Saturday, June 30, 2012

Miracles DO Happen.....

Sometimes I forget....sometimes I get caught up in the frustrations of this life that I forget about the miracles that have happened in our life. And while there are many times that life hasn't been easy and I find myself crying out, asking "why us?", I can say with certainty that God is in control and sometimes His plans are even better than my own.

Who knew?

We had dinner with some new friends from church a few weeks ago and shared this story, and then I had cause to remember this story again today that I wanted to share it here again. It is just such a great reminder of just how good our God is.

Dominic and I had a tough time getting pregnant with both Gabriel and Elijah. There are 7 years between Isaac and Gabriel and 5 years between Gabriel and Elijah. That wasn't necessarily by choice.  In both situations we had seen my doctor who had said we had little chance of getting pregnant on our own naturally. We had several "issues" and weren't in a place to go to the next level, medically speaking, to try and get pregnant. 

In January of 2008 I finally got pregnant and we were so excited but we lost that pregnancy in mid-February.  I was really affected by this and went through some dark times where I questioned my faith and God's goodness. BUT I had a wonderful mentor/friend that listened to me and encouraged me to continue trusting in God.

In August I went in to have a procedure done to remove some endometriosis that I had and clear out my tubes. We hoped that this fairly noninvasive procedure would increase my chances of getting pregnant.  On the day of the procedure they had me take a pregnancy test and it was we were able to move forward.
In early September my sister called me to tell me that she and her husband were pregnant with their first....and I was honestly thrilled for her. God had healed the hurt I had been feeling, the envy of every other pregnant woman out there....and I felt genuine happiness at their good news. God was good - even if my circumstances weren't exactly how I wanted them.
A few weeks later I was in Denver visiting Karlena and had terrible heartburn. (Which I have only ever had while pregnant) I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was sure I was only a week or more pregnant and was nervous about losing this one as well.

We went in for an initial ultrasound and I remember the tech saying "There's your baby....and you are 6 weeks along".  But this wasn't correct because I had had my surgery before that time....I couldn't be 6 weeks along because they tested for it on the day of the surgery and it was negative.

My doctor talked with us and said that the fertilized egg must have implanted the day of the surgery! That is how it was not flushed out and also how we got the negative test at the time. You see the miracle friends? I had plans for how I was going to "control" my ability to get pregnant....and yet it had already happened...before the surgery...AND survived a surgery as well.
Our miracle Elijah is 3 now and as spirited as ever.
And what I love about this story is that God loves us...loved me use an extraordinary situation to show us that He is in control.  That His timing is perfect. I wrote about the blessings we saw from that here.

During this time...with Dominic's situation...I MUST remember this story and how much He loved me, loved us....and that it is still true today!

My friend Kami commented on a prior post something that I thought was so profound....I wanted to share it here.

"The thing you must remember is that the Great Physician is holding Dominic in His hands and He is the one bringing healing - so you aren't confined to the timelines that the doctors are giving you. Only God knows how long it will take ... and I think it will take as long as He needs to bring your relationships with Him to a new level."
Isn't that great?! So we continue to seek out how God can get the that we can continue to share here stories of the miracles He is doing....and if that bring even one person closer in a relationship with has been worth it!
So where have you seen miracles, big or small, that God can get the glory? Please share here because I would love to celebrate them along with you!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Go Big or Stay Home!!

Go Big or Stay Home!! That seems to be the motto here at times and has become a joke in our home...and this case with Dominic's accident is no exception.

We went to Sioux Falls this morning so that we could get a CT scan of Dominic's foot and then meet with his surgeon.

We hadn't seen his foot/leg since the accident because it was in a temporary cast of course we had to take some pictures while we were waiting!!

 It was a little alarming at how swollen it still was.

 You probably can't tell in these pictures but he actually has these blood blisters that formed around his ankle.

 A shot of the bottom of the foot...

The other side - and the side that they will go in to operate on.
We also got to go and get a copy of the CT scan on CD (yeah we are nerds like that...) but it was pretty cool seeing exactly how bad the break(s) were.
So basically he broke his heel bone (one of the strongest bones in our bodies) into three pieces....and pulverized some bone fragments here and there as well..... 

 You can tell how swollen the foot is even on the CT scan!

Here is another view from a different angle.

And this has to be one of my favorite (if you can have a favorite) shots. The image on the left of the picture is his right foot. and you can see at the bottom what a normal, healthy heel bone should look like.  The picture on the right, and the broken foot, shows how that heel bone is broken into three pieces and they are shifted a little in there as well.

It isn't good. BUT we have probably the best surgeon for the job in our court. He has done over 150 of these surgeries and was very informative, answered our questions, talked about recovery we feel he is in good hands.

We have a return visit next Friday the 6th and if the swelling has gone way down, then he has surgery scheduled tentatively for Wed. July 11th.

So a few items as prayer requests....

1) That the swelling would go down so that we can go forward with the surgery as planned.

2) That the surgeon would be able to use the plate and screws and fix his heel that way. If there is too many fragments, or if the cartilage has been too damaged he will have to fuze the bone together and that will mean a longer (double) non weight bearing time and the possibility of problems in the future. We really don't want prayers for the best outcome is much appreciated!

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement...we appreciate it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Community in Action

Well we made it to Tuesday....not much has changed really. When we were at the ER they told us that we should call Monday to the orthopedic surgeon, they would know who we were and they would get us in Tuesday or Wednesday.  Of course when I called they had no idea who we were and although happy to see us...couldn't until Friday.  So we wait.

My mom is coming back so that we can use her car to get him to SF early on Friday morning. He will have to sit in the back and we will do our best to prop up his foot so he can be comfortable for the hour and 45 minute drive.  They are doing a CAT scan (I think) first and then we will meet with the surgeon and find out what the next course of action will be.

He spends his days foot as elevated as possible, iced 24/7 in hopes that the swelling will have come down by Friday when they take off the splint for the first time.  He is still in a lot of pain, he has increased his pain meds a bit as per doctors orders but it makes him pretty sleepy. Continued prayers are still much appreciated.

We have been flooded with so much support it is almost overwhelming.  We have seen real community in action and I am so blessed by it that I had to share some of it all have been God with skin on to us. A.MAZING!

From the e-mails, phone calls, comments on Facebook and the blog and texts have showed us that you are walking with us in this situation and lifting us up.

Family that drops what they have to come and be with us, help with the kids...make us meals. Family that call and e-mail and remind us that this too will be ok...

From neighbors that stop by for a visit, say that we can call on them for ANYTHING, or share their ice pack pump so he can be iced all day/night long....we are reminded after just a year here that we have a wonderful neighborhood to be a part of.

Friends have come by with a hug and with a meal...and even with a mini keg of 1919 Rootbeer - a huge favorite of Dominic's!! These are people that we haven't known very long...but people that are ministering to us in so many ways.

From a supportive work environment and co-workers...who again ask how he is holding up and offer encouragement and support if we need.

I have been so afraid of real community here....of diving in and getting real with people. And yet God has showed up through all of you and reminded me that I have nothing to be afraid of....and that when and where we least expect it He is there for us...through you.

Thank you for listening to His leading, for giving when we can't give back right now...for loving us in so many different ways. We are so very blessed and while this remains a difficult journey - we don't walk it alone and we know that in this too God will get the glory.

I want to end with this....I was out running some errands after dinner and listening to a little VBS - SKY Everything is Possible with God CD.  Our VBS isn't until late July but I am already excited for all of the kids that are going....and I'll be honest there is something pretty jazzy about the music! :)

I heard the song "No Matter How I Feel" and I felt it represented how I have been feeling lately...and reminded me what really matters. The video isn't anything special....but it has the lyrics for you to see. Watch it...see if you have ever been able to relate and remember that no matter how we feel...we need to trust in God.

Tonight I am thanking God for ALL of you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

24+ Hours and Counting

Well it has been over 24 hours since Dominic's accident. It was a LONG day and a bit intimidating too.  I realized when I looked back at my post from the other day that I didn't say specifically what happened.

So he was up on an extension ladder trying to hang these old bikes on nails he put in the wall of our garage. We have a very tall ceiling in our garage so he was up over 15 feet.  Isaac handed him up the bike and when he reached over to hang it on the nail the ladder basically started shifting out from under him.

He pushed on the bike on the wall (you can actually see the tire tread on the wall!) and tried to grab onto the nail to stop himself. He said his right leg was stuck on the ladder and his left leg came out in front of him and when he fell he landed full force on his left foot. Thus the severity of the injury to his heel.

He is still in a lot of pain. He rated his pain at a 6 when he was fully medicated. It stinks. He can take a pain pill every 3 hours so I have been setting an alarm on my phone so that every 3 hours, day and night, we get him the meds he needs so the pain doesn't get out of control and we can't get it back under control.

He is doing ok with the crutches, but he stumbled a little with them yesterday afternoon and hit his foot so it was really hurting again.

One of our neighbors contacted me and they had an ice pack pump from the husbands knee replacement surgery and they brought it down last night for Dominic to use. It is sooo much nicer to have than trying to freeze and re-freeze these ice packs and it stays cold for a really long time. It has been a big blessing to have!! Thanks Steve and Julia!!

Dominic is already getting a little stir crazy. He isn't one to just sit and do nothing. Not for extended periods of time so this is really going to be a challenge for him. And right now the meds don't allow him to be fully clear-headed either so getting work done, at least right now, is difficult.

We did have some friends from church stop over to see him and offer their support and encouragement and that was so nice too. Thanks Steve and Ramzy!! This is going to be a LONG road to recovery and so please continue to pray for him...and for us....that we can be supportive and not get overwhelmed with frustration about the whys and the what nexts.

I Googled "recovery after heel surgery" and didn't find a lot of positive info. I got a little panicky when I read I should probably just stay away from any more internet info. We will be calling the surgeon this morning to get an appt scheduled for hopefully Tues or Wed....I will share that info when we have it.

I know this post is rambling a bit and I don't want to sound like I am on a pity pot.  I think we are both so bummed that this happened...but again so grateful that it wasn't worse. All we can do right now is take it one day at a time. We made it through the first 24 hours and today we will make it through the 2nd.  I don't know that I can say some day we will look back on this and laugh....but I do believe that we are already seeing glimpses of God's goodness through people in our lives and that is a blessing.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement...we do appreciate them so much! Until I have more....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Prayers for my Husband

Many of you may have heard already that Dominic had an accident this afternoon.  I posted a little about it on Facebook, but thought I would get into a little more detail here.

Today started out as a really good day...we got to sleep in (almost 8:30am!) Fed the kids breakfast, went down and did a workout together, I read a book and relaxed for awhile and Dominic was working on de-cluttering our garage.  We had plans to go over to some new friends' house for dinner with the family and I had made a new yummy dessert to try from Pinterest.

We have several bikes in our household. Bikes the kids currently ride and then extra bikes that they can grow into at various ages. But they were all down and taking up too much space in the garage.  So Dominic was trying to get them hung up on this wall in the garage.

I was in the house getting ready to go to our dinner and Isaac came in the house saying "He fell down"...I thought maybe he meant Elijah because we just got him new training wheels for Gabriel's old bike. So I asked if he meant Elijah and he said "No - Dad and you need to come out here"...

He wasn't able to put any pressure on his foot and he said he really felt like it was broken.  So Isaac helped get him up and we hopped him to the car and drove over to the ER. Thankfully there was this nice man who helped him into a wheelchair once we got there because I couldn't do it.

They got him set up and gave him some pain meds and then he had his foot, leg, elbow and arm x-rayed.  The doc came in and showed us the pictures and apparently his heel bone is broken and he believes he also has torn tendons and a couple of "misplaced" bones in his ankle or the top of his foot?  The swelling was bad enough that he couldn't verify that part for sure but said that he guessed that it would show once the swelling went down.

He was referred to an orthopedic surgeon in Sioux Falls. The one for Marshall only comes like once every 3 weeks. When he reviewed the x-rays he said that he wouldn't operate this weekend....that we would have to wait 10-14 days and that we should go home and manage Dominic's pain there.

I was a little freaked out by this because I can't really understand letting someone go home on their own after an injury like that....but apparently that is pretty standard and they said we could come back tonight if needed and they wouldn't charge us.

So that's where we sit. A bit of a waiting game now and we are praying that his pain is managed well and the swelling goes down faster than expected so we can schedule his surgery.  Our office is closed the Thursday and Friday after the 4th of July and it would be really nice if the surgery could be one of those days. (I know a long shot and a bit of my control showing there....but pray about it would you?!)

And not to end on a bummer note I have a couple of praises. 

Praise God that he wasn't more seriously hurt. The doc said that every other time he has seen an injury like this it also included a break in the back. At this point that seems unlikely. Doc said because he rolled to his side...that maybe saved his back.

Praise God that none of the kids were right there when it one else was hurt by the ladder or the bike he was holding.

Praise God that he didn't hit his head and suffer more serious damage.

Praise God that we have so many people praying on our behalf already...we can feel the prayers and are so grateful for your support. My mom drove up here tonight also to help in case we had to go back in and we have already had many people asking if we need help.

And Praise God that we have insurance and accident coverage. While our deductible is really high....we do have accident coverage that will hopefully fill in some of that gap. We are trusting that God will provide the in-between. My dad said something like any problem that can be fixed with money is a problem we can deal with....Dominic is still hear and although it is going to be a long road to least he is still here with us.

So thank you for your prayers and keep them coming. I will update here as I know more!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

10 Things I Learned From the 30 Day Shred

This has been a part of my life for the past 30 days.


Well even longer than 30 days actually because we started doing the video sporadically in March and then I took about a 2 week vacation from Jillian. Just couldn't handle her for awhile...but then decided to try and really stick with it and see what would happen.  This is what I have learned from the 30 Day Shred.

1) I truly despise exercise. I am serious, I really do. I am not one of those people that wakes up excited for a morning work out and so energized when I am done. Nope it is a chore every time I do it. And honestly if I could "think" my way to lean and firm - I would do it in a heartbeat!! 

2) Working out in the mornings is usually better for me.  When I started this Dominic and were working out together at night. But we couldn't eat dinner with the kids if we did and I was usually too sick after we were done to eat later.  Messes with my whole evening.  It was better for me to set my alarm a little early and do it before I shower.(Sans today in which I decided to write this post instead...which just means that tonight will be one of "those" nights.) Boo.

3) I don't remember jumping jacks being this difficult!  Jillian may say that she has 400lb people that can do jumping jacks so there isn't a need for a modified version of them....but when you haven't done them in 30 years you can't believe how difficult they can be!

4) Natalie and Anita are the real rockstars of the video!!  If you have done the video you know what I mean.  Not only do they do ALL of the moves the entire time (which by the way was difficult for me many days...) but they tolerate listening to Jillian in person without screaming at her. (Trust will understand if you do it!) Which leads me to my next point....

5) Top despised Jillian phrases: "Isn't it buddy", "Don't phone this in" (said 3 times in Level 1) "I think I'll join you" (Oh NOW you decide to join us huh Jillian....when we are dying and want to quit?!) By the end of 30 days both Dominic and I were repeating most of what she really get to know a person when you work out with them!

6) Get yourself an accountability partner!!  My friend Erin started doing the video around the same time I did. So we would text each other most days and share how it had gone (usually poorly) and talk about how we both hated and loved Jillian at the same time. (depended on the day and the Level) It helped me stick with it though because I would have to admit to someone else if I "cheated" and skipped a day. (Which in my 30 days I did it took me 32 days to get through it)

7) You will both love and hate this workout.  On day 1 I couldn't believe how very out of shape I really was. Every move was difficult and I couldn't finish a single set all the way through. By day 8 I felt pretty good. I was keeping up with the circuits (maybe not as tough as Natalie did....but I was doing it) Then I hit day 18 and a BIG wall. I was tired and wanted to quit. Level 2 really did me in....and then I went on to Level 3 and all the "jump training". I don't think I ever felt good about Level 3!! (Oh how I longed for the Day 8 feelings all over again! :)

8) I am going to have to learn to embrace my "mama pouch" because it isn't going away! Although Jillian said on day 21 that we should start seeing that 6-pack abs...I did not. I wasn't following her diet plan and admittedly had a cupcake for breakfast a time or two....but the one area I was hoping to see massive improvement is still very much a part of my body.  I don't love the ab exercises it looks like I am going to have to learn to live with the after effects of 4 pregnancies! :)

9) I am stronger today.  That's the good news about this process. I do believe that I am stronger. I have more endurance. I did notice a difference in my legs and my arms. It IS working. And I feel good that I am doing something to increase my overall health.

10) This will forever ruin your ability to have guilt-free eating. It has become the joke in our home that when one of us eats something unhealthy we will say "What would Jillian say about that..." Well after a weekend back visiting family and a LOT of eating that included really yummy cookie cake (3 pieces for me)...we came home and Isaac had put this on the next Jillian video that we have started.

 Isn't he a kind and considerate son?! :)

So there you have it. We started "Ripped in 30" a few days ago. I will be on Day 4 when I do it tonight....unless I skip. ;)  So what is your favorite exercise video/workout? How do you stay motivated to keep going and what are some of your successes? I'd love to hear them!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Working Father's Day...again

I don't know if you remember this post I wrote last year...where Dominic spent the day doing a project for me...something that was my priority...on Father's Day.  Just one of the many reasons I am extra grateful for the husband and father he is today.

Well unfortunately for him this weekend was no different. We spent yesterday and today doing several different projects - in fact I am writing this while he is finishing something up quick so that we can run to Menards and get a few more things for another project. (It never ends!)

So among the things we did this weekend....

He and Isaac installed 2 new lights on the outside of the house.  We bought one for our old house and it sold before we got it on so it came with us here. Lowes still carried the light so we got another and replaced the two on our front porch.

Then he fixed the pillars on our porch. They were put together pretty poorly and had started to wiggle loose. They aren't load bearing but he shimed them up, tightened everything and then this afternoon we repainted all of them.  They are nice and sturdy now!

While I was painting we touched up the trim work around the front door as well.

I have wanted some hanging plants for the front of our house so when we were at Runnings buying some bug killer for our invasion of box elder bugs(and I am serious when I say MILLIONS of them in our backyard).....we went to the greenhouse area and all their plants were an extra 33% off so we got some hanging baskets and he got them up for me!

And it was a big weekend for Karlena too because we decided to move her from her crib to a "big-girl" bed!  We have had this captains bed since Gabriel was little and it is Karlena's turn to use it.  She is a little unsure about it right now....but she did take 2 naps in it this afternoon with no issues. We shall see how tonight goes!

And if that weren't enough he got to change an extra stinky, poopy diaper today too.  I think he said it was a full blown poop emergency!!

As you can see Karlena didn't seem to mind! :)

We are so lucky to have a wonderful father in Dominic. He is a dad that is involved, he takes the kids to the library to get books and reads them in funny voices, he is teaching Gabriel how to say the ACTS prayer and the Lord's Prayer. He stayed home from work when Elijah was sick this week....the list goes on and on. Today not only am I thankful for my dad, and my father-in-law...but I am ever grateful for my husband.

Maybe next year we should give him a day off of projects....what do you think?!

A Tribute to Both Parents!

Today is a day that we specifically celebrate our Fathers. I am blessed to have a wonderful father and mother. The whole month of May was pretty hectic for us and I didn't get a post done for Mother's Day like I had today I want to celebrate both of them!

I think we were very fortunate growing up, we all that we needed, our parents took us on a vacation every year, trips to see our grandparents and camping all over the upper Midwest. We had dinner as a family - and not in front of the TV, we went to church and had Sunday get-together's with other families. They taught us the importance of working hard and saving our money for the things we wanted and most importantly they taught us about God and helped develop that relationship with God at a young age.

For many years my mom didn't work outside the home, so she was there after school to greet us. She always asked us how our day was, had snacks for us etc. She was present and she wanted to be a part of the things that were important to us.

My dad was a part of the carpool group of dad's that drove several of us neighbor kids to school.  He would always tell jokes and sometimes sing in the car.  I may have been a little embarrassed at the time :) but all of the kids loved him and always said what a great dad he was! And they were right!!

Both of my parents went back to school when they were "older". I remember when my dad went to school to become a PA. It was a huge change for him and for us. He was gone for extended periods of time up in North Dakota and my mom was playing the role of single mom. It was a sacrifice they both made - but it produced great results and was a good thing for all of us.  Then several years ago my mom went back to get her Masters degree.  I can't imagine going back to college now after being out so many years. But she did it and it was pretty cool seeing her graduate again.  They showed us that it is ok to work hard and go after something better for yourself - regardless of where you are in life.

And I don't know about your parents - but mine have become increasingly wiser as I have gotten older. ;)  I was, shall we say, a wee bit of a difficult teenager. Ok that's a bit of an understatement.  I pretty much made their lives miserable for many years.  But when I got married, had my own kids, they were the first people I would call if I had a question about something.

How do you make "Wayne and Kitty potatoes"?  "Where do we go to get this fixed on the car?" One of the kids is sick....what should we do?" "We are thinking of doing this...what do you think?"  And the list goes on.

I started asking those questions, making those calls because I was able to see all of the wisdom that they both had. The experiences they had gone through shaped who they were. They had grown and lived through difficult times and knew a thing or two about how to get through them.

I am SO grateful that we have a good relationship today. I am blessed that we have supportive parents who encourage us, will give us advice if we ask...but ultimately let us make our own decisions/mistakes.  My mom prayers for us at red stop lights and my dad has showed us through the years how to be selfless and give back to others.

The examples could go on and on. But the bottom line is I am fortunate to have loving, encouraging, supportive parents. Parents that have showed us how to love and grow. Parents that taught me how to forgive - because they have forgiven me....and parents that loved God and encouraged me to love Him as well.

How have your father or mother loved you well? I'd love to hear your stories as we celebrate this Father's Day!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend with Family

We had a weekend packed full of visits and family fun.  On Friday afternoon my aunt Karin and cousins Rachel and Andrew brought my grandparents through Marshall so they could stop and see Dominic's new office space!!  We were excited for them to see it and they really liked how everything came together.

They were all on their way to Sioux Falls so that we could celebrate my new nephew Gavin's baptism on Saturday.  We headed into SF on Saturday morning and met everyone for lunch. It was extra special because my brother Mark and wife Mindi also came home for a visit as well!!  And they are expecting a little one in their family also so our extended family just keeps growing!!

I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it is to see my siblings and their wives/husbands having families.  I am just thrilled for Mark and Mindi and would ask that you help me pray for them and their little one growing, that the remainder of the pregnancy would go well and that there wouldn't be any complications with the pregnancy, labor etc.  She is due in December so we will have a baby to celebrate at Christmas!!
Gavin's baptism was in the evening on Saturday.

Isn't Isabel adorable?! She is such a proud big sister!!

Gavin started stretching because he didn't like the water.

Then Beth and Jeff had us all over to their house for a huge dinner and fun in the backyard.  But before we ate we had to get a picture of grandpa and grandma with all of their great-grandkids!   It was really tough to get everyone looking the same direction AND smiling at the same time. This is the best shot I was able to get so I am hoping that someone else got a better one and will send it to me! :)
After dinner the kids went out to play in the backyard and in Isabel's little pool. Karlena (and Elijah) thought it would be fun to put rocks in her pool. (Yes we are always THAT family) ;)

 Karlena in her first bathing suit! I loved this one I found with the ruffles on it!!

Who needs a pool when you have rocks right?!

And of course she spent most of her time climbing the wrong way up the slide!

Oh and another quick Karlena story....she was wandering around Beth's house and found her way into the office area where the dogs have their self-watering bowl and proceeded to splash, empty at least a full gallon of water onto their carpet.  Thank you Karlena!! Such a proud mama moment!!

Sunday morning we had breakfast with my parents and Mark and Mindi and when we were done this is where we found Karlena....are you even the least bit surprised? I guess grandma's dining room table works well for her too!

Then we drove out to Parker to spend the day with Dominic's parents.  His brother Ben was there too and it was also his birthday, so we were able to celebrate a little with him as well!  Dominic's dad is building a new deck/porch area on the back of the house and it looks great. I meant to get out my camera and take a picture...but didn't. I will try and share it when it is should be a nice addition to their home!

We also got to dig up and take home some Columbine plants from Becky's garden and bring them home for our own! We got home pretty late in the evening...but took the time to find a place for them right away. First the daylilies my boss game me and now these....I am starting to get the itch to make my whole garden area pretty!

Wow...what a weekend! I am just a little tired just writing it all out! :)  It really was so nice to see so much of our family at one time though.  We don't get back as often as we'd like and the kids just really enjoy time with their grandparents and aunts, uncles cousins...etc.

How did you spend your weekend?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting Into Community

As I shared with you a few days ago...real community, stepping out there in faith, can be hard. Especially for women I maybe I am wrong here, and please share if I am!! But really what was so interesting to me was that a couple of amazing, strong women left me comments/e-mails expressing that they have struggled with the very same things I do.  This shocked me really because I tend to believe that my "situation" is unique.

That awful desire to compare and feel less than, and then to isolate so we won't get hurt by other people.  The idea that people might be judging me and my family or their behavior etc is enough to keep me tucked away in the safety of what is comfortable here at home.

But these women also reminded me that we have this need for, a draw to, community - real community...and sometimes we just have to get out and go, even if everything isn't perfect. Even if we have just a bag of chips to bring to a potluck, even if our child throws a tantrum in the middle of the room. This is where we are right now in life and we need to be ok with it.

And what has really been playing around in my mind is that when I am so focused on me and how I am feeling or perceiving things I start to believe that lie that I can't trust anyone but myself....and I stop giving others the chance to be real with me.

God created us for community with one another.  Each one of us has special talents and gifts, unique abilities. Some of us can balance many small children with patience and grace (let's be clear....this isn't my strong suit), some of us can cook or have the gift of hospitality, some of us organize well and have creative talents.

Each one of us is different and has something special to share in community.  When we lived in SD we attended a great church with some amazing members. People that met us initially at really a low point in our marriage...people that encouraged us and supported us and showed us that we don't have to be wrapped in a pretty little package to be accepted and loved. They wanted us to be members, wanted us to be involved - defects and all.

Since moving here I have been a little reluctant to open up and trust that we will find that same acceptance here. But we love it here....feel like God led us to Marshall and to the church in Cottonwood and I am beginning to see that if I want that community that we had in SD - I have to be willing to step out and take a chance on people here as well.

And so that is what I am trying to do and while I am not quite ready to go jumping full into the waters of community just yet....I am dipping my toes in at the edge...and looking forward to what may come. It has to start somewhere right?!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why I skipped the church picnic....

Today at church our pastor talked about some of the freedoms found through Christ. He shared that so many of us are in bondage to one thing or another but with Christ we can have freedom from those things. Freedom from the bondage of sin, Freedom from our past scars, Freedom from darkness, Freedom from the performance trap and Freedom from temptations...just to name a few.

Towards the end of the sermon he asked us to write something that we want freedom from on this paper and then during Communion we brought those papers to this bowl at the alter and he and some of the Elders would be praying over them in the days to come.

I wrote a couple of things, self-centeredness and this tendency that I have to always be comparing myself to others and feeling like I don't measure up.

They also announced at the service that we would be having a picnic today at a park outside of Marshall to celebrate the church's long history and that some bonds they had for the church building had been paid off earlier than expected.  It was supposed to start at 4pm. All good right?  The kids were excited and I even went out after church and bought the groceries to make this grape salad and some cupcakes.

But somewhere in between making the food and 4pm I had talked myself out of going all together. It started with us not really being ready to go on time and me realizing that we would be late. I HATE being late. I mean HATE it. I'd rather not go somewhere than be late. I know that sounds crazy and as I type it I can't understand it myself.....but I have always been that way.

Then of course it was "too hot"...and who wants to be outside when it is too hot. (Somewhere in that reasoning I had "forgotten" that I had spent time outside a few hours earlier reading in that very same heat)

No, the lateness and the heat weren't really the reason. The reason, if I am able to be honest even for a moment, is that you all scare me.

Come again?

Seriously, all of you families that have the perfect dish to pass, and the most well behaved children who never throw a fit and eat everything on their plates without argument, who are always on time and of course have mastered the art of comfortable small talk with people you only casually know.

You see I am none of these things. And compared to all of you I feel like I fall miserably short. And while I don't like that I compare myself to you...the truth is I do it.


I know that this is an area of bondage to sin in my life. That staying home and not allowing myself to step beyond my comfort zone and dive into community keeps me stagnant and alone.  That isn't what I want for myself. It isn't the example that I want to set for my kids.

And the sermon was so on point for me, especially today. And although I can write it down on paper...or in a blog post. Taking the next step and moving forward towards freedom in that area is something that I can't do alone.  

I know that this is an area that I will have to be in prayer about. And I am sure that the only way to step out in faith is to do that very thing that makes me most uncomfortable.  So while I did skip the picnic this time....hopefully with God's help and a little grace from all of you perfect people out there :), one of these days I will not only attend, but WANT to be there as well.

How about you....have you ever been held down by the burden of comparison? Afraid of real community? What did you do to move forward towards freedom?? I'd love to hear how God has worked in your life!!

Where we find her....

 This is where we find our little miss most days....

 She continues to climb and loves to be on the top of the table. In fact we went to a friend's house for dinner and joked that she would do it there and sure enough at one point she was climbing on top of their table.

 This particular night we had gotten out some spinach dip and crackers and she decided that she needed some also....on her terms. Oh and once we realized she was joining in we just got her a dish of her very own because she has NO concept of the taboo of double dipping.

 On this night Gabriel had left a bit of his applesauce in a bowl at his spot at the table and Karlena decided that she needed to try some of that too.

 I can't get over that smile....she was so proud of herself!

 Digging in and enjoying it!

Look Mom - all gone!

The past 2 weeks have been a blur and I would love to blog about several things....but I just don't have the time. So because I can handle this kind of post in about 5 minutes it will have to do for now! Happy Sunday afternoon everyone!

The Smith Family Journey

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