Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Perfection in Imperfection

I am, finally, the mother of a beautiful baby boy.  He is wonderful.  He didn't used to keep me up all night until this week, and this is week #3.  The first two weeks were laden with intermittent pain and euphoria  of having a perfect baby, one who only woke up once a night.  Of course, that has changed now as he begins to transition out of the newborn stage.

The boy eats like a horse (like his dad) and can't be wakened if he is asleep (also like his dad).  He is stubborn (will cry for hours if you don't hold him) and expressive (he gets that from me).  :)

I love him so much.  I don't know what I will do when someone hurts him.   It will be very hard for me not to kill them.  You thought I was crazy before?  You should see me now that I'm a mom.

We lost our sweet puppy dog, Angel, earlier this week, and for the first time in over a month, I felt really depressed.  I will always miss her, since she was my first dog and I got her during a time when I was mourning my friend's death and other things going on in my life at the time.  She helped me to deal with things emotionally, and because of that, I think of her as a true friend that God blessed me with at the right time.  And she left at a good time too, when I have an infant who is becoming more vocal.  To be honest, I don't have much time to dwell on the sadness, though I still have my moments.

What's the most encouraging thing of all of this?  I can feel myself growing.  I can see my relationship with my husband getting stronger, though I thought the opposite was supposed to happen.

My husband is my best friend, and he has been very supportive and sweet throughout everything.  He tells me how awesome I am at being a mom.  He is becoming the loving father that I always dreamed of...and a better husband because of it.

People have stepped up and helped us in so many ways, I can't thank them enough.  We have been given countless gift cards, checks, gifts, clothes for Sampson.  My church has been awesome.  My pastor and his wife brought over food and a gift card for groceries from them and other members.  Friends have offered to babysit and give a hand, gladly.  I have never felt so loved.

Though life will continue to be hard, because that is just life, I am more confident that life will be okay.  It doesn't weigh on my shoulders anymore.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tick Tock

Any day now.  I have contractions all night long, and yes, they are really painful.  I'm about to burst.  I know I'm a mom, and yet, I still don't feel like it.  I think I emotionally distanced myself when I was spotting and cramping early on in pregnancy, and definitely more so when they said something could be wrong with Sampson.  It was so heart wrenching, I feel like I turned myself off or something.  I know he's going to be okay now, or at least I think, but you never know.  The thought of loss early on was hard enough.  I couldn't imagine now.

As a result of turning my emotions off, I feel absent sometimes, and it almost feels like a dream.  I know a human being is inside me, but I can't imagine how I should love him or how I should be feeling.  I'm anticipating, but I feel guilty for not feeling completely overjoyed.  I feel guilty for the worry I feel.  I wonder what having a child will do to my marriage, to our finances, because I know all too well that adding another factor just makes things harder.  And how will I deal with it all?  How could I be a good mom?  The list of questions goes on and on in my head.  My mom says it will change when I hold him.  I'm sure it will, but I feel like I'm in a constant state of shell shock, and I don't know what to feel.

I love my child, but I don't know what that means.  I guess I'm just going to find out, right?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In a World that is Mourning

There are days like these when it is impossible not to shed a handful of tears.  Even with years between now and when you lost someone, the wound still seems raw.  You see it on people's faces.  It's not just 9/11.  It's not just parents of soldiers lost in the wars of the last decade.  Death is everywhere, whether loud and apparent like 09/11 or Syria, or quiet and stabbing, excruciatingly quick like a young mother losing her child before he is born or a bride dead on her wedding night.  It can be long and drawn out like watching your mother and all that made her wonderful disappear before your eyes, piece by beautiful piece.  Death is pervasive and each situation arduous, grueling.

Death tests the spirit to the core.  It is the ultimate loss.  It is a realization that your life will never be the same--a hole will always be where he or she was-- and that one day, you too will walk through a similar door into the unknown.  So many have gone before, and more and more are going every day, but it doesn't dull the knife of pain death brings.  Years pass and Death will scar your life, leaving marks on you with each and every precious person he takes.

I see how Death makes people despair.  I must admit that I, too, am pierced by Death and what he has done in my own life.  I still struggle with how much I miss those gone in my life, and I am young.  I know well that it will only happen more often, and that's something I must come to accept.

But I have something most people don't have.  I have a Hope that my life now--the past, present and future--is only temporary, including the pain, no matter how unbearable.  I have Someone to hold on to when everything else fails, and when Death comes calling, I have a Friend that comforts me, and He's closer than a brother.  He gives a peace that no one person or thing can offer.  It gets hard, yes, but if there is one thing I wish I could impart to you, if there is only one thing that you would ever hear from me, it would be that He is there for you, too.  He has rivers of infinite mercy waiting for you, no matter where you have been.  You may think He is a figment of my imagination, or that He's a god that has never cared, but I know from my own life that He sees you and everything you have been through and He grieves for your broken heart.  He has lost, in fact, He sent His only Son for you.  You will never understand why, I know I don't, but I trust this Friend and He has brought me through every pain I've had.  Not only that, but He conquered Death, as impossible as it sounds, He defeated it to where sin, death, and pain no longer reign, He does.  This Friend cares, even if you fight Him, even if you hate Him.  I have hated Him and cursed Him, and still He has followed me to the darkest pits to pull me out.

I only pray you allow Him to do the same for you.

"There's bound to come some trouble in your life, reach out to Jesus, and hold on tight.  He's been there before and He knows what it's like, and you'll find He's there."--Rich Mullins

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bombs in Syria

Should we or should we not strike Syria?

It's been several weeks since images of the devastation of Syrian civil war leaked into the news.  And now, the White House even has a video of people, including young children, dying from the gas attacks.  Thousands have died.

Is it wrong?  


Should we interfere?  

In my opinion, no.

We have spent the last twelve years in war in the Middle East, and Syria's civil war isn't the only conflict where thousands of people are losing their lives.  Egypt anyone? Libya?  And there are even more countries where people have been systematically killed and we turned a blind eye.  My question for the president is simply this:  What about Syria is so different that we should get involved?  Iraq is a prime example of jumping into a war for reasons that aren't readily proven.  Weapons of mass destruction?  And remember, Congress supported Bush then.  Congress isn't so sure now.

We don't want to help the Syrian rebels.  They are al-Qaeda sympathizers.  And honestly, the chemical attack is terrible and gruesome, but what's the difference between that and Egypt's military mowing down innocent people with guns?

What does Syria have that we want?  I really wonder why Obama is pushing this so hard.  Because my generation is tired of the US being the self-proclaimed international policeman that no one wants in their country.  Personally, I think intervention in Iraq helped the country and opened up a life for women and children who were treated like animals.  All the same, looking back, was it worth the billions of dollars and thousands of lives we spent?  I don't think we are in a place financially to spread ourselves out even more thin, actually both monetarily and with our troops.  We should be wrapping up the wars we are still in now.  It's been twelve years.  We have been in war for half of my life now.  It's time for it to end.

How about you?  What do you think? Answer the poll on the top right of the page, or comment below.

Here is a link about this debate.

Read up on it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another Season of Waiting

So, I'm in another part of life that requires patience...waiting.  I'm waiting on Sampson.  Waiting on God.  Waiting on opportunity.  Waiting on security.  Just waiting.

I'm not as completely freaked out as I expected myself to be.  This is the second time this year that I find myself without a job.  I used to apply to about thirty different jobs a week a year or two ago.  But earlier this year, when a good job as a book publisher went under, I applied at different places--but I also took a number a man from Mardel gave me.  I called it and scheduled an appointment at a temp agency.  I was put on a temporary project with Chesapeake not a week later.  The pay was the same as my job as a publisher.  I thought I might even get a chance to be hired on.

It was a good seven month run, the same amount of time I was with On Demand Books.  I wasn't cut when most people (about half) were, and my original prayer of making it to September was answered.  Praise God for His graciousness in that.  I made it as far as is comfortable.  We have enough savings to last us about two months, and I'm already applying for jobs as we speak, so I can get hired on in November after I have Sampy.  I'm not stressed like I thought I would be.  God has taken care of Breck and me.  He will continue to do so.

All the same, prayers are always greatly appreciated.  The support of a brother or sister with prayer is always uplifting, and it makes this sometimes hard battle of faith easier.

I remember when I praised God about getting the Chesapeake job earlier this year, an Atheist man asked me why I was giving glory to God about a job I busted my tail to earn, and a job that I was perfectly qualified for, so why was I surprised about getting it?

I spent the first year out of college married, working for $9/hr, and I was the only one working for six months, too.  It was rough.  There were weeks we went without groceries to make rent.  We ate potatoes and macaroni.  That's it.  I applied for every job I could, but no matter how many times I called back or no matter what I applied for, I wasn't getting any response.

Mind you, I know that I'm not the only person who experienced this.  We are in the middle of a Great Recession, and I know plenty of people with degrees applying for the same $10/hr jobs I was.  It didn't matter what your experience was, no one was hiring.  They were hiring administrative assistants with master's degrees.  Isn't that funny?  Getting paid $10/hr with a master's degree?  So, all of us new graduates had no chance at what traditionally has been reserved for entry level college graduates.  All of the experienced workers from across the nation faced lay offs, and guess what?  They came to Oklahoma for jobs...even jobs that they wouldn't want, such as secretarial and administrative jobs.  And the college kids like me?  We were stuck waiting tables, waiting for our turn to jump on any ladder that had nothing to do with sales.  And believe me, there weren't any at the time.

I only had two interviews in that first year after college, after applying at hundreds of places.  I finally remember telling God, "Okay, I get it.  I'm not going anywhere.  You want me to wait?  I'll wait."  Within a month I was told of an opportunity with On Demand Books.  My music minister and friend, Darrell, let me know about it.  I was one of three people interviewed, and I got the job.

Sadly, the company had to close their locations, and mine was the first to go.  It was just the wrong time to introduce printing and publishing when iPads and Kindles were taking over the market.  Print readership is down and will continue to decline, so in all reality, I shouldn't have been surprised.  My professors warned me of things like this in 2007 when I entered the journalism program at UCO.  They were right.  It's only going to continue changing, and traditional media is going to die out if it doesn't evolve with the rest of the world.

So, after being let go, I was ready for the long haul.  I knew it could be a while before I found a job that would provide for my family like I needed.  But a week later, God came through.  It had nothing to do with me.  In fact, the less I worry about what I have no control over, the more room for God to do something amazing. I'm excited to see what He will do with this one.  :)

Two or three years ago, I would be having a mental and emotional breakdown over this.  I would be destroyed.  But I'm grateful for the growth that I couldn't achieve without Him.  The peace I have right now is not of me.  It isn't my nature.  I'm a neurotic and obsessive person.  I'm a control freak.  But when I let these things go and put them in His hands, I'm free.  I can only do what I can, and believe me, I'm applying for jobs and looking for ways to provide for my family, but I also know that what God wants for me will happen.  I cannot change His will, and freaking out and acting out of desperation only tells Him that I don't believe He'll take care of me.

I'm glad He has taken care of me over the past few years, and I'm glad for the peace He gives me now.  I'm glad I'm not in control.  I don't want to be.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

From the Wild

I will soon be a mother.  I guess this realization makes me more sentimental than I otherwise would be.  I also guess that most children, no matter how much they say they hated their hometowns growing up, long for home when they are finally grown.  I'm having a baby now, am I grown?

My home is a wild land, dry and harsh, hot, cold, empty and barren.  Phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint refuse to operate there since it's such a high cost area.  My father is employed at Panhandle Telephone, Inc., so I remember him explaining why no one wanted to be there.

And it's true.  No one sets out to Guymon, Goodwell, Boise City, etc., looking to start a life unless they grew up there.  Heck, I always said I would never come back, and who knows if I ever will.  And the people who grew up there are well rooted in families whose great-grandparents came for free farm and ranch land.  They are a tough people, friendly, stubborn and determined.  They come from people who stayed during the hardest time, and rode out the Great Depression, clouds of dust, and constant loss.  These are the people that didn't shudder at hard times, these active and hardworking ancestors.  They knew more than anyone what the very bottom felt like.  They also knew that helping each other was the only way to survive.

I suppose the only people coming to the panhandle looking to start a life these days are those who are brought in by the hog and beef farms, but until the 1990s, there really wasn't an influx.  I hear Guymon is growing now, changing much like other small towns.  Things are different.  The people coming in are still the hardworking type.  They're still the underdogs.

I introduce myself to people and tell them where I'm from--I take my left hand and use it as an Oklahoma map to show them where I call home.  I also explain that I'm in the part most weathermen cut off the screen.  I'm from where most politicians dismiss as unnecessary when it comes to running for things.  People really disregard us, and they shouldn't.  But you can't understand this all unless you've lived in the panhandle. 

No one wants no man's land, and when I left at 18, I drove away and didn't look back.  I didn't cry.  The big city awaited me.  The nearest "city" to Guymon is Amarillo and that's about two hours away, so you can imagine how a small-town girl felt moving to the city by herself.

It was liberating.

All the same, I can attribute a lot of my stubborn, hardworking tendencies to the panhandle that shaped my daddy, his daddy, and his daddy before him.  The same panhandle where my grandmother met my papa on Main Street.  The small, sleepy town that endures droughts, dust storms, ice and snow, tornadoes and 90 mph straight winds (trust me, our fence blew over twice) is the town that polished me.  The people, all of whom know your parents and grandparents, are friendly and they watch out for each other.  There is no road rage.  It only takes five minutes to get to the other side of town.

And really, it is a beautiful place, though there aren't any real trees.  That's the best thing about the panhandle--the sky is so open, and when the thunderheads come in bringing with them the sweet and rare smell of rain, there really isn't anything more beautiful.  Especially when they ride in during the sunset...painted pinks, oranges, and reds.  The lightning fills the sky, surrounded by super-cell mountains.  After months of arid wind, I can promise you there is nothing else that lifts a panhandler's spirits more than rain.  In fact, even when it's flooding here in the city after an overly wet season, I could never tire of it.  That's how much I love rain.

I always gripe about that drive back home, but honestly, it's always a good time to listen to my favorite music and take in the scenery and beautiful sunset clouds.  It's perfect for soul searching, because nothing does the soul more good than a long journey home to family, friends and memories.  That desert-like land will always be a part of me, and someday I'll tell Sampson all the stories I heard from my dad and grandparents.  The roots will always run deep.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

So, besides me being pregnant...

Life is crazy.  I'm seven months pregnant, and I haven't posted anything on this blog in over eight months.  Living life can take a lot of effort and cooking a bun in the oven, yeah talk about mentally and physically exhausting.  Add on to that the death of my great grandmother, moving out of an apartment into a new house, a graduating husband (who started grad school three weeks after graduation), my sister's wedding, a wedding shower for my friend I tried to help plan, the death of my husband's grandmother, and a temporary job on top of that.

Yeah, life is crazy.

I still haven't caught my breath really.

My brain is fuzzy, and the saying about pregnant women loosing IQ points really scares me.  So I have been reading everything from the Qua-ran to George Bush's Decision Points.  Another one I'm on right now is Jerusalem 1913 about Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  God, please let me still have a brain after having a baby and don't let it turn into complete mush.  Oh, and a body too.  GOD PLEASE LET MY BODY BOUNCE BACK...just a little.  PLEASE.  It probably won't completely though.  I have stretch marks on the back of my thighs like a cat went ape crazy on them.  Love it.