die(t).

In response to years of chronic lower G.I. ailments and with the lure of treating chronic anxiety too, I have started with a naturopathic doctor who assures me that my gut controls my emotions (his words, not mine).  Turns out you actually are what you eat.  Only my emotions are starting to hate the new regime.  Hate it.  I can do the apple at every meal.  Can totally do the supplements.  Have even been ok with eating nothing but a head of steamed cabbage with sea salt and the ghee I made myself (google it) for lunch, despite having vague recollections that a strict diet of only cabbage may have sparked the deadly riots during Ireland’s potato famine in 1740.  It’s the baby spinach that’s gonna kill me.  Strip a salad of everything but the lettuce and you’re left with a heaping plateful of crap, pardon my french.  And the amounts the good doctor is talking about are substantial.  Exhibit A:

I’m required to eat one and a half of these a day.  The scissors is there for scale, but also because I briefly considered cutting my taste buds off.  So what’s a girl to do but call her sister who is knowledgeable in all things vegetable.  Put it in a smoothie, she said.  You’ll never know it’s there, she said.  My kids beg for it, she said.  Exhibit B:
Aside from being alarmingly reminiscent of what I’m pretty sure is in our septic tank right now, it also reminded me that I have to start looking for new guardians for my kids.  Peter would starve to death.  Exhibit C:
She calls this green goodness.  What I called it cannot be written on this blog.  

I did give it a good try, but it just wouldn’t go past my gag reflex.  So I’m back to making the biggest salad I can, choking it down and calling it good enough.  This liver detox is only for five more endless days, then real food will start being reintroduced.  If any of you, faithful readers (you know who you are.  both of you) have any ideas about how to eat a container and a half of baby spinach without being able to add refined sugars, added color, added flavorings, dairy products, gluten or casein products, nuts, beef or pork, let me know.  Please.
Until then, this is me being real.  Sick of spinach.
*Huh, funny.  I just got an email from the doctor (I love that I can email him whenever I have a question and he’ll email me right back) or actually his dietician who suggested putting the spinach in the blender with coconut milk and frozen berries.  Not helpful.  But she also said to focus on the cruciferous veggies and do the spinach as I can.  Love her.  More about the doctor later.

blush.

This past weekend found me having THE talk with Grant.  The books came on Friday and, being a rip-the-band-aid-off kind of gal, it only made sense to jump right in with book two.  Thank goodness for a great set of books written by someone much more composed about sex than I am.  And that I could safely hide my eyes behind the pages so I didn’t need to make eye contact, only breaking my stare when the horrified sounds coming from him were too loud to read over.
“You and dad did that?  Four times?”
“Yes we did.”
“Wait a minute.  I don’t get how it works.  Read that paragraph again.”
I reread it.
“Yup.  That’s what a thought you said.  That’s disgusting.  I’m never getting married.”
Perfect.
And even though book two says it’s for ages 5-8, I have a lot more drinking to do before I broach the subject with the others.  Can’t get past book one with Peter.  Don’t see the need to.  Grant can tell him everything he needs to know.   I’ll throw five bucks at that all day.  And someday, when Tess doesn’t pronounce it “bashina” anymore, she and I can go to the salon and chat about sex while we’re getting our toes painted.  Not on the monster bed like with Grant, blushing all the while and silently thanking God that the walls can’t talk.
Now I need to call my mother and tell her how valiant I think she is for taking me out to Russ’ in the fifth grade and doing it face to face, complete with hand gestures and a diagram written on a napkin.  So valiant.
This is me being real.  Embarrassed.  Glad it’s over.  Thankful he’s heard it from me, instead of some kid on the bus who gets his information from a magazine he found in his dad’s nightstand.  So thankful.

off.

Have been struggling with anxiety lately, no point in ignoring that and pretending I have it all together.  Too many of you know me well enough to know that’s not true.  I lay awake for hours in the early times of Sunday morning waiting for the sun to come up, kids to awaken, so I could get up and stop being afraid and I just felt this urgent need to get to church and get into the prayer room.  Just get me to the prayer room.  Only when I got there it was empty.  Until the sweet soft sounds of my sister walking in, who just happened to come to the same service and just happened to know I needed help in the prayer room, interrupted the silence and nearly made me cry in relief.  We spent a lovely hour and a half on our faces confessing our sins, asking for healing for ourselves and others, writing in her journal what God was telling us and growing an action plan for being better wives.  Better mothers.  Better daughters of a King.  Better.  Better.  Just better.  And while the anxiety has continued, it has this fresh layer of balm over it that is making it more tolerable.  That is making it feel ok and clearing up the clouds that were darkening my perspective because if you’ve ever been in the desert, you know that it feels like you’re going to be there forever.  Only you’re not.  You find that out when you reach the mountains and you can take a deep breath again and you realize that the desert time was crappy but also sweet because you felt nearer to Jesus there.  And in the way that only God can, you begin to miss it just the teeniest bit because you had no doubt there about whose kid you were.  No doubt.  And you commit to stuff like praying more and wanting less and serving more and buying less because your newly gained perspective tells you that when you live in bondage to anything other than Christ you just are crucifying him over and over for the things he already died for.  And you don’t want to do that.
And part of the plan was to turn off the tv for one week (or more, but don’t tell my kids) and spend that time reading nothing but the Bible and melting into my family.  Of course, a smarter mom would have written a contingency plan that has a snow day clause that allows for one or more movies, but I’m not a smarter mom.  So we’re on day 2 without tv.  And though I lost a considerable number of brain cells this afternoon reading an entire Magic Tree House book to Tess and Peter, it’s not been so bad.  We spent all afternoon yesterday constructing this city while Dan was away:

This was very dangerous as the volcano erupted right onto Peter’s log cabin and caused it to burst into flames.  Please know that no Playmobile were harmed in the making of this village.

We even had our very own Mackinac Bridge.  Only you couldn’t actually get anywhere from our bridge.  We ran out of tracks.
Every village needs a school.  For spelling class at least.
We even had our very own Times Square jumbotron.  We were waiting for it to list the school closings.  When you’ve turned your tv off for a week, you’re perfectly willing to all sit in front of a magnadoodle and watch it.
Lucy was not allowed to be a member of our village until we were sick of it.  Then we let her be the giant that smashes the town to bits and sucks on all the pieces.  She was a natural.

So here’s to time away from the screen and extra time on our knees and to being real about it all.  The good the bad and the ugly.

valentine.

I’ve had little interest in writing lately, even though I continue to have much to say.  How can I possibly follow a miracle?  But life continues and here we are eight days after our scare and he is still very much ok and we are still very much thankful and are telling our story to anyone who’ll listen, even as it begins to feel less and less like our story, but rather one God is telling in the larger context of what he’s doing in our lives.  We rang in Valentine’s with bags of treats and pillow pets and a pajama party that I was loathe to put to bed.  And the following days have been rife with physical therapy and doctors appointments just to reassure ourselves that he won’t be suffering from back or neck pain thirty years from now.  And each appointment has presented me with the opportunity to cry some fresh tears as I wonder about this love that spared my son from anything more serious than slightly diminished range of motion in one hip and a teeny kink in his L4.  This love that can stop a speeding car, but can just as easily have not and it would still amaze us with it’s depth.  This love that sustains me in the night when I’ve been laying awake thinking about Grant and my mom in law and the millions of things I have to cram into the next day and other things that overwhelm me.  This love that whispers in my ear that, I’ve got you.  Rest my beloved.  Abba’s got you.
I’m trying to listen to that love because Satan spends just as much time whispering his own words into my ears.  Only his is crap.  And I’ve spent far too much time in my life being hosed by his lies and I’m sick of that.  Because there is a savior who only speaks truth and love and who, for some strange reason, thought I was worth dying for and I don’t do him or me any favors when I ignore him and listen to the drivel of the one who seeks to undermine the hard, hard work Jesus has already put into transforming my life.  So I’m asking Jesus to be my Valentine, cheesy as that is.  I’m gonna send him one of those little card thingys with the matching holographic bookmark and a slot for a dumdum sucker.  And it’ll make him laugh cause he gets that I’m desperate and snarky and willing to do anything to make it official.  Jesus is my Valentine.
So this is me being real.  Weird.  Relieved.  In love.

hit.

Our Grant was hit by a car last night.  Right in front of our house.  Just ran across the road to get a shovel and forgot to look.  And he is miraculously ok.  Miraculously.  Seriously.  Miraculously.   So I’m cup-running-over-breaking-out-into-cold-sweat-reliving-it-a-million-times-in-my-head-still-can’t-swallow-it-down thankful.  For:
~An impromptu play date (which is how they all should be) with Nana and the aunts and all the cousins, one of whom ran in to tell us in a tremulous, scared voice that something was wrong with Grant and we should call 911.  He did the right thing.  Good boy Max.
~Me and Dan and Molly’s sheer athleticism that allowed us to be by his side in the road in less than 2.2 seconds.  Especially Dan who had to leap impossibly high snow drifts and maybe a couple tall buildings.  But most especially Mol who, upon arriving, did the only thing she knew to do which was to stretch out those sweet arms of hers and call upon the name of Jesus.
~Hearing Grant cry before I even got to him and knowing that as long as he was crying it meant he had breath and that he wasn’t dead.  Because that’s what I thought he was.  Sweetest sound ever.
~For Cheryl who got called first and, as Dr. Bruise’s good wife, knew what instructions to give and was on her knees before we hung up.  She probably stayed there until I called to tell her he was ok.  Which is why I called her right away.  So she could get up.
~For a family who just said, take him and go, we’ll worry about the others and dinner and anything else that comes up, just both of you take him and go.  And a Nana and Papa who stayed and fed all the kids the cauliflower mac and cheese I’d already made for dinner, then got them all spit shined and in their pjs and gave them upside down kisses until we came home and they could see for themselves that Grant was ok.  And aunts and cousins who stayed too and ate the cauliflower mac and cheese I’d already made for dinner and prayed and waited until they knew he was ok before going home.  You gotta love family.
~That I thought to look for Peter before I left.  He was curled in a ball on his bed, crying, sure his brother was dead.
~For Lily O. who gathered all the children around her sweet 10 year old self while the adults were out in the road and started to pray.
~For compassionate nurses and doctors who didn’t even look at us funny even though we couldn’t stop crying in the ER.  Even when he was obviously ok and we still couldn’t stop crying.  Even when he was happily watching Scooby Doo and plotting how to spring this great story on his friends at school and we still couldn’t stop crying.
~For the DeVos’ who built a totally rockin new hospital with valet parking and a slurpee machine.  Ok, that actually deserves an exclamation mark, much as I hate them.  Let’s try that again.  For the DeVos’ who built a rockin new hospital with valet parking and a slurpee machine!  A slurpee machine!  Peter is right now plotting how he can get a visit in.
~For Land’s End, who builds tough outerwear that helped protect this boy I love.  That even though his down coat is in shreds, the boy inside isn’t and that’s all that matters.
~For Grant, asleep right now in the monster bed until 1 hour and 35 minutes from now when I have to wake him next and check his pupils and ask him to count to 10.  For his curly lips (a dear friend actually prayed that his curly lips would be ok, knowing how special they are to me) and smattering of freckles and sense of humor and a million other things I couldn’t have lived without that make him Grant and me his mom and that is precious and I’m so thankful.
~For Abba.   For Elohim.  For Johovah.  For God.  Who loves His children and protects them and who stood over that boy just before impact and said, not now. not like this.  I have plans.  He is marked.
Who has the power (don’t you dare doubt that.  don’t you dare.) to slow down a speeding car so that it only hits a boy going 25 and not 50 and who can make it so that the boy gets up and walks into the house and says, whew that was scary.  Who is orchestrating another chapter to this story in the man who hit Grant, who we are all praying for and who is coming next week to see for himself that he is ok and who we will tell about Jesus.  For a God who spared my boy and, in doing so, preserved my life and we are not calling this a fluke or a stroke of luck or a lucky break.  We are calling this a miracle because that’s the business he’s in and he conducted it in our street last night in the most loving and kindest of ways and so we’re giving him all the credit.  Just all the credit.  Sweet Jesus.
So this is me.  Heading off to snuggle my boy in the monster bed and to lay awake for another 1 hour and 6 minutes until I have to wake him up again.  This is me being real.  Thankful.

blizzard.

If I were in charge of the world (which I’m not, in case you were wondering), we’d get a foot of snow every day.  Or at least when my fridge and pantry are full and I don’t have any pressing engagements.  A foot of snow a day.  For one month.  Then spring.  That’s what I would do.
But we’ll take the fourteen or so inches that fell yesterday, making it officially the coziest day in recent memory.  No guilt that I should be volunteering in Peter’s classroom or that I have to run and grab some milk at the store.  Just us, in our warm nummies, waking up to this:

After Dan and the kids waded out to the coop to check on the Kevins, and after finding one dead, we offered up a quick moment of silence for the fallen layer.  Then we went inside and made eggs for breakfast.  If you’re us, you’ll think she was egg bound, like the other that died this summer.  You’ll think that because Chicken: The Essential Poultry Publication said it was common.  You’ll think that because it’s the only cause of death in chickens that you know about, which goes to show how much you know about chickens.

This is what it looks like when you’re five and you have to walk out to the coop in the aftermath of a blizzard.  You’re nearly almost buried.  But you’re not worried because your daddy is right there putting a dead chicken into a grocery bag.

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday thinking about how terribly long it was going to take Dan to snowblow the driveway after work.  So long.  But if you live in a neighborhood like mine, with neighbors like mine, you don’t have to worry for long.  Because soon enough the first Bruce (you know who you are) will come, cigar hanging out of his mouth, dog chasing after and begin plowing you out.  Just because he thought it’d help.  His belt will break and he’ll go away after a couple swipes, but not before you’ve sworn your everlasting fealty to him.

No worries that your drive will stay half-plowed, though, cause the second Bruce (you know who you are too) will come with his tractor.  And it’ll be bigger.  He’ll put his own comfort to sleep in the interest of freezing his cheeks off to get your driveway clean.  You’ll swear your forever fealty to him too.  And you’ll take pictures of both of them.  But only through your windows when you’re sure they aren’t looking so they don’t think you’re totally weird.  Which you are.

While the boys played out in the snow with neighbors (you know who you are), Tess, who never has a girl to play with, began the tedious task of signing her Valentine’s.  Picked them out myself at Meijers then wrapped them up with a new Sharpie as if it was a big deal, only so that she’d be so excited about a just-because-I-think-you’re-great present that she’d forget she really wanted the Barbie ones all the other girls will surely bring.  And if you’re five and your name is Tessa and if you are just learning that letters only make words if they are correctly oriented on the page, not just if they are all present and accounted for, just learning but not mastering, then you’ll sign your name a-s-s-e-t before leaning back in your chair and declaring it a job well done.  Which, of course, it will be.

If you’re lucky enough to have school closed for a second day in a row (can I hear it for a third?), then you’ll feel extraordinarily blessed, just cup running over and nearly drowning you blessed, when your dear friend (you know who you are) calls and asks if you’ll relieve her boredom.  You’ll reply that you’d be happy to, but she’ll have to come by you as your fridge is bursting and it’d give you great joy to feed her and her children (who also know who they are).  You’ll tell her to be prepared because you’re all in your pjs, except for Tessie who is wearing her bride’s maid dress from Kristin’s wedding, but not to feel as if she needs to wear hers.  She, as a mother and adult, may wear whatever she chooses.  You just didn’t want her to feel underdressed.  You’ll spend a lovely day eating a lick-the-bottom-of-the-bowl salad with probably the best bottled dressing ever and chatting about precious things like books and parenting and praying together over secret hurts.  But you’ll keep thinking about the dressing.  Even while you’re praying.  A dressing so good you’ll wrap it in your undies and take it home from Florida in your suitcase.  Just in case you can’t find it here.
Brianna’s HomeStyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette
I’ll be heading to Furriest Foods tomorrow to see if they carry it.
Anyway, all this to say that this is me being real.  And so thankful for The Blizzard of 2011.  
And friends to weather it with.  So thankful.