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13 Things Parenting Teens Has in Common with 80’s Song Titles

I’ve been a mom for almost twenty years.  I’m about to have five teenagers in my crew, for about a month, until the oldest turns twenty.  I thought by now I’d have mastered the art of parenting, or at least feel fairly confident in my ability to shape these almost-adults.  But I’ve found myself in countless conversations over the last couple of years with fellow moms-of-teens, and we’re all kind of floundering.

We all have the same “I don’t know what to do” look on our faces, as we reminisce about how easy it was to parent newborns and toddlers.  I’d rather be up rocking a crying baby than be up worrying and waiting for the kid breaking curfew, no question.  Why didn’t we know it would be this hard?  To all the moms who came before us….you must have told us – of course you told us!  We’re sorry we didn’t listen.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Not only do I love my teens, but I genuinely like them, too, most of the time.  We have fun together, and I love watching them have fun with each other.  When they talk to me about stuff, it’s a party in my heart while I try to play it cool on the outside. But I’ve realized that the hardships of parenting teens and young adults have a lot in common with popular 80’s song titles.  For real.  Check this out.

  1. When your kid’s face is so snarky and full of attitude that you want to slap it right off, you remind yourself that he’s still that Sweet Child O’ Mine.
  2. When you need a moment (or 50) to calm down, but you realize that she’s going to keep having this argument With or Without You.
  3. When your mom-friend confides that her child has done something equally as heinous and stupid as the thing your child did last week, you both shake your heads and sigh, Another One Bites the Dust.”
  4. When you’ve laid out the rules of the house as clear as can be, but you realize that he will never stop trying to Push It.
  5. When you try to be the cool, fun mom and agree to a sleepover with 10 of her best friends, then lay in bed staring at the ceiling as they giggle and slam doors All Night Long.
  6. When your kid drives off by himself for the very first time and Every Breath You Take is a painful struggle until he pulls back in the driveway again.
  7. When they violate your trust and you take their phone away, they act like it’s the End of the World as We Know It.  (You should be familiar with this move from the toddler years.)
  8. When you think you’re pretty hip and in touch with the current culture, but your kids remind you Time After Time that you haven’t got a clue.
  9. When he rolls his eyes every time you yell,Call Me” as he’s leaving to go hang out with his friends.  (Ok, maybe “text me” would be more accurate; but seriously, why won’t they just do it?)
  10. When your brain spends equal time shoutingShe Drives Me Crazy” and “I’m gonna Keep On Loving You.”
  11. When your kid thinks your rules don’t apply anymore, even though he’s still living in your house, and you’re tempted to tell him to just Beat It, but you also really don’t want him to leave.
  12. When you have multiple children and every 13th birthday has you anxiously thinking, “Here I Go Again.”
  13. When you have no idea if you’re doing it right, but you are Straight Up just Livin’ on a Prayer, and having Faith that God will cover your mistakes and it will all turn out ok.





Jumping Back in to Books

I remember reading books sitting in trees, under the yellow forsythia bush, and on swings.  I used to read while eating, blow drying my hair, and sunbathing.  I spent summers checking out stacks of books from the library every week.  Reading was an obsession.  Looking back in envy at the unlimited reading time of my childhood, I wish I’d read a little less “fluff” (think Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter’s Club) and a little more quality literature.  But all the same, I was hooked on books.

Then I got a job, went to vocational school, got married, and started my family.  Life got very busy, like it does for everyone.  And I just….let books go.  I can’t believe I did it, but I let adult responsibilities crowd out one of my greatest loves.  For years, I rarely read a book outside of the board books I read to my toddlers.  Once in a while, at the library with my kids, I’d grab something off the “featured titles” shelf, and hope it would be worth my time.  I missed reading, but I had no idea how to jump back in.  What would I even choose?  Where would I begin?

Five years ago, we bought a house with a school room.  A room just for homeschooling, and it was lined with bookshelves.  Suddenly, I had what felt like limitless space for books.  I started buying books at every rummage sale, and every time I went to the thrift store.  I bought titles I’d heard of before, books by authors I knew, and just about anything that’s considered a “classic.”  Then I just started reading them.

Last year, I discovered through a Facebook group (of course) that people often read multiple books at the same time.  I saw pictures of other people’s “book stacks,” and it was like an epiphany.  It had never occurred to me to do that, but I definitely wanted to try it.  In 2018 I read twenty books.  That’s a small number, compared to many of the book fiends in that Facebook group; but for me it was a joyful accomplishment.

I read a few classics, including A Farewell to ArmsPeter Pan, and The Color Purple.  I read Unbroken, the story of Olympic runner-turned-POW Louis Zamperini.  I read three of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books (definitely in the “fluff” category, but so fun), and two books in the Anne of Green Gables series (I’d somehow never read beyond the second book before).

Then I found this beautiful gem on a list called “15 Books to Get Totally Lost In.”  I did get lost in it, and was disappointed when I reached the end.


One of the most interesting books I read had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years, and was a gift from a descendant of the original owner of our 200-yr-old farmhouse.  It was written by a member of her family that grew up in our house, and was filled with fascinating tidbits about the farm that used to be here.


I’ve got a lot of good reasons to make time for reading.  It’s important for brain health, which is a definite plus since muddling through my kids’ teen years is sucking brain cells away on the daily, I’m sure.  I’m increasing my knowledge and honing my writing skills by exposing myself to many different authors and genres.  I’m setting a good example for my kids, many of whom are already book lovers.  And most importantly, it brings me joy.  I feel like an important piece of me has been found.  Though I never really lost it, I allowed it to get buried, and I’m so incredibly pleased to see it again.

Sandpiper Hill

While teaching my children how to write, I’ve noticed that some of them protest the most when the assignment involves sensory description.  They think it’s too hard, or it’s boring, or it’s just unnecessary.  What they don’t yet understand – at the stage in life where the present is larger than life, the future stretches blankly and endlessly, and the past is small and populated with memories that are deeply embedded but hidden – is that sensory details are more powerful than even the words themselves.

We’ve all experienced a random whiff of something that immediately brings us back to a certain place.  I have a few bottles of perfume that smell just like 7th, 8th, and 9th grade…each one very specific.  The first few bars of a song on the radio can trigger a very specific image in our mind.  A picture has the power to cause old feelings to well up uncontrollably.  Our senses are inextricably linked to our memories, and it’s really a very precious gift.

I want to tell you the story of a place that will forever be a part of me.  A place that brought me so much joy that twenty-five years after I was last there, I can still remember…..everything. That place is my grandma’s house on Sandpiper Hill Road, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  It’s a town on Cape Cod that got a mention on an episode of “Dawson’s Creek,” which I admit gave me quite a thrill.

Grandma, my mother’s mom, is my last living grandparent.  She lived with her husband, John, in the house on Sandpiper Hill Road, for about a decade, as best I can figure.  We visited Grandma and John every year around Labor Day, which often meant we were there for my birthday, too.  Cape Cod was a magical place for me.  There was the drive-in theater where I watched “Back to the Future,” then shopped my heart out the next day at the flea market held at the same spot.  The many warm-water ponds gave us incredible beach days.  The seafood restaurant we always went to probably had great food, but I only remember the lobster-shaped lollipops they had.

Those memories are rich and vibrant in themselves.  But that house.  It occurred to me several months ago that I could check out the house on Google Maps.  My grandma and I were pen pals, so I had written her address many times as a child; the name “Sandpiper Hill” came easily to my mind.  I typed it in the search bar and it immediately popped up.  I could tell right away that this was the right place….from the areal view I could see that the road made a 90-degree turn to run parallel to the ocean, just as I remembered.

I clicked on the street view and started to navigate.  I didn’t know the house number, but I was sure I could find the house. I went down the road a few clicks and saw that I was heading into town, with a supermarket coming up on the right side.  It was all so familiar, and I began to get excited.  But into town was the wrong way, so I did a 180 and headed down the tree-shaded road.  Up ahead I could see the road start to rise up the hill, and my heart beat a little faster, just like it used to do as I sat in the back seat of our station wagon.  At the crest of the hill, the road was no longer shaded by overhang, and the 90-degree turn I’d seen from up above was straight ahead.  And that meant that the house would be directly to my right.


I turned and looked at Grandma and John’s house.  It was different now….a whole second story had been added, so the face of it was very changed.  But it was still familiar.  The gray cedar siding.  The yard made of sand with tufts of tough grass scattered throughout, where they used to dig a hole for the clam bake.


Looking to the left, I saw the windmill in the neighbor’s yard.


Just past that were the wooden stairs leading down to the rocky beach on the bay side of the Cape, where we dug for hermit crabs, collected shells, and played on the wall of rocks.


In my mind I could still see the rooms inside.  Right through the front door was the open family room and kitchen.  There were bright blankets on the couch and always a little bit of sand on the floor, tracked in from the yard.  The kitchen was where Grandma cooked lobster and mussels, and served up boysenberry ice cream.

In the front corner of the house was the bedroom where I slept, in a twin bed with windows all around.  I’d lay there with the warm, salty breeze swirling around me, reading books, writing and drawing, and in the later years, dreaming about boys.

Down in the basement apartment, there was a cricket who lived under the refrigerator, and John had us convinced it was Jiminy Cricket, himself.  One year when my uncles were visiting at the same time, they helped throw me a surprise party in that basement.  I think I was turning seven, and I got blue clip-on earrings.

It’s funny how memories work.  You can’t always predict what’s going to stick.  The sights, sounds, and smells that do get cataloged in the recesses of our brains are powerful.  I recently visited my Grandma, and she was brought to happy tears at the memory of a song her mother used to sing while cleaning chickens.  It’s often the simplest of details that carry the most weight.  Do you cherish lovely memories like the ones I have of the house on Sandpiper Hill Road?






Jesus Had Our Back

My family has been very fortunate. In our immediate, nuclear family of mom, dad, and four sisters, we’ve experienced few truly difficult situations. And then last year, we entered what my mom at one point called “the darkest chapter.” The GRACE, looking back from this point, and the HOPE, looking forward, are almost indescribable. We’re now closing that dark chapter, and I want to tell you, unequivocally, that –

Jesus had our back.

My baby sister, Christina, is 18 years younger than I am. We didn’t grow up together, but as she approached adulthood, we grew infinitely closer. We started to really feel that sister-thing.

Christina met a man, and fell in love. We all loved that man, too. My children were drawn to him. My husband became fast friends with him. When that man was marrying my sister, and his friends bailed on him, my husband stood up with him at the altar as his best man. We were happy and excited to add that man to our family.


One year later, that man decided to quit our family. In the most abrupt and shocking way possible, he ended his marriage to my sister. I had been praying for them for a couple of days, because Christina had asked me to. I knew they’d hit a rough patch, like every marriage does. But I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d receive a text from Christina with the word “divorce” in it. I stared at my phone in disbelief, then turned it to my husband so he could read it. His face fell in shock and confusion.

At first, we all prayed fervently for reconciliation, but it quickly became apparent that the man had no interest in that. A group of that man’s friends, including my husband, tried to meet with him – to encourage him, to support him, to mentor him in this hard thing called marriage. He refused. He cut all ties…. ghosted himself…. dropped a bomb and walked away. He changed his status on social media to “single,” and deleted all photographic evidence to the contrary.

We had to tell our children that their uncle was leaving their aunt, and leaving our family. I sat, with my husband clutching my hand and tears running down his face, as we told our older children exactly what was happening. At first, we told our little ones just to pray for him, but later had to explain the full truth. A few months later, our then-five-year-old mentioned her uncle in the same breath as her great-grandpa who had died. She said she was sad about them both, and it took my breath away. She seemed confused, because she knew her uncle hadn’t died, but that’s what it felt like to her. He was there at every birthday, holiday, and family gathering as far back as she could remember; and then one day he was just gone. But children are resilient, more than I ever realized; they are, and will continue to be, absolutely ok.

As the days, weeks, and months went by, and more details were revealed, I became angrier than I’d ever been in my entire life. As a person who never cared much for swearing, I was surprised at the language circulating in my brain. Regular words seemed painfully insufficient. I asked God where He was in all this. Why hadn’t He warned us? Why did He allow my sister, who was always seeking Him for her future, to choose a man who would do this? Why hadn’t there been some colossal sign that none of us could ignore?

Most Christians I know have tried to rationalize the intricate web of free will, God’s will, and His omniscient nature. We eventually have to be willing to suspend our confusion and grab hold of faith, knowing that our human minds are just not capable of truly understanding the Almighty God or His ways. We know He’s intrinsically good, and that’s enough. But when we’re faced with tragedy or betrayal, we wonder “why?” all over again.

And then, I began to see God work in me, turning my consuming, blinding anger into compassion. I realized that what was missing in that man, what allowed him to walk out on his promise with seemingly no hesitation or remorse, was a confident knowledge of how much he is LOVED by Jesus. I was able to pray for him instead of curse him. I’m not saying I was instantly “over it,” because the anger, even now, creeps up on me again and again. There are times that I feel more anger than anything else, as more of his actions come to light. It feels like an endless cycle of choosing to forgive, being blindsided by some new piece of information, and giving in to the vengeful fantasies which can never be fulfilled. But my Jesus is always bigger than the anger, and He pulls me back around.

While I was struggling with how this affected my family and me, I was trying to be there for Christina, while not knowing exactly how to do that. She processed what was happening to her with grief, anger, courage, venting, faith, snarkiness (laugh so you don’t cry all the time!), prayer, patience, strength, and intelligence. Some things that she went through I saw right as they were happening. Other things she held close and then downloaded to me all at once, which was overwhelming at times. But I knew that Christina needed to be free to deal in her own way….there was no blueprint for her to follow.

I also began to realize that the stereotypical Christian response of “God hates divorce” is very simplistic, and even misleading. God created the covenant of marriage, and it is in His perfect design for it to be permanent during this life here on Earth. And so it grieves Him when that covenant is treated casually, violated, or destroyed. It also grieves and angers Him to see His children mistreated, abandoned, belittled, abused, and neglected. I think it’s so, so important to emphasize this point: while God does hate divorce, and in the perfect world He created no marriage would end that way, what grieves Him the most is the damage that is done to His children.

When I really began to see what God was doing for Christina, I was amazed. I knew He had been there even in that first, devastating moment, holding her in His arms, as she received the biggest blow of her life. I absolutely knew He’d be faithful to her. And yet….He did things in her that I never expected; that sometimes I didn’t even understand. He protected her in ways I couldn’t have imagined, preserving her precious heart for the future, when it easily could have been consumed with hardness and bitterness. As I watched Him work miraculously in her life, I was in awe of His GOODNESS, and MERCY. Wow! I can’t wait to see what’s next for this fabulous sister of mine!

God knows the plans He has for [Christina]. Plans to prosper [her], and not to harm [her]. Plans to give [her] HOPE and a FUTURE. ~Jeremiah 29:11

I Can’t Even

When you complain that you’re not taken care of, but you don’t ask for help….

When you have unconditional love handed to you, and you spit on it….

When you say that you haven’t been heard, but you’re not talking to the ones who love you….

When you have everything you’ve ever asked for, and you walk away….

When someone gives their life for you, and you think they’re out to get you….

When you get a second (or third) chance, and you stupidly screw it up….

When you invest in the lives of children, and then you disappear….

When someone you care about is passionate about something, and you’re indifferent….

When people offer you a lifeline, and you willingly fall into the abyss….

When you gossip about a problem instead of trying to help….

When you’ve had the advantages of being brought up in a loving home, and you choose to be miserable and alone….

When you chase after something so hard, and then you catch it, but you’re afraid to hold on….

When you don’t know how to pray, so you just say “Jesus” whenever your heart contracts in a reminder of the pain all around you, and you hope no one thinks you are swearing….

When your heart and mind are so full of everything that’s wrong, and you word vomit it into a blog post….


The Last First Loose Tooth

My husband thinks I’m a little crazy.  Maybe I am, but I’m fairly certain it’s the standard sort of crazy that comes with being a mom, or maybe just being a woman in general.  He thinks I’m crazy because I get emotional over things like giving away baby clothes, switching from a car seat to a booster, and long “baby” legs hanging off my lap.

My daughter’s loose tooth stirred up emotions in me that, surely, a tiny tooth is unworthy of.  That husband of mine looks at me with a cocked eyebrow and amused smirk whenever these things come up, but I can’t help it.  You see, this daughter….this 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter….she’s our baby.  She’s THE baby.


It happens in every family.  It isn’t always the same story, but it’s the same ending.  Because childbearing comes to an end.  No one goes on having babies forever.  (Damn, you, menopause!)  Those babies grow, and they grow fast.  Mothers all over the world urge younger mothers to savor it, because it goes by so fast.

Some couples make a decision to be done with adding to their family, and so they know when the last is the last.  They savor every milestone, knowing they won’t observe it ever again.  Maybe that makes it easier, or maybe it makes everything bittersweet.

Some couples think they know when the last is the last, and then are surprised with a second (or third!) round of lasts.  I imagine that’s all kinds of emotional ups and downs.

Some couples don’t realize they are in the “last days” until they are well into them.  Perhaps secondary infertility comes upon them, or they had planned to have more but changed their mind.

I fall into this last camp, of being caught unaware.  My babies arrived at fairly regular intervals – every 18 months to two years – for twelve years.  My family grew steadily, and we rejoiced and thanked God for every blessing.  We knew He would plan our family perfectly!  And while I knew there would be an end, I didn’t know when it would be for us.

I still don’t know that it is the end, but as I mentioned before, my “baby” is going on five years old.  When that tiny tooth came out, in the middle of dinner, and I exclaimed and teared up and declared her to be “so old” yet “still my baby,” my family chimed in.

We listed all the things that are no longer part of our lives….nursing, diaper bags, pacifiers, sippy cups, strollers, and car seats.  And then my kids melted my heart when they expressed their desire for more siblings.

“I want a baby brother!”  My youngest boy is my number three child, with five sisters following him.  Since he was able to talk, he’s been wishing for a little brother, and as a teenager, he still feels that way.

“I want TWIN baby brothers!”  The idea of a baby boy is a novelty after the string of girls, so that sentiment is shared.  And of course…twins!  So much more exciting.

“Hey, maybe Baby Sawyer is already on the way.”  My oldest son, who is practically a man (sob!) chimed in with this comment, accompanied by a big grin.  We had the name Sawyer picked out for the last three pregnancies, and yes, it was due to our obsession with LOST.

I smiled through my mixed emotions and thought, “Wow.  God is so good!”

In January, I wrote about the sense of failure I struggle with, never feeling I am doing a good enough job with my family.  This night, though….the night of the Last First Loose Tooth….filled me with relief that something had gone right.  It was just a few minutes out of what might have been a difficult day, but to God be the glory!

There was no, and never is any, expression of, “Ugh, no!  No more babies!” from any of my children.  Sometimes you hear of kids from large families who grow up to renounce and detest the idea of many children.  My heart aches at that possibility, but so far, so good.

My children know family is important.

My children know babies are blessings.

My children know siblings are valuable.

Mama might be crazy, but she sure is blessed!





New Year, Same Me

I admit it.  A brand new year gives me all kinds of glorious visions of a better me.  Technically, I don’t partake of the whole “New Year’s resolutions” thing.  I don’t write it down or make dramatic declarations, but if I’m completely honest, it’s there – almost as intoxicating as those rows of empty spiral notebooks, pretty binders, and new pens that make back-to-school time my absolute favorite.

As 2015 came to a close, I thought about how long it had been since I had blogged.  When I finally checked in here, I was surprised to find it had been seven months since I published anything.  My heart panged with guilt as I recalled the stone on a shelf above my desk, with the words “write every day” on it.

I didn’t keep that commitment, and I missed a lot of writing potential in the second half of the year.  Mundane summer “adventures.” A new doctor who offered hope and ultimately had some success in treating my whacked-out self. Home school struggles.  My grandma passing away.  A busy soccer season with three of my kids playing for a local Christian school.  The kitten who showed up at my house, wouldn’t leave, and adopted himself into my family.  My baby sister’s  whirlwind engagement, bridal shower, and wedding.

Opportunities missed, though  not lost, since there are no rules about blog posts having to be current events.  I mentally added my dry spell to the running list of failures I had going in my head.

Like a flashing neon sign, the word “failure” was plaguing my subconsciousness, and I had been vaguely aware of it for months.  It was clouding my days and giving me sleepless nights. I’m not normally a sarcastic person, but my brain was giving me a very bitter lashing on a daily basis.

Every mommy blog and meme on the internet:  “I know it feels like you’re not appreciated and that you’re not doing life well, but you’re doing great, Mama!  Go motherhood!  You are succeeding!”

My bitter brain:  “Uh, yeah.  No. You don’t just feel like you’re failing.  You actually ARE.  You suck at everything.”

My middle and high school students are behind in their school work, and they don’t seem to care.  FAIL.

I haven’t worked on painting the interior of our home in over a year.  FAIL.

I frequently lack in patience with my little ones, and probably don’t read to them enough.  FAIL.

My teenager doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life.  FAIL.

According to a spiritual gifts test, mine is hospitality, and I never invite anyone over.  FAIL.

My bathrooms are never quite clean; my laundry is never caught up; our sheets don’t get washed nearly often enough.  FAIL.

I’ve lost count of how many years behind I am on scrapbooking.  Ok, no I haven’t – it’s 10.  Ten years behind.  TRIPLE FAIL.

Now I’ve cataloged a portion of my transgressions, and I’ve sat on it for a few days.  Stuck.  Unable to tie this thing up as something other than a keeping-it-real, honest motherhood kind of post.  God knows, I could write a truck load of those.  Having eight kids has given me plenty of material for that kind of thing.

I went to church yesterday asking God for direction.  Not just in my writing, but it was definitely on the list.  We sang the song, “Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)” by Rend Collective.

When condemnation grips my heart
And Satan tempts me to despair
I hear the voice that scatters fear
The Great I Am the Lord is here
Oh praise the One who fights for me
And shields my soul eternally

I know that most of the “sins” listed above aren’t really sins.  Laziness or procrastination may have played a minor role in some of them, but mostly they are simply life happening.  But does that matter to Satan?  He will tempt me to despair over anything he can get his hands on.

The truth is I am NOT enough.  But my God always is.  Sometimes that means  He equips me to do things better, and beyond my natural ability.  But sometimes that means that His grace covers my deficiencies.  And I am grateful; for even when I suck at everything, God is somehow glorified.








Saturday Musings on my Porch

I woke up this morning, after eight hours of sleep, feeling like I’d just finished a full day of hard physical labor.  My energy level picked up, but not much.  I managed to get a load of dishes washed, help my little girls straighten their rooms, sort and file six months worth of paperwork, and turn dozens of frozen bread ends into bread crumbs.  The last was an effort to make room in my freezer while we were trying to determine if our full-sized freezer had died.  Turns out it had just been left open, and we didn’t lose any of the contents.  Praise God for mundane victories, right?

I paused between projects to get a bit of fresh air.  I moved to our huge screened-in porch, which is one of the focal points of our new home.  New, still, in my mind, sixteen months after moving in.  I’m sitting in a wicker chair I inherited when my grandma moved from her large home in the woods of western Massachusetts, to a tiny apartment here in upstate New York. Outside, I can see the bright blue sky, visible through the greenery of a tall, sprawling tree next to the driveway.  The wind whips through the branches, and also makes the loose sheets of plastic that covered the porch screens for the winter flap around wildly, with a sound that is actually quite lovely and peaceful.

Gazing across our driveway to the side yard, I glimpse a sea of green grass with an abundance of yellow dandelions. I never can understand why people spray chemicals to kill those lovely flowers.  Our “neighbors,” row after row of headstones, decorated with flags and flowers, receive many visitors today.

Looking down the expanse of the porch, I see towels and bathing suits, hanging on hooks and draped over benches; evidence of a pre-lunch swim in the creek.  A path of small mismatched rugs extends from where I am to the door, covering the tile that isn’t really meant for outdoor conditions, and gets dangerously slippery when wet.  The stacked up bins of shoes and boots sit near the door.  A crate we found in the barn attic, filled with century-old encyclopedias, acts as a table for the spigot-ed jar of bubbles and basket of sidewalk chalk.

The house paint is chipped, the ceiling fans are ugly, and the metal nameplate by the door bears the previous owners’ names.  (Why in the world haven’t we taken that down yet?)  The pieces of wicker furniture would look so much cuter if they were painted to match and had new cushions.  But despite these flaws – and perhaps even because of them, because I know there will never be an end to maintaining and improving this home – I am filled with thankfulness for what God has blessed us with.  The exhaustion that threatened to overtake me a few minutes ago has receded a bit, and I feel refreshed.  The refreshment is mostly mental and spiritual, and my body is still weary.  But it’s enough to get me through the day.

When Hope Sinks

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I envisioned it being many things.  I had just begun to experience some health problems, for the first time in my life.  One of my purposes in writing was to both vent my frustration at not being “well,” and catalog my journey to wholeness. Because I was sure that “wholeness” was where I was headed.  I had confidence in the wisdom of doctors and the power of God to heal.

I haven’t published nearly as many posts as I’ve written, in my head, or uncompleted in my drafts folder.  I became weary of chronicling every dead end I encountered.  Trying to escape my tunnel vision, I wrote about other things that God laid on my heart.

Sometimes my brain is screaming with all the things I want to write about what I am going through, but I silence it.  Because it is redundant.  Because it is whiny.  Because the world doesn’t need one more pity-party.

The other day I was feeling so stuck, and stifled, and wondering why blogging about my “journey to wholeness” had become so stale.  I thought about my previous posts, and I suddenly saw a pattern.  They were all about hope, followed by hopes dashed.

I put hope in everything…..

Hope in a “miracle” supplement, supported by hope in a TV doctor.

Hope in a nutritionist-to-the-stars and her metabolism-healing plan.

Hope in coffee, which I had never drank before, to combat fatigue.

Hope in a new doctor, and then another new doctor, to not give up on me.

Hope in WebMD, or an online survey, or some other method of self-diagnosis.

Hope in natural remedies to treat my self-diagnosed conditions.

Hope in another blood test that will surely reveal the elusive cause of my misery.

So many times, I was sure that wholeness was just around the corner.  But it wasn’t.  It still isn’t.

As I thought about this pattern of hope, I heard in my head, softly and slowly:

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Through every instance of building up my hope, putting it all on that one thing, I was still praying….still trusting God.  But He wasn’t my focus.  He wasn’t my source.  And when that one thing turned out to not be the thing, my hopes were shattered.  By losing focus on my Savior, I set myself up for devastation, again and again.

This realization comes on the cusp of new hope.  A new doctor.  A fresh view.  A different approach.  But I am very consciously fixing my hope on Jesus.  And turning it back to Him as often as I need to.

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.                     I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.                     On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.                               When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.                       In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.


I recently realized that a blog site I have been reading also has a “confessional” section.  Anyone can post their “confessions” anonymously as a way to vent.  Others can offer their support with “like,” “hug,” or “me too!”  I can see the value in that….for commiserating about the hard parts of life.  For getting things off our chest.  It’s also a pretty dark place, with people telling secrets that are heart-wrenching, or scary, or even dangerous.  And there’s no way to reach out to those people, due to the anonymity.  More on that another day…..

Today, I thought I’d share some of my own “confessions.”  Nothing serious, or heavy….just for the fun of it.

My bathroom floor is absolutely filthy.  My kids rotate bathroom duty, so the essentials (toilet, sink, garbage, etc.) are taken care of.  I always intend to get in there and tackle the floor….but I don’t.  Between the painted tiles that everything sticks to, necessitating a scrub-by-hand-on-your-knees approach, and the claw foot tub that is impossible to clean under, it’s the worst job in the house.

I fake-nursed in order to sit on the couch longer and not feel lazy.  When I had nurslings, and they fell asleep at the breast, I would often just pretend they were still eating so I could rest some more.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who used that tactic.

I like mayonnaise on my cooked spinach.  Just a little bit, mixed right in.  Creamy, vinegary…yum!  My husband thinks it’s very weird and gross, but I’m the only one in my family who eats cooked spinach, so whatevs.  All for me.

My kids are not allowed to say the “f” word.  No, not that one!  I mean, obviously that one, too.  But also the one for gas.  I hate that word.  It makes me gag.  Sometimes I really can’t believe that anyone says it.  If you say it, I might judge you a little bit.

Of all the changes in my body after having children, I mourn my feet the most.  Stretch marks, loose skin, and other unmentionable things, are permanent evidence that I’m a mother.  And I’m fine with that, really and truly.  But my feet.  They are more or less the same length, but the ligaments seem to be permanently relaxed, so they spread when I’m standing.  I can’t buy strappy sandals anymore, or cheap sneakers, because they usually don’t come in a wide width.  I didn’t know how much I loved cute shoes until I couldn’t wear them anymore.

I served my family leftovers for dinner four nights in a row.  I always plan my menu with a leftover night in mind.  But this week, my mother-in-law brought me a bounty of Easter dinner leftovers.  With the weekend leftovers already in my fridge, we were set for the week!  I added a couple of frozen pizzas one night to break up the monotony, although monotony wasn’t really a problem with the number of choices we had.  Last night I served it up on platters and called it a “smorgasbord”.  I call that a total win.

I made up a song about corn bags, and now I’m forced to sing it every night.  My mom made my kids each their own corn bag for Christmas.  The first time my little girls used them for bedtime, I sang an impromptu song as I delivered the warmed-up bags.  It’s to the tune of “We Got a Dollar” from The Little Rascals.  “I got a corn bag, I got a corn bag, I got a corn bag with zebra stripes (or princess crowns, or sock monkeys)!  I got a corn bag, a warm corn bag, a warm corn bag with zebra stripes!”  If my husband or older kids try to sing the song and deliver the corn bags, they protest loudly.  I’m stuck for life.

So what about you?  Leave your confessions in the comments!