Friday, April 8, 2016

Giving Thanks Among Life's Lemons

If my last post's gloom and doom didn't scare you off, I should share with you that my world has been shifting toward a new path recently, which just may have tipped the scale a bit more towards the melancholy.

For one, our homeschool has felt out of whack for awhile now (and not just the winter blues). A good talk with a friend helped in "letting go" of current frustrations to find joy again.

A second thing has been a huge feeling of stress and unrest with our home. I'm still sorting and praying on this one.

Third, while we made it through most of the winter in good health, we more than made up for it during Lent. I was exhausted. Miss Z was super sick with some form of tonsilitis. She was nearly admitted to the hospital for breathing issues due to grossly swollen tonsils. My husband and I took turns holding her upright to sleep for multiple nights, staying awake to make sure she was breathing. She's doing great now, but that illness spread and we stayed sick from then on.

One of the colds went into my chest, which was just miserable. If you get bronchitis and laryngitis routinely, you know what I mean. I still have a hoarse voice and I lost it nearly a month ago!

Finally, as I was scrambling to pack for vacation and get medicine for myself, Mr. A landed himself in the ER with onset Type 1 diabetes. We were supposed to leave for vacation the following day in the wee hours. Instead, we found ourselves transported to a pediatric hospital to learn all about taking care of our son.

The good news is that Mr. A is doing fabulous. I had known the signs and caught it early. He is taking ownership of the disease and we are trying to sort out all we knew about food and fitting into this new lifestyle.

So many blessings among all this unrest...

...Our health is steadily improving (we did catch colds on our way home from vacation!).

...Vacation was wonderfully relaxing - it felt so nice to be in the sun and walk everywhere.

Ok. Not sunny here but we're on the beach!

The ocean was cold but that didn't stop the kids.

...We were so blessed with nearly all the hospital staff and our pharmacy. They have been wonderful in helping us with Mr. A's diabetes.

...I am so thankful this happened before and not while on vacation.

...I am thankful for less stress in our homeschool which helps to slow me down and calm me.

...Mr. A's diagnosis really hit home the fragility of life and how blessed we are to wake each day in each other's company, no matter if cranky or smiling.

In the ER at diagnosis. (I can make a new post on type 1 if anyone is interested.)

About two weeks post-diagnosis. He had gained back 6 pounds!

...I am thankful for sleep. We still need to do middle of the night blood sugar checks. I can never go back to sleep after so when I do sleep, it is great.

...Also, with taming blood sugars, the mood around this house is more calm and focused. Much needed!!! Let's just say two of my children are like oil and water. I'll leave it to you to guess which two.

...And spring is coming! It may not seem like it with gray skies and "thunder snow" in tonight's forecast, but it will be here, sooner rather than later.

So, really, I am not all gloom and doom. I certainly had that emotion swirling inside me, but writing about it helped ease the burden. I truly feel uplifted at the moment, and that is certainly by God's grace, and not my own.

And I am most definitely trying to follow this advice:


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

On Daily Struggles

We all struggle. Rich or poor, healthy or not, young or old... We all struggle in some way or another. At times, it seems one has it worse than another. We make snap judgments all the time over this, even if all we see is the surface of another.

In the overall scheme of things, I have been so very blessed, and I know this, but in the daily struggle, it is easy to overlook all my many blessings. It is simple to see the pain and the ugliness, the lies the devil puts in my path.

Why in the world are you homeschooling? Wouldn't the kids do better in a school - with order and consistency? Oh, you're keeping them home... Well then, shouldn't you fill up their day with tons of work to make sure you're covering everything?

Why can't my child be "normal?" Is it fair that he struggles time and again, and just as soon as he gets into a good pattern, something else happens to start the process over again?

With time, I see patterns in these thoughts, and I am better able to fight. But they never go away.

Oh, poor you. If only you could exercise every day like everyone else seems to be able to do, maybe you would actually lose weight and start to feel better. Why don't you spend your time focusing on all the things that might make you well again? Forget about keeping it simple or just enjoying what you do have.

Sometimes - usually - even with knowledge, I fail - time and again. I fail to trust. I fail to listen. I fail to have faith.

"He said to them, 'Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?' Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm." Matthew 8:26

How is it one day I pray and talk to God as usual, and the next, I feel utterly alone. Is it a test? Is it a lesson in faith and perseverance? If so, I have failed horribly.

This is the Year of Mercy. Why do I believe the lie that God's mercy is for others but not for me?

Why is it that I continue to struggle with what seems a very basic tenet of faith - that God loves all of us, that He wants us to love Him and follow Him? Why can't I seem to grasp that His mercy is not just for my children, my family, and my friends, but for me too?

"He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:29-31

Looking back, I can see how I have grown in faith and daily habits, but in the daily to-dos, I lose sight of this. Once upon a time, I wouldn't have cared if there was a God or not. Once upon a time, I would never have turned to prayer (I still struggle with this outwardly with others). Once upon a time, I wouldn't have cared if I was growing in faith or not.

But I do care, and I do know. And that makes all the difference. Why I continue to pray with no response. Why I continue to thank God and to ask for His help to go to Mass or to Confession, when my weak flesh and even weaker spirit say no. Why I continue to fight to have faith in our seemingly faithless world and among even my own family where faith is lacking. I hold tight to that small mustard seed of truth, trying to plant it in good soil, and hoping against hope I haven't chosen a poor spot to garden.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit." Romans 15:13