Wednesday, December 11, 2013

You Have to Move Toward Him, Even When it Hurts

In life, there are good days and bad days.
I've written about how we've been dealing with this pressure sore on M's bottom for the last couple of months. Some days, it's better and he's up and everything feels normal.

I like those days.

Then, other days, it flares back up, and he's stuck in bed on his side and that's no fun for anyone. There is a lot of sweating and discomfort, and flipping from side to back to side, and there are lots of pillows and teeth brushings in bed.

It sucks, actually.

We had a good day, despite all of this, the other day. Followed by a really bad couple of days.

Thank God for grace. If we didn't have grace with each other, I'm sure we wouldn't be able to keep going, because this is really hard, and it won't leave us alone and we're so tired.

The other night, I slept in the guest room. It was sad. I didn't want to be alone. But the muscle spasms wouldn't stop and I couldn't sleep, so Michael insisted I go.

I begged for mercy as I finally fell asleep on my tear-drenched pillow. I was pretty much out of hope. But, I eventually did fall asleep.

In my dream, Michael was standing in the doorway of the guest bedroom (which is upstairs), telling me it would be okay. I felt comforted in my dream, but then when I woke up, it actually made me feel worse, because I know that's never going to happen.

He'll never stand in a doorway. He'll probably never even see the upstairs of our house. He'll never be able to scoop me up, and carry me and hold me. He can tell me it's going to be okay. He can give me a pep talk, and pray for me, and be strong for me emotionally and spiritually, when I'm spent.

But not if it's not for grace.
Because, he's not perfect, he's human. And I'm not perfect, I'm human.
And this big, huge thing in our marriage also isn't perfect, but it's not human, so we can't even reason with it, or bargain with it.

It's concrete. It doesn't budge.
So, we must.

I cried so many tears over the last few days because I just wanted so badly to be rescued. I want that man standing in the doorway, surprising me with his strength, to scoop me up and save me.

I get so tired of saving myself.

The thing about being married to someone who sometimes literally can't move toward me, is that even when I don't want to/don't think I can/I'm sick of doing it myself, I have to be the one to move.

I have a choice. I can move away from him, or I can move toward him.

Often times, I don't get this right on the first try. And all I do is make things worse. I hate it when I do that.

To the other wives in this situation, make the right choice. Move toward him.
Husbands, remember that your wife wants to be rescued. She understands what you can and what you can't do. Rescue her in the way that you can. It means so much.

John Eldredge describes this need that we as women have, so well:

“I wasn't mean; I wasn't evil. I was nice. And let me tell you, a hesitant man is the last thing in the world a woman needs. She needs a lover and a warrior, not a Really Nice Guy.” 
― John EldredgeWild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

This morning, I told Michael about my dream. I don't usually tell him about those dreams, because I can't say the words without tears and I can't stand to see tears well up in his eyes. But, I told him, then I laid down next to him and we held on.

Now, as I write, and process, I'm reminded of a Susan Ashton song from the 1990s. This song was on one of the first "Christian" CDs I owned as a new Christian teenager. I've always loved it.

So, you'll pardon the cheesiness of the 90s with me, right? Because here it is, in all its YouTube glory:

You Move Me
by Susan Ashton

This is how it seems to me
Life is only therapy
Real expensive
And no guarantee
So I lie here on the couch
With my heart hanging out
Frozen solid with fear
Like a rock in the ground
Oh but you move me
You give me courage I didn't
Know I had
You move me on
I can't go with you
And stay where I am
So you move me on
Here is how love was to me
I could look and not see
Going through the emotions
Not knowin' what they mean
And it scared me so much
That I just wouldn't budge
I might have stayed there forever
If not for your touch
Oh but you move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Now I'm burning with love
And with hope and desire
How you move me
You go whistling in the dark
Making light of it
Making light of it
And I follow with my heart
Laughing all the way
Oh 'cause you move me
You get me dancing and you
Make me sing
You move me
Now I'm taking delight
In every little thing
How you move me

So, let's be brave. Let's move toward each other. Let's give and receive grace. Let's rescue and be rescued. And hold on tight. Because the bad day won't last forever. And when it is over, we want to be closer to each other, not further apart.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Wish I Didn't Like Stuff

Sometimes I look back on my single days so fondly.

Like, what did I do with all of my free time?

Oh yeah, I wandered around my apartment, wearing a cushy blanket and eating Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs and eating Famous Amos cookies, and watching seasons of Gilmore Girls on DVD and I read Nicholas Sparks books.

The truth is, those days weren't really all that great.

But, the shopping was!

The other day, I had to go to Target and spend $93.00 on things like allergy medicine, and medical supplies and ziploc bags and I had to just walk by all of the fun stuff.

Target is evil, because they make you pass the cute stuff to get to the necessary stuff.
But, I stayed strong.

I did not buy any of the following three things that wanted me to buy them.
1. The Choose Love/Be Amazing/Choose Happiness/Be Peaceful/Feel Beautiful candles. I think these candles smell so good, plus I'm such a sucker for cute packaging. But, nothing was on clearance, so I walked away.

2. New scents of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day. I'm addicted to this stuff, but I usually stock up around Earth Day, when the coupons are awesome.

3. Random blue Ball Vintage Style Mason Jars. Pinterest pretty much exploded in my brain as I walked by, and I thought of like 47 cute things I could create in/with these jars.

I actually left Target the other day feeling kind of down. We had a very tough Summer, financially. And things are finally getting better, thank the Lord! But, I can't bring myself to spend money on things we just don't need.

I wish I just didn't want stuff! It would be so much easier. I wish if I had an extra $30, I wanted to spend it on something noble like feeding hungry kids or giving so they can have clean water, or saving those sad, slow motion dogs in those Sarah McLachlan commercials, and I do want to save those dogs and feed the children.

But I also want all this cute Target crap that I don't need.

Oh well. I'm proud of myself for walking away.

Because I'm a grown up now, and I have to make wise choices with the money that we're blessed with.

I miss the rush of shopping, but I have learned to get a little rush out of saving money instead of spending it.

Saturday, I went to Sam's Club thanks to my new membership (thanks, Mom!) and I'm so excited to save money by shopping there again.

Also, I realized that the Jiffy Lube Groupon is back, if you live in Hampton Roads, this is a good one and I'm always so happy when it coincides with when our vehicles are due for service.

And, I found out that emeals is running a Cyber Week special, so you can get 30% off their meal plans. This is awesome for us, because I loved doing the Fresh20 meal plan, but we stopped doing that when we started eating Paleo, and having to plan my own menu each week is just too stressful and I usually fail and end up at a drive thru or ordering food through an app or standing in line every Thursday at Chipotle, and that's not cool.

I hope those links help you if you're in a similar situation.
I've also found that pinning things I want on Pinterest is a fun window-shopping type experience that is generally free.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

This Love Is Ours

I wake up at weird times on the weekends, because I work at weird times during the week.

I don't hate it.

So, yesterday, I was peeling sweet potatoes in my kitchen at 5:00 a.m.
I was sliding the potato peeler toward the stainless steel bowl, careful to make sure the peels landed inside the bowl, when I noticed a little brown spot on the potato.

These potatoes are a couple of weeks old, and the only reason I was peeling them at 5:00 a.m., was to throw them in a breakfast skillet, because I knew they needed to be eaten soon.

I took a closer look and noticed it was a heart!

I ran it into the bedroom to show Michael.
I thought it was extra cute, because I don't know if y'all know this but, Michael calls me "Sweet," short for sweetheart - which I have no idea where I got that name, because I am a lot of things, but I am generally not very sweet. But anyway, somehow I have him fooled, and for that, I'm grateful.

I served M breakfast in bed, then I highlighted my hair, and took a shower, then I was going to get him up. We were easing into a weekend that included fun, festive plans.

But then, when I rolled him over, getting him ready for the day, I noticed that dang pressure sore, screaming back at me.

Y'all, it's back.
Well, I guess I shouldn't say back, because it hasn't technically gone away since before July, but it's back as in it's mad again, and I had to be the mean nurse lady, and put M back on bed rest.

I don't know if we are finally getting used to this crap, or if maybe a bunch of people are praying for us, but it was really okay.

I was kind of sad to miss the Christmas Parade with my family, but my number one priority was taking care of my husband, and doing everything I could to cheer him up. I want to be his helper in a way that makes things better and easier for him, not in a way that makes things worse.

So, on his side he went.
I went out and ran errands, then came back, and we had sushi in bed and watched a few episodes of Homeland on the iPad.
We were sweet to each other.
We cuddled a lot.

I got him up late afternoon just long enough for him to shave and wash his hair. Then put him back in bed, and I cooked and cleaned a little, and watched the news.

I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, because those bring cheer.
I ate four.
The fourth one was outright sin.
I may or may not have eaten three more before writing this blog post at 4:00 this morning.

Before we fell asleep, we laid in bed, both on our side, and Michael and I took turns reading from the book of Philippians, and we prayed together.

And I remembered, that as long as we lean into each other, as long as we lean into the Lord and really trust Him, and as long as we don't zoom out too far and look at ourselves and especially if we don't allow ourselves to feel sorry for ourselves or each other, we really can do this and it really isn't that bad.

There has been a lot of not-fun in our lives this year. Dreams not coming true. Bills not being paid. Pressure sores not healing. Us not sleeping.

I bought a 2014 planner the other day.
I can't wait to get the new year started.
This one has been a hard one.

But, at least we've done it together.
We are a team.
No added annoyance or challenge can take that away from us.

I think we make it through because we really mean it.
We really love each other.
Deep down.
Beyond the platitudes and beyond the routine.
Our 'survival mode' is rooted in hunkering down and holding on to each other.

So, I'll take days like yesterday that don't go as planned, but end happily and together. I'll take as many as I can get.

Because, to steal a line from a Taylor Swift song, this love is ours.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Fifty to my Wonderful Wife

Today is our fiftieth! Fifty months, that is.

Somewhere early in our marriage I suggested we celebrate our "monthaversary" of our wedding. It seemed like a novelty for the first year, but four years later the gag is still going. 

A year is too long to wait to recognize our special commitment and in the days and weeks we are overwhelmed with the routine crises. But every month on the sixth I remind Dana how much I love her and how glad I am to be her husband. 

I imagine in forty-six years we will enjoy a well-deserved getaway. But until then I'll keep remembering the monthly celebration of our special day. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

You Need To Read: A Million Little Ways

This morning, I finished a book.
Then, as soon as I had the chance, I went online and ordered a copy for my friend Kimberly.

You know a book is good when you can't wait to share it!

I received my copy of A Million Little Ways at Allume. Emily Freeman spoke briefly before dinner that night, and I remember just wanting to hear more from her.

Because her message, about uncovering the art we were made to live met me right where I am right now. I've known for a while that I have a story to tell. Recently I got a couple of big, bold nudges to jump into the book writing world.

I'm terribly afraid of the rejection that you read so much about.
But I also know that if I don't put myself out there right now, and try, that I'm being disobedient.

I have to live the art I was made to create.
It's against the grain for me.
Because I'm a list maker, not a dreamer, by nature.

I don't go slowly.
I don't savor.
I don't, as Emily would say, 'let my soul breathe.'

But, I'm taking this big risk.
And one of the only things that brings me peace is the fact that I do feel like it's exactly what I'm supposed to be doing right now.

I think everyone should read this book, and check out Emily's blog, Chatting At The Sky.

I personally can't get enough Emily Freeman right now.
In the least-stalkery way possible, I want to drink the wisdom God has penned through her hands.

Seriously, y'all. I'm not getting paid to write this. This book is beautiful. And not just because the cover matches my life, but because the message matches my desire.

Chapter 7 is my favorite. I think I underlined every other sentence.

Here are some of my highlights:

Art makes it possible for us to remember both the beauty and the horrific, the lovely and the loss. Art numbs the wound just enough for us to be able to access the source of it, to reach down into the depth and pull it up to examine.

As important as it is to embrace the gifts you have and the unique ways you can offer hope to others, you also need to recognize and embrace what brings out the hope in you. What touches your soul so deeply that it causes tears to come out? We're talking about magic water that pours out of your eyes. Maybe paying attention to what calls the water forth will give us a hint as to what it is that makes us come alive.

... maybe tears are tiny messengers, secret keepers of the most vulnerable kind, sent to deliver a most important message - Here is where your heart beats strong. Here is a hint to your design. Here is a gift from your inner life, sent to remind you of those things that make you come alive. These tears carry the gift of your desire. Listen to them. Change in the world comes when we acknowledge what moves us and why.

Y'all know, I write a lot about the things that make me cry. So it should come as no surprise that my major takeaway had something to do with tears.

I'm a feeler, what can I say?

Get this book and let me know what you think. Happy December.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


It has been such a glorious Thanksgiving weekend.

We ate at my sister's. FaceTimed with my brother. Drank mimosas from Brandy's mimosa bar. I snuggled Caplin for HOURS. I put way too much food on Michael's plate. Jimmy made a delicious feast. I love my family, and Thanksgiving Day represented all that is good about living at home.

I spent almost all of Friday, on the couch. I think I watched episodes of Dateline that went back to September. The TiVo literally thanked me. Michael and I ordered pizza and a movie and for the first time in years, I stayed awake for the whole thing.

It was Silver Linings Playbook, and I loved it.

Yesterday, I spent the day decorating this house for the first time for Christmas. I repurposed decorations we've had for years, and I had a lot of fun.
I decided to do the tree in just green and teal and silver and white, so that it didn't clash with the already-established theme of the living/dining area: teal and coral.
I put the red stuff upstairs.

I put lights on the balcony.
And in jars...
It was a blast.

Now, I drink black coffee, and write by the light of the Christmas tree and I kind of don't want the sun to come up, because it's just so beautiful.

Michael is doing so much better. We are pretty much back to our little normal.

And, I'm thankful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Made Up Meal: Pork Tenderloin & Veggies

I try to plan our menu each week and prep meals on Sundays, so that I don't end up at Chipotle every Thursday, dropping $20 on a burrito and a salad.

For the past couple of months, I've been working my way through the Practical Paleo cookbook.
But every now and then, I like to freestyle.

I've had a couple of big hits at our house, so I thought I'd share them with you!

I wish I could come up with awesome Pinteresty names for my made-up meals, but I'm just not that committed... so I'm calling this one "Pork Tenderloin & Veggies."

I know.
You're inspired now, aren't you?

Well, here's what you need:

1 garlic pork tenderloin (I bought mine pre-seasoned, at Trader Joes. It was about 2 lbs)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet potato
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
1 zucchini
1 gala apple
sea salt
dry rosemary
dry basil

Heat the coconut oil in a skillet, then sear the pork tenderloin on all sides, then take it out of the skillet.
Add the sweet potato, red bell pepper, red onion, zucchini (all sliced into approximately one inch pieces) to the skillet with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, dry rosemary and dry basil. Cook on high heat, searing the edges.

Put the seared pork tenderloin into a baking dish.
Surround it with the seared veggies.
Top with a chopped up gala apple (skin on).

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes*, uncovered.

*Or as long as it takes for your tenderloin to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

I hope you like it! If you make it, let me know!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Yesterday, I was grocery shopping at Kroger and a lady stocking the yogurt mentioned that Thanksgiving is later than normal this year.

I hadn't even noticed, but I think I like it.

There are two groups of people, you know.
Like Republicans and Democrats.
Calvinists and Armenians.
There are those who are okay with doing Christmasy things before Thanksgiving and those who wait until after Thanksgiving.

I'm on team After Thanksgiving.

Mainly because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love food.

I will admit... I bought a pack of Holiday Blend K-cups.
Yesterday, I had a Peppermint Mocha.
I actually feel the pull towards Christmasy stuff.

This morning, I woke up early. I was going to write, but all I could do was reminisce and read Emily Freeman's archived blog posts about writing.

When I was walking down the steps for 6:00 a.m. snuggles with Michael, I thought about digging out the Christmas decorations.

But, I will wait.
Because I'm off on Thursday and Friday, and I'd rather do it when I can finish it, than start it and have a mess around here for a few days.

I remember this time last year.
Being tired and worn out and war-weary in my post-election fog.
I didn't want to make any big life decisions until I took a month off of work.

So much for that.

I took a phone call at work one day, from a 757 number.
It was some guy named Jim who wanted to talk to me about WAVY and journalism and news philosophy.

The next thing I knew, I was talking to him on the phone again, in the Panera parking lot.
Then, I bought a brown suit and went in for an interview.

The next thing I knew, boxes were piled seven feet high in our apartment on Christmas and I was neck deep in a search for a house built on a slab, with a downstairs bedroom and bathroom with 31 inch door ways.

I decorated our little Northern Virginia apartment for Christmas, one last time.

We moved in January.
So that life could slow down.
No commute.
No travel.

You know the story.
Because I've been stuck in it for the last year. It's all I can seem to write about.

Moving back 'home' hasn't been what I thought it would be, in a lot of ways.
This turned out to be a hard year.

Financial challenges.
Health challenges.
Workaholism rearing its head in a big, ugly way.

I've been learning a lot about myself this year.
That is never fun, but I do encourage it.

I feel ready to decorate for Christmas.
I feel ready to celebrate.
I feel ready to welcome a new year.
I feel ready to share parts of myself with you in a new, fresh way that scares me.

And most of all, I feel ready to move on.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why It Hurts When Something Messes With Your Normal

I haven't cried in the last 24 hours, I don't think.
And that feels great.

Because there has been a lot of crying around here for the last week.

I feel obligated to open up and share about what's going on with us, because I'm starting to get messages on Facebook from concerned friends.

First, know this: We are fine. We will get through this. Things like this happen. They will happen again, I will cry again, we will get through them again. 

Michael has been in bed for three weeks with a pressure sore. If you don't know what that is, just Google it, and I advise you to do so while not clicking on 'images.'
This one was a bad one.
He's had them before, smaller, not as deep, not as angry. And he's laid over on his side for a couple of nights, and they've gone away.

This one was not so easy to deal with.

I blame myself, first because that's what I enjoy doing apparently, and second, because the reason he got this sore is because he lost too much weight and he has no butt to begin with. (I love you, honey.)

I could sit on my big butt in the same position for years, and I would never run out of skin.

We've been eating a Paleo diet and it's been great for me. I've lost almost 40 pounds, and I feel great. But Michael lost weight, too, and clearly not in the right places.

So - yeah.
It's been three weeks. And it looks like it will be another week before this thing is gone.

I did break him out of jail for the couples' retreat, and to celebrate his birthday last weekend.
He is a champ.
He has only complained a little about being stuck in bed. He figured out a way to rig up his shower chair cushion under him so that he could sit up and get work done on the computer.

That's my guy.
He just figures a way around a challenge, and works around it.

Then, there's me.
I have to kick and scream and complain and gnash teeth about everything.
I hate this.
This does not come naturally to me.
I like for things to go my way.
I like to be in charge.

I work very hard.
I work very long, odd hours.
During our 'normal' (a.k.a. when Michael is up, and not in bed nursing a pressure sore) we get little time together.
It's usually the last few minutes before we fall asleep in the morning - when I lay my head on his chest and we talk until I fall asleep. And when we eat dinner (or whatever meal you call it at about 11pm when it's your first meal of the day) for about 20 minutes before I go to work.

The pressure sore stole all of that.
So, I was left feeling like I don't belong here.
I was PMSing last week, so I knew some of it was drama. I'm not stupid.
But this past week, I wasn't. Yet, I still cried my eyes out every night on my way to work while our home health aide served him dinner in bed, and I snuck out the door to the garage, with my dinner packed in a plastic container to eat at work.

I ate every meal at work.
Because that's where I felt like I belonged.
That's where I can do a good job, and I fit in, and my efforts seem to make a difference.

At home, I just felt in the way. I was standing in front of the trash can when the aide needed to throw something away. I was standing in front of the drawer where she needed to get the ice cream scooper.
I spent as much time as I could upstairs. But I could still hear them talking and laughing downstairs.

And my heart just hurt. I'm not jealous of her in the sense that I think the two of them have something going on. Not at all. I trust Michael 100%, and she is a doll. But I WAS jealous that she was taking care of him. I wanted to take care of him. But I couldn't, because I have to work every day.

Sleep was non-existent. It's harder to fall asleep knowing he may need to be turned or need something at any moment. It's also harder to fall asleep when I can't lay my head on his chest and have that normal cuddle time I'm used to, because he has to lay on his side.

I felt so lonely.
Not alone.
I knew I wasn't alone.
Thanks to the online community of SCI sisters I have, I didn't feel alone.
But I did feel so lonely.

Things are better now. Michael is healing, and we were able to reconnect as just us - like the married couple that we are, in a way that makes him feel like a husband and not a patient, and me feel like a wife and not a slave. And we moved out of the way and put God back where He belongs - in the middle.
Because we have to be reminded from time to time, we can't heal each other's hurts! We can't be enough for each other. We can't be each other's joy. Only God can fill those huge holes!

Yesterday, I got Michael up in sweats and we took it easy around the house. And I went and picked up take out from the Cheesecake Factory, thanks to a birthday gift card from my mom, and birthday money from his parents that we used for a tip.

And a light bulb went off.
This made it easier.

This made it feel like we are an us.
Not like I'm a cook and a maid and he is a patient, and we can have a second where we eat together, then it's back into work mode.

So, that's why I made the post on Facebook:
To all of my friends who always ask if there is anything you can do to help, besides prayer and I always say no. I have decided, you can give us restaurant gift cards.  Oh, and send wine. 

Not because it's the end of the world or because someone is dying or something.
Because people do ask me if there is anything they can do. Honestly. I get asked this a lot. And I always think 'no, there's really not.' And I realized last night, that there is!
Because it turns out cooking and cleaning up after cooking - on top of working 10-12 hours a day (at night), and managing a household while your husband is bedridden - is actually pretty hard.

And picking up dinner from a restaurant and throwing a bunch of plastic in the trash can feels pretty stinking normal, and that feels pretty stinking good.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

To My Husband, On Your Birthday

This is your fifth birthday since we’ve been married.

Time is flying.

I remember the first year, when I tried to make you birthday cinnamon buns in the morning, just like my friend Jennifer Petterec, who does really creative, beautiful things for her family, like serve cinnamon buns with birthday candles in the morning.

Except that I stuffed the candles in the buns when they were piping hot, went to get you up and dressed, and then breakfast consisted of cinnamon buns with icing... and green wax.

You were so sweet, and ate around the wax.

I remember the third year, when ‘three’ tried to rob us of your birthday, but we pulled together, got through it, and ended up celebrating with a group of friends at a sports bar, where you asked for Coffee with Baileys, and the waiter brought you a cup of coffee... with BAY LEAVES.

Earlier that day, I held you while you cried, then you held me while I cried, and in the end, we were closer for it, and we won.

Last year, we went to a Jazz Brunch in DC where the guy in the gospel band was singing and talking about the ‘woman with the issue of blood,’ as I sipped by bloody mary.

We still joke about that.

Happy Birthday to you, my Love.
There is no better day to celebrate, in my eyes.

I’ll see you in an hour, when we will have chocolate cake and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, for breakfast.
Because that’s our little tradition. 
And there's no candle wax to eat around, I promise.
Tomorrow, we celebrate 6 years since we had that awkward conversation about how I didn’t want to be your ‘buddy.’ More about that, tomorrow.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Magic Tealight

It’s Saturday, November 9th.
It’s my best friend Courtney’s birthday.
Tomorrow is my Michael’s birthday.

It’s 5:07 a.m.
I’m drinking that third cup of coffee.
The one that will turn my stomach, that I won’t finish and it will get cold.
Soon, I will switch to mouthwash, and then water.

But now, I want the warmth and the energy and coffee is my friend, so we spend just a little more time together.
This morning, it’s Kona blend, which isn’t my favorite but Michael likes it, so I buy it and I make it, and apparently I drink it, when he is asleep.

I have so much in my mind that needs to come out.
Two weeks ago, I was at Allume in Greenville, South Carolina.
I really couldn’t afford to go this year. But my mom, and a perfectly placed pay day made it possible.

I think I will look back on that weekend and I will remember it as a turning point.
The weekend I began to really feel like a writer.

One of the things we received in our gift bags was a little lantern. It’s tin, painted a cream-color, and it holds a tealight. It has a handle that took me three tries and two weeks to figure out, but it’s on there now.

I put it on my desk.
I’ve decided I will light this little candle when I am writing.
Because that will be the magic that turns me into writer Dana.
Author Dana.
Filling up blank pages with words that are perfect Dana.
Or, maybe it will just be a tealight in a little lantern but if nothing else, it smells good and looks cute.

I’m always drawn to these lanterns. At Target. At Ikea. I think I’ve probably bought a half dozen of them over the last 10 years and I’ve decorated with them, then eventually put them in plastic bins and either taken them to the Goodwill, or to my mother’s house, where she is perpetually preparing for yet another yard sale.

I bet you anything at least three of them are on display somewhere in her house. That’s where all my old stuff goes to die. Or, live on, rather. Because when I go to my mother’s house, and I see my old stuff, I regret putting it in plastic bins in the first place. I regret getting rid of it. Replacing it.

Maybe I miss that hawaiian bedspread from Pottery Barn I got 10 years ago. Or, maybe I miss my life 10 years ago.
Either way, it is nice to visit and see that quilt and want it back.
One of these days, I will drive back home with it in the back of my car.

I didn’t plan this morning to write about memories and old bedspreads, at all.

See? Maybe the magic tealight is working.
I smile, and take another sip of Kona.
This is where I want to be.
I am a writer.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two Reasons I Love Coming Home

That is my world right there, on my street. My happy husband, and my curious 'is that you, Mommy?' puggle.

They are my home.

They love me no matter what.

And I need them both.

I need to snuggle up with them, and cry to them, and laugh with them and play with them.

Love is a gift. Unconditional love is even greater. If you've found it, snuggle up and hold on tight. This is the good stuff.

I think it's pretty universal for dogs to jump and pant and get all excited when we get home. I'm not saying my husband jumps and pants when I come home. In fact, if he panted, I would worry, and if he jumped, I would probably have a heart attack.

But he sure does love me no matter what.

No matter my bad attitude, or my unpredictable hormonal mood swings, or my sinful selfishness.

I want to snuggle him forever.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brokaw took Pops to the Beach

This is Brokaw and Buddy, but the grand kids call him Pops. They took a little walk on the beach this morning. It's Pops' first visit to Virginia Beach. They are having fun walking, watching Netflix and sharing snacks. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Birthdays, And Contentment, And Screamers

Every year on my birthday, my mom calls me at exactly 11:28 am, the moment of my birth.
I don't remember when the tradition began, but I love it.
So, I'm 34 now people. 34.

I guess it's kind of an in-between age. I don't feel bad about it. It's fine.

33 was one of the best and hardest years for me. I didn't blow any candles out on my 33rd birthday, but I did make a birthday wish, for a baby.

Yesterday, Michael and I were shopping and stopped at Starbucks for afternoon lattes and as I was finishing up my pumpkin spice, and he was sipping the last of his caramel, we heard one of those screamers.

You know the screamer kids. Their parents just desperately wanted to go to the mall - for Stride Rites, or maybe for something for themselves, but it took too long to find a parking space, or maybe they shifted their schedule to go with a friend, and so they missed nap time by 20 minutes and now their angel baby is a full-on screamer. They're horrified and getting looks of sympathy from some, and judgement from others.

I never saw the kid. I felt sympathy, but wasn't close enough to give a look.
Michael and I looked at each other, "I'm glad for where we are right now."

And then we went to Old Navy.
Just like that.

Contentment is a funny thing.
When you don't have it - it seems so far out of reach! There were months this year that I cried myself to sleep, that I had to block dear friends and their ultrasound and babies-in-pumpkin-patches pictures on Facebook, because I didn't have the one thing I wanted so badly.

I prayed and prayed, even at one point hashing it out with God - trying to give this dream up, thinking maybe that's what was holding me back from getting it.

And, little by little, when I wasn't looking - much like we age - here I am at this new place.
Where there's a screamer in the mall, and I'm perfectly happy with just a latte.

Even if my name is misspelled.

This Fall is full of exciting opportunities for us. Next weekend, I'll be at Allume (a Christian women's blogging conference in South Carolina). The weekend after that, Michael and I are so excited to host our first getaway for couples like us who also juggle a disability in their marriage. Later in November, I'm going to a caregiving conference in Philadelphia.

My 35th year is taking shape, already. And while I had put all of this pressure on myself to have a baby by age 35 (because you know, research shows if you have a kid later, it has 9 heads), I realize now that was completely not the plan, and this completely is the plan.

So, I'm content.
And it happened not when I tried so hard to be content.
But just when I put one foot in front of the other, when I woke up each night and went to work and bought groceries and got my husband dressed.
Something changed.

I'm not giving up the baby dream. I hope it does happen one day.
But I don't think it's going to be this year. I think this is going to be the year for writing and speaking and helping couples connect and find contentment of their own in this crazy life.

And I'll drink a latte to that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brokaw's Favorite Spot

In case you can't tell, this is our chair. I say "our" chair, but Brokaw has staked his claim. As soon as Momma leaves for work he heads up here and snuggles in. We try to keep the cushion laid down so it isn't smushed beyond recognition, but sometimes he beats us to it.

So now I'm off to beat the heck out of it and get it flat (the cushion, not the dog).

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Meal Prep

With our crazy overnight schedule and managing around home health care and work outs there isn't much time for actually cooking healthy meals. About the only way we've been successful at eating healthy and on a budget is with planned meals. Taking an hour or two on Sundays to prepare the ingredients for this week's meals is my key to success. 

Hash tag no Five Guys this week

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Don't Have Everything I Want, But That's Okay

Obligatory cute picture of Brokaw.

I stress myself out. If only I could get away from myself.

I am in this strange season of being overwhelmed - yet - for the first time ever - I think I'm truly learning to slow down.

To take moments here and there.

Learning from my easygoing, slow-paced, smell-the-roses husband?

Let's not panic.

What a year this has been. I thought I'd move away from the fast-paced, long commute, lots-of-travel life of living in DC and move "back home," start a family, and have a little more in the bank account.

Almost nothing is working out as I expected.

I am not used to, nor do I like it when things don't go my way.

But - I am learning, I am growing, I am thankful, and we are a tighter team than we've ever been.

So - we'll keep on keepin' on. I'll put one foot in front of the other, try to stay obedient, make good choices, and fight that never-ending fight of comparing myself and us and everything we are and have to everything else everyone else claims to be and what they have.

Life is good.

There is much to be thankful for. And new and good friends all the time.

Boy, I'm reflective tonight. I blame the pumpkin pictures on Facebook. They get me every year.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Love Birds

Over the greater part of a year I've had the privilege watching mallard ducks in our ponds. 

Last winter, they made roosts in the weeds. Spring, the ducklings hatched. Mommy eventually left and they grew until they all flew away. Summer, ducks came and went.

Autumn, and they're pairing. Dana called it "couples skate" on the pond this morning. 

Now I understand how the great ecologists got hooked. So much beauty and so much to understand from watching these beautiful creatures. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Day After My First CrossFit Games

I am sore this morning.
The good kind of sore.
The you-feel-it-the-second-you-wake-up sore.
The proud kind of sore.

I felt every leg muscle move as I stumbled to the coffee maker, smiling.

Yesterday, I competed in my very first CrossFit Games, at the box that's changed my life, Fentress Crossfit.

I started going in April, when they offered a Groupon.
I was hooked quickly.
And with the support of my family, awesome coaches and my CrossFit peers, I've kept it up.
It's now a line item in our monthly budget.

I've lost 30 pounds, two clothing sizes, and this crazy thing has happened.
I've become this girl who likes to work out!
It's insane.
When I miss it for a few days, I miss it.

Yesterday, I finished near the bottom.
But - I accomplished my two declared goals:
1. Don't get hurt.
2. Don't embarrass yourself.

Six months ago, I couldn't have done this.
A year ago - I would have thought the current version of myself had lost her mind.

I lifted 30 pounds more than I thought I could lift yesterday. I learned that it's time to start pushing myself even harder. I also really want to work on my running (truth: lack thereof).

I feel high.
Again - I was at the bottom of the finishers.
And yet, I can't stop looking at the pictures. I can't believe I did this.
This is just the beginning for me. I'm still new at CrossFit.
I can't wait to get stronger and leaner and faster and move up in the world!
I'm so thankful that I'm surrounded by people who are so supportive and we all cheer each other on, no matter our fitness levels.

Also - I'm super thankful I got to experience this yesterday, alongside this guy:
I actually haven't had anyone ask or say to me that Michael must be my inspiration - because he can't do this stuff, and I can think of him and push harder. Michael asked me if I had.

Actually, it's not like that. I have tried thinking of him when I'm pushing through a workout... and I don't find inspiration in thinking of what he can't do. I wish it did, but it doesn't work for me like that.

But - hearing him counting my reps and yelling "yeah" and posting proud pictures to Facebook - that does make me push harder. And now that he's been there (how fun is it to have things that you love collide?) I feel like I can share CrossFit stuff with him on a whole new level and he will get it. He LOVED being there. He was PUMPED UP.

So, he does inspire me. Just not in the cliche' way. In the real teammate kind of way.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Knew Something Was Wrong

I want to talk about sharing a bed. Not in the intimate sense, but in the literal sense. I know a lot of wives in my situation who don't get to share a bed with their husband, or they sleep in a bed pulled up right beside their husband's bed. It's up to everyone to figure out what works for them.

Thankfully, we get to sleep together.
Sleeping in the same bed was an adjustment for both of us.

When we first got married, Michael had to get used to sleeping flat, and not in a hospital bed. I had to get used to waking up to turn him in the middle of the night. He adjusted and generally no longer needs me to roll him over. I got used to the occasional muscle spasm. It wakes me up for half a second. I lay still to feel it out and see if it happens again. Usually, it doesn't, and I go back to sleep. Or, if it does, I wake Michael up and ask him, "Are you okay?," he grunts and we both go back to sleep.

Not today.
I felt a strange feeling. It didn't feel like normal muscle spasms or puggle snoring.
I asked Michael, "Are you okay?"
"No," he says.

I shoot out of the bed, with an instant jolt of adrenalin, way stronger and more instant than a pot of coffee. Boom! I'm here to fix your problem, my love. Anything you need, I'll get it. He says he has a fever, and chills. I'm worried. I knew he didn't look right this morning. He said he was exhausted, but I could see it in his eyes, pain.

I work an overnight shift. I'm familiar with exhausted. That look in his eyes this morning was not exhaustion. But, I tend to be a freaker, so I gave him a couple of Ibuprofen, threw him in the bed, and we called it a day.

Until this afternoon, when the shaking woke me up. He was not well. He looked near tears and his body was shaking.

He asked me to roll him over, I did. I took his temperature: 101. Gave him some Azo and more Ibuprofen, and I held him until he stopped shivering. I stroked his hair and his chest - up high - where he could feel it.

He fell asleep.
I googled on my phone, laying there beside him - back to back.
I knew what he was experiencing was Autonomic Dysreflexia, because I'm a CFN (that's Certified Fake Nurse).

My plan was to keep an eye on his blood pressure and his headache and make sure to keep filling his water bottle up.

Another UTI.
He gets them often, but this one is bad. Never seen him like this in the 4 years since we got married, and I never saw him like this in the two years before that - even though I know he's had a thousand UTIs in that time.

It's after midnight now - and I'm in the living room with Brokaw, while he's back asleep after half a sandwich, an episode of 20/20 and a little cuddle time with his nurse lady.

Autonomic Dysreflexia is a scary, powerful thing.
When you have a spinal cord injury, it's like the phone lines from your body to your brain have been cut off. Your tummy or your feet can't tell your brain, "I hurt," so, they scream out in other ways - spasms, blood pressure spikes and drops, it can be really dangerous.

Isn't it amazing, though, that his body still manages to get its message through? Look at how hard it works to communicate. Sometimes it's subtle. Sometimes it's screaming. But if you pay attention - even though it's below the level where it's easy to understand, if you listen, you can find out what's wrong.

I'd say we could all learn from that kind of committed communication.

I hate UTIs. I feel like if you're going to be paralyzed, you should be handed an immunity card on the day of your injury. Like, okay, so you're going to spend the life in a wheelchair - so it's only fair that you have this "get out of any other illness or injury" card.

Too bad it doesn't happen like that.
There's nothing worse than seeing him suffer. I'm glad that (other than the whole paralysis thing) he is generally a very healthy, low maintenance quadriplegic. I'm grateful he doesn't deal with pain or other medical issues on a daily basis, because we know some people who do, and I can only imagine how difficult that is.

I want him to just rest. I'll do anything and everything I can, being a CFN and all.

I'm staying up, in case he needs anything. This too shall pass. I don't want to worry either of our mothers by posting about this! I just like to keep it real, so there you go.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

On Traveling, and Perspective

For Ben, and Robin. We love you.

Traveling isn't easy.
It's pretty exhausting, actually.

This is how it usually goes down for us:
I make three lists.
D, M, and 3.
D = all of my stuff
M = all of Michael's stuff
3 = all of the stuff we must take with us to manage anything and everything related to Michael's disability.

I pack for all three of us.
I load the van. Which, honestly, it's a good thing we have a van that has no middle seats, because even when we go away for a short weekend trip, we take A LOT of stuff. When we left yesterday for the cabin, we had seven bags, plus a cooler. These are not big bags. But still, seven of them, for two people, for two nights away from home.

Then, I load Michael into the van, and tie him down (not as mean and/or crazy as it sounds) and get his seat belt on and make sure he's all comfortable.

Then, I'm in, find a place for my purse, crank the A/C, and we're off!

Michael gets bonus husband points this weekend for wearing a hoodie so that I could comfortably crank the A/C, guilt free.

I drive, obviously.
Then, we arrive.

Michael and I were able to successfully pack mule all seven of our bags plus the cooler up the ramp to the cabin in one trip, and he didn't fall backwards, so that's a win.

This is the point where I ran out of patience.
Note: My patience used to run out when I was packing the van, so this is actually an improvement!

When we get to the destination, I unpack everything and make sure it's in its place. Because I'm the psycho who believes everything has a place - even on vacation - even in a cabin we're only staying in for two nights. I also believe everything's place is as close as possible to where that place would be at home. Hey, I like my routines, what can I say?

While I'm doing this, Michael brushes his teeth and takes his pills.
I turn down the bed.
He tries to go back to the van to get a cord to plug his phone in. He is unsuccessful at getting the cord, but successful in cutting his knee open, so now it's bleeding. Luckily, there are band-aids in one of his bags from a trip long ago.

I'm about to cry. I feel it coming.
But, I don't. I take a deep breath, I think of my friend Robin.

Robin was a quad wife like me. Robin took care of all of this stuff, and more, for/with her husband Ben for years. With a smile on her face, an encouraging word for others, and her "Proud Wife" shirt. But Tuesday, unexpectedly and suddenly, at the young age of 52, Ben passed away. Everything changes for Robin now.

I don't want to look back at all this stuff I've written one day and hate myself for complaining about driving and patching up busted knees and feeling like a failure because I didn't remember the gait belt even though the home health aide packed Michael's bag and it was his responsibility and her responsibility and not my responsibility.

One day, I will be alone.
I hope it's not for a very, very long time.
But when that day comes, I don't want to have a life full of memories of feeling overwhelmed, and stressed out and alone.

We have lots of sweet memories of being a team and being a young couple in love and road trips and vacations that are awesome. I want to remember those.

So, I need to write about those.

See, that's the danger in your writing being your "free therapy." Because do you go to therapy to sit on a couch and talk to someone about how much you love your life? No. You go because you're burned out, or sad, or angry, or confused, or all of the above.

Michael raided the entire three bedroom cabin and stole all the pillows off all the beds (except the top bunk bed, slacker) and I got him all snuggled in the bed. We used the belt from his pants in place of the gait belt (I strap his legs together while he sleeps so they don't frog out) and I cleaned the cut on his knee and put a band-aid on it.

Caregiver responsibilities were over, so then I snuggled up beside him, laid my head on his right shoulder - a.k.a - my favorite place in the world, and he was snoring in no time, and I'm positive I wasn't far behind him.

I slept for eight hours, laid in bed for two more thinking about getting up. I got up an hour ago, and as soon as I'm done with this thought, and two more sips of my coffee which is now room temperature, I'll do it again, in reverse order.

I'll do it gladly.
Because there's nothing more precious than my husband.
I'll take good care of him.
Better care than anyone else would, no matter their advanced nursing degrees.
Better care than I take of myself.
And I only pray that I have the chance to do this until we are both very old people.
Life is but a vapor, y'all.

After going years and years without going to a funeral, I've lost four friends out of nowhere this year.
Monday, we will go to celebrate Ben's life.
We'll hug sweet, sweet Robin, who loved him with all of herself.

Shocking loss changes you.
But, only if you let it.
Or so, I'm learning.

Galatians 6:19: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Saturday Morning Post: Black Coffee

It's 3:20 a.m, Saturday.
I'm alone in the living room of a cabin at Shenandoah Crossing. I'm surrounded by beautiful woodwork, and a rug that reminds me of the Reagan Ranch. Michael is going to be sleeping for the next 40 minutes, so this is my time.

I have a nice, big mug of black Breakfast Blend, hot. I'm so glad they don't have those small hotel-mugs. I need a real cup of coffee. And, since I've started eating mainly Paleo a few months ago, and now I drink my coffee black - all the time - I wonder how and why I ever didn't.

Black coffee is so real, so pure, so exactly perfect.

I'm so glad we are here at this cabin. It's going to rain today, which means no excursions to local wineries or hiking in the National Park or shopping (without money shopping is no fun anyway) in Downtown Charlottesville.

I'm glad it's going to rain.
Because I just want to wear yoga pants all day and drink black coffee, and write.

There is SO much in my head, in my heart, that I'm a spaz at home. I don't have much time for exhaling, and when I do, it's like there is so much built up, an hour of time like this can go by, and I have nothing actually written to show for it.

I have several freelance writing opportunities there for the taking, waiting for me to have/make time. I have two pages of blog post ideas, but nothing to show for it.

Writing is such an exercise for me.
I must warm up.
Then work out.
Then, I like to cool down.
Then, I feel amazing.

It's emotional. It's raw. I have to strip away all 47 of my to do lists and close all my social media, and quiet my mind, then the words pour out.
And there's no greater feeling than the words pouring out.

Because when I have to make the words up, it isn't good. It isn't real, it feels forced, and fake and like coffee with Splenda and skim milk. Which used to be good, but now it's not good.

I'd rather have it black, thank you very much.

We're having friends over for lunch today, and I'm very much looking forward to that. But I want to spend the rest of this time clearing out my mind, so that I am back at that place where I have something to write, something to give.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Family Time on the Back Porch

It's rare that we all get out and just enjoy our back porch. 

Sadly, the whole overnight schedule doesn't let us just chill in the daylight hours.

Even Brokaw relaxed a bit. 

No anxiety. Just chill.

Now to hurry and finish this book. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Not This, It's Me

Let's talk about stress for a minute.

Today I woke up 2 minutes before my alarm, panicking. In my dream, all I wanted to do was to go to CrossFit. But Michael kept calling me back. He had the lawn mower and was trying to figure out a way to mow the lawn. I knew I needed to mow it, so - I set my gym stuff down and started walking the lawn mower to the back yard to mow. Then, when I was pushing the mower, I noticed all these bags hanging on it - the bag I use for work, plus a bunch of reusable grocery bags. That mower was overloaded with bags! I was trying so hard to push it, and then I saw my CrossFit coach go by, and people from the gym were like, "are you coming?" And I started to cry.

Then I woke up, in tears, panicked, and so tired. Like I do every day, I got up and made coffee. But unlike every day, I decided to not go to the gym.

I decided to sit down, watch the news, then come upstairs and write.

Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, right?

I'm one of these people who stresses themselves out. Are you familiar with this type?

We fill all of our "free" time with obligations, we have never-ending lists of things that need to be done at work and at home, and given an extra 10 minutes here or there, we'll check those lists to see what we can do as to not "waste" any time.

It's sick, really.

The weird thing is, in the professional world - we are hailed as organized, productive, and lauded for being the people who "get things done."

Well, we do. That's true.

This time last year, I was in the thick of traveling constantly for work - covering the Presidential campaign. I absolutely LOVED it! But, I wasn't home a lot, and when I was, I was so tired, I didn't enjoy spending time savoring life with my husband. All I did was rush around, cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping.

We decided we would get through the election, then re-evaluate. So, the election came and went. And then I was presented with a great job opportunity back in my hometown at a TV station I worked at about 10 years ago, the station I grew up watching.

It was a perfect fit, and everything happened so fast. We moved here and got settled and living at the beach and near family has been great.

But guess what I do?
I work, work, WORK, then rush home and rush around cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and now I've added to that - going to the gym.

And Michael looks at me like I'm crazy. And I get jealous of him because he gets to work from home, doesn't have all of the responsibilities I have, and he just seems so relaxed. And I don't get it.

Because when I sit down to read a book, or watch TV - you know - relax - for more than like 5 minutes, I fall asleep.

I realized and admitted this weekend that I have resentment over that! That is not good. There were tears, there was forgiveness, and I'm trying a different way.

I'm owning up to the fact that it never was my busy DC job, it wasn't all the travel, it isn't because I am the breadwinner and a caregiver and it isn't because I work an overnight schedule.

It's me.

For a while, everything in my life has been pointing me toward facing this, but I'm finally doing it.

If this is something you struggle with - I recommend Jeff Goins' latest book, "The In-Between," which I finished this weekend (without falling asleep!!) and this message Michael sent me months ago, but I just listened to, by Jack Graham.

I'm tired. Something has to give. It's time to try a different way.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I am Splenda.

I remember one time my friend Ginger told me that when she heard the song, “I Will Praise You in the Storm,” that she thought of me.

Oh, Ginger.
If you only knew.

I don’t praise Him in storm.
I don’t even trust Him.
I’m pretty good at thanking Him during the good times - but being proud of that is like getting a trophy for showing up for team picture day.

I suck, actually.
I kick and scream and pout and I’m passive-aggressive towards my husband, I curse and cry in the car when I’m alone.

Because there are parts of this that I hate.
There are times that I just can’t get past the unfairness.

When that song comes on the radio, I’ll sing along. I may even go full-on Christian and close my eyes, and try really hard to mean it.

“I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, you are who you are, no matter where I am...”

But, I’m not kidding anyone. Not myself, and certainly not God.
Right now, I am in this season of seeing my faith for what it really is.


Hear me out.

You’re familiar with Splenda, right?
It’s the yellow packet.
The label says “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”

I saw a part of a documentary about this. 
I am not a scientist, but I did pretty well in Dr. Conyers high school chemistry class.

Enough to understand that Sucralose (Splenda) is almost identical to Sucrose (Sugar), except for one little thing - Sucralose is chlorinated. When you glance at the molecular structure, they look identical. You have to look really, really close - maybe even a couple of times - to see that CI in place of OH.

**I now believe that both Splenda and Sugar are evil and make you unhealthy, but that’s beside the point. This is not a story about nutrition, or even chemistry. It’s a spiritual truth.

I’ve been wanting to have a baby for about two years. We all know that hasn’t happened yet, for various reasons.

The number one reason that no one who isn’t hanging out in my heart and in my head doesn’t know is that it’s because I’m afraid.

I am afraid to try.
To really try, consistently. 
I am afraid of trying and it not working, and being heartbroken.
I am afraid of that leading to trouble between me and my husband.
I am afraid of being mad at God.

Because I’ve been there before, and that was no fun.

Recently, our pastor preached one of those messages that slapped me in the face, in a good way.
Here are the points:
  1. Jesus accepts you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you there.
  2. Your devotion to Jesus is not dependent upon your circumstances, emotions or cultural trends.
  3. You as a member of the church, must be committed to knowing the Word of God and living by it, regardless of circumstances, emotions or cultural trends.
  4. You must choose to follow Jesus, to travel down the road of apostasy.
  5. Your choice to follow Jesus will be rewarded.

This message forced me to look in the mirror.
To face the fact that even though I look like I believe, act like I believe, and even inspire others to believe... I don’t really believe.

I am Splenda.
Splenda sweetens your coffee, it satisfies your sweet tooth, it even looks like sugar, but it’s not.
It’s so close, but so far away.

I have the flavor of faith, but no real faith.

The good news for me is that that’s okay! It’s never too late to be obedient, to change directions, and to take those little steps of faith that will eventually lead to big steps. See the points Pastor Kyle makes above - it's up to me. Jesus has done/is doing/will forever do His part.

James 1:22: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Anyone out there dare to join me? To press in and press on until we really believe? Until we really trust God?

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point of actually praising Him in the storm. I don’t know if I’ll ever give birth to a baby. But this isn’t about that. This is about being real, and seeking truth and admitting that I’m not in control, that I can’t figure this out in a million Google searches. 

I have a long way to go.