could meet someone, and then walk away from that first conversation and still remember their name. I can't begin to tell you how stupid and ridiculous I've felt these past few years... I am not used to being forgetful and dumb. I remember how I was before this medication and I want, so desperately, to get back to that. I enjoyed a few months of actually having a brain and I am quite discouraged that I have to give it all up again.
I'm sure some of you are asking, why not try a different medication. The short answer is money. For one thing, Epitol is on the $4 prescription list at Walmart and, for a medication I will have to take for the rest of my life, this is an important consideration. Also, changing medications would mean going to a neurologist and going through all the tests again. We don't have insurance so, for right now, that is an impossibility.
Today finds me one week post seizure and I actually made it all through the day without feeling the "aura" that precedes a seizure. I was also completely brain dead when I was dropping Wyatt off at the nursery this morning. I acted like the stereotypical blonde... Thankfully I can still chalk it up to pregnancy brain, but that won't last much longer. While it bothers me that other people must see how out of it I am, what really upsets me is how I see me. I am not stupid. Even just looking at academics, I was valedictorian in 8th grade, top 10 GPA in high school, graduated with my bachelors with a 3.83 and now my masters GPA is a 3.75. I know I'm not stupid but, goodness I feel stupid.
Its horrible to have to choose between remembering my children's childhood and being seizure free... But that is the situation I find myself in. Everything about this situation has been agonized over, and I guess the decision has been made. For the time being, I will take my medication as prescribed. As soon as I am able, I will try another medication. Between then and now, I'm going to use my blog, my scrapbooks, and my wonderful husband as my tethers to reality. And I'm going to pray that eventually my condition will be reversed.