December 31, 2019. We are home owners. The family was seeing some awesome things happen, I’d just gotten a full time job, and it looked like things were going to be awesome. We celebrated New Year’s Eve and started January with bright eyes and bushy tails.
February 2020. It seemed that nothing was right. Family life was tiring- the kiddo’s disabilities made me feel like a failure as a mother. Mom-in-law had moved in and it wasn’t a good fit for her, so she moved out. The Husband was frustrated with MIL moving out. The new job, though I loved it, wasn’t exactly the dreamiest of dreams. I was doing my best, though it felt like I was putting out fires everywhere. My social life was suffering. Little did I know.
Friday, March 13, 2020. We were in lock-down. My job was furloughed, and over before it could even begin. It was deflating to find out that I received more money on Unemployment than working my full-time job. At first, I was freaked out by the isolation. Me, the hubby, the kid- all very extroverted. We were always out and about. Being at home, spending quality time with one another was really good for us. And we were saving more money by not going out all the time. Little did I know how much we would need it.
April-May 2020. I started using my free time, reading recipe books and watching YouTube videos on how to cook. I learned how to cook. I roasted lots of chickens. I even learned what spatch-cocking was. Before this time, the husband was responsible for the cooking. Then I took on the responsibility. And I cook very well now. It’s the clean up that’s now the struggle.
June-July-August 2020. Lots of virtual meet ups with friends and family. My Kiddo turned 2 Years Old! Lots of Zoom Birthday Celebrations. I was “officially” fired from my job two days before we were supposed to be brought back on. Grief. Relief. Lots of depression.
September-October-November-December 2020. I started a small pod. Wrangling toddlers. Birthday for the Hubby. 8 Year Anniversary. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas.
January-February 2021. Just terrible things happening in the world. Rays of hope: Biden & Harris are the new leaders for America. Texas gets a little snow. The kiddo plays in snow. Texas Blizzard aka SnowVid2021. More Quarantine. More Cooking Food.
March-April-May 2021. Weather changes. Beginning to burn out with teaching. CoVid scare in the pod. Me and the husband get tested and vaccinated as soon as we possibly could. J&J- one and done. Symptoms were headache, fever, and muscles soreness which lasted for a day and a half for me, and only a day for the husband. The site of the shot was sore for a full week for me, the husband didn’t notice it too much.
June-July 2021. Finally socializing again! Lots of Camping. Beach! So Many Birthday Parties! Kiddo turns 3 Years Old!
August 2021. Delta Variant shuts down plans. Another CoVid exposure. Depression. Anger. Grief. Frustration. Toddler Pod Ends. I am toast.
August 31, 2021. Things are awful, great, weird, tiring, full, and just a spaghetti jumble of feelings and thoughts. So I’m going to blog again to make sense of this hot mess. It may not stick because I just flit here and there, and we’re in a pandemic. September is coming. Let’s do this.
A girl (if cis-gendered), and Cadence is what we are naming her. Her name is significant for us because she came in God’s timing and rhythm for us and our lives. She will likely be our first and only biological child, and we are so excited for her arrival.
But there have been complications since finding out we were going to have her. At week 5, they weren’t sure if she was a blighted ovum. At week 6, they found a heartbeat, but she had a low heart rate. At week 8, she seemed to be doing okay. At week 12, she was too jumpy, and there was too much sugar in my urine.
At week 15, I had a blood draw to test my hemoglobin, and was diagnosed with diabetes. At week 16, I started seeing MFM, was diagnosed with adult onset Type 1 diabetes and taking insulin. At 18 weeks, we found out we’d have a girl… with clubbed feet and some spine development issues. At 21 weeks, we had to go to Houston to confirm that she had no sacrum and no lumbar 4 & 5. She was diagnosed with Caudal Regression Syndrome (CRS), and she is likely to be in a wheel chair when the time comes. Now at 24 weeks, we’re being transferred to a different OB and different hospital.
There have been moments of grief and darkness, but God has been with us. We feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, and I feel Cadence jumping and partying down there, anytime we pray or receive prayer. And Jesus was a miracle worker, so we believe He can heal our daughter, and call her forth to walk.
My biggest prayer for the moment is to make it to full term, and to deliver her safely into my arms. All the other stuff can wait.
And no, I’m not talking about that song by Staind.
I have gone a lot longer without posting, but usually, November is the month that I amp up on writing. This November is a little different. I am not doing NaNoWriMo formally this year. I am opting to write with Rob on a project we’ve been talking about for years now. It’s very loosely based on our first year of marriage. There’s a lot of misunderstanding and love involved. And that’s all that I’m going to reveal for now.
At this moment, I feel full of hope for the future. Weird, given the global climate of the country, and the state of things. In spite of the trauma and despair that the world is going through, a lot of things that are personally happening have filled me with joy. Rob and I have been steadily getting rid of unnecessary things, I’m getting closer to feeling like heaven is my true home, and all this material nesting stuff that pottery barn has told me that I needed is really just crap. I’ve been really trying to weigh the value of the stuff I have. Asking myself, do I really need this? I am minimizing, while also storing up those treasures for heaven.
We’ve been living in 390 square feet of space for the past two years. We originally wanted to build a tiny house, but we moved into this efficiency apartment to see if we could live in a small space and still stand each other. It was a great move for us. Not sure if the tiny house thing is still going to happen because we’ve gotten real comfy with our situation. We have two cats and a dog, and moving is just hard on our critters. With the rise of property costs in Austin, we’ve been resting in the present, while also staying mindful of the future. If we do have to make another move, it will likely be in the home where we root and raise a family. Austin might be our home, but heaven… I’m keeping my eyes fixed on it. Not worrying about my current living situation because I am well taken care of at the moment.
I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s, so if you are unable to get to one, and you have a hard time finding shortbread biscuits, you can use shortbread cookies. Balsamic glaze can be found in gourmet stores, and I think Walmart carries one as well.
Step: Crumble the biscuit and cut up strawberries
Step Two: Add brown sugar, balsamic glaze, sour cream and whip to the strawberries. I always eyeball it. Mix it up until it’s the right consistency for you. I like mine really creamy and rich.
Step Three: Layer your jar, starting with the shortcake crumbs, then your strawberry mix.
Step Four: Top it off with shortcake crumbs, a dab of whip and a strawberry, then serve and enjoy!
Hope you enjoy this recipe! I’ll try to post more as I experiment in my kitchen!
While meeting with one of my friends for dinner recently, she asked me if I was going through some deep sadness. She saw it in my eyes.
Yes, I am.
More than just being sad, but it’s like drowning in a vast sea. The waves keep washing over, and I don’t have a chance to even breathe. Anytime I have a slight moment where maybe a little sunshine comes through, there goes another wave, another current pulling me under to where I die a little more inside.
I wish I knew what it was that was causing all of this grief. I wish I could turn it off and not have to deal with it.
Last weekend, my church had a women’s retreat, and that first night was a little rough. I had carpooled with friends, and the trip was good, though we were stuck in traffic for a while, we made it there. But because we’d arrived right when it started, we were all split up, sitting nowhere near one another. It was crowded, and I was now distracted by my thoughts of how my word count for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) would be effected, so I wasn’t able to put all of my heart into the worship. My mind was scattered in many directions, and to make it worse, they announced that the “hotel” that I signed up to stay in wasn’t quite a hotel, but it was “special.” All of my complaints started to burst through my seams, but I held it together, and tried to listen to the first speaker, Tina Miranda.
It was on condemnation vs. conviction, and to be honest, I was not paying attention well. The seats were cramped. I was uncomfortable and squirmy. My foot fell asleep, and all around I kept trying different sitting positions to try to improve my circulation. However, I did manage to focus on one thing, and part of it is because I was so distracted that I just started drawing a cartoon elephant that was in the powerpoint presentation. Tina told a story of how in India, baby elephants would be roped up tightly, and on finding that they could not escape, they accepted that they would never be able to escape. By the time they were adults, even though they were much stronger than the bonds that held them, they stayed captive. It didn’t hit me until after the retreat was over, but I have accepted a lot of lies that have kept me in bondage since I was young, and I’m only now beginning to break free of them. We broke into small groups and it was loud and noisy. I could barely hear what anyone else was saying in my group above all the noise. And at that point, I was reluctant to say a lot because I didn’t know these women, and I didn’t know how much to share with them.
So then, the time comes for us to go to the cabins. Whoopee, I get to stay in the “special” cabin, which was farther off than any of the cabins or hotel rooms. Luckily, I had a few friends walk me to the “special” zone, or the Ranch House, as it was called at the camp site. And as I entered in, my insecurities began to well up inside of me. The friends I had carpooled with, and all of the ladies in the community group I go to, were all staying in the cabins. Since I am an introverted extrovert, I signed up for the hotel, knowing I’d be surrounded by people all weekend. While I do love being around people, I do not like a whole lot of noise when I’m trying to sleep. You can ask my upstairs and downstairs neighbors, who have gotten visits from my more rational and understanding husband, asking them to quiet down because his wife would throw a fit if they didn’t. Anyway, back to the special zone. The entry was decorated with a lot of weird paintings, like The Weenie Man. There were others, but none as weird as this. A little frightening, if you ask me.
There were three different rooms and the hallway to bunk in. I chose the room in the back where all the bathrooms were. I have a tiny bladder, so I knew I’d probably have to make frequent trips. Another advantage was that there were only three beds, so there would be less people that would be noisy at night. The downside was that if anyone else had to use the bathroom, they’d have to come in to do their business.
But the pros outweighed the cons, and there only ended up being two of us in the room. Another awesome woman, Kiesha, who is a personal trainer, and I ended up falling asleep on the earlier side. While things were a bit noisier in the other rooms, with the bathroom fans on, it drowned out some of the talking and laughing.
In the morning, we both woke up and got ready. I got all my things packed up into my book bag and my purse, and then I headed out, on my own. I was feeling a little bit lonely at this point. I hadn’t really gotten into any deep conversations with anyone. I really didn’t make any new friends, which made me feel bad about myself .
So I climb up onto this water slide that’s closed up, and I look at the view, and I am in wonder of God’s creation. I open my Bible App on my phone, and I open to wherever. It happens to be 1Thessalonians 5. I read and I pray and I begin to thank God instead of complaining and throwing a pity party for myself. After that, I headed to breakfast, and then headed over to the morning sessions.
The next three sessions kinda blasted me. Jamie Chapman spoke on Control and how the roots of it were Fear and Pride. She used Moses’s Song from Exodus 15:2 and the Lord’s Song from Zephaniah 3:17, and made us sing out loud. Little did I know that the woman who was leading my small group would be speaking next. Shiela Chopin was preaching about Complaint. I was so engaged in her bringing the word and keeping it real when she spoke about Moses and David dealing with the people’s constant complaints, that I actually forgot to take notes, which I now regret. Luckily she provided an outline. She spoke of walking in God’s Spirit, and “getting fat” in the word because if we are full of God’s word, then there is no room for complaint. And she left us with an awesome and powerful prayer.
After that, we broke into small groups. Our group went outside, and I was much more inclined to share, especially with the woman who had just blasted my heart with conviction about all of my complaining. I was so glad to get to know these ladies, and the discussion with them really blessed me.
After small groups, I was one hundred percent ready to receive the last session from Adele Douglin, and it was about Comparison. This is one of the areas that I struggle with A LOT. She gave examples in the Bible: Cain and Able, Leah and Rachel, Mary and Martha, and as a little sister with a “perfect” older sister, comparison has been following me around my whole life. When she talked about Antidotes to Comparison, I was hit strongly, and I’ll share them:
Speak God’s Promises Into Your Life
Compliment Sisters and Learn from Them
Take a Break from Social Media
Let Friends Know that Comparison has No Room in Your Life
REDIRECTING CONVERSATIONS TO SPEAK WELL OF ONE ANOTHER
We finished out with worship and lunch afterwards, and I couldn’t believe the difference in my attitude form the night before to the afternoon. I left encouraged and excited about what God is going to be doing in my life. I know that becoming a diamond from a lump of coal isn’t going to be easy, but I know that in the end, all of the pressure and pain in this life is going to result in something beautiful.