Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amazing Grace. . .

I suffer from the occasional migraine. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I suffered from them almost daily. I hate them. And I woke up with one this morning. 

When I get a migraine, besides being in terrible pain where even standing is hurtful, I am almost always nauseous. When I do have a migraine, if I do not take medication to be rid of the demon soon enough, I usually end up vomiting violently, even if I have nothing in my stomach, which ends up being more painful to my migraine and I end up shaking uncontrollably and retire to my bed to die. 

When I do get a migraine, it is almost always caused by something I did. Either lack of sleep (which was the case this morning), a drop in my blood sugar (because of my hypoglycemia), dehydration, or even too much adrenaline from a panic attack or bout of anxiety (which is very common in me). So for me, I am usually the culprit for why I have a migraine. Ultimately, I cause it. (Which is not the case in all migraines, just in mine.)

So this morning, amid my need to get the kids off the school, feed the baby, and my deep desire to bow down to my water saver porcelain throne, I muster up enough self control to swallow two Excedrine. My challenge then was to keep them down while I drive the kiddos to school, wait in line at the bank, and then zip on over to my local McDonald's to suck down a Diet Coke by 8:30 am. (The pair of Excedrine and Diet Coke is necessary to cure me of my morning plague. Trust me, try it.) 

I then make it home, tuck my youngest in for his morning nap and suddenly realize my migraine is gone. HALLELUJA!!

If you have never had a migraine, or even a terrible headache, let me describe this turn of events for you: When I suffer from a migraine, I almost always cry. It hurts so bad, I plead with God to make it go away. I am usually prohibited from being able to do pretty much anything I need/want to while I am suffering from it. I curl up on my bed crying in pain, pleading with God, begging, UTTERLY BEGGING, for it to go away. I throw up gall and other acidic digestive fluids, sometimes even unable to keep down the medicine my body so desperately needs. Then, because of the vomiting, the pain in my head increases to the point that my body shakes, I cannot keep my eyes open, my stomach muscles now ache from the seizing, and I am exhausted. I usually lie down and pray for a coma to take over. I think of nothing but relief. 

I usually drift off to sleep, and then if I'm lucky, wake to full relief of my migraine. And if you have never had a migraine, then you do not know what it is like to wake to the sudden absence of one. When I realize that I am free of my once burdening pain, I could dance. Dance for blissful joy! I feel like I could conquer the world!! I want to immediately hug my family, share love with those around me, smile, sing, go out and do something fun! It is one of the most joyful experience I encounter. I grasp life with both hands, holding on tight, grinning from ear to ear, and shouting for joy about how wonderful life is.

So after reading all that, I'm sure you are wondering why I am even writing this. It's because every time I experience a migraine and the miraculous recovery from it, I reflect upon one other time when I felt such joy. 

It was after my divorce, and I was at my lowest of lows. I questioned everything I had ever believed in. I defied counsel, became oppositional, and chose to "try" life without my faith to see if I really even needed it. And because of those choices, I put myself in a very dangerous situation. There are things that I chose to do that I regret daily, and am still very sorrowful for. When I realized my missteps and wanted to return to the life I once had,  I remember being pained to where I was sick. I remember being unable to function and even wishing my life were over. I remember pleading with my Father in Heaven to take away my pain, take away my sorrow, and to please forgive me. I hurt beyond explanation, because it wasn't just a physical pain, but an spiritual one. However, I remember so clearly the moment I was forgiven. It was instantaneous. I no longer felt the weight of what I was previously suffering from. I was no longer hurting, I was free. 

I do not know how else to relate this miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in any other fashion than that of the sudden relief from a migraine, or taxing pain. Through this post, I wanted to share how wonderful the power of the Atonement is. That because I have felt the relief of being freed from sin, I wish to share that truth with others in hopes that they will take part in that joy. I believe it is the most amazing joy one can feel on this earth. I am a firm believer that the Atonement is real. I cleave to the knowledge that Eve shares with us that when we experience pain or sorrow, we know what joy truly is. I also testify to the truthfulness of Enoch's words of forgiveness and how because of that forgiveness, he wanted to go out and share that truth with his family and friends. 

I know that my Savior is real. I know He lives. I know he died for me so that I can return to my Father in Heaven. And that is the greatest joy I have ever felt!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It Passes All My Understanding. . . .

"The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in the section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who obey the Word of Wisdom."

I have major addictive tendencies. If any of you know me personally, you will know my vice with Diet Coke. Honestly, if the world didn't invent Diet Coke, I would be addicted to something else. It's just my personality. And it is a part of me that I battle with daily. I do not want to be an addictive person. I don't like that label as much as I choose to not make it my excuse. Being rid of Diet Coke is an on the wagon, off the wagon battle. And it is something I ultimately desire to overcome. 

I say all of this because of a topic of conversation during a meeting conducted by my stake president during ward conference. The question was asked about a specific definition in the Word of Wisdom - mainly the term, "hot drink". It has been defined through our prophets as coffee and tea, as apposed to hot chocolate or an herbal tea which are not included. But ultimately the definition is between you and the Lord when it comes to any grey or questionable areas because the church is not going to come out with a check list of the do's and don'ts to the Word of Wisdom, any further than it already has.

Back to the meeting. When I thought the conversation was going to move on to other topics, someone pointed out that in recent years (though I do not fully know how recent) it has come to the knowledge of researchers that coffee and tea specifically contain carcinogens, or cancer causing agents, and that this new research supports the belief we have had that the Word of Wisdom helps keep us from ingesting anything that is harmful to our bodies. WELL, this just about blew my mind! Being the addictive person I am, I have battled with desires to break the Word of Wisdom in my lifetime. And a simple fact like this really put me in my place and testified to me that the Lord knows more than I. 

So I decided to invite my three kids in on the conversation. I pointed out to them when in time the Word of Wisdom was given to the members of the church, which is almost 200 years ago. And that back then, because of water issues, and social expectations, many of the substances depicted in the Word of Wisdom were common place in the world (focusing mainly on coffee and tea). I then told them that in modern times it has been discovered that these two specific items contain carcinogenics that can and may cause cancer if ingested. I asked them if they thought any of this information was available to the saints almost 200 years ago, in which they all said, "no". I then asked if they thought the Lord knew this information almost 200 years ago, in which they all said, "yes". So I then pointed out that the Lord sometimes asks us to do or obey things that we do not yet understand. And that He has promised us He will reveal all to us, but in His own time. And that all that God asks of us, is for our own good, even if at the time we do not see it that way or understand why.

It wasn't just an eye opening moment for me, but a testimony building experience for my family. Especially during a time when the world poses a really good argument on many things and it may seem difficult to stand for what you believe in. I only write this blog in hopes that it will add some revelation to your life, and possibly explain more to you than just the Word of Wisdom as it has done for me and my family. (As well as a reminder to me of what I have learned.)

I do know that putting your faith in something that is difficult to understand or see is a plaguing experience. I have struggled with many aspects of my faith for years upon years, testing the Lord, praying and putting trust in the Lord, little by little, as I try to understand things that are beyond my understanding. I do not expect others to see or believe what has taken me years to achieve. It would be as if I were to speak to them in a language they do not understand in hopes that they would. However, because of the time and energy I have put in following the Lord, I have been blessed and am thankful for the understandings the Lord has given to me. I find no greater peace or joy than that which is on the right hand of God. My only hope is that others one day feel that too. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Shake It Out. . . .

I'm overweight. I've always been overweight. I remember being eleven years old and my dad asking me to go on a diet with him and my mom. I always knew I wasn't skinny like the other girls, or more specifically my older sister, but that was the first time I felt fat. I felt like I had let my parents down. I felt ugly. My grandpa made a joke about me to my dad at a family party where he laughed and said, "Every time her mouth opens, her elbow bends." Even though I love my grandpa, and I know he was just making a joke, it still haunts me to this day. There is truth in all humor, that is what makes something funny and relate able, and there was truth in that joke. My older sister never let me forget that I had a large butt. She would come up behind me and knee me repeatedly in the rear end like my butt was a soccer ball she was bouncing around. I think they call it "corn dogging" today. "Bubble Butt" was her endearing name for me. I'd go on power walks with my mom listening to Richard Simmons on tape. It was humiliating to be the only sibling in my family that had to do that. We even went camping and my mom made me hike around the park as to not miss a work out. Even on vacation I was not allowed to forget that I was fat. My food was counted and weighed and my siblings laughed at me because of it. I quickly detached myself from my family, it somehow made it easier to exist that way. If I was in the shadows, no one would notice me, then no one could hurt me. I somehow still live that motto today. 

After my divorce, I quickly realized that I was not the ideal woman for almost any man. I would date men and they would either ask me my bra size on the first date, or mention how good I'll look once they get me into the gym and drop a few pounds off of me. I bought into that mentality and basically starved myself into a smaller size. I limited myself to only 30 grams of carbs or less a day and ran six days a week. I kept telling myself that this is how others want to see me and that this was all positive. And for the most part, it is. However the primal motives for my weight obsession were rooted heavily in the fact that no one wanted a fat girlfriend, a fat daughter, a fat anything. After two years of starvation, plantar fasciitus in both feet from running, monthly bills for trainers and gym memberships, and countless people telling me how proud they were of me, and how good I looked, I was still not happy with who I was. I was still not thin enough, not pretty enough, and still had the fat version of myself looming in the background like a haunting addiction I could not escape. The pressure of being thin, or even acceptable to others was weighing so heavily on me, I began to fail at trying to be thin. I found myself depressed more now than I had ever been. It slowly occurred to me that if I gained back any of the weight I had lost, all those "I'm so proud of you's", praises, attractiveness, and overall acceptance would fade and I would be left with the corn dogging and funny jokes with more than mild undertones of truth that left me so alone in the first place. 

I then so quickly, jumped head first off the diet train and into the arms of my long lost love of food. I figured, if anyone was going to love me, they needed to love me for me. And not for the size I was, not for the weight I had lost, not for the expectation they had for me, but for the fat, funny, beautiful me that had been there from the beginning. I basically rejected the notion that I needed to change to please anyone, especially myself. 

Of course I rapidly re-gained the weight I had struggled to loose and was back to the average weight my body had been accustomed to for so many years. I knew I was fat, it didn't make me happy, but I felt more like me than I had felt in years. 

So now, I tell you all this, not to gain sympathy, but to broaden your understanding of this particular blog's question. I am currently pregnant and just over five months in. I have lost about 30 lbs total, even though my belly has grown immensely. The clothes I could barely fit into before I found out I was pregnant are now baggy and hang off my frame and enlarged belly. For the first four months of my pregnancy I could not eat a thing. I was so ill, I basically starved for those long months. And now that my morning sickness has ended, I find myself regularly unable to eat more than a small child's portion of food at a time before feeling sick. Occasionally I am able to eat more, but I usually regret it because of the over stuffed feeling I have after the fact. Even though I am still wanting to eat because I feel hungry, I no longer experience that desire to ingest food. So the consequence of such means I am still loosing weight daily. I regularly experience comments from family or friends praising me about my weight loss. My husband is regularly supportive of me and laughs every time he sees my butt because he cannot believe the difference in it's size. On some levels I feel blessed to have this built in weight loss program that seems to be working even during a time where I should be gaining weight. But then I also feel that negative side affect of where the fat voice in my head makes me feel like they didn't like me before and now will only like me if I am thin. Even at the expense of me not being able to eat regularly for five  plus months. 

Now I understand the logic in their comments. They are truly supportive and encouraging. It is only me that seems to categorize them negatively. So my question to you is this: Do we ever really get past being fat in our society today? I throw this question out there because I feel I never will. I will always be the viewed as the fat sister, the fat wife, the fat (insert noun here) even though all my other qualities show I have such a pretty face. Until I am ultimately thin and stay that way, do we ever really let go of being fat?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. . . .

I read an article today about a video I watched a month or so ago called, The Evolution of the Swimsuit. Please take a moment to read and view both links before you continue reading.
My opinion on the video was supportive since I am against myself and my girls wearing a bikini. I am Pro-Modesty (if that's even a term I can use). I am against the bikini because I believe it exposes them in a way that we cannot control. For example, I cannot control the creepy guy at the pool from oogling my daughter or me while wearing something that's revealing. So in order to take as much control as I can, I choose for us to wear something that deflects that sort of behavior in others. That choice makes me feel happy, like I am protecting the virtue within my daughters, as well as in myself. Not to mention, helping not create a weakness in others that choose to look at us in that manner.
So when I read the article of this author's take on The Evolution of the Swimsuit, she asked a question, not unlike the questions I ask at the end of each of my blog posts. (Makes me feel like I could write for KSL.) She asked this:
"Can we teach modesty while at the same time, teach tolerance?"
Hmmmm. . . . . Well, let's deconstruct the question first. Modesty, by definition, means: "regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress etc." So if you believe/practice/teach modesty as being what is decent, then I think it would be fair to say that the opposite, or immodesty, would be deemed indecent. All of which is completely opinion based and circumstantial to your environment. Tolerance, by definition, means: "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own". Now, to teach tolerance is to basically show acceptance of something others or yourself do not accept. Therefore, by saying you are a tolerant person, you are stating that you are accepting of something that is openly viewed as not acceptable either in yourself or others. And by doing so hope to change that opinion from unacceptable to acceptable. Otherwise, why would you be standing up for  it? Again, all of which is completely opinion based and circumstantial to your environment. (What is one man's trash, is another man's treasure.)
Now, before I dive into my opinion on the question, I want to define one more word. Opinion, by definition means: "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty". This definition alone proves to me that an opinion can only be deemed as concrete truth by and to the person who holds it. Opinions are personal. Opinions are based upon one's own views. My personal opinion is that the color Green is that happiest color on the earth. I believe that is why God created plants/life with the color green. The color green can be seen from space and is the most widely used color in nature. The word green even has been used to represent a higher standard of living. Green, is the supreme color. I believe this with all my heart. Some of you out there might believe it as well. But I know so many that view Yellow as their happy color, or Blue, or Pink. I personally do not like pink. I feel pink makes me look childish and like I'm dressing too young for my age. I am not confident in pink and usually think others are staring at me when I wear it. There is nothing anyone will ever say to me to get me to wear pink. I may have some flecks of it in a blouse or something similar like burgundy shoes, but I dislike pink. And that's okay, it's my opinion.
Going back to the modesty/tolerance debate. I feel that society uses the word tolerance too much. Not that it's negative, but that it's used so much the definition is now being distorted. I don't believe it's about being tolerant when it comes to the example of modesty vs. tolerance, as much as it is about being non-judgmental when holding on to your own opinion. Being Judgmental, by definition means: "tending to criticize, tending to judge or criticize the conduct of other people". This is where I think society has become derailed in it's thinking. We forget that we, at least in this country, have liberty, and liberty is the freedom to exercise our rights. Because of liberty, we are granted the freedom to have opinions. And by having an opinion, we reached that opinion by making a personal judgment. That is what our forefathers sought after when they fled England. They wanted to choose for themselves.
I believe that the word judgmental is also used too much to the point that the definition is being distorted. We forget that as free, human beings, we are entitled to make our own judgments. What we should not do is be a judgmental person. Let me explain further. Making a judgment is personal and only involves the person making the judgment. It's an internal action. Being judgmental is an external action because it involves someone else. Typically defined as condemning another for their own judgment or opinion.
I have made a judgment!! I believe Green to be the color of all colors. What I have not done is be judgmental. I have not condemned another for not believing the same thing. Do I need to tolerate someone for not liking Green?? No. Do I need to go out and condemn someone for thinking Pink is the ultimate color in order to defend Green? No, again. To tolerate someone or their opinion is to be accepting. And no, I do not have to accept anyone else's opinion ever!! What I do believe I need to do is to not condemn another for their opinion. So in defense of Modesty, I will always be pro-modesty. Referring to the KSL article, will I protest Victoria's Secret for their racy commercials in voice or action? Probably not. I will however make a judgment and always change the channel when one comes on. Am I condemning VS? No. I'm just choosing not to support it or accept it in my home. And I will show my girls that action as a teaching tool for modesty.
Ultimately, my answer to the question of "Can we teach modesty while at the same time, teach tolerance?" is Yes, but they do not need to be synonymous. Teaching tolerance and practicing it are two different things. And being tolerant does not mean you must be tolerant of all things. I think it's more important to teach the difference between making a judgment and being judgmental, and practice that, than it is to worry about offending someone else by not accepting their choices. We will always be in a place to be offended or to offend. That is the joy of having different opinions. Believe it or not, it's a good thing. But just like opinions, offense is also personal. If you take someone else's opinion as a personal offense, well then that's your problem. If you personally offend someone for their opinion, then again, that's your problem. If we sit around and worry about opinions and offenses, we are missing the mark entirely. Having an opinion that is different than another's is a normal every day life occurrence. It does not mean you have to accept their opinion and it also does not give you the right to condemn them for it.
I do not tolerate a great many things. It does not mean I am a negative person. (Which I believe society thinks people are when they are not "tolerant" of one thing or another.) It simply means that I hold strong to my opinion. I don't think I will ever be tolerant of the bikini, and even if one of my daughters comes home wearing one, I will not accept it. However, I will always accept her. And maybe that's more the definition we should be searching for.
So what do you think? What is your opinion today?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stand By Your Man. . . .

How loyal do you need to be to your spouse?

My hubby decided to tag along to my dentist appointment the other day. He had not been into the dentist for a routine check in ten years. I have been seeing this dentist for almost seven years. I love this dentist. My kids love this dentist. So I was very surprised to find that my husband basically called him a cheat. My hubby went in and came out with a long order of work that needed to be done including a root canal. He walked away extremely upset. I on the other hand was happy to see his mouth be in a healthier state and scheduled it all. My hubby decided otherwise. He went back to his old dentist, the one that caused the needed root canal, and asked for a second opinion. My hubby then called me immediately and bragged how his dentist didn't think he needed X amount of work, only a root canal. He then stopped into my work and told me I needed to stop seeing my dentist because he was a cheat. This upset me greatly, and I told him that. I love my dentist and have never complained about the work my kids or I have needed done. However, I've never questioned it either.

So I ask you, How loyal do you need to be to your spouse?

I feel a sense of loyalty to my dentist, only because it reflects my judgement. I also feel like I should take my  husband's side because, well, he is my husband and I will be with him forever and want to make sure something as little as what dentist we go to doesn't interfere with that. So, what do I do? Do I agree with my hubby and ditch the dentist? Or do I stand my ground and let him go where he feels comfortable, and stay where I feel comfortable? (I don't know if I even feel comfortable going anymore. My whole judgement about the dentist is altered.)
What's your advice?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mama. . . .

I believe everything in life can be boiled down to one reason, and one reason alone. Power. Life is all about power. We are either giving it, receiving it, controlling it, stealing it, holding it over someone, lifting someone up because of it, and/or identifying ourselves by the large amount of or lack thereof. Power is the reasoning to life's struggles or the reason there are none.

I read an article today about a daughter of famous, The Color Purple author Alice Walker. In this article, daughter Rebecca, writes about her struggle against her Mother's ideals and way of life. I urge you to take a moment and read her story.

Rebecca's struggle for approval from her Mother and her battle for her own identity struck many chords of thought that are now playing in my mind like the symphony of a child's first encounter with a piano. They are all over the place.

I want to first discuss the Parent-to-Child relationship angle. I think as parents, one of the most difficult moments we face is when our children strike out on their own, and choose for themselves. Especially when they choose against what we had envisioned for them or raised them to be. There are many times as a parent of a blossoming, attitude driven teenager, I find myself struggling with the fact that I am losing power over her, because of the power she has within herself to make independent choices and ultimately become an independent person.

So how much influence do we really have over our children? Are we really in control of their upbringing? Or are we merely exemplars they can or cannot follow? Let me bring to light another point the article brings up. Divorce, or the Parent-to-Parent angle.

As a divorced parent, I see the dramatic difference my children face when with one or the other parent. I consider myself to be an open minded, open loving, Christian that lets my faith fuel my choices but not get in the way of someone else's. I dress conservatively with a mild mannered sense of flare and colour in my fashion and wardrobe. Sir and Ma'am are common place in my vocabulary and I enjoy the uncommonly used phrases that add humour and dynamic to an otherwise bland palette. I love being creative and consider myself musically inclined. I also find great joy in service, I teach the youth on Sundays at church and the idea of pleasing others is at the top of my list. I am LDS and very proud of it. I parent with an iron fist at times. Rules, chores, privileges and consequences, along with family unity is how I run my home. In a caricature, I'd say I look like this, the one on the left:

My ex on the other hand is someone who is of a "dark" nature (his words, not mine-though I agree). He wears make-up, paints his nails, dyes his go-tee odd colors like purple or blue, has tattoos, piercings, smokes and drinks, and almost always wears black. He is musically talented and plays guitar and bass in multiple bands or projects-all music that is of a "darker" design, like goth, scream-o, or heavy metal. Most of that music I find inappropriate for my girls to view. He is open and liberal. He is kind and I see how much he loves his girls. He is not religious and is not around my girls very often (his choice, not mine). And when he does have them, there are no rules, no consequences, and no real structure. In a caricature, I'd say he looks like the guy in the above picture, on the right.
Can you see the dramatic difference my kids encounter when at either parent's home? My ex and I are opposites. I am terribly aware of this contradiction between ourselves and parenting style, but as we both have rights to our children, we also have rights to teach and influence them based upon our own ideals. As in the article about Rebecca and her Mother, Alice, I know my girls battle between their parents. They may not verbally express their stress between the two worlds, but I can see it tear at them when deciding what lifestyle is acceptable to them. And now that I am remarried to someone more similar to myself, I can also see the easier way parenting can be by having the same perspective and execution in parenting. As well as it's direct impact upon my girls. They do not struggle nearly as much between Myself and my Husband as they do with Myself and their Dad.

So again, how much control do we have over our children's choices? Expectations, limitations, and control are placed upon kids every day. Do this, do that, No, Yes, etc. etc. etc. Each day of their lives are patterned by the power, or lack of power we place over them. Most "parental power" is used in a positive way, to sculpt and guide our children into adulthood. Unfortunately, it can also be used negatively and cause issues for them in their lives.

As a parent, I tend to reflect upon my own childhood in order to raise my own children. Let's look at the Child-to-Parent angle. As a child/teen/adult, we struggle for our own identity separate from that of our parent's. For me, I wanted to please my parents to no end. I was crushed any time they didn't approve of me. The slightest negativity still haunts me to this day. My parents gave a certain expectation of how I should turn out and I did all I could to live up to that expectation. I felt like if I didn't they viewed it as a reflection of them and I held the burden of their disappointment on my shoulders. But once I reached crossroads where my very own individuality was to be it's strongest, I failed. Why? I believe I failed because I didn't really choose for myself who I wanted to be. I let other's expectations dictate my choices. It wasn't until I was around 30 years old that I really discovered who I was, who I am. It was a "breaking free" time in my life to really choose for myself my own path. I challenged every expectation placed upon me and took back the power I'd let others have over me.

I believe most children do this. There is usually a stage labeled as rebellion one will go through in order to gain the power needed to become their individual self. Some times that means going against what Mommy & Daddy say, or what Society says is appropriate or correct, to get there.

Some of the things I challenged were, to name a few:

Social acceptance
Family Unit/Unity

I decisively went against what I was raised to believe in on these subjects and more, to be able to choose for myself what I honestly believed in. So if I did it, why would I say my girls can't? Well, it's because I made some mistakes on my path to individuality and self discovery and I want my girls to not make the same mistakes. So I use as much of my "power" as I can to keep them from making those poor decisions. But bottom line, How would you as a parent feel if your kids went completely against your parenting and chose something else, something ultimately opposite?

In Rebecca's article, she did just that. She chose the exact life opposite of her mother's. In spite of everything her Mother did to teach her one way of life, Rebecca chose what was more natural to her. It was a life long struggle of power. Rebecca let her Mother have such power over her that she was still heartbroken when she finally took that last step into owning the power for herself and disappointing Alice.

This power struggle between Parent and Child is a daily lifestyle. It's somewhat the definition of what that relationship is, a power struggle. Parents hold power over their children by setting rules and boundaries. Children take that power upon themselves and break given rules and boundaries. Which in turn, they place power over their children and then those children break those rules/boundaries and so on, and so on. It's a cycular pattern. So now I go back to my original question, Are we really in control over our children's lives?

The answer is No. We are only in ultimate control of our own choices. We cannot make our children follow one path or the other. We can only do everything in our power to convince them our path is the path they should be on. And we do this by setting said rules and being the equivalent example of such in hopes that they follow suit.

I am very much afraid that any one of my girls will follow their father's path. I dread the day that one of them comes home with an odd placed piercing, or hasty chosen tattoo. I am their mother and so it is innate that I worry for them. Will I be okay with a tattooed daughter? Will I be okay with a "darker" version of what I envisioned them to be? I don't know. All I can do is continue what I can by implementing structure and by example, live the life the way I feel it is best for them, whether it is what they choose is best for them or not.

So I ask you this, What type of power do you really have?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Before My Time. . . .

As mothers, I believe we immediately form a bond of love for our children. It doesn't take long for us to carve a special place in our hearts for the children in our lives. So, if you believe that, you will understand my story.

This is what happened.

My Husband is 14 years older than I am. That may seem like a lot to some of you, but in all honesty, I don't see it. Occasionally his grey hairs will remind me of our age difference but it never bothers me. In fact, I believe I am more mature that he is most of the time. Because of his age, his children are older and even closer to my age than he is. His oldest just had her first child in October, which makes him a grandpa, and by proxy, me a grandma. So when we were dating and the notion of children came up, he wasn't sure he wanted any more. I always knew I had spirit(s) waiting to be a part of our family for years before I even met him. Bottom line, it was difficult for me to chose between him and the wanting of more children. Ultimately I felt blessed to have my three and decided I didn't want to lose him, and agreed to the idea that we may not have any children together.

This pained me. I was willing to not have any more because I could see us traveling as empty nesters in ten years and that brought me happiness. However, the emptiness I felt by not having another baby haunted me. Especially when my two sisters had babies this past year. I know my Husband could see it in my eyes. He'd keep asking me what was bothering me and I'd brush it off as a headache or something. Until one night he cornered me and forced it out of me. He said, "I know how much you want another baby." I was so emotional over what was reeling through my head I could only respond with tears. It was then he asked me if we could have a baby together. I said yes, and we immediately started trying.

Three anxious months later and I still wasn't pregnant. It was frustrating to me because I NEVER had trouble with this before. I practically thought about getting pregnant and then instantly was 5 months along. I never had to try and figure out when I was ovulating or track my periods for variances because it just happened. So one day, out of anger for not becoming pregnant yet, I decided to pee on my last purple pregnancy stick just to get the disappointment of it always being negative out of my bathroom. I didn't even look at it right away because I just knew it would be negative. A little while later I took a look at it just before chucking it with indignantcy into the trash. It said, positive. Nathan immediately started rejoicing. He was ready to tell everyone we knew we were expecting. However, the skeptic that I am, I ignored it. I set a day with my Husband to let him tell certain people, but I wasn't going to count my babies before they were born.

About four days later I started to let myself get excited. I even mentioned it to my boss just to let myself feel that rush of joy. But then later that afternoon I started to feel some odd movement in my abdomen. I kept thinking it was just the need to go to the bathroom, but that never fully remedied the problem. They weren't heavy or harsh pains, they were just there, noticeable. Close of business day approached and I went to the bathroom one last time to discover I was bleeding. I suddenly burst into tears, upset that I let myself get excited knowing I had set myself up for a fall by doing so. The pains progressed to what felt like a miscarriage. They didn't feel like any of my regular menstrual cramps so I knew this wasn't just a false positive. However, the bleeding did not reflect either a miscarriage or a menstruation cycle. It wasn't heavy bleeding, at lease not enough to warrant a trip to the ER, and stopped bone dry after 24 hours.

I decided to find out if it was in fact a miscarriage or a round of spotting by purchasing another set of pregnancy tests. The first one I took was 24 hours after the bleeding stopped. Negative. Then I took another one two days later. Negative. That day I made an appointment to see my OB the following Monday.

At my appointment I did the routine of seeing how fat I am on the scale, scaring the nurse with my low blood pressure, and peeing in a little plastic cup. I explained to the nurse my anomaly and told her I was just confused. I could still feel pain in my uterus reminiscent to ovarian cysts, that I had one positive test, sudden onset of bleeding, and then two negative tests. She noted everything down and then I was left to await the doctor. Partway through my solitary confinement the nurse popped her head in asking me to describe my bleeding. I told her it was steady but not heavy with both bright red and dark red blood and small remnants of tissue. (I apologize for the tmi.) She said, "hmmmmmm" and told me the test was positive but a faint positive and the doctor would discuss it with me further when he arrived, closed the door, and left me with my thoughts.

My sweet doctor ran the routine exam and scraped my tonsils for the pap smear and sent me for blood work to test my HCG level (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin - or pregnancy hormone). The next day my level was at 124, which is low for a pregnancy but not abnormal, or a sign of me coming off of a miscarriage, or sign it is an ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy that is in an abnormal place, or ultimately an abnormal pregnancy. Basically a new long list of worries, but no answers. I went back in for blood work a day later and received a call from my doctor later that afternoon. My level was now at 176, which is about a 40% increase. Again low but not necessarily abnormal or basically all of the above. Now through this whole process I am still experiencing pain much like an ovarian cyst that was slowly becoming uncomfortable, until Thursday the next day. I awoke with nausea and heavy cramps all through my body. I still had the cyst-like pain but I was now experiencing heavy muscle spasm-like pain all over my back and torso, and sharp lightening pain in random places along my abdomen and back.

None of this was severe enough to me to rush to the ER so I called my doctor to try to be seen. And as karma would have it, my doctor was out of the office that day. So I played phone tag with his nurse and the on-call physician. Bottom line, if it gets too much to bear go to the ER, otherwise the doctor will see you after blood work in the morning. I was up until 1:00 am with discomfort at which it suddenly stopped and I was able to go to sleep.

After blood work the next morning and a time of reflection waiting for the doctor, he finally came in to see me and deliver the bad news. He told me my HCG level was at 202 and that it should be at least double what it was two days prior. I began to cry. He so gently told me that it was clear to him I was not carrying a baby but only pregnancy tissue and that it was time to take care of it. In his calm voice he instructed me to go down to the pharmacy, purchase a prescription, and return to his office where the nurse will give me an injection that will ultimately clear out the remaining tissue and relieving me of my abnormal pregnancy. Shaking my head to show I understood, he left me alone in the room, where I sat trying to regain my ability to speak as I texted my husband.

My Husband quickly called me as I left the office making a mad dash for the public bathroom at the end of the hall. I could barely choke out my plea for him to be with me. He was on his way and I was dripping like a broken faucet unable to leave the stall I had barricaded myself in. It took me about 15 minutes just to compose myself for the long walk across the hospital grounds to the pharmacy. I decided to put my ear buds in and listen to some music to distract me and keep me from having to speak to anyone along the way.

After purchasing my prescription I met my Husband at the front of the hospital and then headed back to my doctor's office. They set us in a private room and it wasn't long before my doctor stepped in. He reassured me that there was nothing to be afraid of and if we wanted to wait, we could, but that even in two weeks we would have the same answer. So the nurse came in and administered me the injection.

I didn't feel the prick of the needle, but I soon experienced a sickening feeling and lots of pain. It was somewhat reassuring in that there was a physical pain related to the emotional pain I was feeling.

Now I know I am not the only person this has happened to. I actually feel a little silly at how dramatic I have been. My mother had three miscarriages in her lifetime and I know a number of women who have experienced this in some degree. And knowing it could've turned out much worse comforts me. I am so very blessed to know what I went through was actually minimal. But knowing that does not take away the space I made in my heart for the little one. It does not erase the names I thought of, or the image of what she might look like from my memory. Even though I knew from the moment I started cramping I would not hold this child in my arms, it did not stop me from naturally giving hope that I was wrong.

I believe in my Heavenly Father. I believe in His son Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I find such peace knowing that I can rest my spirit in their hands and follow their guidance. I trust them. I trust them with my life and the lives of my children.