Monday, October 21, 2013

Stress, Stuff, and Finding the Blessings

I've been a bit on edge.  A bit stressed.  Slightly off my game.  I'm getting old.  The realization of that is apparent in the fact that I use enough John Freda products I should own stock.  Medium Chocolate Brown.  That's my color for those keeping track at home. 

Three years ago my husband and I started the Total Money Makeover and from that point on I have been coloring my own hair.  In the process I learned that foam is the way to go.  It is less drippy and way more fun to use.  This however, is not the source of my stress.

My daughter did indeed total her car.  We are now down a car until we can save up enough money to buy her another car outright.  We did have insurance, but the minimum as it was a cash car and my husband believed that Dave would say use the emergency fund to fix the car instead of paying high premiums for a cheap kid car.  Hence the reason we are not paying to fix a car that would cost more to fix than we paid for it. 

I'll admit it.  I had gotten spoiled.  She had been driving herself and her sister to school this year and I liked it.  Don't get me wrong I worried like crazy.  If they didn't text me to tell me they arrived safely I was a mess and prayed all morning not to get a phone call that something horrible had happened to them.  I loved being able to just drive my son and I down the road to go to school.  It was nice.  I also enjoyed having her go pick up food when I didn't feel like cooking too.

The only upside to this is that now that I will be driving them all to school again I won't have to worry about them driving in the winter.  (According to all of  the people who love winter it is supposed to be a bad winter this year.  Well bad for me and good for them with lots of that cold white stuff I hate.)  One more point in the favor of moving to the Sunshine State. 

So that has been going on and my stomach has been a mess for a year.  A year would be correct.  You read that right.  I just don't go to doctors.  They have needles and tests and I have no time for that.  I would, as mentioned before, be the poster child for what not to do in life.  I did go to the doctor and just as I thought,  they wanted to do tests and poke me with needles.  This did not help with my stress or my stomach.  As far as I know I'm going to be fine as long as I am OK with giving up spicy food, greasy food, and caffeine.  All reasons I didn't want to go to the doctor.  I love Mexican food.  I love crinkle cut french fries.  I love coffee drinks that don't taste like coffee.

My day job has been stressful this year.  Lots of changes and adjustments have needed to be made.  I have done a lot of subbing and while I think it may just be helping me overcome my fear of public speaking (at least in front of the five year old sec) I am not a licensed teacher.  I am also having a bit of withdrawals from the lack of copies and laminating that have been a part of this year.  The kids are great and they haven't ganged up on me and tied me up and taken over the school yet so I think maybe I might be doing at least that much right.  Also I have not had to buy a ferret yet but I have had to use my whistle.  (Kindergarten cop references do earn me extra points right?)

My new book is in editing.  With a December release quickly approaching.  While I love all of what goes into this exciting chapter of my life it is hard juggling everything at once.  Also, with the threat of being too transparent, I do want it to be wonderful.  I want you all to love it and get some of what God is teaching me out of it. 

It doesn't seem so bad when you look at it in writing.  It doesn't seem very stressful at all from the outside looking in.  I am very thankful to have all of these stresses in my life.  When I stop and take a deep breath I thank God for each and every one of them.  A wise woman told me recently that it doesn't matter if anyone else thinks what you are going through is stressful or not.  It is stressful to you.  That is what matters.  No one else is going through it, you are. 

We are down a car but we didn't have another driver last year.  My kid is fine and that is all I care about.  It will take a while but the metal box with wheels can be replaced.  Thank you Jesus!

My stomach is a mess and I had to go to the doctor, maybe it is a wake up call to take better care of myself.  Also maybe with the new diet I can lose some weight.  God may just have more in store for me yet.  Thank you Jesus!

Kindergarten is different and a bit stressful this year.  I have a job I love and work with some of the best people I have had the pleasure of meeting and I am learning a lot from them.  I am lucky.  Thank you Jesus!

I have a second book coming out.  How cool is that?  God decided to use my fingers to type his words and allowed me to be a part of something bigger than I could ever have thought possible.  There are no words to describe how thankful I am for that.  I hope my experiences and my life can be used as a witness to further the kingdom.  Thank you Jesus!

We all have stuff.  Big stuff and little stuff and just plain pain in the rear stuff.  I guess what I'm learning is, it is just stuff.  Everything has a season.  The key is to not let our stuff define us but define our stuff.  Look at the stuff and figure out what God is trying to teach us through it.  Only then can we see it for what it really is and only then can we move that mountain out of the way to get to the next step.  God has a plan.  It is time we start moving the stuff out of the way and get to the blessing. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

When Fears Come True, God is There

On Friday we left a little later than normal for school.  My daughter turned to go to her school and I turned to go to mine.  I went in was getting situated when I realized I left my homework (a.k.a. laminating I took home to cut out) on the coffee table.  I live maybe three minutes from the school I work at so I got back in the car and went to pick it up.  As I was getting out of the car at school for the second time all the sirens started flying passed the school.  Police cars and ambulances flew down the road.  A co-worker who was walking in at the same time as I was informed me that there had been an accident in front of the high school.  She had called her daughter and she was fine and told me to call my girls.

My heart sped up.  When she described where it was located I knew it wouldn't be my kids.  They would be coming from the other direction.  I tried calling both girls' answer.  I texted both answer.  The school and my surroundings began to blur.  All reason left me and my heart dropped to the point of not being able to function until I knew they were ok.  I eventually went to the room that co-worker works in and asked her to call and find out if my kids were ok.  Her husband  happens to be the principal at the high school.  It should be noted here that I had tears in my eyes and I may have looked a little crazed.  She called and my kids were fine.  No students were involved in the accident.

Saturday my oldest daughter was up early and out the door going to breakfast with my husband before going to take the SAT.  My husband worked at a flu clinic and was home late morning.  My son left with his cub scout leader to go sell popcorn around 11:30.  A little after 1:00 PM I left with my middle child to head to the next town over to get lunch and look for a book she wanted for a book club at school.  We went to a hamburger place and ordered our food.  We got our drinks and ketchup and sat down to wait for our food.  I checked my phone.  My husband was calling.  I answered the phone and I heard the words I had feared hearing from the moment my daughter started driving.  His words were "Daphne has been in an accident.  You need to call the cub scout leader and ask if Scotty can hang out with them for a little while, then you need to get in the car and drive home."  My stomach turned over.  I called the scout leader, asked for our food, and we got in the car and started driving home.

I was calculating which way to get home.  Deciding which route would get us home the fastest.  I drove without speaking.  Megan didn't speak either.  KLOVE is all I usually ever listen to on the radio and it was on.  I started singing along with the music as I prayed that my child was going to be OK.  I knew she wasn't in the hospital and that was a good sign.  As we got closer to home I called to see if they were home or still at the scene.  They were still at the scene.  We went there.  As we approached we saw lights and a large truck but couldn't make out what kind of truck.  It was a tow truck and my girl's cute little car was on it.  She was standing next to her father.  There were other people there.  I didn't stop to talk and barely noticed they were there.  I blew right past them to grab a hold of my child and pull her close..  Her sister taking in the scene was terrified and looked on.

Shortly after we arrived, we left.  Daphne riding with her father and Megan riding with me.  We got home first and Megan broke down, crying in fear and relief that her sister was OK.  They arrived shortly after. We got the story.   She was turning left and was hit by someone and pushed into another car.  Her airbag deployed.  She is bruised on her chest and neck and her glasses had been knocked off and thrown onto the floor.  Her knee is bruised.  She is stiff and sore.  She is afraid.  She is scared to leave the house.  We made her leave the house with us today and go to church and a festival.

We have told her stories of all the wrecks we have had.  Sometimes deer jump out at you twice in two weeks.  (We eventually moved.  That was a big enough of a sign for me that we should move.)  Sometimes people behind you don't pay attention and they slam into you from behind.  Sometimes accidents just happen.  It is OK to be scared but it isn't OK to stop living out of fear.  We don't own a horse and buggy and besides that horses are just as unpredictable as other crazy drivers.  My grandfather was killed by a horse.  We aren't going to get a horse plus I don't think the cats would like a horse if they don't like other cats.

Her car is out of commission which means I will be driving everyone to and from school for awhile.  I don't know how long she will be without her car.  I don't even know if it can be repaired.  It looks like a lot of damage and her car is an older car.  I don't care about the car.  A car can be replaced.  My child can not and the level of thankfulness that God protected my child and she is here is immeasurable.  I just need my child to be able to release her fear.  I need her to trust that God will protect her just as he did Saturday afternoon.  I need to be able to release my own fears even though I sang praises to God all the way home and there is no limit to the amount of grace and love and protection He has shown, I need to be able to let her get behind the wheel of a car and not be scared.

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave your nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6.  God never left her and he has never left me.  Even when we haven't been strong or courageous.  Even when we have been afraid and terrified.  We have been all of those things.  The range of emotions have taken their toll but I am placing my trust in my God who will never leave us.  In the God who will heal us from this just as he has healed us from the trials of our past.  Our God is faithful, we will be too.  If I could, I would ask you to pray with us and for us as we heal and as we help our daughter move pass this and her fear as well as our own.  The next few days we will be finding out what happens next and if her car can be repaired or if we go searching for another one.  Also pray for the person who hit her.  Thank you for your willingness to pray.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Accepted.  One word with eight seemingly unassuming letters can mean so much.  As children we want to be accepted by our parents, our friends, our coaches.  As teenagers we want to be accepted by our peer groups.  There are so many variables that go into being accepted.  We want to be accepted by this club or that group.

My daughter is a senior.  We are waiting for acceptance letters.  She is applying for colleges and the idea of being accepted is both exciting and nerve wracking.  What if she doesn't get in to the right school?  What if she doesn't get in at all?  What if she is like Kimmy Gibbler from Full House and gets denied by the entire state?  Those are thoughts she has had.  She has actually said to me "What if I get rejected by the entire state like Kimmy Gibbler?!"  That is what it is like waiting for the mail to arrive.

She is not going to be rejected by the entire state, of this I am sure.  I explained to her that if it was possible for me to get into college then for sure she will get in.  Yesterday a college admissions counselor called to talk to her and as she wasn't home he told me that she has been accepted to their school.  The relief of hearing those words is like coming up for air after being under water with no idea how to surface.  Every day it is a mad dash to get to the mailbox to see if there are any fat envelopes addressed to her.

Accepted.  Such a powerful word.  I think on these things and I wonder how long we wait to be accepted.  In college?  Sorority or Fraternity?  Dream Job?  Spouse?  Our own children?  I think some people wait their entire life to feel accepted and I think they look in all the wrong places.

Matthew 6: 25-34  25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  28And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat:' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Where are you looking to be accepted?  Whose approval are you seeking?  The verses above remind us of how much our heavenly Father loves us and how greatly accepted we are.  What more could you ask for?  It doesn't get any greater than that.  There is no higher level of acceptance.

As we seek acceptance to our earthly dreams and desires, let us not forget to seek God first and acknowledge our acceptance in Christ.  Philippians 4:13  "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  Even get into college.