"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Being Sick While My Husband Is Away, Day 4

I’m living in a bit of a fog, I realized, as I took a new trash bag out to line the garbage can and almost tried to line the pot on the stove with it instead. I’m not the sickest I’ve ever been in my life, but as for being miserable? Probably top three.

I’m constantly trying to calculate when it would be safe to take more DayQuil/NyQuil/ibuprofen without damaging my liver….counting out the hours, wishing that I could take it every two hours instead of every four to six. I’m making tons of hot tea, sucking on cough drops and sore throat capsules, downing water, dropping off Ryley at school, driving home to collapse in bed for six hours, driving back to pick up Ryley from school, overseeing homework, loading Ryley up on vitamins to keep her from getting sick, trying to remember to be the adult -- when all I really want to do is just sleep. And I don’t seem to be getting better. The doctor diagnosed me with Strep, but the symptoms seem to be all over the map.

I finally hung up on a telemarketer this morning because I couldn’t get my voice to work. They couldn’t understand if I was the “lady of the house” or a squeaky child.

I had promised Ryley she could sleep with me in our big bed while Daddy was away. But I got sick on the second day, so after the first night she returned to her own bed. Poor girl. She hasn’t had hugs or kisses in days. She is keeping her distance….extremely fearful of “throwing up,” that one. I explained that this isn’t that kind of illness…In fact, I would gladly throw up and be done with it than deal with this. But regardless, she should stay as far away as she can.

More than anything, I just want my husband to come home. And right now that’s looking like Sunday afternoon – or Saturday morning if we can play our cards right and get his flight changed. We just miss him…his manliness…his firmness…his balance in this household of weepy girls, dog included.

I feel ridiculously codependent right now.

I am a strong, independent woman. Truly, I am. :-) I’m just sick.

And mothers don’t get to be sick. I have new appreciation for single moms and military moms. Or moms with multiple children. It’s hard to manage a household when you can’t think straight…when fever is fogging up your brain and the days start to run together. But we plug on anyway.

And I’m counting down the hours til Ryan gets home and all is right in our little world again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

To Canaan

I think God’s trying to tell me something, but I’m not sure exactly what.

As part of my New Year’s Resolutions to A) read one book every two weeks, and B), help Ryley grow closer to the Lord, I am in the middle of working my way through two books right now:

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

and with Ryley…

The One Year Mother-Daughter Devo

Both are good books. The first one is better than I expected… I have to admit that I had gone into it with a bit of an attitude; I had judged the author’s motivations without fully knowing her story. Instead, it’s slowly revolutionizing the way I view my life and bringing back a lot of feelings and memories of my own missions experiences.

The devotional is not as well-written as I had hoped, but Ryley loves it (which is the point, right?). I love the idea of it, but a lot of the connections are a little loose, and I find myself having to draw upon my own biblical knowledge and spiritual intuition to fill in the blanks and make sure the message is clear. While that’s not a bad thing, it’s taking more work than I had envisioned. :-)

But here’s the thing: Both of the books, within the last week, have referenced Abraham’s journey to Canaan…how God told him to leave his country and go to a new place. Abraham didn’t know what this land looked like; he just packed up all his belongings and his people and trusted that God would lead him there.

This is something I am really struggling with. I felt a couple of months ago that God was telling me that it was time for “the next thing.” But I gently eased into the holiday season and said, “Sure, God. Let’s just get through Christmas first. We’ll do the ‘next thing’ next year, if You don’t mind.”

And now we’re in the new year. And it’s time to let God do His thing. I have ideas of what I would like the next thing to be. But that dream seems highly unlikely. :-) And honestly, I don’t know what God has in mind. Not to mention, I am so freaking scared of all of it…my dream, God’s dream, you name it.

Don’t I trust Him? Hasn’t He always come through? Of course He has.

So what’s the problem?

I hate “new.”

I hate “change.”

I hate putting myself out there.

I hate not being in control.

It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

At the same time, I feel constantly uneasy…like I’m wasting precious time that could be invested in my Canaan….my Promised Land. Every day I’m not moving forward, I feel…guilty.

And then Abraham was mentioned again – but this time in our pastor’s sermon at church on Sunday. It was the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac up the mountain to be sacrificed on the altar, because God had told him to. Abraham climbed that mountain, willing to do what God said, but still trusting that God would provide a miracle. And unbeknownst to him, God had already sent the ram up the other side.

God provides miracles. But sometimes we still have to climb the mountain. Ick.

Even so, I couldn’t keep the tears from falling.

The next day, Ryley and I read about that same story in her devotional book (which is not in biblical chronological order, I promise!). Just one more confirmation that God is obviously trying to get my attention!

So….. I’m hearing You, Lord. I only have this one life to live. Like the author of Kisses from Katie, I want my life to be extraordinary. I want to be used to spread Your love and Your truth in ways I can’t even imagine.

Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Your ways are not my ways. They’re so much better than mine. :-)

Please show me the next step, Lord Jesus. I’m trusting You to lead me into Canaan.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Value of “Stay”

Our 14th wedding anniversary was this past week.  There’s nothing extraordinary or special about the 14-year mark….It’s not 10; it’s not 15; it’s not 20. It doesn’t necessarily warrant a second honeymoon or an expensive piece of jewelry. It’s just another year in between the big ones. But it is no less important: it still required staying.


Over the course of the last few months, as my co-workers and I made conversation about holiday plans, I realized that I am the only one in my office whose parents are still together. All the others had to juggle their time between multiple sides of their families…dad’s house, dad’s parents’ house, mom’s house, mom’s parents’ house, stepdad’s family, etc., etc. That’s our society’s new normal, I suppose. Families like mine are increasingly rare.

I wouldn’t begin to judge anyone’s split-up marriage; I know there are a lot of very bad situations out there. It’s just sad that there are men who don’t stay faithful to their wives…who don’t stay present in their family’s lives. And the same goes for the women who don’t stay faithful. It’s certainly not what God intended when he came up with the whole idea.


(finding my wedding dress while on a missions trip in Germany)

I am thankful for the legacy of “staying” in my family. My grandparents were married 58 years when my grandpa passed away. Their marriage was, to me, the epitome of faithfulness. They were farmers in western Nebraska, and my mom tells stories of how when a hailstorm ruined their entire crop one year, they packed up the four kids and drove to Denver for a few days so they wouldn’t have to look at the torn-up fields. They had good times and bad times. When I try to put 58 individual years in perspective, it gets a little overwhelming. That’s 58 Christmases, 58 harvests, thousands of loads of laundry, thousands of meals cooked and eaten and dinner discussions had, multiple disagreements, and countless inside jokes.  But they stayed together.


(my parents on the left and grandparents on the right, 1971)

My parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary on May 27! I am so proud of them. They have become fused together like a fixture in my mind. Gene and Kathy. Mom and Daddy. Despite having two very different personalities and very different interests, they are still very much in love. And despite difficulties here and there, good years and bad years, they put their trust in God. They fight through the tough times. They stay. What an amazing example they are for us!

And it’s not just my parents and grandparents. There is no divorce in my extended family. My aunts and uncles on my mom’s side of the family have been married 39, 30, and 21 years. My two cousins have each been married 16 years. My brother and his wife just celebrated 10. It is a very special legacy that I thank God for. And I think it goes back to the kind of people my grandparents raised their kids to be. And then those kids raised their kids. And those kids are raising their kids. And we are raising Ryley. And we pray for Ryley’s husband, too…that God is with him wherever he is and that he understands the value of staying.

For better or worse. Richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. We steel ourselves against the odds…odds that say more than half of marriages end in divorce…and we stay.

Ryley and I were listening to her new Taylor Swift album this week, and we fell in love with the song, “Stay Stay Stay.” I actually find a lot of irony in the fact that Taylor is no longer “with” whoever she wrote this song about. :-) But still, the lyrics are so true.  “I want to hang out with you…my whole life.”

My sentiments exactly.


As I was contemplating our last year (which wasn’t the best all around, for reasons unrelated to our marriage), I couldn’t think of a time when things were bad enough between us that I ever considered leaving. Sure, we’ve had our moments of disagreement. I remember getting so angry at Ryan while doing dishes one time this summer that I hit him in his back with a plate. He, however, claims to not remember that instance, as he apparently “keeps no record of wrongs.” Ha ha. He was trained well. :-)

We just can’t take ourselves too seriously. We can’t over-think things. We just need to stay.

We don’t know what challenges or obstacles we will face in 2013. After having kind of a bad year, I have to admit that I am a little wary of what may be around the corner. I am having some trouble shaking that awful sense of foreboding. Ryan, however, has a ton of faith for us right now, and he has been so good to encourage me. I’m leaning on his faith when I’m having trouble mustering up my own.  We’re good for each other that way. And so we stay.


After 14 years, we have so many memories that are “just ours”….inside jokes that nobody else will ever get…

When we’ve been blessed enough to have been married 40 years or 58 years, I can’t even imagine how much more “fused together” we will have become. And how wonderful that will be.

163 So, here’s to 14 years of marriage, 14 years of staying. And many, many more!