Monday, August 29, 2011

Okay...Enough About Me. Let 's Talk About My New Project...(heehee).

Sometimes, as I'm writing this blog, I have a hard time silencing the little voice in the back of my head that keeps repeating: "Who cares!? I mean, really...what makes you think anyone really wants to hear what you have to say? Enough about you, already." In the beginning, I was just writing journal entries of stories that I wanted to preserve for my kids to read so they would know what I was thinking and feeling as they are growing up. People always told me I should write down my thoughts. That writing can be therapeutic. That I have a story to tell (translated: I have had a lot of crazy life experiences). As it turns out, I love writing and more people started reading and encouraging me and it has evolved into a little blog by an unknown mommy living in a little-known town that is being read in places all over the world, some which I have never even heard of. Very cool but also kinda scary. I am, as they say, putting myself out there. Way out there.

Why, you may ask, am I willing to make myself vulnerable and expose myself (as it were) this way? For a couple of reasons. As you may have surmised by now, I'm not shy. At all. Not in my relationships, not with my thoughts and opinions, just not shy. Never have been. People ask me if I get nervous singing in front of a big arena and TV cameras at Lakewood Church. I don't. I'm not shy about my relationship with God, either. I really love worshiping and praising and I am blessed to be able to do it whether I'm all by myself or in front of a lot of people. It's just what I love to do. I believe it's what we were all born to do. (In our own individual ways, of course). I want the world to know that for me, living for Christ is a joyous and wonderful gift and I love sharing the good news with everyone who will listen.

There is another reason. I hear women saying things like this all the time: "Do you know what I mean?' "Has that ever happened to you?" "Can you relate to what I'm going through?" and it just struck a chord that many of us could really use a lot more validating and affirming. We all do. This forum is a great way for me to do that. To let others going through similar challenges know they that they are not alone.

I also felt, down in my spirit, that God wanted me to allow people a glimpse into the life of an ordinary, Christian family who is just trying to do our best day to day. We trip up, we make mistakes, our kids are wonderful but they are not angels, we are all full of incredible silliness, we love being together and we laugh a lot! We are also seeking to be a family after God's own heart. We cry out to God with praise in our victories and sorrow during times of distress. We are striving to grow in our walk with God as a couple by being obedient to God's word. We are praying and seeking for guidance as we raise our children to love and trust God and to learn to live a life of faith while practicing respect for themselves and others. We are not pious, or arrogant or self righteous. (No Christian should be any of those things, should they?) We love each other with deep affection and loyalty. We work as a team. We are just, By no means perfect but then again, we are not trying to be perfect. We're just trying to live right.

So, the answer to that little voice that says "who cares?' is simple. I do. I care a lot. I care a lot about my family and I want to be a blessing to my readers by putting my life out there and letting you all see that whatever you are going through...I get it. I've been through some pretty tough times, myself. It matters. We all matter. We all have had similar struggles and we're all in this thing called life together. It's so much easier when you have friends to dish with and vent to along the way. I'm here to pray with you if you need prayer or to give you a cyber-hug if you need one. Or to just listen if you want to vent. You know where to find me, don't you? So you see? It's not all about me. Just sounds that way sometimes. Ha!

I am also working on a project that is near and dear to my heart and I'll be making some announcements pretty soon about my progress on that front. All I can tell you now is that I feel that God has called me to do more than write about being a mom, or sing on the worship team and I'm getting ready to get out there and really make a difference for other mothers and mothers-to-be! I'm excited and I hope you will be too. I'm counting on your support and prayers and am so grateful to each one of you who take the time out of your busy lives to read Living Like Kingsburys. The best is yet to be! My love to you all.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Assumption, Speculation and Expectation = Dysfunction In Communication

Disclaimer: I'm not educated or qualified in any way to say the things I am about to say but as usual that won't stop me from saying them anyway.

First of all, let me admit that I don't have a PhD or an MD or a Fiddle-dee-dee but I have been laboring for many years on my hard-earned SFD (Survivor of Family Dysfunction). I used to say that my family put the 'funk' in dysfunction. Now I realize that we are not the only family to bear that dubious distinction. There are skeletons in the closets of even the 'finest' of families. Unfortunately, I grew up in an atmosphere of constant chaos and instability. My mother had a mental illness that made her extremely volatile, my father, though very loving, was mainly a drive-by dad and my stepfather was a forbidding and frightening guy who, shall we say, believed most vehemently in verbal intimidation and corporal punishment. That's all I'm willing to share about that right now. I only brought it up to lead into the heart of what's on my mind.

I recently found myself in a situation that resurrected some old ghosts I had thought to be ancient history. I guess I should have known better than to forget that if you keep turning the crank long enough, the 'ol jack-in-the-box will inevitably pop out and startle the mess out of you even though you know to expect it eventually. Let me introduce the main characters in this particular drama: Assumption, Speculation and Expectation. The usual suspects in most disagreements. When all three are applied together? The quintessential kiss of death for relationships.

Without going into details (because they aren't really vital to the message) I will say that I got caught up in a tangle recently because all parties involved (myself included) did not communicate openly and clearly from the beginning and though I have to believe everyone had the best of intentions, started operating out of misconceptions rather than trying to give each other the benefit of the doubt. I've seen this kind of situation play out so many times in my lifetime. My mom and my step dad were notorious for putting my sisters and I directly in the cross-hairs of this type of thing. Sadly, I went through it with a close friend last year and though I'm hopeful, I have as yet been unable to resolve the situation. It is just so destructive and frustrating and this recent episode took me back to that place of helplessness that results from feeling misunderstood and wishing in vain that I could just push the rewind button and start all over again on the right foot. Unfortunately once the damage is done it's hard to repair.

ASSUMPTION is so dangerous because more often than not, if we are not fully in possession of all of the facts but make decisions about what we assume others are thinking or feeling...we get it ALL WRONG. If we act on the assumption, we tend to make big mistakes that are hard to undo. SPECULATION is just as destructive. Thinking that we know what is going to happen in the future can lead to huge missteps and errors in judgement and let's face it...nobody really knows the potential actions of another no matter how well we think we know them. People are pretty unpredictable. Which one of these gets me into the most trouble? EXPECTATION. This is my Achilles heel. Always has been and I'll be the first to admit that my expectations, not only of others, but of myself, can create a lot of unnecessary heartache for me. I tend to mistakenly expect other people to do what I would do in a given situation. This is so unfair, as the other person involved has no earthly idea what I want them to do but I still get upset or disappointed when things don't turn out the way I hoped they would. I think a lot of us get caught in this trap. We expect others to know what we want, what we're feeling and what we are thinking without articulating these things and then both parties end up feeling misunderstood, let down and frustrated. Am I right or am I right?

Pointing fingers is, well, pointless. We are all guilty at one time or another of perpetrating any or all of these injustices upon one another. The key to correcting these practices, in my mind, is being aware of them in the first place. That's why I brought it up. I, personally, have some work to do in these areas. Do you? That's what I thought. Well, good for you for admitting it! :0)

I find most of the best solutions to life's sticky issues in God's word. Here are some verses that relate to this post that I find helpful and hope you will, too.

Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 17:14
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”

Philippians 2:3-4
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:14 -16
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold on to the word of life.”

Of course there are many others. God's grace is such an incredible gift. Like most gifts, it increases in value and worth when it is shared with others. I say let's extend grace to others by giving them the benefit of the doubt regardless of how things may look at first glance. Let's reach out in love by waiting patiently for things to unfold rather than jumping the gun and trying to figure out people or things before the time is right. Lastly, let's try to have faith in others around us to do the best they can and keep our expectations realistic.

And now, my dear friends, I will descend from my soapbox and bid you farewell. I assume you have enjoyed reading this post. I'll speculate that you will be back soon to read another post as soon as a new one comes along. I expect to see you back here very soon. Oh, wait...what did I just say? Yeah, well...old habits die hard, don't they? What can I say? I'm moving in the right direction. Thank God.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smiling Through Tears...Time To Switch Gears

This certainly won't come as a surprise to anyone but my children are growing up. Kind of an absurd statement if you think about it. I mean...that's the whole point, isn't it? All of our children are growing up. And we are growing older. Have I started depressing you yet? I'm sorry but I'm feeling really introspective today. Yesterday my kids started school again. My oldest son, Patrick, is now a fourth grader and my twins, Mattie and Michael are beginning second grade. I'm so proud of them all. They really are great kids. We just returned from vacation and they had to start school a day late. As I walked them all in to their respective classrooms on Tuesday morning, they didn't miss a beat and took it all in stride. As I picked them up they were all smiles and good reports so this set my mind at ease a bit.

Then we got home. Papers and folders came popping up out of their backpacks like the critters from that whack-a-mole game. Hard to keep up...If the teachers don't write their names on things, I get Mattie and Michael's papers and homework confused. Lots of forms to fill out and rules and regulations to read and sign. Michael forgot some of his homework and I had to call on some friends to email me his assignments. (Oh, noooo, Michael...not this again!) I won't lie to you...I wish they would give us poor parents a day or two to adjust to it all. For me, it seems a bit overwhelming. Other parents seem so on top of it, already up at the school putting in time as volunteers. Although I will be up at the school quite a bit as I always am, I have yet to fill out a volunteer form. I said I would hit the ground running when we returned from Maine. In reality, I just hit the ground. I'm slowly picking myself up and will get on my feet as soon as I catch up on my sleep and get all of these suitcases unpacked!

I have promised myself that I would let up a bit this year and not volunteer to do so many things at once. I promised the same thing last year but for some reason, when I hear the words "So who's available to help out with this project?" some neurotransmitter in my brain reads this as a signal to my right hand and causes it to leap up into the air involuntarily. Before I even realize it's up there, my name gets written down and the rest is history. I will try to control myself but we'll just have to see how things unfold, won't we?

It really is bittersweet. As a mom I am so proud to see the growth and maturity in my kids. It makes me smile to remember that these same children who used to look at me in adoration with little drooling, toothless grins are now smiling back at me as I drop them off at school sporting new teeth that seem a little bit too big for their faces. It brings tears of joy and a swelling of pride to my heart. It also makes me sad. I miss my babies. I miss holding them in the crook of my arm as I watch them sleep, softly singing to them as I pondered the possibilities of their dreams. I miss the days of wide-eyed wonder. I'm so grateful for the memories. I pray that I won't ever lose the memories of days gone by. I'm painfully aware that someday  the memories will have to sustain me when they are grown and gone.

Yes, the lazy days of summer are already becoming a dim memory but there are lots of great memories yet to be made. Time to switch gears. Cheerleading practices, homework projects, football games, decorating the hallways and planning class parties are going to be filling my days and nights for some time to come. It will be full tilt, pedal to the floor crazy at least until Christmas break. Time to dry my tears, throw my shoulders back and step into the fray. Ready or not, here I come. And if you happen to hear me complain...don't even give it a second thought. As always, I am living for and loving every minute of it!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lobsters Land In Hot Water! (Video)

When I was a little girl, I heard a story telling how New Englanders would put live lobsters into a boiling pot and that you could hear them scream. Naturally this was very disturbing to me and I can remember thinking this was cruel and unusual punishment for these poor unsuspecting crustaceans. I could just picture them, marching in step across the cold ocean floor and then, whammo...caught in a trap, thrusted screaming into a pot, boiled alive and served up with drawn butter on someone's dinner plate. I was quite disdainful of this process. But that was before...

When David and I met in 1995, I had no idea of the grand adventures we would embark upon together. I just knew he was cute, had a million dollar smile, and was someone I could talk to about all kinds of random things into the wee hours of the night. Falling in love with him was as inevitable as the sun rising in the east every day. I didn't put up much of a fight. Just fell. Hard. And never, ever looked back.

The first year we were together he took me skiing in Winter Park, CO. A totally new and exhilarating experience for me that I will never forget. But then, the following summer, David brought me to East Boothbay Harbor, Maine to visit the place where he had spent summers as a child. He might has well have said we were going to Mars. What I knew of Maine was only what I had seen sporadically on TV shows or in magazine articles and I honestly had no idea what to expect. What I did not expect was to fall instantly, desperately in love with a place. To say I like Maine is to say that Imelda Marcos 'liked' shoes. I can't get enough of Maine. There is a peace and tranquility here I have yet to find anywhere else I have ever been. Being here heals me and restores me and brings me back to a place of wholeness. I think heaven must be a lot like Maine.

People of Maine are no-nonsense, hardy, tough-as-nails folks. As a Texan, I am looked upon with a bit of suspicion by the locals here. I don't blame them. I have chemically enhanced, blonde and red hair. I wear make up and I like sparkly things. I stick out like a sore thumb here. This doesn't bother me much, though. I love Maine but don't expect Maine to love me back with equal enthusiasm. I have enough love for the both of us. The first trip to visit Dave's family, part of the summer ritual was to go to pick up live lobsters and bring them home in paper sacks and store them in the refrigerator until it was time to eat them. They were all very matter of fact about it. They take the lobsters out and let them wander around on the ground, their claws disabled with thick rubber bands. Crazy. The first time I saw David's mom put a live lobster in the pot, I had to excuse myself to go outside because I had tears in my eyes and felt guilt and sorrow for my complicity in their demise. I'm happy to report that there was no screaming. Not on my part or that of the poor unfortunate lobsters.

Years have passed and I have adapted. Since my children were toddling around on wobbly legs we have been coming up here and they have carried lobsters around in their bare hands, letting them 'race' across the back deck while they shriek with glee and excitement. (The children are gleeful and excited, not the lobsters).  It is a ritual now woven into the fabric of our family. They bring the lobsters into the house and participate in putting them into the pot. They dig into them with gusto, their faces are buttery, smiling, happy messes. I cherish these times. I always will. Unfortunately, in the 16 years I have been coming here, I've never developed a taste for lobster myself. I eat macaroni and cheese while everyone else joins in the lobster feast. That is my ritual. I know...I realize it's not the same but there are some vague similarities. For example, both macaroni and lobster have to be boiled in hot water. Just for the record, the macaroni doesn't scream, either.

I'm going outside, now. The tide is going out, the gulls are calling and there are treasures to be discovered in the tide pools. Flowers in the garden need dead-heading. The sparkling blue water beckons. The children are ready to explore the shore. There is much to do. I'd better get to it.

Here's a video proving once and for all that lobsters don't scream when they are in the pot. They do, however, squirm and wiggle a bit. *shudder*


Monday, August 8, 2011

These Things Go DOWN!

It was a clear day in Dallas, Texas a few days before Christmas in 1970. A man, a woman and three little girls climbed into a small airplane to return home to McAllen, Tx. after a wonderful visit with extended family. The man was my stepfather and pilot of the plane. Strong and powerful in stature, he was a retired Colonel in the Air Force and also happened to be a medical doctor specializing in Psychiatry. The woman, of course, was my mother. She was a stunningly beautiful, tiny, fragile thing, both physically and emotionally and was noticeably sad to be leaving her family. The three little girls were myself and my two older sisters. I was five years old. They were nine and ten. We were all feeling a bit sullen and deflated...already missing our aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. I was buckled into the seat belt with my eldest sister. This seems particularly poignant to me as at that time in my life, she and I were always joined at the hip, as it were. This day would be no different. My middle sister had a bit more space but truthfully, we were scrunched in with all kinds of kid paraphernalia; snacks, pillows, stuffed animals, and even a home-rigged 'port-o-potty.' (Just in case). The picture you see below is my sister, Sarah and me a couple of hours into the flight. She looks nervous and I appear bored and unhappy. I also look like a boy.

I have no memories of the plane taking off. We'd flown with our step-dad so many times it had become somewhat routine. What I do remember is the constant droning of the engine unique to small planes. I recall the sound filled my ears so full as to be almost painful at times. I never liked that. Somewhere over Alice, Tx, my parents had a disagreement, the outcome...quite significant. Mom wanted to land in Alice so that we could all stretch our legs, use the bathroom, refuel the plane, and recharge for the remainder of the trip. Step-dad was not having it. "I am  the captain of this ship" (he actually said that) "I decide when and where we land" or words to that effect. Naturally, there was no arguing with that and we continued our journey home.

What follows is a pieced together recollection from my five-year-old memory and what others have recounted to me over the years. There was an approaching cold front which had pushed us off course. My step-dad, though he was an excellent pilot, had made a miscalculation and we ended up beyond the Mexican border. As he was fighting head-winds, trying to get us back home the plane simply ran out of gas. Night had fallen. I remember the clear sky from my view between the two front seats. I remember the stars were brilliant. I remember the noise and then the sudden, abrupt, terrifying silence. I get chills just writing about the deafening unexpected silence. I remember my parents talking excitedly to one another. I remember hearty curses from my step-dad and crying from my mother. I don't recall either of them speaking to us though they surely must have done. I remember my big sister speaking soft words of comfort beyond what should be expected of a ten year old. My sister Ann, sat calmly and quietly on the other side of me. I remember the engine sputtering to life only to die again. And again. It was terribly silent. And then I remember falling.

We crashed into a grapefruit orchard in Mission, Tx. 7 Miles from the McAllen airport. Stepdad had angled the right wing down and it broke off on impact, flipping the plane upside-down. I woke up first, stunned but excited and full of adrenaline. Not realizing we were upside down I reached to unbuckle the seat belt and fell head first into the roof of the plane. I was able to wiggle out of a window and was running around the plane in circles shouting "Mommy, Mommy, we had a crash!" I have fractured, fuzzy memories after that. Miraculously, though with varying degrees of cuts, bumps and bruises, we all walked away from that crumpled tin can of a plane. Walked arm in arm singing a wobbly version of 'Jingle Bells' as my mother held her torn lip together with a handkerchief she must have gotten from my step-dad. That was what the headline under the picture of our wrecked plane on the front page of the McAllen Monitor said the next day. 'They Walked Away." We were out in the middle of nowhere and yet, astoundingly, a man had been driving nearby and saw our plane go down. He did his best to locate the crash site and drove us all to the nearby hospital. Looking back over that day through my adult eyes, I see God's presence and protection all over the place. Do I understand why He let it happen? No. Am I grateful He saw fit to protect us and save us? Absolutely yes.

Why tell this story now? Because this week we will be flying to Maine and as you might imagine I have a love/hate relationship with airplanes. I love watching them fly. I love airshows and listening to the raw power of the engines and the sheer impossibility of it all. Flying fascinates me. When I'm on the ground, that is. Unfortunately, this fascination ends the minute I step into an airplane and is often replaced by anxiety and nervousness and the thought that 'these things go DOWN and I should know because I've been on one that did!! I'm often filled with the desire to turn around and run right back out onto terra firma. But I don't. I still fly. I'm much better now than I used to be. Back in the day, years ago, people knew to come pick me up from the airport expecting the worst. I might have had too much wine. Or be loopy from Xanax. Or, if I'm honest, maybe a little bit of both. As my faith has increased over the years, I have learned to trust God with my safety and surrender to Him. I don't indulge in alcohol at all anymore and can't be on happy pills while traveling with 3 kids. So it's just me and God. Standing as steadily as I can on the 'solid rock' while hurtling through the air going 500 miles an hour at 35,000 feet.

I used to fall into the trap of having the 'right' to be afraid. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me "If that were me, I would never fly again!" or "you have every right to be scared to death after what happened to you." I won't lie...I bought into this for a long, long time. After all, I have the perfect excuse to be in bondage to fear of flying for the rest of my life. But why in the world would I want that? I finally had an amazing breakthrough a couple of years ago on a flight to New York City headed to go sing at Yankee Stadium with Joel Osteen and the rest of the Lakewood choir and team. I was traveling with my precious friend, Alicia who was believing and praying with me for my fear of flying to be taken away. I realized that I had to make a choice. I remembered hearing someone at church say God is everything or He is nothing. On an airplane or on solid ground He is in control. He has never failed me before and I have no reason to believe He ever will. I was more at peace on that flight and the return home than ever before.

So, am I cured? Yes and no. Even though I'm much more at peace and believe totally that God will get me to my 'final destination' in one piece, there are still some psychological scars and when the plane dips or descends rapidly and I have a sense of falling, my fight or flight (punny!) response kicks in and my heart rate goes up and I do feel anxious. The difference now is that I can quickly pray myself back into a place of peace and even enjoy myself and my family without freaking out. It gets better every time. For me, that's huge. I'm proud of my progress and am thankful that God is helping me work it out as He sees fit. You know, if you just figure it on odds alone, the odds of me ever being in another plane crash are pretty incalculable. If you think about it, I'm the perfect person to fly with! Yes, airplanes do go down. It's a direct consequence of them going up in the first place. They have to. It's the best part of the trip. Mine will go up and then down and gently land onto the runway in Maine and again when we return to Houston. I have no doubt in my mind.

Fear is a big fake. I can think of a thousand times I've fallen into fear and worry and anxiety over things that either never happened or weren't nearly as bad as I had imagined. Don't make the same mistake I did and allow a frightening event to shape your view of life or to limit you from being your best version of yourself. God can turn even the most terrifying and tragic events of your life into an opportunity for learning or even better, to bless you or someone else. Turn your back on your fears and turn into the loving embrace of Almighty God. At the risk of sounding completely cheesy; break free of whatever is holding you back, spread your wings and fly.

I leave you with this: A flight attendant on Southwest Airlines said this after a particularly bumpy landing. "Folks have a nice evening and thanks for flying with us. Please remember that rough landing that you just experienced was not the airlines' fault, the flight attendants' fault or the pilot's fault. It was the Asphalt."


*Note: At the time of writing this post I am still hopeful that I will find the copy of the newspaper clipping with the photo of the wreckage. I thought I knew exactly where it was but apparently I 'hid' it from myself by putting it in a special place where I couldn't lose it. As soon as it turns up I will update this post with the picture.

Friday, August 5, 2011

God Uses Cheap Trick To Get My Attention

As most of you know, last week was very challenging for our family. Strep hit us and hit us hard. One of my girlfriends jokingly said "you Kingsburys are dropping like flies!" It started with Patrick on Thursday and one after the other of us came down with strep. I was in over my head. My oldest, Patrick had both pneumonia and strep and I was concerned about his cough. I felt just awful. Michael is so little and seems so vulnerable and was still recovering from a bout of pneumonia himself. Mattie's fevers were hovering around 102 or above even with meds. David was doing what David does. Working hard, long hours. When he got home, tired from work, he unselfishly did his best to get us what we needed. Rough stuff.

You know, when I started this blog, I promised myself I would be as transparent with you all (and with myself) as I could be while still preserving the privacy and intimacy of my family. Sometimes that's hard. I'd like to tell you that throughout this last week I stayed in faith and was constantly at peace because I know that God is my healer and my protector. I'd like to say that I was strong in the Lord and the power of His might. I'd like to say that I invited Him into the situation and trusted  Him to have His way. Problem is, that would be a big fat lie. Yes, I prayed. I prayed AT God. I said all the right words in those prayers. I know how to use all the right words. I told God what I expected of Him. I told Him what His promises were with regard to my family's health and well being. But, you heart just wasn't in it. I was tired, frustrated, sick and overwhelmed and I just wasn't FEELING Him. That is foreign to me. The not feeling Him. Jesus and I, well, we're close. So I confess I felt a little sorry for myself. Okay, I stumbled directly into the Pit of Pity. And I hung out and wallowed there for a bit. Until my fingers got all pruny. No, I'm not proud of that but it is what it is.

I'll let you in on something...sometimes people at church and other Christian friends amaze me with their seemingly perfect faith. I really admire that. I mean, I consider myself a person of strong faith, but I have my moments, ya'll. Usually, I keep my chin up and keep a smile on my face as I soldier on. Last week, though, I certainly had some pretty low moments. There is something important to note here: During the whole ordeal I knew in the back of my mind that God would never let me go. And He never did. It was me. I let Him go. I walked right out of His grace and into my own flesh and allowed the distance between us. All my fault. It could have been different and God willing it will be different if (rather, when) the next trial comes along. Thanks to God's mercy and love, I will get a do-over. He's so awesome that way.

Here's where it gets kind of funny though, and if you don't think God has a sense of humor, you are really missing out. God communicates with me in so many different ways. Of course through His word. Also, through songs at the perfect time, through whisperings in my spirit, through the loving and encouraging words of friends and loved ones. Someone asked me once why I believed I was able to hear God speaking to me and they couldn't. My explanation was this: There are radio waves vibrating and floating through the air at all times. 24/7. We can't see them but they are there just the same. If your receiver is not on, you will be completely oblivious to the music, words and continuous broadcasts available to you at the touch of a button. God is like that. God is always "on the air." Is your receiver on? What station are you tuned into? This past week, I allowed the noise of fear, exhaustion, and hopelessness to drown out the music of protection, love, peace, healing and faith. It was there all along. I just needed to do some 'fine tuning.' God is available at all times. We just have to be willing to receive what He has to offer. I fell asleep one night praying to God saying "What am I doing wrong?" "Why aren't things getting better?" "What can I do?"  " there anything I can DO?"

The next day I woke up with the chorus of a particularly annoying song stuck in my head. Just couldn't shake it. So aggravating! It was there all day like a mosquito in my ear. I'm so dense, I kept trying to push it away. Humming other songs, playing music on my iPhone, etc. But God is nothing if not persistent. That evening I was coming out of my room and I heard an urging deep down that said 'Just stop and LISTEN" And, you know what? I felt chills wash over me and tears came spilling down as in that moment, I finally got what He was so gently, yet persistently trying to tell me all day. Guess what the song old Cheap Trick song I hadn't heard in years. You may know it. It goes a little something like this:
I WANT YOU TO WANT ME...I NEED YOU TO NEED ME...I LOVE YOU TO LOVE know the one. Wow. It fell over me like a crashing wave. That is the absolute only thing I have to offer God. Myself. Completely and totally surrendered and in loving acceptance and obedience to His will. Oh, how He loves me. How He loves us.

I may not be perfect but the God of Heaven and Earth calls me His own. As my Daddy used to remind me: "You are a living child of the living God. Your Father made this planet and it belongs to you." He also told me never to forget that. For a brief moment last week I lost touch with that. God's mercy drew me back in with (of all things, a) Cheap Trick and reminded me that He won't let go. Never, ever. Yes, God has a sense of humor. You know what else? He wants me to want Him. How cool is that? Can you see me grinning? :0)

Here's a video of a song that seems so appropriate to this post. Take a deep breath, crank it up and tune out the noise of the world. (And no, it's not Cheap Trick). Enjoy.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Strep-idemic Stinks

When it rains, it pours. This last week it appears to have been raining Streptococcus bacteria directly over our house. It all started last week when Patrick started coughing. That didn't concern me much because Patrick has allergies and usually has a stretch of time during each season where he coughs and sneezes regularly because of something floating around in our funky Houston air. When he woke up one morning with a high fever and looking sick and puny I knew I had to get him to the Dr. right away. Naturally I had to wait until the next day (Thursday) and by then he was even worse. The verdict? Pneumonia AND Strep. Wow.

I don't know about you other moms out there but whenever my kids get sick, I start questioning my decisions and always manage to find something(s) that I may or may not have done that must make the whole thing ALL MY FAULT. Even though my rational mind knows full well that kids getting sick is a normal part of life and in no way reflects on my abilities nor does it call into question my qualifications as an effective parent for my kids...unfortunately, there is that other voice. The one that says 'you shouldn't have assumed his cough was allergies.' 'You shouldn't have waited to take him to the Dr.' 'You should have found an alternative when you couldn't get him into the Dr. until the next day...'  That other voice can be pretty convincing and is a real pain in the butt. I try my best to ignore that other voice but sometimes it sneaks back in and I get the guilts all over again. Occupational hazard of mommyhood, I guess.

Friday night I had such a sore throat I could barely swallow and body aches were getting pretty noticeable. I had given Patrick a hotel-style 'sick bell' to ring and he was making liberal use of it. I've since decided that though it was a cute idea, we won't be dusting off the sick bell and using it again the next go-round. He was really running me ragged with that thing. On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling terrible and Michael woke up with 101.6 fever. Off we went to the clinic and we both ended up positive for Strep as well. By this time, Patrick, Michael and I were all crowded into my big king-sized bed and Mattie and David were trying their best to avoid us like the plague. We hung out and played video games and watched TV most of the weekend.
Mattie was so excited that she was the only non-sick Kingsbury kid. She was taunting us a bit too much and I think she jinxed herself because this morning (3:30am) she was up with 102.4 fever and was shaking with chills. My poor baby. Then mid-morning David called saying he had a scratchy throat and felt bad so he made a Dr. appointment for himself. Strep got us all. One by one. I hate Strep.

So, let's look on the bright side. Praise God, we have good insurance and health care providers. Thankfully we enjoy each others' company and found a way to enjoy ourselves despite the fact that we all felt crummy. The dog is not sick. (Yet...fingers crossed.) Although the house is a mess, at least we aren't planning to have guests any time soon. We got sick BEFORE we left on our vacation to Maine instead of getting it when we arrive there. Everyone is now on antibiotics and we are all on the mend. We got it out of the way before school starts. One of our neighbors sent over some yummy chicken soup so I wouldn't have to cook. These are all things to be thankful for.

Honestly, I'm exhausted. Being a sick mom with sick kids just stinks. Nobody really cares that Mom is sick. They want what they want when they want it. The other day I was like *sniff, sniff* 'What is that smell?' Then I realized I hadn't even had time to take a shower! They mean well, don't get me wrong....they just wear me out. David was a big help doing laundry, etc so that is a big plus. I'm just tired. Gotta pack for vacation, gotta get the kids ready for school. I've done some figuring and looking at the calendar and the way I see it, after this upcoming vacation, my next opportunity to get any decent rest will be sometime the 2nd week of January 2012. Yikes! That does it...I'm going to go crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head while there's still time. Take care, ya'll.