Saturday, January 28, 2012


Wyatt enjoying his second parade
Nathan is near the middle of the picture - he's wearing a brown shirt, to the right of the boy in the black cowboy hat.
Buckeye Days and 100th Birthday of Arizona's statehood. Nathan walked in the parade as part of his school's band. This is a privelege for only 4th grade and up. Since he was recently given the honor of being "first chair", he was extra excited about today. Lowell met us there on his way home from work and we enjoyed a nice morning. Then Lowell took Wyatt home while the older kids and I walked around looking at exhibits and took in a Wild West Show.
Very fun day and very proud of my star musician.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mercy and Joy

Almost as if it was an answer to prayer -- and I believe it was! -- I stumbled upon this post this morning... Read it and find grace, as I did.

"Sometimes I wonder if I’ve completely ruined my kids. I see them copying the sin that have tried to lay down over and over again, and I’m certain. I did it. I ruined them.
But here's the really amazing thing about our God. He's bigger than our many {many} failures.
Granted He calls us as moms to train up our kids in the ways of the Lord — continually and purposefully. And our training does have an effect. But we will not do it perfectly. At times we won't even do it well.
But our God is bigger than our failures.
If we depend upon our list of mommy-successes to change our kids, then we flirt with parental-legalism. Only One transforms hearts. And it’s not us, no matter how perfect we try to be.
Our kids growing in the knowledge and sanctifying work of our Lord comes completely by His great grace and undeserved mercy. He allows us to be a part of the seed-planting process. But we can't save them. And our failures aren’t bigger than our God.
When we fail, we confess. We just agree with God that in our flesh we are really stinkified. (Yeah, I made that up.) Then we stand up and move on, continuing with our imperfect reflection.
He graces every moment with new mercies."

As I mentioned, I've been sick for the past couple days... I would be woefully derelict in my duties as photographer, blogger and mom if I didn't take this opportunity to share what has been giving me joy recently. Every time I look at him, call his name or walk into a room, this is the expression I am blessed with... I love the huge grin, the drool dripping off his little chin and the baby cleavage!!! Is there anything better than that?

To Add Insult to Injury

I'm sick. And that's bad. I feel miserable. But that isn't the worst part. Because I know that the difficulty of being a mom and being sick is surpassed only by being a sick mom of sick kids, I have been doing everything in my power to keep my germs from infecting the rest of my family. This has meant a "hands off" policy for the past three days. I haven't hugged, snugged, kissed or cuddled any of my children for three days. THREE DAYS!!!  And I have this little guy who is just begging to be loved on... Who could resist this face?!?! This is torture!

My husband is braver and believes in the strength of his genes to protect him. He hugs on me, unaffected by the danger of simply being in my presence. We'll see how that goes.
I think I'd rather have a sick child than a sick husband.
Sounds like I don't have a say in the matter. Oh well.
Anyway, today the older kids are back at school and Boobah and I are alone. Imagine taking care of a mischievous, mobile 7 month old without being able to touch him. Just now I had to have a conversation with him...
Me: Hey, that's no-nos. Knock it off. (He was trying to touch the space heater.)
Boobah looks back and me and grins.
And reaches for the heater...
Me again: Boobah, No!
Again, he looks back and smiles but this time reaches out to touch the heater while looking at me. A challenge. Ok, I'm up for it.
I get up and move the heater and Boobah in opposite directions. Before I sit back on the couch and get the 15 blankets wrapped around me, Boobah has spun around on his belly and taken off at his newly acquired light speed directly for the heater. Apparently he has learned about object permenance because putting something out of his view is no longer enough to dissuade him from pursuing it.
From the couch, with half of my body freezing: Boobah, Com'n. No-nos.
This time he doesn't even bother to look back, he just keeps scooting forward.
I get up again and move the heater. Boobah looks up at me and turns around again to head straight for the forbidden heater.
Listen Mister, I tell him, don't test me. I've outsmarted three of your kind already. You won't break me.

The look in his eyes suggested that I may not be smart to challenge him. He may be the smallest, but his name does mean "little fighter". A sign of things to come?   Ut oh.

Monday, January 16, 2012


It’s the feeling when I am completely concentrating on the grocery list and then, in a moment of lucidity, look up to count heads… One, two, three…. Wait, isn’t there supposed to be one more of you? I spin around looking, most likely, for a curly headed train wreck, and then call out – Boogie! Boogie?!?! JILLIAN!?!?!?!? 

The panic that starts small and then grows until it takes on a life of its own when I think about singing in front of a crowd.  Or failing.  Definitely when I think about failing. Or remember a time when I failed.   Or, for other people is can be saying goodbye to that relationship you know isn’t good for you. Or getting a shot. Or flying. Or being in the dark.  

Or, another one of mine, giving your precious child immunizations when you’ve been hearing scary stories about the link between them and autism. I think this last one is an example that falls under the heading: When doing the right thing may be the wrong thing and you’re not educated enough to feel prepared to make such a big decision.

There are other parts of parenting that fall under the same purview: homeschooling vs. public schools vs. private vs. charter vs. online; to spank or not to spank; where is the line between giving your children chores they are required to do simply because they are part of the family and then giving them “extra” chores so I can teach them about handling money.. And when I find these “extra” chores, how much should I pay for them? There are so many parts of parenting that I feel unprepared to handle appropriately.
There’s also cold, dull ache that accompanies the aura before the seizure.  When the pain, the discomfort, the embarrassment and the exhaustion seem unavoidable. When the blame and the guilt become oppressive and I begin to fear that my illness is too big a burden for my family. They didn’t sign up for this. And maybe I’m not worth all the trouble.

Then there are the nerves that seem to creep all along my shoulders, up and down my back and into my head until simply moving is painful. The stress and nerves that come from anything. From everything. And from nothing, all at once.      Neck and shoulders so tight with tension that I can’t turn my head in either direction without pain. And bending over gives me a migraine headache. These aren’t as common anymore thankfully. I believe my prayers for peace and perspective are being answered. I’ve also been employing some of my own advice. I’ve been teaching a young girl about grounding and other techniques to free her from her anxiety attacks. My sessions with her are timely reminders of my own anxiety struggles.

Especially persistent are the twin tinges of sickness that settle in my throat and my stomach when I think about all the potential harm I may be doing to my children. I may not be giving them the right experiences. I might be disciplining them too much. Or not enough. I might be creating an atmosphere of anxiety and fear in their lives. (Anybody else see the disgusting irony in that??!) I might be too strict, or too lenient. I might not be able to give them all they need financially or emotionally or spiritually...
I struggle with anxiety that comes from simple things, from life changing choices, from lost children and from imagined threats and possibilities.

It all boils down to one four letter word. Fear.  Fear of not being enough. Not good enough of a mother, a wife, a woman, a Christian, a counselor, a student, a friend, a great-granddaughter, a daughter, a sister…

I watched Wyatt holding his bottle the other day. He is just starting to master this skill. And I laughed as I watching him try with all his might to shove the bottom of the bottle into his mouth. He has the idea down, but not really the logistics of the thing. So, I reached over to turn it around and as I pulled on the bottle, his little fingers clenched down super tight so that his finger tips turned white and his eyes cut over at me accusingly. He was angry that, from his perspective, I was taking away the very thing he was working so hard to hold onto.

This made me think about all the things I hold so tightly to and how, most of the time, I have them completely backwards, upside down or inside out. Or sometimes all three. And, like Wyatt, I get mad when it seems like God is pulling it away. Most of the time, I don’t even consider that He may be pulling my treasured bottle out of my mouth simply to turn it around so that I can get the nourishment and yumminess that I’d been looking for anyway.

There is a blogger I found recently that I admire and fervently wish I was able to write like she does. Reading her posts has me searching for transcendence and perspective in my life but also has me wishing I was, again, more than I am. There are so many other things I wish I was good at. Or so many things I wish I was.  But I’ll get more into that later.

I wish I was fluent in Spanish, better at cleaning regularly, better at playing with my kids, good enough at writing to be published, an admired – well, an admired anything.  Unfortunately, I believe this desire for admiration is at the heart of the issue. I am seeking worth through the approval of other people and through the experience of being appreciated and recognized. The problems with this plan are that, first of all, people are fickle and its impossible to please everyone and secondly, praise and approval are temporary. They are never permanent and because of their transience, they are never enough.

One of my goals for this year is finding my identity..
Because I’ve struggled with this issue, I always ask the kids if they’re beautiful, if they’re smart, if they’re exactly who God created them to be. It is my prayer that if they get a strong foundation of their worth now, it will be easier for them to navigate through the experiences in life that will seek to show them they are not enough.  Along with teaching them, I am seeking to find for myself an identity that is rock solid, insusceptible to the whims of public opinion.

The Bible says I am God’s beloved child. That is a jacket I don’t really know how to put on. I don’t even really know what it looks like. That is the ultimate irony – I know that my children are God’s beloved, His precious children who He has created in His image. I just can’t believe that I am. This comes from a place of insecurity and extreme arrogance. How can I possibly believe that I am the one, the only one, to have been created unlovable? I’m working to fix this flaw in my thinking and, to this end, I’m clinging to a new song I heard:

“Tell me, once again, who I am to You, who I am to You. Tell me, lest I forget, who I am to You, that I belong to You.”  This has become my prayer. Open my eyes Lord, that I can see myself as You see me. Broken, afraid, insignificant – and enough.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Link that Is Definitely Worth Clicking

If you are a mom in the midst of, well, mom-dom, take a few moments to read this and take pleasure in the joy that comes with being a mom and take peace in knowing that you're not alone in your times of struggle.

Don't Carpe Diem
written by Glennon 

Also be sure to check out her "Meet Glennon" page... She has an amazing story. And a great sense of humor - my favorite line: "I love Jesus, gay people, adoption, and rearranging furniture. In the interest of combining all my loves, I have asked Jesus to help me adopt Nate Berkus."  She is fantastic -- one of my new favorite things! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Tears to Joy

I spent much of the day wanting to cry. Not really for any specific reason, just an overall feeling of sadness. My clients today were full of terrible stories, listlessness and depression. And I was quick to judge myself harshly on all my foibles and mistakes. On the drive home, I thought seriously about trying to make myself cry but it just never happened... At home, the kids said hello and then asked to go play with their friends across the street. With some time to myself, I cleaned up the house and had some peacefulness... And then Wyatt woke up and I snuggled with my little man... And somewhere, somehow, my sadness faded. I made dinner and the kids and I laughed and ate together. And then, totally unplanned, I put in a RedBox movie and Lowell just happened to wake up so he watched it with us. It was a really good movie and we enjoyed the family time together. So, tonight -- I'm thankful for Mr. Poppers Penguins and my wonderful family.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Side Effect Blessing

Faithfulness journal entry #2 -- Its warm here. Why is that an answer to prayer? Well, by now, most of you know we don't have a hot water heater.... (This will be personal -- for those of you with delicate sensitivities, you may want to skip ahead) There comes a certain time of the month where a sponge bath just won't cut it, and a regular bath (with water heated on the stove) is a very unpleasant idea... So, there is no alternative but to shower. With straight cold water. Straight. Cold. Water. You may also know, by now, that I am a person who loves the warm and has an extreme dislike for cold.
So, I stood outside the shower for awhile feeling the drops hitting my legs and thinking about what I was about to do. I took a deep breath and got in. Halfway. And honestly, surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. I even got brave enough to wash my hair. With no hot water.
After I got out of the shower, I was marveling at my own stamina when I realized the reason I could stand the water was because its been in the 80s around here. That, coupled with prayer about my ability to withstand the cold and I was able to get through. I even washed my hair! Even though it was freezing, it was do-able, and a fantastic break from boiling water on the stove for our baths every day.
I am not nearly narcissistic enough to believe that the good weather exists only for my comfort - but I believe it was a blessing, even if only a side effect. :) I'll take it!

Monday, January 2, 2012


There is something about life that upsets me by the sheer fact that it is. And, even more, that it is unavoidable. This fact is that for everything we choose to do, we must choose NOT to do a hundred other things. Even when I choose to do something good, something positive and beneficial, I must choose not to do something that may be equally good and equally beneficial. For example, tonight I found myself Skyping with my best friend. During the time I was spending with her, my children wanted my attention. One wanted to read to me, another wanted me to rub her back, and the third just wanted to talk. Investing in my friendship with Moron is wonderful and necessary for my sanity but there is definitely something to be said for spending quality time with my children. Blogging is also something I enjoy, but is currently being done instead of working on my portfolio for school. Likewise, this evening I spent 20 minutes reading my Bible and journaling about it... During this time, the kids were heading off to bed and, again, wanted my attention. There is something to be said for finding the right time in my day to fit in certain activities, but this reality still applies - no matter when I choose to do something, something else has to give.
I don't want it to sound like I don't pay attention to my children. Most people say I'm a pretty good mom. As a matter of fact, most of my day was spent playing miniature golf with the kids and on the ride there, we had some very special moments... We talked about scripture (we learned a new verse today), about rock climbing, about their times in the hospital and other things that are important to the kids. The amount of time I spend with them never seems to fill them up - their hunger for my attention is voracious, seemingly unquenchable.... It seems almost inevitable that I end each day with at least some regret about some need or request I didn't meet.
For me, this may be the most difficult part of being a mother... I can never seem to be enough, to love enough, to give enough, to help, teach, support, encourage etc.. enough. That little voice starts nagging me about what I could've done, should've done... And with my perfectionism, I can never be the "best" mom or even live up to my own standards. Its exhausting trying to be everything to everyone and I'm completely aware of how detrimental it is just to try -- both to myself and to those around me!
This year, I've set my mind to learn how to let "enough" actually be enough. I've resolved to have my focus be on the positive instead of the negative - with myself, my husband, and with my children. I've resolved to do more encouraging and less nagging. To appreciate what gets done and whatever positive may exist in a situation instead of what is lacking or sub-standard.
I know these perspectives are learned and so I am also going to try to let myself off the hook for whatever failures I'm sure I'll experience during this process too.

I'm beginning with prayer. (A good place to start any journey!) Prayer that God will change my heart because this is not something that I want to do with my own strength but through His transforming power. God's plan is always to conform me more and more to the image of His Son; in this case, into someone who is compassionate and forgiving -- even of myself. I'm confident this is a prayer He will answer.
I'll keep you posted... And feel free to remind me about this if you think I should need it in the future!!! I believe in being held accountable and supported by those who love me. (Since you're reading this, I'm assuming you love me -- otherwise, why would you bother? :) ) I know that God's timing is rarely the same as mine, so I'm going to be realistic and not believe that these lessons will be learned overnight but I'm going to be positive and try to encourage myself with each little success I notice. That's a good first step, don't you think?

Top 10 #2

Conversely, I need to compose a list of those things that are less than fantastic to remember about 2011. Again, not in order.

10.  Wyatt born with pneumonia and spending a week in the NICU
9. Nathan's struggle with a stress related condition and his, unrelated, surgery
8. Chloe's emergency appendectomy
7. Spending the holidays away from our family and friends (again)
6. General times of stress and anxiety - financial, emotional, familial, school, etc.
5. Having more seizures
4. Losing our cat, Indy
3. All those missed opportunities to say a kind word, to comfort a sad child, to offer encouragement, to teach, to love, to be the kind of mother I want to be...
2. And specifically, missing Chloe's end of the year award ceremony. I am still not over missing out on seeing her get such amazing accolades... Still breaks my heart.
1. Losing my mom

Top 10 #1

Hard to believe its 2012... I know that is a common statement, but I believe its only common because its true -- time is flying! We have been in Arizona for 2 1/2 years now, and Wyatt is already 7 months old (almost). In only 5 days, I'll be 31 and Lowell just turned 35. It seems almost impossible. I swear that only a couple years ago I was 19. I don't know when I "grew up". I certainly don't feel grown up - I have a hard time introducing myself as "Mrs Trent"... And its almost impossible to grasp the concept that I have an almost 10 year old....  Anyway, that is beside the point. The point is that another year has passed and I want to appreciate all that we've learned and how we're been blessed over the past 12 months. So, on that note, and in response to a friend's post -- here are our top 10 memories for 2011. (Not really in order)

10. Getting kittens
9. Summertime -- spending time with Grandma Who and her slip and slide -- and many days at the Buckeye pool
8. Big day at the party mansion
7. Spending time with my Moron!!! (And her family of course! :) )
6. Jillian's bowling party (I still owe the other two a birthday party...)
5. 4th of July at the park and then with Daddy
4. Trip to Cabelas
3. Christmas - concerts, the parade, presents from "Secret Santas", Christmas Eve at church
2. Lowell and I taking our trip to Tucson
1. Wyatt!!!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Route 66 -- Freedom!

Our church is starting a new series called Route 66 because there are 66 books of the Bible. As a church family, we are reading through the Bible. We're using the YouVersion one-year reading plan if you want to join us. Just download the app and search for 1 year plan. It only takes 15-20 minutes a day. I already know that I won't be completely faithful and read everyday and I'm accepting that early on so that I, hopefully, don't get totally discouraged when I miss days. That being said, I'm definitely going to try not to miss days, I just know how I am and the less potential for experiencing failure, the better. All besides the point -- my excitement comes from beginning a new year with the potential of getting closer to God by reading His word regularly. Our church also has a reading plan for preschoolers and elementary age kids so I can get the kids involved too. Very excited!!!

At our New Years party service last night, Pastor Greg also suggested that we start a "Faithfulness Journal" where we record all the times where God has answered prayers. This journal can be used to look back on God's provision when we are struggling in life or feeling hopeless.. But they can also be passed down to our children as a record of how God has worked in our lives and how they can trust Him faithfulness too.. Wouldn't that be an awesome gift to get from a parent??? Wow...

I'm also completely excited becuase I already have something to write in my faithfulness journal -- Wyatt no longer needs a bottle to go to sleep. It had been getting really out of hand because he has a cold and would wake up between 10 and 20 times a night and then wanted a bottle to get himself back to sleep. After one realllllllly long night, I finally said that enough was enough and pulled the plug. I started Thursday by watching his sleeping patterns and trying to get a feel for when his naps regularly are. (I don't keep track of these things, when he's tired, I put him down...) Friday I tried laying him down with no bottle and he screamed for about a hour the first time and two hours in the middle of the night... I almost gave up. Saturday though, I resolved that it needed to be done and it would only get harder the longer I waited so, with some emotional support from Lowell to convince me that I wasn't scarring our child for life, I, again, laid Wyatt down for his nap without a bottle. This time he cried for a little over a half an hour. After church, I laid him down again and he cried about 30 minutes. Then, in the middle of the night (when I knew he really was hungry) I gave him his bottle but stayed with him to be sure that he was actually eating and then, when he was done, I took the bottle and left him in his crib without it. And I waited for the inevitable screams... All I got was a couple wimpers and then he drifted off peacefully. At 4 in the morning, same thing - bottle until he wasn't hungry and then... silence. Just quiet snoring. :) At this morning's nap, not even a peep... Praise Jesus!!!! I had been praying for this to be an easy transition... And it has been. So, entry #1 in my journal for 2012 -- freedom from the bottle! :)

So, in the spirit of expectation and thankfulness....