An old-fashioned phone call,

Last week I felt like I was getting better. I had gone days without joint pain and I was rejoicing!! I was counting out the little orange pills in the bottom of my little orange bottle, and having faith that I could totally be better by the time the bottle was done.

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This week, the joint pain is back, which means that lovely Lyme bacteria is still around, making itself cozy and at home in my knees and ankles and elbows. Not what I wanted.

A couple days were spent in bed watching Little House on the Prairie dvds with my girls.

My girls had a little stomach bug too, which helped make life seem even more unkempt.

Yesterday was a hard day. I was supposed to host a book study at my home, but I cancelled last minute because of my girl’s leftover germs, and with me not feeling well again. (And honestly, because of the condition of my home! ) I was going back and forth in my mind, stressing over if that was the right decision. I felt like it was, but I was disappointed with my inability to keep up with life.

I needed some alone time and I sent my girls outside to play “till Daddy gets home”, though I myself could barely stand the heat.

I was just sitting inside thinking about what’s hard,

wishing I could just take a walk with my girls around the block without fear that it would make me feel sick! Wishing I could keep up with all the normal things I need to keep up with. Feeling like I should be reading more to my girls and figuring out a better routine for our days.

We should be taking better advantage of our pool membership! We should be finishing up our summer reading plan from my the library. I should be feeding my family more nutritious meals! My daughter’s birthday this week should have been more special!

My heart feels hard toward the Lord at times, like He’s keeping me from being the best person I can be. Keeping my girl’s from the best Mom they could have; keeping my husband from the best wife he could have.

As I was sitting there in my discouragement,

a friend called out of the blue, and I knew I had to answer.

(Who calls people on the phone anymore?? )

She shared some things that were on her heart- a hard circumstance she just can’t figure out, and how she’s struggling to have joy in her days as a Mom. These were all things I could relate to! , and suddenly I wasn’t so alone. As she spoke, I could see God’s hand in her life, and immediately my eyes were taken off myself and my circumstances.

I was able to see God’s faithfulness in this friend’s life, and I was freshly aware of His faithfulness in mine.

My friend’s call was such a gift to me! How easy it would have been to ignore her call since I wasn’t feeling well. She told me to call her the next day if I still wasn’t feeling well, so she could come over and help me.

And when our phone call ended, I suddenly had fresh energy for the tasks of the evening. I went outside with my girls, and filled up their pool and let them play with the hose, even though it meant more mess to clean up, and me being out in the heat.

The sunlight and grass under my feet were like a little piece of Heaven after a couple sick days inside. I was still not feeling well, but my heart was strengthened.

And when my husband got home and said “Let’s order pizza for dinner”, I wasn’t drowning in condemnation about how much our diet stinks right now. We sat around the table and ate our pizza, and practiced our catechism with the girls and worked on memorizing “Love is patient and kind.”

It would have been so easy for me to just go upstairs and lay in bed while Bron got the girls their dinner.

But there was fresh faith, a sweetness and beauty and grace brought into our evening, all because of a phone call from a friend. Well, all because of God’s grace shown through her.

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And the next day, when I had to skip Crossfit, and my girls watched a movie right after breakfast,

before I could allow myself to be discouraged, I got a text from the same friend. She was checking in to see how I was feeling. And promising to come as soon as she could.

I have to be honest, it was hard for me to say yes!

Did I really want her to come over and see my mess??

But I needed her to come over and see my mess.

She gave me a reason to get showered and dressed 🙂 . And she came and she sat with me in the mess, and kept me company while our girls played all over the house. We ate lunch together and we had the last of Emmy’s birthday cake for dessert.

My girls were happy for some playmates, and I was happy for a friend who could see me in my mess and love me still!

She helped me clean the kitchen, and she was a picture to me of God’s love and grace.

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So, what I said about my heart being hard towards the Lord, and feeling like He’s keeping me from being the best person I can be?

Well, I am realizing that my idea of who I want to be is nothing compared to who He wants me to be!

And I am trusting this time of weakness and trial will make me into more of the person He wants me to be. The kind of wife and mother, and friend, He wants me to be.

Meanwhile, there are gifts to be found– like a phone call from a faithful friend, and a visit the next day. My husband flourishing in his role as the leader of our home. Extra snuggles with my girls while the laundry piles up and we watch Little House.

And as I approach the last week of my antibiotic, and I’m still not healed, I can still agree with David in Psalm 16: “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; [He] holds my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. ”

 

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Psalm 16:5-11

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul …

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Emmylou’s Birth Story

I can’t help but relive the days leading up to Emmy’s birthday this time each year. I  finally wrote this story down last year and shared it on an old neglected blog. I edited it a little to share again this year as she approaches :5: in a couple days. Have I really been a Mom for five years??

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So, first, allow me to take us back in time to five Julys ago….I had just turned 23 that Spring. That now seems so young to me!! We had just a month before celebrated our 1st year of marriage.

We lived in somewhat of a ramshackle of a first home: a fixer-upper Lancaster City home my husband bought the year before we met. He converted it into a two unit apartment, and fixed up the first floor and rented that out. He lived on the second floor, thinking he’d live there and remodel it at a leisurely pace- amidst a life of traveling and working and being a single guy doing whatever he pleased with his time and money. He never guessed he’d be raising a family in that half-finished second floor apartment before too long!

We had our mattress on top of a box spring, which I didn’t know was weird at the time. I was just glad to be married to Bron, in that dusty old row house. He had started a new job before we got married and money was tight, but we did budget for good quality bacon. 🙂

I had been a vegetarian from age 16 till right before I met my husband. While I was no longer a vegetarian, I still wasn’t a meat lover. However, pregnancy changed that in me! I craved meat like crazy. It also helped me stay on track with my “pregnancy diet” of at least 100 grams of protein we were required to track for our Bradley class.

We took an 12 week course of Bradley Method natural birth classes with a Mom from our church, and both of us were quickly really into the natural childbirth idea. I still am, but! It’s just funny to remember how passionate we were. Everysoften, Bron would find himself engrossed in a conversation about the benefits of natural birth, and realize all the men had left the room and he was chatting it up with the ladies. It was sweet.

So, there’s a little background: still kind-of-newlyweds, somewhat of a ramshackle home, nitrate free bacon, and natural childbirth passion.

Emmy’s due date was July 5th, and whenever someone in the grocery store learned that about me ,they’d say with a smile, something along the lines of: ” Well, Maybe you’ll have a little firecracker!” Hehe. To this day that makes me smile. Like most first time Moms, I thought every ‘Braxton Hick’ was a true contraction and that I would definitely have my baby early, or at least on time ! In those last couple weeks leading up to my due date, we went to a park after Bron got home from work. We took walks like crazy, trying to get the baby to want to come. But, of course, none of those contractions were true labor.

I was pretty disappointed when July 4th came, and it didn’t seem like we were going to get that Firecracker. I actually told my parents in the weeks leading up, that we wouldn’t come for the 4th of July celebration at their house. I was thinking I would have a baby by then! or at least be in labor that day ,or close to it. But, alas, I was neither in labor ,nor close to it on the 4th of July.

4th of July came and went, and so did my duedate, the 5th. We went to the Birth Center that day and they had me do a stress test to make sure all was well. They were not concerned, which was comforting ,yet not, hehe. They scheduled an appointment for me in 1 week, saying sweetly “But I think we’ll be seeing you before then !” How I hoped they were right !!
However, That week came and went, lots of walking ,and crying, and bacon. 🙂

Looking back, I am a little disappointed with myself with my bad attitude through it all! I remember friends reaching out with sweet messages through text or Facebook, and I ignored the majority of them. Sorry ,sweet friends !!

Much to my hugely-pregnant-chagrin, I was there for that 1-week-late appointment as scheduled! I had another stress test and they kindly reminded me of their policy that once a baby is 2 weeks past the due date, I would have to be induced at their sister-hospital. Then, they told me to come back in 2 days.

So, I have natural-birth-loving-friends who would fight that 2 week policy, and just trust their body’s ability to go into labor. While I respect and admire that sentiment for the most part, I am not :that: passionate. I do not particularly enjoy being pregnant -especially the last month! So ,if there was anything natural we could do to speed things along, especially 3 days till my 2weekspastdue date, I was all for it! And I was all for being done with pregnancy A.s.a.p.

Finally, when I was 3 days to my due date, I wholeheartedly agreed to some natural induction stuff, and so they tried a “foley balloon”. I won’t go into details ,but it was supposed to help things to dilate. They sent me home again and told me they would do another balloon the day before my due date if it wouldn’t work this time. I prayed it would! But it didn’t.

We were back , early in the morning, the day before my due-date. They did another stress test ,and another balloon. The midwife told me that if the balloon didn’t fall out by lunchtime, then to take (the dreaded) castor oil. And if the castor oil didn’t help within an hour, to take another tablespoon. (“And if that doesn’t work, see you tomorrow at the hospital”. She didn’t say that, but that was my inner dialogue. )

Again, I won’t go into details – but from what I understand about castor oil – it helps induce labor by moving things around quickly in the stomach, and therefore make a uterus move around too, and hopefully get the baby out of there. Layman’s terms. 🙂

So, Bron went back to work for a couple hours, if I remember correctly. And I busied myself around the house, wearing that nondescript balloon thing, making muffins and cleaning; praying that I wouldn’t have to be induced the next day, but feeling like it as inevitable.

Bron came home for lunch at noon, and in keeping with my pregnant lady motivation, I freshly juiced some carrots and added a tablespoon of castor oil to have before we sat down to eat together. Nothing happened, as Bron and I ate our lunch, and I was beginning to get a little cranky about everything. Another hour passed and I took another tablespoon, with no results.

I remember just crying and laying in bed, and Bron tried hard to comfort me but it was no use! I had fully embraced my crankiness , and my supposed fate that I’d be induced the next day. I had some Braxton Hicks contractions while we laid there, and was just totally annoyed that they weren’t real! Hehe.

But then one came, that felt a little different, -but I was so tired of getting my hopes up for the past 4 weeks, and I didn’t tell Bron. But then another came, and I sat up and wiped my tears and said, “That might have been a real one,..but I don’t know !”

It was about 1:30 in the afternoon. And suddenly I didn’t feel like being in our room anymore and I went downstairs to lay on the couch. I remember kind of ignoring Bron , and he lit a candle to help me relax and cleaned up lunch, what a Sweety. I was really restless and wasn’t comfortable on the couch at all ,and the sound of the air conditioning in the windows really annoyed me :for some reason:. I didn’t know it yet, but I was finally in labor!

I told him, as he scurried around, sweetly serving his wife, that I had to go to the bathroom. And when I got there, the balloon fell out, which meant my cervix was dilating. (Sorry, I hope this is all women reading this! ;} )

So, because my labor had to start in the bathroom- I sort of didn’t want Bron in there with me, if you know what I mean. My contractions were immediately 5 minutes apart, and I had probably labored for about 30 minute before he called! He was talking to me from behind the closed bathroom door. (Cute newlyweds.)

I couldn’t believe how painful it was !!!! And suddenly I decided I didn’t care if Bron as in the bathroom with me, and he quickly obliged. The midwife called back and Bron explained to her what was going on, and she said we should “Come now !” So, Bron ran and gathered our things and went out to the back parking lot, and pulled the car our front.

It was summertime, and our Lancaster city street was a bit more bustling that time of year. There are always plenty of people sitting out on their front porches, and being somewhat loud and rowdy; they had to have known what was going on! We had a fairly lengthy staircase to climb down to get to the front door, and the car was running for a bit because I kept having contractions, and wanting to stay still for that minute. I asked Bron for a pillow to hug [which has become my favorite way to get though contractions – if I have to have a favorite way;) ]. Somehow Bron finally convinced me to run downstairs and out the door, and down the front porch steps and into the car.

I remember as soon as I got into the passengers seat, Bron had barely shut the door for me , and another contraction came ! I hugged my pillow and was able to maintain my “quiet ” Bradley Method labor fairly weIl. Bron got in his seatbelt quick as a flash, and started down the road. I remember being aware that people were probably watching, and trying not to care!

Our Birth Center was about 45 minutes away, and the quickest drive is right through the “Tourist Trap”, as my husband likes to call it. It was summertime in Lancaster county, which is tourist season and traffic season in certain areas. He took some short cuts, but it was still a long drive ! Actually the drive was the hardest part for me ! (It is one of the main reasons I chose a home birth with Sadie, so we didn’t have to do the stressful transition to the car ,and driving an hour. )

I remember this hard contraction moment as we drove through farmlands that I realized “Hey, wait a second…I can make noise!” One of the main things about the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth is the idea of relaxing through the pain and trusting your body’s ability to go through labor and delivery; breathing and taking one contraction at a time, and not freaking out and screaming about the pain, like how birth is usually portrayed in movies and tv.

And while ,of course I wanted to take one contraction at a time, and relax and all that …I needed to make some noise! Natural birth is no joke !! So that’s when I started making noise, and as a person who is more on the quiet side, my husband was a bit surprised at how loud I was ! I was too. But it hurt so bad ! As I frequently let Bron know for the rest of the evening.

So, when we finally made it to the birth center, they ushered us into the birth room through the side door. I was glad to see the midwife on duty was one of my favorites ! Karen checked me and I was at 6 centimeters, and asked if I wanted to her to fill up the tub. I had signed a waiver weeks before saying I wanted to have a water birth, just in case I wanted to use the tub- but I actually wasn’t necessarily planning on a water birth ! I signed it just in case, thinking I probably wouldn’t like being so far away from Bron. But, when she asked me , it sounded like such an amazing idea! Hot water and jacuzzi jets were like the kindest thing anyone could give me at that moment !

I labored in the tub for quite a while, and I was kind of in my own little world. The midwives had to keep reminding me to keep my voice low. I wanted to be like “Yeah, I know, I read the Bradley book, but I’m over it!”

They eventually had me get out of the water for some reason of other, I can’t remember why honestly. But I remember I was sad about this idea. I remember they had me lay on a big exercise ball, which offered some comfort, but nothing compared to Jacuzzi jets!

I was glad that I was at the Birth Center, because I would have definitely accepted any offers for medicine!

Eventually, I don’t know if it was just my body missing the relief of the hot water, but the contractions were just driving me crazy. The midwife told me they had some shots of saline water that can help with back pain. I did oblige to getting a shot of it in my back – but half way through the first shot I asked her to stop because the needle hurt so much !!! She was like “Really?!” And I was like “YES!!”. I yelled at her!;) I really don’t like to yell at people, especially non-family members who I barely know.

Looking back, I think that was my body transitioning to get ready to deliver that baby. I labored a little longer on the ball, and the small half dose of saline water didn’t make a difference at all. I told the midwife I  had to go to the bathroom, and also that I wanted to push. She checked me, and I was not quite at 10cm yet, but she was able to press a little to get me there. (Again, I hope this is only ladies reading !!)

By this time there was some midwife turnover, and it was my other favorite lady- MerryLee. I did a couple pushes in the bathroom, but then I thought “Wait a second, I don’t want to have my baby on the toilet !” I asked if I could get back in the tub ,and was overjoyed that she said it was okay.

It was a comfort thorough it all, as Bron counted by tens, through each one minute long contraction. The first 30 seconds were hard, and the last 30 were terrible !! But it was a comfort to have his voiceover in all the blur and pain of 12 hours of labor! I pushed for about an hour . Pushing is not easy, and very painful of course, but it is so nice that you can do something with the pain! No more counting, just finally being able to push and Lord willing, be finished with it all soon, and meet your baby.

When she was almost there, with her head/shoulders out ,MerryLee knew it would be my last push and said : “Liz, reach down and grab your baby!” I hadn’t at all planned to be the one to do that, but I was! And it was pretty awesome! One last push, and I reached down and pulled her up out of the water and onto my chest. And so, Emmylou was born around 2:30 in the morning, making my labor about 13 hours total.

Because we didn’t cut the chord right away, and maybe because of the easier transition of womb to water, she didn’t cry right away. She literally opened her eyes and looked up at Bron who was right behind me . Of course who knows how well infants can see, but her eyes were open and just looked like she was trying to figure out what was going on.

It was just crazy! 30 seconds before, I was in major pain and anguish and it was loud;) . And then she was here, quietly on my shoulder , “looking” around. Bron told me she looked like my Dad. We just looked at her and couldn’t believe how little and how pretty she was !! I was so glad it was over and so glad Emmylou was here with us ! MerryLee splashed her with water to get her clean, and I said “I can’t believe how loud I was !!” She laughed, “You weren’t that bad.” Oh, but I was. 😉

Some people don’t like the idea of water birth, because then after baby is born, you’re in there with all the after-birth stuff;} But truly, I have no memories of that ! When I look back on this moment, it’s just me and Bron and baby Emmy looking at each other and being so happy. I can’t remember what the water looked like. Sorry, weird note to end on perhaps?

In John 11 it says, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.”

That moment in the tub ,after the hours and hours of pain! and how it was suddenly just gone. I was holding that sweet baby, seeing her face for the first time, and all was truly so joyful and peaceful. God brings that picture to mind often. When hard things come and they just go on and on, and lay us low and last for months and months, or years and years! The tears and the prayers; the anguish: It won’t last. On Earth, if the Lord allows. If not on Earth, in Eternity when we shall see His face.

Of course, friends who have had babies and enjoyed epidurals can still relate to this! And I have friends who have desired natural births and were not able to experience it. And I have friends who lost babies, early in pregnancy or late in pregnancy. So this pain for hours and hours that was suddenly gone ,and made sweet and fruitful is not a perfect picture. But it is a picture we can all know in Christ. All of our anguish will be a distant memory one day. All will be worth it when we see His face.

Even if I got out of the tub and into the reality of life with the newborn- shocked at how hard recovery was for me! I was shocked with how hard nursing was, and how the lack of sleep everyone warns you of really is true. And how hard everything in life becomes when sleep deprived and hormonal and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing!

But there is so much joy that outweighs it all, and there is the sweetness of God’s help through the transition. For me the Lord has used that picture often as a reminder and encouragement to my heart throughout these last 5 years as a Mom.

A few pictures of our sweet girl in those first days:

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How I got Lyme Disease, and how I am treating it.

I really don’t want this to become a Lyme Disease blog, but, lots of people ask me these questions and I am not the most articulate person! So I thought I’d write a post.

*Side note* Ever since I shared my post last week, I get a nervous shiver down my spine whenever I remember that like everyone I know can read my thoughts! I’m not sure why it feels so much more vulnerable than what I would normally post on social media, or what I see others post on social media?? But I’ll get over it, hehe. Blogging will be fun and helpful for me, and I hope to be an encouragement! Also, I hope to not always be talking about such serious topics, hehe, but to also share favorite recipes and home décor, or my new vintage table cloth I found at a yard sale for $4.00. Things like that. ❤

So, how did I get Lyme disease? The short answer is: I don’t know.

And when did I get it? I’m not quite sure either.

I did not have a “bulls eye” rash. That’s another question I get asked a lot.

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But I can tell you that everyone in Lancaster county is talking about it. And everyone in the surrounding counties too!

In May, I took my girls to visit a camp I grew up going to, about an hour away. We stopped for lunch and there was a group of 3 older men a few tables away. They were loudly exchanging stories of a friend who had just discovered he had Lyme for years. They talked loudly about this friend’s “brain fog”, and insomnia, and joint pain. And, “When we were kids, we were outside all the time and never had to worry about ticks!” I wondered if they would want to know that the Mom a few tables across the room had a similar experience to their friend ! I felt like I should go up and say “Hey, me too!” , but I didn’t. ;]

I volunteered in the Spring to help at a fair at my old job, but I had to cancel after I had been feeling so sick. I emailed the man in charge of things, whom I’d never met, to let him know my situation. He wrote back saying he would pray for me! His wife was recovering from Lyme and he knew how hard it could be.

The lady at the front desk at the blood work lab, when I got my positive results back, told me about her adult daughter who was sick in bed for months until she recovered. She gave me the name of the place she had her treatment.

I ran into a friend at the chiropractor, and she asked what I was coming in for. when I told her I just found out I had Lyme disease, she said she was there to be checked for Lyme too! She texted me later that it was positive on her test.

A lady at Crossfit told me that both her daughter and her husband had it, and “half the people” on her street.

There are at least 4 or 5 other ladies at my church who have, or have had it. Which is a blessing to be able to glean wisdom and advice from them.

But, it is just so strange how prevalent this is! Whenever I tell a new person about my situation, 9 times out of 10, someone has a story of a friend or family member who is going through it.

M. Night Shyamalan should make another PA-based scary film on it, because it’s really kinda creepy!

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All that to say, I got it somewhere in the course of my normal life in PA. I wonder if I got it this time last year, because I really started to struggle with a lot of physical anxiety symptoms. I really felt like my body was weak and something was going on.

But it wasn’t until this past February when my joints started to hurt a lot, and I just felt like something was off. After research, I thought I maybe had a thyroid disease. But my family doctor recommended I check for Lyme too, just in case. My chiropractor also saw Lyme in my muscle testing, which I got confirmed with blood work.

Which leads me into how we are treating.

So, I do love natural health – I think it’s so cool how many things we can treat naturally, and it causes me to worship God in my heart. It makes me happy when I can find a natural way to treat something, or to learn new things about the value of whole foods nutrition and things like that.

But, I also have to be really careful to not let it become an idol in my heart, or a way that I feel like I can obtain holiness and peace apart from Christ! Also, I really am always double checking to make sure my husband is in agreement with the ways I desire for it to be a part of our family life.

All that to say and a long story short, we are doing antibiotics!

My chiropractor, who is holistically minded, actually recommended I take them. If you know what muscle testing is, I “test strong” for them every time. And for my husband, when my weird natural doctor, and our respectable family doctor, are both recommending the same thing-  it seems wise to start there. And I feel good about doing what my husband feels good about. 🙂

Alongside my antibiotic, I am also doing weekly procedures at the chiropractor’s office to assist in healing and pain relief, and also help with any negative effects of my antibiotic. I am taking a bunch of herbal supplements and a hardcore probiotic too.

I also am trying to be careful to be healthy in what I eat, mostly not too much sugar or refined carbs, and to go to Crossfit as much as I can. I notice such a difference in how I feel when I can commit to those things! But I also apply Grace there, because I just can’t keep up with them as perfectly as I’d like to!

So, that’s where we’re at. Sometimes I feel a little like an imposter of a natural-health-loving-person, but we truly have peace for antibiotics now. Lyme is a bacteria, and if we can kill it, we’re going to try!

From what we have read and seen, the 100% natural route can take years to fully heal someone. And I have a home and family to take care of and I don’t feel like I have years to lay on the couch! We would like to have more children, and get on with our life, Lord Willing. 🙂

God promises to use trials for good, and we truly have seen that in our life. We are growing closer together as a family, and God hasn’t left us to fend for ourselves.

There are many days when I struggle of course, and wish we didn’t have to deal with this! But we’ve seen Him lead us through it all, just as He always will. We are trusting Him. Psalm 23 comes to mind often: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

 

 

When my daughter cheered me on.

This article: [ http://herviewfromhome.com/when-motherhood-is-absolutely-defeating/ ] popped up on my facebook feed yesterday morning and it so resonated with me!

I’ve been feeling this way so very much, specifically toward one of my children. It could be such an ugly shameful thought for a Mother. But if we bring it to the light, the brokenness becomes a beautiful thing as it reminds us we can’t do anything apart from Grace.

And often for me, I’ve been surprised to learn that half the ladies in the room can relate to those ugly thoughts!, and to realize that actually they are not so much ugly thoughts as they are *super common thoughts* for Moms. Especially Moms of the really little ones! And more than that, an opportunity to know in a fresh way how much we need the Gospel.

So, that’s been a continual lesson in Motherhood for me, and even more so with having Lyme disease. It’s like everything that was ever hard for me as a Mom before has been made even harder with Lyme–

my relationship with my oldest child is among those things.

But I want to share a story about how God brought sweetness there yesterday, because I want to write it all down before I forget.

So, yesterday was the 4th of July. I woke up rather grumpy, as I’ve been feeling sick again lately, and I’m one week into my second month’s round of antibiotics, which I hoped and prayed I wouldn’t need.

This summer, my children are living a lifestyle of having a Mommy who can’t always get to their needs right away. There are alot of tantrums and alot of not so pretty moments– both from them, and from me! There’s alot of screen time and alot of piles of unfolded laundry. The sun is shining and it’s beautiful out, and we’re inside more often than not. It’s been especially hard recently for my almost 5 year old.

I listed all my worries and (faithless) concerns to my husband yesterday morning. I went on about how all my friends keep telling me God will use this time in the girl’s life for good, but! it’s hard to see how 3 movies a day and an often tired, often joyless Mama can bear any good fruit!

We’ve been getting into the habit of eating all our meals at our kitchen counter, which is quick and easy, instead of the table- which is never how I wanted our family to live. I want us to be a family who eats meals together around a table and enjoys eachother’s company! But there’s not been much enjoying of eachother’s company these days. And Emmylou, how I so want to have a strong relationship with her, but I feel so ill-equipped for her and her passionate personality most days!

Bron listened ,and then he let me sleep in a little more while he made breakfast for the girls.

He woke me up a little later and said breakfast was ready ::in the dining room::. I wanted to be cranky…but, I couldn’t when I saw his sweet effort to bless his cranky wife.

So, I joined him and the girls around the table. He prayed and the girls fought over who got to pray first prayed. We ate our food, and then Bron asked “So, are you gonna go to Crossfit?” There was a special 9am workout for the holiday, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. I thought it was obvious that I shouldn’t! I wasn’t feeling good, physically or mentally! But often Crossfit helps me with both of those things, he reminded me.

Also, it would be nice to get out of the house… so, I had 10 minutes to decide, and… I got ready to go! Both girls yammered on about how they want to come too, and somehow got the idea that they were coming with me.

As I headed toward the garage, I heard the familiar dramatic cry of my 4yo, who thought she would get to come! For some reason, I had compassion on her, instead of being annoyed by the whining. And even though one of the main reasons I was going was to get some alone time(!) , I agreed she could come. Bron said he’d distract Sadie. 🙂

Emmy wiped her tears, and ran upstairs. She quickly emerged triumphant in her way-too-big green soccer shorts, and her Hello Kitty sneakers. She asked me to put her hair up in a bun like mine. I immediately saw Grace in the fact that even though I’ve been so hard on her lately, she still wanted to be just like her Mommy. How could I resist?

When we got there, the gym was super full since it was the only workout of the day. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea that I brought her! The music was loud of course, which she doesn’t prefer, and she wouldn’t be able to hear the iPad I had brought just in case. But Emmy didn’t seem to mind. I got her comfortable with her notebook and pen, and told her she could watch me from the couch.

The workout began and I glanced over at her every few seconds, but she was pretty into her drawing everytime I looked. I figured with the loud music and all the commotion, she would just be in her own little world the whole time, and would probably never want to come again. But at least she finally could see what it was like there.

When I got to the last part of the first round,Thrusters [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aea5BGj9a8Y ], my bar was a few yards away from her, facing her direction. I squatted down with the weight, kind of having second thoughts as to whether it was wise I was working out so hard when I haven’t been feeling well! As I stood up and pressed the weight overhead, [picture an epic and strong (but not so epic/strong) lady holding big weighted bar over her head] I saw the sweetest thing. In the midst of the loud, cramped gym, full of all these people who are stronger and faster than me, I saw Emmylou.

She jumped down from the little couch & her pen and paper,

and stood up to give me TWO BIG THUMBS UP!

-with the biggest smile on her face- ,

looking me right in the eye as I pressed the weight up.

She had her eyes right on me, and she was cheering me on. She was so proud of me!! She didn’t care who saw her doing it! I am fighting tears as I type, because it was just such an encouragement to me in this current season. I never want to forget those two little thumbs up!

Emmy was so proud of me, even though I’d truly been feeling like I’m failing her so much as a Mom. She wasn’t harboring any bitterness about me in the last few days, she probably doesn’t even remember! She certainly doesn’t understand how much I wish I was doing a better job! She’s just a little 4 year old girl,

and she was jumping up and down with her little thumbs up,

and her messy bun,

and favorite big soccer shorts,

proud of me, and happy to call me her Mommy.

I gotta say I felt fresh strength to keep pressing that weight overheard as she watched me, with such sweet, pure little-girl joy and excitement. 🙂

I was so close to not even taking her! And I would have missed that sweet moment that was such a picture of God’s grace to me and to my family in this season; His care for me and His care for my children.

Her cheering me on was a gift to me. A timely reminder that we’re okay, our relationship is not destroyed by a few hard days in a row. God’s grace is there. Love covers a multitude of sins.

But I also was reminded that being strong for her, in my weakness, that’s a gift to her too. And by God’s grace I can keep giving her that gift each day, pushing through the pain of this current season, and showing her what it is to trust God in trials.

I can’t help but wonder if what made my little girl so proud of me at that moment was that fact that she’s seen me on the couch all week. She could sense the significance of me being able to do something difficult even though I’m sick.

If she is almost 5, and able to rejoice with me, and cheer me on now,

I can have hope that when she’s 10 and 15 and 20,

she’ll rejoice with me too. As life goes on, and brings more trials and joys, she’ll see my weakness more and more. And may she see God’s goodness more and more.

And before too long, I’ll have the privilege to cheer her on and rejoice with her as God uses her weaknesses and trials for her good and His glory.

She followed me for the rest of the workout , weaving through all the strong & sweaty people, snapping her fingers (she’s very proud of herself that she knows how to snap her fingers) to the loud music, and doing a couple push-ups of her own every now and then.

I got home, and showered, and we got ready for more 4th of July festivities, and there was sweetness between me and my daughter where there is usually strain.

God used that time I took Emmy to Crossfit to make our relationship stronger, and I hope I never forget!

 

Ladies out there, if you are feeling weak as a Mom, be encouraged. Remember that God uses our weakness for His glory. I’m sure your children are more proud of you than you can imagine! Just in a similar way that God is more pleased with us than we can imagine, dare I say. He uses our children’s unconditional love, despite how we fail them again and again, to remind us of His. And He’s cheering us on.

.

 

2 weeks ago, I started a post about how much better I had been feeling since I last wrote.

By God’s grace, I was keeping up with the house and meal planning and grocery shopping.  I’d even figured out more efficient methods of doing those things than ever before, & I happily declared I would continue to use my new methods even when sickness is no longer part of my daily life.

The girls were enjoying bringing their sleeping bags onto the floor into my room in the afternoons while I napped. (They both have the gift of no longer needing naps after the age of 2 and a half, so they have “quiet time”.)

I could see their little relationship growing as they had to entertain each other more as I rested. They were so content to play, and help Mommy, and were finding fun in taking care of me.

Bron has been making dinner once or twice a week and discovered he is really good at making grain-free pizza crust! Ask him for the recipe sometime:)

I had made it to church 2 weeks in a row, and I didn’t feel destroyed with exhaustion for the rest of the day.

All these sweet things where God was bringing good out of trial. All the verses about God working all things together for good were on my heart, and I was thanking Him for using this trial for good in my life.

But then,

Oy,

reality slap–

I’ve been feeling so sick again.

Fatigue and dizziness and nausea and migraines constantly. Joint pain. Anxiety and Insomnia.

Meal planning/housework? Girls pleasantly entertaining each other while I rest?? Not so much.

It seemed as if all the skills God was helping to build up in me, in dealing with sickness while caring for a family, were falling through my fingers! The crumbs on the floor I couldn’t get to, and the handprints on the windows growing in number each day; the puddles on the floor from potty training gone-wrong;[ (The last of which I had to clean up right away of course! the others would have to wait.)

But no, of course, this is where God wants me.

Leaning on Him each day, trusting Him for what it will bring, trusting Him for how much strength I’ll have, and to give wisdom for what to do and what to let go.

As I look back on last week as I start another, there was sweetness in the midst of the difficulty:

A friend from out of town is home for a couple weeks and we enjoyed a nice long visit. And time with her made me truly forget about how I was feeling.

Though I wasn’t able to be out in the warm weather all day blowing bubbles with my girls, (or reading in the sun while they played!) I was able to pop out for 15 minutes or so at a time.

And Bron has continued to shine as our dinner chef.

.

I was listening to an old Sovereign Grace album on the drive home from PreK. I was feeling discouraged and tired, and this song brought tears of joy to my eyes and fresh meaning to my situation: :https://sovereigngracemusic.bandcamp.com/track/before-the-cross

“My Savior’s sacrifice paid for all my sin,

So in my suffering, I look to the cross again.
No need, no want, no trial, no pain can compare to this:
The wrath of God, once meant for me was all spent on Him.”

The amazing truth of the Gospel brings beauty to all areas of my life, but most especially trials. No trial can compare to the fact that God has taken the pain of my sin upon Himself!! He loved me and gave Himself for Me!!

“In my darkest hour, [His] presence is my peace.

In my days of joy, [His] grace carries me. ”

“[His] finished work captures my gaze.”

& brings beauty, and peace and even joy, to my current situation. Thank you Jesus!

 

 

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A few pictures taken in a 15 minute outside session.
A few pictures captured while we played outside.

It was the middle of the night, and I was up– which is not at all unusual for me for the past (almost) 5 years. But this time I was awoken, not by a little hand on my shoulder whispering “Mommy?”, (or , more often, a little scream down the hall calling my name!) – but,

by this new thing in my life- pain like screw drivers in my knees, and up and down my legs…. I had recently found out I have Lyme Disease, and this pain is something I’m getting used to. It doesn’t sound like it should be such a big deal, and some days I barely notice it. But that night it was particularly bad, and I was in tears and I had to wake up my husband…

I had just gotten the positive blood work back that Monday, and it was initially a relief to know I wasn’t making it all up in my head!

I had cancelled on friends for the Philadelphia Flower Show because I had been feeling so bad for the past 2 months. We had a date night at home because I didn’t feel like I could leave the house. I skipped Crossfit a bunch of times because I couldn’t squat in the morning. I felt like I needed a nap every day, even on days when the girls hadn’t woken me the night before so I was able to sleep all night. I felt like I was catching a bad cold every week.

Chronic fatigue and joint pain, and terrible immune system—but all those things could be from Mom life right? But aren’t I too young to have bad knees and hips? Maybe it’s from Crossfit? …But then some days I felt fine. I went back and forth in my head about it, but we felt like something was off, so I went to the Doctor .

I thought it was my thyroid because there’s family history there. And when I went to my Doctor, he agreed, that’s probably what it was. “But we’ll check for Lyme too, just in case.” I didn’t think that would be necessary.

I go to a holistic chiropractor too, I didn’t mention Lyme to him because it truly wasn’t on my radar. But without knowing it had already been suggested, he suggested I get a Lyme blood test too. I was “showing for Lyme” , however those natural doctors can see those things;}

Long story short, the thyroid panel came back negative, and the Lyme was positive. I was surprised at first- but like I said, relieved, that I wasn’t making it all up in my head.

But then the second day as I researched a little, I was immediately overwhelmed at all the stories of how long it can take to get rid of! And how research is showing it doesn’t just come from ticks, but the Lyme bacteria can come from mosquitos and mice and other little gross things….

Thinking about how and when I got  it can make me go crazy…so , I’m done with the research.

But : the hardest part : is that we were planning to try for another baby this summer- but I just couldn’t imagine adding pregnancy to this pain and fatigue!

All those things were swirling around in my head that night when I woke up my husband, and he was gracious and sweet with his ailing wife.

I told him how I had truly been getting excited about having another baby- the girls seem so ready, and they talk about their “baby brother” as if he already exists. We all have got into the habit of calling our spare bedroom “the baby’s room.” We  had already planned for a bigger age gap between our 2nd and 3rd child…now it will grow bigger.

My husband, though sleepy, had such comforting truth for me: “God knows when our next baby will be born.”, he simply said.

There’s an imaginary idea of what a Godly husband and father should look like. But for my husband, this is what his leadership often looks like: speaking simple truth in hard moments, that wash over it all and bring truth and comfort and grace.

It was one of those moments when you’re so discouraged, and the next moment your lifted up and your faith is renewed.  My husband reminded me Who is in control of this story.

So the next day when I went to the chiropractor, and asked him his opinion about getting pregnant while having Lymes, I didn’t have an inner meltdown when he said it is a good idea to wait.

The peace that came with my husband’s words late the night before washed over me again, and I knew this was the path God has for us now.

This was just a couple weeks ago, and by God’s grace I’ve held two sweet newborns of two sweet friends, and it was a sweet moment between the Lord and me. My oldest sister had her 4th baby. I can smell those sweet newborn smells and hear those sweet newborn sounds, and not have a jealous bitter heart for the gift He’s given those friends and my sister, and for now has set aside till later for me.

I can enjoy this summer with my family: gardening and grilling, picnics in the yard, chalk and bubbles, the free petting zoo and a pool membership, walks around the neighborhood with the girls in the wagon, meeting up with friends at the park, snuggling together and watching movies in the air conditioning–

there is so much to enjoy and be thankful for, though there is pain with Lyme,

and pain for a hope deferred.

But God is sovereign over all, and my comfort and joy in both.

I may blog a little here and there about my time with Lyme because I can already see God using it for good in my life.  This could be a short thing that becomes just a memory, -my honest prayer! Or, it could be something that takes a long time to figure out and get rid of.

It’s impossible to predict, but I can predict that God will be faithful to me. He knows how long my time with Lyme will be. He knows when our next child will be born.

 

 

“Bitterness dissolves when I remember the kind of love with which He has loved me- He gave Himself for me. He gave a Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. Whatever He is doing now, therefore, is not cause for bitterness. It has to be designed for good, because He loved me and gave Himself for me.” -Elisabeth Elliot , Keep a Quiet Heart

 

Imagining too much and forgetting my duties.

“My besetting sin is imagining too much and forgetting my duties.”

– Anne of Green Gables.

^That has been true of me as long as I can remember:) But I now find myself as a 28 year old homemaker, with two little girls to take care of and a house to run, seeking to find ways to do all things involved there more gracefully and efficiently.

I am creative, which now is mostly expressed in decorating my home, because I can hardly think straight to :actually sit down make things: like I used to- but! I do dream and pray that can be part of my life again someday! I’ll blog about those sorts of things.

This blog will be a little journal for me, with hopes to encourage other Moms who, like me and Anne, aren’t as naturally gifted in homemaking things- but who so desire to learn and grow! I dream of having a beautiful garden and a close-knit family, both of which require hard work and patience– two things which I didn’t realize :don’t: come naturally to me until I became a Mom!

I’ll write about how God is stretching me and showing me my weaknesses and turning them into something beautiful for His glory. I hope to encourage other ladies out there to do the same with the circumstances in which God has you.

Besides that, I’ll probably go on about my favorite vintagey things such as floral wallpaper and mix-matched china plates,

And butter, and the Bible– also vintage, right? 😉

My hope is that this can be a happy, uplifting place for friends and family to stop by- rather than leaving feeling bogged down and guilty and wondering why you ever go online!! Or am I the only one who feels like that when scrolling blogs and social media?

Okay, bye for now:) Thanks for stopping by, I’ll be back soon!

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^My 2 year old Sadie, with messy hair and bare feet and her dress up clothes.