Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Around

Everything's OK, just trying to catch back up after our WDW trip and Christmas. I'm posting a few pictures, then I'll be back here after New Year's; gotta work out and hang out with the fam while the Music Man is home.

This is the Chubby Cheeked Monster on Cinderella's Golden Carousel, he LOVED it again.

Here's the Princess on same carousel.

Princess dancing on the "pixie dust" LED lights in the ground at Epcot after our Princess Storybook Dinner.

The babes after getting their faces painted.

Isn't she sweet?

Flirting with the locals:

Me and my firstborn who wanted food more than she wanted me to take this picture (we were at a buffet).

The Castle at night, so beautiful.

The Music Man was trying to eat, so please ignore the look on his face. Concentrate instead on the beautiful thing in his lap. :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mirror, Mirror

I was talking to my friend Susan the other day, and she said something that stuck with me. I thought I'd share it here in hopes that we'd all try and see ourselves a little differently.

When Susan worked in the corporate world, she'd go to the gym on her lunch hour every day. She worked really hard at the gym but never seemed to get the "perfect body" she wanted. One day, she was on the stairclimber and saw a woman out of the corner of her eye. She thought to herself, "Man, if I could just look like her...".

And to her surprise, she was looking...

wait for it...

In a mirror.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Menu

Just in case you really wanted to know what I'm serving for Christmas this year, I just finalized the menu:

turkey (from Honey Baked, I can't lie, and won't have time to cook one myself)
roasted green beans
mashed rutabaga
stuffing with lots of sage
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes (WITHOUT the sweet junk, tyvm)
yeast rolls
sweet potato pie
canned cranberry slop (for my Music-in-law, he loves that)

Hopefully I have time to make all of that, but that's the plan! :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Picture Tag

Gwyn tagged "anyone who actually reads her blog", and that's me!

The object of the picture tag is to:

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2) Select the 4th picture in the folder
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 people to do the same

NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc).

This is the cake I made for the Firecracker Princess' third birthday. I didn't like it, but she did! Appropriate since we're leaving for WDW in, oh, an hour!

I'm beat and headed out the door, so I'm taking a page from Gwyn and making people who read this play along, too! I'll be checking when I get back!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shallow Hal Or...

Shallow Heather?

Last night I went to Pilates Reformer again. I'll miss my usual Monday class next week, so I wanted to pick one up and have been dying to try a class I haven't been able to make because of Elijah House. After it was over, I talked with Pam (my instructor, if you don't remember me mentioning her) for a few minutes and she said something about me getting "tiny". Indulge me a brief aside and let me tell you that Pam is about 5'8" and maybe a size 2. Maybe. She's just about physically perfect, as you'd expect someone with a career in fitness to be.

Anyhow, she sorta went on and I said, "stop" once, and then a second time, slightly more agitated. And being who she is, she didn't stop. Goes on to tell me that she means it, but I just wasn't able to take that in. All this lead me to an agitated evening with the Music Man and asking some questions he didn't have the right answers for.

So I ask, when do I stop being the token fat girl? When people look at me, do they think, "Man, THAT girl needs to drop some weight"? Are they grossed out? If people see me eating an ice cream cone, do they fight the urge to tell me I don't need that, or do they just judge silently? Do they look at the roll around my waist that just won't go away, no matter how many hours I spend in the gym? Sigh.

Just as I was about to hit publish, the Chubby Cheeked Monster turned to me (and away from Little Einsteins) just to say, "You look beautiful". God through the CCM, I wonder?

How sweet of him, and of Him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marvelous Light

Next time my heart bleeds for my kids and I think it's ok to have the CCM sleep with us, remind me that a few minutes later the Firecracker Princess will come in, curious as to why he's no longer screaming. And she will cry and be allowed to come into our bed. Then an hour later, the Look Alike will be ready for her first nursing of the night, and be welcomed into her usual spot. And five people will occupy a king-sized bed, and the adults will not sleep.

I've committed to memorizing scripture, as I've noticed that sometimes a verse will just spring up inside of me lately. My friend Jennifer and I have also decided to get this Bible and read through in a year, as I sooo need that accountability. If you want to join us, let me know!

But somewhere in that non-sleeping time, the Lord revealed some things to me. I keep wondering why I don't feel as bad as I think I ought to about the baby, especially as I've prayed for godly sorrow. I feel like the Lord showed me that he (my son) and I are both His now, and brought to mind 1 Corinthians 15:55: "O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?"

And then for the rest of the night I sang "Marvelous Light".

I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. now I'm free!

Lift my hands and spin around,
See the light that i have found.
Oh the marvelous light
Marvelous light
Lift my hands and spin
See the light within...

He also showed me that I wouldn't be able to grieve someone's else lost child if the feelings weren't there in me. I get the sense that I'm not ready to deal with their full weight just yet, but get glimpses of them in hearing someone else's story. There's a principle in Elijah House called "ripeness", and while I've moved from hard to softer, I'm still not spotted, 'ya know?

So today I thank the Lord for what He has done. For removing the sting for death, for taking away the power of the grave. For the gift of grace, the depth of which I will never truly know in this life. Humbly, gratefully, prayerfully.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Is Going ON Around Here?

So as another small break from my emotional drama, I realized the other day that between us, the Music Man and I have been pulled over FIVE TIMES in the last ten weeks. Isn't that crazy?

The first time for each of us was when we were waiting on a license plate for the Olds. Georgia doesn't have registered temporary tags like Ohio, so that counted for two. He got pulled over on the way to Ohio in Tenn for speeding. We had just gotten on a detour, and he didn't realize the speed limit decreased from 70 to 55. The detour was literally less than 2 miles long. The officer saw we all had our seatbelts on and the kids were buckled in safely, warned us that the limit was 55 for quite a few more miles, and let us go.

I told you all about the school zone thing, and I'm going to court for that on January 14th. I've noticed several more things since then, like the fact that, because of construction, the flashing sign is almost totally obscured, and in front of it, it says school zone AHEAD. Nowhere does it say "school zone" when you turn left. I'm totally awaiting my day in court.

This last one made me mad, though. On Saturday, I was headed to the gym. I started turning left through the intersection, and the light changed to yellow just as I began through. I noticed the officer as I drove by (about 1/4 mile from the turn), but thought nothing of it. He got behind me and turned on his lights, and I was perplexed. When he came to the window, he asked me why I ran the red light. "I didn't", I said, "I just saw it turn yellow out of my peripheral vision". "Whatever", he says, "give me your license". Comes back a minute later (after seeing my unblemished driving record, I'm sure) and says, "I'll take your word for it this time".

Seriously? Because I didn't do anything wrong, and you couldn't prove that I had even if I did. What's up with that?!

Music Man says the police departments are short on funds and need to give more tickets. Figure that's partly true, and the guy was bored. But really, no reason to harass someone like me, wearing a seat belt, going under the speed limit, when there are real crimes to look after. Sigh.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm OK, Really

Since it's been asked here lately, yes, I'm OK. For the most part. Some amazing people in my life are walking me through the jagged glass under my feet. The work is hard, but as a friend said on Wednesday, once I do this work and let it hurt, God will never make me go back there with the same sharp sting. I have to cling to that promise these days just to make it through.

But on Friday I leave for WDW again, and I thank the Lord for this trip. Its juxtaposition to my current emotional state makes it that much sweeter.

And just because I love snacks, this popcorn is helping right now. Really.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dare to Dream

Since one of my friends (mwah) told me to stop worrying her with my blog, I thought I'd take a break from the heavy emotional work and post this today. I thought it was hilarious. Did I mention we're 8 days out from out next trip? I cannot WAIT!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My History X

*Warning: Today's post is me telling my history pertinent to the abortion, including the event. I won't be offended if you choose not to read, though it's not at all graphic.

I've never shared the whole abortion story with anyone, and probably not even with myself. This will probably be long, but there is power in speaking the truth, freeing power.

My mother had me when she was 17. She married my father a couple of weeks before my birth, and I knew, for as long as I can remember, that I was unwanted. My parents divorced, and my mom met my stepfather, who waited until I was 15 or so to start calling me a slut, but started in on my weight, laziness, and imperfection by age 6 or so. I was very proud that I'd waited for sex until I'd graduated high school, I'd secretly always judged my mom for being a teen mother.

My own father was out of the picture totally by age 12 or so, and I'd hear from him only every few months before that. I needed to be loved so, so desperately. Because I grew up in an irregligious household, I had no idea where to find that God-sized love. I'm the classic example of being sent to church with family (in this case, my grandparents), but seeing nothing in the home and therefore not internalizing it at all.

By His grace, I met the Music Man again when I was 19. When I was 17, he was a camp counselor and I was a camper, but now we were both counselors. We knew right away that we would marry, and became sexually active almost immediately. I knew I was pregnant before I tested, as all women do I think. I gave no other option even a moment's consideration, literally. I wouldn't be my mother (insert rage) and couldn't bear the shame. I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood almost immediately.

The counselor told me about the procedure a few days later as I stared at the floor, trying not to puke on her shoes. The Music Man drove up from school in South Caroline to take me the next day. There were protesters with picket signs, so volunteers came out to get us from the cars.

There were 15 of us that morning, and the wait was long. I rose, shakily, several times to be sick in the bathroom. I was dead last that day, and remember wondering why. I was so unsteady because of the Valium that the Music Man had to walk me up the steps when it was finally my turn. I requested that he be allowed to be with me during the "procedure", and he held my hand. The pain wasn't terrible, but highly uncomfortable. It was over quickly and they gave me a snack and a comfortable chair fro the post-op wait. They do that in case you hemorrhage, apparently they only want the intended one to die in their facility.

I felt immediately better, 100% normal, really, so much so that we went out to lunch on the way home. The Music Man told his parents that the money he spent on the abortion was a deposit for an engagement ring. Instead, it was a different kind of ring, one that twisted and bound and constricted, a ring of secrecy and lies.

I remember one of the protesters shouting, "My friend had an abortion ten years ago and still cries about it every day". I almost shouted back, "Your friend needs therapy", but there was no way to know going in just how wrong I was. She just needed Jesus, and hopefully has Him now (along with a godly counselor).

I realized for the first time as I write this that my baby boy was relying on me, being nourished already by my body. He was about half an inch long, and weighed about 1 gram. Can you imagine how impossibly small that is? His little form was already complete within itself, just required time. When I think of him, I like to think that he would've played soccer, that he'd be good at geography like his dad and would love words like his mom. I don't know that I'll ever get to hold him, even on the other side of the grave. I wonder if he'd have dimples like the others. If he'd be bold or shy, funny or serious. How I wonder.

How I wonder.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blank Slate

You know the psychological concept of tabula rasa? Yeah, I think it's crap. We're all born with a personality, there's nothing blank about the look in my children's eyes even immediately after birth.

But the point of the title was this that I feel like God gave me a couple of days off. I thought, silly me, that I was done dealing with the abortion for now. Silly, silly me. He just gave me a couple of days to rest, and then threw me right back into it last night. Right before bed. Imagine how I slept after that, sigh.

Newish Friend shared more in depth about how abortion touched her life, and it is really affecting me right now. Y'all, I am undone. This isn't something I've ever talked about, and it keeps getting harder. God has me coming to the end of myself, I can feel it. I want to be able to let it go and give it up to Him, but I can't seem to get there.

I just want to cry. Or sleep. Or be alone. Probably all of the above. I just want a rest, a real rest.

Matt 11: 28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." The Message

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Throwing It All Away

I know I haven't talked much here about my eating disorder days. Partly because it was so long ago, and partly because it's something that so many people have written about so much more eloquently than I ever could. But something is shifting is me, the pieces are clicking back into an old puzzle, an ugly, dark, familiar and comfortable matrix.

Wednesday night I had Elijah House, the topic was burden bearing. I wasn't sure I was a burden bearer, but I would be according to their standards. I was running late since it takes over an hour to get to church in traffic. I stopped by McD's. Sad I know, but it's on the same side of the street at church and it's easy enough to get in and out, takes less than five minutes. Anyhow, so after I ate that "food" I really felt like I wanted to throw it up. Like really, get out of my seat, go to the bathroom and purge.

I haven't felt that way in years. In fact, I'm not sure I ever actually longed for it, just felt resigned to do it.

I never considered myself to be a particularly emotional eater, but now that I'm moderately healthy, I'm noticing that pattern. It's been six and a half years since my last actual relapse (since right before I got married). I think back on the physical pain (can we say swollen glands and bad skin), the mental drama, the isolation and constant justification, and wonder why I'd ever want to go back there. I don't have a good answer for that, but I don't know that I'd survive it if I went back there again.

Things are heavy right now. I'm having a hard time holding on to my joy. This doesn't "look" like depression because I'm still slapping makeup on my mug and going to the gym, but I'm a straight up mess inside.

But on the other side, my youngest started to cruise. Sweet thing. Her middle name is Jubilee, and she is such a joy. Amazing.

So Far Behind

It is said that God will only allow stuff to bubble to the surface in His own time, and for that I am grateful. So you know that I'm dealing with the whole abortion thing, thanks in part to the conversation I had with Newish Friend.

Yesterday I re-read Tilly, and realized some things that I never considered before.

First, I never even considered that we could have cared for that baby. It literally never crossed my mind. Second, I had never asked the Music Man's forgiveness for what I had done. Last night, we talked and I asked his forgiveness, and he asked mine for being complicit in it (ie. agreeing, paying, etc.).

But there is deeper shame than just the act (not that it wasn't bad enough). First, we went RIGHT back to the behavior that got us into the situation in the first place. Like the next day. Sigh. Can we say infection? Idiocy? Took me a while to realize that I was really just looking for a connection and sought it in the only way I knew.

Then (sigh, this one's hard), when I figured out that we were expecting the Firecracker Princess, MM suggested that if I didn't want to deal with pregnancy, we could abort her, too. Looking at my daughter's face, I can't imagine life without her. More than aborting my son, whom I do not yet know, considering aborting the wonderful child I see every day breaks my heart. I hope she never knows, that there's never an occasion to tell her that it was an idea, however fleeting.

Now, I must say that the consideration lasted less then ten minutes. I was telling my friend Nikia about it, and she said, "That's just selfish, it's ridiculous to consider it". And she was right. I went back to the MM and said that we were married, we owned a home, and although we were young, I'd be 25 and he 27 by the time she came. There was no real reason not to have her. I'm so glad I did.

I also realized that the abortion was the start of our most serious problems. I stopped trusting him then, because he showed me that he wouldn't stand up for our family, wouldn't protect me and our children. It also opened the door for some other unholy things to enter his life, which I haven't asked permission to share.

So today, I am thankful for confession and reconciliation. I am thankful that, for the first time in our marriage, we can find holy ground.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stand in the Rain, Stand Your Ground

“We are everywhere. We are everyone. We are dying to be accepted among you. We are angry young women. We are devastated by this". --Sydna Masse

I am angry. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to say this, and am not terribly comfortable doing so now, but it demands to be said.

After my abortion, two of my friends abandoned me. Now, I admit that part of the reason was that I'd lied to one of them and said that I didn't tell the other about my pregnancy, that should be said. Two friends who professed to be believers stopped talking to me altogether. One of them let me know that she couldn't be in relationship with me until I got my act together. Wow.

Can you tell me how I was supposed to get my act together? Really? Because I just killed my kid, was terrified that my parents would find out, and knew that I didn't have anywhere to go in three months when my sophomore year of college was over. I had only my relationship with my then-boyfriend (now husband), and it was less than seven months old.

You were my family. You two were the only ones I had. So I'm sorry that I lied, but I think we all know that wasn't the reason you left me. I have never felt so isolated, so hated. I don't know what I would've done in your place, but it seems like you just wanted a reason to discard me, and you did.

I'm not asking you to be sorry, I just needed to say it, to own it, to take it to the cross.

That is all.

*I should say that these are people who I am still in relationship with. One of them previewed this blog before posting, and she and I talked. Forgiveness was accepted, and I feel good about that conversation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Through the Wardrobe, on Toward Grace

"Aslan is on the move--perhaps has already landed."

I can feel it, and I can almost see it.

For some time now I've known that the day of reckoning was coming. I've been so afraid of the rod that I've run and run, but how can you run from the God who is everywhere?

The Look Alike woke up at 3:45 am to nurse, and I was awake for the next hour just replaying some events of my day. There's a person in my life who is a newish friend, but we have been though some similar experiences. God seems to always bring "dive deep" people into my life. I don't so much do superficial relationships, and it can take me a while to feel people out. Anyhow, so after doing the dance and figuring out that this person is someone I can trust, I shared my experience with abortion. I hate to say that in passive voice, it sounds like I don't own it.

I shared with her several weeks ago that I had had an abortion. The response I got was a knowing one, one that wasn't ready to reveal. And I understand, really I do. It's tough to admit in Christian circles, because you run the risk of being marked. My pastor says, "the body is designed for a massive grace response to brokenness", and he's right. But we know that not everything goes as designed, and the enemy does what he can to convince us that it's not safe to be known.

After spending time with my family last week, Newish Friend told me that she was praying for me and was stirred to pray several times, even in the middle of the night. I am so thankful for that faithfulness. Add a check to the "trustworthy" column.

Anyhow, last night Newish Friend told me about the circumstances of how abortion touched her own life. I didn't have the words to say what I wanted to, and it's partly because so much of the incident is unresolved for me. I remember very little, it's all clouded by regret and Valium and guilt over the immediate relief and return to normalcy.

So in the middle of the night, apparently the only time I'm available for God to speak to, He spoke. I thought that I'd had an abortion to avoid being like my mother. She was 17 when I was born, and things were tough. But last night, the Lord told me that I wasn't avoiding being like her, I was avoiding my son being the child I was. I was a sensitive, needy kid. Too smart, too clingy, too shy.

I have never felt wanted a day in my life. You'd be amazed at how many ways that feeling of being unwanted manifests in everyday life. You know that because no one wanted you, you should make yourself as small and unnoticed as possible. You should not need. Even if you do, no one will come for you. You should not stand up for yourself, why bother when you're worthless? You apologize for the very act of breathing.

So it makes sense that I would want to spare my unplanned child that. It may sound like I'm letting myself off easy. Believe me, that's not the case.

But where do you run with that heartbreak? Where can you go that you'll be loved and accepted even after you admit that you're a murderer? Where is a safe place?

Is He safe? "Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

Amen. So today, I choose to run into the arms of love. I choose to stand as best I can, broken and limping. I choose to mourn my son, the one who died at my own hand. I choose to release him into his Father's loving arms, and I decide to bring my husband into my grief, what should be our shared grief.

I choose to release my need to please, to always earn love or some semblance thereof. I choose to recognize that this will take a long, long time to move through, and acknowledge that others may get tired of hearing about it.

More to come.