Friday, July 19, 2013

7 quick takes in which I ask for a bit o prayer

So, I have really tried to keep pregnancy complaints to a minimum and I can't stand when people are regular debbie downers on 'the facebook' or the 'blogs'.  And yet, if it's okay, I would like to take a second to selfishly ask for your prayers.  As some of you know this pregnancy has been really rough, by far rougher than the others.  The worst part is the not sleeping.  Wednesday night I couldn't sleep at all. It has gotten to the point where night is this battle and daytime is pretty horrific as I try to stay awake with the two children I have hanging out with me everyday.
The good news?  On Wednesday night, after laying in bed for three hours at 2:30 am, I shot straight up with a very bad swear word and screamed, waking up the husband. I told him I couldn't do it anymore, that I was done.  I told him I don't know how I am going to do the next seven weeks. I then stormed out of the room, certain I wouldn't be sleeping (I was right).  About four minutes later, Aaron came and sat out in the family room with me.  He asked if we could have a snuggle party and watch trash reality tv together.  I snuggled up in his arms and watched a show I won't admit to here on this blog.  And just like that, I felt better.  Remember...INTIMACY.
Further explanation of prayer request.  This has been a tough week in pregnancy land.  We found out on Monday I am 'profoundly anemic'.  It's a huge concern because of the 3 c-sections in 3.5 years.  My ob said if I was to have my c-section today, I would certainly need blood transfusions.  Because of this, I have to do 3 iron IV treatments a week, starting the week after next, at the hospital.  Bummer right?  But wait, it gets better.  In the beginning of my pregnancy, I had some elevated numbers that caused concern.  They still are causing a bit of concern, so that means two non stress tests a week.  One at the doctors office, one at the hospital.  Bummer right?  For those of you counting, that is FIVE appointments a week, four at the hospital, starting the week after next.  With a 2 year old and 1 year old at home.  Wait, it gets better.  We found out my sugars are elevated as well, so today I am scheduled for the three hour glucose test, which requires a fast, which will for sure force me to vomit profusely.  Bummer right?!?!?!  This was a really REALLY bad week. I am not necessarily looking for advice, I love my obgyn and I am so glad we decided to stick with her.  BUT, I could use some prayers.  That my attitude improves and I remember the next 'quick take'.
I am trying to remember that each week I am blessed to carry my child is a week that I shouldn't take for granted!  This week, Dwija's son Nicholas went to heaven. In his just over 20 weeks, he made a tremendous difference in so many lives.  But, of course, there is so much grief attached.  Please please please keep her family in your prayers.
Big Aaron has been reminding me of reasons to be grateful. If I was still working, I do not know how I would actually make any of these appointments.  God knew what he was doing with the timing of this pregnancy and the timing of work being done.  In addition, each of these things that we are checking for/precautions we are taking, are ensuring that our baby comes into this world safely.  Having three c-sections so close together is a bit scary and totally overwhelming.  Our doctor is working hard to ensure that little John Paul ( I am just referring to him as such until Aaron divorces me for doing so) has a safe delivery.  And so, I am trying to put on an attitude of thanksgiving.  Pray for me.
Because I have been so sick and the big 1 year old Joseph Michael got shots this week (five!  YIKES!) we were all a bit too tired and spent to go forward with his birthday plans.  Can you believe that the kid got his first birthday party canceled?  He had a fever, so I kind of felt like we didn't have a choice, but it makes me so sad.
So, today I leave to go Up North for 9 days with the ol' family.  Quick background, my baller uncle has a beautiful home on a lake (I mean beautiful).  They decided they weren't getting enough use of it, so they were going to sell it.  But then, instead of selling it, they instead decided to keep it in the family and give each sibling 2 weeks use, while paying the taxes and upkeep.  How freaking cool is that?!?!  Lemme tell you, that's the way to live baller.  The next two weeks are ours.  And we are going to go up for 9 of those days. I am hoping it is relaxing.  I can't wait to feel the breeze of the lake and watch my kids play with their cousins. I am a bit nervous, because the husband can only come up on the weekends, but hopefully we will manage.  If nothing else, it will be a change of scenery.  I will be sure to post some pics upon returning, but here's to a week of R and R (please Jesus please!!!).

Have a great week!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To My Son...

...on the eve of his first birthday party.

R Wasylyshyn photo

R Wasylyshyn Photo
Well, my sweet son, you are one year old.  Today, I took you to the doctors to get you checked out and Dr. said, ‘my goodness, this year has gone by fast’.  And, sweet baby boy, it sure has.  It is hard to believe that God has blessed us with your presence here on earth for one full year.  The day you were born was one of the scariest days of my life.  I remember feeling myself going into labor in the morning.  I was so scared, I begged your daddy to stay home from work.  The thing was, I had begged him before, so like the boy who cried wolf, Daddy told me I’d be fine, we’d see how I was doing in a few hours.  A few hours later, I was sitting at Busie and Har Har’s house in such pain I thought you were going to force your way into the world too soon.  Turns out, I’m just a weanie.  By the time we got to the hospital, we found out you were on your way but it would be awhile.  We settled in for the night, until I started to get sick.  We called in the nurse and before we knew it, things got a little crazy.  Your heartbeat started to drop, there were lots of people in the room and I was wheeled to surgery to make sure you were born safely and healthy.  When you were born, I was so happy I yelled out loud. I have NEVER been so relieved in my life.  You were brought over to me and just the most perfect little boy.

r wasylyshyn photo
The first thing I noticed about you was your long toes and your long fingers.  You know, one year later, life gets really busy, and I forget to regularly inspect every inch of you.  Just the other day, I was looking at your toes and they are still SO LONG.  Joey, I mean freakishly long. I mean, ‘google in the hospital...are long toes normal on newborns?’ type of long!  But perfect. Oh my gosh, every part of you was and is perfect.  You have the most beautiful skin tone, eyes that are deep and a smile that refuses to stay at just your mouth and instead encompasses your whole face.

r wasylyshyn photo
When we brought you home, I was a bit nervous.  Two babies, recovering from a c-section, and knowing dad was going back to work. I wasn’t sure how our family of four was going to fare.  But oh, my Joseph, people say the Lord knows what he is doing and he certainly knew what he was doing with you.  I have been around babies my whole life and I have never ever met a baby more mild mannered by you.  Completely content to watch the world go by for the first seven years of your life.  More than a few people commented on what a good baby you were.  Where many babies cry and cry during the first few months, you rarely cried.  The recovery from bringing you into the world was tough, so your temperament was essential.  Sweet baby boy, sometimes it’d be easy to take you for granted because you were so content just to be held or placed somewhere comfortably.  I remember telling Har-Har when you were about three months old, ‘I am totally ready to do this again!’.  And Har Har reminding me that, ‘not every baby is like Joseph’.  Remember that smile I told you about?  My gosh, when you started flashing it, hearts melted.  Wanna know something funny though? I can’t seem to catch it on camera ever.  I think, because when taking pictures, you look so intently at the camera, you forget to smile, or you half smile which just ends up being creepy.  But, that might be a good thing.  The strength of your smile is something people get the privilege of knowing when they meet you.

r wasylyshyn photo
It’s not easy being the second child.  I am so excited that you have your older brother to watch out for you, to protect you and to love you.  Today, after your doctor’s appointment, you were cranky.  You received a bunch of shots and had a Band-Aid on your leg.  You started to cry, I think just because it was sore.  Aaron walked up to me, true concern in his face and said, ‘what’s wrong?’ I told him you had a boo-boo.  He went and found you a pacifier, his most prize possession and gave it to me to give to you.  My heart stopped right there for a hot second love. I am so glad you have an older brother to look out for you, who will say ‘what’s wrong?’ when it hurts and hopefully always help you find a solution.  I love to watch you two growing up together and I love to think of you older, hopefully being the best of buddies most of the time.  That being said, there are times when being the second oldest is rough.  Your brother Aaron struggles to know the difference between rough housing and hurting.  Sometimes, he struggles to share and you get frustrated, because you just want to play with him.  We will work on those things together.  And, as lil’ A gets better at it, he will teach you to be good at it for your younger brother.

Your younger brother!  That’s right, mommy and daddy were blessed by God and trusted with another little baby when you were five months old.  Can you believe that?  I sometimes look at you and I am so happy that you get the experience of being an older brother as well as a younger brother. I know people say middle children have it rough, but I think you get the best of both worlds.  A brother to look after you, and then a brother you can look after.  We will work to make sure that each of you feels the love you deserve and that you love each other in a way that makes Jesus proud.  God just keeps pouring blessings on our little family huh?

I want to tell you something, your daddy is in.love. with you.  The way you snuggle on him and offer him your special smile just makes him putty in your hands.  He loves to hold you and to give you kisses.  He LOVES to make you laugh.  Sometimes, when daddy is wrestling with lil’ A, you try to get in on the action. Daddy always makes sure to include you while still protecting you from the unwanted kicks of your big brother.  I know that you made your daddy’s life more full by being brought into this world.  I know that your joy has made him a better man and a better dad and for that, I thank you, sweet son.

Of course, it’d be silly to pretend everything has been all roses this year.  I am sure you have heard by now, but I am trying to make sure I send each of my children to the emergency room before their first birthday.  Your accident was right around the six month mark. I left you on the table, alone, and you used your go-go-gadget arms/fingers to reach out and pull yourself off.  You fell down, there was a lot of blood. I was so upset Joey.  Turns out, you cut your finger almost to the bone. I held you in the car, under a blanket as we drove to the ER. I hung my head in shame as we told the doctors what happened.  And I, of course, laughed a bit as they made you higher than a kite to stitch you up.  I am sorry for that, I am working on being more careful.  And remember how I said for the first seven months you were just the most content baby in the world?  Well, my love, you certainly made yourself known these last five months. I don’t think I have met a baby who will cry as loudly, for as long, when they are not happy with reality.  And sometimes, we don’t even know why. I’d love to tell you I have been patient and loving, remembering that babies do not cry just to annoy you.  But, that’d be a lie.  Lots of times I have been short tempered. I have begged you to stop, I have yelled at you to be quiet, I have cried with daddy about your stubborn and loud pleas!  The great news is baby boy, it seems we have turned a corner.  AND we always had your sweet smile to get us through the rough patches.  Thank you for still snuggling up to me when we have had our bad days.  Thank you for forgiving me with your laughter when I say I am sorry for being hard on your tears. 

Joey Mike, it is hard for me to put into words how much you mean to me and how very different my life is because God has allowed you to be a part of it.  I feel, in a very real way, that you made me a legit parent.  I get tired sometimes, especially with your baby brother cooking in such a high maintenance way…but then, I think ‘I am a mom to three sons’.  Sometimes, when you are playing and I am feeling sick or overwhelmed, I say in a sing-song voice, ‘joey michael’ and you turn up for just a second to let me know you hear me and to flash me one of those stunning smiles, and all this well with the world.

I can’t wait to watch you grow up and I feel so blessed that you are my child.  I hope we are always aware the gift that we have been given from God in our family. I promise I will try to always help you remember who God is and what He has done for us.  I promise to continue to try to be the best mom to you that I can be.  And to give you all the snuggles you need.  I love you so much- and will never EVER stop loving you.


Monday, July 15, 2013

How I feel about the verdict on Saturday

I profile people.  A LOT
I profile the white guy (who looks to be about forty) walking up and down my street in the afternoon, wearing a pair of gym shorts and dirty t-shirt, smoking cigarette after cigarette.  Sometimes he is staggering.  If I was outside, on a walk with my husband, I would wave to him, maybe strike up a conversation with him.  BUT, when I am in my house, alone with two babies and one on the way, I profile him and he makes me nervous.

I profile the black guy that sometimes sits on the swings across the street in the middle of the afternoon at the park across our house.  He looks to be about 35.  He swings for about fifteen minutes at a time, sometimes when kids are there, sometimes when they are not. I am aware of his presence and he makes me nervous.

I profile the group of white teens hanging out at the same park in the early  evenings.  They wear all black, they have drinks in brown bags and hand back and forth cigarettes.  Sometimes, they eat candy.  They could just be drinking soda, but I profile them. Sometimes, I stand out my porch, just to let them know an adult notices. 

I profile the black teens walking in front of our house in big packs.  I watch them shove each other and it makes me nervous.  They don’t generally have smiles on their faces, and I worry about the young girls who hang out with them.  Sometimes, I stand out on my porch, just to let them know that an adult notices.

You see, we profile people.  We are SUPPOSE to.  We are encouraged to follow our instincts especially when we feel we are in danger.  I do not take out a gun and shoot people because I sometimes perceive a threat.  This case wasn’t about racial profiling.  It is about a man who shot a teen because the laws in Florida ALLOWED him to shoot a teen if that teen made him nervous/he felt aggression.  People shouldn’t mix up the two.

I judge the character of others
I stay pretty clear away from judging the personhood of those I run into contact with, but I think character judgments matter.  I have worked with teens before who have lied, A LOT.  When a teen lies a LOT, I take what they say with a grain of salt.  I have worked with teens/hung out with adults that do a LOT of drugs.  When I am hanging with people who are addicted or regularly use drugs, I don’t anticipate I will have the most intelligent conversation with them.  When I am with someone who I know steals, I lock away my stuff.  When I know a teen is easily likely to lose his temper, I’m not surprised when he gets in a fight.  When I hear that a teen who hangs out with the ‘wrong crowd’ has gotten himself in legal trouble, I am not shocked.  You see, the decisions that we make in our lives define our character, and character matters in times of questioning. 

Was Trayvon’s character put on trial? Absolutely!  Should it have been put on trial?  Absolutely.  It matters when trying a case, working to prove that Trayvon threatened George Zimmerman.  It should be a lesson to all that character matters.  Do I know Trayvon?  Nope.  But I sure as hell know that he wasn’t the sweet 12 year old who’s picture was released to media.  Nor was he the picture of the rapper ‘The Game’ that I received in an email forward a few months ago with the title, ‘this is what Trayvon really looked like’.  Trayvon was a bit of a punk kid that made some bad decisions. Does that mean he should have been killed?  Nope. Does that make his death less tragic?  Nope.  Does it matter when a trial is occurring in a state where ‘Stand your Ground’ laws allow for a very liberal reading of self-defense?  Yup. 

This case became about race because of the media. 
The media spun a tail and unfortunately, so many people bought into it.  George Zimmerman, a man of Hispanic descent who worked with troubled youth of all races, was an idiot and killed a kid.  That is nothing but tragedy.  He was an over-aggressive neighborhood watch man, who felt threatened and under the laws of Florida was allowed to kill a teenager because of it.  And that is tragedy.  And EVERYONE (in my opinion, but people will disagree) should be working to change laws in a state where you can kill a kid if he punches you, or even throws you on the cement.  Trayvon Martin did NOT deserve to die.  But, make no mistake, Trayvon Martin did NOT die because he was black.  Trayvon Martin died because the laws in Florida allow people like him to be killed.

This case was not about race, but I was SICK to my stomach when the verdict was released.  Not because of what went down on my facebook newsfeed.  On my newsfeed, 90% of people commented that justice was served and that prayers needed to remain with Trayvon’s family.  A person very close to me had a very different newsfeed *you can draw your own conclusion*.  Although about 60% of the comments said kind things like, ‘Can’t believe this is happening, prayers for Trayvon’s family’; 40% of the comments said very VERY different things.  I wrote them down…because I was shocked.  These are quotes, not exaggerations.

“Zimmerman not guilty?  My beautiful black ass…it’s okay, someone is going to kill him”
“Street Justice will prevail”
“Zimmerman and the jury nd to be fkd up”
“Ppl talking about riots, this time dt fuck up the black neighborhoods, fk theirs”
“I dt wish death on anybody but he betta b careful…Zimmerman Freddy’s goin to get you”
“You want justice? Drop him off in Detroit”
“They say stand their ground I say we stand ours I say it’s time for a 2013 black panther party…

Now, you might think I went searching for these status updates.  I didn’t.  They were within the first fifty updates in the newsfeed I was reading. Pretty sure these status updates won't make the news, pretty sure people won't be fired for writing them...but make no mistake, they are disgusting.

Well played media, you have once again proved you can manipulate people into a tizzy about something that NEVER had anything to do with race.  NEVER.  And, because of that, you have made the world a little less safe for my little family, half black/half white, existing with very little signs of racism on a daily basis. 

Make no mistake, we have a problem with race in this country, and why we do is complicated.  BUT it certainly has something to do with leaders in our country who continue to try, intentionally, to find a story and create a reality that isn’t there.

To close (because I am now closing).  Trayvon Martin did NOT deserve to be killed. He was a 17 year old kid walking home.  For some reason, we will never fully know, he and George Zimmerman got into a scuffle.  George Zimmerman was able to prove he felt threatened and under the laws of the state of Florida, that meant he could use deadly force.  Want to work for change?  Start challenging the laws that allow for people to be killed so senselessly.  Don’t think the laws are the problem?  Then leave it alone.  But don’t twist the story.  Don’t create a narrative where a white guy killed a black teen for being a black teen.  Because that isn’t fair to anyone.

Friday, July 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes in which we travel...

Today is our sweet baby boy, Joseph Michael’s first birthday!  Because have been on the road, I don’t have a chance to write him a proper letter…that will occur this weekend.  BUT, isn't it amazing to think of how good God is and can be in one year?  Our lives at this time last year were a little less joyful until that baby boy brought us his smile.  I cannot believe a year has gone by and my sweet baby is now talking (ish) walking (ish) and driving us crazy with his curiosity!  We love you Joey, thank you God for the gift of our second son.
Happy First Birthday!!!
So, um…yesterday, this happened! 
That's my man
And, apparently (unless people are lying) we didn't sound like complete idiots (excluding my debt free scream, which I decided to go ‘all in’ for!).  Which is nice, because on a nationally syndicated talk show, there are A LOT of people listening (six million…what?!?!) Lots of reflections on how cool it was to be in the lobby of Financial Peace Plaza, but mostly, I am just swelling with pride to be married to a guy like Aaron. 
AND…this also happened. 
Please note Little A's Face!
Lil’ A, who is actually QUITE mild mannered in his old age, completely lost his SHIZNATCH when it was time to meet Dave Ramsey. I mean LOST it. I mean, ear piercing screams, everyone turning to stare, total meltdown.  At least we have a picture to remember the moment.
Some of our closest and dearest friends met us (Paul and Ann) at the show to hang out and thankful (and unexpectedly) watch the boys whilst we were interviewed.  They are the ones that first encouraged us to really follow the Financial Freedom plan, and with that encouragement our lives have been a bit changed.  PLUS, they are totally awesome and have a sweet new baby girl to play with.   Seeing them was awesome, which was nice because…
The Coakley's

Turns out, traveling with children totally sucks.  Well, let me restate.  Traveling with a 2 year old, 1 year old and 7.5 months pregnant in a Saturn Ion with a week’s worth of stuff,  totally sucks.  It is enough of a bummer that we have decided we are going to go home a day early.  The kids aren't sleeping (or eating, which is weird), and that has left them in pretty cranky places.   I have been pretty sick, not really sleeping and can’t get comfortable no matter where I am.  Big A is congested but has been the biggest trooper of patience and positive words to hold this little family unit together.  We tried to rally, but for the sanity of all have decided to throw In the white towel and head home. The HUGE bummer is on the agenda today was heading to Paul/Ann’s farm for the night for some good fellowship and lots of fun.  C’est la vie. 
The good news, I read Jenna’s Quick Take’s this morning.  In one of them, she reflected on meeting Dwija (are you still praying for her and the baby/family?  Cause you should be).  One thing she learned from Dwija is after having kids, you can’t get back to how things ‘normally would be’, rather, you need to adjust to your new normal.  This is a lesson the Wilkerson's are still learning.  Throughout some of the challenges of this trip (and it hasn't been super bad, we just all need a little more sleep and freaking Kentucky/Tennessee need to figure out their traffic reality) Aaron keeps saying, ‘it’s been a learning experience’.  We just need to learn to adjust things a little in order to do road trips.  Good stuff.
And, finally, last night the boys were so tired…they decided to fall asleep like this.  So, clearly, we took pictures! 
looks comfortable no?


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, July 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes with enough sass it made my husband nervous...

Skip ahead if you find yourself often intolerant of my political views, because this one is going to be a doosy. In fact, I anticipate several doosys(is this how you spell douse?  It doesn't seem right) up in ‘ere, so get ready.  I didn't comment much on the Supreme Court decisions regarding ‘equal marriage rights for all’, mostly because it didn't affect my life too much.  Regardless of which way it went, it's a bummer (in my opinion) and regardless of which way it went, we still need a lot of healing, conversion, discussion, love when it comes to this issue.  So…anyway, I didn't really care.  But what I did care about was our President.  Sometimes, I think he is brilliant (though rarely these days) but, watching live coverage, I was pretty mortified with ‘the President’s first statement’… I actually couldn't believe what was happening.  His “statement” came via a tweet, with the hashtags #equalityforall,  and,  #loveislove.  

Here’s thing Mr. President, ‘love’ isn't ‘love’.  It’s a dumb thing to say for a lot of reasons, and I can break it down for you some day if you’d like.  Also, you are NOT a fourteen year old girl; you are the PRESIDENT OF THE FREAKING UNITED STATES.  ACT LIKE IT!  

Obviously, this could be a whole blog in itself, about how pop culture (and you know I love me some pop culture) has made people stupid…but I won’t go there now.  Maybe later, not now.  
Wanna know how I actually felt about the decision? This quote was on someone’s facebook status.  It is by a priest, Father Ryan Hilderbrand to be exact…
Ok, so ... good morning! Turns out, the world didn't end after a (generally) federalist Supreme Court struck down an anti-federalist marriage law. I'm thinking the DOMA ruling was "cover" for the VRA ruling ... or vice-versa. Still undecided.
To my friends who support gay marriage: I respect your beliefs in this regard and wasn't surprised at your joy. I also respect the Court and its decision. Please respect the fact that I am a *Catholic* priest, as well as the Church's belief that marriage is not a civil union to be determined by civil authorities, but rather a supernatural union which structure is determined by God. I ain't asking you to ACCEPT such a belief, but simply to acknowledge that it exists and the requirement that I act in accord with that belief.
To my friends who oppose gay marriage: I'm gonna be rough on some of you. I was embarrassed to know some of you after yesterday's decision -- it is NEVER legitimate to use terms of hate like "fag" and "queer". Hate never wins souls for Christ; "...man's anger does not bear the fruit that is acceptable to God" (James 1:20). Besides, homosexuals face enough hatred in the world; if Catholics won't love them, then who will? Finally, the only way we will convince the world of the beauty of God's vision for marriage is by (a) calm, rational argumentation and (b) the witness of marriage beautifully lived.
So…the homies and I hit up a Counting Crows Concert last night.  Being there with good people was so much fun. I was a bit worried about an outdoor concert with a sometimes non-functional back. BUT, it was awesome. AND, I didn't even vomit until right when we got to our car!  ROCK ON.  Mr. Adam Duritz’s stunning version of ‘Round Here’ took my breath away.  My husband, who acts like he doesn't care about such things, was even a bit impressed (though he would NEVER admit it).  
Intolerant friends, skip ahead, more sass.  Another thing made me mad about the decision last week, but the ol’ husband thinks I am being a bit sensitive.  When the President decided to stop addressing people via twitter and hashtags, (SIDENOTE- I love twitter and hashtagsjust not from the FREAKING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ABOUT SOMETHING SO FREAKING SIGNIFICANT) his statement said something to the effect of, ‘don’t worry religious institutions, I won’t force you to marry couples of the same sex’.  At first, I was like, ‘well isn’t that special? And kind’. But, after some thought, not so much...
Who the heck, Mr. President, do you think you are?  Here’s the thing homie, lemme give you a little education on this thing called the US of A.  Despite what you and your hard working employees thought you’d pull with the HHS Mandate, YOU actually don’t have ANY rights to force ANY religious Institution to do ANYTHING, (assuming Religious Institutions are not you know, killing people and stuff).  So, I don’t need YOUR reassurance that YOU won’t force my Church to do anything, because you DON’T have that power, despite the fact that you sometimes think you do.  SO, take your guarantee, and shove it- sorry, I mean, no thanks!
The kids are awesome. In case you were wondering. I mean really freaking awesome.  This weekend, we don’t have TOO much to do, so I have high hopes for lots of good family time.  Lil’ Aaron is cracking me up with this expression, ‘HUHHHHHHHH’ said in the accent of a Chinese Man (is that a racist thing to say?).  It’s so funny because I have NO idea where he got it from, but he does it anytime he is confused or pretending to be confused.  Have I told you the older they get, the more kick a@@ I think they are?  If not, I am telling you now!
AND…one more piece of sass to brighten your day.  THIS is one is REALLY sassy.  Abortion ‘advocates’ are TICKING me off this week.  I am not talking about those of you that claim to be pro-choice (though, I shall state, once again, I have still NEVER heard sound argumentation for the pro-choice position, just a lot of emotion and side-stepping). I am talking about  ‘abortion advocates’ who are lining themselves up in protest against legislation protecting a child at 20 weeks in utero from being killed, and legislation DEMANDING that abortion clinics be clean, sanitary and prepared for major surgery.  The legislation is because of the horrific reality of so many abortion mills.  Now, I get this means women will have "less access" to dirty abortions…but if you are a TRUE advocate of women, don’t you want the highest standard of care? I mean, how can you ACTUALLY say, "abortions at any cost, it doesn't matter how disgusting the facility is;  what unethical practices are procured there;  who might die; who might get hurt;  It doesn't matter whether or not this stuff is actually GOOD for women"?
You people are total freaks that have lost your sense of morality in your quest to defend your ideals.  Kind of a bummer.  
AND...now that I have worked you all up, either because you agree with me, or you have decided that you absolutely MUST stop reading this damn blog, I bid you farewell.  Have a fantastic weekend!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 1, 2013

One of the best nights of my life...

Friday was one of the better days I had in my life and so, I thought to myself, if I had one of the better days in my entire life…maybe I should blog about it.  And so I shall, so I can remember it forever.

For a long time (30 months) we knew that July 1st 2013 would be the day our family would be out of debt!  Some of you might have read my, ‘Seven Quick Takes’ from Friday, written by the ol’ husband to explain the joy we were feeling.  Because we knew the day was going to be awesome, Big A had taken the day off of work.  As the morning finally came, we were both so excited, we both got up early. And our day o’ fun was on!  Only, the husband, who had promised to take the day off, instead ended up working the entire morning.  Needless to say, I was beyond bummed (but still understanding).  He told me he had one mandatory meeting he HAD to go to that would last from 1:00-2:30 pm, but then he’d be free for a wonderful day o’ celebration. I mustered all the patience I had, and chose to feel sorry for him rather than myself, and sucked it up…

…until he sent me a text message saying he wouldn’t home till 3:45 pm at the earliest.  At that point, I was 
NOT pleased.  At all.  When he finally came in at 3:50 pm, I wasn’t angry, but I was really sad.  Not gonna lie, this brat tear’d up a bit, ‘today was supposed to be exceptional dear, and instead, it’s been kind of lame’.  He promised to make it up to me for the rest of the day and we made our plans.  We decided to go to Jungle Java (a local indoor play gym for kids) followed by Bob Evans.  It’s funny, but Bob Evans has become our ‘go-to’ celebration place, as I said on facebook, it’s because we like to ‘keep it classy’. 
The Aarons at Bob Evans
I have to say, one of my favorite things in the world is watching my husband play with his children, so I was def. in my happy place.  After Bob Evans, we decided to drive through my favorite subdivision to look at houses (Cherry Hill Village, I love it, Aaron HATES it).  On our way home, Aaron asked if we could stop by Saint John Neumann to pick up a charger.  The new youth minister had said he had a pile of my stuff already accumulating, so I thought it was a great idea. 

When we pulled up to SJN, the parking lot was filled with cars.  This isn’t unusual though because the church I worked for is a very busy place with a lot of stuff happening. As we were walking in, I told Aaron that I no longer had keys, but he said he saw Father Ron’s car, so we could just get them from him.  The building was still set up for Vacation Bible School, so we decided we would take Lil’ A around to show him the decorations.  Walking into the main assembly room, the lights were suddenly turned on and I was facing a room full of people screaming, ‘SURPRISE!!!!’

Now, I have had some cool moments in my life, some surprises, I have felt loved and supported by a community before, but I have NEVER experienced anything like looking into that room.  SO many faces of my alumni, some current students, most of our dearest friends, youth ministry friends and family…all looking at me with huge smiles on their faces!  And then, I pretty much almost passed out. I started crying so hard, and (I am not sure if any of you can relate)  I felt like a mixture of emotion, happy, sad, etc…I started backing out of the room, kind of starting to get a bit hysterical.  THANK GOD my friend Kellie came up, gave me a hug and said, ‘it’s okay’. I started to breathe again.  Walking around the room and saying hello to 
everyone almost felt like an out of body experience. I still was a bit in shock, people kept saying, ‘I’ve never seen you so speechless’.  And speechless I was.  When I was about half way through the room, I was SHOCKED by another surprise. 

One person in the youth ministry world that I am privileged to call friend is a fantastic man named Mike Patin.  He travels around the country keynoting youth conferences, spreading the love of Christ, etc… and he is a VERY, VERY busy man.  About half way through greeting guests, I looked up and saw him in the corner.  Of COURSE, the water works started once again (and could barely be contained).  I kept saying, ‘what in the world are you doing here???’.  Mike doesn’t live in Michigan, and I was pretty darn sure he didn’t have any speaking engagements in the area.  Turns out, he was at Notre Dame’s Vision Conference and rented a car to be able to be with us on this night.  It was SUCH an honor to have him there, SUCH an honor.  I, of course, totally embarrassed him by announcing to the room ‘He’s like, famous!’.  Sometimes, I can’t help myself.

The husband then escorted me a table and began a slideshow that he created.  You guys, apparently Aaron had been working on this party for six months! He put together the most beautiful show of pictures to represent my nine years at SJN.  It made me remember how much I loved my ministry, the fantastic teens I worked for, the beautiful friendships I have made, and how skinny I was before kids!!!  I laughed and of course, I cried, with my sweet baby boy lil’ Aaron on my lap, and Joey Michael at the table behind me.
Then, Aaron had arranged for five people to speak about their memories!  Can you believe it?  My mom, my Youth Minister, my partner in crime Mike Chamberland, and two of my alumni got up to speak.  After that, they did kind of an open mic thing, where anyone was able to share.  There were lots of highlights from this portion, but it is kind of hard to talk about it and was VERY hard to sit through (imagine an affirmation circle, but you are the only one being affirmed- YIKES!).  My mom did a really cool thing where she went through my life and kind of highlighted God’s faithfulness to my dreams. It kind of made me feel a bit silly for every time I have doubted the Lord’s plan in my life.  From my childhood dreams, to ministry, to travel, to meeting my soul mate and becoming a mom, it was pretty cool to hear everything God has done for me! 

The teens made me laugh as they shared stories.  Including when a bat flew in the building and I pretty much gave up on life and made it clear I was incapable of being the adult in charge.  And the storyof the only I really YELLED at teens.  They shared the impact the Lord has had on their lives through the ministry at Saint John Neumann.  Lots of tears were shed. 

How very special to have my youth minister talk about our relationship through the years!  Mike Chamberland made everyone laugh as he told the story of how years ago, I realized, through talking with him, I would NEVER be friends with myself.

Perhaps the best part of the night was when the ol’ Husband ended the evening.  He said he was proud of me and talked about the journey we have been on to bring me home with our three awesome children.  My husband is a VERY funny man, everyone knows that.  He is a very handsome man, anyone can tell that.  But not everyone knows how deeply he feels things.  As he was overwhelmed with emotion talking about our accomplishments, I felt like I was the luckiest gal in the world. I also just about died laughing when Mike C. came forward to wipe his man tears away.  So special.  Such a night.

After the party, is the after party and we headed out to our dear friend’s house to hang out with Mr. Patin.  On the way, Aaron told me what it took to pull off this surprise.  My mom and him setting up tables in the afternoon (his ‘work’ meeting), my mother in law purchasing so much of the food, everyone bringing dishes and wanting to celebrate.  It was so weird to know how many people were ‘in’ on this surprise, but so very wonderful at the same time.

Just a couple more highlights.

My dear friend from out of state shared that the mark of a good minister is someone who lives joy and just allows people to watch.  He said, I have done a good job doing that, and so has my husband.  Then, he said it is been really cool that together as a couple, we have let people ‘watch’.  I am not sure how true his words were, but I know that is something I have been convicted of ever since college.  To quote EN 41, "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." So I guess, that was the best compliment ever.

Hanging out with my friends Terri, Barb, Kellie, Mike, Mike, Aaron and Jodi afterwards was beautiful.

A family who’s children I have taken to WYD a couple times, bought our family a ZOO PASS.  To say I am excited to use this bad boy would be the understatement of the year. I am pretty sure we will be zoo-ing it up several times a week!  How freaking fun is that for this Stay at Home Mom?

All and all, the day, the party and the night were so very special. I didn’t fall sleep till 4:00 am, both because I don’t sleep, but also because my emotions were at an all-time high.

am one blessed lady and my time at SJN has been very blessed.  And now, on to the new chapter! J
my favorite ministry picture of all time!