Friday, September 30, 2011

Mommy lesson #56

Is this #56, I don't know. But 56 lessons learned in three years seems fairly representative, so I'll go with it.

Today I learned that allowing the kids to draw on your minivan with chalk because they are having so much fun and you are so tired of saying no to so many things and you just want to let them do it ... is a bad idea.

Faree (our gardener) washed the car today. (Yes, they wash the car and pick up dog poo and keep the toys picked up and anything else you want them to do.) He washed off the chalk and what is left behind is a whole lot of scratches all over our minivan.

This is a tough lesson. I suppose test chalking an area would have been a better idea.

But in other news, when flipping through one of JB's magazines and discussing deer hunting, Elijah informed JB that he doesn't like eating animals. He likes animal crackers. But not animals.

Got it.

Love these pics Veronica





Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tops in Blue


Tuesday night, Tops in Blue came to visit us at Incirlik. "Tops In Blue is one of the oldest and most widely traveled entertainment groups of its kind.  Composed of 35 to 40 of the most talented vocalists, musicians, dancers, and techncians anywhere, their primary purpose is to perform for military personnel and their families throughout the world.  However, the enormous popularity of the group has also made them America’s goodwill ambassadors around the globe." 


Since the show started at 7pm, we only stayed for about an hour of it, but the boys really enjoyed it. They were clapping, Elijah was dancing, and Isaac and Abigail were enthralled with the lights flashing around the hangar. 


I am so appreciative of entertainers and distinguished individuals who come and visit our Base. Because we are in the Middle East, we often get some of the same people here who go to see the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our opportunities for American entertainment and tastes of home are rare, and I have an understanding of how important these types of things are to morale. Somehow, when you get to watch something like this, you find yourself not feeling quite so isolated and alone. You feel that America is behind you and with you. 


I am so glad the military assigned us to Turkey. JB's hours and the fact that we are "deployed in place" as a family instead of him deploying separately made the choice an easy one for us. But it is still hard being so far away from family. I wake up in the morning and think that I want to call and talk to someone in the USA and then remember that everyone I love there is in bed and will be for another eight hours. That alone makes you feel alone sometimes. In addition, if our Internet goes out (which is did all day Sunday -- again) we cannot talk to anyone at all since our phone runs through our computer.


That being said, I cannot possibly imagine doing this fifteen years ago when technology wasn't anything like it is now. Without the Internet and ability to call home, I truly am not sure I could do this. It gives me a great appreciation for our veterans who did this years ago when all they had was mail, whenever it came in. How difficult that would be!


Please continue to pray for our family and all of our military. And please pray especially for Joia's husband Philip as he prepares to return to his family very soon.

Aaaahhhh ... life with boys!

Yes, these are frogs. Yes, my boys are holding them. No, I didn't participate. And, as you can tell, "Stubby" wasn't too sure about the whole idea either!




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some giggles

While practicing his current memory verse, Isaac accidentally said, " ... in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your friends straight." (It's supposed to be paths.)
*****
Whenever the boys talk to Hatice or our gardener Far-ee (I don't know how to spell his name but that's how you pronounce it) I encourage them to speak in Turkish. They can say hello, thank you, good bye, those types of things. The other day, I said thank you to Elijah in Turkish and Elijah said, "Silly Mommy. I'm not Far-ee."
*****
While putting on Elijah's pants, I accidentally called him Isaac. Isaac, across the room, stood up and said, "Mom, Isaac's over here!"
*****
Elijah has been asking "Why?" in response to every single thing I say. When he feels satisfied, he will change his response to an "Oh." John has figured out that if you twist things around to food, he'll switch from "Why?" to "Oh," faster. An example:
JB: Elijah, put on your shoes
Elijah: Why?
JB: Because we are leaving.
Elijah: Why?
JB: Because it is time to go.
Elijah: Why?
JB: Because we need to go get food.
Elijah: Oh.
*****
Isaac has been expressing his desires and issues with more gusto lately. He'll say, "I'm really very hungry," for example. But last week he entertained us even further with, "My butt really needs to go poopy" and "My body is really thirsty."
*****
I have told Isaac not to try to drink his juice without using his hands as the cup often spills. The other day he came up to me, tilted back his sippy cup by biting the mouthpiece and not using his hands. He stopped for a minute and said, "Do you want to say anything about this Mommy?"

Some Smiles (and Cries)




Monday, September 26, 2011

A special mom

I received an email from a very special woman in my life. She is a wonderful mom. I have known her for a very long time. And in that email she admitted, for one of the first times ever, that she struggled with PPD after the birth of one of her children. I never knew this. In fact, no one did. How wonderful to hear that even the "great" moms have dealt with this. It was also SO encouraging to hear her write down exactly how I was feeling without me even telling her.


"No one knew, except my husband, unless people guessed. I think anyone who noticed something wrong just thought I was tired. And I was but there was a lot more to it.  The 'me' inside was vacant ... I lived in a fog. I would drop the older kids off at school and come home and stay home."


I loved how she phrased that. That the 'me' inside was vacant. That describes how I was feeling nearly perfectly. I say feeling because that real vacant feeling has passed. I am still recovering but the very deep and vacant place is no longer there -- of which I am so thankful.
 
"I did what I had to do to take care of the family but spent a lot of time crying, sad and just sitting and staring at nothing. The kids are what kept me going. I loved them to death and wanted them to be okay. If I needed to be away from everyone because I didn't want them to see me cry or I was going to 'lose it', I would take the baby in my room with the excuse of having to nurse her and just stay in there!"



This paragraph was also very similar to how I was feeling. In the midst of, my children were what kept me going. I craved them and loved them so incredibly much during this time that not taking care of them was beyond me. It was only when I realized that the way I was feeling was becoming so heavy, that it was starting to effect my ability to care for them, that I knew I had to get help.
  
"I look back now and think if I had opened up my mouth and told even one person that maybe things would have gotten better a lot faster-but I just couldn't do it, it was too personal."



So many people go through things like this alone! I don't want to ever see that happen again. 
 
"Went to Church, read my devotionals, knew all the verses but it didn't change things. I would fake a smile, say the appropriate things when I had to but most of the time it was like I was living an 'out of body' experience."



Again, the out-of-body is a great way to describe what was happening for me too.
 
"I remember one night, sneaking out and going next door-and sitting on the floor of the neighbors front porch and hiding. Not sure why, just needed to get out and didn't want to explain or talk. But after a while, a long while, I would get up in the morning and start doing things and all of a sudden realize I was smiling at something that I didn't have to make myself smile at. Then, there would be a day when I would go through a few hours of doing things and realize that I didn't feel so stinkin' tired. Or that I would actually do something outside of the necessities -without making myself do it...Then all of a sudden, it would hit me that I'd gone thru a whole day -a normal day. Then a few days at a time...The fog had lifted." 


This describes my healing perfectly. It is all of a sudden smiling. And all of a sudden doing something without having to think through every step of it. 
 
"Now, here you are, doing it all right and you have no idea how many young mother's out there you are helping! I'm not talking about the ones who are writing to tell you, I'm talking about the ones who, like me, just can't bring themselves to talking about their feelings. Whatever their reason, they are embarrassed, ashamed ... I wasn't about to admit I was crying all the time and couldn't remember if I fed the dog! Maybe some feel it's a social stigma, or will reflect poorly on their trust in God, heaven knows. Even pastor's wives suffer from depression too! And not just after having a baby-there a tons of reasons people go through this. Whatever the reason, whatever the path someone takes to get through it, I know the Lord is there carrying us and one day, the heaviness will disappear-may be gradual, may be sudden, but like a fog, it will lift."  


Thank you to this very special mom for sharing something so personal. I hope it ministers to other women as much as it ministers to me. I love you!

Prayer Requests

Will you please join me in praying for:

  • This family, friends of my friend Stebbs, who are preparing for the birth of their daughter who has a chromosomal disorder not compatible with life. 
  • My brother-in-law, Matt, who is now in the Middle East on a year long deployment. This is one of JB's three brothers. Please pray also for JB's parents and especially his wife Danielle as we wait for Matt's safe homecoming.
  • My friend Beth's brother who is deployed with the Navy.
  • My good friend Lynn's daughter who is healing from a rape and beginning the legal process involved in this.
  • Me. My depression has improved tremendously but the anxiety is running in full force. I know this just needs time and the Lord.

It's cold outside

Okay, not really, but from the way Elijah likes to dress inside, you wouldn't know it!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

I wish I liked ...

Turkish chai (├žay) 

Turkish delight

It's difficult to imagine if you are an American. The concept is so foreign to us. Being offered a drink at every place of business you walk into. But that's how it is with Turkish chai. Everywhere. It is served just like the picture above everywhere you go. In this same glass with two squares of sugar (┼čeker).

Yesterday I was at a Turkish pharmacy off-Base. Do I want chai? I wish I did because I can tell they are disappointed and confused when I say I do not. More often than not, they bring me some anyway. Surely they heard wrong. What person would not accept the offer for chai? So they bring me one. And I feel bad. So I take it. And then they ask me why I am not drinking it. And then I have to say it's because I don't like it.

Rana taught me how to say I didn't want it in Turkish. That I don't like it. That I never drink chai. But even telling them in Turkish doesn't seem to make sense to the Turks. Not drink chai? Ever? What IS wrong with me? The truth is, I don't like the flavor of tea at all. And in fact, I don't like the flavor of coffee either. And another fact is that I really don't like warm drinks very much. I can drink some cider and hot chocolate is tolerable. But even then, I'd rather have a glass of water.

Okay, so anyways. And then there is Turkish delight. (Surely those of you C.S. Lewis fans remember this from Narnia?) Turkish delight is something I can eat. It's not terrible. But I don't really like it. I have found that, in fact, many Americans don't care much for it so this isn't as unusual. But I still find myself eating a piece of candy that just doesn't taste that good most places I go. It's not as frequently offered as the chai. But it's still there. And liking it would make my life a whole lot easier.

So there you have it. A bit of Turkish culture and how easy it is to not fit into it just by being born without liking the teaste of tea.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dinner Out

It was probably a month ago now that JB and I had a dinner out at the Turkish hospital, Metro Park, in Adana. The doctors there had all the Incirlik doctors to their hospital for a dinner on the roof top. It was a wonderful evening with Karaoke, awesome Turkish food, and great company. I've been waiting on the photos from my friend Patty since I forgot my camera, and she finally downloaded them so, while late, it's better than never. Here's a few snaps from our night out on the town at Metro. You can also see how much bigger Abigail has gotten since this evening took place. (One funny thing was that the Turkish doctors actually brought us a baby bed fro the wards for Abigail.)




Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't want somebody new

Our neighbor Ms. Barbara moved back to the USA last week. Seventy-eight years old, she just retired from the DOD (Department of Defense) School System, and after having lost her husband last year, decided it was time to get back close to her sons.

I will really miss Ms. Barbara. I'll miss our talks in the grass between our houses. I'll miss going out for dinner to her favorite fancy restaurants. I wish she hadn't left.

My neighbor Emily on the other side will be leaving in December. They are heading to Japan. I knew she was leaving but didn't realize the date was so close. "I don't want you to go," I told her.

"Don't worry," she said. "Someone new will move in. There's always somebody new."

I walked away and realized, that that is just the problem. People are always leaving. New people are always coming. I don't want people to leave. I don't want new people to come. I want it to stay the same. I'm just so tired of good byes. I'm even tired of hello. I just want to live in the same house next to the same people for the rest of my life. I read somewhere that over 60% of this Base turns over every summer. I don't want that to happen. I don't want to think about the fact that in less than a year I will have to say good bye to so many people.

It's the nature of the military, and in fact, I suppose, it's the nature of life. But I'm just grieving it a bit. It'll pass. It always does.

But right now, I don't want somebody new.

Progress

Yesterday JB paid me a huge compliment. Or a huge encouragement. Or something like that. He came home for lunch. Like he usually does. And after lunch we put the boys down for naps. And after putting the boys down for naps JB pulled me aside and said, "You know, today, during lunch, you kinda seemed like yourself."

That might not seem like much of an encouragement to some people, but to me, someone who has been trying to dig out of a dark place, it was a huge bit of progress. My husband knows me better than anyone. And he was telling me that he could see glimpses of the "old Wendi" reemerging.

I see her too. I miss her. She's in there. Social events are getting easier. I am crying very little. I still have a great heaviness on my shoulders and a lot of anxiety, but things are not looking nearly as dark, and it's wonderful to see progress on this journey. (Oh, and it's raining! The first rain of the season! It's beautiful to see.)

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed." 2 Cor 4:7-9

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soul goodness

My friend 'Sarahbee' (her name is actually Sarah but with so many Sarah's here we morphed the first letter of her last name into a new name) helped me with the boys this week two different times. (Veronica did a heavy week last week and is babysitting for someone else this week and doing evenings for us.) Anyways, two different funnies emerged.

The first was Elijah asking Sarahbee for help building blocks. "I can't do it," Elijah said. "But you can do it because you are a big boy!" Not sure Sarahbee is a boy, but she is probably big enough to get the job done.

Today Isaac told me that he wanted to go to Sarahbee's house. I told him that we couldn't go to her house every single day. Isaac disagreed by saying, "Actually, probably, I think we could." True that.

Life hasn't been all funny. Our microwave broke. I know that the books say you aren't supposed to put a bottle back in the fridge when it wasn't finished at a previous feed, but we do. The books also say you shouldn't heat a bottle in the microwave. But I do. With all our babies we haven taught them to accept a cold bottle, but we still have to take the edge off the cold ones for Abigail at this age. It's quite a pain to do it without a microwave!

Veronica and I had a talk about this. I told her I remembered getting my first microwave when I was about eight years old. I still remember it was a gift to our family from my Oom Ed and Tante Jan, and we put it on the top of our refrigerator which always seemed weird to short people that came to visit our house. Veronica couldn't believe this. "How did you make microwave dinners?" she asked. Good question!

Oh and Scrubs has "run away" twice. Not so funny. He is outside with us, off leash, all the time, but sometimes, randomly, he decides to bolt. And by bolt, I mean it. He makes a decision and takes off, sprinting as fast as he can. He did it the other day and ran right in front of a work truck. Thank goodness they were going slow and saw Scrubs. They put on the breaks and we were spared a messy scene. The thing is, I have no idea what he was running to. Normally it's a person he knows or another dog. But this was a tree to pee on. Seriously?

I realized this is probably how God feels with us. Why are we disobeying? Do we not see that speeding car?

Last night he ran away for real. Our gardener accidentally forgot to lock the gate. Veronica was watching the three kiddos for us for just an hour while JB and I attended the free steak and lobster dinner up at the Club. She put Scrubs outside and came back a few minutes later to find him long gone. We walked in and asked Veronica how the night went. "Good," she said. "Scrubs is gone. But good." She said she remembered me telling her that the kids came first. "I stood on the porch, I brought treats, and I called his name, but when he didn't come, there was nothing I could do. I couldn't leave the kids to go find him." Sure couldn't. She also knew that he doesn't run far. Sure enough, JB and I walked outside and here came our neighbor saying, "Scrubby is in our backyard." Oh that doggie!

Funny moments are good for the soul though, that's for sure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learnings

I've learned a lot this week. Like what?

Like the fact that I can truly pour out my heart before God as it says in Psalm 62:8. "Trust in him at all times: ye people. Pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us."


Like the fact that the best while I am seeking help for myself, I can be providing comfort and love to others. I think "The Prayer of St. Francis" says it best:

The prayer of St. Francis



Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

And like the fact that my current struggles may not be about me at all! Isaiah 48:10-11 says, "See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another."
 
Amen to that.
 
Another learned fact? I can turn my intense guilt into positive statements. For instance, when I am feeling guilty about spending time with the boys and leaving Abigail in the house with Veronica, I can say, "Isn't it nice that I get to spend this time with just my boys," instead of thinking, "I should be spending more time with Abigail." I plan to work on this throughout the week.
 
I am feeling sooooo much better everyone! I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

3 point 2

We have come together.

Veronica. John. Me.

We have decided to run. Not one mile. Not two. Not three. But three point two. 3.2.

A 5K. Only JB is even remotely ready for this. Veronica has been working out but running is a nemesis of her's. Wendi has only started post-baby running in the last three weeks. She hasn't broken 1.5 during that time.

But there's a race on Base and the three of us have decided to give it our all. JB will have the jogger with the boys. Patty has agreed to hold Baby Abigail.

And the rest is history. A most likely sweaty, walked most of the way history. But history nonetheless.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trip to the Pool

We only have a few weeks left before the pool closes for the "winter" so yesterday, a bunch of us sort of spontaneously met up for some water time.

I cannot remember who sent me this suit -- can anyone claim it? I know it was a hand-me-down from someone. Abigail didn't swim but she did look mighty cute taking a nap with Daddy in her little suit.



Elijah carrying around some random pool toys, including someone's shoe.
There's Rowan smiling away.

What we are up to

Life slows down during the summer on Incirlik. So many people are travelling and so many people are moving in or moving out. (Not that I was here for most of it of course.)

But with fall comes renewed life on Base. New activities and things to do as school starts again and families settle in for their two year assignment on Incirlik.

So what do our days as a family look like?

JB leaves for work sometime before 8am. It depends on what day it is and what is going on at the Clinic. Some days he works out with people from the Base. Some days he works out on his own. Some days he has to be in early for a meeting. The mornings vary. Some mornings he will even take the boys on a run in the jogger if they are up in time.

It is a rare morning that one of the kiddos is not up by 6am. Sometimes rumblings start as early as 5am, but we consider it sleeping in if we make it until 6:30am. I wake up Veronica up depending on when we need her. If things are quiet, I let her sleep. If things are hectic, we enlist her help.

Veronica works 40 hours a week for us. That means that she is not around all the time. Each week we look ahead and decide what hours we would like for her to work for us each day based on appointments, dinner invitiations, or her schedule. (She does other babysitting to make money as well.) She is incredibly helpful when I have her so I try to choose the hours that she will most benefit us each week. We want to make sure she has a life outside of helping us.

Between 7-12, it is usually me and Veronica and the kiddos. And we usually try to have an activity each morning to fill our day. It isn't that we always want an activity, but if we stay home that whole time, it makes for a long day.

On Mondays and Wednesdays the Community Center sets up their bounce houses inside. It's free and a great activity. On Thursdays I usually have MOPs or a MOPs meeting of some sort. And on Fridays, the Youth Center lets us use their gymnasium for some play time. We set up the mats and balls and let the kids run to their hearts' content inside the cool gym. Tuesdays there is a Bible Study at the church, but I am taking this semester off while I get used to life with three kids. There is also a story time at the library which I have yet to try. We were going to the pool on Tuesday mornings, but they are getting ready to shut that down for the year and have dropped their morning hours. (Which makes NO sense to me being as we are in the kiddy pool without a lifeguard anyway, but oh well.)

Many of my friends now have their kids in preschool two or three days a week. I am not doing this yet. Elijah is too young to go to the formal preschool, and with Veronica here, we didn't think we needed to do that.

We will often play with bikes in our driveway, in the backyard with cars or sand toys (our gardener found some sand so we have a sandbox now.) The boys usually watch one or two favorite shows a day on video. We also sometimes color, sometimes do play dough, sometimes fingerpaint or do bubbles. We read books or the boys play with their toys inside. In addition, we will often get an email from another mom saying they are meeting at one of the many parks on base at a certain time or an invite to join them in their driveway. Although, our driveway, due to abundance of bikes (our neighbors four children have all recently outgrown their bikes so they are passing them along to us) and location (we live on a very safe street) is usually the most popular.

JB comes home for lunch from about 12:15-12:45 which is wonderful. He usually helps put the boys down for naps. They will usually sleep at least two hours and often three hours. Many times I have to wake them at 4pm because it is getting too close to bedtime for them to still be asleep. They are great nappers. During this time, Abigail will often take her long nap. I try to rest as well. Sometimes Veronica stays here to be on "monitor duty" (listening for a waking kiddo.) Sometimes during these hours, she takes a break and goes and work-out or hangs out with her friends who work varried schedules.

We often spend from 4-5pm playing with bikes on the driveway while we wait for JB to come home. He usually makes dinner although we often have leftovers or I throw something easy together. Our evening is usually spent low-key at home playing with toys, reading books, and often eating dinner out on the back porch.

That is our life here. I just thought it might be interesting to know what we do every day. And there you have it!

P.S. In response to a great question in the comments, I should add bedtime information. The boys are usually in bed by no later than 7:30pm. Abigail's bedtime has been getting earlier and earlier. Usually she is down around 8:30pm or so. JB and I are usually in bed by 9:30pm. We try to spend time together as a couple during that last 1-2 hours before we go to bed. Sometimes we watch a movie or just sit and talk. I will catch up on emails or blogs during this time and JB works on his blog as well. But I am NEVER up later than 10pm. Ever. Just can't do it. Abigail has slept through the night the last two nights as well meaning great sleep for me -- so needed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two months old video



Also, if you are interested, here is a video of Scrubs saying "thank you" for the rib bones he got from Dan and Angelica.


In words

I want to try to put into words what post-partum depression feels like. While it obviously is different from person to person, I want someone reading this days, weeks, months, years from now, to be able to find themselves in the words. I can only describe this as to how it effects me. Another person may feel differently, but this is how I feel. I imagine that "regular ol' depression" is the same as post-partum although I do not know that first-hand.
  • I feel very fatigued. Obviously this is hard to differentiate between depression and just having a newborn and three little kids.
  • I, personally, do not feel negative feelings toward my children whatsoever. But I do feel that I have difficulty fully engaging with them. For example, they say something to me, and I phase out and don't reply or hear them completely. If Abigail cries, I feel like I am slow in reacting to the cry. I have heard that some people do feel negatively but that is not the case for me. However, I do know that when I am feeling better, my feelings toward my children will be even stronger that they are now. 
  • I actually feel intense love toward my children during this time. The love is so strong that it really seems to morph into guilt quite often. If I am holding one child, I can barely handle the overwhelming guilt of not spending time with the other child. I know in my head it is not possible to be everything to everyone, but I have trouble figuring out how to accept that.
  • I wrote previously about the social impact of how I am feeling. I do not feel like talking, even in my own house. Although I have found that it is easier if I am around people I feel closer to or whom I readily have conversations with. Not only do I not feel like talking but attempting to talk completely exhausts me. 
  • I have an overall weight on my shoulders. I just feel heaviness with the world -- both at large and in my own small circle.
  • I feel overwhelmed. Clutter, dishes, clothes feel too much for me. I have read that people struggling with depression have to simplify their lives, and I can understand the need to do that. What I normally can handle with relative ease feels too much for me.
  • Small changes throw me for a loop and threaten to overwhelm me. If I am planning on one thing and those plans change, I have trouble adjusting.
  • Making decisions is difficult for me. Many times during the day I just turn to Veronica and say, "You decide what we should do." She has done a great job doing that easily.
  • For me the crying comes in waves. I'll have an entire morning that I can't stop crying and then I don't cry for days. 
  • I do not feel "engaged" in activities taking place. I feel like I am watching them from the outside. The intensity of this feeling comes and goes. 
  • I feel the inability to celebrate or participate in a happy moment. Laughing is not coming easily.
  • Fatigue seems to make the depression worse. A good nap will often take the edge off.
Again, I am feeling the edge slightly coming off of this, and I am feeling the cloud lifting slowly but surely. I have no doubt that I will be back to myself at some point in the future. I just have to trust the Lord to continue to lead me out of this.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Two months old



  • Weight: 11 lbs (72nd percentile), 
  • Height: 23 inches (89th percentile)
  • Head circumference: 15.8 inches (92nd percentile) -- I had no idea her head was that big!
  • After sleeping through the night nearly since birth, she has now started doing a 3am feed. Still not too bad.
  • Smiling at us when she hears us talking.
  • Definitely knows Mommy's voice.
  • Likes when her brothers talk to her.
  • Starting to coo and talk a bit more.
  • Eyes are definitely blue.
  • Hair is a combo of red/blonde/brown.
Abigail is incredibly sweet. Each of our children was different at birth. Isaac was content. Elijah was passionate. But Abigail is just sweet. I am really enjoying the 3am feed (as much as you can enjoy getting up in the middle of the night). She just stares up at me, wide-eyed. I am very blessed that despite the fog I have been in, I am able to enjoy her and celebrate the miracle of her life. She still does not feel real to me. What an awesome gift she is.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank you



To the friend who journaled a prayer for me during her quiet time and shared them with me, reminding me that despite living across the world from many of my loved ones, I am far from alone ... thank you.

"Jesus I lift up Wendi to you I pray you would reach your loving hand to her and touch her in the ways she has never experienced before. I pray she would feel your love and affection towards her to her core of her whole being. Lord you have overcome death and darkness with your cross. I pray that you would take her out of this emotional darkness she has been in give her back your joy! I pray she will delight life with the kids again I pray that you will restore the joy she had. Also I pray that she will experience a new joy in you that she has never experienced. Not only will help her to heal from this emotions but also she will overflow with joy, Amen!" 

*****

To the commenter who posted a link to this music video in the comments on my blog reminding me that God is faithful always and that His love will not fail me ... thank you.

Your Love Never Fails Lyrics (Jesus Culture)

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

Chorus:
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

Verse 2:
The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

Bridge:
You make all things work together for my good

*****
I realized that He is using this, not only for MY good but for the good of others in my life. I felt the Lord ask me, "If I can use this struggle in your life to bring one other person to Christ, would you go through it?" My answer? A resounding YES! S to the person who sent me the following email, sharing how my blog has helped her and reminding me that my pain has meaning ... thank you.
During these trials, I'm struggling with feelings of depression and self pity, yet I feel so guilty and weak because I know I have so much to be grateful for.  Like you, I have an amazing supportive husband, after years of struggling to have a family, I have three incredible kids ... I have a beautiful home, great career, and financial security ... yet I'm emotionally struggling. 
These feelings have, at times, made me feel silly and selfish and just generally lost.  But I must say that reading your blog recently has helped me refocus and center myself, and more importantly, my hopes, back on Christ.  I feel a renewed sense of direction, and today, instead of waking up and feeling immediate dread about just putting my feet on the ground, I rolled out of bed and started my day on my knees ... in prayer.  I prayed for courage and strength to simply get through the crazy morning routine of making breakfast, packing lunches, and getting the kids out the door. I prayed that I would be able to put a smile on my face and joy in my voice while dealing with the kids for the next 90 minutes. And if I could get through those 90 minutes with a grateful spirit, maybe just maybe, the day would seem a little less daunting, less exhausting, less disappointing ... and you know what?  While it wasn't perfect, it was better.  And right now, that's all I need, to know that it can be better.  So I thank you. Thank you for being transparent, honest, vulnerable, and public about your struggles. It probably helps a lot more people than you even realize.

*****

To my mom who sent me a devotional prayer that spoke to exactly where my soul was at that moment ... thank you.

Almighty Lord, the same yesterday, today, and forever, You have been my help in ages past and are my hope for years to come.  The sure sign of an authentic relationship with you is that I believe in the future more than the past, and that my previous experiences of Your grace are only a prelude to Your plans for me.

Give me a fresh burst of enthusiasm for the next stage of the unfolding drama of my life and the work you have given me to do.  You have called me to serve You.  Your power is released for service.  Help me focus on my high calling to communicate Your love to the people with whom I come in contact with today.  May I put You first, others second, and myself last.  May all that I do and am today be so obviously an expression of Your truth, righteousness, and justice that I can press on with the confidence of Your blessing.

relinquish my worries to you and my anxiety drains away.  I take courage because you have taken hold of me.  Now I know that courage is fear that has said its prayers.  I spread out before You the challenges of the day ahead and see them in the proper perspective of Your power.  I dedicate myself to doing things Your way under Your sway.  And now, Your joy, that is so much more than happiness fills me.  I press on to the work of the day with enthusiasm.  It’s great to be alive!  Amen.

*****

To an old friend who I haven't seen in years who took the time to remind me that I was loved by and share her favorites scriptures .. . thank you.




Psalm 30:5b "
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."

Psalm 138:7-8 "
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, 
you preserve my life; 
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. 
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. 
Do not forsake the work of your hands."

Psalm 16:8 "
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."


Isaiah 43:1-3 "
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, 
he who formed you, O Israel: 
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by name, you are mine. 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; 
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, 
and the flame shall not consume you. 
For I am the LORD your God, 
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."


Psalm 46:1-3 "
God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, 
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 


Psalm 23:4 "
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, 
for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me."


2 Corinthians 4:7-8 "
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;"


*****

And to the one who shared a verse that ministered to her this past week, not knowing that it is one of my favorite verses and taking the time to remind me that sometimes we praise even in the storm ... thank you.




"Though the fig tree does not bud 

and there are no grapes on the vines, 

though the olive crop fails 
and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; 

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, 

he enables me to tread on the heights." 

... take our why's and turn them into "thoughs" -- as we ask God, "why" about this situation or another, we can turn that around and tell Him that "though" this or that thing may never change, yet will we rejoice in Him.  I think it's hard when the mind and heart just aren't connected on that level -- we can think clearly at times and make a list of all of the things we have to be thankful for and everything amazing that God has done for us, yet we can still feel so depressed and overwhelmed, discouraged and hopeless.  But that just encouraged me last week, to think that I might say to God, "though life is never easy again" or "though I feel lost and purposeless despite all of the good things you have provided for me", yet will I seek to rejoice in you.  Sort of that surrender, acknowledging that I would be happier if things were the way I wanted them to be but that I will try to trust God joyfully even if they are not that way now and may never be that way again.  


*****

I hope what they shared with me ministers to all of you as we all heal. I am healing. And I am trusting the Lord to continue this healing. Praise the Lord.