Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aw, snap.

Yesterday was a good day.

Until we went to Wal-Mart.

I had to pick up groceries, etc. Dave took all three kids and wandered around the store while I shopped for the food. I saw a couple of people I knew. No big deal.

When I found Dave, the kids were still good. We headed toward the front of the store, and all of a sudden, I snapped.

It was so weird.

It was like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. I just lost it. I didn't want to talk to anyone, not even the cashier. I was snapping at Dave and the kids.

We got into the car, and I realized the life had been sucked out of me at Wal-Mart.

Dave felt similarly, but he didn't snap.

I think it was a combo of seeing people I know when I just want to be anonymous, having to be nice when I don't feel like it, being ravenously hungry, and having to excuse my wiggly children from every passerby.

I also think the evil-o-meter is pretty high right now, probably orange threat level. That might have had something to do with it too.

Dare I say, "I've become a homebody?"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Here and Safe!

Marley Grace is here! 6 lbs 14 oz

She's healthy and her mommy and daddy are happy and relieved!

Praise Jesus!

Arms in the Air

Today is the day.

My good friend, Marla, is going to become a mother for the fifth time. I will never forget where I was when I got the news that she was headed to the hospital the first time. I was so excited. It was 6 in the morning almost 6 years ago. I had predicted what day she would deliver (and I was RIGHT). I also will never forget where I was when I heard that everything was NOT okay. I was in the teacher's lounge using the phone to call her and find out how Halley was doing. Marla answered and said, "You haven't heard?" She was obviously still in shock. Halley wasn't breathing on her own, her muscles were constricted, and they had no idea what was wrong.

I prayed and prayed for the next two months.

I really thought she would be healed.

Then, Nate and Marla had to make the hardest decision of their lives. They had to remove life support from their precious Halley because her organs were all failing.

I didn't know what to do. How do you help someone who has just lost their first child to an unknown disease? Our small group planted some flowers for them, and we went to the memorial service. I now cannot hear "Fly to Jesus" without bawling. Halley's life, though brief, changed mine forever. I told God, "I really thought you were going to heal her."

He said, "I did--just not how you thought I would."

It was hard to watch Nate and Marla grieve. Especially when I became pregnant shortly after Halley's death. The guilt I felt for being pregnant when her baby was gone was hard to bear. Sometimes, I just didn't know what to say.

I was about 4-5 months pregnant with Sam when Marla announced they were pregnant again. We were all overjoyed, but we were also scared because the doctors thought it could be a genetic disease that was not yet documented. No other known disease really explained it. I had Sam, and Marla continued to grow and blossom in her pregnancy. Things were looking okay, but they didn't really know what to think because Halley's pregnancy had been normal (to their knowledge). Just over 14 months after Halley was born, I got a phone call from our good (and mutual) friend, Melissa, telling me that they were doing a c-section to get Porter out because his non-stress tests looked concerning.

I remember yelling in the phone, "No!!! This is NOT happening again!" Melissa and I cried together over the phone, and once again, I started to pray.

Porter was taken out several weeks early, but his symptoms looked frighteningly familiar. And again, two months after he came into the world, Nate and Marla had to, once again, remove their baby from life support. At the visitation, I just didn't know what to say. My baby was healthy and six months old. That guilt returned.

"I'm so sorry," was about all I could muster. His little body in the casket was almost too much to bear. It was good for me to see him, though. It helped a little. I just could not believe I was going to yet another funeral for one of their children. Of course, now the doctors had determined that the disease was genetic, and that they had a 25% chance of a baby having it each time they conceived. That is devastating news to bear.

Marla told me later that people often said insensitive things to her in hopes of cheering her up. I didn't want to be one of those people. I found it hard to find things to say, but I tried to listen if she was willing to talk.

A few months after Porter's death, I found out I was pregnant again. Guilt returned (also because I had another close friend who had miscarried that summer as well). But then, there was finally some GOOD NEWS.

Nate and Marla were going to adopt a baby.

I prayed and prayed that the adoption would go smoothly and that the birth mother would not change her mind.

And Shepherd was born. We had a baby shower after he arrived, and it was so sweet because Marla didn't let anybody hold him. But no one tried to--we all wanted her to hold her baby as much as she wanted!!! He was theirs. I had Maryn about two and a half months later.

We all went off to our separate residency programs, and we grew closer than we'd ever been. We talked weekly (sometimes multiple times a week). I watched Marla grow in grace. You could see the Lord was healing her. She is very transparent and honest about how she's feeling. It was good to hear her talk about her grief and her journey to healing.

She called one day and dropped the bomb that she was pregnant AGAIN! I didn't think she was crazy. I knew that she and Nate were not flippant about this. I knew that they listened very carefully to what God was telling them to do--especially in this area. I prayed and prayed for her baby, had others praying, and when the day came, Owen was born, and he was healthy!

I cannot begin to describe the joy that we all felt over this news!!!

Marla and I have grown so close through the years, and I am blessed to be in this spot once again, praying for her and her sweet baby girl, Marley, who will arrive in the next hour or so. I have learned so much from Marla about trusting God, about being real, about grief, about fear, and about being healed.

I may have prayed for Marla, but she too has prayed for me. She doesn't minimalize my struggles by comparing them to hers. This is what the Body of Christ is supposed to look like. I'm sure of it! Holding one another up as we walk through life--the good, the bad, and the devastating. It's mutual.

So, now, would you join me in praying for the safe arrival of Marley Grace? I'll post again with the news. We're believing God for another miracle!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

::Geidlbots Weekly Calendar of Events:: or something like that.

I thought this week would be slower.


My parents came over this weekend to visit. They hadn't been here since right after we moved in, so it was nice to show them the house with our stuff on the walls and the fresh paint. I do have eventual plans to show before/after pictures on here. We've been told that we should have DSL in a couple of weeks!!! Then, I will be able to show you more pictures.

We had a nice visit complete with our kids saying things they shouldn't and making us all laugh. Mom and Dad stayed with the kiddos on Sunday morning while we went to Sunday School. It was kind of like a date. Kind of...

Sunday night, we had our small group discussion. That was good. Until early the next morning...Lucy was up all night. It was ridiculous. I thought her tummy was hurting, but it turns out, she had an ear infection. We had to cancel our dinner plans last night because of it, but I was also not feeling well. I'm not sure if it is a cold or maybe just my allergies, but my ears are congested and I feel a little foggy. Seems like really bad allergies (which I haven't dealt with in awhile, but we did just move to an oak tree infested area) or a mild cold. Either way, I haven't felt at the top of my game. Lucy slept so much better last night.

I skipped Bible study this morning so she could rest. She rested well--about two hours. I picked up her antibiotic--her first one ever. She is my healthiest child yet! 11 months without antibiotics!!! We ate Sonic food in the car with Dave, and then came home for naptime. Neither of my girls is asleep right now...Lucy is fussing, and Maryn was playing with Elmo in her bed. Tonight, we have a meeting in Conway. Tomorrow, we have a meeting in Little Rock, I think?? I need a haircut.

This Friday, we are having Jason and Amanda and their two children stay the night with us, and then on Saturday, we're all going to the Ozark Folk Center for the annual Bean Festival. You read that right. It's all about beans and folk music. I can't wait.

So that's what is going on in our world. How about yours?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Managing our Freedom

It's funny how busyness is different in different places. In residency, Dave was busy with work, Good Samaritan, meetings, call, etc. I was busy with Bible study, book club, and events. Now that we've moved here, a few things are the same--he still has call every week (though it is from home), and I still have Bible study. However, we've also found a way to be busy in other things.

We exercise. Every day (but Sunday--we rest our bodies). Since we have three children, daily exercise--together--is difficult. And boy, do we need one another! If we weren't there to encourage one another in it, we wouldn't do it. So, every night, after we put the kids to bed, we put in our DVDs. We do Gilad's (from FitTV) workouts. We do cardio and strength training, alternately, six days a week. It's huge for us! But, we've realized, that we have less free time in the evenings now that we exercise.

Dave commented the other day, "How did we get so busy here?" Well, we have a small group meeting on Sunday nights. We have a meeting in Conway every Tuesday night. I have a women's Bible study on Tuesday mornings. Dave is "off" (sometimes) on Wednesdays, so we run a lot of errands. It's busy, but it is a good kind of busy. We are much healthier than we've been in a long time.

Somewhere along the way, we started choosing to do things out of a desire to be healthy rather than a place of guilt or obligation. I remember being heavy laden in college with three Bible studies a week, church, community group, and a large student meeting each week (not to mention the part-time job and my classes). It was too much, and much of it, I did it because I felt like if I didn't that I wasn't spiritual enough. Now, the things I choose are out of genuine desire and not duty. It's healthier and more rewarding.

No longer do I cower under obligation. Though it may be kind of a silly way to go about things, I reached a point in my life where I wouldn't do something (even if it was good) if I was doing it out of guilt, shame, or obligation. Instead, I would only do those things when the desire came. I know some of you are thinking, "If I did that, I would never do any of the things I am supposed to do." That may be true. It wasn't for me, and that surprises me (because I believed that too)!

It seems like desire finally had the opportunity to arise because I was not giving obligation and duty any room to rule me. I guess, in a way, I learned to manage my freedom (in much the same way I'm trying to teach my children to do). I chose not to exercise. This had consequences. I was free from the guilt of obligation to exercise--I was not a slave to it, but the consequence for not exercising is getting fatter and flabbier. Suddenly, a desire to be healthy and fit arose, and I gladly chose to exercise. I made decisions, and I ruled my decisions instead of them ruling me.

Last night, after we finished "Cardio Strike!", we made some popcorn (and a bag of candy corn) and sat down to finish a movie we'd started. We started talking about how eating the popcorn (and candy corn) might not be a good idea. I said something like, "We're free to eat popcorn (and candy corn). It's not that big of a deal." Dave agreed, and then said, "All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial." (a quote from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:23). We laughed about that because we knew that to eat the popcorn (and candy corn) wasn't sinful, but it wasn't going to be beneficial to us. Well, we ate it, and we felt gross afterwards. We managed our freedom, but we experienced a consequence that wasn't pleasant. Chances are that after we work out tonight, we won't indulge our appetites quite so much. But, we are learning to walk in grace and how to make good decisions for ourselves.

It isn't about following a list of rules. It's about walking in freedom, making good decisions in the power of the Holy Spirit, and pursuing things from a true place of desire. There is always a place for balance, and there are so many things I want to cultivate disciplines in (like meditation on Scripture, prayer, walking in the Spirit...), but I KNOW that I can't discipline myself to do things out of fear or duty because those are the wrong motives. Those kinds of works will not make it through the fire. Our Father is a good Dad. He knows we long to please Him and try our hardest. But even He desires that we do it out of desire and not duty. (Read Piper's little book, Duty and Desire...I forgot I read it until now.)

This is the abundant life Jesus was talking about...or at least a smidgen of it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On Turning 30 and Bucket Lists

I'm rapidly approaching my 30th birthday in November. To some of you, I'm a spring chicken. To others, I am THAT LADY WITH THOSE KIDS. No matter what my relative age is, I do feel as if I'm entering a new phase of life. 30 seems so much older than 29. Okay, maybe not that much older...

I will always remember (unless my memory starts to go soon...) that episode of "Friends" in which Phoebe tries to complete her "Things to do before I'm 30" list only to find out she's been 30 and is almost 31. She proceeds with the list and has the time of her life doing it.

Well, I have a list. It isn't a "Things to do before I'm 30" list but more of a "Things I want to do before I get too old to do them" list. :) I'll share 30 of mine, in honor of my upcoming birthday, then you share some of yours.

These are not listed in order of importance, FYI.

1. Sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
2. Go backpacking around Europe (just Dave and me).
3. Put flowers on C.S. Lewis' grave.
4. See the Redwoods in California.
5. Visit Seattle and drink coffee at the first Starbucks.
6. Go to a Yankees game.
7. Go to Walt Disney World with my kids.
8. Visit Easter Island and see the big stone heads.
9. Go to India and eat tons of Indian food.
10. Visit Israel and walk where Jesus walked.
11. Go to Greece and take pretty pictures.
12. Climb a few more 14,000 ft. peaks in Colorado (I've climbed one so far...and a few shorter ones, like 13K or 12K).
13. Go to NYC and do NY stuff (Broadway, Central Park Zoo with the kids, Times Square).
14. Visit all of my internet friends at least once.
15. Be an overseas missionary in China, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.
16. Ride in a gondola in Venice.
17. Own a stick shift again.
18. Buy a really nice camera with a nice, wide lens (I hope this one comes true soon.)
19. Adopt a child.
20. Be revolutionary...somehow.
21. Write a book.
22. Learn to paint or draw better.
23. Lose all the baby weight (for good...after I'm done having babies, of course!).
24. Find the birthplaces of my ancestors and visit there (Ireland, Scotland, England...of course)
25. Teach my girls how to sew.
26. Learn how to can food.
27. Learn how to quilt--for reals (there's an elderly woman in my Bible study who is up for the challenge!).
28. Read more classics.
29. Plant a garden and keep it alive for an extended period of time.
30. Leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren.

I may add to this as I think of things. Your turn.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hedonism and Me

So, I have this friend, Hedonism, that is a bit of a leech. She hangs around ALL the time, and she's constantly persuading me to do whatever I feel like doing while I ignore what is important and best for others. In fact, there have been many times when I have chosen Hedonism over my husband, my children, and my friends.

Hedonism and I go way back. This is particularly most evident in housekeeping. I have struggled since my teenage years with being tidy. I am just not neat. I'm not pigsty filthy, but I am not tidy. I am messy. I leave a trail wherever I go. You could look at my house most days and see where I have been and what I have done, cooked, and eaten.

I married a man who is tidier than I am. He generally picks up after himself (except for his shoes and doctor mail), and unfortunately, he is really laid back as well. This does not bode well for a procrastinating, untidy wife. I can count on my hand the number of times he has asked me to pick up my stuff or told me that the house is making him feel a bit overwhelmed.

The funny thing is that I feel overwhelmed by it, too.

So yesterday, I told him how I was feeling about my job as housekeeper. I have considered hiring someone to help me with the house. After all, I do have three children who keep me busy, right? Wrong. The deal is this: I do whatever I want to do whenever I feel like doing it. I rarely don't have time to clean; I just don't want to. So, I don't. I have a hard time making myself do things that I don't want to do (of course, this is part of the fun perks of being an adult--there's no one to boss you around and make you do the stuff you don't want to do!). Yet, someone has to do them.

I'm a bit of an extremist--all or nothing--never half-hearted. So, back to my conversation with my melancholic/phlegmatic husband who is too gracious for words. I asked him, "How do people who are organized by nature motivate themselves to do the undesirable, boring, and unpleasant things in life? And, what should I do about my problem? I waver too much between legalism and grace (all or nothing). I am either too hard on myself about it or too lenient. I can't seem to be balanced."

His answer?

"Maybe you should set some limits for yourself--like only play The Sims for an hour a day?"

Problem. When my hour is up, I don't care, and I keep playing. (Yes, I play computer games. Too much. I also sew, crochet, read, play on Facebook, talk on the phone...and too many times, I do these things while my kids watch PBS or Boomerang.)

So, I LOVE IT when people ask me, "How do you have time to do all the projects, etc?" Well, I do whatever I want to do. Sadly, though, it is often at the expense of my family.

While I was in the shower last night, I began talking with Dave about breastfeeding (a subject I am very familiar with and talk about a lot because it has always been difficult for me). I have nursed all of my children, and each of them has had some crazy issue that has made it incredibly hard--Sam would have nursing strikes that would leave me in tears, Maryn had a horrible latch which was incredibly painful for me for the first two months, and Lucy had horrible reflux, was losing weight, and would refuse to nurse because of her pain. A lightbulb suddenly went off in my head. Why did I persevere with breastfeeding, especially when it was so hard and unpleasant? Why did I do the things that were hard? Where was hedonism in those moments?

I persevered because it was important to me. I believed strongly that what I was doing in breastfeeding would set the tone for my kids' development and our bond. I wanted the best for my kids. Hedonism took a backseat because breastfeeding my children was more important to me than my own interests. It was sacrificial on my part. They took preeminence over my comfort.

So, now I am asking myself? What is most important to me here at home? Perhaps I haven't had the motivation to keep the house tidy or play more with my kids because I haven't considered what is most important. Is Hedonism going to win while my kids are rotting their brains (okay, maybe not so much with PBS...) in front of the TV? Is the peace that comes with a clean home worth it for my family and for me?

Hedonism, it is time you left the building.